Sad Day for Camera Buffs - Nikon Shifting “Focus"

Although I am a confirmed iPhone camera user, it still is a sad day for old school 35mm film Nikon/Minolta/Canon etc. users who carried a big bag full of lenses and bodies on those photography trips. It should improve things all around, but still a small tear to shed.

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Isn’t it saying that they’re dropping DSLR cameras in favor of mirrorless? Film went bye-bye long ago.

That said, I also have nostalgia for film SLR cameras. But I wouldn’t go back. :wink:


I had an F3 with a spare FE body and a bunch of Nikkor lenses. Absolutely loved that camera. I used it quite a bit in the early 1980s 'till I went to law school in '84. After sitting for years, I eventually sold it. But, it was a great device and made fantastic pictures. The only camera I ever liked more was the Leica R3 that I had before that with Zeiss lenses.


I guess I just see it as the “end of the end” and I fully suspect that 2024-2025 will bring us smartphones with incredible zoom/liquid lenses (probably Sammy first) that are a real dagger to even mirrorless cameras - wonder what Nikon et al have up their sleeve for that eventuality…

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:vb-nod: I was transferring a bunch of old photos the other day, phone shots from half a dozen years ago or more, and was surprised that I once thought they looked really good (for a phone camera). No comparison to one taken today with my iPhone 13 Pro. We’ve come a long way but it’s been so incremental that I didn’t really see it happen.

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It’s funny how much easier it is to lose digital photos than physical ones. I have all of my old negatives and prints in plastic bozes in the basement but over the years, I have been less competent at saving digital versions. I know I have lost entire periods of my life.


Very good warning - I have a large stash on OneDrive; MS told me this weekend they were deleting them in 30 days because I didn’t renew my subscription but certain I did - off to service to save them.

That’s exactly what they are doing. It’s worked out very well for Fujifilm.

Didn’t Nikon actually stop making 35 mm film cameras (the D6) in 2020? I think the article is about the shift from high end professional DSLR to mirrorless cameras. Canon stopped the high end a year ago.

I think most photographers will still use a smartphone over a high end camera in most scenarios. When I taught photography I would tell students not to worry if 95% of the photography was with a smartphone - you just can’t beat the convenience unless you are shooting production video or capturing images for advertising boards.

Where I think camera manufacturers will start to look is how to beat smartphones at their own game. iPhones still take away all control and you basically point and shoot but they have multiple lenses that cater for all sorts of niches and that could offer a pathway.

In the world of filmmaking though - very few people would use a smartphone to record movie quality video so the other option is to try and compete with Blackmagic or similar to create the highest end cameras for cinematic and advertising boards.

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While agree with the whole ‘the camera you have on you is the best camera’, I have seen some not so great photo exhibitions shot on smartphones.

One recent one I went to was promoted as such. From, say, 3m away you couldn’t tell that well that they were shot on a smartphone, but if you went any closer the pixels became clear and the poor exposure and noise became more obvious. I suppose for a very casual viewer they might not notice that, but I hardly consider myself even an enthusiast and it was obviously poor to me.

I think smartphone photography should only be encouraged for when no other camera is viable due to logistic constriants, financial contraints, etc.

By photography I mean the hobby. Random snaps of daily life are another thing and largely disposable.


I never intended to imply professionals will ever go that direction (although some producers have admitted incorporating iPhone video shots in their movies because nothing else could catch the moment).

@Tams - I disagree on this one - smartphone photography should be encouraged, nurtured, and more folks like @DoobiesOobies should be encouraged to train those new eyes (and these old eyes) on how to take the best photographs they can whether a vacation moment or portrait. This is our new reality.


This one particular exhibition I went to really soured me to that idea. And that was just of some inconsequential shots of a beach. It was being promoted as a smartphone shoot. And boy did it show it; not in a good way.

And I specifically mentioned that only if resources allow should people be encouraged to make significant investments into equipment.

I understand, but I still think the “new reality” is that we are in a smartphone photography world. You are too young, but the Polaroid Land Camera was both hailed and reviled in photography circles for the immediacy of the results. I first came in contact with one in 1964 and remembered the wonder and awe of waiting 60 seconds for that first EXPENSIVE picture to appear after pulling away the cover film.

58 years later I take hundreds of pictures with my iPhone 13 Pro for my wife of flowers she is reviewing while she is judging iris gardens in different parts of the country, and I am amazed how close they are in quality to my Lumia FZ300, and I’m just a hack. If the iPhone 15 Pro finally delivers on a 10x optical zoom, it will be the only camera I own.

My apologies to Ansel Adams, who’s poster reprints decorate my reception area.

Found it…


Ditto. My family couldn’t afford them in those early days so I had to look on with wonder as wealthier neighbors showed them off. Artists did some interesting things with the process, too.

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We didn’t own one either - my single uncle, fresh back from a tour of duty with the Army in Germany, brought one home with him and amazed all of us kids like a magician!

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Among family, at holiday get togethers, it was my (married) uncle as well who had one and showed it off. He was the VP of a fairly large bank and could afford such things.

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I don’t like Hockney’s paintings or drawings but he did some really clever, groundbreaking things with Polaroids. The downside is that I have been an external examiner on Photography courses were every single student simply copied his technique without developing on it or personalising it for themselves.

I completely agree with @dstrauss that smartphones are the new reality. I also think people should snap away as much as they can with one. Not everyone can be an Ansell Adams or a Sebastião Salgado but having cheap, disposable access to a facility to take hundreds of photos at minimal cost will allow many (with the interest) to develop their skills.
As a poor student in the early '80’s, I wasn’t able to be a trigger happy photographer and I had to make each press of the shutter release count. If I could have taken 100 photos for every one I allowed myself and it cost no more than taking and printing one - I’d have been free to explore more.

On the main story though, I wonder where Nikon in particular will go when a smartphone can finally takes all photos as well as the more expensive small format cameras. Canon are quite diversified but Nikon seem to be very limited in ocular equipment production and I’m guessing (without going into detail) that cameras are their one big consumer market production outlet. Measurement and Microscopic analysis machines will keep the company afloat but not as successful in broad sales as they had when cameras were the mainstay of their business.


This is quite similar to what many considered to be the abrupt exit, all of the major camera did when they moved to digital. Speaking specifically to Nikon (I have a friend that was an old school photography dealer), they all at once killed everything but the pro level F5 SLR and the cheap and outsourced (made by Cosina) FM 10. as well as killing off all of their film based point and shoots in one fell swoop.

Canon more or less did the same thing about a year later.

After all both of these are for profit public companies and they have to go where the market is. And speaking for myself, though I’m fond of the aesthetics of my D500 and kit, the new z5 arguably takes better quality images as well as being smaller, lighter and more full-featured.

And FWIW Nikon and Canon both have been admirable in support of their legacy equipment in the ways that matter such as repairability long after the model itself it was discontinued. For instance, my friend was able to get his Nikon F3 repaired just two years ago after a fall from a table, smashed the viewfinder prism assembly.

The one area where smartphones truly have destroyed a once thriving market was point and shoot cameras. Realistically, especially with the advent of computational photography they produce better images with far less effort, than any of the point and shoot models did, even the higher end ones.

BTW: I also have one of Canon’s digital elph models. Just because it’s still fun to use, even though my iPhone produces better pictures.


This comment reminded me of an old article I once read about National Geographic photo shoots “back in the day” when NatGeo would issue the photographer hundreds of rolls of film for a shoot and despite their being great experienced photographers, it often depended upon the “lucky shot” in a burst…


Yeah one thought related to that, pros could/can afford to blast away because they in many cases weren’t paying for the film in most cases. OTOH as an amateur who did have to foot the bill, I’d argue that thinking about my shot before I took it made me a better photographer.

And you only have to look at the overwhelmingly large number of vertical shots even of landscapes. Simply because it never occurs to far too many that hey “I could turn the phone 90 degrees and get a much better photo…”