Too Many Cameras, Too Fast!

For nearly every camera, of any brand—released in the last few years—there have been a spate of complaints about the camera. Spots, lines, AF issues, all sorts of things. The reputation of some wonderful cameras, like the Nikon D600 and D800, were damaged by these complaints.

We are living in a highly technical and quite imperfect world. Demand is for the next big thing. A camera is basically obsolete when it’s released, like a computer, smart phone, or tablet. If a camera maker could take the time to work out the bugs and sell a particular camera for ten years (like in days of old, 15 years ago), things would be different. I bought a Nikon F4 in the late 1980’s, and an F5 in the mid 1990’s. In 2002 I went digital with a Nikon D100 and never looked back at film. However, those film cameras I used lasted me for years and years. They were much simpler in design and did the job for many thousands of  transparencies.

However with one and two year camera lifecycles for new enthusiast digital cameras, there is simply no time to properly design, test, and deliver a perfect product. Such is life in today’s society. We demand more, more, more, faster, faster, faster. Are we surprised then when camera companies can’t keep up?

Even the pro model Nikons are designed for only about a three or four year lifecycle. It is still hard for me to pay US$6,000 for a camera body, when I used to pay US$2,000 for one that lasted at least twice as long, before obsolescence. Therefore, I have mostly bought one-step-down-from-pro camera bodies since digital arrived, such as the D700 and D800 (if you can consider the D800 a step down from anything).  I paid about US$5800 for my Nikon D2X in 2004, and while still a great camera, it is obsolete for anything except ISO 100–400 pictures. Because I’m a nature photographer and do not need blazing speed, such as the D4 provides, I have never considered that camera for purchase. However, a D4X with 40+ MP FX sensor might just open my wallet.

I am merely ruminating this morning. I sit here, in between Mastering Your Nikon books, awaiting Nikon’s next release so the excitement can build and new camera babies can be delivered—with imperfections and forum complaints, of course. Where is my D400? Do I really need a D610 when my D600 works great. How can they improve on the D7100? More features are coming, we can be sure of that. My first Mastering the Nikon book (D300) was about 250 pages long. My latest (D800, D600, and D7100) are all pushing 600 pages. Where does it stop? When will we have cameras that require 1000 page books to understand—next year?

I’m not complaining, I like technology and I love writing books for my readers. However, I do miss the intimate familiarity I had with my Nikon F4 and F5 after many years of usage. Nikon, if you are going to give us new cameras on such short lifecycles (as we evidently demand), at least make the controls work the same. Stop adding so many menu items. Simplify!

What are your thoughts on this issue? Please tell me!

Keep on capturing time…

Darrell Young

Dancing clouds on Blue Ridge Parkway

Darrell Young is an active member of the Nikonians User Community, Nikon Professional Services (NPS), Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and the author of 12 photography books from NikoniansPress through Rocky Nook, including Beyond Point-and-ShootMastering the Nikon D600Mastering the Nikon D800Mastering the Nikon D7000, and now Mastering the Nikon D7100, to name a few. He’s been an avid photographer since 1968 when his mother gave him a Brownie Hawkeye camera.

His website,, was created to support the readers of his educational books, photography students, and clients. Visitors to his website “will find articles and reviews designed to inform, teach, and help you enjoy your photographic journey.”

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