Cameras and Photography Explained

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Now what’s Thom up to? Testing the Nikon Z50, that’s what. Night game. Bad lighting. Slow lens (f/4). What could go wrong?

Everyone is highly motivated to get you to buy new gear before the end of the year. At one point, I had a list of over 100 different promotions—that’s overall promotions, not products!—that are or will be in effect before Christmas. I’m not going to try to point everything out to you. I would encourage you to use one of the B&H links on this site to check what the deal is for any given product you might be interested in, though, as some deals come and go in the course of a day.

A lot of the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals are lingering: for instance, a brand new Nikon D610 body, 50mm f/1.8 lens, battery grip, and wireless transfer module for US$897 [advertiser link]. Nothing wrong with the sensor in that camera, though the body itself is pretty basic and there’s no 4K video. Still, it’s a solid, low-cost way to try out full frame for you DX users who’ve been contemplating it. Given the accessories included, I’d guess this is an attempt to unload the warehouse of all old inventory associated with the D610. Put another way, you might find it harder to find the MB-D14 and WU-1b accessories in the future.

I’ve always advocated avoiding gray market, but here’s something I didn’t expect to see: a refurbished Z7 in the US costs US$2200 right now, while a gray market Z7 costs US$2370. So there’s now really no reason to buy gray market! You’re getting a usable 90-day warranty and NikonUSA will repair your camera in the future, and you’re paying less when you buy refurbished in this case. This shows you how aggressive Nikon has just gotten in terms of moving boxes: they’re more aggressive than the gray marketeers they used to rely on to move volume, and those gray marketers are now underwater (would have to sell for less than they bought the product for).

>>> This Week's Articles: 

Dec 5

The US$1000 Camera Buying Dilemma. One way of looking at what's happening in the camera market is to slice it in a way that is more consumer-facing. I've chosen price as my slice mechanism today. Not sensor size, not camera type, not anything else other than price. Article on

Dec 2

Nikon 85mm f/1.8 S Review. The 85mm f/1.8 S is the third in a series of moderately fast Z-mount prime lenses to appear. At least two more such lenses will eventually arrive (20mm and 24mm focal lengths). Review on

Quick Takes on New Cameras. I’m juggling a bunch of new mirrorless gear in the review process right now. Since I’m getting a lot of email inquiring about these specific products during this holiday buying season, I thought I’d give you a quick take on my current thoughts on these products. Article on

Are You Tracking Tracking Correctly? One common theme I get in my In Box these days has to do with “the Nikon Z’s can’t track in autofocus.” This is incorrect. It started with YouTube videos at camera introduction that made similar claims, and has morphed and metamorphosed like a chameleon that makes cocoons in its larval stage but never quite becomes beautiful and gains flight. Article on


2019 Holiday Buying Guide. Every year I get a lot of requests to make suggestions on products to purchase for holiday gifts, either to oneself or to a loved one. In the past I've responded to those emails individually (and still do), but the volume level has gotten up to the point where I thought that I'd be organized about this and put some formal suggestions on the Web site. Today I post the camera suggestions. Later this month I'll get to the accessories and holiday gift suggestions. Article on

May I ask that you start your photographic-related shopping by clicking on any of the B&H links on this site, such as the following one. B&H is this site's exclusive advertiser. Starting a purchase at B&H from a link on this site helps support this site.

Some of you probably aren't aware that I've long had a dedicated B&H Landing Page [advertiser link] where the items in each of four different "gear bags" I use lives. We've just updated that page and the underlying pages, as well.


>>> Previous Articles: 

Nov 30

Internet Declares Sony the Winner. Let’s see if I can get out ahead of what will be the latest claims flying around the Internet. Here’s the summary information from BCN rounded to the nearest percent that shows how full frame cameras are doing (both DSLR and mirrorless). Article on

Nov 29

Will the Grinch Steal Christmas? As you partake on all the Black Friday and Cyber Monday offers, remember this: holiday shopping is a longer-term event. Between Cyber Monday and Christmas there are 22 other shopping days this year, and everyone in the chain that sells—dealers, distributors, makers—really needs to see sustained buying, not just a couple of spurts of splurging. Article on

Nov 25

How to Buy. Yes, it’s that week. Black Friday is coming. Cyber Monday will follow. Holiday savings will blossom. Everyone wants you to buy. Article on

Nov 14

My Proposal for Nikon's Product Future. I publish this article as a thought piece. There's no way that what I propose here could actually be done, partly because you can't just jump in at one point in time, wave your hands, and make models appear/disappear. What you will be able to do over time is compare what I write here to what Nikon actually does, and get some sense of how they saw the same problem. Article on

Nov 14

The Reason Camera Sales are Stalled. How do you get current customers to upgrade cameras? How do you get someone new to buy a dedicated camera for the first time? Article on

Nov 11

Followup on Nikon's Financials. It's always fascinating to watch discussions of hot topics. Last week's hot topic was Nikon's surprise financial presentation projecting a loss for the imaging group for the year. Before I get back to what Nikon said, let's first clear up a couple of the discussion points that keep coming up. Article on

Nov 7

Nikon's Financial Issues Persist. Long ago I pointed out that there was a fan "over there" and that mildly iterating the same old thing and not paying attention to your key customers was the equivalent of fecal matter. You probably shouldn't throw the one at the other. For Nikon, as I expected, those two things have now clearly met. Article on

Nov 6

A lot of miscellany today to deal with. In the L-mount, we have the Leica SL2 announcement, Panasonic 16-35mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens announcements. Panasonic also updated firmware significantly for the GH5, GH5S, and G9. Canon quietly added the Ra to their mirrorless lineup, which should appeal to astrophotographers. Sigma announced their 24-70mm f/2.8 for the FE and L mounts. I'll eventually get around to writing about the L mount, as coupled with the Sigma fp now shipping, there's a lot of activity there. But I need some time using gear before forming a full opinion on the L-mount and all its options.

Nov 4

Adobe's Latest Updates. As usual, Adobe used the Adobe Max Conference to show off new features for existing programs as well as launch completely new products. For us photographers, the top-level news is this. Article on

The "In Stock" Holidays. If you want an indicator of just how healthy the camera business is, check store inventories of cameras and lenses. Article on

Nov 2

Nikon DSLR Discounts. NikonUSA had fall discounts that were supposedly available only for a few days during PhotoPlus Expo, but now they've extended those through November 27th. In the interest of helping you keep track of what I think are bargains, here are the current DSLR offers with my annotations. Article on

All the previous articles for my sites can be found in the Articles Index.

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