There are lots of ‘What next?’ posts around the internet. On a similar theme but worded slightly differently is the ‘What we want to see in the next [insert model of phone or camera]’. Which generally appear five minutes after the latest model has been released.
An interesting ‘What next from Nikon’ thread appeared on Nikonrumors.com recently. It had over 390 responses the last time I looked. A few were quite sensible, but in the main they were asking for lenses or bodies to be manufactured or updated. Mostly on a personal basis with no thought going into the commercial sense of making such a product or fulfilling the requests. Honestly, if the manufacturers listened to everything their customers wanted and tried to implement it, they would be bankrupt in a week, probably less.
One answer on the above mentioned thread went something along the line of ‘If you haven’t got what you need to take decent pictures by now…’ This made me think a bit. My first reaction was total agreement. We have more kit available to us now than ever. I was in the trade 30 years ago, when four different manufacturers only had 16 cameras between them. A quick look at just one online store will reveal that Nikon have 32 and Canon 26 body variants on offer in the DSLR line. Look at compact system cameras and you can add another 109. Looking at Canon and Nikon lenses add another 567 items. That’s a lot of inventory in the store and supply chains.
Now I must admit that the body numbers listed above include lenses and body only options. Why don’t manufacturers sell a body and lens separately like they used to years ago? You choose a body and then picked a prime lens or short zoom, or if you were rich enough it might just have been a second body on its own. Do we really need bodies in three different colours (looking at you Nikon) ? Is there such a demand that it makes it economically viable? Have you actually ever seen someone with a red Nikon or Panasonic body? Or a grey one? These are cameras people, not cars or phones!
Perhaps we could do with less 18-something zooms and a bit more energy filling out gaps in the lens line up. Certainly from a Nikon DX point of view, a reasonably priced decent wide angle prime would be nice. Looking beyond Nikon there are options from third party manufacturers that could be used though.
If cameras haven’t reached the ‘nothing left to put in them’ stage by now we can’t be far off. And I mean useful, not gimmicky additions. Manufacturers are milking their customers in resect of some things that should be included. Wi-fi and GPS should be standard. How long have phones had them? We shouldn’t be paying £40 odd pound Nikon for a wireless adapter. Or have to put up with shoddy software apps. You could argue that at least there is an option for wi-fi or GPS via an adapter. Some manufacturers seem to have ignored them altogether.
So we have more bodies, lenses and format choice than ever. Is there really anything lacking that 99% of us photographers can’t do what we need too, with what is available today?