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Author Topic: "You've never had it so good"  (Read 3975 times)
NigelC
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« on: September 22, 2011, 07:08:43 AM »
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To paraphrase a certain British prime minister of the 1950's

I'm a bit perplexed by the scepticism of some people towards the new Nikon mirrorless format, particularly the idea that they've "got it wrong" vis a vis choice of sensor size compared to the competition.

It doesn't seem that long ago that for serious photographers who wanted a more portable alternative to "full-sized DSLRs" the only alternative was the Canon G series or the Nikon equivalent. Now at the last count we have (talking about categories rather than models/brands) S100/LX5, Pentax Q, Nikon 1, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, Fuji X100, Sony SLT, not to mention Canikonax shrinking their smallest APC DSLRs. All these types offer a different mix of size, weight (body and lenses), form factor, functions, image quality etc.

Now I doubt I will be a customer for the Nikon 1 at present as I have most bases covered with Samsung Galaxy2, LX3, GH2 and 5D2. But I hope that Nikon sell enough to keep the format going because todays compromise, for each of us, may not be what works for us tomorrow. So I hope all these formats continue, although sadly history suggest they won't.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2011, 08:37:41 AM »
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To paraphrase a certain British prime minister of the 1950's

I'm a bit perplexed by the scepticism of some people towards the new Nikon mirrorless format, particularly the idea that they've "got it wrong" vis a vis choice of sensor size compared to the competition.

It is a bit strange, what we have on DPreview looks like an orchastated campaign, doesn't it?

It seems pretty obvious that the nex-7 is an interesting camera, but that it has no real world advantage in terms of size compared to most DSLRs once lenses are factored in. It is too large for a pocket (i played with one just 2 hours ago). Once that is clarified, the main gap is a few mega pixel that will mostly not make any real difference without a tripod.

I personnaly never quite understood the value of APS mirrorless cameras over DSLRs like the D90/D7000 for photographers. An optical viewfinder is still way superior and the bulk difference is negligible in all serious shooting scenarios I can think of.

So I agree, my expectation of a mirrorless is compactness above all while preserving speed of operation and image quality. I am not sure how it is possible to bash the 1 series cameras without first hand information about these aspects.

On the other hand the J1 + lenses sounds pocketable and it seems clear that the system has the potential to go still smaller.

Cheers,
Bernard

Cheers,
Bernard
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memento
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« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2011, 08:57:50 AM »
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The NEX-7 is 291 grams + battery + the 24/1.8 lens comes in at another 225 grams. Altogether that is less than 600 grams.

A77 683 grams + battery + 24/2 another 555 grams.

If you don't see THAT size and weight difference.... well.... nobody can help you.
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KevinA
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« Reply #3 on: September 22, 2011, 10:55:26 AM »
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There is such a desire to have a camera that weighs next to nothing, I sometimes wonder why people bother taking a camera with them, why not leave it at home and buy the postcard. No weight to carry that way. :-)
Seriously if you are into photography do you really want to compromise everything just to fit a camera in a shirt pocket?
Why is so much effort being put into making smaller cameras with more needless features and little effort put into improving image quality.
My carry with me camera is a Rolleiflex.

Kevin
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Kevin.
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« Reply #4 on: September 22, 2011, 11:22:15 AM »
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Hi Kevin,

Seriously if you are into photography do you really want to compromise everything just to fit a camera in a shirt pocket?

No. I surely don't want that!

And that's exactly what the nex NEX-7 and the two new quality lenses are about: Not ultimate compactness at the prize of everything else. But just ergonomic, still light-weight size. Think about long hiking or even trekking trips. This does make a difference to a bulky DSLR outfit, as long as you don't need to use the biggest super-telephoto zooms (and a lot of landscape and reportage-style photogs don't).

My carry with me camera is a Rolleiflex.

Smiley

Still, exchange this Rolleiflex for a big DSLR outfit and the ubiqitous 2.8 "professional" zoom lenses everyone today has to have, and I am sure you'll see what the size discussion is about. In my camera shelf, any classic camera, even a Nikon F, is just dwarfed by a typical mid-range DSLR.

The NEX-7 is rather Leica M-like size (with the body having less weight). Even the new lenses (24, 30, 50) are similar in size to typical rangefinder lenses. I never heard any complaints about them being too small, too big, too heavy, too lightweight, too anything. It's just a natural, wonderful size. It's – in my opinion – miles away from what the current DSLRs have become like. And still it's IMO very suitable for high-quality work. The handling might not be perfect for big telephoto lenses, but again, that is only one single part of serious photography.

As the NEX-7 is not available yet, I have treated myself to a NEX-5 for the meantime to play around a bit. Yes, I find this one really a bit too small and unbalanced for really nice handling. And, as we all know, the viewfinder is missing. But for some serious hiking or mountain trips that small size might just be superb. And the tilt-up screen is also great. Even has a bit of a reminiscence to a waist-level finder on a traditional SLR.

The point is, even this funny little 200 gram body, the old NEX-5, with all its shortcomings does not come with any serious penalty in regards to image quality. One just has to appreciate that. It might not fit anyone's bill, which is perfectly okay. But properly used, I believe all this Sony mirrorless stuff is surely capable for even demanding work (probably with the exeption of some of their lenses, which are of course still a somewhat weak point of it all). And everything that they have got wrong on the NEX-5 body-wise seems to be fixed on the NEX-7.

Thomas
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #5 on: September 22, 2011, 12:04:19 PM »
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Hi,

For me the advantage of mirrorless is getting rid of the mirror and using the sensor data for focusing and viewing. Why have movable parts and at least four assemblies needing careful alignment when we can have one fixed part?!

With DSLR you need, primary mirror and focusing screen for manual focus and secondary mirror and AF sensor for correct focus. With EVIL just a sensor. Also, in extension, non retrofocus wideangles may be possible on EVIL. So for me the DSLR is an anachronism. Old tech to be replaced by new tech.

That said, EVIL may need more development, but I have little doubt that EVI is the concept of the future and SLR is the one of the past.

Best regards
Erik


It is a bit strange, what we have on DPreview looks like an orchastated campaign, doesn't it?

It seems pretty obvious that the nex-7 is an interesting camera, but that it has no real world advantage in terms of size compared to most DSLRs once lenses are factored in. It is too large for a pocket (i played with one just 2 hours ago). Once that is clarified, the main gap is a few mega pixel that will mostly not make any real difference without a tripod.

I personnaly never quite understood the value of APS mirrorless cameras over DSLRs like the D90/D7000 for photographers. An optical viewfinder is still way superior and the bulk difference is negligible in all serious shooting scenarios I can think of.

So I agree, my expectation of a mirrorless is compactness above all while preserving speed of operation and image quality. I am not sure how it is possible to bash the 1 series cameras without first hand information about these aspects.

On the other hand the J1 + lenses sounds pocketable and it seems clear that the system has the potential to go still smaller.

Cheers,
Bernard

Cheers,
Bernard

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MarkL
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2011, 04:59:36 PM »
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It doesn't seem that long ago that for serious photographers who wanted a more portable alternative to "full-sized DSLRs" the only alternative was the Canon G series or the Nikon equivalent. Now at the last count we have (talking about categories rather than models/brands) S100/LX5, Pentax Q, Nikon 1, Micro Four Thirds, Sony E, Fuji X100, Sony SLT, not to mention Canikonax shrinking their smallest APC DSLRs. All these types offer a different mix of size, weight (body and lenses), form factor, functions, image quality etc.

We've never had more cameras but we've never been further from a small capable camera than the late 70s. Unfortunately no matter how many of these cameras they make they are all seriously lacking on one department or other. The biggest issue is that with the exception of the X100 these cameras are aimed at the 'enthusiast' market and so are sorely lacking in proper controls often tandemed with some obsession with miniaturisation at the expense of usability.

The view very much seems to be that non-slr cameras are for casual users (and in nikon's case care more about having a pink camera than usable controls) and serious photographers use pro dslrs. Either they have missed that serious photographers don't want to haul a pro dslr everywhere or they don't care because that market is smaller than squabbling with every other manufacturer in the casual user market (but who still have £900 to blow).

An interchangeable lens X100 with the Nikon 1's af and mechanical manual focus would be perfect - please fuji nail it next time, the market is yours for the taking!
« Last Edit: September 22, 2011, 05:34:20 PM by MarkL » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2011, 05:12:21 PM »
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The NEX-7 is 291 grams + battery + the 24/1.8 lens comes in at another 225 grams. Altogether that is less than 600 grams.

A77 683 grams + battery + 24/2 another 555 grams.

If you don't see THAT size and weight difference.... well.... nobody can help you.

Lighter yes, but not compacter enough to make a practical difference for my applications when I am doing serious photography. You will need a bag anyway to carry both systems since you will need more than one lens when doing serious photography, or should I say "I will need more than one lens".

Besides the lack of optical viewfinders remains a no go as far as I am concerned. The small value in terms of weight is, in my book, far from compensating the loss of what I find the most important aspect of photography, seeing a scene through a viewfinder.

Now I am not doing serious photography all the time but when I am not I want a high quality version of my iPhone experience, click and get a sharp image whatever the subject and conditions.

Cheers,
Bernars
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memento
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2011, 05:45:10 PM »
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Lighter yes, but not compacter enough to make a practical difference for my applications when I am doing serious photography. You will need a bag anyway to carry both systems since you will need more than one lens when doing serious photography, or should I say "I will need more than one lens".

For me its a real downsizing of my bag. I really only need one to two lenses for most of my photography, a 35 and an 85ish. It's absolutely perfect coincidence that Sony made the just right choices for me with the crop-sensor 24 and 50. Apart from that I will need a telezoom – I don't know if the new 55-210 will be of sufficient quality for my needs. And one tele macro such as the Sigma 105 or 150 OS. So when I carry around the macro lens as well (including the AF adapter) it won't be so much less weight as with a DSLR setup. Absolutely right!

But if I don't need the macro, which is the case for a lot of my traveling photography, it will just be:

291g => body
60g => battery
225g => 24
200g => 50
350g => 55-210

This whole bunch is only 1.13 kilogram. This is even less than my actual DSLR body alone weighs. Also it will fit in my smallest Crumpler bag.

In the very, very few cases that I want to go "wide" – it's really not a serious part of my photography – I just might buy the so-so, but cheap and tiny 16 pancake lens. I would never have a similar small option on any DSLR. Generally, I am absolutely not into super-wide-angle photography, even for landscapes – which might be different for a lot of you folks. But I can't speak for you, just for myself, obviously. Also I do know that DSLR are also about fast focusing, action photography and the like. Yes. But I never bought them for these reasons cause that's not what I needed them for. Again only speaking of myself.

Probably it makes more sense to think of the NEX as a rangefinder system with added tele and macro capability. And no one would argue that the classic rangefinder systems appeal to some photogs, for very good reason.

Now I am not doing serious photography all the time but when I am not I want a high quality version of my iPhone experience, click and get a sharp image whatever the subject and conditions.

My personal "serious photography" is about rather still subjects, travel, cityscape, details and landscape, and printing these at sizes up to 20x30" (rarely a bit more). Apart from that, I am very dedicated to macro photography (insects of all kinds). It might be that your serious photography is much different to this and that you will demand much different cameras than a NEX-7. Absolutely understandable.

For a high quality version of an iPhone photo experience, I recently bought a NEX-5 which is even smaller than the NEX-7, with heavy compromise on the UI, but still really astonishing file quality. I might just pair that with the upcoming 30/3.5 Macro lens. Or with the 24 or 50, just according to my mood. It won't fit into any of my clothes' pockets, but I usually always have a small bag with me for all my belongings and stuff, and that still rather little camera won't eat much place in there, and also does not cost so much that I have to really worry about it going with me almost everywhere. A Nikon 1 would need just as much place, cost at least just as much, and offer inferior image quality in every respect, for example.

cheers,
Thomas
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uaiomex
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« Reply #9 on: September 23, 2011, 07:16:57 PM »
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The problem with the Nikon 1 is that it is a Nikon. Nikon is synonym of professional photographic gear. For the time being is hard for almost all photo enthusiasts around the globe to accept a serious Nikon camera with such a tiny sensor. How would you feel if Ferrari came with his own Focus contender? A Pentax 1 or Ricoh 1 would be the perfect marketing trick. We all wanted a mirrorless camera to nail it down. None have done it yet. Nikon was not trying to please the fora crowd. They are rowing against the stream. I wish them luck.
This is a world of brands and paradigms. I'd love that my shoes had the Gucci logo but I'd hate it if they had the Swarovski one. I consider the Nex 7 the best attempt for the definitive mirrorless camera. But God knows I would be better served if that wonder had the Nikon or Olympus logo above the lens.
In a perfect world: SONY 1 and NEXON 7   Grin
Eduardo
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #10 on: September 23, 2011, 08:27:06 PM »
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The problem with the Nikon 1 is that it is a Nikon. Nikon is synonym of professional photographic gear. For the time being is hard for almost all photo enthusiasts around the globe to accept a serious Nikon camera with such a tiny sensor.

Well that's the whole point, the 1 series cameras are NOT serious cameras.

The people looking for a serious mirrorless cameras should look elsewhere.

Beyond that, it is simply a matter of understanding one's own real needs and of assessing correctly the ability of the various offerings on the market to satisfy them... Of course without factoring things like brands... :-)

Cheers,
Bernard
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meyerweb
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« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2011, 09:31:54 PM »
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I think the problem with the new Nikons are that they are neither particularly small, nor particularly better in image quality than the top P&S cameras.

The Oly EPM cameras are roughly the same size as the J1, and smaller than the V1, while having a larger sensor (and probably better image quality, based on some preliminary images and tests). The 14-150 Oly lens and 45-200 Panny lenses are smaller, faster and have more telephoto reach than the Nikon 10-100.

Compared to the top P&S cameras, they have limited zoom range unless you go to the really big (relative to the body and sensor size) 10-100, and image quality that probably isn't significantly different to the P&S buyer. They're clearly aiming the J1 at women shoppers with all the color choices, but the J1 with 10-100 doesn't fit in a purse very well, and with the 10-30 has very limited zoom range.

I'm just not sure who's going to buy this.  I think it misses both the enthusiast buyer (small sensor, limited lens selection and bulk of the lenses) and the P&S upgrade buyer, who's going to be disappointed in the zoom range and bulk, and also suffer from price shock.

Time will tell, and Nikon certainly does a lot more market research than I do, but I just don't see it.  I wonder if ensuring the camera didn't cannibalize DSLR sales forced to many limitations on the cameras.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 03:20:08 AM »
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I think the problem with the new Nikons are that they are neither particularly small, nor particularly better in image quality than the top P&S cameras.

Could you please show me evidence of the last statement in your sentence about image quality?

Based on this: http://asia.cnet.com/product/nikon-1-v1-45649400.htm
And this: http://www.digitalcamerainfo.com/content/Nikon-Mirrorless-J1-Digital-Camera-Review/Sample-Photos.htm

I feel that the J1/V1 is in the same ballpark as the GF3 at ISO1600/3200. The Nikon has better colors, seems to be more sensitive and to preserve more details, but this could also be a focus issue with the Panasonic. The gap seems to be increasing at ISO6400 where the Nikon is really much better.

Without starting to do meaningless pixel peeping, it seems much better than compact cameras at those ISOs, would you not think?

Thanks.

Cheers,
Bernard
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meyerweb
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« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2011, 01:25:19 PM »
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Perhaps, but how often do P&S shooters really use ISO 1600? I see the buyer for these cameras using flash 99% of the time indoors. Looking at some other comparisons (which I don't have the link to handy), noise at low ISO seems quite bad on the Nikons when compared to m43.  But we were talking about compacts, not m43.

Let's be realistic: most P&S users are not viewing images at 100%. A 4x6 print, a 7 or 8" LCD picture frame, or a 17 - 20" monitor are the most likely options.  At that size, any improvements in image quality are probably immaterial. Certainly not enough to justify paying 3 times the price and losing zoom range and compactness.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2011, 03:11:09 PM »
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Perhaps, but how often do P&S shooters really use ISO 1600? I see the buyer for these cameras using flash 99% of the time indoors. Looking at some other comparisons (which I don't have the link to handy), noise at low ISO seems quite bad on the Nikons when compared to m43.  But we were talking about compacts, not m43.

Let's be realistic: most P&S users are not viewing images at 100%. A 4x6 print, a 7 or 8" LCD picture frame, or a 17 - 20" monitor are the most likely options.  At that size, any improvements in image quality are probably immaterial. Certainly not enough to justify paying 3 times the price and losing zoom range and compactness.

I don't believe the discussion here is about the 1 series being a camera appealing to all the owners of compact cameras. The point is more that many compact camera users who care about their pictures are still disapointed today by the inability of their current camera to take reliably usable images in very common situation like a kid doing his thing indoors on a normal day or their friends dancing at 3 AM in a dark room.

They were disapointed 3 years ago with their first digital camera and are still as disapointed today with their second one coming with auto iso capability cos they are still unable to focus and end up being at ISO1600 nearly all the time with the effect you can imagine...

Do people use the flash of their camera? Yes, they end up having to try because that is the only way to get sharp images. Do they like it? they mostly hate it because of the red eyes, changing white balance (they don't call it that way of course) and the light island effect hiding the background.

Now, compact camera have improved a lot and the issues I am discribing are impacting less users than they were a few years ago, but the gap between the level needed in terms of AF and high iso image quality is still very real and is IMHO annoying a large number of people.

So high ISO image quality is in fact more important to casual users than it is to experts.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Bernard ODonovan
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« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2011, 02:18:44 PM »
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@ New Mirrorless Camera’s, the ones that caught my eye recently…

First the Pentax Q. The new Sony BSI sensor and the small sensor size lead to very practical image taking for targeted users (where dept of field needed). The lens set is truly pocketable and for those who then add a converter and full sized SLR lenses this leads to spectacular supertele capability. Remember on full frame a supertele lens is very big, very heavy, very expensive and across a distance heat haze and dust will soften an image, so the full frame advantage is less obvious.

The feature and function set on the camera is not aimed at me and the standard prime appears to have barrel distortion so whilst I think Pentax are making a great contribution to photography and I love their brave approach to innovative products the Pentax Q is not my thang.

Second the Fuji X10. 2/3 Inch sensor, not back lit but does have Fuji’s other DR expansion features for low light. Looks like it will also appeal to those that bought the X100 for its retro feel. The optical zoom finder, whilst only 80% view is still very interesting as they claim the experience is large and bright to the user.

Like the Pentax Q, I love that Fuji have been brave to focus a product this way, a great contribution to photography but still not quite what I am after.

Last but not least the new Nikon 1. An even bigger sensor also not back lit but still small enough. If we were thinking in terms of TV sensor tubes and C mount lenses this would be classed a 1 Inch sensor, however it is not that large. With a diagonal just under 16mm it is slightly larger than the diagonal of super 16mm cine film which has a diagonal of 14.4 mm. Nikon appear to suggest ‘’1’’ is the future in place of the Nikon ‘’I’’ of the past.

The film world is very much following the still image world of digital change. Nikon do not bring out a new lens mount every week and the old F mount has survived the digital world of DSLR’s. I suspect they have chosen this new mount as a long term mount for compact still system camera, combo cams (as in the product being launched) and also a professional mount for motion picture camera’s that would shoot this new format the way 16mm film was shoot with C mount lenses. By using the new technologies the need for large heavy indexed lenses is also overcome and so the need for a robust PL type mount is now less import as lenses will be electronic and smaller and auto focus will become a reality for this use. So their CX mount may also replace the need for PL mounts in some applications should they make any professional digital cinema products.

The tech spec of the camera is very significant for all imaging systems. If focus, metering and image quality of both sensor and view finder continue to improve, I suspect we will see this approach on all popular formats. It seems Sony’s new view finder is a step up over optical APS-C viewfinders and almost as good as the average Full Frame viewfinder. The first nail is most certainly in the coffin of the DSLR. Once patent and production capability issues are overcome I suspect this new Nikon will be copied in the larger formats. It will be interesting if Nikon makes the switch on its so called professional model replacements.

I really like the concept of the Nikon 1. The functions it offers over the competition, the ‘’possible’’ future use of the mount and the convenience and price advantage of a smaller format. 10 Mega pixels (less than the Q’s even smaller sensor) obviously chosen to make the most of the faster processing engine for the new features. They really have done their home work… Well done Nikon…

I am quite happy with my ‘’Full Frame’’ 135 Film SLR for portrait work. If my SLR manufacturer brings out a Mirrorless body with a great EVF and Nikon 1 style hybrid auto focus, then I will drool and drool. However I do not NEED a DSLR or Mirrorless Full Frame. Full Frame is the goldilocks format for portrait work. Film more than meets my needs.

NEX 7 is interesting for wide angles (when the top lenses fill out, if they fill out). Not a NEED for me though. I will get way more fun from the Nikon 1 by the looks…

4/3, may as well not exist, just does not interest me (2:3 ratio formats only please), and I am not inspired by the makers in the 4/3 group either. If it suits you, good luck…

This is how I feel today… as the guys at ‘’RED’’ would say, expect change, with me change is guaranteed… LOL
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fotometria gr
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« Reply #16 on: September 26, 2011, 09:54:22 AM »
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In my view its clearly a matter of time till there will be an ILC (interchangeable lens compact), with a cell phone included! The manufacturer(s) that will do this will be for sure the market leaders. I believe that the blame is not with the industry, after all, all they want is to sell, but with consumers that have dropped their values near zero! What I mean is simply that if we didn't have as many CAMERA USERS declaring them shelves as "photographers", if we didn't have as many corrupted web reviews on equipment,  if we didn't have as many "pros" that don't even know what photography is about and if there where consumers of photography than photo equipment, then... there would be no point on this discussion! Instead the market believes that a good camera will turn them to "photographers", especially if it pays much less than its required, the industry is happy with their growth and ....art  together with traditional human values is good for ....rubbish! Cheers, Theodoros. www.fotometria.gr
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