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Wednesday, 13 January 2016


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I keep dreaming of a digital Bessa-R: full frame, M39, no LCD (or almost none) and CHEAP!

It might not be the worst idea to revisit the early Nikon Coolpix split-swivel body from the late 1990s, early 2000s. They may look odd now, but there was something innovative and elegant in terms of form and function in that design. Ugly to the classic camera fan, but maybe it's time to step outside the DSLR/psuedo-rangefinder box.

This reminded me of sort of an opposite notion .
David Hurn in ON BEING A PHOTOGRAPHER, in conversation with Bill Jay

amended here,
"Many people are interested in photography in some nebulous way...or in the acquisition and admiration of beautiful functional machines,the cameras; or in the arcane ritual of the darkroom processes... But these interests ,no matter how personally enjoyable, never lead to the person becoming a photographer. The reason is that photography is only a tool.. "
"a car would be useless unless it actually takes you somewhere"

OMG I need to find a different book to read :-)

Please don't leave us hanging like that. What are your ideas?

Say, listen, while you're at it could you make me an update of the Epson R-D1? Just use the sensor from the Nikon D500 and a two million pixel LCD.

Also, a digital F3HP with the same specs as above. Manual focus only, of course.

Thanks ever so much!

Ahem, Mike, would you mind sharing your camera ideas with us, just so I can steal them and have the cameras produced, all with my tremendous wealth..... ;-)

Mike, that's daydreaming taken to new heights!
By the way, would there be a vacancy for a special advisor? I wouldn't be asking for much - a mere million per year would be enough -, but I'd bring some great ideas, such as monochromatic models and simple, back-to-basics functions...
Oh wait. That's Leica.

As a left-eyed person, can I put in a bid for a camera with a viewfinder at top right seen from behind? Or, possibly more practical, one with 2 hot shoes, one at top left and one at top right, each of which could take a viewfinder or a flash?

Ok, fun daydream, what happened to "I'd never want to win more than 4 mil, maybe 6" ?
Now you've in " if 20 mil were trivial " territory. What percent of our net worth do we consider trivial enough to blow on an idea that may or may not be successful? 1% ? 5%, 10%.......?
You might need the whole 1.3 billion. That was fast ;-))
Then you'd have to get used to your name being followed by "Lottery winning Billionaire reclusive investor from Penn Yan ( you'd have to buy a considerable piece of it and put up a fence to keep scammers out)
You'd have to hire a handler to shield you, but I'm ok if you're ok.

Back to the camera , who is it for again...... People who care more about pictures than equipment , have no interest in whiz bang presets, or video or in camera HDR or instant artistic presets, or a direct link to Facebook.........
........or care about bragging rights to most pixels or biggest sensor........
Ok will we need to develop lenses? How many? Two ????
Will you need a lens road map? Lenses are extra you know.

You better wait to buy a ticket until the power ball bulks up a little........
But with money, ideas and credentials it could work.

After all, your years ago article "The Camera I want to buy" was basically the blueprint for the camera a lot of people have bought........albeit with a lot of unnecessary bells & whistles

So as long as it's your trivial percentage of your net worth, I'm with you 1000%
Can't wait......can we just have those great photographer presets and video for soccer.......

[I'm just playin'. I don't really want to be Andreas Kaufmann. --Mike]

We can't let you get away with that Mike, spill the beans!

Either you're teasing us or keeping the details to yourself for the day the dollars roll in.

You're being an awful tease today. First the "big camera news coming" and now hints at your quirky ideas for a camera. I understand you probably can't reveal the news but you own your ideas. Come on, tell us.

as it turns our we correctly picked the Powerball number! Unfortunately we DIDNT pick any of the other numbers! Do I have to take back all the stuff I bought in my head and gave away?

I went through the due diligence on this with an interested VC last decade. If we're talking traditional camera company putting a product into the established DSLR/mirrorless type of market and supporting it, the number we finally came up with was US$100m to get to widespread launch with a reasonable supply of what we thought we could sell. An established company with production facilities, marketing/sales teams, support, etc., could do it for far less.

As I learned from my experience at Osborne, though, you can't just capitalize on the amount you expect to sell with a new venture. A truly successful startup company has to overcapitalize to first year needs, as any success can make it highly cash flow negative. Osborne was capitalized with US$4m but had a first year sales rate of US$73m. What that meant is that we were always struggling for money to buy parts for product. Every dollar coming in went right back out, plus some.

If we're talking about just tinkering and doing a DSLR/mirrorless as a hobby, then you don't actually care a lot about meeting a big demand or surging to take away market share. You could do that for far less, but you're also not likely to make much money doing it, if any. The risk of doing it for far less is the same problem Pentax is having: when you hit a problem of any kind, it just stretches your schedule out, making you potentially less competitive when the product finally does reach market. And then you don't have much of a sales and support structure, either, so potential customers tend to write you off.

If we're talking about trying to invent a new camera and market like GoPro did, you can sometimes do that for far less, too (as we did with the QuickCam in the 90's): no one is gunning for you, so you can shoot low and fix with iteration. It doesn't take a lot of engineering team to do something like the QuickCam or GoPro models, but it will take a lot of capital to ramp up and scale if you're successful. Fortunately, that kind of capital tends to be easily available. All you have to do is get to that new market first, show that it is a rapid growth one, and then do your best to negotiate the best deal you can with the VC/Bank/Angel/Whatever. FWIW, I believe we did the initial QuickCam for well under a million bucks, counting every cost I can think of.

Also FWIW, if you do a QuickCam/GoPro type of startup, if everyone thinks you're nuts and doomed to failure, you're probably on the right track ;~). Established players all see the market the way they built the market. They can't see that there are potential alternatives. This was even true of smartphones right up to the point where Apple entered the market with the iPhone, at which point virtually everyone went, oops, why didn't we do that?

If I could design my own camera for wildlife photography, it would end up looking quite similar to a modern rifle, with a lens barrel where you'd expect the gun barrel. With proper sling studs and a sling, good balance, and a fast lens, I believe one could capture many great shots offhand as opposed to on a tripod. Also, the general form of a rifle lends itself well to ad hoc support on tree limbs etc., better than current cameras. I don't want to look to make sure my focus ring is off the branch, I want to quickly compose and shoot. The trigger becomes the shutter release and has the feel and precision of a good rifle trigger. I too have dreams of designing my own camera... I just need 10-20M to get going. :)

[That's been done...it used to be possible to buy rifle stocks for certain cameras. The trouble is that then they look like weapons. I know of at least one case (Google "Mazen Dana") where a photographer (videographer in his case) got himself killed because his camera resembled a weapon. It's not a sound idea, I don't think. --Mike]

Hmmm.... Have you talked to Konost lately? Wondering about that digital rangefinder they said they were going to put out...

'Johnston' it's a little long for the faux-prism of a mirrorless camera, so I'm guessing you'll be releasing a medium format, right?

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