Monday, 1 October 2012

Whatever Happened To The Exciting APS-C Cameras?

Great APS-C (cropped sensor) cameras! What on earth happened to them?
We are going to talk about a certain trend in the industry (mostly the titans of the industry) concerning the latest APS-C cameras. First of all, I am really unhappy about how things are working out lately and let me tell you which APS-C cameras I find exciting in a few examples:

  • Nikon D70
  • Canon 40D (30D, 20D)
  • Nikon D200 (D300, D300s)
What makes these exciting? They're old and produce lots more noise at higher ISO values... but those were the days...
All of these (and you may add more models to the list) had a secondary display on top to help you set the camera faster. All of these had a reasonable size and were built solid taking significant damage over the years going 'meh' after occasional bumps. All of these had 1/8000 max shutter speeds and the D70 had a flash sync speed of 1/500! So, we were getting solid, sturdy cameras with APS-C sensors that performed rather well (for their time) and were literally the quality of a full-frame camera. All the controls were there, all the settings. Nothing short of awesomeness.
I used to be a cruise ship photographer and took quite a few photos with a weathered D200 camera. This camera was built to last and probably another person is using it right now on the ship sailing in the Mediterranean. If only this camera could speak... I noticed it had everything, all the settings, all the controls, all the modes and it was just easy to get used to learn it all. It just worked. No software upgrades and updates. It was all there and a photographer would feel safe taking it out in harsh conditions.
When the Canon 60D first came out I was thrilled but then I took it in my hand and realized the disappointment. It was just plastic. All of it was plastic and it felt cheap. I've taken shots with 30D. I knew what a real dSLR was supposed to feel like and this wasn't quite the experience I was used to. Then I went to Nikon and got their D5000 for a spin. OMG, it was just another toy - light, plastic, no secondary display. What on earth happened to the line of cameras that were supposed to replace the ones I loved? Yes, the sensors were better but the experience of shooting went downhill for these cameras. Then I tried 1000D, 600D, 650D from Canon - no way Canon had produced those. Nikon went D3000, D3200, D5100 but I just couldn't believe how they had stopped making the line of cameras that felt like cameras and had replaced them with plastic toys. No secondary displays on any of the APS-C models, no full controls on the body... It all felt like enthusiast-class-look-at-me-I-own-a-girly-camera-plastic-toy thing.
I felt betrayed. I'll miss those cameras. They are slowly turning into the Beirette, Vilia and Smena of the old age. I hope Nikon and Canon will come up with a new generation of beloved APS-C ready-for-combat cameras soon so I won't miss them too much.

All the best,

Kamen Kunchev