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Andrew Reid

Dear Nikon...

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Problem is, improvement seems to have stalled especially on Canon and Nikon side.

 

Where is that based on? Canon releases new flagship cameras how often? After four-five years? That would make the next 5d come about 2016.

 

Where is this stalling apparent? On the low-end? Well low-end is low-end for a reason. It's for cheap-asses.

 

I find it funny that people are expecting Blackmagic to somehow dominate based on aliased and moired raw. They won't.

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EOSHD Pro Color for Sony cameras EOSHD Pro LOG for Sony CamerasEOSHD C-LOG and Film Profiles for All Canon DSLRs

Where is the stalling apparent? Are you kidding me? 7D has not had a replacement for nearly 4 years now and the 5D Mark III was a lukewarm reheat. Those aren't low end.

 

You can ask anyone, even people completely disinterested in video about difference in image quality between a 7D, 600D, 650D, 700D over a period of over 3 years and they will be hard pushed to find any!

 

In that time Sony made so much progress on sensor technology, they came from behind Canon, to being in pole position. In terms of image quality AND CMOS sales.

 

Canon pioneered CMOS image sensors in DSLRs. Where are the Canon CMOS sensors in the lucrative smartphone market?

 

As for video enthusiasts...

 

It's been torture, and I know it because I lived it. The low end may be a mess but the high end 5D Mark III made no exciting improvements to the video mode in its factory form. The sensor scaling to avoid moire only became useful when Magic Lantern liberated the raw feed. The new ALL-I and IPB codec Canon put in was rubbish. Noise and banding everywhere. Soft as hell resolution. Very poor internal digital sharpening. If it wasn't for Magic Lantern and raw I'd have sold mine the moment the Sony A7R was announced, because now it is outgunned for stills as much as it would be outgunned for video by the D800 and A7R if it wasn't for Magic Lantern. I can use my Canon lenses on the Sony so nothing is stopping me switching to full frame E-mount for stills.

 

New enthusiast / semi-pro DSLRs 70D and 6D have pretty much the same poor image quality as a 550D from 2009 before any DSLR shot a single frame of professional video so don't tell me that isn't stalling FFS!

 

On the sensors side, 36MP and 24MP Sony full frame sensors are ahead of the equivalent Canon full frame sensors on dynamic range. Canon don't even yet have an answer to the 36MP one!

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Now Nikon need to grow some balls. They have been incredibly poor at diversifying their business. Passing up on chance to own Adobe before they were big. Passing up on chance to apply their existing optical and imaging tech to a video or cinema camera.

 

Where's the business logic here?

 

 

Okay.  Let's be honest with everyone here.  They were NEVER given the opportunity to buy Adobe.  That is 100% false.  Two brothers approached Nikon to see if they would purchase the rights to market a program called Photoshop.  Nikon as well as a bunch of major photo industry players turned them down... Including Kodak.  Only after all that did Adobe buy the marketing rights to Photoshop.

 

The reason given for Nikon headquarters turning down marketing Photoshop was Nikon was not a software company.  Which is 100% true.  There is a good chance if they bought the rights the program's development could have been botched.  It could have been a success but there is a very real possibility it would have been mismanaged or at a minimum no where near as good or ubiquitous as it is today.

 

There is an old saying on Wall St.  You can't drive a car by looking in the rear view mirror.  Yeah it's fine now in 2013 to Monday morning quarterback some business deal from 80s, but how it's done amongst real investors is you show us your audited trading tickets from the last quarter.

 

The same question could be asked of you.  How come you weren't buying Apple at $7 and change ten years ago?  If you did you would be making home movies with an Alexa.  Did you miss out on this wonderful deal because you are stupid? I don't think so.  I think it is a lot harder to commit investor capital in real time than it is to peruse 25 year old stock price lists and make up a dream portfolio.

 

Business is a lot more complicated than people are giving it credit for.  Warren Buffet never bought Microsoft stock.  You think Warren Buffet is poor?  You go with what you know.  People that go on buying sprees buying a bunch of disparate entities they know nothing about go broke.  Ask the management of Aol Time Warner, Daimler Chrysler, HP Palm, etc.

 

Besides you haven't posted the 1 billion other money losing ideas Nikon was pitched at trade shows that they turned down.  When you are in the investment game long enough you realize that it isn't all about picking winners.  An even bigger chunk of the game is preserving capital by avoiding disasters.

 

 


Cinema EOS is doing very well for Canon's bottom line. High value, lots of mark-up.

 

 

Canon has been in the CROWDED video market for eons.  Besides some half backed DLSR offerings Nikon has nothing.  They would be entering an entirely new market from a cold start as a small player.  It may work but it is nowhere near the same dynamic as Canon introducing the Cinema EOS line.

 

 


Putting a decent codec in a DSLR is not expensive or hard for a company like Nikon... Just get on and do it.

 

I just don't know what gives you the level of confidence to make these statments.  10 bit 4:2:2 is not something the average DSLR user knows about let alone cares about.  And the processing power, pipeline, and storage media to record that in a bullet proof manner is not inexpensive if you have to add it to tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of units.  The consumer electronics business is notoriously competitive.  Every single penny, megabyte, and gigahertz that goes into a device is scrutinised and stripped down to the bare escentials to get the job done.

 

All the cameras in an iphone 5 cost $18.00.  The iphone 5 in the US retailed without contract for $650.  So think about it.  $18 seems inexpensive when compared to the $650 retail price but that $18 is literaly the difference between an iphone with a front and rear camera and an iphone with no cameras.

 

I personally think the iphone is overpriced but you get the idea.  The $20 in raw parts you think should just be tossed into the camera culminates in a much bigger price change on the retail level.  Couple that with the fact the majority of the consumers won't even notice your upgrade and it's not hard to see why companies aren't falling all over themselves to break their budget for these features.

 

The other thing is that codec is not going to be able to be written to just any old card.  Now you are going to have to deal with the customer support hassle of thousands upon thousands of people wondering why their buddies SD card that worked beautifully in their friends Canon is throwing up errors in their Nikon.  Or why their friend with a Canon can shoot on cheap cards but they need special cards.

 

Again I'm not saying Nikon or Canon are making the right moves.  But at least on a certain level I am willing to admit what I don't know and giving people the benefit of the doubt where appropriate.

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You do have some valid points there.

 

But overall too negative, like Nikon.

 

You're absolutely right that a small component cost is the difference between having an iPhone camera and having a phone with no camera.

 

But I find it strange you pick up on the affect that feature has on the retail price and not the affect that feature has on sales and revenue.

 

Apple are not a camera company. They've worked hard and invested in camera technology. They have made a massive return on their investment by having a camera on the iPhone. It wouldn't sell as well without one. It would't compete as well without one.

 

The pessimist would go ahead and save $18 per iPhone on manufacturing costs by removing the camera. They wouldn't see the return.

 

I see the return on Nikon improving their video capabilities, starting with stills cameras. It's a solid business decision. There's clear demand for Blackmagic cameras. Huge demand for enthusiast DSLR video. Huge demand from pros for DSLR video. Add all that up and it is myopic in the extreme for Nikon not to capitalise on that simply for the sake of stripping back the camera to it's core stills tech and saving $xx per unit in manufacturing costs.

 

You have to speculate to acculate.

 

You have to add value.

 

You have to invest in features, even non-core features (like Apple with custom Sony camera sensors).

 

Look at the GH2 hack. Do you realise how simple this was? A few settings in the firmware between having 24Mbit IPB and 100Mbit ALL-I. If you can do that, why not do it? Because it confuses the average consumer who doesn't need it? So put it in a separate model and sell tons of them to filmmakers! Problem solved!

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Look at the GH2 hack. Do you realise how simple this was? A few settings in the firmware between having 24Mbit IPB and 100Mbit ALL-I. If you can do that, why not do it? Because it confuses the average consumer who doesn't need it? So put it in a separate model and sell tons of them to filmmakers! Problem solved!

 

Camera companies must have Quality Assurance before something gets pushed to production. The fact that the hacked GH2 occasionally freezes, and will crash with certain kinds of SD cards is a huge no-no. Panasonic, like most camera companies, understandw that you make a product that is stable and reliable. I'm sure plenty of cameras companies could 'change a few settings in the firmware' and produce much better quality, but it's not stable. It's not reliable.

As for putting all of those things in a separate model, and selling them to filmmakers... that's what they're currently doing. They just happen to be charging an arm and a leg for those models. One particular reason is they must turn a profit. It's not as easy as 'sell tons of them to filmmakers, problem solved'. The 'filmmaker' market is a fringe market. Small. How do you define 'tons'? The target audience for that camera might not be of a large enough number to justify spending money on the production of a whole different model.

 

I understand the frustration of the lack of AMAZING cameras at an affordable price point, but this problem is not at all new. We're all confused, asking ourselves why they won't make the pro features at entry-level price, when the answer has never changed: it doesn't make business sense. The goal of Nikon, Canon, Panasonic, etc. is to make money, not to make your low-budget camera fantasies come true. This is the way it has always been, and this is the way it will continue.

 

Companies like Blackmagic should be commended for trying to challenge the status quo, but their lack of quality control and horrendous production snafus do nothing but make the case for why the big name companies are here to stay.

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As for video enthusiasts...

 

It's been torture, and I know it because I lived it. 

 

I assume you didn't live through the years before that... Lugging around s35mm adapters and HUGE rigs to try and get something even close to filmic? Paying through the nose for 1/3" sensors and about 7 stops of DR?

 

Seems like it all came a little too fast, too cheap for you and you are now left wondering why that initial rush has slowed down.

 

Alot of us are still kind of amazed that we can get really nice quality, full frame cameras like the 5DIII shooting footage that blows clients away (yes, even without a hack).

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You're absolutely right that a small component cost is the difference between having an iPhone camera and having a phone with no camera.

 

But I find it strange you pick up on the affect that feature has on the retail price and not the affect that feature has on sales and revenue.

 

 

 

I didn't mention it because we all know the camera on the iphone has a significat positive effect on sales and revenue.  But we also understand video on a DSLR will NEVER have the same positive effect on camera sales.  It will have some positive effect but your estimates on the size of that effect and mine diverge.  That's a whole other debate.  I was just illustrating with my example that what we perceive as a cheap little component ends up have a large impact on final retail price.

 

 Huge demand for enthusiast DSLR video.

 

I think that is the main sticking point.  I don't think the demand is as large as you think it is.  I thought the same as you at one point.  Frankly I held that view for years.  But once I actually started digging a bit deeper I realized most photographers pretty much ignore the DSLR video feature.  I didn't do a survery it's just the anectodal stuff I've seen in my own life and stuff I read online.  I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that point.  Trust me I wish there was more enthusiasm but I go to video sections of camera sites and there are hardly any posts.

 

There is a reason I come to this website.  I learned about the Sony RX10 here.  I got very enthusiastic about it based pretty much on your statements regarding it's resolution and lack of moire.  I always like to check multiple sources but NONE of the stills sites are posting any meaningful information about the Sony RX10.  They review video as an an afterthought or not at all. That's why I am conservative in my estimates of the size of the market.  The Sony RX10 is far more of a landmark camera to me than the Nikon Df but if you go to the photo sites the Df is getting all the buzz.  Anyway time will tell.  I hope I am wrong and you are right, but in life you don't always get what you hope for.

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Of course Nikon have a business to run.

 

Here's a thing... Good video does not decrease the sales of stills cameras. Fact.

 

D800 sold thousands more units because of the video mode, indeed even a lot of pros bought it for video, as well as stills.

 

Convergence is happening.

 

Now Nikon need to grow some balls. They have been incredibly poor at diversifying their business. Passing up on chance to own Adobe before they were big. Passing up on chance to apply their existing optical and imaging tech to a video or cinema camera.

 

Where's the business logic here?

 

Cinema EOS is doing very well for Canon's bottom line. High value, lots of mark-up.

 

Putting a decent codec in a DSLR is not expensive or hard for a company like Nikon... Just get on and do it.

 

Blackmagic have done 10bit 4:2:2 ProRes for $999.

 

Nikon say they took 4 years to develop the Df, beginning in 2009!

 

The Df is a normal DSLR with a retro style top plate and dials.

 

So are Nikon saying they took 4 years to add a few dials and a silver top plate to a DSLR? Or are they really saying the D4 took 4 years to develop and the Df took 4 minutes?

We all ( yes. even ME ) sometimes forget that in the larger scheme of things, the consumer Photography/Videography market is often the smaller revenue generator for the big boys. For its last two decades Kodak made far more money from other than photography segments ( chemicals> plastics>carpets). Nikon has for a long time been big in industrial optics as well as microscopes, telescopes, scanners and more. Canon? Copiers, scanners and other industrial applications.
So let's be nice to our 'camera divisions', as they are mostly, loss leaders ( building brands)
 

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"...I see the return on Nikon improving their video capabilities, starting with stills cameras."

If Nikon was REALLY smart, they'd get out of the camera business altogether and focus on Selling Lenses, as have Zeiss, Leica and the (formerly dark horses) Sigma etc.
You really only need three or four players in the Camera market, given that they share innovations, cross license and then deliver nearly identical 'packages'.

Nikon, Zeiss, Leica optics are another matter.

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I bought a d3100 for travelling when it was new. For the price this little camera can deliver some great images, and if the light is perfect and your skills great the 1080p video for its time was a great addition. I know it's an entry level camera but a few things were omitted that I feel were omitted JUST for up selling.

Bracketing and intervelometer and mirror lock up (you can do it for cleaning but not for photography). I was surprised when my friends much older Nikon had this and mine did not, surely this is software?

Basic control over video functions. Basically they made an auto mode which sucks and even though it shows that your manual controls are working on the screen they do nothing.

Things like this are evident going up the line year after year. Mixed with the response to their quality control issues (I would prefer they admit mistakes and address them instead of the cold expensive shoulder), lack of firmware updates, locking the firmware, locking out 3rd party lenses on d5300 etc etc. I no longer have love for Nikon.

When I upgrade next I will sell my Nikon lenses and change systems to a company that wants to push the boundaries (or Canon thanks to ML). They are very short sighted indeed, they could have put a class leading video mode in the DF with that sexy sensor, but they chose to gimp it along with the autofocus and other features. At least I came to my senses before I bought all of that full frame glass.

Sorry for the long post, I only get one as it's my first, seems like a great community to learn from and discuss with so I'll see you guys on the next Angry Couch Show 😉.

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Does anyone actually know any reliable statistics regarding DSLR video use relative to stills (i.e. numbers of people that buy DSLRs primarily for video rather than stills)? I imagine it's pretty hard to gauge how niche the HDSLR market is ...

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Why are so many of you missing the entire point of the topic?

 

 

I believe it's because of your somewhat unfitting choice for a camera to illustrate your point. Using the Df as an example is rather distracting in this case, for several reasons. You could as well had used D600 or almost any other recent Canikon DSLR as an example, and made your actual point more clearly.

 

I don't think there is much disagreement about your actual point among the video/cinema enthusiasts here, though, and I do sort of understand the use of the Df to illustrate the point. I'm just saying another model might have been less distracting. I think it's also a bit unfair for the Df, albeit not unfair for Nikon in general.

 

After all, one could argue that what's the point of coming up with a typical DSLR with mediocre, or "half-assed" video features slapped on it? If not doing it well, why bother at all? The half-assed features are distracting clutter, mere marketing gimmicks.

Or, why put good video features in a DSLR in the first place? DSLR's with their flippy-flappy mirrors are rather awkward and unnecessarily clumsy as video cameras to begin with. Mirrorless designs would be a more natural choice. Whichever way one wishes to stylise them.

 

Therefore one could argue that the Df, as a traditional DSLR, targeted at a small but well defined audience of stills-only shooters, actually makes more sense than most of their other DSLR models with mediocre and gimmicky video features. Those other models are the real hipster models, trying to lure the masses with feature lists as long as possible, no matter how useful those features actually are.

 

So in a way they [Nikon] do have a point (or they're just being honest); mediocre video in a DSLR could indeed be seen a mere distraction, and you might as well leave it out, at least from a vintage style model like the Df. To offer proper video, they might as well come up with mirrorless models that are more suitable for that, anyway.  

 

Why they still choose not to do so, well, that's the actual point here, isn't it, and the fact that the Df has no video whatsoever, let alone gimmicky video, is irrelevant.

 

I think the no mediocre video in a vintage style DSLR policy is a sensible one per se, so any other Nikon (or Canikon) model would have been a less distracting (and perhaps more fair) example to make your point. Nevertheless, distracting or not, it did spun another generally interesting discussionn, didn't it.

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Does anyone actually know any reliable statistics regarding DSLR video use relative to stills (i.e. numbers of people that buy DSLRs primarily for video rather than stills)? I imagine it's pretty hard to gauge how niche the HDSLR market is ...

 

I doubt anyone can cook up such statistics. It would indeed be hard to measure the usage.

I also believe that both Mr. Reed and Mr. Damphousse have a point above, and perhaps the "truth" hovers somewhere in between. :)

 

Nevertheless, looks like the overall "video-awareness" is slowly increasing among the masses, too, and the recent hype among the enthusiasts is likely to push it further.

 

To carry on with the reviewer example used above, only a few short years ago most camera reviewers around the blogosphere couldn't tell a rolling shutter from a leaf shutter, most of the mainstream still can't, but especially during the year that ended last night, clearly more of them have started noticing (and reporting) even things like jaggies and moire, rather than just repeating the written feature list of the camera, and then carrying on to more important stuff like wifi features. You can sometimes see the progress by reading reviews written a couple of years ago, and ones written recently. Meanwhile, the video features of the mainstream models haven't really changed all that much. In other words, that could be a sign of progress, couldn't it.

So chances are that during 2014 the trend will carry on and grow stronger, with more and more people wanting better video tools. Well, we'll see.

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Matt James Smith-Does anyone actually know any reliable statistics regarding DSLR video use relative to stills (i.e. numbers of people that buy DSLRs primarily for video rather than stills)? I imagine it's pretty hard to gauge how niche the HDSLR market is ...

 

We have quite a large newsagent handy and today I counted the different magazines covering DSLR photography-

fourteen ! (how do they stay in business ???) They only one related to DSLR video is "digital Film maker"

a British magazine .That gives a rough figure of 7% DSLR magazines focusing on film making.

 I would love to know how many GH3s have been sold as surely most are being used for video.

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So Nikon has a press release about the future release of the .... HD D4s. Nikon describe many time as a HD-slr abd most believe that it will be quite video centric. For me a true HD 10 bit 422 log base with some high internal bitrate camera would already be a big advancement.

 

In the mean time, Nikon has released the Nikon d3300 which has full hd up to 60 Fps. It has the expeed 4 and If it has the same sensor as the D5300 it will be a very capable camera for $ 650 for a kit lens. As I said before, even if many think otherwise but Nikon is step by step pushing the video capabilities of its dslr line from the lowest $ 650 to it higher end. The in-between will also get those update as they launched.

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To the left of the USB plug. My D3 certainly has no circular plug on the left side, although it could be DC IN.

 

Just had a look at the D4 and it has the same plug, so it's no-sdi.

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