After many years of longing on the part of loyal owners of Nikon cameras, the company quite unexpectedly introduced the D800, a model that, at the time, not just outstripped the then resolution leaders among 35mm DSLRs, but it set the standard so high that the majority considered such an act completely useless. In months to come, owners of Canon cameras have been impatiently waiting for their favorite company to reply in an adequate fashion and once again take over the leading position – the position that it kept for so long and that was jeopardized when Nikon introduced the D3X. Some have done this as pure fans, while others because of practical needs.
Throughout history lots of companies have been associated with visionary myths. It would be really insolent to negate that there were such actions in the past, yet the missionary zeal somehow often vanishes overnight and gives way to apathy and unpreparedness to make and accept changes. Aside from the cases where such a metamorphosis is a reflection of inability on part of conglomerates to spot instantly an adequate moment to take action, a more frequent form of ending in a stalemate results from the feeling of being untouchable. Just like an athlete who dominates his/her discipline and with time gets a feeling of invincibility, so companies must go through a sobering experience in order to accept that they are not alone on the scene.
“Photography, as we all know, is not real at all. It is an illusion of reality with which we create our own private world.” – Arnold Newman
When he made the quoted observation, the well-known American photographer probably did not have in mind that the entire photography industry would start to foster illusionism as an instrument of business affairs. Nonetheless, nowadays we consider photography more of a mirror of life and reality that surrounds us than we can be sure what some new piece of photo equipment brings us.
For quite some time, Nikon has been in the stage of economizing on resources. After they have invested all their energy in developing and promoting several very successful models in the last couple of years, survived a few affairs with undocumented flaws and support that was not adequate at certain points, they moved on to a state that can be called strategic silence. The models that Nikon has launched lately can hardly be called revolutionary. Perhaps not even by the evolution of the existing ones, but more revisions. It is absolutely clear that Nikon has adopted the tactics of the chief rival (Canon) and decided to apply it in its own market battle.
In contrast to Canon, which has opted for unpopular tactics of designing new labels for old products due to being unable to technologically confront his rival in the last couple of years as far as the sensor is concerned, Nikon has offered some improvements, in bits and pieces though. The D610 is an extreme example, which caused a certain level of resignation among members of the public, almost equal to the one that occurred because of the problem with oil on the sensor of the D600, as it is literally identical to its predecessor in technical terms, whereas the D5300 did better, not ideally though, since the differences in relation to the D5200 are just symbolic for the majority.
If you wish to draw attention of the public, to make it talk about something, you must offer it something unexpected. This recipe works in most situations. Yet, what would it be like if after a number of years with something ‘unexpected’ we finally got something expected, undoubtedly better that the previous? This question was posed to the management of the largest company in the photo world, and as a result of working on the ‘expected’, we have got a new champion of action photography featuring the APS-C format, and perhaps the first APS-C of the new age in the pro category – Canon EOS Mark II!
Being lonesome in the category which it belongs to causes even a not particularly good product to become inviting. If it happens that it is also designed superbly, packed exceptionally and free of low quality, a myth of invincibility gets created around it, which shows no signs of fading with time, and finally – it passes into legend.
The Nikon D700, a legend that lives on, has become a reference according to many parameters. Some of its characteristics have raised it above the mundane average, some made it unique, yet its strongest point has been reliability, despite the fact it rose to fame thanks to the sensor inherited from the champion D3. This is a camera that is capable of meeting each and every demand of its owner at any moment, no matter if it has to do with a hobby or a serious job – it easily becomes a favorite tool. The D700 brought us an appropriate 35mm digital SLR body, the first one of Nikon’s aroma that a puny mortal could buy, without having to make a financial construction equal to investing in the stock market, and definitely the first body that could be measured against high-end DSLR ‘sportsmen’ in the budget class. Of course, it was not only the sensor that contributed to the D700’s success – there were also subsystems that promoted this model as the most universal DSLR body, so the subsequent success did not surprise many.
“The brightest flame casts the darkest shadow,” George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
When you develop an exceptional product (on purpose or by mistake, it is not that important), its next iteration, without exception, is under the shadow of the noted predecessor. Unless you manage to outdo yourself. If plenty of items are withheld from the older model so that there would be room for future improvements, then the list of problems for the manufacturer is getting shorter. However, what happens when the existing product is already polished enough, remarkable in many segments, and obviously flawless? There are two solutions. One is highly unpopular among users, and that is prolonging the introduction of the next generation as long as the current generation demonstrates even the minutest signs of vitality concerning sale. The second solution is shaping the new generation of the product to be even more dazzling and convincing than the former. Or, at least, an illusion about that. Anyway, the epilogue can balance between users’ discontent, indifference or sheer delirium.
The doubt that we expressed when presenting the smallest DSLR ever, the Canon EOS 100D, regarding the fact that the class 100D may cease to exist turned out to be incorrect. In fact, what turned out incorrect is the idea that that class would be dismantled; as for the question whether we have a genuinely new camera or not – well, not really. As a number of times so far, it has turned out that analyses which are a reflection of public opinion are almost entirely inconsequential to large corporations. The reasons for that are simpler than it may seem at first glance – ‘public opinion’ is primarily composed of competent individuals, professional thinkers and interested amateurs who, no matter how much importance they place on themselves, do not comprise the majority within a group of potential buyers and followers of events on the photographic scene. The undeniable truth, which we are all well aware of, receives its nth confirmation in a row precisely by introducing one such camera, a model whose purpose is very close to a reprint of worn-out billboards, after rain and the heat of the sun have washed away their glow.
“The summer collection is ready”… Like advertisements in the fashion industry, marketing campaigns in the photo industry more and more tend to remind one of items of clothing instead of a gadget produced with the purpose of running a particular business or having a hobby. Even the most ambitious companies are caught in a daring game of repeating the same products with only cosmetic differences between generations, and since the profit in no way points to the mistakes during the entire process, it is evident that these manufacturers will change little in such business tactics in the near future.
“If you can’t beat them, join them”… But what should you do if you do not want to join them, because if you do, you accept their rules? In that case, you do something similar, but, at the same time, different enough!
If we disregard the ancient past and the emergence of photography as a concept, the recent history of this genre has reached several major milestones. All of them, of course, were related to the digital version of our favorite discipline, profession or hobby (depends on a person), and they are characterized by a noticeable segregation of the market, both from the user’s and the manufacturer’s point of view. The first important milestone occurred at the very moment of presenting the digital counterpart to the analog film. This time we will leave out the story about the comic predictions of the leading people of the industry about the idea that “the digital is transient; just a fad that will soon be forgotten” and the like since we all know how this story ended;
Our friend Predrag Jelenic, a film editor and photographer, but also a motorcycle enthusiast, has embarked on a historical adventure with the aim of visiting monuments of the one-time National Liberation Movement (NLM) on the territory of the entire former Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY), and we have decided wholeheartedly to help him put his plan into effect. Peja will travel on his bike from one monument to another and document the entire experience, and over the next several days, you can find all his observations from that odyssey exclusively on our forum! The tour starts on June 13, and since that moment, the coverage of where the action happens will be refreshed daily with authentic impressions and photographs from the journey. Enjoy!
One of the theories of the cosmic balance is based on the idea that everything takes place in cycles, cycles in which familiar sequences of events repeat, thus making the world constantly exposed to the effect of the already seen… Déjà vu?
The fact that history repeats itself is supported by a mass of evidence, and the same can be said about the trends in the world of fashion. Until only recently, technology was more or less immune to this phenomenon, as long as the market race was entered by financially driven contestants, who had not joined the digital era on time or had done it with a lack of energy. A few years ago when Olympus presented its digital version of the Pen camera series, formerly popular worldwide, it appeared that the photography-loving public became simply hypnotized by the idea of modern cameras packed in a retro design. Indeed, in the years to come, the market was flooded with a whole bunch of various cameras of all classes for which the common denominator was the fact that they combined compactness, a large sensor, and very often - retro design.
When a torrent of disappointment gives way to rationality, the EOS 5D Mark III really has something to offer. We will try to dissect it into elements and determine whether, and to what degree, the last gymnastic stunt made by Canon is justified, in terms of redefining the classes of cameras and their positions on the market.
Psychologists say that children in the first period of their lives follow and imitate every move made by the adults, and that they continue doing it during growing up. Generally, this pattern is characteristic for all intelligent beings, more or less prominent. What is the connection here with our topic? Well, it’s quite simple. Big companies also often act quite childish, in a way. The level of interest for certain segments of production varies in relation to the current demand on the market, but it also depends on the moves made by the market leaders. Call it imitation, stealing ideas, whatever, the essence is what matters here. Earlier, manufacturers were trying to cater to buyers, while the situation is reversed today, and manufacturers are the ones to produce the demand, applying a marketing pressure to buyers and forming their needs, through both innovations and various manipulative actions. Those who create such a climate are usually the leaders, and the others are most often – imitators.
Exactly 13 years after the first model in the "two-digit" class Canon DSLRs have traveled a long distance. From a simple camera with a small sensor and limited only to EF lenses, such were models D30, D60 and somewhat later the EOS 10D, they evolved into serious magnesium bodies, whose smaller sensor, starting basically with the EOS 20D, was for the first time seen as an advantage, instead of being a cheap variant of FF cameras. Introduction of dedicated APS-C lenses labeled EF-S extended the range of usability for Canon's advanced APS-C bodies, and provided photography enthusiasts with enjoyment for much less money than it was the case until then. Eventually this class would have several revamps, in terms of construction, as well as functions, but it would always be an important item in the specter of Canon’s DSLRs.
Not so long ago, at times it seemed that the 35mm cameras outside the high-end class would gradually yield before the invasion of the "fancy" APS-C DSLRs of all relevant manufacturers, and that impression was additionally intensified after the market had been aggressively attacked by the so called MILC (Mirrorless Interchangeable Lens Camera) systems, which additionally messed up the calculation.. And, of course, the actual situation indicated such a trend – why would anyone want a big, heavy system, when one could get an easier, more portable and inconspicuous system of an equal potential? But is that quite so?
“The King is dead! Long live the King!“
The well-known saying from the Middle Ages might not have too much to do with the situation in photo industry, but we might say that it is an ideal representation of the change on the resolution throne we are witnessing these weeks. Is this the herald of some new occasions, is yet to be seen. For the time being, spotlights are directed to the new sovereign of small format DSLRs, and the first impressions tell us that it might bring about a complete change in the understanding of the growth of resolution as the aggravating factor in relation to the quality of the photos provided by Bayer’s sensors. And no... it is not a Canon!
Looking at the development of different technologies from various industries, we often wonder – what will happen when the market becomes oversaturated? Or reaches the limits of current technology in the moment when the new one is still unknown? It is an interesting phenomenon that in almost all industrial branches that aim towards dizzying progress, says that these generation breakdowns happen very rarely, or never. Whenever it seems to us that the current technology solves everything, it turns out that there is quite enough room for innovation, and more than enough, before the last cards hit the desk and companies are forced to radically change their approach.
Time definitely “flies”! Despite the fact that almost a year has passed since the announcement of the D5200 model, premiere of the Nikon D5300 seems slightly premature… as it hasn’t been long since we saw the predecessor for the first time. It is obvious that the rapid tempo that has been present for quite some time in all domains of photo industry (and not only it), has made time pass by seemingly faster, so the change of generations appears to happen more often than it really does. Exposure of consumers to products that feature not-so-big improvements has created a conditioned reflex that causes very negative reactions to the frequent "splurge" of new models. Unlucky circumstances have automatically placed the Nikon D5300 into the group of uninventive “imitators” of previous generation, together with Canon’s the EOS 700D and Nikon’s the D610. Although all three cameras have some dominant common traits with the models they have replaced, the fact is that unlike the other two cameras, the Nikon D5300 definitely offers enough to be accepted slightly different and with due examination, without any prejudice.