Nice article! I live in Alor, only a stone's trow from Timor Leste, in the bay of Kalabahi. We also have crocs in here, and one local just got eaten 2 weeks ago, very close to the main city. I used to swim everyday, but now I limit myself to diving and mountain bike riding. Not much of a fame of big tooth lizards...
Hi Daniel, thanks - appreciate the feedback!
I hear there is some good diving in the Alor area - correct?
Another very interesting post from Thom Hogan, my stomach is still telling me that a $2500 D700S and D700X is a possibility....
Almost on Cue Feb 25 (news and commentary)--Dealers on Friday got some new pricing from Nikon, specifically on the D700. The new suggested price is soon going to be US$2199 (currently US$2699). But here's an interesting kicker: there apparently won't be a minimum advertised price (MAP) associated with that, which would mean we'll likely see someone drop under the US$2000 mark.
Some people have questioned my slight shift on predicting what Nikon will introduce next. Actually, it hasn't been a slight shift. If you go back and read what I wrote in 2010 versus where we are today, I think you'll find that Nikon went a bit different direction than I originally expected. The post-quake thinking at Nikon seems to be a bit different than the pre-quake thinking, too. Nikon seems a bit more emboldened in its decision making since the last management change. Looking back on my conversations with Nikon executives over the past couple of years as well as anonymous tips I receive, I can see that I didn't pick up on all the clues that were dropped. Mea culpa.
But let me explain one thing that still seems to be hanging a bunch of you up: entry FX. First, it should be clear that a US$2000 D700 is very much an "entry FX" model ;~). And a danged good one, at that. Many of you seem perplexed by why an entry FX model makes sense, and why a US$1000 difference in price between it and a D800 works.
First the rationale: the market for new DSLR sales boils down to upgraders. The notion of "new camera users" coming into the market is mostly wrong. Young adults aren't opting for DSLRs, and that would be only a small percentage of the purchasers now, anyway. The side-grade from film SLR to DSLR is now mostly complete.
So today Nikon is actively soliciting Coolpix users to upgrade to CX (Nikon 1). CX users will be solicited to upgrade to DX. And DX users, well, it's only natural to upgrade them to FX. But if the entry FX body is 3x the price of the top DX body, that's a pretty big money leap. Entry FX can't be more than 2x the top DX price if it is to encourage upgrading. Indeed, it probably should be 1.5x (which would be about US$1800). That puts us right at the likely D400 pricing, which is one reason why I think the D400 could go either way (DX or FX).
Yes, a DX D400 at US$1900 and an FX D800 at US$3000 are almost 1.5x apart, too. So what's the advantage to making a D400 FX? Lenses. Indeed, the "where are the DX wide angles" question continues to be an interesting one. One might leap to say that this is more evidence that the DX line might stop at the D7000 point: someone who pays US$1600-2000 for a DX body is going to want lenses that don't exist. But those lenses do exist in FX.
I still think a D400 could go either way and is more likely to be DX, but given Nikon's recent aggressive push, I can't rule out an FX D400, thus what I wrote in the next article. The new US$2200 pricing on the D700 just throws another wrinkle into the mix.
The D700s and D700x Feb 24 (commentary)--I notice that Nikon Rumors is recreating a poll that I've run many times, only in a slightly updated guise. It's basically the "what do you want to replace a D700" poll. The choices have always been (1) improve the low light capability (the D700s choice: 12mp D3s sensor in D700 body), or (2) increase the pixel count (the D700x choice: 24mp D3x sensor in D700 body).
With over 25,000 responses prior to the D800 leaks, my results put the D700s and D700x options neck and neck: within two percentage points, at 49% versus 51%. As I write this, the Nikon Rumors results are 58% versus 42%, still very close and within sight of a coin toss.
Indeed, one might explain the slight tilt Nikon Rumors tilt towards the D700s option as being people deciding that the D700x option (the D800) was a little too x for them once it was announced. That, coupled with the 16mp versus 36mp choice--16mp is closer to 24mp but keeps the essence of the D3s sensor--probably explains the difference. Still, taken at face value, all these polls that have been run about the D700 followup choices still indicate the same thing: there's strong demand for both options. Put another way, Nikon needs to produce both options.
So the question is: will they?
I keep getting vague hints from anonymous sources that the D400 is indeed not a DX camera but something akin to a D700s. To date, no information I've received about that has the clear ring of authenticity to it, though.
The interesting thing is that there are two missing cameras from Nikon's DSLR lineup: a high end DX model, and an entry level FX model. The D7000 doesn't satisfy the high-end DX side primarily because of its buffer. That, coupled with the new "top" for DX being 24mp (Sony A77, NEX-7), means Nikon doesn't have a true competitor at the top of the DX line at the moment. I can't see Nikon foregoing that, so it's easily imaginable that the D300s replacement is a 24mp DX D400.
On the other hand, there's that strong demand for a D700s. Curiously, Nikon announced that they'll continue to build the existing D700, but they didn't change pricing at all. That seems like a "patch," not a solution. Either the D700 needs to come down to a price one full step below the D800, it needs to get the D3s sensor, or both.
Meanwhile, the D7000 is coming up due for an update late this year. Could it be the new high-end DX? Imagine this lineup for a moment:
<LI class=bt>D3200. Entry DSLR, and entry DX, ??mp. <LI class=bt>D5200. Mid-level DX, 16mp. <LI class=bt>D7200. High-end DX, 16mp. <LI class=bt>D400. Top DX, with 24mp sensor. <LI class=bt>D700. Entry FX DSLR, 12mp. (Eventual D720 or phase out?) <LI class=bt>D800. Mid-level FX, 36mp. <LI class=bt>D4. Pro PJ FX, 16mp.
D4x: Pro studio FX, 36mp.
Basically, it boils down to which of those lines you think makes more sense. The first list seems lean and clean to me. The second list has a lot of historical slop in it, and some pixel count marketing issues. Add in a third Nikon 1 model (my Z1), and the first list would be 3 CX, 3 DX, and 3 FX: basically an entry, mid, and top in each line, with the lines being spaced nicely (except for the Nikon 1, which is currently out of whack in terms of pricing).
The second list is more hodge podge, with new/old overlap and essentially four choices in each category.