Suggestions to Nikon for future DSLR cameras

At present, Canon is dominating the digital SLR-type (DSLR) camera market. We need strong competitors to keep innovation high and prices economical. Since I use a Nikon D70 DSLR , I suggest a few features Nikon should consider in their upcoming DSLR cameras:

  • Enable the photographer to compose the image using a flip out LCD monitor in addition to the SLR-type view finder similar to most non SLR-type electronic viewfinder (EVF) digital cameras.
    • This feature would be useful to photo journalists and pro-photographers in certain situations where such photos using an SLR view finder would be impossible. For e.g.:
    • When raising the camera high above a crowd to get an important photo. In such a situation, using the LCD is the only way to compose the photo.
    • When it is physically impractical for the photographer to lean and put his/her eye behind the view finder. For example, when the camera is extended over a water body or over the edge of a cliff or building.
  • Vibration reduction image sensor — where the sensor moves to cancel out camera shake, similar to the one in the Konika Minolta Maxxum 7D camera. Benefits:
    • This will increase the value of all past, present and future Nikon Nikkor F-mount (and compatible) lenses since on the VR image sensor Nikon, using them the result will be VR-enabled.
    • Since VR should be a feature common to almost all lenses, it makes sense for it to be in the camera and not in each lens.
    • This will result in improved image quality since the additional optical element required in current VR/IS lenses won’t be required anymore.
    • This won’t hurt Nikon by decreasing demand for Nikon VR lenses since current Nikon film and DSLR bodies that don’t have this feature will still need those VR lenses. On the long run, it will help Nikon.
    • Nikon can either invent a technology that achieves the same outcome the Konika-Minolta one does, or they can license Konika-Minolta’s technology.
  • Tilt-shift mechanism built into the image-sensor system. This would allow high-quality architectural and other photography without requiring special tilt-shift lenses. This would be good for Nikon’s business for reasons similar to those mentioned above for the VR image sensor.
  • Have one or more high-end DSLRs with a 35mm full frame size sensor. As a lens-compatibility improvement over Canon, this camera should even work with Nikon DX format lenses meant for the 1.5x crop APS-C size Nikon image sensors. When used with such a lens, this camera would provide a lower resolution crop (but higher frames/sec rate like the Nikon D2X), and the lens would still be usable like it is on other Nikon 1.5x crop DSLRs.
    • A 35mm sensor is necessary to compete with Canon’s 35mm full frame digital cameras. A bigger frame will always be able to have more pixels and provide better image quality. Canon is competing with medium-format film cameras with their 35mm DSLRs. Nikon must keep up.
    • Having a high-end 16-plus megapixel DSLR will increase Nikon customer confidence that Nikon is a competitor in the top end, resulting in improved Nikon brand loyalty and better sales of other Nikon equipment.
    • The compatibility with even Nikkor DX lenses (even in a cropped lower resolution mode) will strengthen the statement that Nikon cares greatly about lens compatibility, resulting in greater brand loyalty.
    • To my knowledge, Nikon mainly makes 35mm and some large-format lenses. Having a Nikon DSLR that produces medium-format film quality images (like the Canon EOS 1ds Mark II does), may make the medium format go away, establishing Nikon as one of the leaders in 35mm as well as large-format.
  • Build in a horizontal level feature that helps align the camera properly while viewing through the optical view finder as well as composing via the LCD.
    • This will allow horizontally correctly-aligned photographs when shooting landscapes without a tripod.
    • Having an alignment view within the optical view finder would be more convenient and faster than using a bubble-level or similar attached to the camera and the camera being on a tripod.
    • Once the shutter is pressed half way, the alignment should lock and work with the anti-shake CCD to compensate for camera shake tilt as well.
    • This feature should work when the camera is held in landscape as well as portrait mode.
  • Include a movie-mode like in EVF digital cameras. Just because these cameras are for pro-photographers doesn’t mean having such a mode would not be a benefit.
  • Nikon as a company should encourage third-party components and compatibility for the Nikon system, e.g. third-party lenses and accessories for Nikon cameras and third-party cameras for the Nikkor F-mount lenses and Nikon accessories. This will help Nikon as photographers will be able to collect Nikon-compatible components as their budgets permit. Ultimately, they will get the Nikon lenses and other Nikon-made components since Nikon’s quality is among, if not the very best.
    • This will create innovation, features and accessories for the Nikon system from companies partnering with Nikon.
    • It will increase industry support for the Nikon system.

I like Canon digital cameras — they are often market leaders using innovation for useful, practical features. Nikon makes good DSLRs too, but they need to do better to compete with Canon.

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