Friday, January 06, 2012

Nikon Announces D4

My initial response: Yawn. (In fairness, I had just woken up when I read about Nikon's announcement.)

My next response: Yeah. Ok. (As I sipped my much needed and beloved first cup of coffee.)

My third response: Do you or I really need this camera or, for that matter, any other new and ultra-sophisticated, cutting-edge-technology camera the Big Two comes out with?

I think I'll focus on my third response for this blog update. I mean, what can I say about yawning or being underwhelmed?

First, let me state that without having tried this camera out -- and I likely never will as I'm a Canon guy -- the Nikon D4 is probably an incredible piece of technology. Let me follow that statement by reminding everyone that great photos are not generally the products of incredible technologies. Great photographs are most often the products of incredible photographers. There are exceptions to those two observations but not too many of them.

Having said that, there are some shooters who will benefit from the bells-and-whistles Nikon has packed into this camera. Personally, I consider most of the new cameras released in the past few years as almost being niche cameras, that is, their capabilities are best utilized by photographers shooting specific genres or needing specific capabilities or multi-capabilities. If you're a sports photographer, for instance, cameras with big buffers capable of capturing images as fast or faster than a machine gun spits bullets might be perfect for you. If you're a photographer who needs the integrated ability to capture video and still photos with the same device, many of the newer cameras might be perfect for you.

I shoot with a Canon 5D. A lot of people call it the 5D classic. Excuse me but a 50-year-old Leica is a classic camera, not a 5-year-old digital SLR. That observation aside, the 5D's technology is a couple of generations old. That doesn't make it classic, it simply makes it a little behind the times: The high-tech times. But that's ok! I bought the camera because it was, in my opinion, the first Canon 35mm dSLR with a full-frame sensor offered at an affordable price. Sure, Canon's next iteration of the 5D, the 5D Mk II, had capabilities I thought were cool, but they weren't necessary or required for the genre I generally shoot... and that's the biggest reason why I haven't bought the Mk II. Besides, there was so much other stuff to spend my money on which would definitely be a bigger help in producing the kinds of images I want to shoot-- things like glass and lights and grip.

If I had plenty of eff-you money, I might buy the latest-and-greatest in camera bodies just to be cool or to show-off or whatever. But I don't. Instead, like a good Guerrilla Glamour photographer, I'm always looking to get the most bang for my bucks and only in terms of arming myself with the gear I need, not what I might impulsively desire or what manufacturers' marketeers claim I need.

In spite of how it sounds, my intent is not to trash-talk this new Nikon camera or any other new camera which gets released. I'm only saying that, whenever you consider buying the latest and greatest in camera bodies, think about whether doing so will really make a difference to your photography or whether there's other things you could be purchasing or doing with your money (and time) which will make more of an impact on the results you're hoping to achieve.

I used to play golf. When I was into the game, I noticed that certain putters, while not being the latest in putter design technology, were much lauded and coveted by some golfers. Putters like early Karsten Pings. Are they good putters? Yep. Are they classic? They are. Expensive? Yeah, that too. Do they make much of a difference in terms of most golfers' games? Not generally. But they sure look impressive sitting in someone's golf bag!

If you're into impressing some or possibly many photographers, the new Nikon D4 might be just the ticket. If you're into impressing even more photographers, snapping better photos, regardless of what camera you use, is an even more reliable ticket.

The pretty girl at the top is Kita, shot on a white cyclorama. Here's a BTS shot below.


Paps said...

Here is someone elses opinion that sparked a few people

Pete said...

How I feel about my equipment is determined by asking a simple question:
Is it producing results similar to that of my competitors?
I'm using a Canon 1Dm1, and Canon 10D, while others around me are using newer equipment like the 7D, 5D or 5Dm2.
Under studio conditions, they aren't too far apart, and mainly depends on my use of said equipment.
However, I don't work in a studio.
As a photojournalist, I do lots of work in the dark (or near dark, to be fair.)
So as a person who has to use flash to take ANY picture, my results will be technically marginal on a consistent basis.
Have you ever forgotten to change the settings (or film) from a low-light shoot and taken a bunch of pictures at, say 1600 ISO instead of 100?
Kind of what my results look like compared to what they'd look like using newer equipment.
However, the newspaper client I work with finds this acceptable, so I continue to get assignments for now.
How long before someone who does this as a hobby, and has a 7D or something starts taking these assignments?
I don't know.
I'm not bringing in enough now to maintain what I have (sad when it's cheaper to get an almost new 10D than it was to repair the shutter on a 30D a couple of years ago) so I don't know how much longer I can do this.

Unknown said...

I totally agree!

Soooo many people are caught up in the newest and greatest that they are more worried about what they have, than what they shoot. I teach workshops across the country and I almost ALWAYS have the most crappy camera (I fondle their 7D/5DII/1DS3) and giggle; they're taking classes from someone with a 40d. It's not the equipment but the person using it.

And one final thing; I'm a photographer, not videographer. When I do need to record video, I get my camcorder out. I giggle cause wedding photographers complain about videographers using the incamera photo abilities of their camcorder, yet a photographer is the FIRST one to post a video shot with their dslr of a wedding and think nothing of it.