Skip to main content

Photokina 2012 Personal Ruminations

Nikon D600
I was at the end of the second week of my road trip when the Photokina 2012 official release floodgates really opened up. In particular came the formal announcement of the Nikon D600.

I've written twice already about the D600, going so far as to speak of it along with another rumored Nikon camera, the D400 (the followup to the Nikon D300s). One of the key rumors was the D600's price of around $1,500, body only. I was somewhat annoyed when Nikon announced the official price of $2,100, body only.

I'm not going to go through all the D600 features, as that's already been done to death all over the net. The only feature that matters to me at the moment is the price. If a $2,100 camera is considered an "entry level" camera, then I'm in the wrong dimension, probably in the wrong time. How I miss the days when 35mm reigned supreme and bodies from all manufacturers were considerably less expensive...

Yes, I know that the D700, the camera it allegedly replaces, had a suggested MSRP at the time of its release of $3,000. That's what the Nikon D800 currently costs. The problem is the cost. If it had been released at the rumored $1,500, or even $1,800 (the price of the D300s) it would have been an instant no-brainer. It would have become everyone's nightmare in the camera marketplace (Canon and Sony in particular) and put incredible pressure on µ4/3rds. It would have made the lackluster Canon 6D look even more lackluster...

I'm still wading through all the announcements, adding up equipment prices to come up with ballpark system cost estimates. For example:
  • The Nikon D600 + new 24-85 'kit' zoom is $2,700.
  • An Olympus E-M5 + grips + Panasonic 12-35mm constant f/2.8 zoom is $2,500.
  • The just-announced Panasonic GH3 + Panasonic 12-35mm constant f/2.8 zoom is $2,500.
  • The Sony α77 + 12-50mm constant f/2.8 'kit' zoom + grip is $2,200.
  • The Olympus E-5 + grip + 12-60mm zoom is $2,650 (I had this before it was stolen)
  • The Sony α99, body only, is $2,800.
These are basic cost estimates covering cameras that have currently caught my fancy for one or more reasons. The Olympus, Panasonic, and Sony (α77) kits are reasonably dust and moisture sealed. The α99 body is fully sealed, while the Nikon D600 is "partially" sealed, whatever that means. Considering the superb sensor performance from µ4/3rds sensors to APS-C to the so-called "full-frame" (135 sized) sensor, I have no bias towards any particular sensor. They're all now demonstrably excellent. So that leaves key features, ergonomics, and system lens and accessory support to mull over. Plus what kind of financing deal I can get for my equipment. Sony, for example, has 18 months interest free for equipment costing $1,000 or more. This would come in handy, especially if I go the α99 route with a pair of bodies and two Sony/Carl Zeiss zooms I've suddenly found a fondness for.

You may ask "how can you complain about the perceived high cost of the D600, yet talk about purchasing the α99?" If I'm considering spending two grand and up on any camera equipment then I might as well consider all my options.


Popular posts from this blog

cat-in-a-box channels greta garbo

So I'm sitting at my computer, when I start to notice a racket in back. I ignore it for a while until I hear a load "thump!", as if something had been dropped on the floor, followed by a lot of loud rattling. I turn around and see Lucy in the box just having a grand old time, rolling around and rattling that box a good one. I grab the GX1 and snap a few shots before she notices me and the camera, then leaps out and back into her chair (which used to be my chair before she decided it was her chair).

Just like caring for Katie my black Lab taught me about dogs, caring for Lucy is teaching me about cats. She finds me fascinating, as I do her. And she expresses great affection and love toward me without coaxing. I try to return the affection and love, but she is a cat, and she takes a bat at me on occasion, although I think that's just her being playful. She always has her claws in when she does that.

She sits next to me during the evening in her chair while I sit in mi…

vm networking problem fixed

Over the weekend I upgraded to Windows 8.1, then discovered that networking for the virtual machines wouldn't work. Then I tried something incredibly simple and fixed the problem.

Checking the system I noticed that three VMware Windows services weren't running; VMnetDHCP, VMUSBArbService, and VMwareNatService. VMware Player allows you to install, remove, or fix an existing installation. I chose to try fixing the installation, and that fixed the problem. The services were re-installed/restarted, and the virtual machines had networking again.

Once network connectivity was established there was exactly one updated file for Ubuntu 13.10, a data file. This underscores how solid and finished the release was this time. Every other version of every other Linux installation I've ever dealt with has always been succeeded by boatloads of updates after the initial installation. But not this time.

Everything is working properly on my notebook. All's right with the world.

sony's pivotal mirrorless move

I'm a died-in-the-wool technologist, even when it comes to photography. I have always been fascinated with the technology that goes into manufacturing any camera, from the lenses (optics) through the mechanical construction, the electronics involved, and especially the chemistry of the film and the sophistication of the digital sensor. It's amazing that the camera can do all it's asked of it, regardless of manufacturer.

Of all the types of cameras that I've really taken an interest in, contemporary mirrorless (again, regardless of manufacturer) are the most interesting because of the challenging problems the scientists and engineers have had to solve in order to build a compact but highly functional camera. In particular I've followed the sensor advances over the years and watched image quality climb (especially with μ4:3rds) to exceed film and rival one another such that there's very little difference any more as you move from the smaller sensors such as 4:3r…