Dear Nikon - what do you expect us to buy?

Started Oct 10, 2013 | Discussions thread
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Dear Nikon - what do you expect us to buy?
Oct 10, 2013

Dear Nikon. There is a category of customers (who currently shoot with a D700 or D300) who are willing to spend $1500-$3000 on a new body. These are either cost conscious pros or serious amateurs looking for a particular set of features and willing to pay that much to get it.  Sorry, but the D4 is out of our price range.

But, we cannot find a product in your current portfolio that meets our needs and haven't seen such a product since the D700 and D300 were launched (what 6 years ago? - I'm not counting the D300s since it didn't really change much except add video and dual card slots). Folks in that group may shoot a variety of things, but are all looking for a camera that is great at shooting action. Some examples of shooting action are: soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, or any other action sport, birds in flight and other wildlife in motion. That means the camera:

  • Has a modern sensor (with current tech for low noise and decent DR and color at high ISO)
  • Can do at least 8fps (like our D300 or D700)
  • Can buffer at least 25 consecutive RAW shots (ideally 35-50)
  • Has your best AF (like in the D800 or D4)
  • Has a low mirror blackout time (so AF tracking works well at max fps)
  • Has an AF-ON button (since many action shooters use AF-ON and once you've learned the benefits you never want to back)
  • Is built to be as rugged as the D700/D300 are
  • Is 24MP

Ideally, you'd make a camera like this in both the DX and FX line (e.g. a D750 and a D400), but right now, we're just looking for either camera that can do this.  The low light shooters would go for the D750.  The long reach shooters would go for the D400.  Or perhaps action shooters would pick which one based on their other shooting needs and current lens inventory too.

Because both the D700 and D300 were category winners at the time, you (Nikon) won a lot of customers that are looking for this set of capabilities. But, since you've completely ignored the category in the last 6 years, these customers have not bought new equipment from you and some have even started to look at other brands. Some have also decided that they should freeze spending any more money on Nikon lenses because they can't tell if Nikon is serious about meeting their needs in the future and no point in throwing more money away by buying a Nikon lens if you may have to leave the brand.

Please don't say that you expect us to buy a D7100. The small buffer in the D7100 was you essentially turning your noses up at any of the serious action shooters in this category and obviously, it doesn't hit 8fps either. The D7100 seems to be wonderful sensor, but it's in the wrong package.  While a missing AF-ON button might not be a deal killer (maybe we could remap the button there is and just permanenaly lose AE-L), but it feels like a step backwards in external controls and body ruggedness.

Please don't say that you expect us to buy the D600. You did not endow it with your best AF which is perhaps the most important characteristic of a camera optimized for shooting action. Plus both the D7100 and D600 are a step backwards in body style from what we currently own. The D600 seems to be a wonderful sensor, but it's in the wrong package (see previous comments about the D7100 body style).

Please don't say that you expect us to buy the D800.  While you did endow it with the right AF, the fact that it only goes 4fps when using the whole sensor and viewfinder renders it a non-starter for those who want a camera optimized for shooting action.  Also, please don't say that you expect us to use crop modes. The point of buying a camera is to take advantage of the best noise and DR performance it can offer and to use the whole viewfinder, not to buy an expensive camera and then dumb it down in a crop mode.  Oh, and I don't know many action shooters who enjoy dealing with 36MP files either since action shooters often take a lot of images and then sort through them to find a subset of keepers.  Something in the 16-24MP range makes more sense for high volume action shooters.

So Nikon, here we are.  We've been Nikon customers for many years.  We loved your D300/D700 that were clearly best in class at the time and we're still shooting with them.  Many of us have spent serious money on long glass or might spend some more serous money on long glass if we believe you were going to serve us.  Some of us might even buy both a DX and FX camera if you could serve our needs with both.

So Nikon, what do you expect us to buy?

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