Monday, March 20, 2006

Sad Threads of The Week, The Disgruntled Olympus Owners

The loser threads of the week are here. In these two threads, Phil Askey responds to a dPreview necomer and detractor who is perturbed about Askey's review of the Olympus E330 d-slr. Here, the newcomer, with a posting history consisting of two whole weeks on dPreview, attempts to cast doubt on Phil Askey's reputation and integrity through insinuation.

As Ben Hermann suggests, the Olympus forum is now in a very,very,very sad and pathetic state.

What's funny is that the poster calling himself Horatio seems to me to be quite possibly "Jillon Dames", reincarnated, with a new nickname. Here's the thread Horatio started, where he calls me a loser.

Again, I suspect that Horatio is actually the (in)famous "Jillon Dames", who was banned from FujiFilm SLR Talk some months back. Perhaps he's not "Jillon Dames",and yet, he seems to write like "Jillon Dames" and to really like to heckle, like the aforementioned person. Kinda' makes me wonder who Horatio is,really, and why he's so concerned with Phil Askey's review of a camera. I'm not quite sure why people are expecting miraculous,low-noise performance from the tiny-chipped 4/3 format E-series bodies from Olympus....they use small sensors....small sensors with tiny pixels have excessive noise..simple physics. The E330 looks pretty noisy to me at elevated ISO's, from the review samples on dPreview, yet still I have not seen ANY prints made from the E330 files, but prints are a better test than noise crops seen on-monitor at 1 inch by 1 inch. Yet still, in comparison with larger-sensored d-slr's from Canon, the Oly E330's ISO 1600 performance looks absolutely noisy and smeared.

In this thread, entitled, "Oh,horatio",the thread's original poster calls for banning Horatio for clogging the board.

In the thread, Phil Askey HIMSELF takes valuable time to address Horatio's behavior, and to make an important statement; here is what Phil Askey had to say:

Begin Phil Askey quote: "If I cared what a few fanboys with an axe to grind had to say about what I know to be an unbias, neutral piece of work then I'd have been in the mad house a long time ago. I sleep at night because I know that I approach each review in the same way, treating each camera as a new model (even if it's a re-hash), going out regularly with the camera to shoot and get to know it, running it through our standard tests (each camera treated exactly the same way). The funny thing for me is that each review takes several hundred hours of work and yet just a few minutes to be shot down without a proper read by people who should know better.

The irony for the fanboys is that I seriously WANT someone like Olympus, Pentax, Sony etc. to beat Canon and Nikon, we need some new active competition pushing them forward, it saddens me when I get to the conclusion and I can't say enough good things about the camera.. And yes, in every single review there's a good percentage that's aimed right at the corporate R&D departments.

Phil Askey
Editor / Owner, " end quoted passage

See, this is the thing that the Fanboi's JUST DO NOT GET----my blog is not about me being "angry at Nikon" (you gave me a good laugh on that one Mark!) but that I want to see some real discusssion about the current state of digital photography, and I want to see REAL improvements in the products on the market. All the feel-good talk, the back-slapping, and the fanatically devoted distortions about the image quality of the various current products coming from the Fanboi's does no good whatsoever. People who say, "Be happy with the High-ISO performance of the D2x!" are really funny. The High-ISO performance of the D2x is poor and the D2x's Hi-1 or ISO 1600 equivalent in low, indoor light yields images which look like crap. Canon does better, with FOUR different bodies. And yet, the Nikonophiles want everybody to bow down and kiss Nikon's feet. In the Olympus case mentioned above, we have a guy who's so brand-centric he apparently fails to realize that the 4/3 sensor has a tough,inherent disadvantage to overcome. We have a guy who's calling ME a loser, when all he does is sit there and make veiled accusations that Phil Askey is a dishonest reviewer,and that Askey makes money off of click-through buyers who come to dPreview. What???? Who cares! It's Askey's web site. And Horatio gets to read it for free. Horatio seems quite perturbed that Askey didn't give the E330 its due and that Askey failed to mention the neat qualities of the Olympus sensor dust-removal system,and that Askey does not talk about how ANOTHER WEBSITE mentions that, up to 8x10 inches, much noise is simply dithered out when images from a noisy sensor camera are inkjet printed. I think the owners of the Olympus E330 have a nice thing going with their camera's sensor cleaning system, and I do agree with Horatio that *maybe* Askey could have better explained the sensor cleaning system Olympus has engineered. As for the noise of the E330 being dithered away to nothing in prints up to 8x10 inches as Horatio writes about, if one were using the E330 at ISO 800, from what I have seen in Askey's review, the images would look at the very least "slightly noisy",compared with those from virtuallty ANY APS-C sized D-SLR of the current generation or of the last generation. I see a pretty HIGH level of ISO 800 noise from the Oly E330 samples Askey has posted,and bad performance at ISO 1600.
This E330 review situtation reminds me of those who complained about the poor reviews the FujiFilm FinePix S3 Pro received from both Phil Askey and Thom Hogan, both of whom were villified in the dPreview forums for stating THEIR OPINIONS and THEIR TEST RESULTS. The various Olympus Fanboi's are currently having a similar really great time stirring things up.
Got news for you guys....if you want to write your own reviews, then DO IT. Start your own web sites or blogs,and exercise your right to free speech.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Switching Systems: Starting Over:Your First D-SLR

Switching Systems: Starting Over:Your First D-SLR You know there's always a person who says, "Switching systems is expensive-don't risk it." As well as the person who says, "I was involved in photography from xxxx to xxxx,then got out of it,and when I came back, I decided to start with another system," and of course there are also people who are currently saying, "I am buying my first d-slr-which one should I buy?" The point of this is to consider switching systems,starting over, or buying your first d-SLR.NOTHING VENTURED,NOTHING GAINED. Sound familiar?
I include "buying your first d-slr," as a point of mental reference. For those of you on your third or fourth or even fifth d-slr,ask yourself the question: "Where would I be at right now if I had started with a _________ as my first d-slr?" I ran into a young man today,quite unexpectedly. He told me he had gotten his first nice camera. I asked what it was. "A Nikon D-50 he told me," and proceeded to produce it and show me a few shots on the rear LCD. I examined his lens, a 28-90 Quantaray AF zoom lens with matching brand UV filter. He was pretty pumped about the outfit,its image quality, and the 512 MB storage card he bought. I could see his enthusiasm matched the kind and quality of pictures he was getting with the was shooting pretty damned good, I thought. Nikon D50. Peter Bendheim, a well-known South African photographer has used the D50 in social photography and personal walkabout uses,and has made some very,very favorable comments about its image quality on various on-line forums. My personal feeling is that the SB800 flash unit is a very critical advantage Nikon has with its D50,D70,D70s,D200,D2x camera bodies. The SB800's flash control system is a nice digitally-accurate,analog-ethos type of flash unit. The SB800 is very easy to control,and reliable in use. As a first D-SLR, the Nikon D50 was getting very good pictures for a young fellow without much photography background. Price is right, noise is kept fairly low,it tests out well. Why not. If you like the looks of the EOS Digital Rebel or Rebel XT, buy one of those. Same with the various pentax and Olympus d-slr models. A first d-slr is not a lifetime camera for most people,and any d-slr is far better than no d-slr.
Switching systems. Yes, the dreaded switching systems. System switchers are viewed with a lot of contempt and disdain by a number of people. People who switch systems are often viewed as traitors and turncoats by the new breed of tribal loyalists who have come to dominate amateur photography over the last few years. The Nikon versus Canon threads,and the Nikon boosters and the Canon boosters are both typically ignorant of what the opposing camp REALLY offers. Nikonophiles love to talk about Canon's low-noise, CMOS-sensored cameras, why Canon Boosters love to point out how Canon has many Image Stabilized lenses, as well as scores of lenses which offer full-time manual focus override, and also how Canon has prime lenses with ultrasonic motor focusing, while Nikon has virtually no under-$4,000 primes that offer full-time manual focus override. The thing is, each of the major brands offers "something" of value,and each of the major brands has an adequate system of lenses, flashes,and accessories to satisfy probably 80 percent of photograhers. And yet, the web is full of horror stories about how bad "the other systems are."
2006 seems to me to be a good year for switching systems. Sony will assume the marketing of the Konica-Minolta D-SLR line,with the 5D and the 7D probably soon to appear labellaed as "Sony" models. Samsung has an agreement with Pentax,and is marketing Pentax-made cameras under the Samsung brand. Canon has just unleashed the 5D full-frame d-slr as well as the EOS 30D, a refinement of the stellar 20D. Nikon's D200 offers an amazing combination of features,design touches,performance,and fair pricing. It's quite possible that a switch from what you have now, to a DIFFERENT brand of d-slr, would make sense in 2006.
To people who are NOT "married to" a system of lenses and accessories, 2006 is going to be the year when prices are attractive,and when competition between brands heats up. I have seen a good number of Fuji S2 users who are now eyeing the EOS 5D as their next camera. Frankly, as good as the S2 is and was, I think the EOS 5D is AS GOOD, and will continue to be a very,very good imager for several years,no matter what the competition comes out with. There's been a number of people who just do not seem to "get" what the EOS 5D is all about. It's about full-frame shooting, the way 35mm lenses and bodies have been designed to shoot since the 1920's. The full frame concept is about shallow depth of field potential,and about using lenses as they were designed to be used. Full frame brings back the value of a 50mm, and 85mm, a 100mm and a 135mm, as well as a 200 and 300mm. Full frame makes the 24-70 a wide angle to short telephoto. Full frame makes your 300mm lens useful once again. Full frame allows you to blow-out (that is to say, to de-focus) backgrounds very nicely with the lenses you have and want to use. Full frame at today's MP counts (in this case, over 13 megapixels) means large,low-noise pixels, and only modderate stress on lens Line Pairs Per Millimeter (Lp/mm) performance. Full frame at 13 MP means HIGH-QUALITY images without a lot of downsides. In my opinion, as a long-time Nikon shooter, the EOS 5D is the first body Canon has released that has TRUE, broad-based appeal, and which has already lured MANY F-mount shooters over into the Canon camp.
For those who have been using the lower-end cameras, like the EOS Rebel or Rebel XT,or the Olympus E-series or the Pentax *IST series bodies, or any of the other "entry-level" cameras, perhaps 2006 would be a good year to consider the Nikon D200 as a camera that offers a LOT, for not a lot of money. I've not owned a D200, bbut do know several good shooters who do use the camera, andd they ae all quie happy with the D200. From my point of view, the D200 is the single best-value F-mount digital Nikon has yet ofered for sale. Think "D2x Lite". Think of a complete flash system that bypasses anything Canon offers, the option for a small half-height camera,or one with an accessory grip added,and a fair price with loads of custom features and a really nicely designed camera. For those who want to stay within their current brand or lens mount, I would say consider moving UP a class of camera. If you have a Rebel, think about a 20D or a 30D; if you have a 10D or 20D,consider an EOS 5D; if you have a Fuji S2 or S3,why not consider adding a Nikon D200 or a Nikon D2x.
Ask yourself, "How much gear do I really,truly want to invest in?" I recall suggesting to Steve Bingham that he consider the Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D, some 13 or 14 months ago when he was looking to replace the Fuji S2 pro with a new d-slr mdoel, and his reply was basically, "Not enough lenses for what I want to do." Fair enough, I guess. But then, it's been roughly 14 months, and in thyat time Steve bought the Nikon D2x, but then after 12-13 months he decided to get rid of the D2x and to go with the Nikon D200 for its fine image quality and its small size and light WEIGHT and compact design. I still think that Steve was wrong when he said that there were inadequate lenses available in the Konica-Minolta lineup. I think if one needs only a wide zoom, a medium zoom, and a tele zoom, and a macro prime lens, and a good electronic flash unit and maybe a normal prrime lens or a lightweight walkabout zoom or prime, that ANY, and I mean ANY of the major D-SLR makers have some great equipment. The problem arises when one wants superteles or specialty macro tools,or when one imposes artificially stringent "one piece of gear" restrictions; in the case of superteles, only Canon and Nikon have really superlative lenses available, and only the big two have the full spectrum of macro lenses and tools available for their systems. And, if one says, "I MUST HAVE a system that offers the 105mm Defocus Nikkor" or something, then one is locked into one brand choice.
I'm gonna say this very simply: I think the Konica-Minolta Maxxum 7D was the best-designed camera body of the last two years. I hope the Sony transition sees this camera continued, and I pray that the Maxxum 9 is made into a digital variant. While I like Nikon cameras a lot, and feel that their ergonomics and control systems are very good, I think the Maxxum 7D is the BEST-DESIGNED camera I have seen in many years. If you're honest and open-minded about it, I think you owe it to yourself to see what exists outside of your current brand. And, despite the uncertainty brought about by the new K-M to Sony transfer, I think that the 7D and the Maxxum line's many engineering features (like the Maxxum's manual/AF focus clutch system for example,why it makes Nikon's manual/AF clutch system look like what it is, a 1980's era "nice try",but a dismal failure in actual real-world use). I think that the built-in, body-integral anti shake system Konica-Minolta developed and put into its 5D and its 7D cameras is a very valuable feature, but there are a list of other valuable features which the Maxxum line of cameras has more so than other D-SLRs. I'm not saying that the K-M 7D is the best "imager" of the last two years, but I am saying that in term sof body design, control layout, features, and design ethos, even Nikon and even Canon pretty much suck when compared with the Maxxum line. If the K-M 7D were a Canon or a Nikon-branded body, it would be a HUGE,HUGE,HUGE sales success. But basically, not many people are open-minded enough, or free enough, to consider switching to the Maxxum system. However, with Sony on the pentaprism, the brand warrior aspect of d-slr photogrpay might kick in later this year, and there might be many people who switch to this very deserving camera system.
When you get the chance, go and demo the Sony/Maxxum d-slr line's top offering. And mark my words, if Sony introduces a digital Maxxum 9-series model, there will be some system swirtching going on,world-wide.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Thanks To Anthony, Who Also Has a Blog

A small note of thanks goes out to Anthony from FujiFilm SLR Talk, who took Mark to task for the post Mark made recently in Fuji SLR Talk. Mark posted some links to mental health counselling web pages last month,as part of a series of posts he did in FujiFilm SLR Talk. And this time, Mark tried to smear me with the same "mental health counselling" links tactics. A post and a tactic which Anthony said was, "rude" and inappropriate.
What's funny is that,even though Anthony and I have never really shared much of anything over the years, and have NO internet off-list relationship or off-list contact whatsoever, that Anthony came to my defense. Mark on the other hand, was somebody who I took a personal interest in,and who I tried to help with several long and encouraging e-mails over a span of over a year's time. Mark was/is, in my opinion, one of the rising stars of the Fuji SLR Talk forum, a guy who went from being a photographic newbie with the heart of a shooter inside,to a fellow who has made tremendous strides in his photographic abilities. I encouraged Mark as much as I could, with real,genuine heartfelt enthusiasm. I told him that he was a "shooter". I told him that I have hung around with numerous people who call themselves "photographers",and yet in over 20 years I have only met one, maybe two people who were real "shooters." As I told Mark in an e-mail some time back, "Anybody can call himself a photographer. But you have something even rarer--you are a shooter."
And you know, at one point Mark was kinda' down on himself, and down on his photography. I can understand that. But he decided to get more photographic education,and enrolled in the New York Institute of Photography's long-running home study courses in photograpic education,and he made several on-line,public posts about that educational course. It was after he had begun his NYI training that I wrote to Mark that if he had "somebody to process his images", his work would look much better on the web. I felt that Mark was putting himself in a lot of very challenging shooting situations, and that a truly SKILLED, top-level photoshop jockey could take Mark's work and really,truly make it sing. Of course, I think that remark kind of stung, but he did bring that remark up in a dPreview post,albeit in a twisted and out of context manner, but I think he realized that what I said was true. The real skill in photography has been in the masterful printing of images for display. The skilled darkroom manipulations needed to print tricky black and white negatives are what set the great masters of photography apart from the almost-greats in the days of film capture. The in-field shooting,while important, has always been secondary to the amount of art and science needed to make truly GREAT prints of the images captures with the camera in the field or studio. The master darkroom workers, like Ansel Adams and Paul Caponigro and Brett Weston, to name three of my favorites, were simply fantastic at what today we call POST-PROCESSING. That is, the work that goes on AFTER the shooting phase. Since there is now no wet,cehmical darkroom, the critical area that differentiates landscape photographers today comes from.......drum roll....Photoshop! What Adams and Caponigro could do in the darkroom was simply magical, but in today's world, the absolute best landscape photographers use a multitude of advanced Photoshop manipulations to ensure that their photography is represented to its best level. There is shooting. And then there is post-processing. For most of us, myself included, I feel that my in-field and in-studio photographic abilities far,far,far exceed my Photoshop abilities. My message to Mark was basically the same message I would send to most people with less than five years of shooting experience--namely, that better Photoshop skills will elevate one's photography. It's the post-processing that brings out the magic, that adds the nuance, that adds that little extra bit.
Anthony and I went way back in the Fuji SLR Talk forum. I think Anthony is/ was probably the second most prolific poster in that forum, and is one of the most tireless posters,who gives freely of his own knowledge,particulalrly about the S1 and S2 Fuji models,and about electronic flash use and operation with the Fuji cameras,as well as other camera and post-processing issues. Anthony has always been open-minded to more than JUST the Fuji brand of D-SLR cameras, with his own experiences with the Nikon D70 and D200 models shared willingly with forum members. He's not a One Brand Zealot, but somebody willing to share what he knows about photography,and to answer countless questions from noobs without resorting to the cry of "Off Topic!" or "do a search". I think Anthony thinks I hold him in low esteem, which is quite incorrect. He's one of the few prolific web posters who actually seems to still care,and who actually TRIES,really hard, TO HELP other people. Even when a person seeking help really probably could find his answer with a search, Anthony manages to resist the urge to scream, "Do a search first!" as so many posters are prone to doing these days. And, Anthony has been willing to step out from the Fuji brand tribalism,and to use his own intellect to provide balanced,fair commentary on a wide range of issues. Here is an example of Anthony's willingness to HELP people. Check it out....Anthony was the FIRST person to offer help!
Anthony has recently started his own photography blog. He referred to his blog as 'the antidote to long,boring photography blogs'. I like his sense of humor. I suppose this blog of mine must be considered one of those long,boring blogs. After all, my blog entries run on,are long,and many would say qualify as boring snoozes. Check out Anthony's blog here
Again, my thanks go out to Anthony, for his classy behavior. I find it interesting that a man whom I've clashed with,and whom I have no doubt offended with my writings in the past,was willing to step forward in a public forum to defend me, and to take to task a person who he felt was acting rudely. A guy I do not even know defends me, while a fellow whom I repeatedly encouraged in photography, takes potshots at me-- I find that somewhat ironic. Of course, the web makes for strange associations. Biting the hand that feeds is a longtime issue, one that even has fables surrounding it. Also with a long tradition are the stories of gallant men who have stepped up to right what they saw as wrongs. It's interesting to witness the public behavior of these two men in light of my interactions with them in the past.

I Cannot Believe The Disappointment Over the EOS 30D

I cannot believe the disappointment over the newly announced Canon EOS 30D. Even Michael Reichman has bought into the grumbling in his PMA 2006 Summary,an article he entitled "PMA 2006 A View of The Photographic Industry from 30,000 Feet", located at
In this essay, Reichman wrote,and this is a quote, "Canon struck a false note with many of its faithful with the just-introduced 30D. Following as it has on the heels of Nikon's D200 (intentionally or not) it seems, like its name, to simply be a marketing rehash rather than a fresh competitive offering. The Canon design paradigm just feels like its getting a bit long in the tooth." end of quoted passage.
Now, I can understand that many of the Canon "faithful" are disappointed with the 30D--the Canon "faithful" probably thought that the 30D would rival the D200 in terms of megapixel count, specifications, and price/performance ratio. I can understand his comment about the Canon "faithful",many of whom are web-heads and computer-junkies-turned-photographers, so their disappointment is understandable. But what the heck is Reichman talking about when he says that, "The Canon design paradigm just feels like it is getting a bit long in the tooth."?? I simply think that's an ill-advised statement. Canon recently introduced the world's FIRST sub-$4500 full frame capture body, the EOS 5D, establishing Canon as the leader of a NEW FRONTIER. With the EOS 5D, Canon has established a new level of price/performance in D-SLR design. I mean seriously, WTF is he talking about that Canon's design paradigm is "long in the toot."? What was Canon supposed to do with its 20D follow-up model? Was the 30D supposed to be rival the 16.7 megapixels and the build quality of the EOS 1Ds Mark II for under $1500?
Canon is LEADING the world wide market in D-SLR production and sales. I simply can NOT believe the disappointment over in the Canon camp over a 30D that Reichman pejoritively describes as, "a marketing rehash rather than a fresh competitive offering." Apparently, Reichman does not feel that the EOS 30D is competitive in the marketplace. Competitve with what? The Nikon D200? The Fuji S3 Pro? The Pentax *IST line? I'm not sure how Reichman came to the conclusion that the 30D is not competitve, or that it is merely a rehash,since he has not shot the 30D. Almost nobody has. I got a look at one from a Canon rep just this week, and the 30D appears to me to be a very competitve camera compared with the Nikon D200. The difference between the 8.2 megapixels of the 30D and the 10.2 megapixels of the Nikon D200 doesn't seem to me that big an advantage for the Nikon. Admittedly, the D200 has a more professionally-oriented design paradigm underlying it (think D2x Lite), whereas the EOS 30D feels more like a mid-priced consumer D-SLR, yet STILL, the EOS 30D looks and feeels quite nice in the hand. Still, Canon's design paradigm encompasses more than just the 30D,and I do not see how Canon is "long in the tooth," especially compared with what Nikon or Pentax or Olympus has going on.
As mainly a Nikon user, I cannot believe those who express disappointment over the direction Canon is headed in early 2006. I personally think that with the 5D, Canon has hit a HOME RUN! Canon's design paradigm seems to me to be in NO WAY "long in the tooth". Canon can no longer leapfrog Nikon like they did with the 1D Mark II and the D2h....or with the full-frame EOS 1Ds trumping the Nikon D1x. Nope, even the mighty Canon has to put its pants on one giant leg at a time. And even as it does so, there are those who are not satisfied with Canon's progress toward world domination. Yeesh. it seems as if Canon must continually leapfrog all competitors,lest they be perceived to be "long in the tooth" or behind the times.
Where's my full-frame Nikon? Where's my full-frame Fuji? Where's my full frame Pentax? With Canon,one can choose between TWO, brand-new full frame models, the EOS 5D and the EOS 1Ds Mark II. Of course, there was also the first-generation full frame model from Canon, the 1Ds. Gosh, Canon has had only three iterations of full-frame D-SLR cameras! They are sooooooo behind. Very,very long in the tooth.

Friday, March 17, 2006

ISO 1600 Comparison EOS 5D versus FujiFilm S3 Pro

A quick,simple,straightforward ISO 1600 test between the Canon EOS 5D and the FujiFilm S3 Pro is done by dPreview forum poster Bernie Ess from Germany. His simple comparison shots are found here:

He has JUST put the post up,and as I write this, there are no replies to the original post, but I think it's imminently clear: the EOS 5D delivers significantly more REAL detail, with less blotchy noise in the EOS file,easily bettering the S3 Pro when both cameras are set to ISO 1600. Feel free to stop in and see what Bernie has found with the EOS 5D and the S3 Pro.

Bernie has been very enamored of the 5D for a few months now,and he's closer and closer to buying one for himself. hell, I MYSELF would LOVE to buy a 30D so I could have its wonderful features and capabilities. Personally, I think it's clear that the EOS 5D is changing the face of D-SLR photography by throwing one heck of a monkey wrench into the works of all the other D-SLR manufacturers. With the 5D, Canon has produced one of the MOST-desired cameras in quite some time. The advantages of a larger capture area are several,and I find it VERY,very funny that a small but significant minority of web posters and bloggers are trying to "explain away" the benefits of the various larger-sensored D-SLR's on the market. Since Nikon,and Pentax,and Olympus do not offer full frame D-SLR models, there are some brand zealots who spend time and energy trying to defend the "APS-C" or Nikon's so-called Dx format sensor cameras and Oly's 4/3 sensor models. Basically, there are a number of sour grapes types whose favorite camera brand offers nothing even approaching full-frame,so these fellows write web posts and essays expounding upon topics like, Why full frame is unneeded" or "Why full frame suffers from corner issues that DX is free of". It's really rather pitiful.
If one does not understand a lot about capture size or "film format size" and how that relates to depth of field and focal length and perspective and camera-to-subject distance, lens angle of view, and a host of other nuts-and-bolts photographic principles and practices, one is not fully fit to talk about the issue of DX versus Full Frame capture. Suffice it to say, at the world wide web level, there are a mere handful of people who are technically well-grounded enough to make cogent arguments about the differences between APS-C and Full Frame capture cameras in actual use. Most people simply "do not understand enough" to fully comprehend the differences between capturing to a smaller format as opposed to capturing to a larger format. Just as many people do not have a full grasp of the concepts of fill-flash and flash-as-mainlight,and are on unsure technical footing in the flash arena,so are many people misinformed about the issues behind sensor size and lens focal length and depth of field issues.

Suffice it to say, small-sensor cameras (APS-C aka Dx,and 4/3) have their own problems,and bring with them some very significant penalties in terms of creative use of shallow depth of field with the lenses we have available to shoot with, and the full frame cameras bring with them some very real advantages (and some disadvantages.The arguments AGAINST full frame d-slr capture are largely specious arguments. A fair-minded indivudual cannot condemn full frame capture as unneeded or as unworthy of consideration. The Canon EOS 5D is a landmark camera. Maybe some day, Nikon will see the wisdom of ofering its customer base choices instead of trying to bet the entire farm on the tiny Dx-sized sensors. It's not that the DX format is "bad" or anything like that, but Canon does offer three differerent sensor sizes, with 1.3x, 1.6x, and 1.0x FOV models to choose from. WHY might Canon offer THREE different sensor sizes in its camera lineup? Choice is a good thing. People who argue against the need for indivudual choice in sensor size and in camera types are not being intellectually honest when they construct their "Dx is King, FF is bad" arguments.
**********Well, it's been 12 hours, and the post now has 58 total threads. It's instructive to wade through and to see who has said what.
A few points, as I see them: the Canon,as Bernie said, is "brighter" and this he,and I,and Robert Whiteman attribute to the Fuji's ISO 1600 rating being an over-statement of the degree of actual sensitivity. I know what the term "brighter" means, and the honest fact is that the Canon is yielding a "brighter" image. Just look at the images. Canon is "brighter". The exposure settings are very similar,and as long as the dawn lighting wasn't becoming rapidly brighter as the 1-minute shooting period elapsed, I think the Canon's brighter image would lead _me_ to conclude that the stated ISO of the Canon is good, at 1600, and that the Fuji camera's stated ISO is somewhat under 1600 ISO. I expect that at 1600 ISO the S3 would do better with +.5 EV comp dialed in, but that would cost a person shutter speed.For those who really NEED ISO 1600 or higher, shutter speed is usually the most pressing reason to go to elevated ISO's.
Last point: The difference in the amount of detail resolved by the EOS 5D with a Tamron 28-75 Di lens and a Fuji S3 Pro with a 50mm Nikkor lens is evident and it favors the Canon camera. With equal framing areas, the EOS 5D is applying more photosites to cover the SAME FIELD AREA of rooftop and building.Put another way, the Canon saturates the scene's entire area with MORE PIXELS worth of information. The first two test images cover the same FIELD AREA, but with the Canon, there are 13.8 million photosites depicting the scene; with the S3 pro, there are between 6.1 million and probably 9 million photosites depicting the scene; how many pixels the S3 is using is impossible for me to determine,but since the scene has no inordinately wide DR issues I do not think the S3's sensor would deploy the highlight-sensitive pixels in this dawn scene. The six megapixel D-SLR's do not have the same ultra-high line resolution counts as the 11,and 12, and 13 megapixel cameras have. The EOS 5D offers a lower-noise,higher-resolution image than the S3 Pro does. The fine,fine image quality the EOS 5D is capable of obvious to me in the more stringent professional studio type photos I've seen done with the 5D, but even in this quick and dirty dawn genre scene,the 5D proves its mettle with a lower-noise, brighter,and more-detailed shot than the other alternative.
News Flash: Since the introduction of the EOS 20D, Canon has been making remarkable progress toward boosting image quality while keeping prices fair, with a lot of choices in cameras from beginner's models to mid-point to top-end. The EOS 5D is the first three thousand dollar-class full frame digital ever offered for sale. And it is capable of capturing VERY high quality files under a wide range of shooting situations. The body has good AF, adequate speed, adequate buffer, a decent viewfinder,and offers creative, shallow depth of field photography to be done with lenses people actually own.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Things Have Become So Bad I Am Simply Disgusted

Things on the dPreview pro-oriented Nikon forum,as well as the FujiFilm SLR Talk have become SO BAD this week that I am totally,totally disgusted. Formerly decent posters on the Nikon board have succumbed to the long-standing pestering from the Canon trolls, as well as to the long,slow slip in Nikon product performance relative to Canon performance,and angry F-mount users are lashing out in record numbers. On the FujiFilm SLR Talk board, some of the formerly nice,polite,and thoughtful posters have become really nasty and abrasive, and some have even taken to making ad hominem attacks on posters who are no longer in the forum. Truly, some amazing cheap-shots have been thrown out on both those boards over the past four days especially, and it's absolutely disgusting to me.

The problem in a nutshell is the way new-age digital shooters seem to be suffering from ridiculous,almost juvenile brand loyalty. Along with BRAND loyalty, there is an almost tragic level of camera model loyalty,as well as the stupidest thing of all, "lens loyalty". The web's various forums are now filled with folks who are sooooooo anxious to defend their choices in brand,camera model,and lens model that the forums in many cases have become nothing more than argument after argument after argument. Loads of newbies arguing with experienced shooters with decades of experience. Loads of newbies writing posts and essays about how their newest object of lust and affection is "the best". It's pathetic. The degree of ridiculous brand,camera,and lens loyalty now displayed on some of the major web forums is just simply p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. The sharing of information that we used to have has been replaced by petty squabbling,as well as days long vitriolic flame wars. Shape up you people!

There is a thread today in the "Nikon D1-D2-D100-D200 Banding Forum" that shows that even some of the best-informed Nikon shooters have lost their objectivity,and are now refusing to acknowledge that the tens of millions of dollars Canon has spent on R&D has given Canon a fairly commanding lead in several areas of D-SLR performance and design,as well as in lens design and in overall,total market leadership.

Those who dare to bring up Canon's leadership,or Canon's strong suits, or Canon's advantages over Nikon or Fuji or other F-mount bodies, are having their reputations sullied, their names insulted, and are being told things like, "Go play in the middle of the street like a good little retard." That last one is an actual quote from a guy that USED to be a pretty decent Nikon forum poster, but who has recently become an incredibly nasty troll-caller and a staunch defender of all things Nikon.
Those who do not bow down and kiss the ring of the Nikon D2-series, or the Fuji S3, or the Nikon D200 are being insulted, harangued,hassled, and spam-bombed. It has come to the point where the signal-to-noise ratio is simply unbearable in the dPreview forums dedicated to Nikon and Fuji-branded d-slrs . There's almost NO SIGNAL, but merely static,hissing,and booing. Not that the Canon forums are much better--the disappointment over the fantastically featured, affordable Canon EOS 30D is to me, almost unfathomable. The newly-announced EOS 30D,to be priced at $1399 at intro in mid-March 2006 looks like it will be an incredibly full-featured,well-designed refinement of the EOS 10D and EOS 20D models which came before it. BUT, according to probably half of the folks on the Canon D60/10D/20D/30D forum, the 30D does not offer "enough". And by "enough" I think they mean the 30D does not offer 'enough' to clearly trump Nikon's new D200. It seems as if Canon users expect that Canon could and would leapfrog Nikon's offerings,as Canon has done in the past, with the introduction of the EOS 30D. Got news for ya' people---the 30D is evolutionary, not revolutionary, and it looks to be a truly fine,fine camera for under $1399. The fact that it takes the same batteries and BG-2 accessory grip and EF and EF-S lenses of the 20D is a GOOD thing!

In the Nikon Banding Forum as I have taken to calling it lately, the vast majority of the static and hissing and booing is because Nikonophiles are pissed off that a small but very significant number of Nikon D200 bodies sold to people all over the world seem to be plagued by banding AND that buyers of those cameras have the nerve to COMPLAIN about the defective cameras they've payed $1700 for.A Nikonophile is a Nikon Sycophant, or a One Brand Zealot; a Nikonophile is not to be confused with a guy who used or owns Nikon equipment and who generally likes Nikon equipment. A Nikonophile will NEVER buy a Sigma,Tokina,or a Tamron lens,and he will never even consider that there is any better equipment made than that which bears the Nikon brand. So, how bad is this D200 banding that regular Nikon users are complaining about? The problem is so significant that Nikon itself has issued a statement about D200 banding, and has in fact classified banding as being of types 1,2,or 3. Good Christ, there are THREE types of banding which can affect the D200,according to Nikon's official statement!!! Okay. The owners of the bad D200 bodies are voicing their complaints on the web,and are alerting people to the fact that Nikon has released a camera model with a problem in some units,and the One Brand Zealots are irritated that a serious Nikon issue is being brought to light.Of course the owners of the defective D200's are bringing their plight out into the open,since the problem is so bad and so widespread that Nikon itself has issued NOTICES,on its own web sites,commenting on the problem; this is a change in tactics for Nikon,which has refused to offer public acknowledgement of several equipment failures and flaws over the past few years, like the 70-200VR "dead syndrome", the D2h dead meter syndrome, and the D70 drop-dead problem. In the case of the 70-200VR, D2h,and D70 drop-dead syndrome, Nikon never said there was a problem,but instead tried to keep the problem swept under the rug. It was only after LARGE numbers of buyers of these affected products complained on web boards worldwide that Nikon even acknowledged that there were,indeed, actual,real,and very significant problems with the D2h,and the D70. To my knowledge, the 70-200 VR's problem was never relly acknowledged by Nikon, but was handled as a warranty repair with no real statement from Nikon ever made about that widespread problem.

My fairly new 70-200 in fact,went down with a total failure of the lens diaphragm and the autofocusing and VR systems. The lens would not respond to any f/stop input on several Nikon bodies, and it would not focus. On dPreview, there was a lengthy,long-running thread about 70-200VR lens failures,which is how I learned about the problem and thought, "Hey,wow, am I lucky or what--I got the first 70-200VR in town,just by accident,and MINE works GREAT!" Then one day, diaphragm, no focusing, no VR. Had I not been a regular dPreview reader, I would have never known that this was happening all over the world with the early release models of the 70-200VR.

D2h owners bought the $3,499 bodies, and had sudden,unexpeced light meter failures. The first people who dared to bring the problem to the attention of the dPreview community were ridiculed and crucified and described as "whiners" and "moaners." Turns out, Nikon made and sold Lord knows how many D2h bodies with a bad component and apparently a bad solder joint or something,and the D2h meter failure syndrome turned out to be, surprise, a REAL,ACTUAL,widespread PROBLEM. Only after significant public outcry on web boards, did Nikon actually acknowledge and identify the D2h dead meter syndrome. Same with the D70.....a fairly significant number of D70 models just crapped out. Same story,with Nikon just going along and refusing to acknowledge any problems until the cat was out of the bag. Is that any way to run a company? In two and a half years, to have three SERIOUS, and I mean really SERIOUS quality control/design/manufacturing flaws on thousands of high-priced Nikon products? And to stonewall and to refuse to admit any problems until overwhelming evidence made it literally,impossible to keep the user community in the dark? I think that is NOT a good way to run a company, but then Nikon is a Japanese company,and losing face is a big deal there. But,according to my way of thinking, hiding one's mistakes and not admitting them is much,much more of a loss of face than admitting and owning up to one's mistakes.

Now, as to this nasty,disgusting attitude that's creeping into web-based forums where a lot of F-mount users congregate,is that, after months of Nikon users and owners fending off Canon trolls who gloated about the 8.2 MP EOS 1D Mark II's trumping of the 4.1 MP, defect-prone D2h, Nikonophiles got pissed off at those who dared to say ANYTHING bad about Nikon the company or about Nikon products. The gloating from the Canon folks was largely due to the fact that before Nikon had actually introduced the D2h to the world, Nikon said that their new sports/event/PJ camera would have really,really,really low noise performance,even at elevated ISO settings; Nikon's pre D2h chatter promised users that the next big thing from Nikon would benefit from a revolutionary "new sensor". What happened was that within a month of the D2h hitting the market, Canon trumped Nikon with the EOS 1D Mark II. Double the megapixels, a better sensor, lower noise, and higher-than-expected ISO sensitivities all favored the new Canon. The D2h had a huge problem with noise, and also a signifcant problem with many synthetic fabrics and with many types of objects with near-infrared wavelengths. The D2h rendered a LOT of black athletic uniforms as purple-ish or dark,dark purple-black. What our eyes saw as black, many times the D2h would render as a purple-ish or "sort of black". The solution? How about a $175 77mm hot mirror filter over every pro Nikon lens mounted to the D2h? Great solution,huh? Even Thom Hogan described the D2h as being a great camera with a sensor that was, to paraphrase, what held the D2h back from being considered a great camera.

In the last week, the Fuji D-SLR camp has been plagued with S4 or no Fuji S4? threads, a game which has become quite pathetic. Jumbuck and his detractors have gotten into some incredibly nasty posts regarding Fuji's future in the D-SLR market, as well as Jumbuck's many anti Canon 5D rants. The normally level-headed Classic Man and Padey have traded some hurtful,hurtful insults on the FujiFilm SLR Talk board, and the derisive threads involving fsmith of Germany have been absolutely disgusting. Several of the early Fuji S3 Pro fanatics,who raved and ranted about how fantastic the S3 pro was in the early days, have since bought Nikon D2x cameras, and most of them have increasingly come to prefer the output and the use of the Nikon over the Fuji S3 pro which they radically and vociferously defended in the first few months of release of the S3.

All in all, what has happened to the dPreview forum communities recently is simply disgusting to me. And to other people. I am not the only person to have noticed what has been happening. A month ago, I thought it would have blown over by now, but instead the situation is going to hell in a handbasket. It is incredibly sad what is happening at dPreview's forums, but the same type of thing is going on at other website forums, particularly those catering specifically to Nikon owners and users. Nikon's own lack of leadership,and its lack of owning up to the defective products it has released, has taken its toll over the past two years. It's really,really,really sad. No wonder so many people have thrown in the towel on the F-mount and simply bought Canon systems.

What annoys me a lot in the various forums today is the number of recent converts to digital SLRs who think that,since they've studied some brochures, and bought a piece of equipment based on some skimpy research or some magazine or web article, is that they have somehow found "the perfect tool". And that of course, THEIR choice is the BEST choice, or that they own a piece of equipment that is without fault, or that is somehow worthy of being idolized,flaunted,vaunted, or even worshipped. In fact, I had an incident last week when a prominent newbie Nikon user took umbrage at my disdain for the Nikkor 28-70 AF-S when used on the crop-sensor bodies Nikon which are the only type of D-SLRs that Nikon makes. He's the same fellow who,to the best of my knowledge,coined the term "Lens Lust",and who popularized that terminology by repeatedly making posts about his newest object of desire, and then finally buying it,but only after a suitable number of encouraging posts and adequate prodding from other newbies and from owners of the object of desire. After he had finally taken the plunge and bought a new object of desire, he'd trash the prior-owned lens in that category,and would then wax eloquently on how fantastic and wonderful and awesome the new toy was. At one time it was the 60mm Micro-Nikkor. Then it was the 28-70. After those first two lenses were talked up to the point of God-like divinity, I stopped reading his posts, but he had successfully indoctrinated hundreds of newbies into the idea that one ought to subscribe to a thing that he called Lens Lust. When I openly challenged the utility of the 28-70 on cropped-sensor cameras in a post directed to a wealthy high school junior, this self-styled opinion leader,with something like three years' woth of photography experience, took the opportunity to step in and publicly defame me and my character. His misplaced indignation came as a surprise to me,and he acted as if the post I had made to this high school boy were somehow directed at him,the coiner of the term Lens Lust! I was a bit torqued off.

The Lens Lust phrase coiner let me know that "to many of us,the 28-70 is 'the crown jewel' in many of our collections". So be it....he likes it..he hyped the 28-70 up for MONTHS on end,and encouraged many,many unsuspecting users to plunk down for "The Beast",which was the pet name he coined for his beloved 48-ounce 28-70 AF-S Nikkor. I'd never heard the term Lens Lust, and I had never heard the term "The Beast" until this One Brand Zealot got on the web,and I've been shooting Nikon consistently since 1982, and occasionally from 1977 to 1981. Never had I heard either of those terms. And yet, some newbie went and trashed me and my point of view simply because I had the balls to say that the crop-sensored D-SLR models Nikon offers us have RUINED the UTILITY of the 28-70,and also that the 28-70 is a huge,fat,heavy,and obnoxiously-sized lens which is,in many social photography situations, a huge detriment. Of course, all of these opinions were lost on this fellow,and his accolytes. They have after all, been shooting SLR cameras,well, since the D70 came out! They don't seem to undertsand that the 28-70 AF-S was designed for FULL-FRAME cameras,and they don't seem to think that a coffe can-sized lens that weights about 48 ounces is in any way,inappropriate in,apparently, ANY type of situation.

Wow....such experience,such insight these fellows have, that they think pointing a big,fat,obnoxiously oversized lens into the faces of total strangers, party-goers,and wedding guests is a perfetly acceptable way to conduct one's self. Their inexperience and tactlessness is really showing,but then these are the real boosters, the fellows who absolutely LOVE to hype up the few AF-S wide zooms that Nikon makes as being useful in all situations for all people. These are the same people who seem to ignore the fact that Nikon has made a REPLACEMENT LENS for their cropped-sensor SLR's,and that replacement lens is called the 17-55 DX. It has no cute nickname, it's just called the 17-55 DX. Similar angles of view, similar size, close in price, similar in performance to what the 28-70 yeilded on full-frame film, but DESIGNED FOR DIGITAL SLR's with CROPPED sensors. Still....look at the 17-55 Dx in terms of size and weight and optical performance, and then compare the Sigma 18-50mm f/2.8 EX lens at $499. The Sigma brings with it 95 percent of the performance of the two herking Nikkors, but is SMALLER and lighter and very much a low-profile,discreet zoom lens that's not guaranteed to draw screams of "Pervert!" when you point it around at people who happen to be busy enjoying their lives at the local park or beach or street fair.

Sigma has made an ultra-compact 18-50mm f/2.8 constant aperture zoom that is SMALL,light,and designed for digital, and is under $500,and which offers the useful range of focal lengths most people used to get from the 28-70, back when the F5 was the best game in town. My recomendation to the high school kid was that he NOT SELL off his 17-35 AF-S to buy a 28-70,and to then latr re-purchase the 17-35. But,sicne I didn;t profess love,or lust for a beast, I had my reputation trashed by the coiner of the phrases "Lens Lust" and "The Beast." Amazing thing, this world wide web,sine it is a place where a guy whose first real Nikon was the D70, the camera my mother in law shoots, has been able to come in an in a few months establish himself as some sort of self-style guru,leading newbies through their periods of lust for more equipment than they can afford,and where high school boys act like smart asses and take the time to mouth of to people who actually understand CARE about the reputation of photography and of photographers by reccomending smaller,lighter,more-discrete lens choices in social photograpahy situations. But,the problem is, there are tons of people who do not even understand what the term "social photography" means. But I guess they know that The Beast is the right lens for it!

Comment: I thought the "DX" lens series was supposed to bring us smaller,and lighter lenses. What the fuck happened with the 17-55 DX? How come the Sigma 18-50 2.8 EX is so small and compact, but the 17-55 DX is so damned huge? Where's the smallness and the lightness we were promised with the DX lenses? Well, the answer is that, above about 135mm, there is NO ADVANTAGE IN SIZE,or weight, to Dx lenses. There will be no DX telephotos from Nikon. Look at the Olympus E-series and its 300mm f/2.8 "DX" is positively HUGE!!! Bigger than a full-frame 300/2.8 for Nikon or Canon,heavier, and a couple THOUSAND dollars more expensive than it ought to be. Nope....this whole Dx thing is just a marketing ruse, a stop-gap measure that was designed to freeze people from migrating out of the Nikon system to Canon. Dx lenses have in some cases been no smaller,and doggone little lighter than full-circle lenses they were ostensibly designed to replace. AND there have been NO DX TELE PRIMES, and only ONE DX wide angle prime from Nikon.Nikon curently has a HANDFUL of Dx-specified lenses. 95% of the Nikkor lens line covers full-frame 35mm. 95% of the Nikkor lens line was designed with film capture in mind.And pretty soon, Nikon will be offering full-frame digital SLR bodies for sale. They simply have to, because Canon is kicking their asses sales-wise and performance wise.

The larger sensors of full-frame cameras put lower demands on lenses, due to larger pixel size, and also due to lower pixel densities. The small, Dx-sized sensor of the D2x is an example of exceptionally small pixels, in a very,very high-density array,with the upshot being that MANY fine older Nikkor telephoto lenses are showing degraded imaging performance on the D2x's sensor, and also causing a LOT of lenses to show their optical weaknesses. Under the old rules, with 2.7 MP and 4.1 MP and 5.2 MP cameras, and 6.1 MP cameras (D1-D1h-D100-D2h-D2Hs-D1x-D70-D50) using small, Dx-sized sensors, pixel density and pixel size was not a problem,and even modest consumer-grade lenses as well as some of the more modest,semi-pro orinted Nikkor lenses there was no problem with optical quality on MOST ALL Nikon D-SLR bodies. At 6.1 or fewer megapixels on DX sized sensors,lens quality of MOST Nikkor lenses was adequate to good. With the same sized sensor now stuffed with twice as many much SMALLER,more tightly-packed pixels, the D2x has become a marvelous tool for showing us that Nikon's lenses need to be either re-designed for digital,finally, or that Nikon has finally hit the end of the road with the DX-sized sensor. Frankly, considering how much good,older glass is out there, and considering how LONG people hold onto good lenses, I think Nikon absolutely MUST, they absolutely MUST move to a larger-than-DX sensor in their next generation of cameras in orser to 1)take the pressure off of their exisitng lenses and their performance limitations and 2) to finally solve the noise problems that Nikon has had in so many of its cameras.

So, what has all this got to do with being disgusted? I find it absolutely appalling to see the number of Nikon boosters who actually take the time to write dPreview posts about why Full-Frme Digital is "a bad idea" or is "not needed", and that full frame digital is a "marketing gimmick propagated by Canon",and all that same other bullshit. These are people,mostly shooting entry-level and consumer-grade D-SLR's,who really have no clue about what full-frame means in terms of using lenses designed for film, and no clue about the way the current Nikkor lens lineup is really sort of in limbo,waiting for Full Frame to arrive to bring some much-needed performance boosts to Nikon shooters. Most of these Full Frame is Bad people have never shot a 35mm SLR! I swear, they have not! They own two,or three,maybe four,or maybe even (gasp!) five lenses,with one or two of them being Dx lenses. They just don't "get" the fact that the cropped-sensor D-SLR's have fucked us owners of the 300 and 400 prime lenses out of two of our most-useful sports/nature lenses by making them in effect, too narrow-angle. These are the same people that seem to think a 70-200 is all that's needed for "sports", and who do not understand why Sigma is cleaning house with their 120-300 f/2.8 EX-HSM zoom lens; these are the same types of people who do not understand how,or why Sigma has been able to jack the price of the 120-300 up by several hundred dollars ($500 actually) in the last year....and the answer is not inflation. The answer is that there is a huge,huge need for a 120-300 lens with 2.8 aperture, and that neither Canon nor Nikon are offering this lens "type".

How does a 3rd party zoom languish on the market for almost five years at $1799,and then overnight, see its price rise to $2299,in one move? Answer? Utility,usefulness,unique selling proposition,versatility,and market demand! What has Nikon been busy designing in the five years since the 120-300 Sigma has been around? How about a $5,300 200-400mm f/4 AF-S G VR lens. Nice for birders and outdoor photographers who have five thou to drop on an f/4 200mm and a f/4 300mm and an f/4 400mm. What a joke! Is Nikon REALLY that out of touch with its users? It seems so. They've clearly abandoned the sports market,since they've had their asses kicked so,so badly by Canon, so now they appear to be targeting rich bird shooters and outdoor photographers who are willing to pay over five thousdand dollars for a slow 200 and slow 300 and a slow 400mm lens, for whom the 2x zoom ratio and lengthy,awkward lens barrel is of no concern. Mind you, I would LOVE to own a 200-400 VR Nikkor, but being stuck with a 200mm f/4 lens? And a 300mm f/4 lens? Fuck that shit, I've had 200mm f/4 covered since 1981, and with much SMALLER and LIGHTER lenses. And 300mm f/4,even with VR? For five thou? Again, not much aperture speed, almost no teleconverter potential except in the very-brightest light,and a long,awkward tube for a 300mm f/4.

Do you see the pattern here? Nikon needs to pull its head out of its ass,and see that Sigma's formerly languishing 120-300mm 2.8 lens has become a sort of cult lens simply because Nikon has not had the capability to make a full frame D-SLR, or even a 1.28x one like Canon has done with the 1D sports models (three models in total in the 1D series).Make no mistake-I LIKE NIKON cameras and Nikkor lenses. But I am not one to sit by and defend this company,or its products any more than they deserve. And frankly, if nobody complains about the products Nikon has made, or about the LACK of products Nikon is suffering from, then what incentive will Nikon ever have to improve the products, or to change the products it is offering? I have a lot invested in Nikon and Nikkors, in all senses of the word. I have almost a quarter century of using Nikon as my main 35-mm style camera or D-SLR camera. Nikon used to make incredibly good products, back in the 70's and 80's, but their leadership in design and in R&D has simply slipped, and Nikon is currently marketing some products that are, quite frankly, sub-par for the 21st century. Like what you ask? How about the fact that Nikon has ONE sub-300mm prime lens that has AF-S focusing. ONE lens, the $3995 200mm f/2 AF-S VR-G lens. Sure, they have announced a second lens, the 105mm f/2.8 AF-S G VR macro, but that lens is not on the market yet,and nobody in he world has shot one outside of a Nikon test facility. So, unless you have four grand to spend, Nikon has NO PRIME LENSES under 300mm that has ADF-S focusing. Instead, they ahev a series of 1980's designed,screwdriver focusing prime lenses. Canon has what? A couple dozen or so,more or less. And the prices....are the Nikkor clunky-focus primes several hundred dollars lower priced than the Ultrasonic Motor focusing Canon lenses? NO.

So, to those who sit around and idolize Nikon cameras, and Nikon lenses, and the Nikon company itself, and who spend their days trashing the reputations of those who have spent years and years within the Nikon system, let me say that your defenses of the Nikon company are pretty disgusting. Your my-dick-is-bigger-than-your-dick bleatings are simply sickening. This crowd of shouting web-based digital snappers,all obsessing about lenses they lust after,and about how great the F-mount camp is,and about how Canon makes "plastic images" and about how "full frame cameras are bad and DX sensored cameras are all anybody needs," well, I wish you'd just get off the web boards and maybe do a little rewading with your eyes open and your minds open to the idea that there might JUST be a better way out there.

The web used to be a place where we could meet to discuss equipment; then digital SLR's came along,and things went along okay,and then the low-priced D-SLR's came onto the market, and then Canon built a significant,apparent lead over Nikon, and after 18 months or so, almost the entire web discussion community is full of idiotic Fanboi brand boosters, or as I have decided to call them, the One Brand Zealots. Some root for Nikon, significantly more root for Canon, and a select few root for FujiFilm D-SLR models. The problem is that these One Brand Zealots seem to have almost nothing on their agendas except to prove that "their choices" are the "right ones", and that everybody who disagrees is an idiot,a troll, or simply unworthy of respect. Those who own and use multiple cameras, like let's say Walter Matthews, or myself, are often seen as suspect; when we try and make honest commentaries,or when we criticise certain products,we make enemies. What has happened over the last six months has been a simply disgusting downward spiral. And so, to those of you who are still reading along, I offer this challenge: the next time you make a post on a web discussion board, state your opinion,back it up with facts or experiences, and leave open the possibility that "you might not _truly_ know what the fuck you're talking about unless you have TRIED the COMPETITION'S offering in the same,exact category.