Friday, April 20, 2012

24 MP Nikon D3200, greatest economy camera?

Having seen the announcement and some previews of the new Nikon D3200, I'm wondering why Nikon would bother with this model.

It seems a curious entry into the low end dSLR market.  When most people only see the pixel count, who in the masses would choose a smaller pixel count at a higher price?  I suspect that none of them would.

I'm not even convinced that an APS-C sized sensor can work with 24 MP well.  Canon proved that 18 MP was quite good for the size.  I read a comment where someone thought that it was the same imager from the Sony NEX-7 and if that's the case, I'm surprised since the NEX-7 is priced like a midrange dSLR and the D3200 is toward the bottom.  Still, the sample photos I've seen from the NEX-7 would suggest that the sensor belongs at the lower end, due to its poor image quality.

Of course, do the masses care about more than a 4x6 and sharing photos on the web?  If that's the case, does a clean photo matter?  Those who know more would probably go with the D7000 or higher models, since they would be more likely to display their photos at full size.

I was amused that Nikon has gone to the trouble of adding a helpful Guide application, similar to what Olympus, Sony, and Panasonic have already done.  It's a great idea to help the user achieve amazing (or at least better) results.  It shows them how their settings will affect their output, so that they can achieve a good depth to the sharpness of the subject area and not end up with some of it out of focus.  Since many people only have to hold a dSLR to become a photographer, Guide will help them produce photos more like a photographer would.

Is Nikon's plan to keep the D3100 alive good or will it just confuse the customer?  I recall Steve Jobs returning to Apple and during a speech, he laid out the number of computer variations, and said that they were cutting them to a minimal number.  I suppose that the number of bodies Nikon make are a small number with certain models using the same frame and some dumbing-down of the software to limit features.  I'm confused by the numbering schemes, especially where it seems that you multiply by 10 to get the less professional models.  That doesn't really work because the D90 still exists and the D300s is part of a line that's been around for many years.  The D90 or the D7000 may be the appointed descendent of the D70 but just looking at the model numbers, who could tell?  (Yes, this isn't particularly important, but it's strangely amusing.)

I'm still waiting to see what Nikon will do with the D400, but if the D3200 is any guidepost, I wonder if we'll be seeing some crazy pixel count, instead of incredible image quality.  I'd hope that they'd stick to 16 MP of the D7000 and not worry about the measurebators.

Update: the images I've seen from the D3200 (and D5200) aren't very good.  They aren't worse than those of the body they replaced but if I were a customer with the D3100, I certainly wouldn't switch for anything.  DPReview uses the images for comparison against mirror-less camera bodies and I don't see the D3200 or D5200 winning but they should.  No D400, is there?  The D7100 is almost completely about pixel count, but its images are great.

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