Nikon D400 Announcement This Fall?

I am getting some information from our readers about a potential Nikon D400 announcement this fall (during Photokina in September, shipping in October). I was not going to post anything when I first got some speculative information about the D400, but when the same person that sent me some details earlier this year on the D800 (which turned out to be 100% true) confirmed the D400 specs, I decided to post what I have regarding the upcoming DSLR. I am still a little skeptical about some of this, since it could contradict the potential announcement of the Nikon D600 that I wrote about a couple of weeks ago. If Nikon does indeed release the D600 at a ~$1,500 price point, it would have to severely handicap many of its features, if the below specifications turn out to be true. Otherwise, Nikon will have a hard time selling the D400 in my opinion. Nikon is apparently already working on D400 production in its Sendai plant in Japan.

Nikon D400

Here is a summary of the Nikon D400 specifications that I have received from multiple sources:

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The Future of Digital Cameras

Ever since I got a taste of some of the latest compact cameras from Fuji, Sony and Nikon, I have been thinking more and more about where we are headed in terms of cameras and lenses. What is the future of digital cameras and where will we be in 5 or even 10 years? This question came up in my conversation with a fellow photographer, so after discussing this topic for a little while, I decided to put some of my thoughts together and come up with what I think the future of digital cameras will be like.

Mirrorless vs DSLR

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Is Nikon D600 on the Horizon?

So far this year has been pretty hectic for Nikon. With three excellent DSLR camera bodies (Nikon D4, Nikon D800 and Nikon D3200), two superb lenses (Nikon 85mm f/1.8G and Nikon 28mm f/1.8G) and some accessories announced, it is hard to imagine that Nikon might introduce more DSLR cameras in 2012. While Nikon D5100, D7000 and D300s are all due for an update, our friends at Nikon Rumors are already receiving some early rumors about the possibility of a new budget full-frame (FX) DSLR from Nikon that will be supposedly announced later this year with the new “Nikon D600″ name.

Nikon D600

The key word here is budget – the Nikon D600 will apparently be marketed as a low-end FX camera at a very low price point. Currently, the cheapest DSLR from Nikon is the Nikon D700, which has a price tag of $2,199 USD (MSRP) and the new D800 sells for $2,999 USD (MSRP). The rumored Nikon D600 will have a very low price point, maybe as low as $1,500. Interestingly, this all goes back to some early rumors about the Nikon D400 (D300s replacement) being a full-frame camera. Could it be that Nikon will discontinue the professional DX line completely and replace it with FX? It is hard to tell at this time, but judging on Nikon’s history of replacing the D90 with a more advanced D7000, I would not exclude that possibility. So far I have been projecting that Nikon would continue the development of its pro DX line with a D400 DX, but if a budget FX camera comes out at the same or lower price point as the D300s, then forget about the D400 DX.

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A Little Comfort as You Anxiously Await Your D800 or D4 or 5D MK III arrival

Passage of timeAs I, like many of you, have been waiting for a new Nikon camera body to arrive, a recurring thought has come to my mind. It comes from the words of my father and it might hold a cure for what ails you if you, like me, suffer from common Diseases that Plague Photographers. Whenever I wanted something badly, but couldn’t seem to get it fast enough, he would say, “Anticipation is greater than realization”. To a young, impatient boy then and to an older, impatient man now, those words never seemed to comfort me as my father might have liked. Although never very comforting, they were very true.

We have all been there. Maybe it was that new bike that seemed to take forever to save for. Perhaps it was your dream car that required you spend all of your free time working that extra job. Whatever you were hoping for, the anticipation and build up prior to acquiring it was likely much more exciting than actually getting the item. Who can’t identify with the new car owner that seems less excited about his/her new car after the first car payment comes due? And golfers are notorious for claiming to experience longer drives, straighter iron shots, and more holed putts after changing clubs. Interestingly, their new clubs lose their “magic” after a month and start behaving very similar to their old clubs.

I am sure my father was trying to get me to enjoy the wait and learn a bit of patience. Perhaps he was always hoping that if enough time would pass, my insatiable need to spend my money on some new flashy item would dissipate. Although very wise, dad’s tactics in this area often had less than the desired effects on his not so bright son. You may experience better luck with your kids or yourself. So I pass the lesson on to you. As for me [doorbell chime], I gotta go see what is in the B&H box that just arrived. Maybe if I am lucky, it was me that got Bob’s D800 this time. Enjoy the anticipation as you wait!

Nikon D3200 vs D3100

The Nikon D3200 and the D3100 are entry-level DSLRs targeted at those who are just starting out in photography. The Nikon D3200 is a third iteration of the original D3000 that came out in 2009. While it has not gone through drastic changes, having a very similar layout as the D3100, the same 11 point autofocus system, the same metering sensor and a similar build, it has slightly improved over its predecessor. The camera now sports a very high resolution 24 MP sensor developed by Nikon, faster continuous speed of 4 fps, a much better LCD screen, superior video recording capabilities and other improvements such as WiFi capability through an optional accessory. In this Nikon D3200 vs D3100 comparison, I will go over the features of each camera and compare specifications differences between the two cameras.

Nikon D3200 vs D3100

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Greta Got My Nikon D800…

A little more than a week ago, I realized why I had not received my Nikon D800. Through sources that cannot be named, I was informed that Greta Van Susteren, the well-known commentator at the Fox News Network, received the camera originally assigned to my order. I was further surprised to find this unique note (below) from the delivery service. Today’s GretaWire confirmed that my D800 was already being used!

D800 Delivery Notice

Am I upset? Absolutely not. I have no issue with Greta “jumping line” at B&H to get my camera. “Why not?”, you ask? The injustice of it all! Someone must pay for having my D800 rerouted to Greta! Surely someone must be “guilty” of… well… uh… something! Or so the popular thinking goes…

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Nikon D800 vs D700 FPS and Buffer Comparison

Many of our readers have been asking me to provide some information on how the new Nikon D800 (see our review) compares to the Nikon D700 (see our review) in terms of speed (“fps” or “frames per second”) and camera buffer. In the below video, I show the performance of both cameras side by side when shooting 14-bit Lossless Compressed RAW images with very fast SanDisk Extreme Pro 16GB compact flash memory:

As you can see, the Nikon D800 is slower than the Nikon D700 with its 4 fps speed versus 5 fps on the D700. It also lasts about half a second shorter than the D700 before its buffer gets full at around the 4 second mark. Nikon’s estimates for the D800 and D700 are 17 images for the D800 and 20 images for the D700 before memory buffer gets full and fps slows down. My tests are a little off, because the D800 should be a little faster according to Nikon – 17 / 4 fps is 4.25 and 20 / 5 fps is 4. Interestingly, the same thing happens when both cameras are set to 12-bit RAW – the D700 still lasts longer. Note how much longer it takes for the D800 to complete its write from the camera buffer into the memory card – now that’s one huge buffer! I bet it is at least 4 times larger than the one on the D700. Lastly, note that the D800 shutter sounds very different than the one on the D700.

Some people have been reporting memory compatibility issues with the D800. I have not seen any issues so far with any of the SanDisk & Lexar cards I have (I have been using SanDisk and Lexar cards for my cameras exclusively), so I believe memory card issues are happening with cheap third party memory cards only. Hopefully we will see a firmware update from Nikon soon – the D800 seems to have occasional slowdowns when writing to and reading from CF and SD memory cards, as reported in my Nikon D800 Review.

Is Nikon D700 Obsolete?

36 megapixel Full Frame camera sounds great, doesn’t it? What you get in a D800 is, basically, exceptional high ISO performance, as demonstrated by Nasim in his review, and resolution that, heretics say, can rival some of Medium Format digital backs. One of the best cameras currently on offer, surely. One of the best for several years to come, it is almost a revolution, both in camera market as well as your pocket, as creatively described by Bob Vishneski. Extremely tempting, completely justified again and again in your mind. People would understand, wouldn’t they? Even your wife, with some persuasion, could see reason. And yet something is not quite right, not quite settled. Is it the old-ish D700 poking you at the shoulder? Never too far away, the brother. Always haunting, always showing off its huge sensor, its lower than ever price tag. The D800 shines above it day and night, yes, you see it in your dreams, you see it in the hands of other photographers – calling out to you, always bright, but the older brother is persistent. After all these years, after almost decades it seems now, D700 is still trying to drop a shadow on your face, still trying to be noticed and loved just as it was before the new kid came to town. A desperate pensioner.

But as it happens, pensioners are hardly desperate. John Ronald Reuel Tolkien wrote “The Lord of the Rings” when he was 62. What can we expect of D700, then?

Plenty, actually.

D700 at Weddings [Read more...]

Canon is Winning the Camera War?

I received an email today with the title “Canon is Winning the Camera War”. I opened the email immediately to see what it was about, because it had such a bold subject line. Canon winning the camera war… I have not seen any market share reports lately, so this was an interesting read. Apparently, a company called “Sortable” has recently conducted a massive survey with over 275,000 people over a period of 6 months, which showed that more than 33% of consumers favor Canon over other brands when making a camera purchase, including Nikon. Check out this interesting graph:

Popular Camera Brands

Here is some more information from this announcement:

In a brand war traditionally fought between Nikon and Canon, it appears that Canon now has the upper hand, with 33 percent of consumers indicating it as their preferred camera choice according to online consumer buying trends drawn from Sortable’s partner, Snapsort, a web site that allows people to analyze, compare, and recommend digital camera options. Nikon falls to second place with 26 percent, followed by Sony at 15 percent, Panasonic with 7 percent, Fujifilm at 5 percent, Olympus at 4 percent and Pentax at 3 percent. Other manufactures make up the final 7 percent.

With a range of camera options available, survey data shows consumers remain split in their preference between Point and Shoot and DSLR cameras. Data shows 36 percent of consumers are searching for both. Most surprising in the survey was the rising popularity of Mirrorless cameras, a relatively new technology in the camera market. Mirrorless cameras stuff a DSLR size sensor into a small portable package, with interchangeable lenses for greater flexibility. Sortable’s survey identified that 22 percent of consumers are searching for Mirrorless camera options, leaving the leading brands in a bit of a deficit position. Canon has yet to enter the Mirrorless market, and Nikon has just entered. Sortable believes this emerging trend gives Sony, Panasonic and Olympus the opportunity to take brand share.

That’s an interesting analysis, given the large number of respondents. Mirrorless is on the rise, and we know it. Canon historically has been dominating the DSLR market, so no surprises here, although Nikon has been catching up pretty quickly ever since the Nikon D3 came out.

I say that folks at Sortable are just trying to bring attention to their websites with such a headline. Canon winning camera war? I did not know there was one. With so many new innovative and wonderful products from all manufacturers, there is room for everyone. What do you say?

Check out our new DSLR Camera Purchase Guide

Being a photography website that frequently publishes gear reviews, we get asked a lot of questions on a daily basis from our visitors on all kinds of camera gear, from DSLRs and lenses to tripods and camera bags. To make it easier for our readers to see our recommendations, I have been actively working on the “Gear Guide” during the last two plus weeks. While the section is far from being complete, I wanted to share some news regarding the new “DSLR Camera Purchase Guide” that is now live in the Gear Guide section. It is an interactive camera purchase guide that displays a list of recommended cameras by Mansurovs based on what you like shooting, your budget and the brand of camera or lenses you might already own.

DSLR Purchase Guide

Please check it out and let us know what you think! I could really use some feedback. The purchase guide has not been fully completed yet and I am still working on adding more information under each camera, but the functionality should be more or less complete at this point. I will be adding interactive guides like this for lenses and other accessories as well, so stay tuned!