Saturday, October 5, 2013

The long view

While there's a lot to like about the Nikon 1 system, there are distinct advantages in doing something totally different.

I'm looking at this rash of smaller mirrorless cameras and foresee a problem in that the market is not yet mature. Most of these cameras popped up in around 2012. That's quite a short life for a technology lifecycle. I am not 100% certain that going over to the Nikon 1 system though I would like to, is going to be the right move. I'm looking back at my Canon gear and thinking differently; that it's gear that I currently own and that it works. Now there's stuff that I just don't want nor have any particular use for in that kit such as the flashes. The bodies have already depreciated to zero. The lenses probably won't depreciate any further. The flashes probably will so they're best gone.

The staying power of such new systems is debateable. I remember Nikon's Pronea system, Pentax's 110 SLR system, various disk cameras, Zenith's PK mount camera system etc. There are a lot of systems that came in with a great flurry and great fanfare that quickly vanished beneath the waves. Rollei's 35mm SLR system was one such thing. After everybody had bought the camera and a lens, the system vanished and nobody could buy extra lenses. Nikon produced the F3AF in the 1970s and produced two AF lenses for it. Most people had the kit AF lens but when the system vanished, the other AF lens became rarer than hen's teeth. My fear is buying into a wonderful but soon to be obsolete system. Does anybody remember 8 track tape units? How about Betamax? All very promising things that early adopters bought into but which ultimately went the way of the Dodo. I don't want to throw money into something that's not going to be around for much longer.

Thus, it's probably better to trim what I have down to what I will actually use and forgetting about different systems. For sheer portability, I cannot fault my phone camera as it is always with me!

How to blow up the word

This picture was taken in poor lighting with my cellphone camera. It's really not bad. The photo below was taken in the early morning when the red lights were very visible and then given an aged 1970s look. I see no problems with that for online use. At 5 megapixels, it would print pretty well to A4 or 8.5x11.

The 1970s view

That's in defense of cellphones. Now, I'm wandering off my beaten track or rather my intended point of view. Going for lightweight and compactness, it would be possible to use a simple Canon XT and a single lens. It's not quite as compact as I would like. On the other hand, as I already own these, there's no cost involved in obtaining them.

Will I change to a different system? Maybe - maybe not. I think the mirrorless market needs to mature for a few years. It could mature or it could end up like Olympus. Now, Olympus had a really quite excellent film SLR system in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s they just quit making their OM system. In about 2003, Olympus produced their four-thirds system and tried to popularise it. Only Panasonic leapt on the bandwagon and the system never gained mass appeal. Now, Olympus makes only one flavor of DSLR and they have produced yet another new system which again has limited appeal. The odds on Olympus dropping their DSLR system and going for their new system for a while before quitting that too or maybe just quitting the new system are quite high, based on past performance. I would not be surprised if Nikon's 1 system flopped either. Thus, I think it's now a waiting game rather than a buying game.

One of the things I dislike about current SLR systems is the almost complete lack of good landscape lenses. Nobody seems to make anything much in the way of prime lenses any more. Certainly zooms are far better than they used to be but they're never going to be as good or as lightweight as a couple of nice prime lenses.

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