Camera Geekery: Nikon axing SLR’s?
That’s right, the news media are reporting the end of the Nikon SLR line, with Nikon axing SLR’s. After 60 years of producing SLR cameras for everyone from beginner photographers right up to pro’s, Nikon has always been there at the forefront, producing some of the most iconic cameras in the world. So, what happened?
Nikon and Canon have always been the forerunners in the SLR wars. But during the beginnings of the digital age the race between Canon and Nikon became even more pronounced. With both of them continually vying to out do one another. But then Nikon dropped the ball during the conversion to video. But back and forth it went and now it seems like there is somewhat of an impasse. Photographers are tired of changing systems every couple of years.
But how did we get here? Well, the digital revolution basically guaranteed this would happen sooner or later. As the performance of smaller sensors in smartphones improved, more and more people had access to print quality images. And this changed the print media, and later social media, forever.
Once news agencies realized they didn’t need to pay a staff photographer $50k a year when they could just swipe images from smartphones, the writing was on the wall. The shareholders call the shots and they want the cheapest option. If that means paying barely anything or even nothing at all for a mediocre image then that is fine. This has had a detrimental effect on the professional industry. With anyone from sports photographers to wedding photographers being replaced with images from smartphones. This has seen the need for pro level SLR’s drop considerably. And these pro DSLR’s drive innovation in the market for the rest of the SLR lineup.
Who wants to carry a huge camera when you can do the same thing with a mirrorless camera? Or even your smartphone? Most people don’t want to mess around with settings and lenses. They can get all they need from their smartphone, sadly.
The thing is, all of these modern DSLR cameras were based on the previous generation of film cameras. Which was ok up until a point. But that is when Moore’s law kicked in and you no longer needed to have a full frame sensor to have super high resolution images. Now everything can be done on a smaller sensor, so there is no need for the bulky bodies, right?
So, sales of DSLR’s dropped and dropped faster than the value of NFT’s once people realized they were a complete scam. And Nikon had to do something. Even though they could never feasibly go out of business seeing as they are kind of too big to fail.
So Nikon have bailed on SLR’s…..Or have they?
You see, not everything you read on the big news sites is always veritas. And Nikon have actually released a statement on their own site TODAY to counter this information. Oh, that upsets the applecart somewhat.
So, who do we believe? Well, I think that for DSLR’s the time has come. In the future they are going to be viewed in same way that large format cameras are now. Why bother with all the hassle when an algorithm can do it for you? At the end of the day, humans tend to be pretty lazy, and the path of least resistance is the one that will always be taken. Nikon will have to address this sooner or later. Which they will by moving forcefully into the mirrorless market with cameras like the Z9.
But, it doesn’t have to be the end for SLR. I know Nikon doesn’t read this site, or care about what someone like myself thinks. But I will say again what I have said for some time. Nikon, if you are listening, you would do well to look at what companies like Tudor and Longines have done, or even Seiko with the Grand Seiko Line.
Heritage is the new ergonomics. Nikon would do very well indeed if they set up a small manufacture producing recreations of the classic F and S lineups. Or even, dare I say it, branching out and making something new entirely. It is not like they are lacking in expertise or capabilities.
Seiko did it with their artisan studio. I absolutely believe that there are enough Nikon collectors and fans out there that would buy anything that was made by hand in Japan, no matter the price. I mean, it’s not like Nikon hasn’t done it before.
Go on Nikon, roll those dice, I am pretty sure you would would be getting double sixes.