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View Full Version : LANDMARK: Nikon stops prod. of all but 2 film cams



Dr Mordrid
12th January 2006, 20:29
http://www.cnn.com/2006/TECH/01/12/nikon.film.ap/index.html


NEW YORK (AP) --

Nikon Corp., which helped popularize the 35mm camera five decades ago, will stop making most of its film cameras to concentrate on digital models.

The Japanese company said it wanted to focus on "business categories that continue to demonstrate the strongest growth" as film cameras sales keep shrinking.

Nikon will discontinue seven film-camera models, leaving in production only the current top-line model, the F6, and a low-end manual-focus model, the FM10.
Not totally unexpected, but WOW.......

Dr. Mordrid

VJ
13th January 2006, 00:51
They will also maintain a couple of manual focus lenses:
http://www.nikon.co.uk/press_room/releases/show.aspx?rid=201

Right, it is not totally unexpected, but I would have thought they'd keep 1 analog camera in different segments... :eek:


Jörg

Liquid Snake
14th January 2006, 13:17
I was just about to post this. Not too surprising, even though Nikon was pretty big back in the film days. The tables have turned and Canon is dominating the digital market, so it makes sense for Nikon to put more resources to that division.

Funnily enough, I just bought a Canon film camera :p

Sasq
14th January 2006, 17:06
I own both a Nikon and canon digicam. The nikon is the one you saw all of Liz's japan pics taken with, and is a great higher end Amature cam. the canon I have is the ixus-700 (outside of japan) which being the size of a cig packet, lives in my bag always. it is a great happy snap cam, and also the cam I use for under water shots.

I have to say, I find the controls on the canon much easier to use, the design is much more intuative.
So Nikon has some catching up to do.

Radan
14th January 2006, 17:24
Yep, totally expected..
Kodak shut their australian film-based factory some time ago due to digital sales.

Personally I own a Canon 10D higher-end DSLR... (expensive hobby...) as well as a Nikon happy snap... I agree with Sasq on the interface, Canon do seem more natural... Not that these 2 are comparable...

Also well about time Nikon caught up, digital imaging is moving too fast for any player to dawdle... Minolta seem the most active imho... Canon still active in both...

I have several semi-pro photographer friends around and most use digital Canons, even the one who does use a digital Nikon admits the images are soft...

--
Radan.

VJ
15th January 2006, 07:49
I have the impression Nikon is experimenting more on new possibilities offered by digital technology (perhaps slightly overlooking usability) , Canon seems to be optimizing their existing hardware faster though.

An example is Nikon's 'face-focus': the camera automatically (!) looks for faces on the photo, and focusses on it. A friend-photographer has tested this feature and was suprised by how good it worked.

Radan: the comparison between a reflex and a compact wrt. usability is big. My parents have a Canon G5, I have a Nikon D100 and the D100 is more intuitive to use than the G5. My guess is that DSLRs tend to be more intuitive due to the form factor (more dedicated buttons, more room to position them in a natural way, ...).


Jörg

az
15th January 2006, 08:28
It all depends on who you are, what you want to do, and how familiar you are with an interface concept. A point and shoot is easier to use for, users who want one button to take a photo, while a DSLR does offer much more utility and usability to someone who wants to be able to control things manually - and then there are the many, many cameras that fall somewhere between these two extremes. You can't compare apples to oranges. You could compare the Nikon D70 to the Canon EOS 350D, Konica-Minolta Dynax 5D and Pentax *ist DS. Then you could make an argument as to why one camera is better or worse than others. And it's probably still mostly a matter of personal preference, especially on DSLRs, which build upon the pretty well established user interface of 135mm SLR cameras.

VJ: My parents had an analogue superzoom cam that zoomed in on portrait shots, just far enough and not too far, and focused on heads. Nothing really new :) Every company tries to find their selling point in the DSLR market: Canon with its big name, good prices, large number of lenses, and megapixels, Nikon with... don't know, actually, I haven't really followed them, Konica-Minolta with Anti-Shake and lots of buttons and knobs for direct (menuless) access to most settings, Pentax with small and light cameras, Olympus with four thirds (though why this should be a selling point in practice is beyond me)...

Fat Tone
16th January 2006, 01:02
AZ: four thirds? Do you mean 4:3 aspect ratio rather than 3:2? My Kodak uses 4:3 on max res (5.1MP) setting, but also has a 3:2 mode which I use most of the time because most of the printing I do is on a dedicated 6" * 4" printer.

az
16th January 2006, 01:36
Almost all digital cameras have a 4:3 aspect ratio, some exotic ones have 16:9, most DSLRs have classic 3:2.

Four Thirds is a sensor size/lens mount/signalling system (Like Canon EOS, Minolta A, Pentax K, etc.) designed for digital SLR cameras by Olympus with some partners. The sensor has a 4:3 aspect ratio, but that's not where the name comes from. The chip is smaller than that in DSLRs, but larger than that in consumer cameras (and prosumer/bridge digital cameras like the Minolta A2). Its size is 4/3" (which is kind of misleading, like most sensor size specs, because it is based on TUBE sizes and the usable area of said tubes - in this case, 22.5mm diameter).

Theoretically, Four Thirds enables smaller and cheaper lenses and cameras (because of the smaller sensor, the mirror can be smaller, making the camera more compact. Lenses have a crop factor of 2 - most DSLRs have 1.5 or 1.6 - meaning that especially long teles can be smaller and lighter. Lenses can also be designed for digital image sensors, resulting in better image quality, and also transfer data about themselves to the camera, for instance vignetting, so that the cam can electronically compensate for that.). In practice, though, Four Thirds lenses are quite expensive and while offering good image quality, are not noticeably better or even that much smaller or lighter than lenses of other manufacturers.

http://www.olympus.co.jp/en/news/2002b/image/nr020924ftsyse.gif http://www.olympus-pro.com/Images/Upload/about_02.gif http://www.olympus-pro.com/Images/Upload/VidiconTube.gif

Fat Tone
16th January 2006, 01:54
Thanks AZ.

I've puzzled for a while over what appears to be a trend towards smaller sensor sizes. Presumably smaller elements mean faster response times and greater sensitivity but at the expense of increased noise? Presumably there's some electronic cooling going on? And presumably this would be at the expense of battery life?

Fat Tone
16th January 2006, 01:55
PS It's good to have you back in the murc realm rather than the wow realm :)

VJ
16th January 2006, 01:57
Lenses can also be designed for digital image sensors, resulting in better image quality, and also transfer data about themselves to the camera, for instance vignetting, so that the cam can electronically compensate for that.).

Correcting vignetting electronically is really a last resort; even Canon didn't do it in the 5D (which suffers horribly, as it is a full frame sensor: no crop factor).

Imaging sensors are - unlike film - sensitive to the angle at which light enters them. It is optimal if the light falls on the sensor perpendicular; the more the angle deviates from this 90° angle, the darker it will be seen by the CCD.

The main difference between lenses for digital SLRs (DX) and traditional lenses is that the DX lenses are telecentric. Nikon doesn't specifiy this, but all DX lenses in their range are telecentric. The image projection using a traditional lens is cone-shaped: the furter you move the imaging plane from the lens, the larger the image becomes. This also means that in the center, the light rays are perpendicular to the imaging plane, but the more to the edges the larger the deviation from 90° becomes.

However, the image projection with telecentric lenses is cilinder shaped: all light coming from the lens is perpendicular with the imaging plane, which makes this lenses ideal for using with imaging sensors.

The problem of light not falling on the sensor at a 90° angle is more of an issue with shorter focal lengths, as they would yield bigger angles. This (among other things) explains why zoom lenses don't perform noticably worse on digital cameras, whereas wide angle lenses to perform worse (the DX lenses are all in the wide angle range).

I'm not really at home in optics, but there are different levels of telecentricity. I don't think the camera lenses need the highest level.



Jörg

VJ
16th January 2006, 02:09
I've puzzled for a while over what appears to be a trend towards smaller sensor sizes. Presumably smaller elements mean faster response times and greater sensitivity but at the expense of increased noise?
I think it is more of an economical consideration: smaller sensors are cheaper to manufacture (and there is a bigger market: cellphones!). And smaller lenses are cheaper to manfacture. And many people prefer a small camera over a big camera that offers better quality.

The fast response time is linked to the sensor technology. It used to be the case that imaging sensor that could record video (needed for a live preview) had no fast response time and vice versa. So the sensor technology between a DSLR and a compact camera is actually different. However, technology is evolving, and both techniques are now much closer than they used to be.


In DSLR, there are 2 approaches regarding sensor sizes. One is the full frame sensor, which has no crop factor (but is expensive and suffers from vignetting). Some swear by it, as it still leaves them nice wideangle and fisheye lenses. Most software can correct vignetting (Nikon capture makes corrections based on the lens and the aperture used, so it knows just how much vignetting there was). Currently, only Canon has a full frame DSLR (Contax and Kodak have left this market).
I'm not sure about Canon, but the Nikon mount is too small to hold a full frame sensor and still allow for telecentric lenses.

The other approach is using an APS size sensor. The benefit here is that only the center portion (the best part of the lens!) is used, but it leaves you with little wideangle options. It also allows (in the case of Nikon for sure) the use of telecentric lenses, which help to combat vignetting.


Presumably there's some electronic cooling going on? And presumably this would be at the expense of battery life?
Actually, as far as I know, no camera has active cooling. On my DSLR, it is actually possible to start to see heat induced artefacts after long shooting. Even then, the artefacts only show up in very long exposure though (>20 s): the top left of the photograph has a greenish look (apparently, that is the first section to become hot, also due to other hardware nearby).


Jörg

az
16th January 2006, 02:37
PS It's good to have you back in the murc realm rather than the wow realm :)

Thank you. It's good for me, too :)

VJ said it all about sensor sizes. It is also only hard for DSLRs with APS-sized sensors to have extreme wide angle lenses because the lenses must have some room between them and the sensor to allow the mirror to flip up. Some (all?) "digital" SLR lenses extend a little way into the camera - if you would mount these lenses on a film or full frame camera, the mirror would slap against the back of the lens and probably shatter and/or scratch the lens. Digital cameras with a fixed lens don't have that problem, they can have their lens as close to the sensor as needed because there's no mirror. Rangefinder cameras like the Leica R series also had that advantage over SLR cameras, as they have no mirrors.

Some medium format digital backs are peltier cooled, but no consumer cameras are.

VJ, all Four Thirds lenses are Telecentric, AFAIK.

Smaller sensors have much worse sensitivity than larger sensors, thus their signal has to be amplified much more than in DSLRs, and of course the inherent sensor noise is amplified together with the signal. Progress is being made though, particularly visible in Fujifilm's FinePix F10 - a combination of sensor technology, electronics and good noise reduction algorithms.

Fuji's FinePix S3 Pro also allows a live view (in black and white) on the LCD, just like an ordinary digicam - that's the same technology that is needed for movie recording. In most other aspects except colour rendition, the S3 disappoints though, at its price point and bulk. Nikon's D70 has an electronic shutter for very short flash exposures. I don't believe this was possible a few years ago with DSLR sensors, either. The A2's Ultra High Speed drive setting and the video recording modes of all digital cameras and camcorders use an electronic shutter, too (the physical shutter is always open, the CCD is read out at certain time intervals all at once and.. I don't know, "flushed" or "reset" or something.)

VJ
16th January 2006, 02:43
Some (all?) "digital" SLR lenses extend a little way into the camera - if you would mount these lenses on a film or full frame camera, the mirror would slap against the back of the lens and probably shatter and/or scratch the lens.
Not in the Nikon range... All DX lenses can be used on film cameras (with vignetting of course).


VJ, all Four Thirds lenses are Telecentric, AFAIK.
Makes sense, it is designed from the ground up to be a digital system. :)


Nikon's D70 has an electronic shutter for very short flash exposures.
Many Nikon DSLRs have a combination of a physical and an electronic shutter. The electronic one kicks in for extreme short exposures (1/8000) or special stuff (fast flash sync), but in most cases the physical one is the only one used.
(the D100 is the only one that doesn't have an electronic shutter; its shutter speed goes up to 1/4000; fastest flash synch is quite low)


Jörg

chaoliang
24th January 2006, 04:47
I was just about to post this. Not too surprising, even though Nikon was pretty big back in the film days. The tables have turned and Canon is dominating the digital market, so it makes sense for Nikon to put more resources to that division.

Funnily enough, I just bought a Canon film camera :p

What camera did you buy, LS?

The whole development against film cameras (Nikon giving up film cameras, Minolta giving up whole camera business, Konica giving up film production, Kodak closing factories...) makes me feeling uneasy. Actually I have been thinking about buying Canon film cameras for a while. I have a good film scanner (Nikon LS 5000) for digitalising films in quite good quality, and I still don't like the idea of investing so much on a full frame DSLR. I still use a Nikon film camera without autofocus. But sometimes I have the feeling, that the AF possibility could really bring some advantages.

VJ
24th January 2006, 05:16
I have a good film scanner (Nikon LS 5000) for digitalising films in quite good quality, and I still don't like the idea of investing so much on a full frame DSLR.
Why would you have to go full frame? There are many great cameras that have a crop factor (Nikon D70/D200, Canon 20D) that are much more affordable.

Unless you need wideangle, but every full frame DSLR suffers horribly from vignetting at the moment.


Jörg

az
24th January 2006, 07:38
Yeah, full frame is pretty much a marketing instrument at the moment, and will probably always be. APS-C size sensors are already very very good, and they certainly won't get worse.

If you're still happy with your film camera, don't rush to buy a digital. I would even still buy a Minolta SLR if I wanted one - there is a huge market for used SLR lenses for all brands, with some really good lenses at really great prices, and Sony will very likely keep producing DSLRs with the Minolta A mount. And Digital cameras still get cheaper and better all the time, so if you're happy with what you've got, there's really no reason to buy something else now.

chaoliang
24th January 2006, 08:22
Yes I think I should stay by film at least for a while. The thing that disturbs me sometimes is the lack of autofocus with my camera. I've looked around and realized, that if I switch to AF, I must switch to Canon, since Nikon doesn't provide affordable objectives with good, large maximum aperture any longer.

az
24th January 2006, 09:15
You should really have a look at the used lens market (i.e. ebay), and also at third party manufacturers such as Sigma, Tamron etc. While some of the third party glass is as bad as the price suggests, there are some really good lenses at good prices to be had. And a used Nikon AF Film body shouldn't cost that much either.

chaoliang
24th January 2006, 10:36
I'll check it, thanks! :)

Liquid Snake
25th January 2006, 10:28
chaoliang, I bought a Canon Elan 7N. It operates pretty similiarly to my Digital Rebel XT so I didn't have trouble getting used to the controls. Getting used to film after working with digital was another story :o I've put a couple of rolls through it, when I get some time I might post some pictures up here.

Also, I think you should stick with your MF film camera. If you're not shooting anything fast-paced, MF doesn't really get in the way of anything. The small sensor cameras are actually kind of disadvantaged when it comes to manual focus; the smaller viewfinder makes it more difficult.

A mini-rant about Canon lenses: when it comes to primes, it's usually a choice between a decent, small and cheap lens (like 35mm/f2) and a good but huge and incredibly expensive lens (35mm/f1.4L). I wish they had something in between :( Third-party lenses are usually fine as long as you stay away from the dirt-cheap stuff. Just do a bit of research on them and play around with one in a store before you buy. FWIW, my main digital lens is a Sigma 18-50/2.8. It works fine.

chaoliang
29th January 2006, 12:47
Liquid Snake, Elan 7N must be 30v on other continents. Hey, that's exactly the camera which I've been considering to buy! Did you enjoy using it? Does it feel comfortable in the hand with heavy lenses?

I've used MF for over 20 years. Though I'm generally satisfied with it, I still encounter from time to time situations under which I wish that I had AF - especially when photographing children or some quick-catch scence. I didn't move to AF earlier because I was not sure about its quality. Now it seems to be ripe enough.

As for the lenses: Since I have been using a 24mm/2.8, a 105/2.5 and a 180/2.8, I'm thinking about the Canon lenes 24/2.8 and the 100/2. They would be good and expansive enough for me. I agree with you about the prices. They also have a 24-70/2.8 L. Seems to be very nice but not affordable.

Liquid Snake
5th February 2006, 12:01
I don't have any large lenses, but it handles pretty well, so I don't think there would be any problems with longer telephotos. It's also one of the quieter SLR's around. I do have a 24/2.8 and it's pretty decent for a wide-angle. However it's an old 1990's design so it lacks later innovations like the ultrasonic focus motor. I haven't used a 100/2 but it should be fine (Canon is very good with telephoto).