Nikon's product development does some really stupid stuff.

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DeanSolecki Regular Member • Posts: 184
Nikon's product development does some really stupid stuff.

For context, I'm an engineer in the startup space, so I spend a lot of time thinking about workflows (as an engineer) and product/user experience (both as an engineer and frequently working with limited product/design support) and Nikon really makes some baffling ecosystem decisions.

There are three things specifically that I would like to see.

1) Standard button layout on every camera.

2) Standard button/ring layout on every lens.

3) Standard operating system on every camera.


For things like point and shoot cameras or retro cameras I can see why there might be some divergence, but for everything else standard is better.

For lenses there are some specific cases where it might be physically impossible or at least awkward to have, say, 2 function buttons or 3 control rings, e.g. pancake lenses. In all other cases standard is better.

It seems like such an obvious oversight that I'm honestly surprised Nikon can't figure this out. If I own a z9, z8, and z6, I don't want a different workflow for each camera. I won't have a different workflow for each camera. If I upgrade from a z7 to a z8 I don't want to learn a completely different workflow for switching camera profiles. If they came up with a better way to do profiles, just put it on every camera. Likewise any button that is on a z9 and isn't on a z6, it's a button I'm not going to use; there is 0 reason to put 3 function buttons on a z9 and 2 on every other camera.; if I have two lenses with 2 function buttons, 3 lenses with 1, and 2 lenses with 0, I'm not going to use any of the function buttons, because I'm not going to develop a workflow that only occasionally works. Same for function rings. Just put the same number of rings on every lens. If every lens has a random splash of buttons and rings I'm not going to use any of them. This is incredibly stupid. Just pick a number of function buttons and rings and put them on every camera and lens. Pick one operating system and put it on every camera. Pick one way to customize the profiles and put it on every camera. The z8/z9 profile should have been ported to the z6/z7. Imagine if you could pick up any Nikon camera or lens and use it the same way, never have to look up where a setting is, copy the settings from a z6 and paste them into a z9, have the same workflow, buttons, and rings for a 35mm and 24-70mm.  The only reason for these to be different is maybe a prime would have 2 rings and a zoom 3.  Similarly the LCD is utterly pointless because depending on what lens I'm using it might not be there, so I'm never going to get in the habit of looking at it.

Can you imagine if Apple had a different operating system for a macbook air, macbook pro, and imac? Can you imagine if every apple computer had a different number of buttons on the trackpad?  The macbook air has one button, the macbook pro has 2 buttons, the imac has 17 to make it seem extra special; there is no context where this makes any sense other than different devices (e.g. computer vs. tablet vs phone having different interfaces and OSes.)

It seems like Nikon doesn't know how to develop a design language and stick with it. There is absolutely no reason the operating system and customization of a z6 and a z8 would be different other than a complete lack of foresight.

There are a couple of outlier situations like huge telephotos and battery grips, but those should be standardized as well (a z6 battery grip should have exactly the same buttons and layout as a z7, z8, z9, etc. and you can just think of a z9 as a camera with a fixed battery grip.)

I just don't understand why you'd reinvent the wheel for every single camera. It's a terrible user experience and probably makes development extremely inefficient. Make a single Nikon OS and update it in a unified manner. Come up with an idea of what using a Nikon camera looks like and maintain it on all hardware.

This is really basic stuff that hardware companies figured out decades ago.

 DeanSolecki's gear list:DeanSolecki's gear list
Nikon D7500 Nikon Z6 II Nikon Z8 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 35mm F1.8G Nikon 24mm F1.8G ED +6 more
Nikon Z6 Nikon Z7 Nikon Z8 Nikon Z9
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