COME ONNNNNNNN NIKON!

Started Feb 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
MiraShootsNikon
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As an armchair corporate visionary . . .
In reply to capanikon, Feb 11, 2013

capanikon wrote:

I 100 percent agree with your assessment.

F-mount is gonna be around for a long time yet, but the writing is on the wall. F-mount is gonna fade away. SLRs are the present, but mirrorless is the future.

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I disagree, at least for photography involving people and wildlife.   The last time I spent significant shutter time with mirrorless (via a loaned Olympus OM-D), I was simultaneously impressed and disappointed: impressed by the viewfinder's fidelity, speed, and usefulness in exposure / creative visualization; disappointed by the disconnect it enforced between me and my subjects, despite its ostensible advantages.  So much of shooting great portraits involves that perfectly synchronized, perfectly real connection you get by seeing real light not digitally interpreted--so I found shooting fashion with the OM-D to be a real drag.  (Even though by any objective measure, it's a fine camera system.)  And I don't think I'm alone in that assessment.  Sony has had quite some time, now, to make a case for the electronic viewfinder in even more responsive SLR bodies, and their SLT hardware isn't flying off shelves.

I think part of the problem is that the mirrorless / EVF paradigm encourages you to think about post-processing decisions in the viewfinder.  If you shoot the OM-D, when you put your eye to the camera you see the world in Olympus JPEG color and contrast--which, of course, you should feel free to change right then and there if you like.  That was the big rub for me: I just want to concentrate on my model's expression, pose, and movement--on the decisive moment.   The post decisions--color, contrast, structure deviations from camera neutral--I'd prefer to think about on big calibrated high-resolution computer screen, which I can manipulate with truly powerful tools like Photoshop.   The whole "make an arty photograph right from the viewfinder" paradigm the mirrorless / EVF model pushes seems built to appeal to people who think "arty photograph" means manipulation of the camera's built-in "art filters," as opposed to the subject's expression, pose, and movement--elements you absolutely need that immediate visual connection to achieve.

Yikes, that sounds harsher than I mean it to be--again, I've seen some great results from mirrorless, so obviously I'm just sharing one perspective here, not laying down Hammurabi's code on practical camera development.

But I suspect Nikon sees it the way I do, because they've now positioned their DSLRs to be, bottom to top, class-leading tools with serious fundamental capability.   They've largely eschewed the "art filter" approach for features like 24 megapixel sensors, capable focus systems, system-wide creative lighting compatibility, and excellent direct controls.   What's more, every Nikon DSLR can use--and with 24 megapixels, really use--top notch Nikkor lenses.   Say what you will about Nikon dropping the ball on DX lens development, they have a top notch system as a whole.   There's nothing like the f/1.4 primes or the SB-910 / 700 CLS flash system for any mirrorless competitor out there, and all of them work wonderfully with a D3200.

The question, then, is how to leverage the "serious tools for serious artists" approach for greater commercial success?   I think the answer absolutely lies in creating an ecosystem for easy photographic sharing, publication, and distribution, but I disagree that Sony's model--integrating these features directly into the camera--is the best approach.  The goal needs to be simple and straightforward: how does one get his or her photographs out of camera and on to the net as briskly and easily as possible?   An eye-fi card and an iPad already answers that question for many Nikon shooters; but if Nikon were able to integrate WiFi straightforwardly and produce elegant mobile apps, all the better.   The camera doesn't need to replace or integrate the phone and /or tablet, especially if Nikon is really pursuing the "serious artist" approach.  But the more straightforward and trouble-free the camera's cooperation with these devices, the better.

So Nikon, thanks for the smart approach.  Now get crackin' on some equally purposeful, elegant, straightforward software.

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