Thom Hogan: Impact of mFT on Nikon DX line

Started Sep 20, 2013 | Discussions thread
trac63 Contributing Member • Posts: 697
Re: Impact of mFT on Nikon DX line - probably not in the USA market

sderdiarian wrote:

kodachromeguy wrote:

Everything Thom wrote is logical for photography enthusiasts. But as for the mass market in USA, Joe and Jane Suburban:

1. Know the two big names, Canon and Nikon.

2. Seldom see 4/3 cameras in big box stores and the few they see are not emphasized by salespeople.

3. Have a neighbor or relative who bought Nikon or Canon when he "became serious" about photography. Joe and Jane will buy the same for social acceptability among their peer group.

4. Do not care about all that large f-stop technical mumbo jumbo and are not interested in buying big full frame lenses - in fact will only buy the one kit lens and possibly a cheap, small aperture zoom lens.

5. Can buy a Nikon DSLR with kit lens cheap. That is a key factor for them.

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The Kodachromeguy

All good points, and they've been largely accurate.

But as smartphones cull more and more Joe & Jane's from the buying pool, people only superficially interested in photography in the first place, cameras like the E-M1 will, I think, become the new paradigm for enthusiasts who mine the internet for trends in technology.

Seeing it side by side with the bulky D7100, and understanding its better build quality and, for all practical purposes, equivalent IQ, and then adding in the compact mFT primes and 5-axis IBIS, my sense is were Nikon emblazoned on its body instead of Olympus, it would be taking the market by storm.

Well, the E-M5 does sell in big box stores here in Canada, and I gotta call "BS" on all of the above.

Maybe Olympus has taken a big step forward in build quality with the E-M1, but I cannot imagine too many Average Joes trying out both the E-M5 and D7100 and deciding that the E-M5 is built to a higher standard. The E-M5 may be advertised as all-metal construction, but the display panel and the control knobs are all inexpensive plastic, and the buttons on the back are all very tiny and mushy (and also inexpensive plastic). It just feels a lot less solid than the D7100, and it's not even close.

It's also simply not the case that the E-M1 has resolution and noise levels "equivalent" to the D7100. Just look at DPReview's own test chart:

Set the comparison tool to ISO 6400 and RAW, and you can see that the Nikon is clearly preserving more detail (look at the radial targets and the text in the centre panel). The difference isn't night and day, but it's there.

The IBIS thing is not a slam-dunk game-changer either. There is no shortage of VR-enabled lenses for the Nikon F-mount, and lens-based VR/IS has historically been more effective than the sensor-shift variety anyway. There's also all kinds of F-mount lenses that stop up to f/1.4 and don't need it because pretty well all the newer APS-C cameras are good through ISO3200 and beyond. And VR/IS only helps you with still subjects.

I would also submit that once you get into the $1,000+ segment of the market you are dealing mostly with people who have already owned one or more DSLRs and probably have a pretty good idea of what they're buying. For that matter, this is the Internet Age with all kinds of information readily available, and nowadays very few people spend this kind of money without doing a bit of research. This mythical Average Joe who doesn't know what he's buying is just that: a myth.

I'm not saying that the E-M1 and E-M5 aren't great cameras. I don't doubt that they are. It's just that Canon and Nikon have built a lot of features and performance into their $1,200 APS-C camera bodies and both systems have a huge array of available lenses, flashes and accessories. It's going to be tough for any manufacturer to sway customers away with a $1,400 camera that offers few compelling advantages other than size and weight.

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