Disappointments

This page documents my thoughts on things that turned out to, ultimately, be disappointing to mirrorless camera users. 

Sub-page last updated 9/16/12 at 2pm GMT

Preordering Redux—The whole pre-ordering fiasco has hit a new low. Now we've got companies taking pre-orders for cameras that haven't been announced yet. At least one major US online retailer broke out the preorders over the weekend for mirrorless cameras that wouldn't be announced until Monday. The whole pre-order thing has turned into a giant greed grab, in my opinion. To my knowledge, none of these online shops know how many (and some times even when) they'll get their first shipments, so by opening up pre-orders early and then hyping them through affiliate connections (who also want to get in on the money grab), we're going to continue to see the big players jostle the heck out of each other (pre-orders on rumors, anyone?), and we're going to continue to see customers who get bent out of shape when the initial supply of cameras doesn't fill all the pre-orders these companies are taking. With the D800, for example, the pre-order frenzy started with the announcement in February and it took until August to clear the list at some outlets. Yet I know of local dealers that were delivering to walk ins back in early June ;~). Disclosure: this site does not link to pre-order queues. Thus, I have a conflict of interest in writing this story, as I'd benefit from people not rushing to pre-order. Still, I think it's the right thing to point out to customers: getting in a pre-order queue doesn't actually mean you'll get a camera faster, at least not based upon what's happened with at least three popular products this year. Beyond that, as people discovered with the D800 pre-order mess, the online shops that take your pre-order won't tell you what your place is in the queue, how many items they've actually shipped, or when you're likely to get what you ordered. I want nothing to do with pre-orders handled this way. I put my money where my mouth is, even if it means no money. My suggestion has always been that you form a good relationship with a responsible local dealer. They're much more likely to tell you where you stand, and the good ones are much more likely to try to do the right thing by you, the customer. 

Nikkor 1 18.5mm f/1.8—a normal lens for the Nikon 1 models, but the lack of VR on cameras that tend to pick too slow a shutter speed will likely cause some people issues. Nikon makes a big thing of the "beautiful blur…in backgrounds" and "Shooting small subjects in close up," but neither statement is quite right; this is a bit of over promise for this lens on the Nikon 1 cameras. On the flip side, this is one of the missing lenses we've been waiting for and it does give us an option for low light we didn't have before. But why does it take a year to deliver a "fast normal prime" for a new system, and why is this lens being announced with the D600 instead of with the J2 where it would have been a natural addition to the marketing message? Announcing this way seems lame, and makes a weak set of announcements seem even weaker. The Nikon 1 system deserves better than Nikon has delivered on its one year anniversary. Let's hope there's some bigger announcement lurking.  

Pentax Q10feels much more like a relaunch of the same product rather than a meaningful update to an existing one (hey, where have I seen that before?). The fact that the marketing department couldn't come up with anything other than "improved sensor" to describe the change to the main component in this camera probably means that the differences aren't substantive.

Nikon J2 and 11-27.5mm lens—feels more like a relaunch of the same product rather than a meaningful update to an existing one. After a year of development (that's seven in dog and consumer electronics years) what did we get? The V1 LCD on the J2, some warmed over special effects, plus 3.5 millimeters and VR lopped off the kit lens to create a slightly shorter kit lens that isn't offered in a kit (at least in the US). Apparently the Nikon 1 engineers, after four years gestating, went into post partum depression and took the year off. 

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