Nikon, give me!

By Martin Joergensen | September 7, 2008 1:08 PM | Permalink | Comments ( 4)

sb-900.jpgA bit frivolous, maybe, but I think I'm entitled to put forward a wish list to Nikon, outlining some of the stuff I'd like to see from them in the coming time. As an enthusiastic Nikonian and a somewhat nerdy gear head, I feel it in my right to represent other photo buffs in wanting even more new stuff.

Nikon has shown extremely good shape in the recent time, raising the bar several times and demonstrating a new and refreshing willingness to go different ways. The D3 and D700's superior "low rez" full frame sensor. The D90's video mode. The rumored MX format in a rangefinder camera.

Based on that I'd like Nikon to give me... eh, us (in no particular order):
Really wireless flash sync
OK, time to end the era of line-of-sight, infrared signaling or complex preflashes. We want a truly wireless, through the walls, 500 meters-and-more triggering of flashes - with full CLS-control, of course. Yeah, I know that radio-triggering offers a ton of problems with international rules and regulations, but hey Nikon, you have the technological wizards and the legal department to pull it off. Don't stick with light as a signal transmitter.

Look at the Pocket Wizards and the Radio Poppers and build similar technology into your cameras and flashes. And while you are at it, add a small mode dial that says "Nikon", "Pocket Wizard" and "Radio Popper". The Nikon and Radio Popper modes of course support CLS 100%. The crowd will cheer and love you - and buy even more of your cameras and flashes.

Built-in GPS and compass
A GPS-unit that sticks in the hot shoe and plugs into the camera is fine, but a built-in GPS unit, which just records latitude, longitude and altitude - and compass direction (yes, it's possible), would be sooooo much neater. No worries about attachment, wires, power sources or orientation of the unit, but just a matter of activating it through the menu and you know where you are. And if the upcoming P6000 point&shoot has it, so should every high end DSLR.

Wireless network connection

Cables and memory card adapters are passé. We want IEEE 802.1n AKA Wi-Fi, and the jazziest, newest, snazziest version with high bandwidth and all the intelligence we can get. And not in a clunky thingamajig that sits under the camera, but built-in.

I want a camera that will connect to any Wi-Fi network, which it's allowed to see, and even acts as a small web server, enabling me to browse and download images to my favorite wireless device - be it a notebook or an iPhone.

Built-in HDR

One of the problems with digital cameras is their lack of ability to record images with a lot of dynamics. Film is better, but there is no true high dynamic media. But the digital cameras could be. They have the intelligence to shoot several frames in a fraction of a second and combine them in camera, selecting the best parts and building an optimal image.

Shutterless shutter
OK, I know this sounds silly, but the shutterless shutter is a shutter, which is not relying on a mechanical device for the exposure, but doses light electronically. This means that the mechanical shutter (if any) is just there to keep the sensor protected, and that the exposure itself is handled by software and electronics, turning on and off the sensor.

The great advantage of such an exposure method is that the precision of the shutter is very high, the speed in theory limited by the speed of light (OK, a bit less maybe) and that flash sync speeds are in essence limitless. Since there is no traveling slit in a shutter, the flash can pop in the instance the sensor is turned on and sync at any speed.
I admit this is all wishful thinking, and I have no idea whether it's possible or not, but it sounds plausible, doesn't it?

Larger sensors, fewer pixels
'nuff with the pixel race! Stop it, alright! We average mortals do not need 25 or 50 megapixels. My personal satisfaction level is about 12, maybe 15 megapixels. That will do it for me. In particular if the quality is as on the D3 or the D700. Clean, noiseless, sharp and in really great colors. 12 megapixels easily prints a full spread in a magazine, and while it may not weigh in for a gatefold ad for Prada, Armani or Gucci in Vanity Fair, it will definitely do it for the magazine covers and feature articles I do on occasion in way humbler, but still glossy and good looking publications.

So please concentrate on other things than cramming pixels into small sensors. Make us a point&shoot with a large sensor and 10 megapixels. High ISO and low noise is more useful to us all - consumers included. Small sensors with tonnes of pixels will just fill up our hard disks with bloated, noisy pictures.

Nikon, you have chosen to go down a truly wrong path regarding file formats and conversion software. NEF is fine, and luckily supported by most RAW-converters, but the recent P6000 announcement with the new NRW-format and the marriage to Microsoft and its Windows Image Component is just downright wrong!

This new format and the strange strategy of trying to be a software company selling NX (which doesn't even support the new format by the way) on the side is not exactly smart compared to all the other smart moves you have made recently.
Get a grip now, and have your cameras support an open standard - DNG seems obvious - and pack NX with all your cameras. And while you're at it, make sure it runs smoothly on Macs as well as pc's.

AF-S all over
No reason to keep on peddling those old fashioned screw driver type lenses. Get smart and get modern and replace all lenses with current versions featuring focusing motors, lots of round aperture blades, and all the neat glass, coatings and optical tricks you know.
Pay particular attention to fast primes. There's a bunch of photographers out there who have restless wet dreams every night, where fast 20, 28, 35, 50 and 85mm lenses dance an exciting dance before their eyes. Please let them rest and sleep calmly.

So Nikon, get working - if you aren't already on the tasks. And Canon, Sony ad the rest of of the camera manufacturers: you can listen by the door. You are more than welcome to lift an idea or two from this list.

PS: Dear reader. If there's anything you want Nikon to do, just let them know in the comments below. I'm sure a horde of Nikon engineers are looking here daily for new ideas.



Right on, Martin. I am really with you on the GPS and DNG-support These seem like absolutely no-brainers.

Hi Martin,
As a non Nikon user can I just say how right you are.
DNG - Yes please!!!
Shutterless shutter - why not, is that not how liveview works?
Really wireless flash sync - gets my vote

many of the others make perfect sense to me, pity I'm not the "Nikon Corporation"

Couldn't agree more, especially the wifi and GPS. I don't know that I need it but I do want it and as the owner of three GPS units, none of which will connect to my D300, it's a little frustrating to see the P6000 get it thrown in.
Nice idea about shutterless shutters, why not!

Great list.

As a D3/D300 user, another thing that would be REALLY EASY: Allow shutter speed bracketing for 2-3 stops instead of limiting to only 1 stop for HDR photowalk shooters!!!