Looking Forward

Joining the end of year recaps and anticipating the future, I’ll begin weighing in with my own wish list.

First – a truly modular 35mm full frame camera system.

I shoot Nikons, the D700/D200.  The D700 set many benchmarks when it came out with its low light performance and other imaging qualities. I feel I might have bought my last all in one 35mm camera now that I own this camera.  It just works for 98 percent of what I do.  I don’t shoot video, and although I think that video is a useful utility for some people, such as photojournalists and wedding photographers; for most people, I think it’s mainly useless fluff on a camera.  Shooting a decent video is an art to itself, as anyone who’s suffered through home movies through the ages can attest.

So that brings me to my issue – a useful system.  To completely throw away a camera body to gain some features is no longer acceptable.  The trend now is toward small, larger sensor cameras such as the Oly P1/2 and the Panasonic GF1. I think that  the market demand for big film style cameras is falling and will continue to fall.  The need for high definition images for print is declining as magazines fail left and right.  The newspapers are also failing.  These two markets have driven camera features for decades.  With medium format digital back systems taking on the workload of the few high quality print publications, the 35mm market is getting much smaller.  Online media demands so little from a camera that a lot of professionals shooting for online content shoot with small, inexpensive cameras.  Their compact size are much easier to carry and allow far greater use for taking pictures without drawing attention to yourself.

We now have the ultimate digital in film body camera, the Nikon D3x.  It and it’s Canon counterparts have taken the digital camera art from infant to mature adult in a decade.  A technological tour de force.  Kudos’ to Canon for creating the drive, kudos’ to Nikon for the penultimate one upmanship.  Game, set match. But let’s move on.

It would simply seem to make sense for Nikon or Canon to move past the digital in film body style and to reinvent the 35mm high end professional camera as a modular system along the lines of what occurred in medium format.  Separate the components.  Let the photographer decide what type/size sensor they want.  What kind of shutter, autofocus system they need.  What type of viewfinder they desire.  And what types of grips, batteries and memory card slots they need.

I would love in the future to move up to the D3x’s phenomenal sensor.  But to have to buy the whole camera to get it, makes no sense.  I should simply be able to get the sensor/processor package and put it on/in my existing D700 body when I want that level of detail in an image.  After al, the rest of the camera is so robust, it’s an insult to the designers to relegate it to the refuse bin.

Ok… enough dreaming.

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One thought on “Looking Forward

  1. You cleverly make a point here. The newspapers and magazine decline is already playing a decisive role in defining the concept and specifications of next generation cameras. I agree with you: modular design should be the answer to pro photographer demands, whereas compact pocketable and better performing cameras will fullfil the amateurs needs.

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