What a week for gear, right?
Nikon’s announcement of 2 new mirrorless cameras caused quite a stir among DS email list members. After months of slumber, you could hear us typing frantically, exchanging thoughts around the globe. And let’s not forget the other seismic shift of the week. One of likely smaller scale, but possibly even greater significance : Zeiss are one again making a camera. And I’m really curious what that is going to be.
No fact checking is needed to say we, at DearSusan, have been the strongest supporters in the whole galaxy, and vocal ones at that, in favour of that idea. So if the camera is great, please send libations our way. If it’s rubbish, feel free to throw darts at voodoo dolls of Paul and Philippe (not me, I’m ticklish).
Needless to say, we’d love to preview it … hint hint Oberkochen !
But let’s pedal back to the Z7 for a while. My feeling is that this camera has not always been as well received as it deserves to be.
Here’s a company that’s known for its incremental improvement strategy, that has been averse to risk for the past decade and that has just performed what can only have been a very stressful change of orientation, from a tough position within a tough market. That alone is to be commended.
On top of that, we have to applaud Nikon for jumping into mirrorless – however late – with both feet. The new mount can only mean future proofing. The nomenclature hints at an even higher-end 8-series model. The quality of this very first effort is eminently laudable. Heck, from some angles, this is the best full frame mirrorless camera ever built (not bad for a first attempt) !
OK, from quite a few other angles, it’s a minor let down. Can we talk about that for a minute ?
I’ve read and viewed a few fair criticisms as well as some I completely fail to grasp :
People are focusing so much mental energy on a scenario that goes wrong 0.1% of the time and really doesn’t matter when it does. This is just mind trash built into us by marketing departments. It does nothing to make us better photographers, quite the opposite.
How does not being innovative make a product worse for the end-user? Healthy eating isn’t innovative at all. Quite the opposite. It’s still the best way of not having your limbs cut off because of diabetes, of keeping cancer at bay and of not dying 30 years prematurely. Not many innovative diets have that good a track record. What matters is a good product. If it ALSO brings something new AND great to the table, so much the better. But let’s start with good, shall we, and add new later.
It seems to me we’re at a point in photography where innovation is a pretext for forcing an upgrade path rather than a true benefit to the user. Mirrorless was a real great innovation that enabled a part of the user base to do stuff that wasn’t possible before. Before that, the switch from film to digital was a real innovation. More recently, you could argue IBIS was a minor but useful innovation. That’s about it. All the rest is mainly hollow.Today a camera that doesn’t push the performance envelope any further but actually does everything really well within that envelope would be a very welcome addition to the market. That’s what the Z7 **might** be, in its finished version. Hopefully 😉
Some evil marketing genius has somehow managed to convince millions of perfectly lovely consumers that they are at the same time Formula 1 videographers, astrophotographers, deep-sea reporters, street photographers, wedding pros, studio artists, vloggers and more…
Sorry to disappoint so bluntly, you’re just not. The sooner you admit that, the sooner you can focus on one arena and the gear that really matters for it. It is so liberating when you do. The Z7 isn’t a mirrorless D850. And the D850 isn’t a Z7 with a mirror. Fact. Pick one and let’s move on.
You know, all in all, it’s super easy to criticise. But try to remember your first attempt at anything meaningful and how great that was.
Anyhoo, more intriguing still is the news from Zeiss. In fact we didn’t believe it at first, even having prayed for it for years. We’ll probably know in a couple of weeks what all of this is about. In the mean time, all we can do is speculate and play Zeiss’ guessing game 🙂
And we’re plenty good at that. Not that our guesses are ever true, but we’re plenty good at throwing tons of ideas at the wall hoping one will stick. So, the DS list was summoned and personal guesses curated for your evaluation. Here are some of those ideas. Do any resonate with your own?
A synthetic view of our individual votes would give a medium format fixed lens camera with a high-quality zoom, low-amplitude (28-50 constant f/2.5?) and optimised for the sensor, and great signal calibration/processing, not much larger than a Z7. That would get the checkbooks out from at least 4 of us in our little group, at or below that convergent price point …
Our guess is the electronics are entirely Sony, and the body and lens are entirely Zeiss. Zeiss are world-class masters of manufacturing tolerances, they have experience in weatherproofing, electronics, and designing optics. Creating the body would probably not be that complicated for them. Creating a world-class lens? Well, that’s what they do.
How are we doing, Zeiss? If we’re close, surely we deserve a test drive, right ? 😉 If not, ah well, you’ll at least get a laugh out of it 😉
Let me leave you with some interesting links (and many thanks to those who sent them to me).
So, what are your thoughts on these recent developments? GAS or no GAS?
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