FF Commentary by Thom

Started Nov 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
KL Matt Veteran Member • Posts: 5,885
Asking the wrong question?

I think this is the crux of it for companies like Pentax - how are they going to keep their aps-c offerings far enough ahead of phones like that in terms of IQ?

I'm not sure you're asking the right question here. Certainly for companies approaching the market with a strategy like Samsung's current approach and what Sony tried to do but failed at (i.e. photography defined as subordinate to the larger world of consumer electronics, and *not* mainly part of the world of optics / still photography...) this should be a very pressing concern.

What have Fuji, Nikon, Pentax, and in part Olympus and (only as of very recently) Sony shown us, however? After over a decade of fumbling around, they finally get it. Photography is not about the electronics in the end, or at least anymore. It's about possessing a tool that becomes an extension of the photographer and enables and enhances efficient, creative use through usability and capabilities, much of which has to do with optics and ergonomics with the electronics being secondary for many.

I love my Samsung NX. But if my cell phone could give me the same low light performance and digital image quality? I'd sell my entire NX gear in an instant, there would be no more need for it. I would *not* sell my K5 and lenses, however! I don't own them because they are supremely pocketable. I own them because they are supremely good and usable tools that give me complete photographic control with ease. My biggest gripe about my K5 is that the control dial to change aperture does not always react immediately. If I'm in the wrong mode or the camera is sleeping or something (can't quite figure it out), I can move the dial two notches and not get a full-stop aperture as I intend, maybe only a half stop or nothing at all. The electronics get in the way of my shooting. It was worse with the DS. That makes me want mechanical controls back. Two clicks are two clicks. Not sometimes 2, sometimes none, and sometimes 1.

The recent successful "retro" bodies that go back to physical controls for aperture and shutter show us that photography is still what it was pre-digital, but the digital bodies are only now starting to do it justice. There may be fewer people now who take photography seriously than there were people in the 70's who owned a K1000 simply because they wanted better pictures than a brownie could produce, much in the same way I think film SLR market share suffered under the rise of better 35mm point-and-shoot cameras towards the end of the 80's and throughout the 90's. In the same way those who actually wanted convenience with merely good image quality were weeded out by good film point-and-shoots, those looking for very good image quality but not really wanting the bulk of a DSLR and not true photography enthusiasts will eventually be weeded out by cell phones and or lens attachments for phones.

Those left will be the hardcore photographers. Hardcore photographers don't want to look at a screen when they are shooting. They want to be in the moment. They want to be able to operate their cameras by touch. Nikon gets it. "It's in my hands again."

Sure took em long enough. And they're sure charging us enough for getting it! But I guess if you calculate in the price of film, it's not the worst deal ever. And I'm certain someone else will soon come along with a similar camera with a different brand on it for far less. Hope it's Ricoh.


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