Diversity




























The pictures above are something that I've waited a while to produce. They are Samsung NX10 images processed from raw via Photoshop*. Samsung in their wisdom decided not to include a Mac version of their software to develop the raw files from that camera. As a Mac user I managed to track down a dcraw based programme to do that & also borrowed a PC laptop so that I could see what the raw files look like. Not necessarily something all Mac users would want to do or even be able to do.
(* The new Adobe Camera Raw 5.7 beta update now supports NX1o files.

Samsung have said that they feel they can't compete with Canon & Nikon on DSLR's but that in the small, compact, high specification market now occupied by m4/3 they have a real chance. However they now seem to have a limp and a smoking gun as they have chosen to stick two fingers up at Mac users. Apple have moved a long way from the dark days of the 1990's when they were down to 3% of the global pc market. They now have a healthy 16% of the US personal computer market and I would suspect that for photographers this is higher.

So they do produce an excellent camera and then decide to annoy a large and significant percentage of their possible market by preventing them from using the full capabilities of that camera. Hardly an action designed to give them this market share they are looking for and for the rest of us to give us a choice of products from different manufacturers.

My second thought concerns my ongoing, seemingly endless contemplation of "What on earth is Nikon doing?" To which of course the answer is "Not a lot!"

Amateur Photographer magazine in the UK had one of its "camera shootouts" this week. Between the Nikon D90 & Canon 550D. They came down in favour of the Canon, though were very polite to the Nikon, probably with an eye towards future advertising revenue. However I have no such concerns. Having owned both cameras the 55oD is, in my view, a vastly superior camera. In terms of image resolution, high ISO performance and video I find it way ahead of the Nikon. This got me thinking about what Nikon have on offer at the moment. Their current range includes 5 x 12MP cameras, more if you include the offshoots and upgrades. D3, D300, D700, D5000, D90. There is one 25MP camera - the D3X. In these days of video DSLR's they don't have a camera that shoots full HD 1920 x 1080 video.

I'm a long time Nikon user. When I started in photography if you wanted the best in 35mm and/or you were professional you chose Nikon. The best system, the most hard wearing, the best lens range, the most choice. What happened? If you want more than 12MP then you have one very expensive, very heavy option. Add to this the fact that they don't seem to be able to produce a decent compact camera and you might ask whether they are still serious about being a serious photographic company.

The D3 was their last great camera. It dragged a lot of people back to them, myself included. However Canon then produced the 5D MK II. To my eyes just as good at high ISO's + full HD video + 21MP + substantially cheaper. So what was Nikons response to this? Well nothing really. I should be Nikons core demographic. I earn my living from photography, I shoot in a variety of situations and I have disposable income to upgrade my equipment on a regular basis. So what do I currently own made by Nikon? 85mm f1.8 and 50mm f1.2 MF lenses and a Nikon 9000 scanner. I changed my D3 and D700 for a Canon 5D MK II, my D3X for a Leica M9 and my D300 for a Canon 550D.

Nikon make some great lenses, I have two of them, why can't they provide me with something I might like to use them on? I prefer using m4/3 and a Samsung NX10 to anything Nikon have in their APS-C range at the moment. I actually feel that at low ISO's I get equal quality in a much smaller package. What is that saying about their current, to my mind very conservative, philosophy? Do they think that we will all stay "loyal" to them just because they are who they are? They don't seem to have noticed that the world economy has been having a few problems lately and we are all looking for value for our money. The way they are going they seem to be heading for some kind of niche, expensive, Leica type position - leaving the way clear for Canon to have us by the trouser fillers. OK - at the moment Canon offer great choices and good value, but what happens when they eliminate their main rival? Will they be so customer friendly when they don't have to try so hard?

I like my photographic equipment to be flexible, varied and open system. The more little bits of metal that let me fit x to y the happier I am. I don't want a situation where I put my Canon lens on my Canon camera, having taken it from my Canon bag, and having inserted my Canon SD card take some pictures that I view in my Canon software and then print out my pictures onto my Canon paper using my Canon printer wearing my Canon T-shirt. If some of their supposed competitors don't start to think about what their customers, and prospective customers might want then that could be my only choice.

UPDATE

Just as a follow up to this. Samsung claim to have sold their 1,000,000th. NX10 in their home market. For the financial year ending March 2009 Nikon claim to have sold 2.92 Million DSLR's in total worldwide. The figures are from various dpreview news items.

D

As ever this a personal commentary and not intended to influence or criticise others choices and personal preferences.