What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Started Apr 18, 2013 | Discussions
coudet Veteran Member • Posts: 3,971
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

jfriend00 wrote:

Nikon would have to design a new DX-optimized lens mount (much like they did for the Nikon 1 line)

Indeed, mirrorless without a new mount makes no sense. That is it's advantage, new mount, more options regarding lens design (whether they're realized, another matter).

but couldn't you have just as much compactness as the "A" , but not have your body permanently affixed to one lens.  After all, they're getting the compactness because they ditched the viewfinder and the mirror and designed a prime lens optimized for that form factor/sensor size, not because it's a permanently affixed lens.

I'm sure they can make the same compact camera body. Fixed lens allows for some optimization, for example like the Fuji X100.

My theory is that Nikon is going to eventually do a mirrorless APS-C product line with newly designed interchangeable lenses (like the Sony NEX series) that is as compact as the "A", but Nikon doesn't have the new lens lineup ready yet so they are cutting their teeth and milking the early adopters with the "A" and a fixed prime.

Certainly possible. Fuji did the same, no?

photo perzon
photo perzon Veteran Member • Posts: 4,522
Re: I'll stick with my versatile 28mm to 200mm P7700

B-rad wrote:

And pocket that $700.00 change. I sure hope this isn't the end of the P series type of camera, with people paying this kind of money for a 28mm camera I don't have a good feeling about it.

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Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,187
Different needs - what is so hard to understand?

Darryl E Mylrea wrote:

JacquesBalthazar wrote:

D7K quality in the pocket of your shirt, your suit jacket, your cycling jersey  or your cargo shorts. Have "pro" level photography capability at hand  at parties, at music festivals, at the pub, in the street, hiking in the mountains, without feeling any weight and without being seen as the regular "photo freak". Or simply stroll down the alleys of a seedy neighbourhood without feeling like a prime mugging target.

Pretty compelling when you are a really keen photographer. This A is a beauty!

I guess it's just me, but I would not have any expectations (or need, really) for "pro" quality shots from on-the-go places like bars, concerts, etc.

Well, there you go, you are not in the target audience. Problem solved, question answered

Look, there are probably hundreds of thousands of photographers out there (globally) which would agree with you. And there are just as probably thousands, if not tens of thousands, photographers out there (again, globally) which do not agree with that, who do want professional grade image quality in situations where even a mirrorless camera is to bulky.

Considering what it takes to get a really good shot from a DSLR like the D7100, I don't see me whipping out my "A" from my shirt pocket and snapping that $1000 shot.

Well, then you need to start practicing a bit

I did purchase a Sony NEX a while back, just for the purpose of taking on hikes, as my D300 was big and bulky for such trips, and with the ability to twist on a good zoom lens makes it a useful camera with excellent quality.  Limit it to 28mm...not so useful for me.

There are many, many, many photographers who do not feel the need for the comfort and convenience of a zoom or even replaceable lenses. They do very likely form a minority, probably even a small minority, but still a minority big enough to be a viable market.

Look Ricoh has been selling expensive compacts with a fixed single focal length lens for years and I know several photographers who gladly use them. They probably appreciate both the Coolpix A and Ricoh GR with their excellent sensors.

Look at all the people who bought and happily use the Fujifilm X100 and now X100s.

I personally have shot many special and useful images with a Nikon L35AW AF, not just underwater (its speciality), but also when flying paraglider, hiking, running or just walking around. A fixed single focal length lens is not the bugbear of of photography many thinks it is. The simplicity is surprisingly often both a relief and quite fun.

After looking at the Sony RX1 (upwards of $3000), there is obviously a market for this type of limited function camera, and people with wallets to keep it going.

Now you answered your initial question: These cameras exist because there is a market for them.

I could pose you a number of similar questions:

- "What is the purpose of a 600/4 telephoto lens?"

- "What is the purpose of a fisheye lens?"

- "What is the purpose of a tilt/shift lens?"

- ""What is the purpose of cameras like Eos 1DX/Nikon D4?"

(and many, many more similar questions)

The answer is very much the same as for your initial question:

Because there exist a group of users who are willing to pay the price and endure the hassle of these products to get what they uniquely can provide.

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,187
What is the purpose of specialized gear?
1

The Nikon Coolpix A falls into the same category of cameras as (obviously) Ricoh GR, Fujifilm X100/X100s and Sony RX1. And apparently there are markets for several of these rather specialized cameras.

But in broader terms it also falls into the same category as any specialized photographic gear - gear aimed at a narrow target audience. Like super telephoto lenses, fisheye lenses, tilt/shift lenses, extreme close up gear, unusually sturdy tripods, unusual filters, radio triggers for flashes and cameras etc, etc. Not to mention DSLR camera models aimed at smaller target audiences: Like a Nikon D4, a Canon Eos 1DX, the Nikon D3x and so on. Not to mention medium format gear, or range finder cameras like Leica M series. And apparently there are markets for most of these rather specialized lenses, cameras and accessories.

So, then, what is the purpose of specialized gear?

Basically to enable different photographers to work in own their specialized way, to enable the capture of images that could not, or would at least be very difficult to, capture with more normal gear. This often come at a prize, both in terms of price and in how you have to work with the product (lug around a 400/2.8 for a day and you will know what I mean ).

I would want to pose a different question:

What is the purpose of (many of) these questions about specialized gear?

Any time any kind of specialized gear is presented, there will pop up a number of threads asking about the purpose of this kind of gear. Some might even be critical and question the viability of a particular niche product (or its price). Which of course is fine. When curiosity strikes, ask questions, and you will get information 

What does bug me from time to time is that some of these questions (and not so few of the answers) express a surprising amount of intolerance in regards to how other people choose to shoot the photos or spend their money. Some of these questions (and some answers) seem to be based on a perspective of "since I do not see a need for this gear, nobody else should, and if they do they are just helpless pawns of marketing, not real photographers, or have way to much money". This I do find a bit disturbing.

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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Elaka Farmor Contributing Member • Posts: 543
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

I like to crop. For me 16mp resolution is not that much. In good daylight, compared to another pocket friendly camera (Nokia808), and now with a fraction of the A´s price, the difference in resolution and details is obvious, even though I perfectly understand that Coolpix A is a way better all around camera, especially when it comes to manual settings, ergonomics and middle to high iso.

Nokia 808 to the left - Coolpix A to the right

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hiplnsdrftr Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

This thread is too much of beating a dead horse... At some point, either you understand or you don't.

Kinda like the old Harley cliche, "if you have to ask, you'll never understand."

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Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,580
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

hiplnsdrftr wrote:

This thread is too much of beating a dead horse... At some point, either you understand or you don't.

Kinda like the old Harley cliche, "if you have to ask, you'll never understand."

I'll cut the OP some slack on this. He truly didn't get it, asked the question, and seems to have gained an understanding from some of the answers. He may or may not ever see the need for such a camera for himself, but he claims to understand it better for others. I don't see that as beating a dead horse or a useless exercise...

In this case, at least, it appeared to be a genuine question rather than implied criticism. And to the extent there may have been implied criticism in the initial question, there didn't seem to be any after a few posts back and forth at a couple of points in the thread.

-Ray
-------------------------
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Ray Sachs
Ray Sachs Forum Pro • Posts: 10,580
Re: What is the purpose of specialized gear?

Grevture wrote:

What is the purpose of (many of) these questions about specialized gear?

Any time any kind of specialized gear is presented, there will pop up a number of threads asking about the purpose of this kind of gear. Some might even be critical and question the viability of a particular niche product (or its price). Which of course is fine. When curiosity strikes, ask questions, and you will get information 

What does bug me from time to time is that some of these questions (and not so few of the answers) express a surprising amount of intolerance in regards to how other people choose to shoot the photos or spend their money. Some of these questions (and some answers) seem to be based on a perspective of "since I do not see a need for this gear, nobody else should, and if they do they are just helpless pawns of marketing, not real photographers, or have way to much money". This I do find a bit disturbing.

I fully agree in some cases. For example, our old friend Toomanycanons tends to ask the question repeatedly as a not even veiled criticism of anyone who deigns to shoot with a prime or fixed lens.

But in this case, I don't think that was the OP's intent. He seemed to genuinely not get it, asked the question, and seemed very open to the answers and gained a better understanding of how different people use their gear as a result of the discussion. I don't see any downside here...

So while I fully agree with your fundamental point and see that kind of criticism too often (specialized vs general, brand vs brand, type vs type, you name it), I don't think that was the case with this thread...

-Ray
-------------------------
http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/collections/72157626204295198/

OP Darryl E Mylrea Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: Different needs - what is so hard to understand?

Grevture wrote:

I could pose you a number of similar questions:

- "What is the purpose of a 600/4 telephoto lens?"

- "What is the purpose of a fisheye lens?"

- "What is the purpose of a tilt/shift lens?"

- ""What is the purpose of cameras like Eos 1DX/Nikon D4?"

(and many, many more similar questions)

The answer is very much the same as for your initial question:

Because there exist a group of users who are willing to pay the price and endure the hassle of these products to get what they uniquely can provide.

-- hide signature --

I don't suffer from insanity, I enjoy every moment of it!
By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

You've missed the point of my post with your "rebuttal" questions.

Obviously each lens has a purpose.  The difference is you can take off a 600mm lens and twist on a fisheye for different needs, using the same DSLR camera.  My OP was about an uber-expensive P&S format camera with a non-removable 28mm lens stuck to it.  A better analogy would be a drill motor with a single size drill bit permanently attached to it.  Sure, there is a purpose for that size drill bit, but you might not get much use from the drill motor as much as one with removable bits.

Regardless, many others here have expressed their use for such a camera and now I am clear that there exists a need for such a camera.

OP Darryl E Mylrea Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Lars Luciano wrote:

Hi, if you don't know the purpose then you have different style and thinking about photography, you should stick with different types of cameras.

I don't even know what to make of that statement.  Sheesh.

OP Darryl E Mylrea Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Andrewteee wrote:

GaryR60 wrote:

To make money for Nikon.  

Let's hope so. Then we may see more of these single focal length compacts. Like a 50/2 

Yes!  And then instead of a single DSLR with a few lenses in your bag, you can have a bag full of single purpose fixed lens cameras (and SD cards and batteries and accessories).  

B-rad Veteran Member • Posts: 7,467
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Darryl E Mylrea wrote:

Andrewteee wrote:

GaryR60 wrote:

To make money for Nikon.  

Let's hope so. Then we may see more of these single focal length compacts. Like a 50/2 

Yes!  And then instead of a single DSLR with a few lenses in your bag, you can have a bag full of single purpose fixed lens cameras (and SD cards and batteries and accessories).  

LOL.

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Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,187
Agree on that ...

Ray Sachs wrote:

Grevture wrote:

What is the purpose of (many of) these questions about specialized gear?

Any time any kind of specialized gear is presented, there will pop up a number of threads asking about the purpose of this kind of gear. Some might even be critical and question the viability of a particular niche product (or its price). Which of course is fine. When curiosity strikes, ask questions, and you will get information 

What does bug me from time to time is that some of these questions (and not so few of the answers) express a surprising amount of intolerance in regards to how other people choose to shoot the photos or spend their money. Some of these questions (and some answers) seem to be based on a perspective of "since I do not see a need for this gear, nobody else should, and if they do they are just helpless pawns of marketing, not real photographers, or have way to much money". This I do find a bit disturbing.

I fully agree in some cases. For example, our old friend Toomanycanons tends to ask the question repeatedly as a not even veiled criticism of anyone who deigns to shoot with a prime or fixed lens.

But in this case, I don't think that was the OP's intent. He seemed to genuinely not get it, asked the question, and seemed very open to the answers and gained a better understanding of how different people use their gear as a result of the discussion. I don't see any downside here...

So while I fully agree with your fundamental point and see that kind of criticism too often (specialized vs general, brand vs brand, type vs type, you name it), I don't think that was the case with this thread...

After some initial suspicion, I have to agree the OP of this thread seem genuinely interested and prepared to listen about other peoples shooting styles.

I guess I was venting a bit about what I often have seen in previous threads about specialized gear

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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OP Darryl E Mylrea Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: What is the purpose of specialized gear?

Ray Sachs wrote:

Grevture wrote:

What is the purpose of (many of) these questions about specialized gear?

Any time any kind of specialized gear is presented, there will pop up a number of threads asking about the purpose of this kind of gear. Some might even be critical and question the viability of a particular niche product (or its price). Which of course is fine. When curiosity strikes, ask questions, and you will get information 

What does bug me from time to time is that some of these questions (and not so few of the answers) express a surprising amount of intolerance in regards to how other people choose to shoot the photos or spend their money. Some of these questions (and some answers) seem to be based on a perspective of "since I do not see a need for this gear, nobody else should, and if they do they are just helpless pawns of marketing, not real photographers, or have way to much money". This I do find a bit disturbing.

I fully agree in some cases. For example, our old friend Toomanycanons tends to ask the question repeatedly as a not even veiled criticism of anyone who deigns to shoot with a prime or fixed lens.

But in this case, I don't think that was the OP's intent. He seemed to genuinely not get it, asked the question, and seemed very open to the answers and gained a better understanding of how different people use their gear as a result of the discussion. I don't see any downside here...

So while I fully agree with your fundamental point and see that kind of criticism too often (specialized vs general, brand vs brand, type vs type, you name it), I don't think that was the case with this thread...

-Ray

It wasn't, and you explained it perfectly.  In fact, I never expected it to go this long or get some people so riled up.  While I don't agree with some peoples analogies about specialized gear (I've been using digital cameras since 1996), I don't earn a living taking pictures and in this case, was not aware of this particular market of cameras.  Had I been, I would not have posted the question in the first place.

I do appreciate everyone's explanations, though.  Thanks.

OP Darryl E Mylrea Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

hiplnsdrftr wrote:

This thread is too much of beating a dead horse... At some point, either you understand or you don't.

Kinda like the old Harley cliche, "if you have to ask, you'll never understand."

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Canon pro shooter.... Thankful for the Nikon A.

Not sure if you're speaking about my initial post, or the many responses that have gone on afterwards.

In any case, I do have a new understanding for this type of "specialized gear", and in fact, although the "A" is currently not in my financial future, should the price come down on it, I may pick one up (or something like it) as many of the posters explanations have intrigued me with the simpleness and creative possibilities of this type of fixed camera.

Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,187
Re: What is the purpose of specialized gear?

Darryl E Mylrea wrote:

Ray Sachs wrote:

Grevture wrote:

What is the purpose of (many of) these questions about specialized gear?

Any time any kind of specialized gear is presented, there will pop up a number of threads asking about the purpose of this kind of gear. Some might even be critical and question the viability of a particular niche product (or its price). Which of course is fine. When curiosity strikes, ask questions, and you will get information 

What does bug me from time to time is that some of these questions (and not so few of the answers) express a surprising amount of intolerance in regards to how other people choose to shoot the photos or spend their money. Some of these questions (and some answers) seem to be based on a perspective of "since I do not see a need for this gear, nobody else should, and if they do they are just helpless pawns of marketing, not real photographers, or have way to much money". This I do find a bit disturbing.

I fully agree in some cases. For example, our old friend Toomanycanons tends to ask the question repeatedly as a not even veiled criticism of anyone who deigns to shoot with a prime or fixed lens.

But in this case, I don't think that was the OP's intent. He seemed to genuinely not get it, asked the question, and seemed very open to the answers and gained a better understanding of how different people use their gear as a result of the discussion. I don't see any downside here...

So while I fully agree with your fundamental point and see that kind of criticism too often (specialized vs general, brand vs brand, type vs type, you name it), I don't think that was the case with this thread...

-Ray

It wasn't, and you explained it perfectly.  In fact, I never expected it to go this long or get some people so riled up.  While I don't agree with some peoples analogies about specialized gear

I guess that could be aimed at me

Out of curiosity: what is it with that analogy you disagree with? How is a specialized lens, flash or filter any different (in purpose) then a specialized camera?

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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OP Darryl E Mylrea Regular Member • Posts: 194
Re: What is the purpose of specialized gear?

Grevture wrote:

I guess that could be aimed at me

Out of curiosity: what is it with that analogy you disagree with? How is a specialized lens, flash or filter any different (in purpose) then a specialized camera?

Because the Coolpix A isn't a lens, or a filter or a flash.  It's a complete camera.  A lens/flash/filter is an accessory use to make a tool (the camera) more flexible.  The "A", with it's permanent 28mm lens is not flexible in the same sense.

In a VERY generalized way, yes, both are specialized pieces of equipment.  In my mind, and the reason I posted originally is that the "A" is what it is, and is unchangeable.  I could not imagine a use for a $1000 P&S.  Now I can.  

Grevture Veteran Member • Posts: 4,187
Re: What is the purpose of specialized gear?

Darryl E Mylrea wrote:

Grevture wrote:

I guess that could be aimed at me

Out of curiosity: what is it with that analogy you disagree with? How is a specialized lens, flash or filter any different (in purpose) then a specialized camera?

Because the Coolpix A isn't a lens, or a filter or a flash.  It's a complete camera.  A lens/flash/filter is an accessory use to make a tool (the camera) more flexible.  The "A", with it's permanent 28mm lens is not flexible in the same sense.

In a VERY generalized way, yes, both are specialized pieces of equipment.  In my mind, and the reason I posted originally is that the "A" is what it is, and is unchangeable.  I could not imagine a use for a $1000 P&S.  Now I can.  

Aha. I guess in my view a Coolpix A (if I had one) would just be a component, a part among many in my equipment as a whole. Hence it is for me as much a "part" as a lens or a flash is.

A while back I shot a event, a big birthday party. Normally I would have had two D3 bodies, one with a 70-200, one with a 35 mm, the former for face portraits and half body shots, the latter for small groups or just capturing people in a social setting. On this occasion I had a (borrowed) Fujifilm X100 instead of a D3 + 35 mm lens. Smaller, lighter, less intimidating (several guests thought the retro styled X100 looked "cute" ) it worked great when getting up close with people. This a example of how a camera with a fixed lens to me (and many others) is just a tool for a purpose, much like a lens or a flash is.

What is a bit intriguing with cameras like a Coolpix A is that its limitations has a noticeably stimulating effect on the creativity. In photography, as in any creative endeavour, limitations often have that seemingly contra-intuitive effect. I think this is one important reason many photographers, particularly those shooting a lot, appreciate cameras like this (aside from its small size and low weight).

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By the way, film is not dead.
It just smell funny

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hiplnsdrftr Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Ray Sachs wrote:

hiplnsdrftr wrote:

This thread is too much of beating a dead horse... At some point, either you understand or you don't.

Kinda like the old Harley cliche, "if you have to ask, you'll never understand."

I'll cut the OP some slack on this. He truly didn't get it, asked the question, and seems to have gained an understanding from some of the answers. He may or may not ever see the need for such a camera for himself, but he claims to understand it better for others. I don't see that as beating a dead horse or a useless exercise...

In this case, at least, it appeared to be a genuine question rather than implied criticism. And to the extent there may have been implied criticism in the initial question, there didn't seem to be any after a few posts back and forth at a couple of points in the thread.

-Ray
-------------------------
http://www.flickr.com/photos/20889767@N05/collections/72157626204295198/

Not necessarily directed at the OP. Just even after several good explanations there are still people lamenting the lack of a zoom or a viewfinder...

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hiplnsdrftr Contributing Member • Posts: 616
Re: What is the purpose of the Coolpix A?

Darryl E Mylrea wrote:

hiplnsdrftr wrote:

This thread is too much of beating a dead horse... At some point, either you understand or you don't.

Kinda like the old Harley cliche, "if you have to ask, you'll never understand."

-- hide signature --

Canon pro shooter.... Thankful for the Nikon A.

Not sure if you're speaking about my initial post, or the many responses that have gone on afterwards.

In any case, I do have a new understanding for this type of "specialized gear", and in fact, although the "A" is currently not in my financial future, should the price come down on it, I may pick one up (or something like it) as many of the posters explanations have intrigued me with the simpleness and creative possibilities of this type of fixed camera.

This was not directed at you, the OP.

You asked a valid question and received a few decent answers.

This topic is of particular concern to me as I have been campaigning for high quality compact cameras with "large" sensors for more than a few years.

In 2004-2005 there was a race to make the best possible compact digital camera. For a brief moment in time you could buy a Sony R1 (APS), Olympus C-8080 (2/3"), Nikon 8800 (2/3") and the Canon Pro1 (2/3"). Simultaneously all these manufacturers realized that these cameras possibly interfered with their dSLR sales and each and every line was abandoned.

Furthermore, Canon temporarily halted the very popular G and S line. In 2005 you could buy a G6 or an S70, both of which shot RAW. When the S80 and G7 were released RAW was removed, both cameras merely shot JPEG. Sony had a very popular prosumer camera, the DSC-V3. Despite it's success, the line was killed off.

After a few years of worthless timid compact cameras, in 2007 Canon dared to once again include RAW in the Powershot G9. But it took a true outsider, Panasonic to launch the GF1 in 2009 and suddenly there existed a truly compact camera with a reasonably large sensor. Despite this Canon and Nikon resisted until quite recently, and some would say their efforts have been half hearted.

So I hope you can understand, and perhaps forgive my enthusiasm for the Nikon A as it really is a dream come true for me.

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Canon pro shooter.... Thankful for the Nikon A.

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