After spending months chasing Nikon’s firmware feature enhancements for the Nikon Z9 in pursuit of a guidebook about the camera, I’ve nailed down an assignment from my publisher to write a combined guide for the Z9 and new Z8. My deadline for finishing it is November 30, with publication set for as early as possible in 2024.
Camera manufacturers are not pushing mirrorless full-frame cameras. “Pushing” a particular camera type is a strategy that will always fail in the photographic arena. Successful manufacturers don’t push anything. They respond to user demand and offer the cameras that consumers want to buy. Doing otherwise leads to the vendor going out of business or being acquired by another company.
You need look no farther than Nikon and Canon for examples. Not too long ago, Sony had only a tiny share of the interchangeable lens camera market, and it was fighting with Panasonic, Olympus, and Fujifilm for share. Sony became an industry powerhouse only when it began offering non-dSLR models — its first mirrorless cameras — that consumers who were looking for a more portable model with better image quality wanted. Meanwhile, Nikon offered the Nikon 1 mirrorless system that only a tiny number of buyers actually wanted. Canon introduced its EOS M system that initially failed in the USA, but returned to the market there after subsequent models gained in popularity in Japan.
For too long, both Nikon and Canon ignored consumer demand and continued to introduce dSLR cameras on a yearly basis that had few, if any, features worthy of new customers or existing owner upgrades, particularly at a time when the switch to mirrorless had already been underway. Canon’s failure to discern the trend was particularly bad, as they fragmented their dSLR line with tiny incremental differences, offering a T7i, T8i, 77D, T6, T7, 80D, and 90D models with virtually the same capabilities.
Meanwhile, Panasonic and Olympus were keeping their share of the mirrorless market, and Fujifilm drew a dedicated following with their innovative models. None of these vendors were “pushing” their products; they were trying to discern what consumers wanted and provide products they would buy. Keep in mind that there is a several-year lag from the time a product is conceived and when it is actually brought to market. That’s why “pushing” is more dangerous than following consumer trends. At least responding to a need is based on facts derived outside the marketing department of the company.
Currently, full-frame cameras are growing in popularity, and the vendors who lagged behind are racing to catch up. Canon was in such a hurry that they offered EOS R and EOS RP models with no in-body image stabilization — a crucial feature. They could push all they wanted, but large numbers of photographers were not going to buy them. Nikon did the same with its Z7 and Z6 camera, which lacked dual card slots, a feature most photographers (probably falsely) thought of as a deal-breaker. Now they have the Z7 II and Z6 II, which are virtually identical to the original models, but with the second card slot.
Full-frame cameras have perceived value among buyers, which is why they are demanding them. They don’t really necessarily provide better image quality per se. A BSI-sensored APS-C camera can have better image quality and low-light performance than a conventional sensor found in a full-frame camera. It’s easier (supposedly) to make wide-angle lenses for full-frame. But, real or imagined advantages aside, full-frame cameras have seen a marked increase in demand, so that’s what manufacturers are struggling to provide. If a “pushing” strategy worked at all, we’d still be using APS-C or MFT cameras.
When my new Nikon Z9 arrives, I expect it may take over as my preferred camera for concerts and performances. To date, my old Nikon D4s has been preferred, and I like the low-light performance and silence of my Sony a1. But it doesn’t do multiple exposures, nor does it autofocus quickly using my preferred 70-200mm f/2.8 lens.Meanwhile, my Nikon Z7 II has become my go-to camera for concerts. It is not as noise-free at ISO 6400 and ISO 3200 as my D4s, but the silent shutter is outstanding (especially at amplified acoustic concerts), its eye/face tracking is reasonable with F-mount 70-200mm f/2.8 VR I zoom lens and FTZ. And it does multiple exposures. I figure the Z9 will do an even better job. Here’s one with the zoom at 157mm, f/4.5, 1/200th second, ISO 3200.
My new comprehensive guide to the Nikon Z fc available: Full-Color and B/W Print versions and PDF
Everything you need to know about your Nikon Z fc between the covers of this comprehensive guide book. Introductory chapters help you master your camera’s controls before you dive right into exploring creative ways to apply the Z fc’s advanced features. You’ll learn how to nail the right exposure consistently, master the mysteries of autofocus, explore Nikon’s extensive lens options, and discover the world of high-definition video. Detailed menu chapters show you when to use every available options (and when not to). With David Busch as your mentor, you’ll be on the fast track to pixel perfection. For a limited time, anyone who purchases either print version directly from me can receive a FREE PDF copy on request.
I recently watched the documentary on Pete Souza, official White House photographer for presidents, including Reagan and Obama, and I’m stunned. I happen to know a great deal about photography, even though I tend to forget what I know until I’m doing a post-mortem after I’ve ruined a photo.
That’s why my awe of Souza is well-founded. You know how they say Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did, except backwards, and in heels? Well, consider this (I do realize the documentary showcased only his best work):
* Souza is a master of selective focus. The documentary showed example after example of his subjects totally isolated by shallow depth-of-field, themselves razor sharp against a heavily defocused background. Even so, the blurry background — sometimes an exquisite composition of out-of-focus presidential observers — often helped tell the story.
* Souza is a master of lighting. Whether he used rim lighting, or backlighting, classical portrait lighting, or any other use of photons, the lighting — which generally was beyond his ability to control — was a beautiful part of the story. And it’s really hard to tell whether some images were totally candid with available lighting, or carefully set up (like the example I’m including with this post.)
* Souza is a master of posing. The arrangement of humans in the images told a story. You could see excitement, humor, fatigue, anguish, and many other emotions just in the way his subjects carried themselves in his photos.
* Souza is a master of composition. Of course his focus was almost always on the president, but every other person in the photo played a part you could see in their attitude and faces. This guy could have told Michaelangelo how to set up Jesus and the Apostles in the Last Supper. And virtually every other object in the frame contributed to the composition.
Now, here’s the Ginger Rogers part. Pete Souza put all these elements together while himself remaining entirely in the background, without a great deal (if any) control over the events he was documenting. He got incredible pictures while walking backwards in high heels. If you want to feel humbled, check out the documentary “The Way I See It.”
You can download the OEM manual here. I’ve been working hard on my own book.
My guidebook for the Nikon Z7 is available TODAY from Rocky Nook in e-book format, and can be downloaded for your Kindle or Kindle app from Amazon.
Check it out here: David Busch’s Nikon Z7 Guide to Digital Photography.
I am also looking for a limited number of reviewers to give me their opinions on the book. Click the E-Mail Me tab and let me know.
My Nikon D750 book is out of print, but you can purchase a PDF copy of the original book, or a full-color printed copy of the second edition, now a Fast Track Guide, from www.laserfairepress.com.
My new Nikon Df book is out! You can purchase a copy at www.laserfairepress.com, and also see some useful gadgets I have for sale. If you’ve been looking for my Nikon D750 book, it’s available there, too.