Author Topic: Where is Nikon heading?  (Read 5701 times)

bjornthun

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #165 on: February 17, 2017, 01:39:42 »
You should specify which cell phone.  The recent smartphones (iPhone 6 and 7; Samsung etc) have made enormous progress.  And you can only make pictures if you have the tool with you; and I have always my smartphone.

At least we can talk about; not so long ago, on many forums, you would simply have been nailed on the barn door by only mentioning the word "cell phone".
I bought a compact camera in 2008, a Canon Gx, x is a number I have forgotten by now. The problem was that I rarely used it, so I have concluded that I won't buy another "compact" camera. Now I only have the iPhone and my Sony A7 and A7II + lenses. My money are better spent on a cell phone with a good camera, than on a compact camera.

The DL 18-50 was about the only camera that might have challenged my "no compact" stance, due to going as wide as 18mm on the 35mm format. Sadly, it was not to be.

Akira

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #166 on: February 17, 2017, 02:00:27 »
When I saw the image samples of iPhone 5S, I thought the compact cameras are virtually dead.

Now I'm pretty much impressed by the IQ that my iPnone SE can offer.  I believe that the small sensors (1' and smaller) can only live in super-zoom compacts and video-centric cameras.

With my D750, I mostly look for something that only cameras of this class (DSLR or mirrorless) can deliver.  The stitched pano (that requires wide dynamic range) and closeups with high-speed lenses are a few of such examples.
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Jack Dahlgren

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #167 on: February 17, 2017, 04:58:38 »
DSLRs or SLRs are not 100 years old. Nikon made rangefinders and lenses before the SLR became popular. They made mirrorless digital cameras (with non interchangeable lens) before they made DSLRs. It is silly to suggest Nikon is somehow only a DSLR maker or that DSLRs are the old tech. It is not. In my opinion the DSLR is evolutionarily more advanced than rangefinders or mirrorless cameras though both rangefinders and mirrorless cameras have advantages for short focal length lenses.

Maybe I put too many words in my post.

I have a lovely 90mm large format Nikkor on an Ebony 4x5. I love shooting with TLR's and Speed Graphics. In film days such beautiful negatives made me nearly abandon the 35mm Nikon I started with.

It wasn't until a couple of generations into DSLRs that I picked one up. By then they were better than film SLRs ever were. Current cameras are amazing. In what they can do in low light conditions and with focusing on things moving quickly. No doubt they are the best they have ever been.

But every technology ages, and the winning technology in photography is not a result of being best in one aspect, or even being very good. The winning technologies are the ones which are good enough and offer something else (connectivity, portability, low cost, etc. )

Nikon has successfully navigated for 100 years. But there are still turns to make. They must look not just ahead, but to the sides and maybe leave their path altogether if they want to last another 100 years. I don't know what photography will look like then, and I won't be alive to see it either, but I do know that the DSLR will be on the shelf like some old Kodak folder.

Nikon may survive, but even companies like Kodak failed to make the right choices. They failed to look and act, and part of it was due to their attachment to the present and the past.

OCD

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #168 on: February 17, 2017, 05:25:56 »
I agree with MFloyd....an iPhone and FX camera is a nice set up. 

richardHaw

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #169 on: February 17, 2017, 07:09:12 »
even APSC would be OK  :o :o :o

Sony Ericsson had a good one before

Jan Anne

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #170 on: February 17, 2017, 11:27:21 »
I agree with MFloyd....an iPhone and FX camera is a nice set up.
My preferred setup for many years now, an iPhone as my EDC camera to capture interesting moments in life and an FX camera for the dedicated photo trips.

And with some skill one can shoot half decent images with the o so inferior smartphone cameras:
http://nikongear.net/revival/index.php/topic,1899.0.html

 
Cheers,
Jan Anne Offereins

David H. Hartman

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #171 on: February 17, 2017, 13:17:37 »
The inability of my smart phone to take a photograph when I want it to is deal breaker for me. I all but never use it as a camera. Even the Instamatic 100 I used as a teenager was better in this respect.

A smallish rangefinder camera would make sense to me but for the price. I'd want a 28, 50 and 90~105mm lens. I'd want 24x36mm format. I'd need a lot of money. :(

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stenrasmussen

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #172 on: February 17, 2017, 13:33:24 »
I agree completely that smartphones lack the responsiveness and features I deem necessary for serious photography.
BUT, I still claim that the majority of people making photos deem the smartphone's features critical to their needs (market driven of course).
AND, the smartphone photographers is the group that caused the biggest loss in camera sales to companies like Nikon.
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Ilkka Nissilä

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #173 on: February 17, 2017, 14:06:32 »
But every technology ages, and the winning technology in photography is not a result of being best in one aspect, or even being very good. The winning technologies are the ones which are good enough and offer something else (connectivity, portability, low cost, etc. )


"Good enough" gets you nowhere when there are  thousands of wannabe photographers for every successful one to make a living or achieve wider recognition. In many applications of photography, there is intense competition among photographers, and only the best performing technology will be considered good enough especially where technology plays a big role (such as action photography in low light with shallow depth of field). For some other applications, such as landscape photography, the technology plays a smaller role and creativity, bravery and inspiration of the photographer are more decisive. In each area of application, the best implementation survives because there are people who will pay anything for it, and then there are products which offer greater convenience along with lower performance but are popular among casual photographers.

Really, connectivity is of absolutely no consequence if you are spending weeks in the wilderness out of sight of anyone. No one cares whether you get your work online instantly, or in three weeks after properly processing it, but if you post unedited work straight from the camera, probably it will dilute your reputation as a serious photographer. If you witness a once-in-a-lifetime natural event, you may gain something by posting quickly but again a few minutes of downloading to computer and doing it right vs. instantly uploading it from the camera makes little difference, and on the calibrated monitor of a computer you can make sure it looks just right, not too dark or too light. Often it takes days or weeks of deliberation to make the decision of which edit is best on a particular image. Instant uploading in this context is not going to be of much importance. There may be news situations where it does make a difference but it is a rat race in which I certainly wouldn't want to play any part. I'm used to working in the time scale of years and decades, not seconds vs. minutes. If someone wants to be fast, they probably aren't going to be posting the most memorable image over the long term since they probably didn't have time to think and consider the image properly.
One of the problems of this time is that people post too many images and too thoughtlessly, not that image upload is "difficult" or "too slow".
Because most people don't think what they post, the audience gets bored and no one cares any more about any image because we are saturated with too many.

Quote
Nikon has successfully navigated for 100 years. But there are still turns to make. They must look not just ahead, but to the sides and maybe leave their path altogether if they want to last another 100 years.

I have no doubt Nikon continues to come up with new ideas as they have in the past.

Quote
I don't know what photography will look like then, and I won't be alive to see it either, but I do know that the DSLR will be on the shelf like some old Kodak folder.

For me the EVF draws attention of the viewer to the wrong things (high contrast outlines and artifacts) and hides what is essential to me (emotions revealed by subtle clues on the subject facial features, which I use to predict the progress of future expressions and capture the right moment through experience). The artifacts and lag are especially noticeable as one turns to follow a subject passing by. Furthermore it consumes far too much battery power and the better EVFs (with greater contrast and luminosity and faster refresh times) appear to consume even more. This is all a distraction from what is essential in photography: the subject, and in my case the emotional expression that human subjects engage in. I've tried the best of them and they are rubbish for what I want to do with a camera. Now, things may or may not change over time but this technology to me doesn't appear to show any promise that it might ever work for me. If it does one day show some promise, I am sure Nikon and Canon will be there to take advantage of it. Now, there is no question that the EVF has its own advantages and people who need those advantages use those cameras, but the entire approach of the camera is different: focus motors, measurement of focus error, viewfinder, etc. so this ripples changes required to the lenses as well and not just cameras. Lenses that work well with DSLR AF have their own advantages: they can be focused faster when the focus offset is large and the dedicated phase measurement sensor used in the DSLR can measure larger phase errors than those built into the  main imaging sensor which can only measure relatively small phase errors when the lens is quite near being in focus. While there is some progress in AF using the mirrorless concept, it is not competitive for fast telephoto action since the focus needs to be very close before it can measure how far off it is. This is why Sony made the A99 II with the highest specification of their lineup and it uses their DSLR mount not their mirrorless mount: for telephoto action a separate AF sensor module works better as it provides phase offset measurements over a large range of distances even though E mount users have been claiming the A mount is dead for a while. Even Sony don't believe that mirrorless is a replacement for the DSLR (although they do believe the EVF is a replacement for the OVF).

Quote
Nikon may survive, but even companies like Kodak failed to make the right choices. They failed to look and act, and part of it was due to their attachment to the present and the past.

Kodak was a chemical company making photographic chemistry, film and paper. This technology is totally different from digital photography and I don't think there ever was a chance that they'd be successful in digital over the long term. The cards were simply not in their favor. Some others say that they could have made it if they had just emphasized the development of digital instead of film but the thing was that all the people working on film based photography would have had to be replaced with people who are experts in digital and what difference then is there whether all the people are replaced to convert to digital manufacturer, or simply to cease activities and other companies start and make digital products. If all the employees have to be replaced, which they would have had to have been, what is there left then of the old Kodak? Name only. The camera manufacturers with complete control over their lens and camera technology development had the advantage in digital. Kodak was trying to make DSLRs by modifying Nikon and Canon film cameras and that produced very clumsy products in the outcome. Even if they had created the cameras from scratch, they would not have had access to the correct protocols to run the lenses as well as the manufacturers do, without reverse engineering, or making their own lens lineups. It just doesn't seem like a recipe for success. Anyway, it makes more sense for chemists to continue on areas of industry where chemistry is needed rather than continue to learn what is needed today in digital photography. Though I guess the photography printing process still requires as much chemistry as it ever did, and perhaps this is an area where there is no reason why they couldn't continue to be successful.

ColinM

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #174 on: February 17, 2017, 14:27:34 »
The inability of my smart phone to take a photograph when I want it to is deal breaker for me.

I can understand the frustration of this and I would never rely on it if I knew a "proper" camera was needed.
However things have improved in some areas.

I have never used an iPhone but my Sony (Android) phone had a button on the side that could be dedicated to activating the camera.
Yes, it took a second or so, but I could easily find it by touch and meant that by the time I'd lifted the phone up it was generally ready to take a picture.

There were plenty of times when being able to grab the moment outweighed the lower quality and lack of time to tweak settings before clicking.

chambeshi

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #175 on: February 17, 2017, 14:55:46 »
I agree completely that smartphones lack the responsiveness and features I deem necessary for serious photography.
BUT, I still claim that the majority of people making photos deem the smartphone's features critical to their needs (market driven of course).
AND, the smartphone photographers is the group that caused the biggest loss in camera sales to companies like Nikon.

"Good enough" gets you nowhere when there are  thousands of wannabe photographers for every successful one to make a living or achieve wider recognition. In many applications of photography, there is intense competition among photographers, and only the best performing technology will be considered good enough

So many of the points made above make solid sense. It is precisely today's thousands of 'wannabe photographers' of the millennial generation [teenagers - 20s] who hold the big future for Nikon (and all the other manufacturers) of digital optical devices. Nikon do not have to worry about loyalty among most forming the aging cohort of Clients, each of many years commitment already (we who cling tightly to decades of investment in Nikon!)

Today, the challenge is for Nikon to implement their DSLR system [and perhaps other optical products also) with the marketing and committed support that engages and promotes emerging photographers. As argued above, Discounts for the 'Under 25' etc are one obvious tactic. There are other tactics. Above all' integrating Mentorship into Nikons' committed to its loyal clientele is the logical, and obvious way forward into the 21st century.

And this is where Nikon's business model might encourage affordable upgrades after 1-2 years of ownership of a DSLR. Centred on the attractive trade in..... Nikon then refurbishes said trade-in body for resale WITH FULL WARRANTY until the model in question becomes obsolete. As many of us do already with Used lenses)...

This is where Stepping Stone" upgrades will be 100% vital….building on the entry level Nikon DSLR package the teenage wannabe photographer invested in. Now with more fiscal security, this committed Nikon client upgrades....

….Thus Nikon can plan ahead an the business model for growing buying power of the committed Nikon Client who buys the equivalent of their D810 / D5  some years after her first buy into Nikon.
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Jack Dahlgren

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #176 on: February 17, 2017, 15:26:02 »
"Good enough" gets you nowhere when there are  thousands of wannabe photographers for every successful one to make a living or achieve wider recognition. In many applications of photography, there is intense competition among photographers, and only the best performing technology will be considered good enough especially where technology plays a big role (such as action photography in low light with shallow depth of field). For some other applications, such as landscape photography, the technology plays a smaller role and creativity, bravery and inspiration of the photographer are more decisive. In each area of application, the best implementation survives because there are people who will pay anything for it, and then there are products which offer greater convenience along with lower performance but are popular among casual photographers.

Really, connectivity is of absolutely no consequence if you are spending weeks in the wilderness out of sight of anyone. No one cares whether you get your work online instantly, or in three weeks after properly processing it, but if you post unedited work straight from the camera, probably it will dilute your reputation as a serious photographer. If you witness a once-in-a-lifetime natural event, you may gain something by posting quickly but again a few minutes of downloading to computer and doing it right vs. instantly uploading it from the camera makes little difference, and on the calibrated monitor of a computer you can make sure it looks just right, not too dark or too light. Often it takes days or weeks of deliberation to make the decision of which edit is best on a particular image. Instant uploading in this context is not going to be of much importance. There may be news situations where it does make a difference but it is a rat race in which I certainly wouldn't want to play any part. I'm used to working in the time scale of years and decades, not seconds vs. minutes. If someone wants to be fast, they probably aren't going to be posting the most memorable image over the long term since they probably didn't have time to think and consider the image properly.
One of the problems of this time is that people post too many images and too thoughtlessly, not that image upload is "difficult" or "too slow".
Because most people don't think what they post, the audience gets bored and no one cares any more about any image because we are saturated with too many.

I have no doubt Nikon continues to come up with new ideas as they have in the past.

For me the EVF draws attention of the viewer to the wrong things (high contrast outlines and artifacts) and hides what is essential to me (emotions revealed by subtle clues on the subject facial features, which I use to predict the progress of future expressions and capture the right moment through experience). The artifacts and lag are especially noticeable as one turns to follow a subject passing by. Furthermore it consumes far too much battery power and the better EVFs (with greater contrast and luminosity and faster refresh times) appear to consume even more. This is all a distraction from what is essential in photography: the subject, and in my case the emotional expression that human subjects engage in. I've tried the best of them and they are rubbish for what I want to do with a camera. Now, things may or may not change over time but this technology to me doesn't appear to show any promise that it might ever work for me. If it does one day show some promise, I am sure Nikon and Canon will be there to take advantage of it. Now, there is no question that the EVF has its own advantages and people who need those advantages use those cameras, but the entire approach of the camera is different: focus motors, measurement of focus error, viewfinder, etc. so this ripples changes required to the lenses as well and not just cameras. Lenses that work well with DSLR AF have their own advantages: they can be focused faster when the focus offset is large and the dedicated phase measurement sensor used in the DSLR can measure larger phase errors than those built into the  main imaging sensor which can only measure relatively small phase errors when the lens is quite near being in focus. While there is some progress in AF using the mirrorless concept, it is not competitive for fast telephoto action since the focus needs to be very close before it can measure how far off it is.

Kodak was a chemical company...

First, let me say I don't believe Nikon is doomed in the short term. We are all doomed in the long term. I imagine a world where images are software controlled, where there is not just a lens on a box. In fact, that world is here now. This will continue. So will smaller form factors. 35mm was once dismissed as "miniature" photography.

It is a wide world. Some people continue to shoot larger formats. Some shoot smaller. The economic problem with this is that technologies which require a lot of R&D need high volume to support those costs. With cash cow of point and shoot gone, investment in R&D for low volume products is difficult to sustain.

It is hard. Nikon and others will have many challenges. And I think the DSLR as we know it will cease to be a mainstream product. This means it will eventually starve. It won't die, but it will progress increasingly more slowly.

This is what happens in technology, and your camera is a small computer filled with technology, not just a light tight box. It can not escape.

bjornthun

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #177 on: February 17, 2017, 15:36:03 »
<cut>
Kodak was a chemical company making photographic chemistry, film and paper. This technology is totally different from digital photography and I don't think there ever was a chance that they'd be successful in digital over the long term. The cards were simply not in their favor. Some others say that they could have made it if they had just emphasized the development of digital instead of film but the thing was that all the people working on film based photography would have had to be replaced with people who are experts in digital and what difference then is there whether all the people are replaced to convert to digital manufacturer, or simply to cease activities and other companies start and make digital products. If all the employees have to be replaced, which they would have had to have been, what is there left then of the old Kodak? Name only. The camera manufacturers with complete control over their lens and camera technology development had the advantage in digital. Kodak was trying to make DSLRs by modifying Nikon and Canon film cameras and that produced very clumsy products in the outcome. Even if they had created the cameras from scratch, they would not have had access to the correct protocols to run the lenses as well as the manufacturers do, without reverse engineering, or making their own lens lineups. It just doesn't seem like a recipe for success. Anyway, it makes more sense for chemists to continue on areas of industry where chemistry is needed rather than continue to learn what is needed today in digital photography. Though I guess the photography printing process still requires as much chemistry as it ever did, and perhaps this is an area where there is no reason why they couldn't continue to be successful.

Fujifilm was and is still a chemical company, but they redtructured the company and came up with other chemical products they could make, where they could utilize their know how. They started making pharmaceuticals and beauty products, or ingredients for them. They had yo ask themselves, what else can we make with the know how we have, and they succeeded. The camera business is only a small part of Fujifilm, but one for which they have long trafitions.

Fujifilm also modified Nikon bodies to make their own DSLRs, S3 and S5 Pro are well know, but Fujifilm was able to take the X-trans and make their own camera system.

Kodak didn't do any of this, which in retrospect is strange. Surely with the US as their home market, they should have been able to diversify and find business oportunity for new chemical products.

Could Kodak have made DSLRs in the US? Maybe they could have teamed up with Bausch and Lomb to make lenses, or someone in Japan. Phase One in Denmark works with Schneider in Germany and owns Mamiya in Japan with optical know how. I'm not saying that Kodak should have done this, but the small company Phase One in Denmark can. Hasselblad in Sweden can. Maybe Kodak could have done it in the US?

chambeshi

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #178 on: February 17, 2017, 15:57:15 »
It is hard. Nikon and others will have many challenges. And I think the DSLR as we know it will cease to be a mainstream product. This means it will eventually starve. It won't die, but it will progress increasingly more slowly.

This is what happens in technology, and your camera is a small computer filled with technology, not just a light tight box. It can not escape.

A most interesting thread this  :)

So in the decades ahead, sensor technology will run up against diminishing returns (as have the limits on smallest dimensions of circuitry in computer CPUs). But it is foreseeable that the core of the future camera system will comprise an interchangeable optical instrument attached to this digitized box of controls with its integral sensor.

No single lens can meet all users' applications in the diverse world of imaging, so the integral camera/lens will always have to work within the finite limits of its lens. Committed photographers will invest in the optimal system that can link into a diversity of reliable accessories (media, artificial lighting support etc), and especially high quality lenses.

It is impossible today to predict what sensor format(s) will form the core of tomorrow's cameras invested in by Nikon and those other corporations who survive the winds of change....
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Jack Dahlgren

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Re: Where is Nikon heading?
« Reply #179 on: February 17, 2017, 17:06:29 »
A most interesting thread this  :)

So in the decades ahead, sensor technology will run up against diminishing returns (as have the limits on smallest dimensions of circuitry in computer CPUs). But it is foreseeable that the core of the future camera system will comprise an interchangeable optical instrument attached to this digitized box of controls with its integral sensor.

No single lens can meet all users' applications in the diverse world of imaging, so the integral camera/lens will always have to work within the finite limits of its lens. Committed photographers will invest in the optimal system that can link into a diversity of reliable accessories (media, artificial lighting support etc), and especially high quality lenses.

It is impossible today to predict what sensor format(s) will form the core of tomorrow's cameras invested in by Nikon and those other corporations who survive the winds of change....

Do not fall into the trap of thinking there is but one visible light sensor in what we think of as a camera.

It may be impossible to predict the exact future, but we can look at where we have been and the direction we have headed for clues. And don't forget that the camera is a reaction to what people are doing and want to do. People, except for weirdos on photography bulletin boards  :) want to spend less time on the process, carry lighter gear and have their perceptual range extended as far as they need it. But why? Why do they photograph in the first place? This has changed over time. I frequently take and send photos from my phone instead of writing a note. I use it instead of a copy machine and a filing cabinet. I use it to take photos of things I can see because they are too small, too hard to get to or too fast moving. It is an extension of my hands, memory, and eyes and has become indispensable as such. Uses like this - extensions of our capabilities and cognition - will drive the development of what comes next, and more importantly will be at a scale that funds the continued development in the technology of photography.

What does the camera do for you?

Now, much of my equipment is old and obsolete. I have it for nostalgic and tactile reasons. Shiny glass and smooth cool metal are just pleasant to hold. It is an excuse to go out into the world and look around. We can not discount these aspects completely, but they won't sustain a large business which requires ever increasing investments in technology for a century. At the boutique level, perhaps, but I don't think that is what Nikon or their share holds want to see happen.