October 2015

October 19, 2015 

About the B&H Wish List Promotion. You might notice my name on the B&H site. Here’s the scoop for what’s going on. Article on bythom.com 

New Nikon Lens Prices. Nikon today dropped the prices on 25 Nikkor lenses. Article on dslrbodies.com

Mayflower Analysis of Camera Production. I didn’t notice it until recently, as they posted while I was still traveling home from Africa, but Mayflower is again presenting what to some may be a controversial position. Article on dslrbodies.com

Site News. Sansmirror just got its cosmetic makeover to make it mobile friendlier. In doing so, I’ve done some simplification, plus I’ve made a quick pass through the site to update a few odds and ends that weren’t quite right even in the previous iteration. Article on sansmirror.com

Olympus Lens Sale. It’s heading into that time of year, and the Japanese camera companies are hungry to push a lot of product out the door. Olympus has announced their November lens deals, and basically it’s US$50 or US$100 off a wide range of excellent product. Article on sansmirror.com

How to Decide Between Systems. The camera makers have you right where they want you: confused. Each new camera release throws some new variable at you to try to work through in deciding what product to purchase. You’re tempted by some new “great thing” that the marketing department is trumpeting on each new camera, because other systems don’t have any equivalent. Making decisions this way is a bit like trying to pick the hottest stock for the next quarter: short term is a gambler’s paradise. Article on sansmirror.com

Note: once again we have a number of photography sites blindly repeating numbers they found published by the mainstream press, this time the decline in camera unit volume at Sony reported in their latest financial disclosures (unit volume down 27%). Without a detailed breakout, it’s tough to tell what that decline really represents, but I’d guess it’s mostly Cyber-shots, which are slowly becoming invisible. Just to be clear, CIPA is reporting that overall compact camera unit volume is down 21% year-to-year, while DSLRs are down 5% and mirrorless up 3%.  I don’t see Sony’s position any different than Canon’s, Nikon’s, or any other Japanese camera company: the low-end compact camera is dying. All the companies are trying to stabilize by living off more expensive cameras in lower volumes. I’d say the jury is out on whether that will work long-term or not. I don’t see customers upgrading their expensive cameras nearly as often as inexpensive ones, for example, so such a strategy will only work for a short time before we see another clear down-turn in unit volumes.  

D810 Gets a Firmware Update. Nikon today released firmware version C1.10 for the D810. Article on dslrbodies.com

The Sensor Game Tightens. Reuters is reporting that Sony is in discussions to purchase the Toshiba sensor business for 20b yen (US$165m), effectively removing a competitor from the camera sensor supplier scene. Article on dslrbodies.com

Nikon Managers Discuss Nikkors. Nikon just posted another in their technology articles on their main Web site, this time with Haruo Sato and Koichi Ohshita, two long-time Nikkor lens designers. There are plenty of interesting tidbits to digest. In many ways, this is one of the more “open” self-interviews I’ve seen Nikon post. Article on dslrbodies.com

Reflections. Comments about the redesign process and the status of things at byThom. Article on bythom.com 

Note: a number of photography sites are blindly repeating Reuters’ “…Canon profits down 21%...” claim, some even (incorrectly) attributing that to mirrorless cameras. Yes, you can find a -21% number in Canon’s reports: it is the year-to-date profit number versus last year for the entire company, not a quarterly decline in camera operations. Year to year, the results Canon just reported show third quarter camera unit volume down 7.6% and overall camera profits down 3.8%. Canon’s projections for the full year are a 10% decline in unit volume and 3.1% decline in profits for the camera group. Yes, Canon is under stress in the camera group. A far more troubling number than the other financial values in their report was the 16% increase in inventory in the camera group, which implies that Canon has been overproducing to demand. All that said, Canon still projects to sell far more DSLRs this year than the entire mirrorless camera market combined. 

October 19, 2015 

Momentum. Ultimately, momentum is one of the predictors of continued success in product marketing. If you have momentum, you can survive downturns and weather most problems. If you don’t have momentum, you won’t grow relative to your competitors or the market in general. Indeed, you may contract. Article on dslrbodies.com

Fujifilm Adds a Lens, Teleconverter. Fujifilm today announced the long-rumored 35mm f/2 lens for the X-mount cameras, a small and light prime lens that functions as a normal lens for the X bodies. Article on sansmirror.comLens data page.

Leica Makes Third Mirrorless Line. First we had the M, then the T, now we have the Leica SL (Type 601). This monster of a camera is a full frame version of the T, with EVF and lots of refinements. Article on sansmirror.comData page for Leica SLData page for 24-90mm f/2.8-4 lens.

Answering the Trolls. It seems that they just keep coming out from under the bridges of the Internet, so perhaps maybe we should just answer their questions. Article on dslrbodies.com

Lomography Kono! Donau Film. Lomography introduced a new film for 35mm cameras, Kono! Donau, an ISO 6—yes, that’s right, 6—color reversal film. Article on filmbodies.com

October 12, 2015 

Sigma Continues Modernizing Lenses. Sigma’s latest Art lens is the US$900 20mm f/1.4 HSM, announced today and shipping in December. Article on dslrbodies.com20mm f/1.4 data page.

Zeiss Continues Modernizing Lenses. Zeiss continued their onslaught of revised and modernized lenses by announcing the Otus 28mm f/1.4. Article on dslrbodies.com28mm f/1.4 lens data page.

Another “New” Color Space. Don’t blink. Technology just keeps rolling along with things that can catch you if you’re not paying attention. The latest to add to this list is the DCI-P3 Color Space. Article on dslrbodies.com

Zeiss Adds Third Loxia Lens: 21mm. Zeiss today introduced a third Loxia lens for the Sony FE-mount, the Loxia 21mm f/2.8. This modest-sized manual-focus lens is a Distagon-type design and will sell for US$1499. Article on sansmirror.comLoxia 21mm data page.

Canon Burrows Deeper Into the Mud. What to make of the EOS M10 camera announced today? To my eye it looks like and specs out mostly as a slightly reworked and simplified EOS M2, which never made it to the US. Article on sansmirror.comEOS M10 data page15-45mm f/3.5-6.3 data page.

Shooting Sports. At the start of October I spent four days in Tennessee shooting sports once again under the tutelage of Peter Read Miller. Article on dslrbodies.com

Adobe Issues Apology, Update. Product Manager Tom Hogarty posted an apology for the recent Lightroom 6.2 release coincident with a bug release update to fix one of the crash bugs that was found in 6.2. Sad to say, 6.2.1 doesn’t seem to fix all the problems some users have encountered. Article on dslrbodies.com

October 5, 2015 

The Light Camera (Almost) Arrives. Light today announced the US$1699 Light L16, a multi-sensor, multi-optics, computational camera that looks a bit like a smartphone on steroids (5” tilting display, wider and deeper than most smartphones). Article on dslrbodies.com

Sony Spins Out Sensors. Sony yesterday announced that it will create a new separate company called Sony Semiconductor Solutions. This spinout from Sony Corporation will include the sensors, the LSI design group, plus other semiconductors that Sony makes for themselves and others. Article on dslrbodies.com

Branding and Nikon’s Shrinking Value. Each year Interbrand issues reports on “brand value” and pronounces winners and losers. They release some of the details to the public, but the full reports with all the damning details are only for sale to businesses. Article on dslrbodies.com

Nikon Does (Actually Doesn’t) Do it Again. No sooner did I post my review of the 300mm f/4E where I chided Nikon on their not-a-service-advisory stance on that lens’s firmware issue when it shipped, they’ve done it again. The recently shipped 200-500mm f/5.6 may disable autofocus when a certain conjunction of steps occurs. Article on dslrbodies.com

Nikon 300mm f/4E AF-S VR Review. The 300mm f/4D was one long-in-the-teeth lens. Basically, it had been with us since the early days of DSLRs (2001). The very next year we got the 70-200mm VR, and pretty much all the telephoto options have had VR since then. Thus, the 300mm f/4D was one of the last AF-S-but-no-VR lenses to be produced by Nikon. Review on dslrbodies.com

I Was So Excited When I Saw “Photoshop Fix." Adobe’s having their big conference this week, and one of the things that came across my desk was a press release with something about “Photoshop Fix.” Article on dslrbodies.com

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