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The Future Of Nikon With The D850 & Mirrorless | Life & Death At The Doorstep

By Kishore Sawh on July 27th 2017

Well, the time is now. If you hadn’t noticed lately, the quiet thoughts about the failures of the primary pillars of the camera world, Canon and Nikon, have crescendoed from backroom forum chatter to full operatic bellow. To many, they’re a stone’s throw away from the cemetery’s creeky gate and a headstone. In fact, for a few months now we were led to think that, for Nikon, the guillotine had all but already fallen.

I mean, just imagine if that was the case. What if it were true?

There would’ve been miles of column inches written about the power and brilliance of Nikon engineering, and people like me would’ve penned volumes about what Nikon was, and perhaps what it should’ve been. There would’ve been altars erected to it to which we’d make pilgrimages to and genuflect upon passing, and eulogies dedicated to the brand so soulful, so Hemingway, that tears would turn the page’s purple prose into illegible violet watercolor.

Then, for months and ever after, everyone who had a film Nikon tucked away in an attic would dig them out, attach a pretty strap and carry them everywhere. Carrying a Nikon would become a statement.

Film sales would rise, and they’d end up in the hands of the movie stars and bloggers of the moment; gracing the ‘pages’ of PopSugar and Vogue. Nikon, then, would be something it hasn’t been for ages; it would be cool; posthumously deified, and we all would’ve understood because Nikon is Nikon, and a fallen King was still a King.

Death, then, is easy and faults are filtered out through the rose coloured lenses of ‘reminiscing’. We don’t criticize the dead as much as exalt them. It’s living that has the drawbacks. When you’re alive you’re fair game, and  right now Nikon is in the crosshairs. Coincidentally, they’re also at a crossroads…

On the one hand Nikon has had QC issues, and resided in complacency over the past 3 years. Sure the D500 may be (arguably) the best DSLR on the market, but what does the ‘I AM’ campaign stand for now? “I AM Enough”? “I AM Unwilling To Evolve”? “I AM Lost”? “I AM”… what?

For all the smart moves Nikon has made, the move from celluloid to sensor has proven problematic. Their recent foibles are of a recurring nature and seem to indicate that they would rather invest in the past than in the future and out of trouble.

The hiccups have also been costly, and the problem with money troubles for these companies (even if it’s a matter of prioritization versus actually being broke) is that when they slip on their bifocals to address it and begin moving columns of numbers around P&L statements like some sort of accounting Tetris, what they’re not doing is thinking up the next big thing in their lab. Which is why the next big thing was coming out of someone else’s.

Sony’s.

Sure, Nikon may have been brilliant with lenses and build and the F2 belongs in a museum, however, it’s ‘good’ with digital in the way your dad’s good in the kitchen; a bit hit or miss. Whereas Sony is the full on Gordon Ramsay. Sony has moved the finish line, widened the goal posts, and raised the bar. And given that, you might be left to ponder, “Is there hope for Nikon?”

Well, in a word, yes, actually. But the next two moves would seem critical.

Among the murmurs of Nikon’s financial struggles there’s also been talk of affiliation with Fuji. Simultaneously, we know Nikon has officially stated they’re working toward a competitive mirrorless future, and this, coupled with the D850 announcement is where things start to get interesting.

Nikon has no real video revenue stream like Canon; their once profitable compact line is dead, and entry level offerings are slowing as they compete  with a mirrorless generation that has them beat. It would appear that their focus then, should be mirrorless and strive to integrate that tech into their DSLRs to buy them years of DSLR development and sales.

This is something they could do, and what I would propose from my laptop here, tea beside me and dog at my feet, is to go the Sony route. Do what Sony has done with the A and E mounts.

When E-mount debuted people were hesitant and hateful, and the complaints native to all young systems were there. ‘Not enough lenses to be useful”, and so on. But now? E-mount has become wildly successful. It has allowed the transition from A-mount, and actually eaten and replaced Sony’s entry-level A-mount offerings, all whilst simultaneously broadening the brand’s appeal to NEW customers. 20 years from now I’d wager that it will be written as one of the most significant moments in the history of cameras.

If Nikon were to develop or adopt a new smaller mount, there would certainly be deafening wailing from camera-gear banshees and self-proclaimed purists, but who cares? Consider: what if this affiliation with Fuji were to develop and they joined Fuji’s mount? That’s what my friend Marlon calls, a ‘power play’, because it would mean Nikon’s mirrorless would be taken seriously from day one. It would have a bevy of lenses available, and in place of the Fuji X-trans sensors there’d be something more Nikon, and thus more broadly appealing. Fuji would move more lenses and X-series users adore Fuji’s ‘special X-Trans sauce’ anyway so it wouldn’t necessarily cannibalize those sales.

I mean, imagine that. A small modern incarnation of a Nikon SP with beautiful and diminutive Fuji glass? Well, that’s a love spell backed by science.

But furthermore, it wouldn’t necessarily kill Nikon’s DSLR sales either. Fuji’s mount is designed to be APS-C, which means should they do this Nikon’s mirrorless would be APS-C, allowing full frame to live on in their DSLRs. And speaking of DSLRs, with one small change Nikon could actually extend their lifespan. Simply put, they could go SLT.

Going SLT would mean that in one fell swoop Nikon could increase the FPS of DSLRs, lower vibration, implement great phase-detect AF, and add better video. With this one tech adoption they’d be attacking major sticking points for the company, and open the gates to rapid evolution and relevance. They’d come out ahead of Canon for sure.

Anyone who has picked up a Sony SLT camera will understand the benefit of that system. It’s the best of both worlds. And while you may take a hit in brightness in the viewfinder, the benefits it would provide and allow for far outweigh the cons.

The exciting thing is (the part that makes your good bits tingle), is that the D850 could already have it, and we’ll find out soon.

But there’s another thing they could do with their DSLRs to truly update utility, and that is to add in-body image stabilization. Certain Nikon glass currently get about 3 stops at most of useable IS, but imagine a system like in the a7RII was in the D850? Not only would it bring IS to the range of Nikon glass you have and the ones you passed over, but it would address the movement sensitivity problem inherent in high resolution cameras – like the D850 is sure to be. Now, if that doesn’t get you half-chubbed I don’t know what will. Truly, the thought is all too wonderful for words.

But I have a few more…

This is the kind of thing one would hope to see from Nikon. The kind of shift and innovation that will warrant your attention and your dollars; stuff that will drive a competitive market that Sony is dominating.

Above all else, one thing is utterly clear: Nikon must change. Perfection is a moving target and they can’t go on with the frame of mind and excuse of “but this is what we’ve always done and are good at”, because it no longer works, and Nikon could go the way of the horse – Once the backbone of transport and travel, now they’re just for affluent leisure. We want Nikons we enjoy, and we want weaponized Nikons of utility. Both of which the company should be capable of delivering.

[REWIND: Nikon D750 Review | It’s Achilles, Less His Heel]

One hopes that, maybe, out of their chrysalis of suffering will emerge a company with renewed sense of self; something befitting of the name, and the century it has earned. If not, they’ll die, only to be resurrected as an ornament around the neck of some insufferable Jenner.

And the thing is, really, our complaints are out of support. We aren’t apathetic to the brand. In fact, it’s just the opposite – we’re rooting for them.

So, Nikon, you’re at a fork in the road, of which we hope you choose the right path; the path we’re at the end of, waiting to greet you as you trail streamers of success in your wake.

About

Kishore is, among other things, the Editor-In-Chief at SLR Lounge. A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

27 Comments

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  1. adam sanford

    46 MP x 8 fps x D5 AF system, according to this link:

    http://thenewcamera.com/nikon-d850-full-specification-leaked/

    Still not a done deal, though.  The source is NR, who has already amended their predictions twice now.

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  2. Vaughn Bender

    I am growing weary of reading these articles from people where photography is just a sideline to their real job and write articles that put out their opinions based on just the cameras specifications and not real life experiences and applications. As well that are nothing more than fan boys of the camera industry. I don’t want your media driving opinion of the latest fad like for eg.  mirrorless hyped up for what?  but let’s get some real photographers writing with real world experience that use the hardware that they’re writing about and get a professionals perspective on up and coming new gear.  Not just some blogger that writes because of their interest in the field. :(  I give this article two thumbs down for sure. 

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    • Sridhar Nemani

      I am curious about what you have to say. I personally own both a nikon and a sony mirrorless. I do think Sony’s mirrorless are now very well rivalling the Nikon and Canon’s DSLR counterparts. Giving photographers features and abilities that Nikon and Canon have not yet caught up with yet. The latest thing has always been hyped for good reason or not. However, I think what Sony is bringing to the table definitely deserves an applause. What do you think? Please share your thoughts?

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  3. Jacobus DeWet

    The problem with Photography today is that there are more reviewers that “drive” technology “requirements” in photography equipment then real professional photographers. These people make a living out of social media and their income connections via followers who buy through their links. They need new product all the time to drive consumers to want the bragging rights to equipment with more specs. As with mobile phones, owners do not use a portion of the equipment capability and we have the same with camera equipment. There are a lot of “prominent” reviewers who push the mirrorless agenda, the lighter, smaller, faster, cooler, more retro etc. While working with groups of professional photographers who do events, weddings, sport, wildlife, studio and they don’t talk equipment, (It seems the biggest push is coming from the street and the travel photographers.) They focus on the task at hand, they optimise the equipment, they want reliability, service, lenses, lighting systems that works. Some of them use a combination of different systems. Just read the reviews when Nikon or Canon launch a new lens or camera, the negative press flies even without any of these reviewers having taken 1 image with the equipment. In my view the biggest challenge for Nikon and Canon will come on the lens front. I use big primes for sport and wildlife but the size and weight and logistics to travel and work with these lenses becomes more and more a challenge, plus the cost. If I have to ask myself if Nikon introduce a mirrorless FX body would I drop my D5 and D810. Funny enough, it they do a D5 body in mirrorless with a battery life that last 3500 shots I might be convinced.

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    • Tim Driman

      Hi Cobus: I shoot wildlife and actionsports. Have been a Canon guy (18 years ) my “go-to” kit is the Canon 1DX MKii and 200mm-400mmf4.0+1.4x….Absolutely outsanding kit…Then I purchased the SONY A9 because of all that I read in many different areas…The “message” was too loud and too clear to ignor.

      I have been using this mainly for surfing photography at the moment and then a Yellow-bill Kite flew overhead…. I couldn’t resist trying the tracking out for size…..

      YES, WELL,  NO,  FINE! The tracking grabs the subject like a Rottweiler grabbing a bone, and hangs on, even when I purposely tried to swing the lens around a little!

      The EVF and “live view” with histogram and settings displayed  is like you are cheating! Decide what depth of field you require, then an estimated shutter speed and watch the histogram which will tell you what the shutter speed should be….Then just hit the trigger. It is really that simple… No kidding…… Mirrorless has blown me away.

      I am shooting the A9 / 70mm-200mm f2.8 + 2x Converter so am happy with a 400mm focal reach…* But I get get a effective 600mm focal reach by enabling the APS-C / Super 35mm setting in the RED menu….. With NO deterioration in image quality ( 15 Megapix which is till pretty darned good!)

      Logically mirrorless technology ( Doesn’t matter which brand…. But it sure looks like SONY have things wired at this stage!) is the future of modern photography for sure….

      It’s now up to CANON to see if they come to the partyy with something very special in mirrorless… If not, I can still get a great price on my CANON kit and have change in my pocket after buying another A9 and soon, a longer G Master from SONY…. Something that will kick the CANON 200mm-400mm f4.0 to touch! And that is really saying something because that is an amazing lens…….. SONY means business, and some longer glass will do some major damage to CANIKON… It has to come.

      I am simply telling you what I am finding with this new kit. I had to buy my SONY kit from Singapore as it is not available in South Africa where I live ( KZN )

      http://www.timdrimanphotography.com

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  4. Eric Bowles

    The specs on the 850 rumor are pretty good.  It’s a clear upgrade from my D800E.  The D810 owners probably will go slow on updating.

    The D5/D500 AF system is great and would be a huge improvement.  It’s much faster and has better coverage.  It’s going to be a high resolution sensor.  20 megapixels upsized to FX proportions is 48 megapixels.  That’s a meaningful update.  42 megapixels is would be disappointing.  Increasing sensor size will produce a half stop of improvement in high ISO performance and dynamic range.  

    XQD and a large buffer will be extremely helpful.  The rumored frame rate of 8 fps is excellent.  The buffer will be increased significantly.  I’ve estimated a burst of up to 65 14 bit lossless compressed files.  That could go up with a larger buffer like the D5 or down slightly based on a slower processor like the D500 or earlier consumer/prosumer models.

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  5. Tim Driman

    Hi Guys: Questionable  management decision aside, and “Too big to fail” are not the issue….The issue is that SLR mechanisms have a maximum speed at which they can flip/flop ( I believe it has now been achieved and can go no faster…Secondly, the Canon sensors are side-by-side ( Like two outboard motors on a boat….They share the load 50/50…SONY have stacked their sensors which literally multiplies their output…Electronic shutters are faster than mechanical, and there are less moving parts ( To slow things down and fail) in mirrorless systems….

    While horse are really lovely animals and everyone loves them, they have their place in society, but in no way could any horse pulling a cart, compete with an electric motor car…. SLR vs Mirrorless..

    I have shot Canon for 18 years and currently shoot a 1DXMKii / 200mm-400mmf4.0+1.4x ; 5D MKiv /70mm-200mmf2.8 MKii and have been getting awesome results…….

    AND then I saw what SONY did to the market with their A9!….. Genius marketing, and products which do the job of not only hammering the special flagship features of CANIKON, but by a huge margin of 42.8% in frame rate, 20% megapixel count, 693 AF points against 65 AF points ( An absolutely insane tracking ability and it does work!); IBIS against nothing!, 2/3rds the cost of Canon ( Don’t even compare the NIKON prices…Why are they even higher than Canon? Certainly not because of higher performance or better quality…Just saying), and then there is the weight and size… 

    Two Canon bodies and three lenses = 20 Kilos,  which is the maximum baggage allowance on small planes ( I am a wildlife / action sports photog and we use small planes to get to the wilderness areas etc..)

    As for  the the blah, blah, blah about no lenses in the SONY stable…. I only use up to 400mm reach, and have the G Master 70mm-200mmf2.8 +2x Converter giving me F4.0,  which is what I want….  

    Before the main CANIKON brands can wipe the sleep out of their eyes, I will bet a seafood dinner and good bottle of wine to all-comers, that still this year, SONY will pop up with something equally as “outrageous” in the lens lineup, and present the public with a G Master,  along the lines of say 200mm-500mm F4.0 + 1.4 x BI converter…..Just to kick some butt!( The Canon 200mm-400mmf4.0+1.4x BI converter is an awesome lens with which I have huge success…Its been out 18 odd months or so…And NIKON announced recently that they would be coming out with something similar in 2018…Really?   Well done guys….. By that time you won’t need it, unless it can fit onto a mirrorless body with a big pedigree like or better than SONY…  

    Personally speaking, long primes are too restrictive, too expensive (Outrageously so!) and too cumbersome to be a “go-to tool” these days…

    Just incase anyone asks… No I am not a SONY ambassador, fanboy or someone who gets a free handout from SONY to say nice things…. I am a Canon shooter who asked Canon about their forward vision for mirrorless,  and received resounding silence, and a few comments like I couldn’t use a flash with mirrorless unless I went onto the mechanical shutter!

    Really? Wildlife and most action sports prohibit the use of flash, and I can use 400mm reach very nicely thankyou…. I can wait for SONY to bring out a longer zoom…

    Oh yes…. I purchased an A9 / 70mm-200mmf2.8+2x and am absolutely blown away with what it has done!….All those people raving about this new offering from SONY, in my opinion, were understating the performance and results of this kit… Yes. It is really that good when I compare my Canon flagship rig to this little demon!

    With sincere respect to CANIKON….RIP – SLR’s…. The big brands that don’t embrace the mirrorless metamorphosis, and catch up or beat SONY now, will have a very difficult time catching up later, when they finally wake up to smell the coffee. I have absolutely no doubt that SONY would have advanced even further by then….

    BTW: SONY supply SONY  sensors to NIKON and FUJI and a bunch of other users….

    http://www.timdrimanphotography.com

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  6. adam sanford

    What I don’t get is why Nikon is experiencing such misfortune when you look at a very similar business in what Canon is doing.  Canon is not losing share to the great mirrorless exodus — not yet at least.

    Both Canon and Nikon are immense imaging companies with broad portfolios, but both lack FF mirrorless.  Best I can tell, Canon has just made a few shrewder investments than Nikon in the last 5 years or so:

    1) Canon seems to take LiveView performance — i.e. reading the sensor in realtime — very seriously, which is a core aspect of mirrorless performance.  LiveView + DPAF is phenomenal for stills and video and it is technology that will see them remain competitive even as a late arriver in mirrorless.

    2) Canon made the right sensor-size call in mirrorless and Nikon did not.  Love or hate the EOS M platform, it is selling well — they’ve gone from cellar-dweller to #3 in global mirrorless sales on the back of a very modest product offering.  (Both companies still need a FF mirrorless offering, don’t get me wrong.)

    3) Anecdotally, Canon seems to be pumping more money into quality considerations.  Other than the 1DX1 oil issue and some white residue on the grippy rubber body material, I can’t recall a major quality stinker for Canon in the last 5 years or so.

    I am a Canon user but I pull very hard for Nikon to kick butt.  I want numerous companies breathing down Canon’s neck to force them to improve their value proposition, technology, etc.

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      Well said Adam…. Statement 1 did a better job at what I was attempting to say. I think Adam Brown also had some good points that I wasn’t thinking about.

      Perhaps the difference between Nikon and Canon is that Canon was and is relevant for video. Having the sensor tech to do video AF well is having the tech for them to go mirror-less. 

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  7. adam sanford

    [adam sanford has deleted this comment]

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  8. Adam Brown

    Having shot with Sony A-mount SLT, Nikon F-mount, and Sony E-mount, I can firmly state that SLT is NOT a solution.  It was a temporary stopgap measure when mirrorless AF systems were still way behind.  At this point, SLT has more disadvantages than advantages.

    I’d also say it would be a mistake for Nikon to simply pursue aps-c mirrorless, and reserve full frame to dSLRs.  Within the next decade, all major cameras will be mirrorless.   If you limit yourself to aps-c, you are simply entering a very crowded market, and you’re entering late.   Sony, Fuji and Canon are well established.  Panasonic and Oly have the just slightly smaller m43 cameras.   

    Right now, Sony has full frame mirrorless all to itself.  Canon will be joining them soon.  Nikon can’t afford to be left out and keep falling further behind. 

    We are at a turning point technologically, where mirrorless is starting to reach its potential.  Wait for A9 technology to filter down to cheaper cameras — silent shooting, blackout free viewfinders, AF over 90% of the frame, eye-AF… and to top it all off, it’s cheaper (and therefore more profitable) to build mirrorless cameras.   these advantages will put traditional mirrored dSLRs into the graveyard in the not-distant future.   (My guess, by 2025, traditional dSLRs will occupy the same role as typewriters VCRs and record players). 

    For Nikon, the future has to be a serious push into full frame mirrorless.  

      

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  9. Matthew Saville

    Regarding quality control:

    I’ve followed the camera industry for 15+ years now, and just because I’m Aspergers about photography, I delight in keeping track of random information.

    Over the entire history of digital SLR cameras, BOTH Canon and Nikon have had a roughly equal measure of

    “blinking light of death” camera disasters,
    “gotta pull the battery” camera disasters,
    “battery just stops connecting incessantly” disasters,
    “ERR code of death” disasters,
    Autofocus reliability epic failures,
    Design flaw / factory workmanship epic failures.

    Rest assured, both Nikon and Canon have skeletons in their closet. My all-time favorite is still the Canon 5D, though, with its glued-in mirror that literally started falling out of cameras, especially in humid environments,and the recall spanned about 10 years, so much so that they actually had to put out a final “last call” sort of press release to announce that they were going to STOP offering the fix…

    All in all, Nikon’s recent blunders have been highly embarrassing, but they haven’t stopped Nikon’s system from being best-in-class at quite a few things, namely image quality across the board from beginner DSLRs to flagship pro bodies.

    Sony has not been a poster child for amazing quality control or engineering integrity either, by the way. ;-)

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  10. Matthew Saville

    Here’s the thing about such an epic doomsday saga, and why I believe (hope)  it can’t happen:

    Even though Kodak crashed and burned on a colossal scale, even though Pentax had to be scraped off the floor by Ricoh, …to this day they still have their core products available for sale, because they still have a core customer base that simply refuses to stop buying the products.

    Even though Kodak as a corporation demonstrated a textbook execution of a “heads in the sand” attitude towards new technology, the film products themselves remained in decently high demand. Same thing with Pentax cameras. In my opinion, the same goes for Nikon’s system, in fact far more than what Kodak and Pentax ever had going for them.

    In other words, even if Nikon’s main corporation goes belly-up, part of their chapter 11 proceedings would be to sell anything of value, and the F mount is incredibly valuable. Therefore, we would never, ever see the cessation of products being made for the F mount. Even if it was only for the sake of nostalgia and die-hard buyers, very amazing cameras would come forth every now and then.

    Personally though, I don’t think anything of the sort is on the horizon. Sony still has 1-3 or more generations of new cameras before they can truly claim actual dominance over Nikon or Canon, and then there’s the small matter of $50,000 worth of “big gun” lenses that it will take for the A9 to truly de-throne a Nikon D5 or Canon 1DX for telephoto sports shooters. (So far, Sony has *zero* big gun lenses native to the FE mount.)

    Both Nikon and Canon are exhibiting solid improvements in *some* of the areas where an OFV camera can still compete with an EVF one. Nikon’s entire lineup will soon have 4K video. Canon on the other hand is attacking on-sensor / live view autofocus with much gusto, and their DPAF is a solid competitor to Sony’s hybrid AF. And of course as Pentax has demonstrated for a long while now, IBIS can be done in a DSLR, though I personally suspect we’ll never see IBIS in a Canon / Nikon DSLR, though hopefully in a mirrorless ILC.

    TLDR: If the Nikon D850 includes 4K video, shows a solid improvement in on-sensor live view AF, and maybe a couple other things like flawlessly implemented electronic 1st curtain shutter, …then it won’t matter if the body is EVF or OVF, it’ll still be giving both the Sony A7R2, and whatever A7R3 may come, serious competition.

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  11. Kyle Stauffer

    Great thoughts Kishore. Very accurate assessment IMO.

    SLT is the only way I see Nikon moving forward and keeping customers. I would think that a new mount, new camera, and new lenses would send almost everyone with common sense to Sony. 

    If they can do an SLT and integrate a fast/smooth AF like the A9, the future for Nikon might look exciting and also be something to build upon. 

    Adam hit the  “to build upon” well.

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    • adam sanford

      SLT is a nice to have but I do not think it’s a *must* have.  Canon lacks SLT technology and a FF mirrorless — just like Nikon — and it is doing fine. 

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    • Kyle Stauffer

      Are you saying that SLT is invalid for Nikon currently, or invalid if they actually do a hybrid VF? Nikon live view AF is awful compared to Canon and Sony. The eye AF on the new Sony’s is awesome! 

      One of the things I constantly forget about is battery life. To have a hybrid VF means I can have the option of EVF or longer battery life.

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  12. Frank Villafañe

    Kishore, 

    As always, outstanding post!  I, like all the rest, am hopeful that Nikon can regain their former glory like the proverbial “Phoenix rising from the ashes” (well, maybe not quite that dramatic, but you get the picture). 

    What would help?  To start, better quality control, as referenced by Mr. Sanford.  IBIS (ala Olympus or Sony) as Mr. Weithers states.  Other additions?  The switchable OVF/EVF I’ve read about would be a valuable first; add in electronic shutter with a modestly high(er) frame rate (say 1/16000 or 1/32000 at 8 or 10 fps)…etc., etc.  

    It should be obvious to everyone by now that Nikon needs to take their cues from the Mirrorless crowd – as THAT is where all the tech is headed.  

    Whether they decide to implement a hybrid DSLR/ILC now and a full-frame Mirrorless camera later is immaterial…but CHANGE they must.  

    I remain confident they will.  

      

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Glad you enjoyed it. And i agree with you mostly. I do think there’s promise in a new mount if they go the Fuji route, but for sure they will elongate development of DLSRs adding what you mentioned. They’d be the gold standard if they incorporated all this. 

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  13. adam sanford

    Or something epic might happen:

    https://goo.gl/jXiKAW

    YOWZA if true, but it is only leaked photo rumor mongering.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Well, there you have it. It would explain the weirdly large and odd-looking viewfinder/prism area we can see in the leaks. If real. But it would be the sensible move, as stated in my post. 

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    • adam sanford

      …or not.  No EVF, apparently.

      https://goo.gl/3a6eJ2

      (Of course I’m taking NR reporting as fact — it is just a rumor.  But leaked photos would imply a spec list is just around the corner.)

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  14. Wendell Weithers

    There is a flicker of hope in me for Nikon. If they add IBIS and go the SLT route, that would really demostrate a willingness to adapt and restore long-term confidence in the brand. 

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  15. adam sanford

    Very thoughtful post, Kishore — I enjoyed reading it.  Here’s my take:

    1) Nikon needs to button up its quality operation.  They simply can’t have any more major issues in professional products like the D750.

    2) Video AF needs to dramatically improve.  Video is a small part of the SLR community today, but in time, the lines between stills and video will become blurred.  Right now things like timelapse video and pulling still frames from video are dabbling at this, but iPhone-like ‘the buffer is open, please choose your favorite still’ functionality is nearly upon us.  Given that, someone who lacks the background/patience to manually pull focus — even a stubborn multi-decade stills-only pro — needs great video AF to reel in what they need.

    3) They need to improve their bedrock body technology that can be used all over the line.   I use Canon’s DPAF as the classic example — Nikon needs something simple/unique/exclusive/useful that will improve their entire camera line.  They have anti-flicker / illuminated keys / semi-automated AFMA, which is great.  Now they need the next step.  They need tech Sony and Canon do not have that they would love to have.  That keeps folks loyal and draws people in from the other brands:

    a)  It’s ambitious, but a hybrid OVF/EVF would be dynamite for shooting in dark rooms (the EVF could be amplified) or manual focus assist without needing to change your focusing screens.

    b) SLT like you mentioned would kill mirror slap and could increase FPS, but yes, it would not only darken the VF it would also hold back 2/3 of a stop of light to the sensor.  But it would be like a turbo boost versus a traditional SLR.

    c) Onboard wireless flash control — no expensive hotshoe doodad required.

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  16. Brian Mullins

    As a fellow Nikon shooter I cannot agree with this more! Nikon has been great in the past but I think some radical changes are needed to keep up with the future. How they get there is up for debate but I am hopeful.

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    • Kishore Sawh

      Definitely hopeful. I think this is an interesting time for them because they can sort of experiment. They can bet big on future tech. I’m sure we’ll see this thing in a month. 

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  17. adam sanford

    [adam sanford has deleted this comment]

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