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Oh for a digital F100

ian_craigie

Active Member
I have followed the discussion re the D2X with interest. I have learned a lot about photography, and some more about people. I see that there is now a post regarding the relative merits of the D2x versus the D70. This is now the choice for me, as I contemplate a Nikon F-mount digital future. And I find neither is ideal - one is too expensive and too heavy, and the other is unsuitable for other reasons. I find I have a significant problem if I wish to continue with a Nikon digital future.

I am not a professional photographer, but an enthusiastic amateur who has been fortunate enough to travel widely. In the late 80's, having used the beautiflly light, but manual, Olympus OM-1, I had to choose between the two competing AF systems of the time - Canon EOS and Nikon F-mount. As my travels usually took me many miles off the beaten track, I decided upon the Nikon system, and bought a second-hand F-801.

At the time the Nikon AF system was not considered as technologically advanced as the Canon, but for a travelling photographer like me, there were compelling reasons to choose. First of all, there was the famed Nikon toughness, the fact that a wonderful legacy of MF lenses remained available, and very importantly, the 801 used AA batteries - a fantastic boon in rural India or in an Andean village. I was delighted with my purchase, and after fitting myself out with some wonderful lenses, was even more thrilled to realise that the FM-2N could sit in the bottom of my camera bag. Even if I could not find the AA's for my 801, I could still take my shots. Wonderful.

The 801 served me well, and it was sold on to a friend, and he to his brother. It has been around the world several times now, 6 continents, and is still taking photos in Iraq to this day. I had chosen well, and migrated to a second-hand F4. A little heavier (I did not use the F4s, but bought the 4 AA battery handle so that it looked an oversized 801). Again, it served me brilliantly, and I could not have cared less that many said the EOS mount was more sophisticated, or faster, or whatever. Nikon's system was wonderful, and never let me down - in fact, while I did use the FM-2, it was usually more for pleasure or for its relative lightness on climbs, and never because my F4 failed, or because I had failed to track down batteries, even in Central Asia or the wilds of Namibia.

The N90 came out, and it was an incremental change - very similar to the F801, in fact, and as a light second AF body it did good service. I sold it though, when the simply superb F100 became available - to this day, it remains my favourite camera, at home with either my favourite 20mm lens or with a 400mm lens. Rugged, relatively dust proof, fast-focussing, and still powered by ubiquitous AA batteries. Not revolutionary, but evolutionary. Over 15 years, my lenses remained relatively unchanged, it's true, but the camera bodies that served me so faithfully continued a wonderful tradition.

An then came the advent of digital photography. I recognised that while Canon had caught the eye of many, Nikon would bring out wonderful digital bodies in time. They always had in the past - my choice in '89 was a good one. I would continue to use my F100, with the wonderfully fine-grained, saturated films that had now become available, and scan my slides until the right F-mount digital came my way. It again would be evolutionary, not revolutionary. The wonderful legacy I had enjoyed would be continued. Nikon understood that many were like me - not able to justify a new F5 or D1x, but "contemplative" and considered and enthusiastic.

I was keen to continue using a system that recognised that features that had stood the test of time (aperture rings, AA batteries, cable release sockets) had done so because they had tremendous value. I did not need 8 frames per second to take a decent shot of Macchu Piccu, but it would be good to keep an aperture ring on my new Nikon lens because my FM2 would remain a valuable back-up and second body. Besides, I did not want to lug a D1x, plus lenses, along the Inca Trail, even if I could afford it. And where would I go to recharge my lithium battery? Of course, a cable release was very important - even more so if there was to be no mirror lock-up. Even my FM2 could manage this, with the self-timer.

And where have Nikon arrived at today? I have a choice of a wonderfully complicated digital camera that could take a photo of just about anything - if only I could carry its massive weight and bulk with me, if only it's batteries didn't tether me to an AC recharging source, if only my new lens had an aperture-ring, if only... And the other choice is of an excellent, light digital camera that has been much praised, apart from its dark viewfinder, and its power source, and its lack of cable release. I am about to travel to South Africa for safari, and whereas last year I could recharge my F100s AAs with a solar charger (very effective), and STILL have the option of using my FM2 if all else failed, I now feel I and those of my type have been forgotten. The legacy of Nikon is a wonderful one, but the links to the past that made it such a wonderful system for me have been systematically done away with. In this digital age, for me, the link has been broken.

Just as in '89, when the Olympus system no longer served my needs, I find myself re-examining my commitment to the Nikon system. After all, a camera is merely a tool - a sophisticated, expensive tool, but no more than a glorified box for capturing light. I have made an investment, it's true, but if I am to consider a digital future, increasingly it no longer suits my needs. F-mount lenses with aperture rings work on the new digital bodies - why do away with the aperture ring, and make my FM2 an aging paperweight with any new lens? Fuji seem to have been able to get their S3 pro to work with AAs - why not Nikon? (The S3 is large, though, and for other reasons seems less than suitable for taking on the road). The F80 can accept a £6 shutter release cable - why not the D70? Did it REALLY make it too expensive?

I now look at Canon bodies with interest. Sure, they have their D2x equivalent (such as the EOS 1D and 1Ds II) and their D70 equivalent (the price-breaking D300 and its imminent replacement, the D350). But they also have the D20S! Where is the midrange Nikon? The D100 is at least 2 years old - an age in this rapidly changing field. Many have said that the D70 is more sophisticated in a number of ways. And I now find that the D20 can be used with AA batteries! Sure, it requires a larger battery pack, but it is at least an option. I know that the EOS system has no on-lens aperture ring, but neither do the latest Nikon lenses - this is item neutral, now. And the D20 seems to have been built with the keen amateur in mind - you can choose to custom select mirror lock-up as an option - no such feature on the admittedly lighter D70.

In 2003, I wrote to Nikon regarding the change from aperture rings on lenses. It's a minor thing to many, but for yours truly, I was anxious to know what I could expect from future Nikon lenses. To their credit, they responded to my enquiry, but stated that there was no official policy to do away with aperture rings. The official reply from Nikon UK stated that no-one had ever raised the issue before, and they did not think that it was actually a feature that many were concerned with. However, they thanked me for my interest, and said they would pass on my comments to Nikon Japan. And so it ended.

Don't get me wrong - I still love using my Nikon system. When released, I bought the 80-400 VR lens for my travels (people, animals, compressed perspectives, and so on), and was stunned by its optical excellence. I was gratified to see that it COULD be used with my FM2. But this seems to have been the end of the line, and all releases now seem to be "G"-type lenses. I have no problem with the DX-lens system, or the use of the smaller digital sensor - film area and image sensor area do not apparently need to be directly comparable, from the excellent and helpful postings I have read here. However, there is a break in the line.

Am I the only Nikon user who feels this way? Do any share my disappointment? I believe there may be a "D200" released soon, and I would love it to have the features on my wish list, but I fear it will continue the trend towards severing links with the past. "Legacy" means little in this particular age of Nikon. The F-mount, the ruggedness, and the wonderful lens system are there, but increasingly I am forced to compromise on cost, weight, power source, or features.

I lament this apparent change in philosophy, and while I am sure that PJs and pro's are happy to lug their D2x's and D2h's around, even if I could afford it financially, I cannot carry it, along with lenses and a tent and a backpack. The D70 might be my best option, but there are other compromises to be made here too.

I do not seek to be merely a critic, but the Nikon engineers have systematically removed the reasons that made Nikon my system of choice since the late 80's.

I can't wait for the digital "F100", but fear it may now never come.

I welcome your opinion on my comments, and look forward to finding other kindred spirits, or being proved wrong ...

Best wishes,

Ian
 
A

algo_rithm

Ian,

What a refreshingly wonderful story. All photographers have different needs. Your needs are not uncommon and there ARE many who feel the way you do.

I think in the very near future you will see a D200 that will go beyond everyone's expectations. Unless you are in a big hurry for change, which it does not sound like you are, wait for say about six months or less and see what develops.

Again, I really enjoyed reading your post, after all of the useless tit for tat of late.



Regards,

Bo
 

gjames52

Well-Known Member
Ian:

I share your regard for accessibility and versatility of AA batteries, and the outstanding performance of the F100. It has become a real favorite in our ventures. I think you have hit the nail on the head and have analyzed Nikon's position well. I hope you get your wish.

Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts.

Best Regards:

Gilbert
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
> Posted by Ian Craigie (Ian_craigie)
>
> Am I the only Nikon user who feels this way? Do any share my
> disappointment? I believe there may be a "D200" released soon, and I
> would love it to have the features on my wish list, but I fear it will
> continue the trend towards severing links with the past. "Legacy"
> means little in this particular age of Nikon. The F-mount, the
> ruggedness, and the wonderful lens system are there, but increasingly
> I am forced to compromise on cost, weight, power source, or features.

The D200 was expected at the PMA show last month, but did not show up. Instead there was a Mark-II version of D2H addressing some of the issues with it.

> I lament this apparent change in philosophy, and while I am sure that
> PJs and pro's are happy to lug their D2x's and D2h's around, even if I
> could afford it financially, I cannot carry it, along with lenses and
> a tent and a backpack. The D70 might be my best option, but there are
> other compromises to be made here too.
>
Nikon's traditional constituency has been the photojournalist and they have served and supported us well. The SLR is an excellent camera for general reporting, sports with long lenses and so on. Unfortunately is is a lousy design for people photography, which is why so many of us also carried old Leicas and Canon rangefinders as well.

I have done a lot of travel features with SLRs and hated them for it for the reasons you have posted, but also because the moment you raise that big body and point the huge lens at people all sponaneity ceases. People hate being stared at an the big SLR multiplies that feeling by an order of magnitude.

While I do have some travel pictures without people, in most of my work it is the combination of location and population that makes it work. In recent years, a Plaubel Makina 67 has been my walking-about film camera. Even though not petite by any means, it is remarkably unobtrusive and wonderfully self-contained. It has a stunningly sharp 80mm f-2.8 Nikkor lens - semi-wide - and a large enough frame that one can crop drastically without losing significant quality. With Epson's high-end prosumer scanners rivaling scanners costing ten times as much, film is still quite viable.

In adding digital capability, I looked for the same Leica/Plaubel Makina unobtrusiveness, speed and mobility.

I have a substantial arsenal of Nikon glass for my F3, but realize that with the DX - APS-sized - sensor, all the reasons for which I purchased the lenses were nullified. For ex&le, the 28mm PC-Nikkor perspective correction shift-lens was never wide enough. With the DX sensor, it becomes the equivalent of a 42mm lens which is absurd.

I also realized that much of my travel and personal work demanded wide angle capability, and second to the Plaubel was a Brooks VeriWide 100 with a 47mm Schneider SuperAngulon over a 6x10cm format - equivalent to an 18mm on a 35mm camera. There is a very expensive Nikon zoom with the equivalent coverage, but no prime lens available for dSLRs.

In spite of my arsenal of Nikon glass, it became obvious that for my work, a dSLR simply was not viable, and until the very pricey and very retro Epson arrived, there were no digital rangefinders as well.



To get a feeling for digital workflow half a dozen years ago, I picked up a Nikon CP990, a 3.34MP compact camera that was fully adjustable, and had a good reputation. My expectations were low, and I was bowled over by the results. I followed it with a Nikon CP5000, that had a superb 19mm lens available, and was in every way better and more refined than the CP990.

My people photography took a quantum leap over what I was able to do with Leica and Plaubel Makina. No need to have the camera in the line of sight. With the swing and swivel viewfinder, I could shoot with the camera in obvious sight, and people would simply ignore it.

A couple of weeks back, I added a CP8400 and again two generations of technology have evolved a camera vastly superior to the CP5000. With the accessory base that holds AA cells and carries a second shutter release, it is a camera very comfortable for shooting either horizontals or verticals. Rechargeable cells give me days of shooting, but I can always pop into a nearby store and buy alkalines if they give out.

Best, there is a superb 18mm equivalent lens component. When mounted, I have a range of 18mm to 64mm. When it is off the camera, I have a range of 24mm to 85mm - a range many photographers find ideal for all buy specialized telephoto work. With two ED glass elements, the lens is very sharp and highly corrected. In relation to other digital cameras, the 8MP is is medium format, and produces superb large prints as good or better than I could do with 35mm of equivalent film speed.

Now realize for a compact digital, it is not all that compact, specially with the AA cell capability mounted. With six cells on board, it is approximately 750 grams. Of course, this also includes the built in lens. I have handled many other top of the line compact prosumer digitals, and found that they were too small for my medium sized hands, the lightness made them difficult to hold steady at low shutter speeds, and my fingers were inadvertently falling on controls and changing them. With the battery pack, I find both the CP5k and the CP8400 ideal in size and design. Both are as comfortable as a camera can be. I would not want a camera to be any smaller or any lighter than this.

If one wants to travel light, one has the above mentioned range of 24mm to 85mm in a completely self-contained camera. The 18mm->64mm component does boost the weight to over a kilogram, but I don't find it burdensome. It will rarely come off the camera. I do have a component lens that would boost it to 170mm, and another to take it to 255mm is available. I rarely used the 170mm on the CP5k, and probably will never use it on the CP8400.

In addition to its normal range of shutter speeds it has long exposure speeds of 30 seconds, one, three, five and ten minutes. Being a life long Zone System user, it has a live, real-time histogram for absolute control of exposure. Ansel would have killed for this! In all, many refinements that make it ideal for the sort of shooting I do.

As my travel camera, it is vastly superior to any dSLR on the market. With 8MP, one can shoot epic landscapes, but it really comes into its own with people. With the short focal length lenses, I can get within a subject's personal space and get extremely intimate shots of them, while also showing the environment where they dwell.

The price of the camera is a bit less than a D70 without lens, though this was not a factor in my choice. However, it is a nice bonus.

If telephotography were of importance, there is a sister camera that uses the same engine, but is optimized for long lenses as the CP8400 is for short. The CP8800 has a built-in image stabilized lens equivalent to 35mm->350mm, and an available component to take it to 600mm equivalent. Thus with two compact cameras and two lens components one would have a range from 18mm to 600mm with a single learning curve, at a very reasonable price.

There is also a fisheye available for the CP8400, which may also work on the CP8800, though I am not sure of that. It has over 180° coverage, so using the polar coordinates filter in Photoshop or PSP, one can unwrap the shot into a full 360°panoramic. I have considered it, but already have a WideLuxe 140° panoramic that can do a superb 360° with three or four exposures.

However, in the end, it is not about cameras, but the photographs they produce. On my web-site
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there are many ex&les from the first two cameras, and soon from the CP8400. Since the CP5k and CP8400 are identical in concept and use, what applies to one is simply &lified in the other. As is has grown to be a rather large site over the years as I add portfolios, tutorials and essays, I would suggest starting at
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For many, the SLR may not be the best solution. The high-end compacts from Nikon and others offer an excellent alternative.

larry!
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zakk92001

Active Member
Good to see that there are more of us. I am also waiting for the D200, but I may be disappointed. It's a very commercial game out there, and the big players now are the electronic giants like Sony and Panasonic, Canon being the exception with a long history in film. Nikon looks more and more like a niche company, and will have to fight hard to survive. (I know this sounds very, very pessimistic, but if you study the changes in market shares the last 10 years, you will see what I mean.)

I have been reluctant to change to digital for the same reasons mentioned b y the two previous posters, and after having studied the products available for a long time, I started making a list of features:

- Compact size - Easily available power source, preferably AA - Optical viewfinder - 5 MP+ resolution - Manual zoom - Reasonable build quality - CF or SD memory card - If non-SLR, zoom starting at 28mm or lower, going higher than 100 - Fast lenses available

If we go 10-30 years back in time, except for the resolution and memory car d obviously, all these requirements could be found in a lot of cameras, both SLR and non-SLR. Now, as far as I have been able to find out, there's only one, unfortunately not a Nikon (Pentax Ist Ds).

It seems to me that when converting to digital, all manufacturers decided to forget much of the experience that has been gained through the years. Some of it is obvious cost-saving, like EVF and menus instead of dials and knobs, but sometimes it looks like they invent solutions to problems that never existed, like motor-zoom.

There are many advantages with digital, and eventually, film will be for th e hard-core enthusiasts only, but I wish someone would at least try to keep some of the "old" values. It shouldn't be that difficult to make an FM3d. For me, they could even omit the LCD on a camera like that. I'm talking old style photography on the new medium here. Nikon! Are you listening???

Jorgen
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
> Posted by Jorgen Udvang (Zakk92001)

It sounds like you are a perfect candidate for the Epson R-D1. Uses Leica mount lenses, the LCD is strictly for review and menus. Even the shutter is manually wound. Very retro. Built by Cosina, maker of the Voigtlander. It is about as close as it is possible to get to traditional film photography using the digital medium. Cosina also makes a wide selection of Leica-mount lenses and of course they are also available from Leitz - at least for the moment - and Konica-Minolta, also topoint out that there are thousands on the used market. It does have a 1.5x cropping factor however, so the wide-angle advanage of rangefinders is lost.

Since all digital cameras are computers with image capture peripherals, menus will always be part of the scene, unless someone built a camera with a very large surface area completely covered with controls. However, my most recent camera - a Nikon CP8400 uses external controls to get to the menu items directly - a very good compromise.

I might also point out that it does ring the bell on a number of your criteria, though the three year old CP5000 perhas was a bit closer. (I used the CP5000 for those three years and am keeping it for backup. Excellent camera.) The CP5000 has an optical finder that matches the focal length of the zoom. I never once used it however, in the tens of thousands of shots I made with it. The two cameras have a swing and swivel monitor that is vastly superior for reasons pointed out in an earlier response. Unlike a 1900s SLR, viewing is of the image as processed by the camera, not a symbolic optical projection on ground glass. With the battery pack, both use AA cells. The CP8400 lens uses two ED glass elements and is highly colour corrected. However, it is wider than you want at 24mm equivalent, with an 18mm superwide component available - the widest of any camera on the market. At f-2.6 is is also one of the fastest lenses. The CP5k did have an f-2.8 at 28mm equivalent.

Neither is of the build-quality of a Nikon F6, but they only cost a fraction of the price. F6 quality not expected. I see no reason to pay a premium price for a camera I expect to use for only 18 months to two years. The only reason I shot with the CP5000 for three was that there was no reasonable replacement in that time. Being computers, the CP8400 is about two full generations more evolved than the CP5000, and is vastly superior in every way. Moore's Law applies with cameras as much as with any other digital device. The progress is real - not built-in obsolescence - and is clearly visible in the pictures.

Lest you see this as squandering money or being trendy, even though I am no longer a working photographer, the camera is completely paid for in the time, film and processing costs it saves in three to four months. I could give it away at that point without losing any money at all. Were I still working, it would pay for itself in the first couple of days.

The CP5k is approaching 40,000 exposures with no problems, and of course the CP8400 is only a couple of weeks into service. In response to a number of requests, I have posted the first CP8400 shots on my web-site.
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I might add that I still do shoot film as well. Medium format still has the edge for epic landscapes and the like, and now larger format film scanners are both affordable and excellent. I also shoot film in a WideLuxe 140° panoramic, since it is much easier than doing so digitally and stitching the images together. However, 35mm is now pointless. This is a time of shake-out in the camera business. Bronica has ceased manufacture of all SLRs and is only making their rangefinder 645 from here on in. Leitz (Leica) is in dire financial trouble and predictions are grim. Kyocera has announced the end of the Contax and Yashica lines - they are ceasing all camera production. It remains to be seen if another manufacturer will buy their production factility and continue these venerable brand names. Agfa has also ceased production of at least digital cameras some time back.

On the other hand, Carl Zeiss has re-emerged as a camera maker, showing a new Zeiss Icon rangefinder design - also using Leica-mount Zeiss lenses - and has promised a digital version of it. We life in interesting times.

larry!
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ian_craigie

Active Member
> [Thanks all for your replies - very much appreciated. It seems I am not alone in my experience of the direction Nikon seem to have taken over the last few years. I look forward to the "D200", but doubt it will allow AA batteries to be used as the primary cells...

Jorgen, your comment that you feel that Nikon is now a "niche" producer of cameras was very interesting. I believe you are right, and in a way, felt that this is just why they should not do away with their legacy lines. Rather, Nikon should seek to capitalise on this wonderful feature that no newer company can ever emulate - its past. Just as the F-mount continues to serve well into the 21st century, so could Nikon continue to look back as well as forward. They would continue to encourage potential digital photographers to stay with the line, as they would lose much by leaving Nikon behind. As it is, I feel Nikon to a large extent are leaving me behind, and so removing the very reason I might have stayed with this manufacturer.

I wonder if others in this forum share your view about Nikon potentially becoming a "niche" manufacturer. They will indeed have to fight hard to survive, but have generally managed various transitions well over the years. Rather than severing ties with earlier cameras' abilities, however, they would do better to develop a route forward for those such as you and me. It is almost as though value is seen in directly competing with the newer digital camera manufacturers, but as you have assessed, this will see them compete directly with far larger corporations.

You mentioned the curiosity that would be an "FM3D" - I have to admit to never having thought of this before! However, your point is a good one - with the production of the FM3A, there seemed to be acknowledgement that there were enough enthusiasts out there who were still keen on mechanical camera bodies. Not simply another run of FM2's, but rather a new development. More recently, there has been the wonderful addition to the "F" range, the F6, which many see as a delightfully unexpected evolution - something that has always made Nikon such a powerful force in the world of photography.

I looked at your wish list for a new digital camera, and found it to be almost identical to my own. Larry's response, with his praise for the CoolPix range, has also been food for thought. I can appreciate that these are wonderful cameras, but they might as well NOT be made by Nikon - to take them up as my next generation of imaging tools would make all my investment in SLR's and lenses almost worthless. Again, the link with the past, and with the reasons I chose Nikon in the first place, has been made irrelevant. (However, you have indeed made me reexamine closely my true need to take such a system on the road again, and I will continue to assess these as a possible direction for my photography - thank you).

I have considered taking one digital SLR body with my lenses, along with a Hasselblad XPan as the "backup" film camera. With the latter's option to shoot standard 24x36 shots, as well as panoramas, this would be a worthwhile addition. However, this would also require new investment in lenses, and I would need to carry film and batteries for this separate system.

Anyway, I will see how things progress with Nikon for now. With the amount of film I had intended to take with me, I could probably afford a D70! That might not be such a bad idea, but it doesn't solve my battery problem. Whatever I choose, I'll carry along the trusty F100, as it hasn't let me down yet - and with the way it was built, probably never will.

Again, thanks to all for your thoughts,

Regards,

Ian]
 

ian_craigie

Active Member
> [Hi Larry,

Thanks again for your most recent post. I looked up the CP5000 and CP8400 before sending my last reply, and they certainly sounded intriguing. I have since also stumbled upon the CP8800. I realise this is supposedly the D2x forum, but the discussion for me was originally SLR v. SLR. However, I can see that there is definitely merit in considering other options, such as the CoolPix range, and I believe there is a 6x AA pack for the CP8800. More decisions to make...

Best wishes,

Ian]
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
> Posted by Ian Craigie (Ian_craigie)

Realize that these cameras too, have through-the-lens viewing. However, instead of a mirror and projection on a piece of ground glass, you are actually seeing the image as it is processed by the camera itself. After a lifetime and hundreds of thousands of shots with everything from a half-frame SLR to medium format SLRs, I consider this to be the first true advance in roughly a century since the original SLRs appeared on the scene.

Yes, indeed there is a battery pack and not only does it give long service on cheap rechargeable batteries, it lowers the centre of gravity and provides added surface area for easier handling. Plus it adds a second zoom rocker and shutter release to make shooting vertical shots much more comfortable.

The CP8800 is a superb camera if the need is for longer lenses.

larry!
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lnbolch

Well-Known Member
It might also be worthwhile pointing out that having a large investment in a cameramaker's legacy glass may not warrant going with that company if a dSLR is purchased.

First and foremost - with two exceptions, the Canon 1Ds and the Kodak dSLRs - every other dSLR has a sensor smaller than a 35mm frame. This is referred to correctly as the "cropping factor" or more commonly as the "magnification factor". With Nikon's DX sensor, it is a factor of 1.5x. With other cameras, it varies from 1.3x to 2x.

Thus none of your glass serves its intended purpose. As an ex&le, my 28mm PC-Nikkor shift-lens - which was never really wide enough - becomes the equivalent of a 42mm lens, totally nullifying its value. Each of my lenses was purchased for a clearly defined reason, and NONE would carry over to do their intended function.

To get the same functionality, the whole arsenal would need to be traded for new glass. Were I to do this, I certainly would consider other brands of camera and lenses, since I would be starting fresh anyway.

Furthermore, a lot of glass that was designed for film functions badly for digital. You may notice that a whole lot of companies are coming out with lenses specifically for digital. This is not to induce people to trade off their great old glass just to be trendy. It is in answer to a lot of irate shooters who fell into the trap of thinking film lenses would transfer seamlessly to digital.

There are several factors involved. Perhaps the main factor is that the sensor is highly reflective while film tends to be matte. Thus the light focused upon it can reflect back to the rear element of the lens and then back again repeatedly causing smears or ghosting in the image. The Kodak 14n is notorious for this. Worse, the 14n has a full-frame sensor that most lenses designed for digital use can not cover. (This however, is just one of its problems...)

Film does not care from what angle the rays of light are focused upon it. The photosites in the sensors are not so forgiving - they want the rays to come in parallel and perpendicular to each cell.

Thus using film lenses, one must test on a lens by lens basis - a lot of Nikon glass does work just fine. Others don't have it so good. None of the old Olympus glass works at all between the 35mm SLRs and current dSLRs.

Finally, a lot of fine manual lenses lack the embedded electronics for focusing and for exposure. I have been told that my superb lens arsenal would turn a D70 into an entirely manual camera, and with most of the lenses, I would need to use a hand-held meter. I suspect this is a bit of an exaggeration, but have not checked it out. Contemporary lenses for auto-focus cameras will function - keeping the above caveats in mind.

larry!
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zakk92001

Active Member
Larry, The lens questions is one of the reasons why I am slow converting to a dSLR . Even when building a system from scratch (I have until now used my OM syste m which, as you pointed out, is dead, at least for digital purposes) becomes complicated, and keeping track of what can be useful and what can not is a real headache.

Fast wide-angles are of course the biggest problem. They are available, but the prices are prohibitive, since they used to be the really exotic lenses of long times past (like three years ago).

I also notice that many of the new "digital" lenses are rather slow. That i s nice from a size/weight/price point of view, and with increasingly better sensors with low or no noise at high ISO, they shouldn't represent too much of a problem. Except: sometimes you want a shallow depth of field and sometimes it would be nice to use the opportunities gained by HQ high ISO for more available light photography.

With all this in mind, Olympus approach may not be such a bad one. There is a limited number of lenses available, but all of them are closely matched and highly relevant for digital photography. When you look at the DX list i n the Nikon brochure, the list is so far rather limited.

Your views on EVFs and LCDs are interesting. So far, I haven't liked any of them. LCDs because I prefer the feeling of the camera as an extension of my eye or head or something like that. Like an integrated part of my body so t o say (I had the same feeling with my old Rolleiflex, which was the reason wh y I sold it). EVFs because of the lack of contrast, colour depth and resolution. I can't figure out how anyone can focus manually with one of those things.

Maybe I'm too picky, but I keep wondering what the reaction would have been to EVFs had they been launched on a conventional camera 20 or 30 years ago. I get a feeling that it's something we accept because it's a part of the digital revolution.

I guess these things will improve, and if I keep my views on this in 20 years time, I will probably be this old guy all the children with their 20M P mobile phones are pointing at, saying "look mom, that strange old man has a camera attached to his head". Oh well, I can live with that.

Jorgen
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
> Posted by Jorgen Udvang
> Larry, The lens questions is one of the reasons why I am slow
> converting to a dSLR . Even when building a system from scratch (I
> have until now used my OM syste m which, as you pointed out, is dead,
> at least for digital purposes) becomes complicated, and keeping track
> of what can be useful and what can not is a real headache.

Over the past half century, I have purchased an amazing amount of photo equipment - and never has a purchase disappointed me. Simply, I do not buy until I can define a need or a problem in want of solving. I never have bought a solution in search of a problem. Realize as well that each purchase was a business purchase and had to be justified as such.

My first digital camera was bought as a learning tool, and my expectations were low. I was amazed at the daunting learning curve, but also amazed at the capability of this camera once I became fluent with it.

My second camera was purchased to achieve a set of clearly defined photographic goals which have not changed. The camera purchased last month is almost identical in purpose, but benefits from two generations of evolution and a superb lens with two ED glass elements. It is incredibly sharp. Sharp to the point that all in-camera sharpening is turned off, and I need only a fraction of the sharpening in processing I used on previous images.

> Fast wide-angles are of course the biggest problem. They are
> available, but the prices are prohibitive, since they used to be the
> really exotic lenses of long times past (like three years ago).

I shoot with the equivalent of an 18mm f-2.6 lens. However, throughout my career, I shot with a Brooks VeriWide 100. It had an f-8.0 Schneider SuperAngulon over a 6x10 cm format - just about exactly what I see through the current f-2.6. To me it is a VERY fast wide angle lens. It cost $315Cdn - roughly $250US. It has only briefly been off the camera, and the image quality is extremely good. Interestingly, I found this component also fits my f-2.0 24mm Nikkor for the Nikon F3, giving me a fine 18mm lens. Too bad I don't shoot 35mm any more. (The basic lens in the CP8400 is the equivalent of a 24mm->85mm zoom)

The Brooks served for architecture, specially interiors, a lot of environmental portraits for publication and some epic landscapes. I worked around the slow lens by longer exposures for interiors, and multiple flash if needed for environmental portraiture. Since it had between the lens shutters, I could sync it to mix flash and ambient light in any combination.

I don't now use flash, but if I did, the current digital camera also has a shutter that will allow me to sync from 1/3000th of a second all the way to ten minutes.

> I also notice that many of the new "digital" lenses are rather slow.
> That i s nice from a size/weight/price point of view, and with
> increasingly better sensors with low or no noise at high ISO, they
> shouldn't represent too much of a problem. Except: sometimes you want
> a shallow depth of field and sometimes it would be nice to use the
> opportunities gained by HQ high ISO for more available light
> photography.

If I were stuck shooting with a dSLR, I would probably go with fast prime lenses and few if any zooms. The view through an f-4.5->f-5.6 zoom is pretty gloomy unless one is shooting in bright sun.

> With all this in mind, Olympus approach may not be such a bad one.
> There is a limited number of lenses available, but all of them are
> closely matched and highly relevant for digital photography. When you
> look at the DX list i n the Nikon brochure, the list is so far rather
> limited.

Of course, camera manufacturers are just now coming to terms with the NEED for special digital lenses. Designers were completely caught off-guard by the problems. No one had the slightest idea that digital would take hold so fast. Even worse, everyone in the executive suites knew only film cameras and in Japan, change comes slowly at the top. There IS a lot of confusion.

I notice more than a passing resemblance between the latest Oly digital and the little gem of my half-frame Oly Pen-FT SLR from many years ago.

> Your views on EVFs and LCDs are interesting. So far, I haven't liked
> any of them. LCDs because I prefer the feeling of the camera as an
> extension of my eye or head or something like that. Like an integrated
> part of my body so t o say (I had the same feeling with my old
> Rolleiflex, which was the reason wh y I sold it). EVFs because of the
> lack of contrast, colour depth and resolution. I can't figure out how
> anyone can focus manually with one of those things.

I feel that after a half-century, my face has finally been liberated from having a bloody big camera jammed into it. My first two digitals had optical viewfinders, and I can not remember using them for a single shot. My new camera has an EVF, which might be handy for viewing the settings in brilliant sunshine without having to shade the LCD. I will never use it to shoot.

I have never been one to dwell in viewfinders. When I see the image - with both eyes open - it is then a matter of quickly framing and shooting. I see those who dwell in the viewfinder with a single eye watching the movie on the screen, missing shot after shot.

Working away from the camera you can anticipate pictures so much better. I covered sports including NASCAR for more than a dozen years, and every bit of my success depended upon never closing my left eye. The viewfinder in the Nikon F... was more a gun-site than a viewfinder. Photographers all work with their eyes - not their cameras.

Perhaps I had the advantage of doing a lot of view camera work at the start of my career. I have never felt that my eyes needed an extension - just some hardware to accurately capture what I see with them.

With the tiny sensors and lenses so short, manual focus is rarely necessary. One of the major complaints is that it is so difficult to throw the background out of focus!

My camera has a focus-confirmation feature that looks a lot like the microscreens I have in some SLR focusing screens. One can clearly see that which is in and out of focus. I also can select nine sectors of the screen for both a spot exposure reading, and selective focus - a feature I use all the time. The camera is very quick and positive to focus and I keep the focus turned on all the time - which does shorten battery life - but by the time I have the shot composed it is locked on.

My camera focuses to 3cm, so for macro, I set an approximate distance manually and slowly move the camera back and forth until I get the focus I want - exactly as I would with the Nikon F and its MicroNikkor lens. In fact, I still have the focusing rail I used for almost all the macros I have ever shot.

> Maybe I'm too picky, but I keep wondering what the reaction would have
> been to EVFs had they been launched on a conventional camera 20 or 30
> years ago. I get a feeling that it's something we accept because it's
> a part of the digital revolution.

Every time I have had to add a new piece of equipment, I have had to practice with it until I become fluent with it. Part of the job. Again, I am absolutely neutral about the EVF. It is the LCD screen that has revolutionized the way I work and has been the biggest boost to my photographs - EVER.

Realize that Gordon Moore's Law applies to digital cameras, since they are at heart digital electronic devices. There is a vast difference between my first - the CP990 announced in the first days of this century and the awesome camera I bought last month. It is in no way a cosmetic change, it is a dramatic advance that shows up in my images. With Moore's Law in action, LCDs will continue to grow in resolution and sharpness. However, they are much more easy to use than the ground-glass on my Linhof even now.

Why I have not gone dSLR would be best illustrated by my photography. What I am doing now simply could not be done with one. If I were still shooting 35mm, I probably would go for the Contax G2 system, or remain with my Leica. SLRs are intrusive cameras, and I do not wish to impose upon those I photograph. Please review the work at
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and browse the text as well. It tells a lot about why these cameras are perfectly suited to this role.

I have only had the CP8400 since the middle of last month, and have not had a lot of opportunity to use it. However, readers in my Yahoo forum have been asking for something to see, so I did put up a page of the first attempts. Luckily, I had the chance to shoot under some of the most difficult of circumstances, and was able to produce exceptional quality with the new camera. No masterpieces yet, but I think you will agree that it would be most difficult to equal this with film. I used no flash on any of these - they are purely with ambient light from a great variety of sources.
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larry!
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tom_rains

Active Member
> Larry, for the record, I have a Nikon D70 with an arsenal of lens purchased within the past 3 years. I have a 28-70mm f2.8, a 28-105mm, a 75-240mm. I use these on the D70 and have seen no problems at all. In fact, I get some incredibly sharp images with that 75-240mm consumer lens (makes me think that Nikon let that piece of glass slip past the pro lens inventory). I know there is a lot of discussion about film lenses on digital cameras, but can you really see the problems at 10 feet with the naked eye? >
 

ian_craigie

Active Member
[The discussion has taken an interesting, and for me, unexpected turn, with discussions of non-changeable lens digital cameras such as the Coolpix versions Larry has mentioned. It has made me think carefully about how and where I would be using a digital camera, and trying to select the camera for the task, rather than the task for the camera.

What do other people think of the whole concept of digital SLRs, such as the D2X and D70, in comparison to the "all-in-one" concept of the CoolPix range? I find myself trying to weigh up the relative pros and cons of each type of system, and wonder if the age has moved on to see a new concept of image recording replacing an old. Am I approaching the debate regarding the lack of a "digital F100" wedded to a prejudice born of many years of use of an SLR system that is rooted in old technology? Is there anything about the "F" series concept that, apart from the use of excellent lenses, means that a similar form is superior to the different "CoolPix" all-in-one model?

In my travels, I have used separate lenses, as I believed all zoom lenses to have inherent compromises in image quality and distortion to some degree. I therefore eschewed the typical 28-300 single zoom, despite its obvious convenience. Perhaps intellectual snobbery, but I felt from my reading of reviews and others' experience that it would be better to take separate zooms (perhaps primes would have been better, but I felt I could compromise to some extent...) than to try for one lens to suit all. I therefore have lugged a 20mm f2.8 (my favourite), a 28-85mm f3.5-4.5, and a 75-300mm f 4.5 along with my two camera bodies (one my trusty FM2).

However, perhaps the concept of having separate lenses is less critical when considering the form factor of the current Nikon image sensor. Maybe I have been looking to a digital "F"type SLR because this is what I know, and am comfortable with. But just as I made a choice between Olympus and Canon and Nikon in the late 80's, perhaps I should be reassessing the whole idea of using such a form-factor, and choosing between the D2x concept and the Coolpix concept. I find Larry's arguments to be very interesting, and rather compelling.

I freely admit to being a digital novice (I have a Pentax digital P&S, but nothing more sophisticated), and appreciate that I have much to learn. I have read the debates regarding image sensor size with interest, as it would seem there are problems inherent in using both small and large sensors. The concept of using a "full-size" sensor seems to me to possibly harken back to the era of film, and perhaps compromises are made in order to satisfy the desire of photographers to gently migrate from what they know to what they need. Because of the way light at more extreme angles strikes the periphery of such a sensor, it seems that this introduces significant problems for image quality.

Olympus seem to have dispensed with the "legacy" concept, by adopting the "4 thirds" system, and abandoning all links with the OM- range. Rather, they have assessed what they consider to be the best way to utilise the concept of digital light capture, and considered the principles and limitations of current digital image capture technology to produce an entirely new system - one that is smaller in form and significantly lighter than Canon's or Nikon's concepts of the digital "SLR". There is an initial penalty to be paid in the cost of purchasing a whole new range of Zuiko lenses, but this is now the choice for a Nikon owner such as myself - the change in sensor size has seen me now considering a new "DX" type of wide angle lens, where my wonderfully-wide 20mm has now been compromised by the "cropping factor" to a less-than-spectacular 30mm or so.

If I must purchase new lenses to use my digital SLR, why not consider using an entirely new system? For the reasons I outlined in my initial post, the "legacy" features that had seen me initially choose Nikon have been systematically eroded by Nikon engineers. The aperture ring, the battery type, the shutter release, have all gone now, and while the newer "DX" lense may indeed be usable on a standard film SLR, they have been made for a new range of camera all together. There is no longer a compelling reason to continue with the form-factor that I have known and used for so many years. Rather, I would have to make a compromise even I were to continue with film cameras.

What do others think? I wonder if I am simply "comfortable" with what I know - a typical "F" SLR concept - and hang on to this because it is easier to migrate slowly to quality digital image capture than to break all ties with past experience. I look at the D2X and marvel at its capabilities, but as we have discussed, this is not about cameras but about images. Who amongst us would continue to lug separate zooms and bodies around if a point and shoot camera could give us the image quality and overall control of the image-capture process that an SLR affords? If an "all-in-one" concept digital camera produces images of similar quality (at least up to the size I would normally be printing - say, 8"x10") to that of a D2X, or even a D70, with an equivalent focal length range from 28mm up to almost 600mm with additional components, why consider staying with this older format?

At present, there is little to keep me tied to the Nikon digital SLR platform, other than I will still be able to use my current lenses. However, even these will not have the effect for which I purchased them, with a change in apparent focal length due to the cropping or "magnification" of the image sensor Nikon now use. I have looked at the CP 8800, and find it an interesting concept. Further, I have now also read of cameras such as a Minolta Z5 - a 5MP, 35-420mm lens f2.8-4.5 "Anti-shake" or "VR" lens camera, powered by 4 AA batteries, and an amazing 340g in weight! I have no idea whether this is as capable in its imaging abilities as say, a CP8800, but if Nikon have broken links with the past, maybe I should indeed by exploring a different future.

Maybe, my desire for a "digital F100" reveals an obvious prejudice, and a lack of understanding of the choice before me. I find Nikon have left me with little to lose, as they have systematically removed from their system the very items that I found compelling.

Maybe, it is time for me to make a choice even more radical than when I abandoned my OM-system for Nikon in the 15 years ago.

Maybe...

I'd love to read your thoughts on breaking with the past, and breaking with more traditional form-factors. Jorgen, do you aspire to the concept of a digital SLR as I did? What advantages do you perceive in waiting for a "digital F100"? And Larry, you have added some interesting posts regarding the longevity of concept - a modified Moore's law - that possibly makes the retention of individual lenses, with upgrades to more sophisticated bodies, a sound principle. Why renew your lens/lenses every couple of years, when it is only the light-recording and processing mechanism that needs to change? Perhaps the interchangeable lens system is not such a bad idea after all, but something like the Olympus system is a better direction to take (for both me and Nikon!)

Thanks again, and best wishes,

Ian]
 

lnbolch

Well-Known Member
Since I have sounded off at length on the photographic aspects, perhaps a few hardware observations may be in order.

When one changes lenses in a dusty environment with film, most lands on the mirror, but some may land on the film when the shutter opens. Then the film moves on for the next shot - one frame that needs a bit of spotting - that is all. With a dSLR, even a microscopic piece of dust landing on the sensor will be embedded in EVERY image until it is removed - a doable but delicate operation.

So, there is a substantial contingent who buy a dSLR body and a zoom lens and never change it. Result - you got a very expensive and bulky Coolpix - in effect. What is the point of putting up with reflex viewing and the bulk of the camera, if you never change the lens?

While my new CP8400 has a built-in lens equivalent to 24->85mm, I have an additional component designed to become part of the the optical system that converts it into an 18->64mm zoom. There is also a 183° fisheye that can be used as both one that casts the typical round image, but can also be zoomed out to full frame - roughly a 16mm fisheye.

I have a legacy 2x component from my CP5000 that gave me an additional 139->170mm lens though I have not tried it on the CP8400. Plus there are two 3x components to choose from - a large one with ED glass and a much more compact and lighter component using fresnel optics. Since these lenses are designed to be part of the Nikon optical system, I have been extremely pleased with the performance of those I have used.

Even with the built in lens, I have lens choices from 8mm fisheye to a substantial 255mm telephoto. While there are gaps, anyone who shoots with primes on either 35mm or all medium format cameras will tell you, zooms are not always a great trade off. It has not bothered me in the least that I don't have a focal length between 85mm and 139mm - that is just two steps back or two steps forward. No sweat.

If the gaps were a problem, I can add a CP8800 for much less that the equivalent zoom on a dSLR. The complete camera with a zoom range from 35mm to 350mm with an image stabilized lens is under $1,000US. The two cameras together would give continuous coverage from 18mm to 350mm with an overlap from 35mm to 85mm. Since they use nearly identical controls and operating systems, it is one single learning curve with the exception of a couple of details unique to a camera optimized for wide angle work and another for telephotography.

For extreme telephotography, there is also a 600mm equivalent component for the CP8800, which also takes advanage of image stabilization. So for a relatively small investment, one has many options to cover from fisheye to super telephoto. Check the price of equivalent coverage with a dSLR.

All you are really missing is the joy of removing microscopic bits of dust from a delicate sensor. Eye surgeons do this sort of thing all the time, but I would rather not.

If you checked my images at the URL posted earlier, you will see that I have no real problems with available darkness shots with my Coolpix cameras. However, this is a point I will concede to dSLRs. There are times when I would love to have an f-1.4 28mm, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm prime for dim light shooting. Unfortunately unless one can mortage the wife and kids to buy a Canon 1Ds body plus the lenses, the cropping factor comes into play. When you have a 1.5x factor, fast wide angles become a real problem. On the full frame Kodak, some wide angles were disasters due to internal reflections.

There is no camera that is perfect for everyone, everytime, everywhere. If there were, only one camera would be necessary. In the end it comes back to what will allow me to make the images I am making. No matter what I chose, there would be compromises. In going with my current camera, I have minimzed the compromises as they impact my images. Most of the weaknesses are in areas of low priority and the strengths are where I need them.

larry!
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lnbolch

Well-Known Member
> Posted by Tom Rains (Tom_rains) on Tuesday, March 08, 2005 - 3:06 am: > >> Larry, for the record, I have a Nikon D70 with an arsenal of lens > purchased within the past 3 years.

And all my lenses were purchased for my largely manual Nikon F3 when it was new decades back. The question is whether an AIS lens functions on cameras expecting D, G or DX lenses that couple directly to the electronics of contemporary cameras.

> I know there is a lot of discussion > about film lenses on digital cameras, but can you really see the > problems at 10 feet with the naked eye?

Vividly. Outrageously! I saw a shot taken with a Kodak 14n where a table l& was ghosted at least fourfold in the shot as the image of the light reflected back and forth between the sensor and the rear element! It was industrial-strength, major-league, weapons-of-mass-destruction-level bad. In the same article there were shots where the reflections between sensor and rear element were non-specific - no singe bright object - but diffused and repeated enough to make it look like shooting on fogged film. Low contrast and unsaturated polluted colours.

Not subtle - not in the least. Totally ruined photos. Worse, since the camera had only optical reflex viewing, it could not be anticipated. It happened when the miror was up and the shutter was open. No matter the distance, the images were completely trashed and unusable.

Some film-lenses work fine - others do not.

larry!
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zakk92001

Active Member
These are many of the considerations I have been doing myself. The dSLRs ar e immature to say the least, and we have been through some of the drawbacks alread during this discussion. Except for situations where you need very large formats or for other reasons need the quality of the bigger sensor of the dSLR, multiple digicams seems to be an interesting solution, particularly since each camera would have a similar price to one good quality SLR lens.

There are limitations of course, but with the current speed of development, many of them will be overcome fast. It's a pity they haven't installed larger sensors in some of the advanced digicams. If you look at the Pentax ist Ds (size and functionality of that camera is very much like a digicam, you just have to glue the lens to the camera to finalize the conversion), it's obviously possible to do it in a small box.

All the pixel and feature counting that is going on in different forums gives me the same feeling as the discussions around top end hi-fi equipment a few decades ago: they had nothing whatsoever to do with music.

More than 80% of my pictures are taken with a 30 year old OM-1 with a 50mm and a PowerShot A95. This is where the FM-3d idea came in: I would still like to have an SLR for some kinds of pictures, but it should be small, simple and unobtrusive like the FM or OM series cameras. To complement that , 2-3 digicams would do the trick.

It has crossed my mind that all the "helpful" technology in many ways have made it more complicated to take good pictures. Point-and-shoot has improved, but access to manual control is mostly hidden behind stacks of menus, and since there is no standard set-up, not even within one brand, we are much more dependent on reading manuals than before.

A few weeks ago, I tried an F4 for the first time. It looks rather scary to start with, but since all functions are laid out with switches and dials that are clearly marked, any reasonably experienced photographer will understand the basics of the camera right away. In my hands, it was easier to use than using the A95 manually, not to speak about some of the "consumer" dSLRs.

Many claim that digital photography is another kind of art than the traditional way. Still, the target is the same, the still photo. We have just been given some new tools that increases our possibilities. However, some of the tools seem to obscure the target more than helping us to reach it.

Which brings me back to the list from a few mails ago: I miss the simple, no-nonsense kind of camera that puts the object and the photographer in focus rather than more or less usable technology.

I agree that cameras like the CP 8400 and 8800 have the potential for great pictures, but if I compare the 8400 to a 30 year old Yaschica GX, I get a feeling that the only real functional gains are the zoom and the AF, and on the way, we lost the simplicity, the fast lens, the tiny size, the modest battery consumption etc. Yes, the CP is digital, but digital is just a film substitute. Except for being simpler to use, and a natural development, it doesn't do anything more than film.

All this being said, I still admire Nikon for trying to offer solutions tha t work for photographers. I think the launch of the F6 says it all. If I had too much money, I would buy one just to say thank you.

And by all means, don't misunderstand me: I think digital photography is great. I just wish the manufacturers of the equipment didn't hide the beaut y of it behind so much stash.

Jorgen
 

gjames52

Well-Known Member
Olympus system is a better direction to take (for both me and Nikon!)>

Ian:

As in the 70's when Olympus blazed their own innovative system with unique, simple, reliable designs, and common sense features: they continue those traits in my view, with a self-cleaning sensor system, and a small but wide range lens system designed for digital sensors. If the rugged feeling body holds up as the 30+ year old OM's you will be served well! My OM 2n worked as well the other day as the day I bought it new 25 years ago.

Regards:

Gilbert
 

ian_craigie

Active Member
Gilbert,

Thanks for your comments on the Olympus system. I gave my original OM-1 to my sister when I decided to take up with an autofocus system (F-801), and it is still being used to take wonderful photos to this day. It was small and light and rugged, and the Zuiko lenses were the same. She eventually bought an OM2 SP as well, and I have to admit to feeling pangs of regret when I compare what I carry around to her far more portable (though, admittedly, manual focus) system.

Similar to Jorgen, I can appreciate the beauty and appeal of a small, light camera body, and would be very interested in his suggested FM3D! However, I imagine that having now released their film tour-de-force, the F6, this will continue the inevitable decline in such camera development for Nikon (odds for an F7 being released in another 8 years or so, anyone?) I have seen the Pentax ist D, and it seems incredibly small and light, too, while somehow managing to retain the AA battery system that allows it to be so versatile. As has been mentioned, yes, it can be done (although, possibly, at the cost of reliability/dependability. The N90 was relatively compact, and pretty rugged, but you could not call it "light").

I have indeed read of the new Olympus line of "E" cameras, and idly wondered whether the ultrasonic sensor cleaning method actually worked as intended, or not. Certainly, I imagine if the tradition of the OM-mounted Zuikos is continued, there would be no concerns re lens quality on such a system. It would be very interesting to learn more about this system, too, and as you have suggested, this is perhaps one direction Nikon should investigate.

The fact remains, though, that many people do feel that "frames per second" and "megapixel count" are what makes for a better experience/image, and so I imagine Nikon will continue to respond to this market pressure. Olympus have no "baggage", as their excellent OM system was so clearly different from an autofocus, electronic storage, digital media system. It was easy to start with a clean slate, and begin with the image and work out, rather than look first at your proprietary lens mount, and work towards the image. Unfortunate that the Olympus designers seem to have stayed with a proprietary power source, but they are in the majority of camera manufacturers.

It would seem the Nikon CoolPix "all-in-one" system is perhaps the nearest ex&le of Nikon redesigning the camera to suit the medium. Its development runs parallel to the "D" series of SLR's, which continue with the famed "F" mount. I wonder if, or when, the CP series will equate or even surpass the D series in capability. I imagine the investment in lenses and the Nikon "F" and "D" system made by so many PJs is the major driving force behind Nikon SLR development, but this may not be sustainable. If someone can produce a simpler, lighter, equally responsive, equally capable light-gathering tool, then whether you have invested in a fancy system of detachable lenses or not is irrelevant, surely. Pragmatism would dictate the selection of the compact system, other factors (with image quality paramount) being equal.

Brand loyalty is one thing, but if the tool for the job no longer suits, then it is time to change the tool. From my understanding of the introduction of the EOS system, many pro photographers and photojournalists chose Canon over their existing Nikon F3-based systems as they saw it would suit them better. Of course, it meant leaving behind a venerable range of manual focus lenses, but if your job depended on getting the right shot at the right time, then you could pay for your new investment very early on. And the rest, along with those MF-lenses, is history. "System loyalty" means little in such circumstances.

This discussion continues to broaden my thoughts regarding my ideal choice for travel (and other) photography. Thanks again to all who have replied.

Best wishes,

Ian
 
I

innocent

Speaking about the all-in-one digital (otherwise the point-and -shoot system) vs. the dslr, with the level of current technology there can't be any comparison. While the CP series may excel in terms of perceived convenience its competency has not developed further than my Nokia 6630 mobile phone, and in many respects, the Nokia has an edge over and above th e Coolpix range. Perhaps Nikon should be considering such Nokia range of cameras.

It is bad enough that we now have with the digital technology, the film permanently affixed to the camera, what I personally don¹t want to see is t o embed the lens as well, leaving you with limited choices. Speaking from my little experience, I have owned and used Minolta all-in-one digital, owned and used Canon 6i handy-camcorder but it didn't take me that long to realiz e that an all-in one system has many compromises which the members of this forum need not be reminded. So I moved on to Canon XL1s digital camcorder with interchangeable lens, 3 CCDs and an array of custom manoeuvre easily accessible and of course also moved on to the Nikon dslr range whose deficiency if any, are being remedied consistently to become more efficient in terms of shutter lag, noise reduction, sensitivity, power efficiency, ergonomics among others.

Mention had been made about the range of converters that are available for the CP range, so also there are converters for both the F- mount lenses. We also know that converters add extra layers of glass (or plastics) to the already multi-element lenses such as the 70-200VR which impairs their optical performances. So there cannot be any advantage to use any lens converter over and above the prime or the high-end zoom. If the photographi c situation requires a fisheye, simple pullout your fisheye lens and stick to your camera. If it is wide angle you want there's the 12-24mm DX which work s quite fine in an F5 or similar body. I own and use my Nikon 28mm f/3.5 PC i n my dslr, which when used to capture panoramas I utilize the lens' shift and rotate capabilities to later stitch the images in Photoshop. If the scenery is really that engaging I will always use my F5 and later scan the images i n my Coolscan 5000ED and voila the marvel enfolds.

Having said al the above, Nikon seem to have something for everyone and their needs and only for that reason I have remained loyal to them.
 
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