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Nikon D810: what's the thinking?


Dallas

Today Nikon did what they usually do. Announce another product that is for all intents and purposes “more of the same”. They brought out an update to the Nikon D800 DSLR in the form of the D810.

Looking at this camera’s impressive specifications from a professional photographer’s perspective I have no doubt that it will excite many existing Nikon users, both pro’s and enthusiasts. But will it be enough to keep consumer interest buoyant in what is an ever shrinking market for DSLR makers? Will it cause those using other brands to switch the way they did when the D3 was released?

It’s great that Nikon are still putting a lot of effort into developing and refining their top camera lines, but what this release tells me is that they are happy to pour R&D into what is evidently becoming a less desired product than the products more camera users are buying these days: namely mirrorless and smartphones. Figures recently published in this Wall Street Journal article about Nikon show that globally DSLR revenues from actual sales of DSLR’s are down 17% while mirrorless revenues are up 39%. As the author of that piece points out it’s most likely because of a shift to higher priced mirrorless models than previous years, which in itself is indicative of what’s currently driving the camera market. The people who have an above snapshot interest in photography are mostly opting to buy serious mirrorless models instead of serious DSLR’s like the D800 and other top end models.

Nikon are not in the mirrorless charge with much conviction yet this is the only camera segment that is growing. In fact, with their only mirrorless offering being the lukewarm Nikon 1 series, it seems that Nikon are not really interested in the mirrorless market at all, which to me is a cause of major stupefaction. While they are polishing their DSLR crown jewels for display in the elite areas of camera stores, their competitors are stocking the rest of the emporium with stuff that is obviously being well received by those consumers who are willing to spend their Dollars on them. It should be of grave concern to Nikon, especially when the Wall Street journal starts publishing articles asking the same questions of their strategy. Investors read WSJ. Everyone wants investors. What will the investors do if they don’t like what they’re seeing?

So where to for Nikon if D810 sales don’t drive brand aspirations upwards?

We recently discussed in a thread here on Fotozones the options that Nikon Corp has if they are to survive as an independent company. I’m of the opinion that they should be looking to the consumer electronics market, specifically smartphones, as a course of diversifying their interests. They’re already a household brand for consumer electronics so why not look at developing their own line of camera phones where the camera is so good it makes everyone want one? I know that I’d much rather have a very good camera on my phone than any other app or gimmick that’s interesting for about 5 minutes. I’m also more likely to buy a smartphone with a camera like that than a Coolpix compact camera. I’m sure that entering the smartphone market would be a lot easier than their $2bn chosen path of diversification into medical equipment.

As somebody who first came to photography via Nikon it would sadden me to see the brand become usurped by another brand if their diversification efforts fail but unless there is a dramatic change of approach at Nikon I fear that this is an entirely possible outcome.

It wouldn’t hurt them to make a really good, DX or even FX sized mirrorless camera with a new mount using the advanced auto focus technology they have already shown they can put in the Nikon 1. There are always going to be users who prefer DSLR’s to mirrorless so they will still sell them if a product like that appeared in their line. Perhaps they’d sell in smaller numbers, but why not hedge your options by developing a product that is aggressively positioned against the top end micro four thirds, Sony A7 and Fuji X-series cameras? Right now they’ve got nothing interesting to plug that gap.

The D810 might end up being a great camera for its users but is it going to be a great camera for Nikon’s sales figures? I’m thinking probably not. God help them if they have any QC issues with this one.

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I agree that the Nikon D810 is not revolutionary but, as they say, it is evolutionary. Those of us who like the Nikon D800/E want one because no camera has served us better than the D800 series. At least that is my opinion. I ordered on as soon as it became available, early this morning here in the states.

 

I want that extra stop of dynamic range, the various new features that appeared in the Nikon D4s, and so on. I particularly want to play with the flat video-profile, which should be similar to the Sony s-log, which will be like having a "rawer" raw to grade.

 

Those of us who need the D810 have to have it, but I agree Nikon is way late in giving us an brilliant EVF on a large DSLR body. 

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Well, in contrast to the D800 and D800E, this thing finally has a fast enough frame rate and enough of a push in the ISO range to make it interesting to switch from the D700. Now where is my hidden account?

cheers

afx

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Dallas, I'm going to try and give you an analogy.

Fiat made a cool $200m loss selling millions of baseline cars, but made up for it with a $250m profit from selling a few thousand Maserati's.

Units sold does not always reflect the complete picture.

I think the D810 is a solid camera with specifications to match.

Not every one of us wants a Fiat, some of us still prefer the Maserati, even if the Fiat has cup holders, radio with wifi, Satnav and tinted Windows :-)

Edited by Fanie

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Nikon 1 technology is not some magic recipe for fast mirrorless AF; Nikon stated it only works in the context of the small sensor; they tried to make it work in larger formats and couldn't get it to work. FX mirrorless AF is like LV AF is today, try that in a dark church on an approaching subject  with your favorite DSLR in LV mode with a fast prime, or with the A7R.

 

Full frame mirrorless native AF lenses (e.g. 35/2.8, 55/1.8) seem to go for a 4x premium of what their FX DSLR equivalents cost (Sigma's highly praised 35/1.4 FX DSLR lens is two stops faster and yet about the same price as the Sony/Zeiss 35/2.8, hence it costs 75% less than expected;  Nikon 50/1.8 is also about 75% less expensive than its mirrorless cousin of the same maximum aperture and similar focal length). I couldn't possibly afford that. So given all the affordable excellent FX lenses Nikon is making (28/1.8, 35/1.8, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 70-200/4) I see a very bright future for Nikon FX DSLRs in the next years.

 

The optical viewfinder is such a joy to use, one can see the subject instead of the computer's interpretation of what the subject looked like a moment ago, without reduced contrast range, and without getting a feeling of sickness/nausea.

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I'd like to see Nikon make both DX and FX mirrorless cameras.  Smaller, better in the dark, etc, etc.

Improvement in the inadequacies of the EVF(in general, the ability to be brighter when needed) might be what they're waiting for.  They may have to wait for that product to be developed by a specialist company.

I could see Nikon supplying a camera design or module for a photo-oriented smartphone.  

Addendum:

I think it is important for Nikon to improve it's existing products as they go along, and, based on the published specs and claimed improvements, the D810 would seem to be a good step forward.

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Guest Bjørn J

Posted

The optical viewfinder is such a joy to use, one can see the subject instead of the computer's interpretation of what the subject looked like a moment ago, without reduced contrast range, and without getting a feeling of sickness/nausea.

 

Well said. I totally agree with you.

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Some interesting specs 

Glad to see the AF improvements of the D4s

 

Base ISO 64 ... hmm I'll expect it to be superb

 

wondering how liveview will be ... useful to focus when zoomed in?

 

and I really hope this does't have generalized quality problems

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Nikon 1 technology is not some magic recipe for fast mirrorless AF; Nikon stated it only works in the context of the small sensor; they tried to make it work in larger formats and couldn't get it to work. FX mirrorless AF is like LV AF is today, try that in a dark church on an approaching subject  with your favorite DSLR in LV mode with a fast prime, or with the A7R.

 

Full frame mirrorless native AF lenses (e.g. 35/2.8, 55/1.8) seem to go for a 4x premium of what their FX DSLR equivalents cost (Sigma's highly praised 35/1.4 FX DSLR lens is two stops faster and yet about the same price as the Sony/Zeiss 35/2.8, hence it costs 75% less than expected;  Nikon 50/1.8 is also about 75% less expensive than its mirrorless cousin of the same maximum aperture and similar focal length). I couldn't possibly afford that. So given all the affordable excellent FX lenses Nikon is making (28/1.8, 35/1.8, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 70-200/4) I see a very bright future for Nikon FX DSLRs in the next years.

 

The optical viewfinder is such a joy to use, one can see the subject instead of the computer's interpretation of what the subject looked like a moment ago, without reduced contrast range, and without getting a feeling of sickness/nausea.

 

Illka, I think you're missing the point. Besides, which mirrorless cameras are you referring to? 

 

Fanie, do you have any verifiable sources for the profit margins on top end DSLR's? Common perception is that they are not very profitable at all. 

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Nikon 1 technology is not some magic recipe for fast mirrorless AF; Nikon stated it only works in the context of the small sensor; they tried to make it work in larger formats and couldn't get it to work. FX mirrorless AF is like LV AF is today, try that in a dark church on an approaching subject  with your favorite DSLR in LV mode with a fast prime, or with the A7R.

 

Full frame mirrorless native AF lenses (e.g. 35/2.8, 55/1.8) seem to go for a 4x premium of what their FX DSLR equivalents cost (Sigma's highly praised 35/1.4 FX DSLR lens is two stops faster and yet about the same price as the Sony/Zeiss 35/2.8, hence it costs 75% less than expected;  Nikon 50/1.8 is also about 75% less expensive than its mirrorless cousin of the same maximum aperture and similar focal length). I couldn't possibly afford that. So given all the affordable excellent FX lenses Nikon is making (28/1.8, 35/1.8, 50/1.8, 85/1.8, 70-200/4) I see a very bright future for Nikon FX DSLRs in the next years.

 

The optical viewfinder is such a joy to use, one can see the subject instead of the computer's interpretation of what the subject looked like a moment ago, without reduced contrast range, and without getting a feeling of sickness/nausea.

Mirror less cameras now have integrated PDAF on the sensor. They can focus precisely in poor light nowadays, cf. Sony A7, Olympus OM-D E-M1. 

 

We all know that lenses with the Zeiss brand carry a premium on the price, so the price of the Sony/Zeiss AF lenses are no surprise at all. If you consider the Sony branded 70-200/4, it has the exact same price level as its' counterparts from Canon and Nikon.

 

The EVF is a joy to use, since it allows you to see the exposure and always ensure optimal focus with MF glass. The fact that the EVF is a computer representation of the scene is no problem, since that applies also to any subsequent output from a digital camera. The lag in the EVF is short enough to be insignificant, and you need also consider that a DSLR imposes a longer shutter lag, since it has to swing the mirror out of the way before a the shutter can start opening. A mirror less camera will trigger the shutter immediately.

 

The D810 will highlight another disadvantage of the DSLR, namely that you have to go to live view to be able to use "electronic first curtain". The DSLR form factor doesn't lend itself to feature for increasing sharpness, since you have to resort to the LCD to use it.

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Guest kristian skeie

Posted (edited)

Actually, those updates looks rather impressive. Not sure I'll update my D800 at this point, but could be tempted. I don't quite see why there is a major need to "reinvent the wheel". The DSLR works really well, improvements in the image quality and slight improvements on handling etc seems like a good idea to me. Having tried pretty much all the mirror less cameras, including the latest Sony, I have problems with the responsivness of the system. Also, the tiny size is an issue when it comes to handling. Smaller then the D800 for most use (work) is not tempting. My one main question would be how good it is in low light compared to the D4. It could at some point be tempting to go for two 810's instead of one D4 and one D800.

Edited by kristian skeie

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In the last few months I have tried out a number of mirrorless cameras, including the Sigma Merrill DP3, the Sony A7r, the Nikon 1, the Sony RX100, the Panasonic Lumix GH4, and various video cameras including the Blackmagic Pocket Camera and the Sony FS700.... and others. I have the new Sony A7s on order for low-light video.

 

The Nikon 1, Sony A7r, and Sigma Merrill DP3 cameras I have returned for various reasons as just not ready for prime time. The Sony RX100 I still have, but am thinking of trading it in on the newest model.

The Lumix GH4 I am keeping as a video camera, and the same, of course, with the Sony FS700. Both can do 4K video and are exceptional in their own ways.

 

One thing I did learn is the my Nikon viewfinders (D700E, D7100, etc.) don't hold a candle as far as focusing ability to a good EVF, where I can punch in for close focus. I am sorry to say but they are a joke for trying to focus lenses like the new Zeiss APO series. Sure, I can do it, but it would be so much more productive if Nikon had either both kinds of viewfinders or just a good EVF.

 

I fear that Nikon and Canon are falling behind, at least right now. Moreover, I have stopped identifying with Nikon as being the only camera body out there for me. I have yet to find a match for the D800E for my work, and have ordered the D810. What I really need, as mentioned above, is a D810 with a great EVF. That would be heaven.

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Guest Thomas_MUA

Posted

After the financial crisis that broke out in Asia in the summer of 1997 Mitsubishi Keiretsu, one of the world’s largest industrial groups of which Nikon Corporation (since its foundation) is a division/member has been under tremendous pressure to change in order to survive...  in the cash rich years just prior to the financial crisis R&D was at the zenith... Yes this is the period which generated the D3... 

 

oft said... hobbyist are seriously concerned about gear, professionals are primarily concerned about money... while the masters are focused solely on appreciating and becoming one with the quality of light for it is this entity which is paramount in crafting two dimensional renderings of 3 dimensional space...

 

Funny how my clients rarely if ever ask me about gear... 

 

Actually I’m awestruck at the capabilities of my current equipment, Nikon has provided me with incredible optics & capture devices of worth and value… for this I’m deeply grateful… and earnestly wish them all the best for their future success…

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Guest kristian skeie

Posted

Good point Thomas. I am simply selfish- I am happy with the functionality of how the "traditional Nikon" works.. Not particularly keen on changing dramatically- I have never had issues with the output- i.e. clients don't complain... I guess its more me whom sometimes am keen on the little improvements that may result from an update- and obviously, should a camera break down!

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After the financial crisis that broke out in Asia in the summer of 1997 Mitsubishi Keiretsu, one of the world’s largest industrial groups of which Nikon Corporation (since its foundation) is a division/member has been under tremendous pressure to change in order to survive...  in the cash rich years just prior to the financial crisis R&D was at the zenith... Yes this is the period which generated the D3... 

 

oft said... hobbyist are seriously concerned about gear, professionals are primarily concerned about money... while the masters are focused solely on appreciating and becoming one with the quality of light for it is this entity which is paramount in crafting two dimensional renderings of 3 dimensional space...

 

Funny how my clients rarely if ever ask me about gear... 

 

Actually I’m awestruck at the capabilities of my current equipment, Nikon has provided me with incredible optics & capture devices of worth and value… for this I’m deeply grateful… and earnestly wish them all the best for their future success…

How refreshing, thanks Thomas. :good:

 

It does amuse me that some folks seem worried by the choice of equipment others choose

to enjoy.

Edited by wildoat

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It is obvious that there are different strokes for different folks when it comes to viewfinders. In my case, my work is mostly close-up or macro photography and to make it more difficult I like to use the new Zeiss APO lenses (135mm and 55mm), which are not meant for close-up work. Because of this, focus with these great lenses on a D800E requires fine adjustment because the final crop of the frame may be very small.

 

I don't find Live View, even with a Zacuto Z-Finder, that helpful, so I am dependent on the built-in finder on my Nikon D800E. Many of you may not require such fine focus, much less stacking 100 layers. I understand that.

 

Now that I have had a chance to use some good EVF finders in these new mirror-less cameras I find that being able to punch in, see the fine print, focus on it, and photograph it a great help.

 

It is clear to me that EVFs are not gadgets (or advertising gimmicks), but rather the future of viewfinders, at least for my work. Anyone who has not worked with a decent EVF, but perhaps with the earlier lousy EVFs, won't understand. I am also working with more higher-end video cameras these days, many of which have good EVFs or external monitors. And it is a pleasure to be able to get as close to my subject as I need (by pressing a button), manually focus correctly, and capture that moment sharply.

 

I can't wait for Nikon to provide me with an exquisite EVF to go with my new D810.

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i will be selling my D800E (120k actuations) for the new one... i need the higher frame rate and improved autofocus... my guess is that the quality control issues that the first round had will be gone since my D4s was sharp out of the box..

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I can't wait for Nikon to provide me with an exquisite EVF to go with my new D810.

 

I would like the manufacturers to implement the best of both worlds, a hybrid OVF/EVF in future dslr's. Even my Fuji X20 compact camera had a - primitive but workable - mix of OVF with display of shutter speed and aperture. Just give us an OVF and a live histogram superimposed or something else high-tech at the push of a button.

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The battle lines are forming in much the same way as the 1980-2010 War of OS, when billions of furious words were blasted over the airwaves claiming the God of the Microchip was with either Microsoft or Apple. Many people in this OVF vs EVFcase, as back then, hadn't had much more than a passing experience of the latest form of the other side's source of worship, yet still chose to justify their stance purely on a past experience with older versions.

 

I can't comment on the D810 other than that on paper I agree - it seems to be exactly what D700 users were calling for after the D3s was released as a marked improvement over the already excellent D3 all those years ago (I can talk about the D3 cameras - I owned both versions). From what it offers and had I owned a D700, I'd have no hesitation in ditching it (finally) for this latest from Nikon. If I hadn't already ditched Nikon altogether, which has been perhaps the highest interim reaction to the tardiness in a D700 replacement.

 

Another thing in general that I can comment on in response here, is that pronouncements on the deficiencies of electronic viewfinders are totally out of date. I strongly suggest that a good amount of use be sought past the cursory glance through such a finder at a camera store or show before dissing the whole concept in favour of something the origins of which date back to Exacta cameras of 1936.

 

From my working experience with OVF, I know that the D3s was still behind the OVF of my F4 - things went decidedly backwards when digital cameras and optical viewfinders from the film era were attempted to be conjoined, and while the D3s is my last real experience with the catchup that was going on, I do know that after several thousand s of exposures with the latest EVF from Fuji on the X-T1, that EVF is simply well ahead of the D3s OVF in just about all things that matter in actual, practical use. I also hear and understand the praises for the latest OVF from Nikon, notably that of the Df (and soon reports, one way or the other, of whether the D810 continues the trend).

 

As far as comparison conflicts go, and getting thoroughly sick of being continually interrupted while I was working by owners of other mirrorless cameras seeking solace for the ribbing they were getting from their "superior" friends with their new DSLRs (as if seeing someone using a mirrorless professionally was going to be the break point argument they were going to throw at their foes in further justification), my X-T1 now looks like this:
MLjpK2t.jpg

 

The interruptions have stopped, because, I guess, they think I'm using <shock-horror> FILM</shock-horror> and therefore even their DSLR foes are in advancement of me, (not to worry, purists, it's electrical tape, not paint).

 

;):)

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Unless my D800 falls in the sea (probably with me attached to it) I will not be buying a D810.  My D800 is under 20k actuations because I still shoot like I had film in the thing.  The 810 is better here and there, but not much for the kind of hand held photography I do.  Compared to most around here, I have a meager selection of lenses, but they suit me well.  I continue to improve by improving the photographer.  A lot of my explorations involve fairly basic principles of art.  Intentionally, I avoid the areas of photography that require special gear.  Those would be birds, macro, sports, and underwater to name a few.  Those are popular genres, and some produce spectacular results.  I just want to keep it simple.  Besides, I rather blow the roll on airline tickets, meals and hotels.

 

Welcome back Michael, I am expecting to see great macro images from you.

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This is actually a very solid update in my book.  Let's inventory:

 

Highlight bias in metering.  D800's metering went a little N80 on us and tended to overrate luminance and underrate color on the subject, leading in many cases to overexposure.  D810 adds a highlight metering mode (hence moving the metering control, so that the two sides of changing the metering can be accessed, from the looks of things, one command dial for the pattern, the other for highlight vs standard).  

 

D4s autofocus.  AF just went from good to out of this world.  A fancier CPU means fancier calculations and algebra on the AF algorithms.

 

Auto face detection can be canceled on the D810; it cannot on the D800. 

 

A laundry list of video features; simultaneous external and internal write, vastly improved aperture control, exposure smoothing, 1080p 60/50 fps.

 

A laundry list of time-lapse features, notably including exposure smoothing, up to 9999 shots instead of 999 and no more arbitrary frame limit of 100 on JPEG continuous shooting.

 

Faster capture rate across the board with stills as with video.  What was 4fps goes up to 5, what was 5fps goes up to 6, what was 6fps goes up to 7.

 

A solid solution to the problem of shutter and mirror slap vibration on the D800; better shutter and mirror damping always, electronic first curtain if you need it.  Presumably we're back to the reciprocal of the focal length again for handholding?

 

Various little ergonomic things; A handgrip that will no longer disappear inside average or above average hands, separate doors for the various interfaces on the left end of the camera body, ditching the very tight dial for the metering pattern change, a separate i button for recalling exposure information on screen especially when in Liveview.

 

A brighter viewfinder (the D800 was the dimmest of Nikon's higher end DSLRs, FX or DX), and with OLED-based viewfinder information that will be brighter than the backlit LCDs there before.

 

Higher native ISO with likely reduced noise.  Does this also mean alleviating the purple cast on ultra high ISO photography as the D4s has?

 

Lower native ISO which may mean a slight hike to dynamic range at least at sub ISO 100 settings.

 

A brighter rear display.  Not sure whether the pixel count means anything for actual resolution but the extra third of pixels are white pixels leading to a brighter display without increased power consumption as you no longer depend for screen brightness on boosting the backlight.

 

A third more battery life.

 

No OLPF at all, so we're looking at another resolution gain over even the D800E.  By the way I went through the samples with a fine tooth comb; only two of the 35 had any kind of moire, and one of those (the model headshot with the veil) was pattern moire you could see with your naked eye anyway. But the other -- a little alarming for me given what I shoot -- was the small area of obvious color moire on a trio of rather ugly but matching mid-rise office buildings in downtown Tokyo in the center right of the image.  So it remains to be seen what the moire correction in NX-D is going to be like.

 

And then unannounced possibilities; the three most likely in my view are 1) that the lower power consumption of the camera may also lead to less heat generation which in turn might reduce amp glow, 2) the SD slot will presumably incorporate the 104MB/sec upgrade of the D7100 with existing cards, leading to a real world 60MB/sec or so speed on that slot instead of the low 40s the D800 has now, and 3) the higher bandwidth of the Expeed 4 will mean less grainy and more responsive LiveView.

 

Essentially, pending NX-D's final capabilities, Nikon actually systematically went around and solved problems with this update, as opposed to reinventing the wheel and adding worthless gimmicks. Also welcome, it takes existing accessories, even the existing MB-D12 grip which takes some (though not all) of the sting out of the ridiculous price.  This is a far broader upgrade even than the D3s, and certainly makes other "s" grades like the D300s and 20 years ago the N8008s and N90s look like weak tea.  It also makes it a direct competitor to the Canon 5DIII which it really wasn't before; the original D800 went in a significantly different direction from its Canon "counterpart" whereas the D810 can serve both purposes at once assuming the spec sheet works out in real life.

 

One other thing; I will be curious to see if Nikon made any changes to the magnesium exoskeleton of the D800.  The D800 is impact-prone in my view -- I personally totaled one with a minor fall on carpet -- and if the D810 has fewer and smaller gaps in the front plate and/or a slightly beefier rear plate, that would be encouraging.  

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On the question of DSLR vs EVF, I'm not buying the idea that mirrorless is quite ready for dealing with DSLR intensity and speed of use.  It's getting close; it is there if you don't do action photography or shoot long glass.  But we're going to need further refinements in power consumption and image processing before the EVF will be able to slip into a 36MP long glass-capable high-speed focusing body without a serious penalty in battery consumption and heat.

 

Nikon would, however, be well advised to roll out a couple of wide aperture zooms for "1" and start work on EVF F-mount DX models.  And they should at least investigate a "micro-Nikon" lens mount as Olympus did in the switch from four-thirds to micro-four-thirds.  But the D810 is the sort of product that makes a standard DSLR system desirable.  And there are F-mount solutions to Nikon's challenges as well, such as redesigning the internals of DSLR's to bring them down close to the size of film-based cameras.  If the logic board, for example, can be shrunk or divided into two pieces connected by a ribbon, some change to take it to where it no longer has to span the entire back of the camera, the TFT rear display and sensor board can be moved much closer together, reducing the depth of the body by three or four millimeters at least.  And that would start to evoke Nikon's diminutive film SLRs of the 1980s.  A Nikon FG, after all, is barely bigger than a Fuji XT-1; if Nikon can pull that off in digital in the F-mount, the mirrorless-SLR contest could take a significantly different turn because it would mean that even if Nikon did opt for EVF, it would no longer be an imperative to change the mount.

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Guest schwett

Posted

it seems to me an excellent update which doesn't "fix" things that don't need fixing. there are many of us who prefer OVF to EVF, who need (or want) lightning fast tracking AF of moving objects, and think image quality - not a lot of features - is the #1 attribute of a digital camera. ISO down to 32 (couple with a 1/8000s shutter and 35mm sensor this allows shallow DOF even in very bright light), presumably improved live view, improved frame rate, etc.

 

i'm glad they've finally seen the light and realized that the AA filter is pointless at this resolution and ditched the "same-thickness-as-an-aa-filter" cover.

 

i pre-ordered one - the only big disappointment for me is the lack of GPS.

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In the late 1800s/early 1900s, the Baldwin Steam Locomotive Company in the US was the world leading Canon/Nikon equivalent of the steam locomotive era.

 

Towards the end of the steam era, steam locomotives attained reasonable levels of effectiveness, but when manpower, and the logistical difficulties of providing water and coal at every train station were considered, they were anything but efficient.  So diesel and electric locomotives soon became both effective and efficient and rapidly displaced steam.  Had manufacturers, such as Baldwin, got into the diesel and electric locomotive business sooner their successors would have never got the head start that ultimately killed off Baldwin and the others from the steam era. 

 

Will Canon & Nikon succumb?  Well we have seen the inventors of the digital camera (Kodak) go under due to blind dumb stupid management myopia, so it is not beyond the realms of possibility that companies such as Canon/Nikon could go the same way - Kodak was certainly bigger than either at its peak - and even into the late 1900s.

 

The EVF vs OVF debate has some similarity to the steam vs diesel/electric example. 

 

We have all seen technological shifts occur such as mechanical vs laser printing, floppy disk vs USB keys, desktop vs laptop, analogue mobile telephones vs digital smart phones and so on. 

 

It is just a short matter of time before the EVF becomes substantially matured and then it will become the dominant viewfinder technology. 

 

Let us hope that Canon/Nikon are closely watching the early adopters such as Olympus, Fuji, Panasonic, Samsung etc and will deliver that a mature EVF implementation that the others are working towards.

 

For myself, I have a D700 & a new Df, and I like both. 

 

However I have had a NEX3 and a Panasonic G3 and have a new Olympus E-M1 on order, so I feel that I have some personal basis on which to say that the EVF (or a least a hybrid EVF/OVF) will soon become the dominant view finder adopted by the surviving camera manufacturers.

 

A final point is that EVF technology is so much simpler and economical to manufacture and support. 

 

For those who doubt the economies of building EVF cameras, they should read Roger Cicala's (LensRentals.com) tear down of the Sony A7R.  It is most illuminating to see how internally simple and compact that this camera actually is.  At the moment there must be a huge profit margin built into this camera - must cost much less to build than a D800/810.

 

Link:  http://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2014/01/the-a7r-teardown-a-look-inside-sonys-awesome-full-frame-mirrorless-camera

 

Link to Michael Frye's review of the A7R and its EVF:  http://www.michaelfrye.com/landscape-photography-blog/2014/04/18/sony-a7r/

 

 

 

Edited by Hugh_3170

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Guest rvink

Posted (edited)

I won't say much about the mirrorless-EVF vs DSLR-OVF debate, but I recently went to the "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" exhibition at Auckland museum. The entries displayed were fairly evenly split between Nikon and Canon DSLRs. I recall two images taken with a compact (Canon G12) and one with a m4/3 mirrorless (forget which). The D810 looks like an excellent mid-cycle update.

Edited by rvink

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