A Simple Nikon camera - If you build it I will come!

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by charles_sharp|2, Oct 25, 2009.

  1. I long for a simple, high quality basic Nikon with a couple of modern features that do not get in the way of the joy of photography. TTL Flash, Matrix Metering and Analog Controls. Basically a Digital Nikon FMD (Think Leica M9).
    A minimalist camera. (You know a camera without a 300 page manual).
    Any Takers?
  2. Simplicity ended in 1979 with the introduction of the Intel 8088 microprocessor. It's been a love/hate affair for me ever since. That goes for all things not just cameras.
  3. Charles, I'm with ya'. Pro-build, pro quality images, but less fuss. Frankly, I don't use a lot of features on my cameras (well, maybe 75%). Self timer, motor drive, A,M,P,S modes, etc. Maybe it would shoot NEF only. It would be super cool with a winder though, in the same satisfying way you can still pull a slot machine arm, but you can do the same thing by pushing a button<g>.
  4. Nikon D40? :p
  5. The Nikon P6000 is a pretty great simple Nikon digital camera. I bought one to supplement my D300 on trips and on days when I don't want to go out with a big heavy camera. Image quality is superb in my opinion, and it is light as a feather.
  6. What you want describes pretty much the Canon G11. Hot flash shoe, dials instead of menues, matrix metering, RAW, a good lens and even a swivel screen.
  7. Yes, I would be interested.
  8. I think we are on the same page here.....before I went Nikon, I always wanted a Pentax K1000 that takes digital pictures!- Yes, I really did dream about that!
  9. i think i have two of those. non-nikon though: olympus C-5050 and C-5060 :)
  10. Get a D300/D700. Set the camera up the way you like it then tape over the rear LCD and Menu button, switch to M mode, and choose an ISO. You only need to do this once.
    Mount an AI prime. Use the analogue controls on the lens, the thumb wheel for the shutter, and ignore everything else :)
  11. I wouldn't have much interest in this kind of camera, just as I have no real interest in going back to using a typewriter. Yes, these things have a simplicity and elegance to them, but as Richard notes, it's pretty easy to set the camera up once the way you want it and not bother to change anything afterward, whereas it is unlikely a more limited interface will satisfy more than a very small niche.
    The m4/3rds cameras are a nice compromise, I think, between a camera with a lot of customization and a fairly simple UI. Yes, the manual is 150 pages (the same as my Nikon D80), but you don't need to read it in order to use the camera, just to make the best use of it. And, with a $60 adapter, you can attach MF lenses to it from just about any manufacturer around, including Nikon. I'm using my almost-never-in-use Nikkor 50 1.8 as a portrait lens on the G1. Along with the kit lens, the whole package fits into a very small camera bag, and the image quality is quite good, even at relatively high ISOs.
  12. Simplicity ended in 1979 with the introduction of the Intel 8088 microprocessor. It's been a love/hate affair for me ever since. That goes for all things not just cameras.​
    Blasphemy!!! Rockwell R6500 series changed the day, especially the venerable 6502.
    Am I dating myself?!?!?
  13. Keep using the FM2N, and get a good scanner...
  14. I think the point was starting with a junk free/basic camera. Not buying a Jeep Grand Cherokee and trying to make it into an ordinary Cherokee - my best example. I like the idea of buying a film scanner and using the film camera.
  15. Juergen, I think the G11 is close, but I picked one up the other day to look at it, and thought the finder was just dismal. But that is exactly what I would be thinking of... but maybe with interchangeable lenses.
  16. I don't quite understand what kind of camera the OP is envisioning. The D40 has analog controls - but isn't what I would consider a professional build (like one responder desired). Take away the control dial - and you loose access to all G lenses. Take away the AF module so you are limited to manual focus only - not necessarily fun with AF lenses and many MF lenses don't work that well on digital (but of course a library a la M9 could be build into the camera to allow for distortion and CA correction). Trim down the processor to not allow JPEG - you'd loose the histogram in the process too. Don't have an LCD display in the back? What exactly does that digital FMD entail? FX? The price would likely be north of that for the D700 - so one might as well get that one and turn off AF and set the camera to manual. What part of the so "crippled" D700 would then be different from the envisioned FMD and get in the way of the joy of photography ?
  17. D700 without pentaprism, mirror box and movie capability, and the resolution of D3X. Great for landscapes.
  18. bmm


    I agree with Richard Williams and David B. I think the complexity of modern cameras is overstated in practise. Yes there are many features available, but it is equally true that many of them are altered only 5% of the time.
    95% of the time, once one's preferences are set up, its still a matter of a handful of decisions (and a corresponding handful of dial-turns and button presses). So bottom line for me is that I hardly see modern DSLR image-taking as being suffocated with complexity.
  19. The Canon G10 or G11 could fit the bill, IF they had a better viewfinder. In reality, of course, they can be quite serviceable and make great pictures. The new Olympus Pen camera is somewhat interesting with its 17mm (35mm equivalent) lens and really excellent accessory viewfinder, but in normal operation with the zoom it's really just another LCD-based advanced point and shoot. I'd love it if someone would make a serious competitor to the Leica M9.
  20. I think I remember seeing a digital equivalent of the old Brownie box cameras a few years back. Just take it outside, look through a finder and press the shutter release. No muss no fuss just picture taking at its least complicated level. As I recall they were very cheap to buy. Demand must not have been very strong though because there is nothing like that on the market now. I would imagine demand for your dream camera would be about the same. After Nikon sold out the first production run of ten they could close the factory.
  21. I like my cameras the way that they are. I started with a Nikon F and have been thru every generation of camera since then. The new features grow on you slowly as the are introduced.
    When I go back to one of the older cameras, I start to look for them.
    there was the Mf, auto focus debate. took a while for me to try auto focus, I now use it 99 percent of the time. Better metering, more focus points,. Lets not even go to Film vs Digital.
    Love the old cameras and still use them a bit, but don't take my new ones away.
  22. i would love for nikon to build a 15-18mp 24x36mm rangefinder camera with an M mount. for this, i would pay $4000. but they would have to keep all of their gimmicky crap off of it.
  23. I long for a simple, high quality basic Nikon with a couple of modern features that do not get in the way of the joy of photography.
    Deciding not to use features you don't want to use doesn't exactly qualify as taking away your "joy".
  24. Less is more, If I could trade in my digital slr today for a new Nikon FM3A, a decent filmscanner, and a roll of Velvia, I'd do it in a heartbeat.pith
  25. D300s/D700...
    The "couple of modern features" are easily within reach, while the rest does not need to distract you using these wonderful machines!
  26. I'd stop using my D700 if nikon made a full frame manual digital camera.
    Maybe a DM4....?
    split focusing screen and back to my AIS glass. Mmmmm happy days!
    I wouldnt be bothered about a large LCD screen wither, just something to view the histogram on.
  27. And I bet you'd also want the tiny LR44 cells in it too! And while we're at it, how about swapping out 512MB CF cards after every 40 shots? And, add a shutter lag please... I miss my thumb-wind lever! No wait... my E-P1 has that last one..
  28. I am with you, and by the way, the manual for my D700 is 446 pages. It's insane!!! Most of my undergrad and grad school textbooks didn't have that many pages!!!
  29. I would love to see a digital Pentax SV with lenses the size of the takumars.
    Modern improvements? Yes, in body IS and autofocus are useful.
    I did play with a Panasonic GF1 recently and there might be promise of a sane sized and featured camera in the near future.
  30. I think some of you misunderstand.
    The D40 is so far away from what I am talking about. I have used one and without the manual you are going to spend some time just figuring out how to get set the apeture. I think it is a marvelous pickture taker but the controls are vastly more complex than an FM. The D60 is a simple camera for the user and a great picture taker. The D300 and D700 are incredible machines. I would love to have one.
    That being said I enjoy taking pictures with me older F2's and my bulky old RZ67. There are only three dimensions, Shutter speed, Aperture, and Focus. I am not sure if i can explain the emotional response of just using these three factors but it gets me think about each factor and makes the experience more joyful. With these cameras I also appreciate morethe amazing technology that built into today cameras. When doing street photography,I miss pictures without a program mode. And doing bird photography or sports without autofocus is incredibly hard.
    If I was a pro, I would never want the camera I am describing. But as an amateur, I just want to take pictures and think. I am in no hurry. The fact that I am in control of each aspect somehow makes me enjoy it more.
    I would not want to use a typewriter either (I can't live without spell checker!) but complexe cell phones are pain in the A#*
    Any it is a great dicussion and I have really enjoy your responses!
  31. P.S.
    My previous message is a case-in-point about the spell checker! Sorry about that!
  32. Two and a half years ago I had a similar opinion. But not now. There are a lot of DSLR features I don't use but if I want a minimalist camera I can always haul out my Nikon FM or Contax IIa, change rolls after 36 exposures, take the film to a lab and wait for it to be returned. Hmmm, sounds to me like the DSLR is the minimalist camera.
    BTW: It is unlikely you will see the camera you describe because the market is consumer driven and the majority of consumers (young), have never used and don't want to use analog controls and those of us who have are part of a declining (old) consumer group.
  33. What exactly does that digital FMD entail?
    Small, rugged body with interchangable focusing screens that work well with manual focus.
    Ability to use AIS with the aperture ring (It would need the thumb wheel for the newer lenses).
    A shutter speed dial
    ISO Setting
    Modern features:
    Matrix Metering
    Apeture Priority? (Kinda of getting away from basic here but...)
    D700 Sensor and Display (This is one of the best parts of digital - The Image quality and Immediate feedback)
    Minimal buttons to control the digital aspect. (Ala M9)
    Commercial success? Probably not, but there must be a market for this type camera as the M9 Appears to be a success.
    Last item on my wish list? A D90 price!
  34. The D40 is so far away from what I am talking about. I have used one and without the manual you are going to spend some time just figuring out how to get set the apeture.
    In manual mode, the aperture is set by pressing one button, conveniently positined under your index finger and labeled with an aperture icon. You don't need to read the manual for that, you don't even need to read at all.
    Most DSLRs are as simple as simple film cameras have always been. Shutter, aperture, that's it. They are much bigger and heavier, and have 400-page manuals because of all the extra, optional stuff that allows you to do all these wonderful things that not everyone needs.
    I really support the idea of a small, bare-bones, manual, quality-built (D300 quality, nothing terribly exclusive and expensive) Nikon dSLR, maybe with a single center auto-focus point, aimed to experienced photographers. It could also have a single switch, or even soft button, allowing you to select a fully automatic mode for those really quick opportunity shots.
    If only it could be even smaller than the D40...!
  35. Charles, your idea isn't that strange to my thinking. However, people's default preferences are so different marketing cameras like this would be difficult. Myself, I could do without in-camera editing or scene modes. However, I wouldn't like to give up auto WB, or auto focus (or a choice of area selection for both) . Even features like bracketing and AE-L/AF-L can be very helpful. So while I would love to spend a couple of hundred dollars on a lens instead of my camera body, it seems unrealistic that mainstream manufactures will invest in such unwieldy markets.
  36. N8008s was all the camera I ever needed (ok, there are some slight things I'd like - mirror lock up being one, but not much)...
  37. Small, rugged body with interchangable focusing screens that work well with manual focus.​
    Would be a nice feature - though screens can be changed currently too (though I prefer this to be easier). A DSLR body will always be a bit bulkier than a film camera - all that sensor and display stuff gotta go somewhere. The M9 isn't as small as an M6 either.

    Ability to use AIS with the aperture ring (It would need the thumb wheel for the newer lenses).​
    I can do this on my D200 or D300 - it likely is available on all Nikon DSLRs.

    A shutter speed dial​
    What's the big deal doing it with a thumb wheel instead?
    D700 Sensor and Display at D90 price!​
    Not anytime soon I suppose.
    Minimal buttons to control the digital aspect. (Ala M9)​
    That means that items will be in menus and the endless digging commences. For often changed setting or often used ones, I prefer dedicated buttons.
    Commercial success? Probably not, but there must be a market for this type camera as the M9 Appears to be a success.​
    If it isn't a commercial success, then your dream price will never materialize. The M9 appears to be a success - just because many Leica photographers were waiting for a FF rangefinder so they can use the lenses they already own without having to worry about a crop factor. Aside from the cost, a rangefinder is an acquired taste and doesn't have the same utility as a SLR. Wide-angle is where they really shine - would love a M9 with the 16-18-21 tri-elmar - though for less money I could get a D3X with 14-24 instead. For much less I enjoy my D300 with the Tokina 11-16...
    I don't feel the modern features get in the way of my photography. The ones I don't need I ignore and if the camera provides multiple ways to achieve the same thing, then I pick the one that suits me most and ignore the others. My cell phone can play MP3 and take pictures - I haven't used those features and wouldn't even know how - only got it because non-camera phones weren't available. The only thing that bothers me is that a non-camera phone would have cost me less. That is likely not going to happen with the FMD - it will be stripped of features and cost more than a fully equipped camera.
    Manuals - I am not bothered by a 400 or 500 page manual. Most are so thick because the same info is provided in different packaging a few times. I am bothered that despite the 500 page volume they still suck and provide a limited amount of info. Just compare any manual with the excellent and informative books by Thom Hogan.
  38. The 'good old days' weren't really so simple. It's just that a lot of the process belonged to someone else. The lab developed the film and did the color balance when they printed. So what do you want, more control or less? For less, set up your camera initially to shoot jpgs and skip the post processing.
  39. It's always a problem with new technology, the multiplication of options. With enough options your technical device (camera) can be anything or everything to everybody. The problem with that is in the field when you need to capture events in a fast paced world, your always wondering 'what options did I set?' I would favor a camera that boiled everything down to as few settings as possible, that are always visible, so you know what your settings are at a glance.
  40. Having just purchased my first DSLR, I'm at the stage of studying the manual to do that initial set up and forget it myself. I did it first this summer with a borrowed DSLR, and my experience was pretty much set it and forget it. I got good results without monkeying too much with anything. That said, I hate the typical digital interface of hierarchical menus and much prefer analog guages. On the D3 body at least I mostly have those, but so far I do miss the shutter speed dial.
  41. The only extra options that you really have to worry about with a DSLR, as opposed to a film camera, are the ones that are part of current sensor and imaging technology. These are the white balance and ISO settings. On one hand, they are a part of digital photography; can't have it without them. On the other hand, you don't have to have the right film loaded, which is, in my opinion, a much greater convenience. For simplicity and ease of use, i'll take the press of a button over having to deal with film any day! Of course with RAW you can forget about white balance too (though a grey card might be handy).
    You can still set all that extra stuff to auto and still get the result you want 90% of the time. It is not the percieved complexity of modern DSLRs that makes me want a simpler design. Options are just that, options; I don't have to deal with any of that unless i want to. But by making a minimalist camera i feel that we gain a lot that is harder to measure than technical specs: the ability to have a small, light, rugged camera that one can sling over the shoulder without giving it much thought, or wrap it in a t-shirt and throw in a backpack. Or maybe carry it in a studio all day. Or whatever.
    If i had to describe it with a single word, i'd probably say it is the "attitude" that makes the idea of a simple camera so appealing.
  42. > Think Leica M9
    Interesting. You posted a question with an embedded answer. Enjoy your Leica! :)
  43. A popular idea. I think the closest thing around right now is a Sony A850. There is at least a decent chance for a Nikon version of this. Don't know about Michael's NEF idea, though. I strongly long for DNG out of camera.
  44. I agree with Richard Williams and David B. I think the complexity of modern cameras is overstated in practise. Yes there are many features available, but it is equally true that many of them are altered only 5% of the time.​
    Agreed. The reason they have so many features is that they cater for pretty much every use of the camera imaginable - the plethora of settings are there if you need them. You don't ever have to hit the menu button if you don't want to, the principles of photography remain the same but there are functions that may assist you in certain situations.
    I can set my D700 to manual, use centre weighted metering, use the aperture ring on ais lenses and change the shutter speed (and iso) by rotating a dial if I wish just like on my nikon fm. I came from totally manual cameras (35mm, medium and large format) and was shooting with ease the second I put a battery in my new D700, all the major controls are just as accessible as they always have been so I don't see the drama about complexity.
    Size and weight is a different story, 35mm slrs are the size of 645 medium format.
  45. what i lust for is a full frame sensor in the body of a point n shoot. can they make one without a mirror, and it can just be like a range finder, or have a digital viewfinder that is basically displaying the image the sensor sees?
    if it was built thin so u can slide it in your pocket, but has full frame that would be awesome!
  46. I can set my D700 to manual, use centre weighted metering, use the aperture ring on ais lenses and change the shutter speed (and iso) by rotating a dial if I wish just like on my nikon fm.​
    You can use the aperture ring on newer lenses, too, if you find the right custom function. Then your AI, AIS, and AF (non-G) lenses will all handle the same way.
  47. You don't have a cell phone either I guess.
  48. The m4/3rds cameras are already pretty much what you are looking for, Albert, albeit with a half-size sensor, which allows cameras like the EP-1 and the GF1 to have small lenses.
  49. It's been something I've been craving for years, but Nikon will never deliver it. Perhaps the other smaller manufacturers.
    You see, Nikon is fighting with Canon on the major part of the market. The Dm4/Fm3D etc are a special niche. You can't really sell these to the masses. They've now introduced VIDEO to the higher end cameras, soon enough they'll integrate an mp3 player, GPS with navigation hints for your next wonderful shot, and dynamic exposure control per pixel. Simplicity doesn't sell.. afterall, most DSLR shooters I know LOVE to overcompensate with huge f/2.8 superzooms shot at f/8 outdoors.
    I'd love to see a minimal (and MINIMAL doesn't equate to "tape over your thumbwheels and LCD displays") body that focuses on photography, and photography alone:
    * 6-8 megapixels at most, full frame, with very high ISOs providing CLEAN images. Save your megapixel wars.
    * Match needle exposure system. Keep it simple, perhaps a fat spot like the F3hp.
    * High speed flash sync, High speed top shutter speed
    * Compact, sturdy metal body with very few buttons, autofocus optional.
    * A big viewfinder with 100% coverage, split microprism for focus confirmation. Removable screens.
    So yes, an FM3A with a clean CCD. I'll mount my 105/2.5 on it and be eternally happy.
  50. "You don't have a cell phone either I guess." --
    Oh and just in case you'd wonder, I have an iPhone. I don't use it to take pictures.
  51. "...Perhaps the other smaller manufacturers."
    Leica M9. That's the market for the simplicity crowd.
  52. Charles, Petrana: what you're talking about already exists. It's called a Nikon FM. Buy yourself a scanner or keep wet printing, and be done with it.
  53. Yep an FM-FE with no screen on back. No chimping. Raw only so you're not diddling with WB settings. 10 MP image quality to match my D200 would be sufficent. Weld on a 28 2.8 AIS and be happy forever.
  54. I think possibly the original poster was thinking of something along the line of the Leica M9, only a DSLR Nikon body. Obviously Nikon is not going to make a different type of camera. The market is unlikely and the design and tooling probably would be to much. Nikon is locked into the gimmick war with the other manufacturers and I am sure they cannot see anything else. A person just has to look at the current market and find a camera that best suits their needs. I have a D200 that is fairly basic. It does not have live view, vidio or a sensor wiggler. You can pretty much use the camera with the LCD turned off and shoot AIS lenses or AF lenses as you please. I like the camera a lot but still prefer 35mm actually as I find it to be more fun to use.
  55. Pentax K1000 with digital sensor :p
  56. Dan Brown - I know some of the original Rockwell guys. Were you a member of the club?
  57. "Nikon is locked into the gimmick war with the other manufacturers and I am sure they cannot see anything else."
    What gimmicks would those be exactly? Better performance at high ISO? Better IQ? Video? (bash it all you want, but there are a lot of people doing some very creative, cool stuff with it). 'Sensor wiggler?' You mean...like...so you don't have to clean your sensor as often? Yeah, I can see how that's a completely useless gimmick. Or live view? So you can shoot over your head, or at low angles more accurately? You're right. Totally useless.
  58. Either buy a Leica, turn off all the annoying features on your digital, or continue indulging your fantasies
  59. Video is kind of a gimmick on a DSLR. Some photographers even seem to consider it compulsory nowdays, as if it was a glaring ommison all these years, just because it is progress. Since the actual results are great even with today's limited implementations, what each company should do is make a dedicated video body without compromises and without being limited by the needs of a still camera. It will take all your lenses and give you true pro quality - within sensor limits - at a price lower than say a D300 (and dedicated still camera prices might just go down a notch too).
  60. So buy the old style Nikon of your preference, shoot film, and drop it off at the lab to have it scanned and/or printed. I heard film was equal to a gazillion megapixels anyway, so you should be ahead of the game. ;)
  61. In A and B size toner based copy machines some have a BIG button to place the menu in dumb mode. The text on the menu is way larger; and one has a subset of options; say the ones most folks use each day. If one wants to use an invert image with mirroring and us the side feed tray plus place one 4x6 image as four 5x7 on one 11x17; and reduce the yellow you turn off the dumb mode. Once can zoom in dumb mode and mirror image or invert in dumb mode. The few employees who use the dumb mode usllay quiicky turn it back to smart/complex mode due to not wanting to look too stupid. In the rare cases dumb mode is used; folks will backtrack to the machine like they forgot the original to turn the dumb mode off. With a digital B&W toner 11x17 copier; the manual just the FAX portion is the size of a paperbook novel; with a zillion pages of options. There is actually about 250 pages in one language English that is usefull technical info on using the FAX option.
    One can always not add new features on consumer products and then alot of folks will go to the other makers products. Look the gimicks with cars; turn signals were once an option and even heaters too in the USA. With cameras one could look at a self timer being a gimick; or an exposure meter; or auto exposure; or auto focus; or motor drive; or digital; or video. Older folks get their brains full; any new feature becomes a grummy thing to complain about.:)
    Many better consumer products today have a route to use it in more basic mode; with a simpler menu. This would reduce the frustration that some folks have with their current digital camera(s). There was a time when even admitting one used a camera with a built in meter was not done by pros. A 1960's pro would often say they used a Nikon F instead of a Nikkormat FT or Nikon F with a meter prism like the FT.Thus Nikon F meant the series and not always a plain Nikon F with unmetered prism. Look at all the crap one had to do shoot with a Nikon F in high speed mode. One has to remove the camera from ones tripod to load it; then replace it on a tripod usually for sports; then add ones long lens. Then one focused; then one locked up the mirrors; then one shot a high speed burst. Then to unload the film one had to remove the body from the tripod.

    So what is it to be with a device? Do you want few buttons like an Apple and all menus? or do you want more buttons so one has a lessor menu to fart around with? Reducing the number of features is not going to fly; many are basically abit free since it is a software programming issue.
    Dropping features in cameras like video would be a marketing gig like dropping accepted things in cars like a radio; cup holder; heater. At some point the grumpy attitude sets in; old folks do not want another new feature; young folks seek them out. One could market cellphones with cameras; video; MP3 players too; these are usually the base models.

    The quest for a simpler buttonology and menu is good one; one with a logical layout and less hunting and wasting time. This will happen more than dropping features like video; that some actually want. It costs alot more to make a variant of camera to please 2 percent of folks. It is easier to just hide the feature then remove it.
    With my Epson RD-1/S I just flop the LCD 180 to hide it when shooting; I often never use the LCD at all. This type of design where one has actual dials and wind knob got blasted by many; who crave a menu based ratmaze.:) The reason RD-1/S cost so much is its production volume is radically less thn a dslr.

    A maker could make a FM like dslr with simple controls and less features. A car maker could make a variant without AC; with no power steering; with no sound deadning; with no heater; with no cupholder.
    In the make believe world of most photo.net dreamers; a variant costs really nothing extra in cost. Thus on the Leica boards there have been many threads asking why an RD-1; M8 or M9 costs so much compared to a dslr. One is made in the few thousands; another in the millions. Dreamers on photo.net like to ignore reality like massive tooling costs being worked out over a few number of units. I like manner; a dreamers brain might think that health care costs are zero in the USA; or cars run one water
  62. What gimmicks would those be exactly? Better performance at high ISO? Better IQ? Video? (bash it all you want, but there are a lot of people doing some very creative, cool stuff with it). 'Sensor wiggler?' You mean...like...so you don't have to clean your sensor as often? Yeah, I can see how that's a completely useless gimmick. Or live view? So you can shoot over your head, or at low angles more accurately? You're right. Totally useless.​
    Even though those are all popular features they are the very things the OP would prefer not to be on the new never to be built camera. Consumers generally purchase the things they want. I think the OP is talking about a camera that would fit his personality and needs. I think is sounds like a good idea.
  63. A quick reference from the Pentax guy. I'm using a K100D (6mpix) and will probably upgrade to the K-X (seems like the same sensor as in D90 and D5000 + shake reduction).
    I'm solely using it with manual primes, including Nikon (pre-AI will not bring problems with the bottom collar but post-AI can work, too).
    The viewfinder is allright for me and you can change matte screens to your liking.
    There's only AV-, M- and B-mode. The K-X is even smaller than the K100D.
    It really is like a film camera except the film camera has auto-aperture - on the Pentax it's just manual stopping down while you click in the stops (except K-mount lenses but then you'd have to stop-down meter before you shoot). Out of the cam JPG's are very good and I keep using JPG in good light.
    Full open Contax Planar 1.4/50 on K100D 800ISO 1/15 handheld no crop no PP tungsten JPG
    I can live with this camera very well
  64. Menus are the biggest compromise between cost and functionality. Dedicated knobs and dials on a digital camera would be nice, but would drive up the cost tremendously. Not only is there the cost of the hardware itself, but ideally the microprocessor would be able to handle multiple input changes at once in real time.
  65. You're looking for the Olympus E-P1 "digital pen."
    Under $800, inexpensive adapters for Nikkor, Canon, and other glass. Works just like a Leica rangefinder but a fraction of the price.
    End of conversation. Moderator note: Don't do that here. It's presumptuous and annoying.
  66. Booker
    You're looking for the Olympus E-P1 "digital pen." End of conversation???
    I want to use a (nikon) wide angle. The camera needs to be full frame.
    Thanks for all the posts. Even the ones who dont agree with me. I have really enjoyed this discusion. I even learned a few thing about the D700, D300 and D40X I did not know. I realized that my wish is unrealistic. I can't see Nikon building what is basically the prevebial "Student Camera". But I wish they would.
    P.S. I have a cell phone... I love having it when I need, nut I hate using it! Can they possible make one with really large keys that my old eyes can see and my fat fingers can use? Maybe a rotary dial? LOL. (I'm just an old guy longing for the simplicity of the past)
    Thanks for all the comentary!
  67. I tried to come up with features on my D200 that I would give up in order to make it lighter, less bulkier and simpler. As an ex-Nikon FE2 user, I had thought how much bigger the D200 is. However, I could not give up much. Perhaps the various exposure modes other than aperture priority and manual, the auto ISO settings, the different quality levels in JPEG (I shoot Raw), and a few other auto things in the menus. But that would not save much space or weight. I could not even let the flash go. So I must be happy with the D200 even though I loved my FE2 and still admire it when I take it out (not taking any pictures with film anymore). And I do not carry a lot of film, an advantage to digital that is overlooked; a 16GB compact flash card equals 40 24-exposure films.
  68. "I tried to come up with features on my D200 that I would give up in order to make it lighter, less bulkier and simpler."​
    Bingo. That's what many folks overlook in these conversations.
    Remember the good ol' days when we didn't have to worry about choosing between raw, JPEG, TIFF and various resolutions and quality settings, or which in-camera settings to use if we wanted to shoot JPEG-only? Yup, it was so much simpler when all we needed to do was experiment with dozens of different films, try different labs or, if doing our own processing, dozens of different developers and printing techniques. Not to mention the much simpler, more relaxed nature of the interweb when nobody ever had any disagreements about which film was the best.
    Occasionally a manufacturer will offer the simpler digital camera that users supposedly clamor for. What happens? They get ripped for making a camera that "nobody wants". Don't believe it? Go to photo.net's Olympus camera forum and read the comments about the E-P1 after it was announced, but before anyone had even tried it. Lots of "experts" slamming Olympus for making a camera that, supposedly, nobody wanted.
    I suspect that if it were possible to order a digital camera a la carte, most of us would end up with something pretty close to the digital cameras we actually bought.
  69. I second the K1000 with a digital sensor proposal!
    I dont understand why some get upset about this. Is not like the OP wants that all cameras are made that way. He just wants a camera that is smaller, like the ones he likes.
    Today's DSLR, while capable of tremendous results, are really bulky and heavy. You cant deny that, especially if you compare them to a Nikon FM2, a Olympus OM2, a Pentax MX or evn a Minolta X700. Wouldn't it be nice to have one that size? Autofocus is nice, but some people like to manual focus occasionally.
    And some specs are getting way out of what some people need. The newest Canon has 100.000iso. While pro's will find it usefull for their line of work (photoreporters i assume), i dont need that high iso capabilities. A clean 1600 would be enough for me. More than enough actually. I also dont want a 25MP sensor. 9-10 are fine and wont embarass my lenses either.
    The techonology to produce such a camera exists. Leica whose R&D department is minimal compared to Nikon/Canon/Sony has done it and very well. The M9 is the closest analog to a manual 70's SLR out there, and i would loooove to get one. But there are two drawbacks...
    Its a Leica, wich means is a rangefinder, so not exactly what we want. And its a Leica so its uber expensive...
    Until someone else decides to make a similar camera (Pentax maybe?) or i get the money to buy the Leica, i will keep using my film camera's and take out the K100D when i want to shoot some digital!
  70. One difference that I see between current product lines and ones offered 25 years ago is that nowadays you can array any company's DSLR offerings in a single vertical hierarchy from top to bottom of the line. There is little or no horizontal breadth -- choices at about the same level of price/quality that cater to different needs and shooting styles. Your choice is just between more or less. If you don't like Canon's feature set at a particular price point, your only choice is a Nikon (etc.) at that price point, not a different Canon. This I think leads to some of the dissatisfaction with the feature sets offered. Especially at the low and mid-line price points where we all acknowledge that we must accept a subset of the features available at the top end, but many of us are not happy with the feature subset choice -- and only one choice -- that is offered at a given level.
  71. The newest Canon has 100.000iso
    This isn't a real speed; the top ISO of both the D3s and the 1D Mk IV is 12800. The "boost" settings are just there for marketing; they produce identical raw data as if ISO 12800 had been used (the meter is biased to underexpose, then this is "compensated" by adjusting the values in raw conversion). I thought anyone who photographs people or any type of potentially moving subject would appreciate low noise. It doesn't increase the size of the camera.
  72. That 300 page manual and dozens of menus is altogether too tempting to most users. However, I suggest you can create the camera you want from the camera you have, using the plethora of available options to customize the camera then leave it alone.
    Nikon caters to this with their custom setups. On my D300, my 3rd Dx00 Nikon, I used it for a couple of weeks to see how I liked to use it, then "programmed" it to my taste. I tweaked quite a few settings to get images that require minimal processing to suit me, set up the second front function button for bracketing, programmed the commander mode for my SB-800 flash, etc. and saved it as a custom setup. Now, I grab the camera and shoot away - just like I did with my FM about 30 years ago and my Leica M2 almost 50, checking/tweaking exposure and focus as needed.
    In case you think I'm a luddite, however, I'm a real techie who takes advantage of the camera's smarts, since I found it was smarter than me most of the time! I do keep a copy of the manual on my laptop as a PDF so I can search it for what I want to know.
  73. Alex, a rangefinder is precisely what I want. My ideal camera would be a Nikon rangefinder that accepts Leica M lenses. I'd love to have a Leica M9, but would actually prefer a Nikon version because it would probably have superior electronics and a state of the art sensor, (and a longer rangefinder base).
    A DS3 that accepts Leica bayonet mount lenses with a D3S sensor. How about that for a simple Nikon camera!
  74. You think you want this camera, but you really don't...
    It'll cost the same as one with more features, and most of you (although you might not admit it here) will not leave the store with it.
    For instance, I love shooting in manual a LOT, and find the control wheel (even only one) fine, but on those occasions where I need to just hand my camera to somebody, and I'm in a hurry, the green program mode is nice, and I won't give it up. Some others are like this.
    Again, we say we want this... but I bet, at the price it needs to be, none of us will buy it at the price Nikon needs to sell it at, and Nikon knows this. So they aren't making it any time soon...
    Just stirrin' the pot.
  75. Peter, my last digicam was a Nikon D3 (excluding my current canon g10). i can assure you that i do indeed want a camera like the mythical one being discussed in this thread, but i am not prepared to spend the $$ on a Leica M9 (or any other digicam for that matter). If i go back to digital, i do expect iso to be up there with the film i shoot. at the moment, i'm not sure the M9 can acheive this, and $9500 for a camera to supplement my film gear is over the top. If the Ep-1 did indeed work like the M9, I would have bought it. It doesn't however so i do long for Nikon to make a $3000 rangefinder camera with Leica M mount.
    the d3 had that much crap on it, and if it was all disabled, it would work okay, but not as good as something like a nikon f4 (my opinion). as mentioned above, the d700 manual is 450 odd pages, and my d3's manual was probaly thicker. the manual for my Leica MP is 51 pages long, but Leica could easily skip the manual, and users would figure the camera out in a hour. i am sure this is what Charles longs for......shutter dial, shutter, aperture ring, and an iso dial. that is absolutely all that is needed to make great images. everything else is indeed a luxury. we may think we need high iso, but do we really? go through your top images, put them all of your favourites into a folder, and then count how many were taken at an iso higher than 1600.
  76. Tom,
    How many of this mythical camera would Nikon sell? Answer? Not enough to be worth it.
    And manufacturing a camera with a mount specifically designed to accept Leica lenses? Companies like Canon and Nikon will never do that.
    Sorry, but imho, you are going to either get with what is out now, or get left behind with your F4.
  77. I'm with you, Charles. Wanting a plain FE (a Contax 139Q for me would be ideal, but I would sign for a K1000D or a OM1-D too) with a sensor, a back screen and three buttons to select, review and delete images, everything else unchanged.
    I don't feel such thing coming in my lifetime, though.
  78. I don't think for a minute that Nikon will make such a camera, nor do I expect them to. I thought that this was a
    hypothetical question......a bit of fun.

    But I am curious to know why you think somebody shooting with an F4 would get left behind.
  79. The reason the three digital M mount RF cameras are so expensive is that the production volumes are so low.
    The prices HAVE to be high since the tooling a development costs are high per unit sold.

    A low end Canon dlsr is often sold in Office Depot; Staples and even at some Walmarts. The low end Nikon or Canon dlsr is sold in the millions; while a digital RF is sold in the thousands.

    A simple Nikon F mount digital that folks want here would have a low production volume; just like a Leica 8/9 or Epson RD-1/s. A million dollars worth of costs in one area spread over on millon units means one has a dollar per unit cost added. For the short run case of on thousand cameras; it tacks on 1000 bucks per unit. This should not be so hard to understand.

    There is abit of a slacker attitude of wanting something for nothing; or maybe it is some skipped gradeschool math? :)A sane rational maker of a consumer item has to price the item to make a profit.
    Probably the best that will happen is a dumbed down menu for a dlsr that makes the unit more like the old days. Adding switches and a new chassis and layout means a totally new camera; thus a big tooling and development cost.

    One Leica boards/forums dreamers have complained about the price of the Epson RD-1; and Leica M8/9 camera bodies many many thousands of times. A typical post compares just the megapixel level of the digital RF body to a Walmart 600 buck Canon dlsr body.

    Dreamers/slackers *always* like to ignore the production volume; thus they get confused why one costs more. Maybe few have actually worked in manufacturing; and most work for the government and thus there is this ignore reality mindset.

    One can go back 10000 years ago and find spears if made in volume cost less than making a few freak ones. Today it is cheaper to print 1000 8x10's of one image than 10 8x10's of one hundred images. Get a basic book on business that covers setup cost and labor costs. The setup cost is higher per unit with low volumes. This applies to driving to the grocery store; it is cheaper to buy 10 cans of soup at one store than 1 can at ten stores; if one wants to include gasoline and ones time.

    It is NOT that the camera you want cannot be made; it that YOU will not pay for its radically higher price.
  80. Kelly,
    Tom, I mean "left behind" in the sense this...
    eventually film and processing will be so expensive that you can't afford it or just don't shoot anymore that much,
    eventually all the parts needed to repair and maintain your camera will be gone and you won't find another that behaves exactly the same,
    and in the meantime, there are many (not saying you) who would rather belly-ache that they "don't make 'em like they used to" than learn how to use stuff the way it's made now.
  81. A simple variant using the same chassis and sensor is a possiblity; but that is not going to shrink the camera. Making it just like a Nikon FM means a total ground up new design; thus these costs will make the cameras price soar. Few on this thread really will put their money where their moth is; and pay 2 to 4 times more for a body that is simpler. Now add this to a poor economy where profits are hard to find; and one has no extra cash to support a boondoggle camera.
  82. Why don't you just get a Leica M9?

    Or get a FM3A and scan your film. I had an FM3A for a little while, but I had to sell it. Wonderful camera.

    I really doubt that Nikon would ever build a manual style digital. If they did, the cost would be astronomical due to the low volume.....then people would complain about the price. I really think you best bet is an M9.
  83. As others have suggested, FE2 + scanner. I liked the simplicity and viewfinder of the FE2 so much, plus the ability to use fast prime lenses, that I'm sending it in for a CLA and it will work along side the D80 when I travel north next spring to photograph waterfalls in the Appalachians.
  84. Kelly, I'm not sure who your comments are directed towards....I think we all know why Nikon won't do it. After all, Nikon didn't get out of film cameras and into digital for any other reason than to make more money. i don't blame them, they have shareholders to satisfy like any other big business.
    Peter, I'm not sure that film will be that expensive in the future (no one knows really). There are alot pros going back to film. Maybe not exclusively, but film offers advantages over digital and vice versa. In Japan, film sales are on the rise and they really embrace the medium. Leica are still in business and making mechanical m cameras, and they will be supported well into the future.
    i no longer shoot an f4 btw, but i still think that it is the best slr that nikon have even made. i have had an f3, f4, f5, d200, d2x, and d3. the d3x and d3s (and what ever camera nikon comes out with next week) are no different to the d3 or d2x.
  85. Tom; my respone is directed the the many dozens of folks on Photo.net that seem not to grasp basic business; since these questions are so common. It really does not matter if a business is large or small; there has to be a profit to stay afloat; whether a lemonaid stand or giant company. Thre are many on photo.net that do not understand that a business has to make a profit on an item. I stay this because of the whining why a Leica M8/m9 or RD-1 costs. The whiners do not have the guts to place their life savings in a goofy camera venture that is only going to sell a few thousand units; they want the other guy/company to absorb these costs and sell their dream camera at a loss; a welfare camera body propped up paid with profits of other cameras. SANE businesses refrain from poor projects with a negative IRR; they want products that make a profit. Photo.net is alot about getting comments on folks images; ans way less about actual business. Witness the daily questions about "giving away CD's' and folks losing images the post on the web; and why doesnt a camera maker make a freak camera at a low sale price.
    In the USA film has been in a long decline for about 2 decades. Even consumer C41 that Joe Six pack uses is in a decline. Walmart had about 15 feet of wall space 10 years ago just for film; now it is about 2 feet. Ten years ago one could buy Kodachrome; 35mm Tri-x at Walmart; or a canon rebel or Nikon film slr; or zoom slr lenses too. Now their are jsut a few token film cameras in bubble packs. Small camera stores are mostly gone; E6 labs are dying out. Many of us can only buy film via mailorder any more; and all E6 is now mailorder too. At drug stores many have C41 labs that are closing; they farm it out to a bigger store. I always here folsk saying that film useage is rising; but no data is provided. It looks the other way here; so does Kodaks annual report data over the years.
  86. I do not believe anyone actually thinks Nikon will make this camera and not a single thread that I read has indicated that they think it would be profitable for Nikon to make it. Some people including myself would be interested in the camera. No, I would not buy the camera because it would be to expensive for me, I am not going to purchase a current model either. I think the topic is just a wish list from people that would like to add something different to their camera bag.
  87. As the original poster of the message let me say that first and foremost this is just for fun. Please don't take it too seriously.
    Do I wish Nikon would make such a camera? Of course! I would love to use a digital camera that was based on say... an FM3a. Do I think it is likely? No of course not. If they did it would sadly, probably, be more than I would be willing to pay. This is just an exercise to see if there are people out there like me who wish for a camera that the photgrapher is required to do 80% of the work to get an image because we enjoy that aspect of using the camera.
    Todays Nikon digital cameras are amazing picture takers and I would like to have one of them. They are so well designed that a person can switch everything to automatic and let the camera do 80% of the work if they choose (and probably get a better image than I could manually) or turn it all off and run it all manually. This is not a knock on the modern cameras of today but more a a bit of nostalgia for the cameras of the past that this old guy learned on.
    That being said occasionally Nikon does get a wild hair and make something to make a statement rather than a profit. Case in point are the Millinium S3 and the SP rangefinders. If I was advising them on how to make money, I certainly would not advise them to make a 1950's rangfinder (But I sure would like to have one).
  88. I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I think Nikon will make a camera like this...just like they made the FM3a.
    Nikon makes the bulk of their profit on consumer models. This won't change because they make an FMD, or whatever you want to label it. I bet their profit margin on the D700 & the D3 is almost non-exisitant...they sell a lot more D40s, 60s, 3000s, 5000s & D90s & D300s.
  89. The comparison between an FM3a and a "FMD" is a great analogy. But think about it, folks.
    The nature of film cameras is that the image quality is dependent on the film, hence the sensor does not become "obsolete." The FM3a is therefore a "collector's classic", because if they make better film, it improves the camera.
    The nature of digital cameras is that the image quality is dependent on a critical part of the actual camera, the sensor, which will become obsolete. The mythical "FM-D" will become obsolete and therefore not a collector's piece. This will restrict even further the numbers of people who buy it.
    Hence, Nikon will never make a camera like this one that you are dreaming of. So I'd suggest not waiting or hoping for it. Everybody watched Leica make a 5000 dollar rangefinder, the M8, which is now relegated to the shelf, and has dropped in value by half or more. Digital collectible classic? No such animal.
    Rangefinder? Nikon knows that in the 21st century that's not their deal, and I bet they don't even have any R&D dreaming about it.
    Our original poster says, two posts up here, "This is just an exercise to see if there are people out there like me who wish for a camera that the photgrapher is required to do 80% of the work to get an image because we enjoy that aspect of using the camera." Such a camera already exists. Every single DSLR Nikon has made allows you to shoot in full manual mode with AF off. He also used the word "nostalgia". I suspect, since they are not even producing any decent film cameras anymore, that Nikon does not want to be in the nostalgia business. (The FM10 is a Cosina product, and rumor has been floating around that there hasn't been a run of F6s in months or even years)
  90. Problem with the aforementioned Canon G11 and most P&S cameras is the tiny sensor.
    Charles, would you like a Nikon version of the Panasonic Lumix GF1 with its much larger micro 4/3 sensor? Some think it is in the works.
    Or, how about a Nikon GF1-like camera with a DX size sensor? Sign me up!
    Interesting times.
  91. Wow, don't know why anyone would take this all serious, he was just curious about it. I don't think he meant he really wanted this to happen any more than I dreamed about a Pentax K1000 with a digital sensor. I'm in the market to buy me a new Nikon DSLR and that's the way it is. :)
  92. For those nostalgic for the "simplicity" of film and older film cameras, remember the hassles of buying, storing (coolers for the desert) and knowing what film to load. Part used rolls, pushing film, black and white vs color, multiple camera bodies. Now the camera is pre-loaded with "film" and you have to choose settings as you would choose film. No wonder the manual is longer.
    I shot with the F2 and liked it until the F3hp came out. Wow, smaller, lighter, faster, equally durable and it matched the needle for me much faster than I could adjust the aperture or shutter dial. I used three bodies (Kodachrome or Velvia, Faster color and Tri-X or T-Max), now with digital I can carry just one camera body. And do without my $15/day film habit.
  93. Ted, I can hear you. I am still shooting film and there is some money involved in it. I have an order of film headed this way as we speak. A five pack of VC400 or 160 is $30.00. I never considered putting film in the cooler. I just carry it in my camera bag. I do not carry multiple camera's myself. On the 14th I am going to shoot a concert and will use film for it. I can go on stage also which is kind of cool. I do have a DSLR (D200) and it's pretty neat. Kind of like a giant point and shoot. Mine lacks live view so you still have to put your eyeball to the viewfinder. It is relaxing to not have to fuss around with film or worry about exposure. Just frame and fire. Excellent results are the norm. Perfect when you are going to shoot a lot.
  94. LOL, point missed, never mind.
  95. Joe,
    Yes I would be interested in a Nikon 4/3rds. I am not sold on the ones that have been introduced so far but I like the concept. (See Tom Hogans recent article to what I mean). I would rather have a full frame, thats because of all of those old Nikkors I have. I would not turn up my nose at any of the cameras mentioned.
    Sonja, thanks for the comment! I am also suprised (and amused) at how seriously some of this has been taken. Like you, my next camera will be a Nikon DSLR.
    I still shoot film but that I would rather be shooting digital. The reason I have not made the jump is simply that I dont have the cash for the one I would like to get. (D700)

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