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Tuesday, 27 September 2011


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Heh, heh, heh, I still have my F2A! LoRL

"Mount Fuji"?

Despite being a Nikon user, I have to say that in the picture accompanying the blog post, the D3x looks ugly. Most modern cameras look really bland...

From a photographer's perspective I'd be inclined to favor yesterday's Phase One over this Nikon; the Phase One just has more IQ and the D3x starts to fall apart around ISO 1600 anyway. But this is all just theoretical -- I'm not in the position to spend on either camera.

I have to keep telling my wife that some people (like her sister) have more cheques in their chequebook than we do.
I guess the D3X, except for those who really do use it, is just like that extra expensive watch or sports car or big diamond. Just to say, I have more than you do.
In 2 years, it will be just another obsolete bauble.


How about Valhalla, for a home of the gods?

It resonates with the Harley reference above (and might even bring to mind a turntable from yore).


You know, I don't think I actually want to be so busy that I don't have time to open a new, very shiny toy in my main line of business for an entire month.

Or maybe it's different; maybe it's that I'm never going to be that successful, because I don't have the discipline to focus so much on real essentials for so long.

That works better! Thanks for the help.


I think the issue was that he knew "opening the camera" involved an intensive few days of learning exhaustively how to use it. That's what he was waiting to make time for.


Of course, if you did the same car comparison as yesterday, even this mighty beast would be just about the Kelly Blue Book resale value of my 2004 Honda Accord. A jump from unobtainium to something we could buy if we really, really wanted it.

My F3 is prettier and lighter, but I haven't used it in years. My FM2 is even lighter, smaller, and less battery-dependent, and for those reasons it was the only camera I used for wilderness trips.

Back then, the F3 was my "big" camera.

"He was happy to regale me with all the shortcomings of the top amateur Nikon of the era, the F100. "

Funny, that was the most enjoyable camera I've ever owned, my current D7000 included, and the only one I ever regretted selling. So I finally gave in and bought a used one a couple of weeks ago. It works like a charm. Absolutely wonderful for those who still like shooting this thing called... film. :)

So, unobtainium comes in many forms! [ for mortal humans ] And even if you do manage to 'obtain' the unobtainium you still are unable 'operate' it as it contains the contaminant unoperable [ time to.....]. Great.
Mike B.

...one of the things that sold me on Nikon is that all the top line cameras: 300, 700, probably this as well, shoot .tiff. I like testing cameras so I know what they can do, setting .tiff, shooting a job, and just burning it off and giving it to the client, just like I used to do with transparencies! No shooting RAW, and opening it up and setting everything I could have done in the camera, and then storing it off as .tiff in the end...very helpful in markets where you can't charge for post processing!

"I think the issue was... involved an intensive few days of learning exhaustively how to use it."

Mike, yes. My copy of David Busch's D3S/D3X Guide is 547 pages.

It is a fairly hideous looking thing.

My D700 was the smartest way to get into FX lenses and as the saying goes : The smart money is always on the lenses.

I just don't understand this "since I'm not a pro I should not have a pro camera"?
I love to take pictures as a hobby, I have a great job that allows me to buy what I want. So I got a 1Ds Mark III. I am sure most of your readers could take a better photo than I will with much less of a camera. But I take a better shot with my 1Ds than with my 7D and that is what counts.

There's no question Nikon's DSLRs are big, heavy machines - at least above the D70/80/90/7000 level. After decades using film SLRs, I tried a D200 for a week in 2008. I brought it back to Adorama and traded it for a Pentax K200D. Much more my style, despite the Nikon's quality.

Meanwhile, I can relate to the photographer who didn't have time to check out his new camera for a month. I treated myself to a brand-new K-5 (again from Adorama) late last month. But this weekend will be my first opportunity to play with it. I'm not a pro photographer, but I am in the news business. There's got to be a better way.

seems you brought yourself into a dilemma already at #10 - if you bring in a Canon camera further up in the list the Nikon fans will cry foul. And if you don't ...

Concerning D3x vs IQ180 - this turns up the question if something more within your reach tends to be more desirable. Quite a lot of people try to refrain from desiring things that are beyond their reach anyway.

And by the way my guess for #1: it could be the camera used for the #1 in your Ten Great Photographs list. OTOH you restricted this list to cameras 'on the planet'... ;-)

Ha, I saw that camera with the 12-24mm attached and found them downright repulsive. I now work with both and they actually felt right and light. I just avoid looking into the mirror when holding them.

The D3x is not for everybody. It was never intended to be. It's for a niche audience who needs a high pixel count, a good selection of top-quality lenses, and prefers working with a standard, 35mm-style, handheld camera.

As for it's styling...whether or not it's an attractive camera is completely irrelevant. I don't buy cameras because they're pretty, I but them because they work.

Don't forget that the reason cameras like this are so big, beastly, and heavy is because everything is built in. A Nikon F3 or F2AS is at least as heavy and bulky once the requisite motor drive is fitted and all that gets you is automated frame advance. Sophisticated metering and exposure modes didn't exist nor did autofocus.

Did you ever handle a F3AF?

Now that was an ugly, massive, and heavy beast even before you fitted one of the 3 lenses they made for it.


Me, I try to avoid desiring things that are within my reach. Because those things pose a clear and present danger (to my bank balance). Desiring a D3x is merely frustrating, not actually dangerous.

Chuck, I feel the same way - my camera is a tool, not fashion bling. If it feels right in the hand and does the tasks required of it, its styling is irrelevant.

The D3 is a lame joke in my view, and the D700 is too large as well.

My favorite Nikon? The FE. And that size of camera — i.e., a classic film SLR — has become imprinted on me, surely forever, as being the only proper size for any kind of SLR.

For a DSLR I have a D40, and while I note that it's light in the hand, it's just too big. (And then there are those menus and thumbwheels...)

What I'm hoping for — and firmly expect never to live to see — is a "digital FE." An F-mount DSLR that reads AI lenses, has the FE's capabilities and controls (and no additional ones), and all fits in a package no larger than a D40, preferably smaller.

Leica's done it. What's the holdup with Nikon?

Its not the camera, its the pearson behind the camera. You take the Nikon FA FM2 FM Lieca and the Fuji S2 pro Takes some beating thease oldtimers

The fact that it's quite possible to rank, in terms of desirability, a Nikon D3X above a PhaseOne IQ180 demonstrates the complex and multi-dimensional interplay of objective parameters — e.g. sensor size, resolution — and other, more abstract product attributes — e.g. usability, reliability, versatility — which ultimately coalesce into a single "desirability" metric.

One can thus draw parallels between cameras and other products with multi-dimensional attributes — e.g. cars; one certainly doesn't expect a strict dependency to exist between engine displacement and a car's desirability or price tag.
Similarly, it would be simplistic to expect or demand that a small-sensor camera — e.g. the Nikon V1 — be always priced below a "higher-rank" camera — e.g. an entry-level DSLR like the Nikon D3100, or to decree e.g. that the fact that the Leica M9-P is priced above the large-sensor Pentax 645D defies marketing "logic".

Let's thus imagine correspondences between the somewhat complex market positioning of some cameras and car models, in terms e.g. of intended audience, features, price, performance, image etc.

An illustrative, obviously totally subjective mapping could look something like this:

    • Nikon D3X — Hummer H1
    • Nikon D3100 - a solid and reasonable people mover of Asian manufacture that doesn't tickle the senses
    • Sony NEX-7 — Audi S4 Avant
    • M4/3 — Volkswagen Golf / Audi A3
    • Nikon V1 - Mini Cooper S
    • Pentax 645D — Mercedes G-class
    • Leica S2 — Lamborghini LM-002
    • Leica M9-P — Morgan Plus 4
    • Phase One IQ180 — Rolls Royce Phantom
    • 8x10 view camera — semi-trailer truck
    • Compact digital cameras — Kei cars

The Nikon V1 has:
    • a magnesium body shell with presumably good haptics — e.g. a solid feel and a nice surface finish. Entry-level DSLRs like the Nikon D3100, OTOH, tend to have plasticky bodies
    • hi-res 921K-dot LCD with tempered glass cover — just like the Nikon D3 series. Entry-level DSLRs tend to have lower-resolution LCDs with easier to scratch plastic cover panels
    • an Expeed 3 image processing engine that is more powerful than any other current Nikon camera's, D3X included
    • autofocus that is at least as fast, if not faster than any Nikon DSLR
    one 2-Gbit Samsung and two 4Gbit Elpida memory chips, for a total RAM capacity equalling or even exceeding that available on the Nikon D3 with the buffer upgrade or the D3s
    • a hi-res LCD EVF that is at least as good as any available on a M4/3 camera, and possibly nicer than Panasonic's "sequential" LCD EVF that can suffer from DLP-like "color breaking" with mobile subjects
    advanced CMOS image sensor with built-in phase detection AF, hi-speed on-chip A/D converters, fast and wide fully digital output channels.

I'm thus classifying the Nikon V1 as a "small, but premium" product targeting a market segment that is less price-sensitive, hence the likening to a Mini Cooper S.

I'm pretty sure your ranking of the 10 most desirable cameras could inspire a multitude of automobile correspondences among TOP's readership.

God, I want one of these. Wantwantwant. Need? Probably not.

(Note that I'd be perfectly happy with a lesser body with the same sensor, as my shooting has recently shifted from taking pictures of black cats in coal mines to taking pictures of rather lovely people of the female persuasion in bright daylight.)

The Nikon D700 is a HUGE step up from the Fuji S2 pro for me. The S2 pro was already better than film for the work I did.

Technical improvements don't make me a better photographer, no. But they make my photographs better anyway.

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