OK, I’m done. I’m done listening to photography’s wonks telling me what wonders are coming, who from and then guessing when they’ll arrive.
Done and it’s time for our suppliers to get smart and deliver. Properly.
Here’s what I think. Disruption has now arrived in photography. Just as the reprographic business, the bookshops, record stores, telephones, music players, GPS makers and more recently, the watch industry got the wake-up call, now it’s photography’s turn. All of those sectors have been hammered by technology change, because they refused to believe it could ever happen and now, it’s time for Canon, Nikon et al to wake up and smell the coffee. RFN*, because if they don’t, tomorrow isn’t coming. Don’t believe me? Read Theodore Levitt’s seminal Marketing Myopia. It’s all there.
I’ve been caught a bit, too. Inter alia, us Aperture users have been shrugged-off by Apple because their focus is now firmly on the iPhone and iPad – there are billions of users out there needing entry-level tools and it’s ridiculous of us users to expect them to continue to develop a software product for just a (relatively) few pro photographers. I’ve known that Aperture was dead for about six months, but hoped Photos.app that will replace it might just be OK and mature into a great product. Nope. Not happening – I just wish it didn’t mean a move to Lightroom.
In hardware terms, we’ve seen sensor technology change and offer 6, 8, 16, 30 and more megapixels. That was in reduced sizes and the dozy compromises like M43 and APS-C. Then, it was in response to a market that wanted more and yet has still to really materialise from the manufacturers. So, buyers continue to drink the CoolAid and most are still trying to convince the rest of us that it was all such a good idea.
Read it like this: marketing compromise. Translation; buy this now and you can replace everything you have, then when we have a better idea, you can buy yet more stuff. Just don’t expect anything that might cause us to break a sweat. OK?
Yeah, right. Buy more stuff. I got it.
So, I’ve decided to stop buying stuff. My last major purchase was a Fuji X100T in November last year because the Sony NEX-7 replacement with a FF sensor has simply failed to materialise and I had a major street project to shoot. Prior to that, the aforementioned NEX-7 was my last purchase. It’s performed admirably, but still isn’t the FF camera I want. Those of you that feel like chirping about the A7 are just CoolAid drinkers too. Street does not contemplate a shutter that would wake the dead.
But, don’t take my word for it, go look on the Interwebs. This week, Nikon rolls out the D5XXX, D6XXX or D7XXX and a New Coolpix XXX – who cares? Substitute your own numerals for the Xs to see how (un)momentous these announcements really are. Canon are no different, or Sony, Fuji or anyone else. They just want to sell you the latest stuff. No-one said anything about new developments, lightness, small size? That’s way too hard, it seems.
And, if you don’t get that and missed their knock-me-on-the-head marketing stupidity, this week instead of fixing the (apparently) myriad of user complaints about the M, Leica has announced a new version of their top-of-the-range camera with the paint worn off. What a stunning piece of marketing that is. And a great way to kill off a once-admired brand name.
I won’t speak for you, but as I’ve been writing this, I’ve become more and more angry. Konost announced a funding drive this week to help build a Leica M look-alike. It’s been in almost every newspaper and on just about all of the photo-blogger site around the planet. The interest has been huge and I’m quite sure their financial needs are now well satisfied.
Still think we’re getting what we want Mr Nikon, Mr Canon and your pals in Japan?
Just in case you still don’t get it, I want:
• A sensible sized camera that weighs less than a photocopier
• A body that is long lasting and impervious to wear and tear. Carbon fibre would be nice
• Ability to use new and legacy lenses on MY choice of mount – adaptors are OK, preferably supplied with the camera
• FF sensor of around 25-30mp
• 14 stops DR as a minimum
• Water resistance
• A common flash system
• A common and reliable wireless remote system
• On board GPS
Until that happens, I’m not sure I will be buying anything new.
Fifty-odd years ago, we put men on the moon. A camera to fulfil these specs can’t be that hard in comparison?
* Right Fucking Now – done for emphasis as I’m sure you understand