My Photographic Future, Part 3 - Nikon Futures
|Hypothetical Nikon D600|
|Mythical Nikon D400 and D600 Comparison|
|Price||$1,800||$1,500 or $2,400|
|Sensor size||23.2 x 15.4mm||24 x 36mm|
|Native ISO range||100-6400||100-6400|
|Shutter range||1/8000 to 30sec||1/8000 to 30sec|
|Shutter durability||200,000 cycles||100,000 cycles|
|Viewfinder type||OVF Pentaprism||OVF Pentaprism|
|Viewfinder coverage||100%||100% or 97%|
|Video||Full 1080p HD @30 fps max||Full 1080p HD @30 fps max|
|Rear screen||3.2 inch diag 921K PX||3.2 inch diag 921K PX|
|Battery||EN-EL-15 Li-Ion||EN-EL-15 Li-Ion|
What really stands out is the pricing. I have heard that Nikon will release the D600 at around $1,500/€1,500, except for Ken Rockwell, who's write up says it will come in at $2,400 (see footnotes below for links). I don't know about you, but calling a $2,400 camera an entry level camera, which is what everybody is calling the D600, boggles my mind. Even calling a $1,500 camera an entry level camera boggles my mind, but not as much. Entry level is usually inexpensive. And inexpensive to me means, oh, around $300, which includes a body and a lens. That's what entry level used to really mean back in the days of film, when you could get a real 35mm entry level camera from Canon, Konica, Mamiya, Minolta, Nikon, Olympus, and Pentax. I know, I bought a number of those cameras and used to sell them too when I worked at J.C. Penney, back when J.C. Penney sold cameras in their camera department (1970s). I don't care how much inflation has hit us, calling a $1,500 (and up) camera "entry level" is utter bollocks.
The other interesting issue concerning pricing is the price of the D400. If the D600 is really $2,400, then the D400 pricing of $1,800 makes sense. If the D600 is instead $1,500, then the D400 pricing makes no sense at all. I would have though the D600 might come in at $2,200, or (before I heard of the D400), $1,800. If the D600 comes in at $2,200 then it replaces the D700, which is what it's currently selling for. Now let's price the D400 at $1,500. That's a $700 gap between those two cameras, and a $500 gap between the D400 and D7000. Now Nikon has well-specified cameras at conventional price points all the way from the D3200 up to the D4.
If, and of course this is a big if, there is a D400 at $1,500 or even $1,800, this will pretty much hammer the Olympus E-5 into the ground, driving the stake of irrelevance deeply and lethally into regular 4:3rds barely beating heart.
Another feature the two cameras seem to share is the the sensor manufacturer. Nikon has been a heavy Sony user, at least for its high-end cameras, but it turned to Aptina Imaging for the Nikon 1 series. It's not doing this for pricing (the Nikon 1 was originally released at a ridiculously high price), but because that sensor has PDAF elements directly on the sensor surface. That means that those cameras can have full autofocus with the mirror up in video mode. I have yet to hear if the Nikon D800 and D4 can do this, but for the money Nikon asks for those cameras you'd think so.
I'm interested, but certainly not waiting with baited breath for either of these cameras to appear. You need lenses to go with those bodies, and I'd have to really sit and think about what two lenses Nikon sells that are equivalent to the Olympus 12-60mm and 50-200mm 4:3rds lenses. That means something weather sealed and cost effective. If these cameras are coming they they'll be officially announced at least by Photokina. I won't loose any sleep waiting.