(Shared) Viewpoint | Nigel Atherton


Nikon says it’s developing a new mirrorless camera. Nigel Atherton is hoping for a change of direction that steers it away from the 1 series.

If I were on first-name terms with Doctor Who – friendly enough, say, to borrow his Tardis at weekends – one of the fun things I’d like to do is bring people back from the past to show them what the world looks like now. Imagine taking the Wright brothers to modern-day Heathrow Airport, or taking Galileo around Cape Canaveral. Slightly less dramatically, I’d love to fetch some AP readers from the 1970s and show them the cameras of today. They would marvel at the speed, quality, convenience and variety of today’s digital cameras, from DSLRs and action cameras to drones, and think we’re a thoroughly spoiled generation.

Mirrorless cameras would be a particular source of envy for our bell-bottom-wearing time travellers, and I’d have a fun game lined up to entertain them over their quinoa and rocket salad lunch in which I’d cover up the brand names of each system and they’d have to guess which was which. I bet that when asked to pick out Nikon’s contribution they’d choose the Fujifi lm X system over the poor old 1 system every time.

Abandoned the brand values

I don’t think I’m being controversial when I say that in developing its mirrorless system, Nikon abandoned the brand values on which its reputation was built in favour of pursuing a mythical demographic of gadget-loving compact users looking to trade in their camera phones for shiny, high-tech, pocket-sized, point-and-shoot cameras with interchangeable lenses. The 1 system hits this target audience perfectly – the only problem is that these people don’t actually exist in sufficient numbers to justify all that investment. It turns out that most of them are happy with their camera phones after all. Meanwhile, Fujifilm crept in when Nikon wasn’t looking and built the mirrorless cameras that Nikon should have made, and is now reaping the rewards.

I’m hoping that, after several years spent flogging a dead horse, Nikon may have admitted defeat and is starting again. In a statement made to DPReview recently, a Nikon spokesperson said, ‘We are currently developing new mirrorless products that build upon Nikon’s strengths, and offer the performance prospective customers expect, including the ultimate optics performance, image-processing technologies, strength and durability, and operation.’

That doesn’t sound like a 1-system camera, and as someone with a cupboard full of Nikon kit, I am pretty excited by that. I’m hoping for a mirrorless version of my FM2, and I know I’m not alone. The last time Nikon took inspiration from this well-loved classic we ended up with the Df – a kind of Land of the Giantsversion – but by making it mirrorless Nikon should be able to get close to the perfect dimensions of the original… fingers crossed.

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Nigel Atherton – Editor – Amateur Photographer Magazine
via Amateur Photographer – Saturday 19 August 2017

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