Tom Caldwell

Lives in Australia Coffs Harbour NSW, Australia
Works as a Retired
Has a website at
Joined on Feb 19, 2002


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Nice camera it sure killed the Ricoh GX100 off but I suggest that there probably might be more GX100's still being used today as a percentage of the numbers sold.

Link | Posted on Mar 23, 2017 at 12:41 UTC as 59th comment
On article Ask the staff: electronic or optical viewfinder? (888 comments in total)

Even the many times maligned GX7 or GM5 evf works fine for me - it is the image that goes in the can (sd) that is important to me - what I see on the evf/ovf is immaterial and I prefer the wysiwyg evf of any sort of camera sporting one over an ovf any day.

The SLR type nearly beat the RF type camera to a pulp back in film days simply because of the logic of framing/focusing through the lens was superior. Similarly the logic of framing/focusing/exposing through an evf seems just as unassailable in the long run as well. But whilst there are still a few things that the optical can do better I am glad that a choice remains. But one thing is not such a great idea is the logic of having a hybrid system giving a choice - if you prefer one or the other then why is a choice needed?

And of course many can manage quite well without a regular viewfinder at all.

Link | Posted on Mar 14, 2017 at 06:25 UTC as 78th comment | 1 reply

I think that turning every camera into a videocamera par excellence is a direction that camera companies might follow at their peril.

There should be cameras that are video-oriented smart and those that are stills camera based where video is more like an afterthought and specifically kept out of the still-shooters way.

Funnily enough I gave up Canon dslr bodies right at the time when they launched their first video-trendy machine - the 5DII.

Link | Posted on Feb 28, 2017 at 20:54 UTC as 44th comment | 3 replies
In reply to:

mandophoto: Nikon builds great cameras. What they don't do well is marketing. Canon has succeeded better than all other brands not because it makes better gear (oK, their recent spate of lenses are top notch,) but because it has the best marketing. No other camera brand has the name recognition of Canon. Notwithstanding the DPReview denizens (gear nerds,) it isn't about the gear, it's about salesmanship.

Marketing is to the stockist and not to the end user who is only a bit player.

Product with good margin sells better because the manufacturer can offer a good slab of these margins to the stockist. Combine this with good point of sale promotion where they promise the stockist that the product will "walk out the door" and the profit will be truly good as there is a bulk buy discount.

The stockist buys up big and fills up the shelves and of course then just "has" to sell what has been bought.

A sort of self-fulfilling prophesy.

Unfortunately some buyers have the awkward notion that they know what they truly want and this allows some of the less profitable and lesser known brands to survive.

Link | Posted on Feb 28, 2017 at 20:39 UTC
In reply to:

zodiacfml: Coolpix A here also! They could use the same body and lens with an upgraded electronics and 24MP sensor and call it a day! APSC seems the sweet spot now for dedicated consumer cameras.
They do just fine for enthusiast and Pro level products but as a company, they do need to expand to more casual users. I can't help think that they can start going into mobile photography like what Leica did for Huawei.

The Ricoh GR killed off the Coolpix A which only truly became a sales success when Nikon cleaned out the warehouse with below-cost sales prices. One might ask if the Nikon A was so loveable at its initial RRP.

Link | Posted on Feb 28, 2017 at 20:31 UTC
In reply to:

sh10453: "... Coolpix A300. This 2016 release features a 1/2.3" sensor, 720p video and a low-resolution 230k-dot rear screen. Please Nikon, why?".
Because there are some incompetent people, generally in management positions, friends of some executives, perhaps, who know how to BS their way all the way up the grades to get the funds and the resources for a project like this. They are not capable of doing anything better.

When such lousy product is released ahead of schedule, they get promoted, and become among the decision makers. That's when a company starts going down in a spiral dive. Such people need to be escorted outside the building, not promoted, or allowed to waste company funds and resources.

I have seen this behavior taking place many times throughout my years in the industry, right in front of my eyes, where my colleagues and I would start banging our heads against the wall.

I'm thinking that projects like this is what killed Kodak.

This is what happens when they try to sell all their product at the same sort of margins that they get from dslr bodies and their lenses. Mr Kodak did the same thing - tried to enter the digital camera market at the same profit margins as film gave them. So Nikon decides to concentrate on the high margin stuff that made them what they are hoping furiously that their profit stockade will see them through all assaults. Might work if the dslr and its lenses remain popular and highly priced.

Link | Posted on Feb 28, 2017 at 20:26 UTC
In reply to:

sankos: A pocketable, 50mm companion to Coolpix A, would make sense for me. Make it weather-proof (I know that wishing for VR might be pushing it). Consider the pricing strategy very carefully. And I have to agree with Carey, the Coolpix moniker does more harm than good, so drop it.

"Coolpix" - a seriously cool camera for uncool owners? Even Ricoh gave up Caplio years ago and Panasonics "Lumix" does not sound quite as nerdy. In fact Panasonic might do best to spin off Lumix as a complete brand as "Panasonic" says everything but "camera".

Link | Posted on Feb 28, 2017 at 20:19 UTC

Corporations used to selling products with high margins might struggle to re-align themselves into a consumer level type product that requires mass sales at much lower margins. The most successful "new world" camera companies are the ones that can make and sell their gear like just another electronic appliance.

Like the European and US motor cycle companies of the 1960's retreating into the high margin premium class of product and leaving the mass market to their more adaptable rivals comes with its own long term set of problems.

Link | Posted on Feb 28, 2017 at 20:14 UTC as 66th comment | 2 replies
In reply to:

Zerixos: I really would like to see the cine-lenzes and there prices. Also, I'm thinking of replacing my old Nikon 24-70 with the sigma one, even if it doesn't outpreform the Nikon, because the Nikon VR version sucks for the amount of money it cost. But Sigma, please stay compatative to the native lenses, because I'm not replacing my Nikon 50 1.4 for yours it, it cost me an extra 500 buck, and neither I will for the 24-70.

I will repeat part of my quotable quote:
"Video has lower resolution demands than stills"
So why worry?

Link | Posted on Feb 27, 2017 at 23:42 UTC
In reply to:

princecody: Wonder if Sigma hired former employees from the other big brands to help design & create their lenses or like Thomas Edison after trial & error they figured it out 🤔

That would have to be the biggest put-down I have seen for years.

Link | Posted on Feb 27, 2017 at 23:40 UTC
In reply to:

HSway: Not surprised the 12-24/4 wins the complexity. Looking at these large bulging concave elements I am always thinking it's quite a feat to make them, especially in tighter tolerances. The use of the aspherical lens gives them a pair of attractive UWAs – the 12-24 seems to be a great lens. Also relatively compact thanks to that element.

Good point, most would be annoyed that it cost so much :)

Link | Posted on Feb 27, 2017 at 23:39 UTC
In reply to:

villagranvicent: Saying "we learn that some customers require exceptional lens performance" is as silly as a car manufacturer saying "we learn that some customers requiere fast cars"

Really you didn't knew that?

More realistic than saying "most customers want the best lenses for not much money". On the car front big engines sell, but most don't want to pay the money for the handling to match - even if they had the opportunity to use it.

Link | Posted on Feb 27, 2017 at 23:38 UTC

Quotable quote: "Video has lower resolution demands than stills, but we’ve been designing lenses for 36+ megapixel sensors for several years. That is equivalent to 8K, in video terms. A lot of traditional cine lenses aren’t that high resolution. Our lenses might be more affordable, but they’re top quality."

Link | Posted on Feb 27, 2017 at 23:36 UTC as 27th comment
On article Canon debuts EOS M6 mirrorless with optional EVF (657 comments in total)
In reply to:

Autriche78: Good for Canon, but can someone explain why every manufacturer seems to desire to confuse the consumer with model numbers that bear no obvious relation to hierarchy within a system? So this is below the 5 but above the 3 - and labelled as #6. Seriously...

Yes and we know how they pronounce 6 in New Zealand :)

Link | Posted on Feb 15, 2017 at 05:36 UTC
On article Canon debuts EOS M6 mirrorless with optional EVF (657 comments in total)
In reply to:

CE3: All three of these new releases seem so boring and pointless. They're not much cheaper than the better/more equipt models, either.

These are "safe" unexciting but reliable cameras for people who like the assurance of the big solid brand name - they will sell like the usual hot cakes.

Link | Posted on Feb 15, 2017 at 05:33 UTC
On article Canon debuts EOS M6 mirrorless with optional EVF (657 comments in total)

Just when it seemed that Canon was getting serious with EF-M by releasing the M5 it has gone all "cuddly" again with something that is unlikely to frighten the horses (other brands).

If Panasonic can fit an evf into a GX85 and Sony can too then a clip on evf RF style camera has to be ... well cuddly, and not at least frightening.

Link | Posted on Feb 15, 2017 at 05:30 UTC as 117th comment | 5 replies
In reply to:

jaxson: Nice to see a standardised lens mount in use.

Pentax Q series is where Tiny is really at though, but this had its own series of unique mount lenses. Pros and cons.

Good specs on offer here, well done Panasonic 👍🏻

The GM1 was almost exactly the same size as the Pentax Q but the Q had a much lower resolution lcd screen as well as the much smaller sensor. Furthermore there were only a limited range of (quite good) Pentax Q lenses which seemed plasticky and very expensive for what you got and also some silly outrageously priced "toy" lenses which were exactly that. At least these cameras from Pansonic plug right into the existing M4/3 system of lenses.

Link | Posted on Jan 6, 2017 at 05:21 UTC
In reply to:

noirdesir: The GF9 has exactly the same dimensions as the GF8 (107 x 65 x 33 mm) and weighs only 3 g more (269 vs 266 g) but is noticeably larger and heavier than the GM1 (99 x 55 x 30 mm, 204 g). There is no merging of lines, the GF9 is a direct successor to the GF8 and has no GM1 attributes I can think of. The GF line is continued while the GM line so far seems put on hold.

The GM5 is effectively 78% of both the volume and the mass of the GF9. It does not sound a lot but it is significant if "small camera" is the object of the exercise.

Link | Posted on Jan 6, 2017 at 05:15 UTC

Not clear whether RR price quoted include lens or is body only - dpreview words say "includes kit lens" - statistics say "body only". A bit silly to try and sell the "ultimate high performance selfie camera" without a lens. A sort of oxymoron.

Link | Posted on Jan 6, 2017 at 05:10 UTC as 8th comment | 1 reply
On article Sigma 18-35mm F1.8 DC HSM Review (355 comments in total)

Maybe the secret is in the use of this lens on the M4/3 mount. With a couple of electronic EF to M4/3 adapters you can have a FF fov equivalent 36-70mm f1.8 and a focal reduced (near aps-c) 26-50mm f1.2 FF fov equivalent as well.

And yes it does register f1.2 and gives accurate fast AF as well.

Link | Posted on Dec 10, 2016 at 21:49 UTC as 12th comment | 1 reply
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