D3x announcement on 1st July

Started Jun 13, 2008 | Discussions thread
Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,660
Re: Not clear

bobn2 wrote:

I'd be surprised if the 'pent-up' market of brand loyalists is that
large, compared with the market for new adopters, or even dual system

What "new adopters?" First, IIRC film SLR penetration was somewhere around 40% of households, and that represents a lot of legacy lenses. Every day I get "I've got an F3 with X lenses, if I buy a DSLR can I use those lenses" emails. Second, we're talking mostly about pro cameras here. Is there some program that just graduated hundreds of thousands of new photographers who don't already have a camera that I don't know about?

New-to-DSLR users (previously only had compact) are coming in at the D40/D60 end of the market. They don't represent pent-up demand, they represent upgrade potential. Have-an-existing SLR or DSLR users are coming in at all levels of the market, and they represent pent-up demand and they already have lenses.

The pro's who merely 'wanted' something above the D2's stuck in

Without revealing names I'll say this: there was a period where Nikon almost lost EVERY name photographer they had. I spent a lot of time on the phone with a number of them revealing what I was pretty sure was coming and sent them to key contacts at Nikon where they learned more. Many of those pros were getting "beat" in the market because their Canon compatriots were getting the image sales. Think about what it might have been like trying to compete with a D2h. It was NOT a good time for Nikon.

The ones who needed something better switched, because their
livelyhood depended on it.

Absolutely. And it wasn't even a close match. Those who stayed with Nikon during that period suffered because of that. At least one kept shooting film.

Same's happening in reverse, no. Those who
need trustworthy AF are switching to Nikon.

Not quite the same thing, actually, and Nikon's AF isn't exactly trustworthy, either. There's that pesky "low battery syndrome" which has been seen on D200, D300, D2x, and D3 models (but mostly D300). Not being able to shoot at all is a lot worse than getting slightly off focus for some images in a sequence.

The interesting bit is exactly what was the spec of the F6 sized body.

I get slightly conflicting reports. Last prototype in that body I heard of was either 16mp or 18mp. But remember, mp numbers are reported in different ways ("effective megapixels" for example). The thing to take away was that it was somewhere between the D3 and D3x in pixel count.

I guess the basic difference between us is how many dyed in the wool
brand loyalists there are. I think it's less than you think.

I spent much of the past nine years documenting Nikon bodies against Canon and dealing with the "loyalists" versus the "switchers." I think I have a pretty good idea of the relative differences.

First, in the pro market you have to distinguish between the shoot-for-hires versus the shoot-independently folk. If you're part of a news organization, the news organization replaces equipment in bulk on set schedules. They have been known to switch, though you'd better have the right stuff at the right time for that to happen. We've already seen three major switches with these groups. The D1/D1h/D1x got them to switch from film Canon bodies. The 1DII/1Ds got them to switch from Nikon digital bodies. The D3 has been successful in getting a fair number back, and a D3/D3x combo would probably solidify that. But since these folks replace on typically three year cycles, whether you can get them to switch depends upon what you've got versus the competition and what you're willing to sell for in mass at the point where the cycle comes up.

The independent shooters are different. They don't tend to abuse their equipment to the point where it has to be replaced frequently. They also have large investments in equipment. Generally, they are loyalist but can be bought. Canon at one point was subsidizing switching. Both Canon and Nikon dangle advertising dollars in front of some key names. There have been cases where a pro has lost their equipment (stolen, fire, etc.) where a company has stepped in to help. And then there's the "I'm not putting bread on the table" problem that caused a number of key Nikon loyalists to consider switching back in the D2h era.

Serious amateurs and hobbyists fall into two camps: keep-switching-to-the-best, and loyalist. But the more lenses and accessories they amass, the more they eventually become loyalist. To keep 'em switching you need constant innovation and better product. The law of diminishing returns eventually argues against constant switching.

That's a very Nikocentric view.

Perhaps. I am Nikon centric, after all ; )

Until recently, Canon's strategy was
way more successful than Nikon's.

Don't confuse "success" with "successful strategy." I've watched lots of companies make that mistake.

Canon was most decidedly clever in using 1.3x to give the advantages of large sensors without all of the penalty. But to me that was a tactical decision, not strategy. The tactic worked quite well, but it now leaves them with a more complex lineup to defend, and as we've seen with the D3 versus the 1DIII, it's not easy to defend the 1.3x decision.

Lenses are not fixed to one sensor
size, they simply change roles when you change the crop factor.

As D3 users carrying D300 backups have discovered, that "simply change roles" means that you end up carrying an extra lens (or lenses).

I think for Canon the 1.3x 3D has an added advantage,
With a high enough spec it
will look very good against the D300.

Well, if Canon is aiming a 3D against a D300, Canon is fighting the wrong battle.

But APS-H is for action photogs. Generally, wide isn't so much of an
issue for them.

I think you think of the 1DIII too narrowly. It is (was) a common press camera. Wide is important for them.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (18 and counting)

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