Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Nikon, what are they doing?

Right now there is a lot of talk about the direction Nikon will take with upcoming camera releases, namely D700 and D90 replacements, which will likely come in August or September. Today I'm going to talk about my thoughts on the D700 replacement.

D700 Replacement
This is the hardest model to predict, what will Nikon do with the D700 replacement? Right now, most indications point to an "s" upgrade, which would include Nikon's D-Movie feature with 720p video, dual card slots like the D300s, and the same sensor used in the D3s. There are other rumors, such as the replacement being the D800, which could have a 14MP or 16MP sensor, with similar noise performance to the current D700. To some an "s" upgrade to the D700 would be a disappointment, but to others it is just what the doctor ordered.

Either of these rumors could be possible, but considering Nikon's track record I'm going to bet that we'll see a D700s rather than a D800. Nikon doesn't seem to care what other brands are doing, just look at Canon, which is likely to release the 5D Mk III sometime this year, which could pack some serious upgrades and features first found in the 7D, not to mention a possible leap in sensor resolution. Of course we comeback to the issue of how much resolution is enough? Is 21MPs enough, 24MP, 50MP? Most of us will likely get by with 12MPs for years to come, so the issue isn't a big deal.

What would I like to see in a D700 replacement? Hard to say, ideally I would like a 16MP sensor, with noise performance like the D700, but with a faster burst rate, such as 7 or 8FPS, even in lossless 14bit NEF mode, with a 15-20 frame buffer. I'd like that without having to use the grip and different batteries. It would also be nice if the D700 replacement wasn't bigger and bulkier than the D3s with the grip attached, but I suspect that is unlikely. Would be nice if it still used the same MB-D10 grip, so I wouldn't have to buy a new grip either.

The issue I see with a D800 would be price point. If it were to have the specs it is rumored to have, if real at all, I think the price would be higher than the introductory price of the D700. I think a D800 would cost $3500 USD, which would be a big turn off for many people. Maybe Nikon would release a D700s and a D800, with the former keeping the current D700 price point, in order to compete with the Sony A850?

Whatever Nikon does, it will draw a lot of attention from current Nikon shooters, and anyone who is thinking about switching from another make.