As everyone knows, all of the talk at CES has been about one innovative, breakthrough product: the new Nikon D5600. Lines are deep at the Nikon booth, while crickets chirp everywhere else in the hall. It's all anyone is talking about, all anyone wants to see.
As one excited showgoer cried out, "I wanted something just exactly like my D5500, but just enough better to be noticeable, and this is it!" Another said he had come "a very long way" to reassure himself about what the new camera felt like to hold. "At first it was disorienting," he admitted, "but I stood there motionless, gripping the camera in my hand and keeping anyone else from looking at it, and it began to feel like a budget Nikon DSLR to me. And I said to myself, yes...yes...this feels right."
We were able to catch up with D. Functionary Minion, Nikon's Associate Assistant Head of Blatherskite and Salespatter, by rescuing her from the press of humanity at the Nikon booth and treating her to a triangle of cold pizza-like substance and fizzless sugary-water at a dirty table near the grimy, dispiriting concessions stand here at Tech North-by-Northwest.
TOP: Greetings, Functionary—may I call you Functionary?—first of all, please explain to us all the fresh thinking and innovation that went into this new camera.
D. Functionary Minion: Actually, my friends all call me "D. Funct." You're welcome to call me "Ms. Minion." And for starters, this new camera replaces our long established and much-loved D5500 model, which was a worldwide success. Right here, if you'll look closely, you can see what's probably the biggest outward sign of all the changes inside.
TOP: You're pointing to the "D5600" badge.
Ms. Minion: Exactly! Very perceptive.
TOP: So what's the significance there?
Ms. Minion: Well, which is more, 5600 or 5500?
TOP: You're actually waiting for me to answer? Fifty-six hundred is a higher number.
Ms. Minion: Exactly. How much more, would you say?
TOP: One hundred more?
Ms. Minion [laughing]: I can see why they let you blog from your mother's basement! That was the overarching "deep principle" of our Nikon engineers in Japan—the new camera must accord with the ancient samurai principle of jumanji, which means "give them at least one hundred more."
TOP: Not all bloggers actually work in their mother's basements, you know. I work on my front porch. And I don't think jumanji means...
Ms. Minion: ...No, there's nothing much else new on the camera...that can be seen on the outside. But inside is a completely different story! A very different story.
TOP: Why don't you tell me that story.
Ms. Minion: Basically, we have sprinkled what is known inside the company as "magic eye-eye dust" all over the camera.
TOP: And what is "eye-eye" dust?
Ms. Minion: It stands for "incremental improvement."
TOP: Got it. And what incremental improvements are there?
Ms. Minion. Oh, a bunch of them. There are lots. All sorts of them.
TOP: Such as, specifically?
Ms. Minion: Are you ready? This camera can communicate wirelessly...through the air.
TOP: Do you mean it's got Wi-Fi?
Ms. Minion: It's magic, blogger. Something never before known.
TOP: Well, I agree it seems miraculous, but actually it's been around for...
Ms. Minion: Our marketing tagline is "Connected. Just Like a Smartphone. Only Not Quite As Convenient."
TOP: Speaking as a wordsmith, that's not a very compelling tagline.
Ms. Minion: The D5600 is an extremely capable little camera!
TOP: Agreed. But wasn't the D5500 an extremely capable little camera?
Ms. Minion: No.
TOP: No? Why not?
Ms. Minion: Because we don't need it to be.
TOP: Your predecessor seemed to think pretty highly of it two years ago.
Ms. Minion: We needed it to be then. We're not on that cycle any more. We're on this cycle. Marketing doesn't target all corporate products, you know, only the products that are in the selling cycle. The D5600 is the absolute latest thing. It's bleeding-edge new.
TOP: Well, actually it's been around since last November in the rest of the world.
Ms. Minion: I only handle North America. May I have another piece of pizza?
TOP: You liked that? I thought it was pretty close to the worst pizza I ever let past my lips. It was cold and old. The crust was soggy and the cheese was congealed.
Ms. Minion: Yes, it tasted like wet carpet. May I have another piece? Please don't make me go back to the booth.
TOP: Given that it was nine dollars a slice, I'm afraid you're going to have to buy your own this time.
Ms. Minion: Deal, sad blogger-boy.
TOP: Boy? I'm almost sixty years old!
Ms. Minion [puts her hand on my shoulder]: Aww. There there. I know. Last year at this time I was working in a knit shop in the desert south of town. Would you like another piece?
TOP: Can't you see I haven't even eaten this piece?
Ms. Minion: Oh, but I'm sure that old one is gone. They've probably put out a whole new pie by now. It's probably just out of the oven and it's sizzling fresh and steaming hot. Oooh—ooh—yum! I can just about smell it from here.
TOP: Right as you said that, I imagined I smelled the aroma of hot pizza.
Ms. Minion: It's just what you want. Picture it in your head. Exactly like you like it. The latest thing, new and beautiful and as good as they can make it! Oh so good! It'll be delicious! Fresh, tasty and satisfying!
TOP: You're good at this.
Ms. Minion: Thanks.
TOP: Here's nine dollars. Don't buy it unless it's actually better.
[After several minutes, Ms. Minion returns with two more slices of pizza on paper plates.
TOP: Hey! This looks just like the first slice.
Ms. Minion: Nope! This time there are mushrooms. See? It's better.
TOP: Let me guess: one hundred better?
Ms. Minion: [laughs] You're seeing how this works. Eat up, fat sad old blogger! We all need our strength this week.
(SA = Satire Alert)
Original contents copyright 2017 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.
(To see all the comments, click on the "Comments" link below.)
Featured Comments from:
Roger Cicala: "First, thank you for the laughs. Second, thank you for reminding me why I don't go to CES anymore. A great read to start my day."
Juha Haataja: "What a nice start to the day to read this in the morning, well done indeed. Well, what can a marketeer do if the engineers keep on turning out the same product again and again? Given that, I'm quite happy that there hasn't been an announcement of an upgrade to the Panasonic LX100, thank you very much. And if there is, please don't mention it. (Even though 'LX200' would be exactly one hundred more.)"
kirk tuck: "Can't buy the D5600. Am saving money for their 'Key Mission' camera. According to their advertising 92% of Americans want one now. I don't know what the hell it is but if 92% of Americans want one how can I go wrong? But I have a question I was hoping someone here could answer...is it just a Go-Pro with a different logo slapped on the front? Did they just rush out some rebadged Nikon Go-Pros?
"Is the Key Mission some sort of routine to keep track of one's car keys? Is that the whole mission or is part of it to record 'intimacy' as suggested in their survey of American buyers? Some 15% indicated they desired a 'Key Mission' to record their hanky panky. That's a lot of Americans!
"But then I read the (almost invisible) fine print and found out that the math genii at Nikon marketing were able to extrapolate all these percentages and numbers from a survey group of a little over a thousand self-selected poll takers.
"New math. Now that it's socially okay to lie about...anything I guess camera advertising is going to become exciting again. Go Nikon!!!"
hugh crawford: "When I read that I thought you were just making up the word blatherskite. But it turns out that it is not only a real word but is just as scatological as I imagined. Not only that, but I learned 'cheapskate' has nothing to do with skating! It seems our Scottish ancestors not only wore kilts but knew their s***."