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Dear Nikon...


Andrew Reid
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The controls look absolutely brilliant.

 

I'd love Canon to steal this and put it in a full-featured still and video DSLR.

 

Though we all know the reason for these retro cameras is the hipster "authentic, real, artisan" marketing bollocks, I am a sucker for these ergonomics. I have a Contax RTS II and it is art. The most beautiful viewfinder, it's perfect.

 

2325697352_95847140e0.jpg

 

I don't see why, just because there is a screen on the back, we can't the haptic joy of real 35mm cameras.

 

The nature of the human hand didn't change when digital arrived, but for some reason, controls became focused around how processors work rather than how people work. Now we work for those machines of loving grace, rather the other way round.

 

It's such a shame Contax disappeared. Just too many mis-steps I suppose. The AX had amazing film shift technology that someone should steal for digital.

 

Also, the N1 was the first full-frame digital SLR. 6MP! Noisy above ISO 100 though. Imagine that! We're so spoiled...

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People, you're all overestimating the DSLR video market. It's marginal, and has become more so recently. The 2009-2012 video DSLR hype is over. For pros and semipros, there are now better video cameras with large sensors and interchangeable lenses. Amateurs of the kind that ceaselessly filmed "test videos" of flowers in shallow DoF seem to have moved on to other toys (GoPros?). 

 

No DSLR or mirrorless manufacturer will sell a lot of cameras because of video. Even in their heydays, cameras like the GH1/2/3 were rarely stocked by camera and consumer electronics stores because they catered to a too specialist market niche. Shooting and editing video is still relatively complex compared to shooting stills, no matter with which technology. At any time, amateur moving images have been a niche market compared to photography, whether on small gauge film, analog or digital video. Arguably, they were much more popular in the 1970s with Super 8 home movies than any time later.

 

Today, probably 99% of amateur video is cell phone video uploaded to social media. Even smartphone video editing apps aren't used that much. And how many amateurs, prosumers, semi-pros and DIY filmmakers worldwide are users of Final Cut, Premiere, Vegas or Avid? Those are the people who constitute the whole market for cameras that sit in between point-and-shoot camcorders and digital cinema cameras.

 

To take another example: Vimeo, more or less the Internet platform for DIY/prosumer filmmaking, has 14 Million user accounts. If we factor in inactive accounts on the one hand and DIY filmmakers without Vimeo accounts on the other, and also consider that roughly half of the active Vimeo contributors use either lower or higher end cameras, then 14 Million users likely represent the maximum number of worldwide DSLR/mirrorless video shooters. (Frankly, I think that the number is much smaller if activity on related web forums and social media is any good indicator.) If each of them buys a new camera every two years, then 7 million cameras would be sold to this target group per year. That's a mere 6% of worldwide digital camera sales, still based on a very optimistic guess of the user demographic. In other words: better video features aren't relevant for at least 94% of camera buyers. And thus hardly relevant for Canon, Nikon, Sony, Olympus, Fuji, given their total volume of sales. 

 

Let's examine the logic of your post.

 

You say the DSLR video market is a tiny tiny niche, but then you say judging from Vimeo that 14 million users represent the maximum size of the market.

 

Hardly small exactly. I'd love to sell a camera to 14 million people for $3000 and turnover 42 billion!

 

Nikon's total annual DSLR sales amounted to about $2.6 billion recently.

 

To make that increase by a massive 20% would only require cornering 3 or 4% of registered Vimeo users.

 

I assume most Vimeo users need a video camera, right? Unless they're posting stills :)

 

In the 5 years after Nikon introduced their consumer DSLR line, their sales doubled.

 

Consumer market - NOT PRO - is the big one.

 

The consumer market for video is much larger than the professional video market and yet we have NOTHING catering to us in a quality way. If consumer stills quality was as bad as video quality on Nikon cameras they wouldn't sell a single DSLR.

 

Nikon sold a total of 3.5 million interchangeable lens cameras in 2012, all of them with video modes.

 

That's just one company. In effect, though not all of these customers will use video, all of them COULD use it given enough education, desire and inspiration... so the maximum potential size of the market is very large. If only Nikon could be arsed with it.

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The controls look absolutely brilliant.

 

I'd love Canon to steal this and put it in a full-featured still and video DSLR.

 

Though we all know the reason for these retro cameras is the hipster "authentic, real, artisan" marketing bollocks, I am a sucker for these ergonomics. I have a Contax RTS II and it is art. The most beautiful viewfinder, it's perfect.

 

2325697352_95847140e0.jpg

 

I don't see why, just because there is a screen on the back, we can't the haptic joy of real 35mm cameras.

 

The nature of the human hand didn't change when digital arrived, but for some reason, controls became focused around how processors work rather than how people work. Now we work for those machines of loving grace, rather the other way round.

 

It's such a shame Contax disappeared. Just too many mis-steps I suppose. The AX had amazing film shift technology that someone should steal for digital.

 

Also, the N1 was the first full-frame digital SLR. 6MP! Noisy above ISO 100 though. Imagine that! We're so spoiled...

 

This is why deep down I really want the Df and I think as a stills camera it will do well.

 

It's a shame that the mount isn't more flexible for non-Nikon lenses though, a shame about the pricing, shame about the small battery and locking dials, and I think it's going to be hard to justify me buying one on looks and ergonomics alone when the A7R is around.

 

It's also very bulky compared to something like the X100S which is just as sexy to use.

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This is why deep down I really want the Df and I think as a stills camera it will do well.

 

It's a shame that the mount isn't more flexible for non-Nikon lenses though, a shame about the pricing, shame about the small battery and locking dials, and I think it's going to be hard to justify me buying one on looks and ergonomics alone when the A7R is around.

 

It's also very bulky compared to something like the X100S which is just as sexy to use.

 

Yeah it'll sell I think and revitalise Nikon SLRs sales, Nikon users are usually the more purist of photographers, they'll love it. I must admit it just looks lovely.

 

But that f-mount is such an annoyance. They should've gone mirrorless with active F adapter bundled! And that price, and that battery... and so on

 

So I'll just keep the 5D MKiii as it does everything better, apart from look hot.

 

I'm just not shallow enough to swap the best all-rounder for a pretty new comer ;) ...

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Sure they do, they just take a lot of them in rapid succession!  :D

 

Personally, no. 

 

Precisely, they take raw stills in a sequence, so they do indeed take pictures.

 

They don't take 16 and up MP photos because they don't downscale from still sensors, they're designed as video cameras

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A more pertinent question is where's Nikon, Canon or Sony's answer to Blackmagic?


There is no answer to Blackmagic from these manufacturers.

Canon will release a C200, C400 and C600 with big price tags.

Nikon won't do anything as they are a stiils business.

Sony, again, will do a Canon. They have an F series to protect.


As far as I'm aware, Blackmagic Cameras are pro cameras that lack many pro features. Canon and Sony think professionals will buy their cameras as they are much more practical and have years of experience and reputation.

If any of you are dreaming for Canon, Sony, Nikon to compete with Blackmagic then forget it. The only company I expect to deliver anything is Panasonic as they have NOTHING to protect.

Pointless debate that we all should know.

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Quick question... is anyone here upset that the Blackmagic cameras don't take traditional still photos? 

 

I get the analogy, the thing is if we compare these cameras to the competition - Nikon are charging a premium for removing video, BM are charging 90% less for not including stills. Big difference and that difference determines why people are or aren't upset.

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Hardly small exactly. I'd love to sell a camera to 14 million people for $3000 and turnover 42 billion!

 

Nikon's total annual DSLR sales amounted to about $2.6 billion recently.

 

To make that increase by a massive 20% would only require cornering 3 or 4% of registered Vimeo users.

 

Nobody sells a $3000 camera to 14 million people. The average price of a DSLR used by Vimeo filmmakers is probably in the area of a Canon Rebel T[x]i or Panasonic GH[x], between $700 and $1000.  On top of that, your estimate assumes that people buy, on the average, a new camera every year. 

 

If Nikon could make a model that would convince 3-5% (=500,000) of Vimeo users to buy it as their next camera, that would amount to 250,000 extra cameras sold per year, a 4% sales increase in relation to the 6.5 Million interchangeable lens cameras Nikon sells every year.

 

Whatever the real numbers are, Nikon management could have decided that it's not worth the effort. Even more if a considerable part of their current customer base thinks that the video button is a triggered-by-accident annoyance.

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Sony, again, will do a Canon. They have an F series to protect.

 
Hmm not sure about that. Sony just went to a LOT of effort to read out and process all pixels in video mode with the RX10's sensor.
 
I'm expecting same to be true with their DSLR sensors in future.
 
What they need to sort out is the codec, get rid of AVCHD.
 

If any of you are dreaming for Canon, Sony, Nikon to compete with Blackmagic then forget it. The only company I expect to deliver anything is Panasonic as they have NOTHING to protect.


Actually Panasonic have a big broadcast range of pro video cameras, like Sony.

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Whatever the real numbers are, Nikon management could have decided that it's not worth the effort. Even more if a considerable part of their current customer base thinks that the video button is a triggered-by-accident annoyance.

 

If Canon had listened to consumer feedback like that on the 5D Mark II's video mode, there wouldn't have been a 24p update, or a manual controls update, or a Cinema EOS pro business to speak of!

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Sony gave Nikon their best sensor for video on DSLRs, the 36MP CMOS in the D800.

 

Hardly a sign that Sony are making Nikon pay for video features.

 

Meanwhile, Nikon have their own codec and Expeed engine which does a pretty good job of compression, etc. They also had clean HDMI output on the D800.

 

If Sony are trying to cripple competing cameras via sensor supply when it comes to video, they clearly failed, because the D800 was better than Sony's own A99 for video in terms of image quality!

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Isn't it time to remove stills from our HDSLRs?!  :P
 
Stills have plagued our video cameras now for years!
 
The sacrifices videographers have made for the small niche of photographers is enormous.
 
The mirror box in our video cameras is completely redundant and the viewfinder doesn't work.
 
The flash is completely useless as a video light.
 
Instead of a conveniently placed video record button, we have to put up with a spongy shutter button. Why!?
 
The LCD is photo-shaped and not 16:9 like the video standard.

 

And don't tell me to use a proper video camera, I can't afford $20,000!

 

An undesirable flash sync port replaced our headphone socket :(
 
All the manual focussing aids are for stills  :wacko:
 
The tripod thread lacks a pin to keep the camera from shifting on the quick release plate.

 

Bloody photographers!

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Isn't it time to remove stills from our HDSLRs?!  :P
 
Stills have plagued our video cameras now for years!
 
The sacrifices videographers have made for the small niche of photographers is enormous.
 
The mirror box in our video cameras is completely redundant and the viewfinder doesn't work.
 
The flash is completely useless as a video light.
 
Instead of a conveniently placed video record button, we have to put up with a spongy shutter button. Why!?
 
The LCD is photo-shaped and not 16:9 like the video standard.

 

And don't tell me to use a proper video camera, I can't afford $20,000!

 

An undesirable flash sync port replaced our headphone socket :(
 
All the manual focussing aids are for stills  :wacko:
 
The tripod thread lacks a pin to keep the camera from shifting on the quick release plate.

 

Bloody photographers!

 

 

 

You kind of summed it up there.

 

Photographers should stop buying DSLRs and instead should buy camcorders with a bolted on stills mode!!

 

On a serious note, I really do think Panasonic are going to nail this as some point (AG-GH4?) While they DO have ridiculous P2 carded, behemoth broadcast cams... they currently have a wide-open slot in their catalogue for a cinematic camera.

 

Sony might do something. But forget Canon! How dare they create a Cinema EOS line! Lazy bastards!  :P

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Isn't it time to remove stills from our HDSLRs?!  :P
 
Stills have plagued our video cameras now for years!
 
The sacrifices videographers have made for the small niche of photographers is enormous.
 
The mirror box in our video cameras is completely redundant and the viewfinder doesn't work.
 
The flash is completely useless as a video light.
 
Instead of a conveniently placed video record button, we have to put up with a spongy shutter button. Why!?
 
The LCD is photo-shaped and not 16:9 like the video standard.

 

And don't tell me to use a proper video camera, I can't afford $20,000!

 

An undesirable flash sync port replaced our headphone socket :(
 
All the manual focussing aids are for stills  :wacko:
 
The tripod thread lacks a pin to keep the camera from shifting on the quick release plate.

 

Bloody photographers!

 

 

Andrew, I agree with many things. We could add a lack of XLR ports, and tiny LCD/ OLCD. The 3 inch size is just lousy. Even for stills.

 

If you think of all the things that Video DSLRs actually lack, maybe, its time to go back to the drawing board.

 

I imagine, that, something truly made for Indie Film-makers, especially people who indulge in some, or a lot of guerrilla film-making, would actually be a compilation of the following:

 

  1. A set of lenses, like the Sony QX10 and QX100 camera (though, preferably, with a faster lens, like the Sigma 18-35 f1.8 zoom) , which would be separate from the body, and thus not pose any restrictions in use or ergonomics, or handling. Also, it would have built-in ND filters, like the FS100. Also, if the lens had something like the built-in 5-point axis stabilization, on the Olympus OMD-5, but, built into the lens itself, that would get rid of the need for a bulky and attention inviting stabilizer, like a glidecam or something. Also, with all manual controls, on the lens (lockable), and the same controls on the display/ screen.
  2. An attachable screen, like the Nexus 5, atleast 5 inches in size, with a super-fast processor, and maybe able to run multiple lenses, simultaneously. Also, right now, the Sony QX10 and QX100 seem to sit very strangely on phones, since they are much bulkier than the phone. Maybe, this can be addressed. Maybe a bulkier screen may pack in more processing power, as well as battery like.
  3. Maybe a high-res wearable display, with built in wi-fi and Bluetooth, for viewing almost live footage. Something like Google Glass, but, maybe in full HD (I don’t know the resolution equivalent of Google Glass).
  4. A set of wireless mics, which would look like the Giant Squid mics but with almost no wires. The receiver would be built into the screen.
  5. On-board light would a problem. But, I guess, with attachable and on-board light, the bulk issue comes up. Unless, the light is a tiny LED, maybe a tiny version of the F&V 300.
  6. A wireless charging option, for the lens, which continuously charges the lens and screen, between takes. It would be like a perpetually charged camera, without lugging around batteries, wasting time on checking battery life, and charnging batteries, constantly. Also, external battery packs are huge, and so cumbersome.
  7. Maybe a set of wi-fi cards, which send video to one or more hard-drives, for back-up simultaneous.
  8. Better codec. I wish they would work on AVCHD. It occupies such little space, for the amount of information, that it holds. It would be superb to have the equivalent of pro-res, at 1/10th of the file size.
  9. I need to sleep. I am getting high on hope. Good night.
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