It’s a balancing act

It’s a balancing act these days. My new found interest in Astrophotography has resulted in a new found interest in the weather.

Keeping an eye out for clear nights is now something I do more often. The balancing bit comes in with fitting the odd clear night around family commitments.

According to the weather forecast we are looking at cloud and or rain for the next week or so. Oh well.

Talking of balancing acts, we photographers quite often have to manage compromise. How much we spend on a piece of gear versus  have much we will use it is a common one. For hobbyists it’s harder than professionals. Why? Because a pro will look at it as a tool. Does it add value to what I do? How quick will the payback be? For the rest of us it’s more a case of want than need.

How much have you got?

Another compromise amateurs make is what gear to actually take with them on a shoot. Too much gear can lead to analysis paralysis. You have some FOMO (fear of missing out) by leaving something behind. So you end up lugging a suitcase of stuff around – just in case. Chances are you will only use one or two lenses on that hike or day out. The rest is extra weight.

OK. What do you do?

Im fortunate in that I don’t have a huge amount of gear. I balance my photography needs with the needs of the family. (Plus the wife keeps an eye on the spending😀).

I’ve got less than half a dozen lenses for my Nikon DX body. I can usually leave a couple of lenses at home without too much anxiety. If I’m really unsure I might leave them hidden away in the car.

My CX kit is a different kettle of fish. I can cover (the FF equivalent of ) 28 – 300mm in three pocketable lenses with not much weight. Whenever I’m out I always carry a spare battery for whatever body I have. In reality I very rarely use it though. Theres that FOMO again.

More often than not my balancing act is do I take the DX or CX kit. If I’m going out for potential wildlife shots I.e. birds, dragonfly’s etc, I’ll take the DX kit with a CX body and FT-1 adapter. More urban adventures and I’ll take the CX gear.  Hiking it could be either. Or a combination. In some ways I’m glad I don’t have more.

In choosing the right gear your balancing what you think you’ll shoot against what you’ll actually shoot. A planned day out for photography can make that choice easier, but  how many times have you grabbed a camera bag to go out ‘somewhere’ because the sun is shining? Or your just going out anyway. I have to admit I do that all the time.

Sometimes I get some reasonable shots, others the gear just stays in the bag and I enjoy a day in the sunshine.

Whatever your up to may you achieve a suitable balance.

Will DX become the new CX?

It took Nikon three years to kill off the 1 series, so will DX become the new CX?

Nikon released their last 1 series camera in 2015. This year after all the speculation Nikon 1 owners were finally put out of their misery with the officially discontinued announcement. The lack of love for CX lenses was there all along, We were in denial.

Nikon 1 V1 with 10mm CX lens
Nikon 1 V1 with 10mm CX lens

Unfortunately there could be some parallels with DX here. Why on God’s green earth did Nikon put so much effort into 18-something zooms.

Surely some of those resources could have been put to better use. Like a couple of wide angle primes that people were begging for. But no…let’s do another zoom… just in case we don’t have enough.

Then the piece d’resistance – the AF-P series. Let’s release more of the same but this time we’ll nobble the backwards compatibility. Score.

Nikon couldn’t produce or didn’t have the will (your choice) to proactively run three lens lines. But they have backed themselves into the same corner again.

I am a CX shooter. I am a DX shooter. For me DX (or Aps-c) is a sweet spot of value, size and quality. I don’t need a £2k (or £3k)  mirrorless or DSLR or even full frame camera, my photography is more of a hobby.

I fear that Nikon will eventually ‘pull a 1 series’* on their DX range and ignore them out of existence. Maybe not straight away but in the next three to five years.

The problem then becomes a familiar experience. At which point do you say enough is enough and refrain from buying new bodies and lenses.

A bit doom  and gloom? Yes, but that is what Nikon 1 owners went through.

Learning from the past do we really want to [have to] go through it again with DX?

 

* ‘pull a 1 series’ – adj- to totally ignore telling people then discontinue. Pertaining to cameras, lenses etc  🙂

Where will Nikon stop?

Where will Nikon stop? With the 1 series and the Keymission discontinued will Nikon stop there or is a bigger repositioning coming?

No this isn’t about their new mirrorless camera and teaser campaign.

Nikon as well as other manufacturers have stated they want to sell more higher value items. It would appear the consensus is to sell fewer units at a higher price. Whether you agree or not there is a subtle shift in nudging prices higher.

Nikon have effectively discontinued their Keymission and 1 series cameras. DX hasn’t really seen a lot of love lately either. They seem to have an issue running three different lens ranges at the same time. CX, DX and FX fought against each other. People in the FX camp didn’t like resources being used on DX 18-xxx zooms. To be honest people in the DX camp would have liked some primes instead of those zooms as well. Same for the CX camp.

Now we have a potential new mount for the upcoming mirrorless cameras. That puts us back to three different ranges again. DX, FX and what everyone seems to be calling Z mount.

I cannot see how Nikon would be able to manage to satisfy the conflicting demands this will cause. They will want to put resources into a new release – fair enough. They will also want to maintain the FX range (for now) and keep those shooters happy.

That brings us to DX.

Has the APS-C format had its time as far as Nikon is concerned? Anything smaller and you have a comprehensive range of m43 gear to choose from with various body styles and lenses. Fuji provide a good APS-C alternative. Larger formats are also provided for. Do Nikon want or even need to compete in this market segment anymore? There is certainly volume but are the margins still there? Will they just neglect the DX range like they did with the 1 series?

Nikon D70
Nikon D70 – The camera that started my DX path.

If Nikon wanted to stop their presence in the APS-C arena, now would seem like a good time to do it. R & D effort and manufacturing could be assigned to the newer mount and mirrorless range. Production resources may also be freed up and diverted to a range that could have potentially greater rewards for Nikon. Time will tell if they are going to give up on DX, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a shift in focus away from the smaller format. On a side note – did / has Sony done a similar thing with their A mount?

Prices are going up.

Gear prices are rising across the board. Some consumer bodies have gone up by £100 in a year. New releases appear to be asking higher and higher premiums. Lenses are seeing increases as well. We have enjoyed an era of low(ish) costs unfortunately that is now coming to an end.

Photography is getting more expensive at a time of falling sales in the industry. For pros  it could mean putting prices up to cover costs. For the other end of the market there could be a shift to secondhand rather than new. As pre owned values increase even more people could call it a day and just use their phone. Camera manufacturers still seem to be dragging their feet around the connectivity / workflow issues. Will the new Nikons address this?

I’m not convinced that the upcoming mirrorless offerings from Canon and Nikon (or the response from competitors) will be enough to reverse the downward trend on a sustained basis. Sure there is going to be some excitement for a while, but longer term who knows? Younger generations prefer a smartscreen to a focussing screen (or EVF).

Makes you wonder what we will be saying in a couple of years.

Whatever gear you have – or are about to get – enjoy your photography….

Is the Nikon 1 series discontinued?

Is the Nikon 1 series discontinued? According to one German photography website it is, or more accurately Nikon have stopped production.

I wrote a post here in March 2016 about the potential demise of the Nikon 1 system. There is a similar one here six months later. Here we are again.

All Nikon 1 owners will now be waiting for an official announcement. Although given the total lack of interest displayed by Nikon recently regarding the 1 system it may not be a surprise.

I was reluctant to spend any more money on my 1 collection. Not knowing what was going to happen with a V4 kept my wallet firmly in my pocket. Probably did the same for other users as well.

The 1 series never really knew where it was going, or who it was for. I think there was a lot of potential but for Nikon it was too little, too late. Did the project team move to the DL? Has put the lights out in the CX division and left it? Or moved it to the basement and forgot about it 🙂

I’ll carry on using my equipment for as long as I can however I definitely won’t be spending any more on it. Hopefully it will last long enough for the dust to settle and to figure out where I should go next. In terms of size and weight the m43 systems have got to be contenders. There is a good range of body styles and lenses to choose from. And more than one manufacturer.

While we could have a rant about what Nikon should have done with the 1 series, there doesn’t seem much point. Officially discontinued or not, I can’t see anyone looking seriously at the system. Unless it fills a specific niche you have.

So for now until Nikon confirm either way, we are in the same place.

Limbo. Still.

Please Nikon, put us out of our misery.

Nikon 1 RIP? Maybe, maybe not

 

 

Legacy Lenses – time to move on?

Legacy lenses are by one definition an old lens which can still fit on a current camera. Nikon actually use the same fitting from 1959 in their F mount lenses. The same physical fitting that is. A lot of people who had 35mm SLRs  may have kept the lenses and use them in some form or another on a more modern DSLR. Eventually though these legacy lenses will cease to exist.

Why? Because technology will dictate that newer bodies will require different functionality and maybe even different physical size. As sensors get better will it be worth using an older lens that may not be able to give the best performance? Are we already at the stage where manufacturers want to move on but are worried of losing customers?

Take Nikon. We have the full frame FX, the cropped sensor APS-C DX and their 1″ CX. That’s three different types although the DX and FX use the same physical F-mount. While you can use DX lenses on FX bodies because of the smaller image circle your back to a cropped image. The CX mount had to be physically smaller for the 1″ sensor. With it came a chance to redesign the interface as well. The physical connections for aperture and focussing were removed and everything went electronic.

Now if when Nikon release their mirrorless cameras will they keep to the F-mount dimensions or will they do something different?

Thus we get to the stage where we can say ” Is it time to move on?” It gives them a chance to hit the reset button and start again. Maybe even future proof the design a bit. Will Nikon change to a brand new mount? I think we all know the answer and it contains the words ‘stuck’ and ‘ways’.

Lets use computers as an example.

While changing anything we are familiar with can be disruptive for a while eventually people come around. Think of computers. Remember the original floppy discs? Mine were 5.1/4″. Then we had 3″, 3.1/2″, zip disks and a slew of others. These gave way to CD’s which gave way to DVD’s which gave way to cloud storage. Now we dont get external storage drives on computers. As internal storage got better DVD drives were removed to save space.

We have accepted all the technological improvements the computer industry have thrown at us sometimes moaning along the way. We have mobile phones that are more or less connected mini computers in their own right. Modern cars not only use computers to control the managemnt systems but you need a computer to perform diagnostics. Self driving cars are not that far away. I won’t even go into the ‘ Internet of things’.

Technology has provided us with the jump to digital cameras. Although improvement is slowing slightly we still expect generational changes between models not incremental. And we expect all this in a cheaper package on a refresh rate similar to smartphones.

So…

So why the hell do we still want to use old lenses on modern cameras?

Providing it is beneficial and not just a marketing ploy it might be time to release our hold on legacy lenses and … move on.

Is the Nikon 1 system still going?

A couple of interviews reported from Photokina suggest the Nikon 1 system is still going after all.

There was no mention of another V series body, but Nikon claim to have a 10% share in certain markets with the J5. This is potentially good news for those of us using the system. Lets hope they will continue with both V and J series bodies. Although i’m not sure where they could go with the V series now. Personally the guts of the J5 in an improved V1 style body would be interesting for me. As long as it doesn’t have the ‘mind of its own’ mode dial.

Perception

Nikon 1 V1
R.I.P Nikon 1 V1 ?

If Nikon are indeed continuing with the 1 system they need to go into damage control. A couple of people at a trade show saying a system isn’t discontinued may not be enough to convince current or potential users. The perception is the system is finished. If that is not the case Nikon need to make sure that message is out there.

Perhaps they could have a mirrorless promotion, maybe even introduce (or a at least hint at something) to compete with with the Canon EOS M5. Whether Nikon really want to release a mirrorless body is another issue. Removing the mirror box will save on some mechanical components. If they keep the DX lens format the bodies will not really get any thinner though. A new lens system would be expensive to develop and not really be what users want. A new line of cameras would need to be compelling and profitable at a competitive price. Maybe something similar to the Fuji XE series in design, with improved connectivity and properly implemented software solutions?  From a business point of view it is not a black or white decision.

There is a lot to think about for Nikon and it might be that they are reluctantly being forced down a path they may not want to take.

 

Will Nikon kill the 1 series?

Will Nikon kill the 1 series?

It would appear that Nikon are giving as much love to the V series as they are to DX wide angle primes – not a lot.

You really have to wonder if they will let the 1 series wither into obscurity with the release of the DL series compacts.

Now you could argue that the DL compacts are not a replacement and are completely different beasts. Continue Reading “Will Nikon kill the 1 series?”