News from Photokina 2002
Digital über alles

Any special Nikon new camera for this 51 th Photokina, Some new coolpix cameras in replacement of "old" cameras, but any Digital SLR except the forever young Nikon D100

The advent of digital photography

If the previous Photokina saw silver and digital photo coexist, this last one is in pass to surpass the silver in all areas.
In quality first, 6 millions of pixels CCD or sensor give an image more precise than the best of 24x36 negatives.
In sale at least, if the volume of silver based cameras (APS and 135) is always greater, in term of cash the digital is past ahead.
Logically sales of films decline.

the Digital SLR (DSLR)

If the sales of digital "compact" represent therefore large of demand, the Digital SLR constitutes the locomotive and the reference of brands. It is also on these cameras that we can find most efficient CCD or CMOS. Today if coolpix 5000 or 5700 have "only" 5 Millions of pixels CCD, the new professional DSLR presented during Photokina propose respectively 11 and 14 Million pixels.
The Canon EOS 1DS is surely the star of this Photokina but the Kodak DCS14n is a camera entirely designed and built by Kodak with Nikon N80 and N100 components and a lens mount Nikon. It is very compact, have an alloy of aluminum body and costs twice less expensive than the Canon. It is at the same price that the Nikon D1X with its 6 Millions of pixels CCD..
We may suppose that the race to the pixel is going to decrease because CCD have now a surface equal to 24 x 36.

The new Kodak-Olympus-Fuji 4/3 Digital DLR system

Alone two traditional brands Nikon and Canon propose digital SLR cameras with their own interchangeable lenses. . Film manufacturers Kodak and Fuji are obliged to build and sell compatible DSLR which accept Nikon or Canon lenses..
The other companies Olympus, Minolta, Pentax and others, after the APS fiasco have not yet launched their digital reflex.
Olympus, well known for its OM silver cameras wants to resume the leadership and in parallel of these bridge cameras, works with Kodak and Fuji on a modern mount for 4/3 CCD. This dimension will allow to create DLSR more compact than the today DSLR but being able to accept ambitious CCD more of 5 Millions of pixels.
It seems that the consortium waits to have an important number of partners to launch a production. One mistake may be fatal..

The possible market segmentation

We may think that in a close future the digital photography market will be split in three great families :
The compact digital and bridges cameras with sensor evolving slowly, more conviviality and prices at the decline.
The new cases Digital SLR based on 4/3 lighter, more compact , all possibilities of a SLR for amateurs and semi - professionals.
At least Digital SLR cameras based on classic lenses allowing big and greatest CCD for the best performances. Alone the brands Canon and Nikon preserving their lenses will be able to preserve in parallel an silver offer. But what will be the interest of this classic offer in two or four years. The answer will be perhaps in the next Photokina.
The commitment of Canon and Nikon in the consortium 4/3 will be determining.
Because the production cost of classic and 4/3 lenses and cameras will be the same with the advantage for canon and Nikon to having already a complete offer. Nothing prevents Nikon and Canon (and Kodak) to propose digital SLR at the same price that these of manufacturers 4/3.

pierre j.


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Updated 26 September 2002
© Pierre J.