D600 Rumors, smart move by Nikon if true

Started May 16, 2012 | Discussions thread
Forum ProPosts: 26,240
Re: true, but Nikon did it before with DX, down size top DX camera
In reply to jfriend00, May 19, 2012

jfriend00 wrote:

Antony John wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

So, let me get this straight. You are proposing that an all metal chassis offers no advantages other than marketing perception? So, therefore, Nikon uses more expensive metal parts in all pro bodies just for perception reasons? Are you sure the all metal chassis offers no advantages in shock resistance, temperature stability, resistance to deformation, durability, etc... over bodies that use plastics instead of some of the metal?

Metals have greater dimesional stability with temperature (lower coefficient of expansion).
Most plastics have superior impact resistance.

A combination of both is the most desirable compromise - mirror assembly etc metal, body plastic.
General information about material properties can be found at:

Antony, I know this. I'm a mechanical engineer by degree. I think perhaps you meant to respond to bobn2. I was challenging bobn2 (somewhat sarcastically) who was representing that the amount of metal in the chassis did not make a difference. Curiously, bobn2 didn't respond to my post.

Curiously, bobn2 was off doing other things. Your sarcasm just shows up your foolishness, being sarcastic when you know little about the subject is a hostage to fortune. Plastics can have several structural advantages over metals. That is why Formula One motot cars are made of plastic, not metal (well mostly)

As for which materials to use to make the most robust camera, I'm sure it is not a simple analysis with all sorts of factors to balance such as thermal stability, resistance to any permanent deformation at various shock loads, weight, cost, size, ability to make certain shapes, manufacturability, etc...

You're not sure, yet you feel able to be sarcastic - nice.

Unlike bobn2's perception, I have no doubt that Nikon uses more expensive materials and construction with advantages in robustness in their more expensive cameras and less expensive materials with some disadvantages in robustness in their lower end consumer cameras.

Well apart from bobn2 never having expressed a perception as you say, when it comes to designing such things there are many factors at play, and you don't know any more than me which ones have affected Nikon's designers choices. Tooling costs differ enormously between material technologies, as do finishing costs. So, a material that needs large tooling costs but small finishing costs will be more suitable for mass production than one with lower tooling costs but high finishing costs, thus just on costing alone, one might well choose one material (polymer) for a high volume product and another (powder coated alloy) for another. Of course, if your marketing department is worth its salt, the low volume one will be presented as very much superior. Then, once one construction is perceived by the market as superior, then you'll start using that as a feature to help differentiate your product line.

I am hoping for a D400 with the more robust build and am willing to pay for that.

But you will not give Nikon a growing market share, which is what they want. Nikon has to plan its products cognisant of what the competition does, and the main competition is Canon. Against the D300 Canon markets a product called the 7D, which has a plastic chassis and metal exterior. I haven't seen much if any suggestion that the build quality of the 7D is any lower than the D300, nor that it is less robust nor reliable. If indeed that construction is cheaper at these camera's volumes, then by adopting the more expensive construction to no perceived market advantage, Nikon does itself a disfavour.

Similarly, large parts of the shell of Nikon top models is plastic, unlike the Canons where it is all metal. Again, the market sees no disadvantage in that construction. Obsessing about which materials are used, when you have no idea of their relative properties, is silly. All that really matters is whether a camera is well built enough to withstand the usage you will put it to.

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