Cameras and Photography Explained

This page points to all recent articles published on,,, and, and is updated as new articles appear (most recent on top). For articles from previous months, check the Articles Index Archive. 

INT SouthAfrica 2009 D300 02516

Due to some unfortunate and unexpected last minute serious medical issues, we now have a pair of openings in Thom's July Botswana workshop. Join us to get incredible training and wildlife shots in one of Africa's greatest remaining wild locations.

>>> This Week's Articles:

April 28

Mirrorless Had a Good First Quarter. The CIPA shipment numbers are out for the full first quarter of 2017. That allows us to look at the data in a little better light. I don't put much faith on individual month data, but when we look closely at how larger periods have fared year-to-year, we get more reliable patterns to discuss. Article on

Sony's A9 Marketing Push. The Web site sonyalpharumors posted a marketing-use only document for the new Sony A9. If this briefing document is accurate—and I believe it is—it produces a bit of head scratching for me. Article on

April 26

Canon Claims Cameras Turning Corner. As usual, Canon is the first to present their January to March fiscal results (partly because it isn't the end of their fiscal year). Article on

Fujifilm Pro Services. Fujifilm announced a pro services plan for the GFX in the US, which will begin on May 1st. Article on

April 24

The Rhetoric Upgrade. It seems that in limited-player markets, we all devolve into devotees of one player, and the player we back can do no wrong. Indeed, the SOP (standard operating procedure) is that we must amplify and redistribute the message from the company we follow. Article on

>>> Recent Articles:

April 19

Sony Goes Further Upscale with the A9. Sony set a new record today in their announcement of the new A9 mirrorless camera. Oh, not the shutter speed, frame rate, or other stuff you might be thinking of; the record they set is in the number of footnotes needed in the first 88 words: 9 (actually 10, since they later footnote something that appeared in those first 88 words). Article on sansmirror.comA9 Camera Data Page

Lot’s of mirrorless lenses today: Sony 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 OSSPanasonic 8-18mm f/2.8-4Fujifilm 23mm f/4Fujifilm 110mm f/2.8Fujifilm GFX lens roadmap updated.

April 17

Sony Throws Some Smack. Sony sent out a press release on Friday that went immediately viral within the photography community: "Sony Overtakes #2 Position in U.S. Full-Frame Interchangeable Lens Camera Market." Article on

More Thoughts on the D7500. As tough a critic as I’ve been on Nikon, somehow the D7500 announcement has me spending a lot of time defending them. If I am to read my In Box, Nikon Rumors comments, various Internet fora, and the shouts I hear from upwind of me, removing one of the two card slots from the D7500 will cause Nikon to experience a huge implosion, kill hundreds of workers, and make Nikon shares be worth negative 1000 yen. It’s a card slot, folks. Article on 

April 12

Nikon Introduces the D7500. Nikon today announced the D7500, the model that replaces the D7200 in a venerable line of DSLRs, perhaps one of Nikon's most important camera lineages. Article on dslrbodies.comD7500 data page.

April 10

Bets I'd Take. I've moved to Vegas, baby, and I'm taking bets from all the fanboys at my absolutely awesome new book joint on the strip. Here are the current posted lines. Article on

Not Loving It. Last year's Show Your Love Some Love and this year's Love Letters From the N Line campaigns from Nikon have now had enough time and images behind them to warrant comment. Article on

April 6

Mirrorless Nibbles Away at DSLRs. We're getting near an interesting crossroad. In the ILC market, mirrorless as a percentage of all ILC cameras has slowly been climbing. For 2013 through 2016 the numbers go 19.3%, 23.8%, 25.6%, 27.2%. I'll bet that mirrorless will cross the 30% threshold this year (2017; for the first two months of 2017 we're at 37%, but that probably won't hold). Article on

New Lens Announcements:

Canon 28mm f/2.8 Macro EF-S lens (data page).

Zeiss Batis 135mm f/2.8 FE lens (data page).

April 4

Here's How You Get Optics Right. I've been writing lately about how Nikon isn't getting "optics" right. Not optics as in lens design, but rather the second definition in the dictionary: the aspects of an action, policy, or decision (as in politics or business) that relate to public perceptions. Article on

The Camera Design Space That's Left. If you simply design the same thing over and over again where there's lots of overlap, you can essentially create too many models for the limited customer base. General Motors was notorious for this in the 80's and 90's with their huge swath of "brands" that often had basically the same auto lineup clad in slightly different metal. Sad to say, sophisticated cameras are getting that way. Article on

QAD Shutter Speeds. The tricky part is that proper motion-stopping shutter speeds are dependent upon a bunch of things. For instance, the focal length used, the subject's speed, the distance to the subject, and the direction of the movement. Article on

April 1

Nikon Un-announces More Cameras. Nikon today un-announced a number of camera products, ranging from the lowest Coolpix to apparently not-yet-announced products (e.g. things like a possible D5x). Article on  Please note the date on this article.

March 31

New or Old for the Exotic Telephotos? Every time Canon or Nikon introduces a newly refined version of their exotic telephoto lenses, the question comes up: is the new one worth the money, or can I save some money by purchasing an older version? The answer is in the article on

March 28

Existential Crisis. To a large degree, what's been happening in the camera business—and which has completely spilt over into all of photography now—is an existential crisis. But you know, that doesn't matter. We'll either have a few (or maybe many) camera companies get their lives and priorities in order and produce products that propel us forward or we won't. What's disturbing, though, is I see so many people who've attached their own photographic value to the gear they're using, not on the pictures they take. Thus, if the cameras are in crisis, so is their photography.  Article on

March 27

Who Listens Most? A couple of my articles recently, particularly the "What We've Never Gotten" article last week, have provoked some comments to me about who is and who isn't listening in terms of camera makers. Of course I have my own views on this ;~). Article on

Panasonic Hints at Changes in Camera Group. Panasonic began telling Japanese business press late last week about their plans to continue restructuring their businesses. A few years back I noted that Panasonic's CEO issued an ultimatum for all the sub-businesses in the sprawling conglomerate: hit a minimum 5% ROI or risk elimination. Digital cameras was one of those businesses he targeted. The Nikkei Asian Review is now reporting that Panasonic's camera business will be scaled back. Actually, they use the term "dismantled," which seems more draconian. Article on

March 24

Some Final CP+ Notes. Just a quick follow-up on the CP+ show in Japan back in February, as I've not seen this information posted anywhere else. Article on

What We've Never Gotten From Camera Makers. The first useful digital cameras appeared in the 1980’s. In the 1990’s most of the camera makers had digital options of some sort, even if only at the low end. With the turn of the century, digital kicked into full gear with the DSLR era. Digital camera shipments grew dramatically for just over a decade, then peaked a few years ago. We’re now in what is a “mature market.” A declining market. Funny thing is, during all this time there have been things that photographers have asked for that have just not been put into our cameras, our files, our software, or our documentation. Article on

March 15

How Did Nikon Fix Transfer for macOS Sierra? Oh dear. Article on (Digital Photography Software News blog page)

March 14

What Goes Away Isn't Camera Companies. As we see the overall demand for cameras shrink and shrink and shrink, it isn't camera companies that go away. The fact that Pentax is still designing and selling DSLRs should tell you that camera companies don't die in Japan. They just morph while getting physically smaller and finding a bigger parent to shield them. Article on

High-End Unavailability. At least for the latest cameras, we're back to seeing a trend we saw many years ago during the digital era ramp up: back-orders on new products. Article on

March 13

A DSLR System Has Died. It's been over six years since Olympus released any new 4/3 DSLRs, the E-5 being pretty much the last of the breed. But everyone is now noticing that the latest lens catalog from also states that production of 4/3 lenses has now officially stopped, as well. Article on

Ingest Software. We need to get our images off our camera and over to our computer (or phone/tablet/cloud). I'm going to first describe what I think the ultimate ingest does. Article on (Accessories/Software/Software Products)

Missing Nikkors 2017. For almost a decade I've updated my "Missing Nikkors" article using an approach that attempts to consider the historical aspect of the lens lineup. This year I thought I'd try something different. I'm going to propose two sets of lenses—base and exotic—and then look at what's missing in the Nikkor lineup. Article on (Lenses/Lens Articles/Focal Length)

March 8

Why I Think the Nikon DL Cancellation Was Wrong. Here's exactly why the DL series cancellation was a terrible decision by Nikon even if they weren't going to make as much money off it as they originally expected. From my In Box: Full article on

Also note that my Digital Photography Software page is keeping up with the latest updates, including Adobe's Lightroom announcement yesterday. 

March 7

Full Series of Nikon Firmware Updates. The D3400, D5600, D7200, D500, D750, and D810 have all gotten recent firmware updates. Article on

More Thoughts on the State of Mirrorless. My views are changing a bit about mirrorless as time progresses. Back when I started using mirrorless cameras, it was as a supplement to my DSLRs. In particular, I began by using m4/3 cameras for the wide to moderate telephoto range while I was on safari, leaving my two DSLRs both with telephoto lenses (typically 70-200mm and 400mm at full frame focal lengths). So what do I think about each of the most talked about choices these days? Here's my thinking about the main contenders in a nutshell. Article on

March 6

Nikon Hasn't Lost Everyone. After my article last week on what Nikon users are thinking, there was a minor blip in the In Box that countered some of what I wrote, so let's get right to that. Article on

Admitting Failure the Wrong Way. It's rare that the Japanese admit failure at something, but when they do they often make the admission in ways that simply don't resonate right with Western audiences. Article on

Nikon's Window Gets Narrower. The window of opportunity keeps closing down on Nikon. The fact that they were so late with so little to the Action camera game and then completely whiffed on the Premium Compact pitch are just two components to the problem. Another is their lack of anything in the Dedicated Video arena. Article on dslrbodies.comMarch 3

What Nikon Users are Saying. Since Nikon's cancellation of the DL line and their basic no-show with anything new at CP+, my In Box has been swelling with comments from the Nikon faithful. I thought I'd take a few of those comments and open them up for a broader discussion of what's happening in the Nikon user world.  Article on

March 2

Canon EOS M5 Review. Previously, Canon seemed to be low-balling their mirrorless M models, shooting for some sort of entry user with low expectations of direct camera control and somewhat low focus and other performance expectations. The M5, on the other hand, seems like a really well designed small Rebel DSLR, and shares quite a lot of DNA with the Canon DSLRs. Review on

Hasselblad XCD lenses updated, including new 120mm f/3.5.

All the previous articles for my sites can be found in the Articles Index.

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