A celebration

We recently had a chance to attend a celebration of two people committing to spend the rest of there lives together. Or in other words a wedding.

Now I might of mentioned before that I enjoy a wedding. There is something special about standing up in front of friends and family and declaring your love for one person. I know I’m an old romantic at heart. My wife, son and I were fortunate to be invited as guests. We had no pressure and could relax and enjoy the day.

Now being a photographer you always keep an eye on what other people are using to take images. The official ‘togs were using Nikon and I dare say any other make would probably yield similar results if you know what you are doing.

But what about the guests? Well there was a very pleasant chap with a compact camera taking pictures at the evening do. Everyone else (including us) were using …….yep you guessed….wait for it…. our phones. Once the official photographers had gone there wasn’t a DSLR or mirrorless camera in sight. In fact all the guests throughout the day only used their phones. And yes the pictures did get posted to social media more or less as it happened.

Now mostly you are looking at a mid twenties group here, with a few either side just to spread it out a bit. Potentially these are the people who MIGHT progress towards a more fully featured camera in the future. Why is might in capitals? Because they might not.


What now?

Here’s the interesting thing. The phones provided enough video and still picture quality for those using them. Together with the ability to instantly share to social media.

Now whether us two bodies and a handful of lenses toting oldies like it or not, we have to accept younger people are not into imaging in the same way.

But what people use at one wedding isn’t definitive. No it’s not. But it isn’t just one wedding. It’s several weddings, birthdays, It’s when your out and about. The bag carrying photographer is becoming an endangered species. If you don’t believe me, have you looked at the latest sales figures widely available and commented on over the web?

We are witnessing a change in how society thinks about and records it’s activities. The camera manufacturers are like dinosaurs trying to wake up and come to terms with that. Don’t get me started on prints 🙂

I still don’t believe mirrorless is the answer. I’m not convinced it will attract enough new photographers to be sustainable. Anyone wanting a half decent kit now will have to spend a lot of money to carry around a device and some lenses that can only take pictures and has woeful connectivity.

Will smartphones take over?

Arguably they have already. We have a multi function device with internet access in our pockets at a (compared to cameras) reasonable price. Cameras not built into a smartphone will become more niche. Perhaps they are now. Do we ever recognise a niche until it’s happened?

My 27 year old son shows no interest in photography. At all. Judging from the similarly aged people at the wedding they are more than happy with their phones.

There in lies the problem. For us older non gear heads cameras are good enough. For the younger ones phones are good enough. Bridging that divide is going to be difficult.

The next time your at a celebration, be it wedding, birthday, anniversary, religious festival connected to your faith ,take a few moments out to see how people are capturing the event.

Most of all remember why your there, enjoy the day and capture the event and memories the way you want…………..

Fuji film won’t go full frame

Several websites have reported that Fujifilm won’t go full frame. Apparently the news has come about after Photokina. I hope they stick to that philosophy.

I tried Fujifilm for a while with an XE-1 and the 18-55 lens. It wasn’t too bad but for various reasons I ended up selling it and the 50-230 XC lens I used for the telephoto end of things. It was a bit unfortunate as at the time I was contemplating a photo kit comprising  XE series and XT series bodies. Alas it was not to be.

I don’t have any problem with the APSC format at all. In fact for what I  do I think it is somewhat of a sweet spot. For most amateurs the APSC size sensor is enough. My current DSLR is Nikon DX (Nikon’s version of APSC). Thinking about it all my DSLRs have been DX and I haven’t had the urge to go any bigger in sensor size.

Portmeirion, North Wales
Portmeirion, North Wales – Fuji XE-1 with 18-55mm F2.8-4 lens.

I don’t trust Nikon

After the Nikon series 1 debacle I’m not sure we can trust them to continue with their DX line. Nikon have alluded to the premise of less units and more value. In other words fewer cameras at higher prices. This seems at odds with the mass market consumer end DX is aimed at.

The fact that Nikon never really filled out the DX lens line properly doesn’t earn them any points. They iterated consumer zooms unnecessarily. At the same time the DX bodies received what can only be described as ‘meh’ upgrades. You also get the feeling they were forced to release the DX body they didn’t want to do. The D500.

Lets keep APSC going

So long term I hope Fujifilm keep to their promise statement that they won’t go full frame and instead keep the APSC format going together with their version of medium format.

Why?

Because the m43 market will be squeezed by smartphones. This would also imply any smaller format will be equally squeezed.

The full frame mirrorless wars are just starting. At a time when camera sales are falling there appears to be a Dodo like rush to get more fish into a shrinking pond. When the splashing stops there could well be some casualties.

If you’ve spent your R&D and tooling budgets gambling on full frame mirrorless and the sales don’t come to recoup those costs…well there may not be enough left in the piggy bank to change direction again.

But you’ve said Fujifilm are expensive.

Yes I have. I consider the lenses overpriced. You could argue they hold their value well though 😀.

The XT-3 is currently £1349 here in the UK (as of date of post) body only. For me that’s a lot of money for an APSC body.The XE-3 body only is £699. Compared to other APSC body offerings Fujifilm do seem to command a premium.

It’s a long game though.

If by charging these prices Fujifilm stay in for the long game that can only be a good thing. A camera is part of a system. If the system gets neglected by one manufacturer while another produces what people want that could well be worth paying a bit extra for.

Should Nikon (or any other manufacturer) continue to neglect part of their range the consequences are obvious. Others will step in to fill the void. It’s no good producing cheaper bodies with a mediocre lens line up hoping you can encourage people to move up a model or three. It might have worked years ago but I’m not so sure it works now.

If Fujifilm can keep their system offerings compelling I think their future in the APSC market could be a good one.

The caveat is whether they have the will to control their pricing strategy to remain competitive.

 

 

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  🙂

It’s bananas I tell ya!

It’s bananas…. Here in the UK, Tesco managed to get them themselves some free publicity on the BBC news website over bananas.

Apparently their inner city stores (due to increased rents) are now charging by the banana rather than weight. Effectively this means the price of said bananas has increased from between 10 and 15p to 25p each according to the article.

bananas
Are we more worried about bananas?

Now let’s put that in some photographic context:

A Nikon D850 body only was less than £3000 in May of this year. It is currently between £3249 and £3499. There is a similar price range for the Canon 5Dmkiv. A Nikon D7200 is now £150 more than in May. (Source camerapricebuster.co.uk, today’s date).

I’ve written before that camera prices have been nudging up slowly without anyone really noticing.

The new mirrorless offerings from Canon and Nikon are starting around the £2k bracket. With what appears to be at first sight an accompanying bump upwards in lens prices.

I’m not sure I could bring myself to spend the larger sums of money now being asked for the current mirrorless cameras AND the lenses. No matter how good they are, you are going to need deep pockets.

Hopefully prices of used gear will remain sensible.

It’s interesting how the price of bananas gets people riled up, but the £2k+ prices of new cameras just seems to be accepted.

The mirrorless offerings still seem evolutionary rather than revolutionary. They only took the mirror box out and that took Nikon 19 years.

I’m still thinking this won’t be enough to encourage ‘new’ people to jump onto the band wagon and give a much needed increase to sales.

From what I’ve seen so far, camera manufacturers are still largely ignoring the kind of workflow improvements needed to attract the smartphone buyers.

Eventually the big camera companies may cotton on and stop the ‘ we need to release a new product that’s good but won’t cannibalise our current models’ syndrome.

Until then will photographers quietly put up with increasing prices for not a lot more?

Cos if we do ….it’s bananas I tell ya 😀

 

 

 

 

Nikon Y series

Nikon Y series to be released early next year (from an unconfirmed source).

It would appear Nikon are on a roll at the moment. Hot on the heels of the Z series cameras and lenses, a new source hints at the early 2019 release of the next new Nikon mirrorless – the Y series.

Rumored to fill the current gap at the consumer end of the Nikon line up prices and specs are understandably scarce.

Here what we know so far:

Nikon Y series of cameras:

Y only one slot

Y no eye af

Y use another different battery

Y have they used this mount

Y didn’t they build in gps

Y isn’t there a battery grip

Y will this replace dslrs

Y doesn’t it use the ml-l3 remote

Y did they leave the lcd off

Y are the lenses so expensive

Y did it take so long to release the consumer models

Y is everyone going to expect it to be perfect

Y will people get so upset – it’s only a camera

😀

Enjoy what you have.

Nikon full frame mirrorless released

Nikon full frame mirrorless released… and for some it is disappointing. Well that was always going to happen. You just can’t please everyone.

Initial disparaging comments seem to centre around the lack of a second card slot. I have mixed feelings about this. If Nikon are aiming at the enthusiast market I am not sure a second card slot matters that much. If on the other hand the Z’s are aimed at professionals as a back up or 2nd camera then, yes, maybe it is a bad omission.

Reported battery life has also met with some criticism.

So who are Nikon aiming the new mirrorless at? Based on the specs I would say it’s an enthusiast market (for those with a lot of money). Your view maybe different.

One thing is sure. Nikon are certainly aiming at higher values for their new gear. The Z6 is listed at  £2099 body only. The Z7 is £3399 body only, with the 50mm F1.8 at £599. That is one expensive nifty fifty. The 35mm F1.8 will set you back £849. For comparison the current 35mm af-s F1.8 G is £479. Hopefully someone with the appropriate testing resources will be able to say if one lens is worth £379 more than the other.

Time will tell if these prices are considered reasonable.

On the bright side….we got a lens road map 😀

 

I’m bored with the Nikon teasers

I’m bored with the Nikon teasers now…….

For the gear heads there’s lots of excitement building, we are getting a reasonable idea of the looks and the big question on everyone’s mind…where will they go with that huge mount?

It now clear that Nikon will release two cameras and three lenses later this month. If the rumours are right we are looking at a zoom and a couple of primes for starters.

On the basis my DSLRs won’t self destruct when the mirrorless models are out I have to admit I’m not in the market for one. In fact I don’t see myself buying any camera in the proposed price range, so it’s nothing against Nikon per se.

Lets hope the “take my money” crowd actually pony up something and Nikon have a hit on their hands. In the name of fairness let’s say the same for Canon. Perhaps Sony will respond with an improved offering as well. Competition and choice should be good for everyone.

It will be interesting to see who actually buys the new cameras and whether there will be an increase in used pre owned models for trade in. The same might apply to the Canon camp as well.

I appreciate just because I’m bored (perhaps a month of teasers is too long for me) others are not. That’s fine it takes all sorts.😀

For Nikon we have to wait just over a week.

Canon fans will have to wait a bit longer.

 

If your into rumours and Nikon take a look at nikonrumors.com that’s  where most sites get their info anyway 😉

Nikon mirrorless rumours ramping up

After a short break due to family commitments and a holiday where I was effectively off grid (yes that can happen in the UK😀) I’m back posting.

The Nikon  mirrorless rumours are ramping up with a potential announcement for the end of the month.

As with all rumour sites the comments manifest pure speculation into fact and as I said before there will be considerable room for disappointment.

If we believe current trending items the Nikon mirrorless offerings will be more upmarket than consumer orientated. Some are even thinking that Nikon may surrender the consumer end of things.

I’m not sure about that. People are forgetting the consumer end is where the volume comes from. Should Nikon reposition themselves in the higher end of the market only that would be a brave move.

Although if you go back around the 1980’s Nikon cameras were aimed more at professionals and journalists. Both in terms of price and specs. The consumer end being catered to by Canon, Minolta, Olympus and Pentax. The original big four. Nikon did release the cheaper  Nikon EM in 1979 with a range of more affordable, half a dozen or so E series lenses. Neither the EM or it’s E series lenses gained any traction against the competition.

I’m staying with my flapper™️

I’m not going to immediately trade in my flapper™️ DSLR for a mirrorless. I’ve already got a V1 that complements it. Unfortunately Nikon have and still remains officially quiet about the future of that system. That’s a shame, with many me included, lamenting what could have been.

Even with cargo shorts on in the recent hot weather, I could carry a body (V1) and the equivalent of 28-300mm focal lengths in my pockets. I think you could be hard pushed to try that with m4/3. A large battery means all day shooting is guaranteed, unless your a compulsive chimper seeking help for an addiction.

Lets hope that both Canon and Nikon offer some complementary models and we have even more choice at sensible prices.

Where are Nikon and Canon aiming?

Where are Nikon and Canon aiming? High end mirrorless, high price, low volume or will they go the other way and have a low price high volume offering?

Putting aside the lens mount argument (which is already decided we just don’t know what it is yet), another decision to make is which end of the market to aim for.

Most talk on the internet seems to favour something on the high end. I’m not sure that would be a good idea. Price it too high and you will take sales away from your similarly priced DSLRs. Your replacing one sale with another.

Aim for the mid price market and your aiming at the competition. Keep DSLRs high end and look to complement or replace your mid and consumer products.

Of course this is arguably harder now Fuji have released their X-T 100. It offers a low priced entry into their retro mirrorless system. But is it the old printer and ink situation? Virtually give away one and make it up on the other. In Fuji’s case offer a low(er) priced camera but you’ll have to spend money on the lenses. I think that is the Fuji weak spot. The lenses maybe good but they are not cheap and I doubt if Fuji will ever enjoy the volumes of the other two.

Talking of lenses will Canon and Nikon produce a new range of lenses with their mirrorless cameras? If they do it sort of resets the playing field a bit. Not to mention incurring the wrath of all the legacy lens owners.

How long?

Interestingly I was reading a website where the Fuji ambassador had been testing the X-T100 for two months. I wonder if Canon and Nikon do the same? The implication being that any new model would have been out for testing way before an announcement. Take into account production lead times and it makes you think how long is it between committing to a design and final release. A quick google search came up empty handed in respect of camera lead times. Although I did manage to find a non specific electronics lead time of 26 weeks. That’s 6 1/2 months. Having worked in an environment with lead times of 1-2 months (non electronic manufacturing), you start to get a feel for the time scales involved.

Hopefully we will see some juicy information soon. Then the rumor sites will really light up, sort of like an internet aurora 😀

What’s happened to Nikon mirrorless?

What’s happened to Nikon mirrorless? Officially the Nikon 1 system is still going.

Nikon fans are eagerly awaiting a new DX or FX mirrorless with no real idea of when it’s coming or what style or price it will be. The potential for disappointment here is staggering. Unless you have the memory of a goldfish you will wonder what Nikon will do when they release it anyway. Will it be a repeat of the 1 series or will it be what people want – decent bodies with competent lens set to start with and the promise of a “system” worthy of the Nikon name?

As a Nikon 1 user I am a bit peeved Nikon appear to have abandoned the system. I love my V1 and would have spent money on an improved version with a built in viewfinder. By the time Nikon released the V3 I had stopped my 1 series expenditure. I would have considered the 70-300, but I’m now glad I didn’t.

Nikon 1 V1
I love my Nikon V1, I’m not going to replace it though.

My Nikon 1 10-30mm lens developed a fault. Did I replace it? No. Will I replace any of my other 1 series lenses? No. Not even used. When my V1 stops working I’ll be calling time on it.

I wanted it to be my carry round kit that gave me more versatility than a smartphone. While still usable for now, I think my carry round replacement will be a….smartphone.

I’ll  get a new phone in a couple of years with (hopefully) improved features, rather than a stagnant, unloved ILC system…

Nikon mirrorless

Nikon are going to release a mirrorless camera an official announcement claims. Although rather vague we could speculate exactly what that means. We could also take a stab at a timescale. It might be clever marketing to delay those thinking about jumping ship. But there is a more important issue than the time scale or body style.

Will Nikon stick to their F mount or go mirrorless with a totally new one? If they stick with what they have, the bodies won’t be much smaller.

Most people will look at mirrorless as primarily giving them a weight and size advantage. That won’t happen with F mount lenses. Then you have the issue of DX and FX.

If Nikon release a FX body to compete with Sony, will the DX crowd feel put out? Or vice versa? Could we see a new mirrorless model in DX and FX? Will they stand up against the already established mirrorless offerings from other manufacturers?

Nikon 1 V1

That’s a lot of questions and we haven’t really scratched the surface yet.

I did a recent post about legacy lenses and personally think it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Nikon moved away from the F mount. Provided there were clear advantages in doing so and not just milking their customers for more cash.

We can see it won’t be any easy decisions for Nikon. Unfortunately their track record with the 1 series and then cancelling the DL series doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Whatever Nikon decide to do, it could be an opportunity to regain a bit of trust with their customers. How?

Publish a road map.