Hi. Long term user, first time writer. Firstly, congrats on your centenary, I’m really happy for you. And I really hope there’ll be more hundred year celebration products to be announced other than those grey lenses and the corporate holiday gift style glass paperweights you release.
Secondly, and I’m sorry to gush, but I’m a huge fan. The FE was my first Nikon, and I must have owned 20 or more different bodies over the years.
I have to say, the current line-up is spectacular. The D500 is such a compact beast, great value. The D5, despite launching with just 3-minute video, is an amazing camera. The focus on it is out of this world, the best I’ve ever used – and props for opting for dual XQD cards. And, the D810: it’s a classic in my mind, although I’m keen to see a replacement *cough* hopefully sometime soon.
Moving on to the point of this letter.
You have some incredible professional DSLRs, and while I think there’s going to be a strong demand from users like me for the cameras that I’ve listed for several years to come, the rest of the market has shifted.
Premium compacts are dead, you obviously saw that coming pulling the DL range before even launching it. The cheap compacts are next, smartphones are just taking over that section. As one of the very few manufacturers with the capability to make your own glass from start-to-finish, perhaps it’s time to look at a partnership with a smartphone manufacturer to put your tech into phones—Leica and Zeiss are doing it, and it seems like a pretty good win-win situation for them.
Looking at last year’s sales figures, sales of everything dropped – but mirrorless dropped by less. And while mirrorless is still growing, it’s taking more market share each year.
Now, you’ve made it very clear that you’re not interested in pursuing high-end mirrorless – your dinky little 1 Series, they’re actually pretty good. But they haven’t set the world on fire. I get it. You’re late to the party. Sony and the others have surged ahead.
With all the hype that the a9 is getting, everyone is forgotten that you guys put out a 60 frame-per-second camera. Years ago! It’s hard to catch up from this point. But I have an idea for you, it’s a brand new product idea.
So, with the 1 Series, you went tiny—using the 2.7x crop CX sensor to capitalise on the size and weight savings of mirrorless, whereas Sony went full-frame. And sales figures show that users are willing to compromise on the size benefits by purchasing and sticking giant glass on it. So how about this: you take your D500, you take your D810, rip out your mirror box and throw it in the trash. Then, you rip out the pentaprism and you replace it with the highest quality OLED you can manufacture—something so bright, so responsive, and so beautiful, even dinosaurs like me will accept it.
Remember, the mirror itself isn’t a great thing—it wears out, it imposes flash limitations, it’s noisy—and EVF, if done right, has loads of benefits.
Alright, so where are we up to now? We have a Frankenstein D500 and D810; what next? Do we shrink them down? No! My idea: let’s keep them the same size, even the same weight. Let’s keep the flange distance and have all the Nikon F glass be 100% compatible—no adaptor required. Let’s use space that you opened up in the camera by taking those parts out to put in even bigger batteries, to put in new features, maybe even squeeze in the Wi-Fi and GPS that you refused to put into the D5 and charge us another $900 for the dongles to use them…
If you really want to make us old fellas with the legacy glass love you, throw in on-sensor stabilisation; or, even make it a $500 upgrade. This would be something that builds on your existing frameworks, takes the main benefits of mirrorless technology, and avoids the issues that are common like lack of lens and accessory systems, battery life, and all those things. Sounds good right?
Okay, so I gave you that idea as freebie, so now I have a couple of more requests if you don’t mind. How about, is there any chance, maybe, that we could see some f/1.2 autofocus primes? Canon users tease us all the time about it and it’s really embarrassing. There’s this idea out there now that the F-Mount can’t support f/1.2, which is nonsense, seeing as you have manual f/1.2s out in the market right now. So, come on, throw on the AF, I promise you there’s appetite out there.
Also, I think it’s time that you update your 50mm f/1.4G… it’s not a very good lens. Likewise, the 200-400mm, charging 7 grand for that seeing what Tamron and Sigma are doing in the market… it’s just unreasonable. And finally, how about putting back some of the features that you stripped out of the D7500… I think there are a lot of people out there who would really like to see the 7000 series remain a serious sports option.
That’s about it Nikon, thanks for listening. I really do love what you’re doing. I hope you do make some of these changes.
– Matt Granger is an Australian professional photographer, educator and runs a popular YouTube channel. His work can be found here.