I have received the breathless entreaties from several retailers to: PRE-ORDER THE CANON EOS-1D X 2 NOW! NOW! NOW! But maybe I'll take my chances and wait....

The truth is that I'll probably never buy a new Canon 1DX2. I am leaving the door open to an impulse purchase of the camera for $500 a few years from now as I did when I decided to give the 1Dmk2I a try a few years back. The camera had been out for a while and lost, what? 90% of its value in less than 4 years? And it was a fun $500 camera; really.

But the truth is that there are very few freelance photographers (outside of a handful of sports photographers) who have much need for a camera like this (or the Nikon D5) and almost certainly very few of our readers here at the VSL who would appreciate the extra weight over what they are shooting with right now.

I've been looking through all of the information I can find about this camera because I had one pressing interest in machines like this; how do they perform as 4K video cameras? The Nikon D5 turns out to be a bust for 4K video --- unless you couple it with a $2,000 external video recorder. And if we need to pay that kind of money ($8000 = camera+recorder) to get basic 4K (without the niceties of XLR mic connectors, etc.) we might as well buy a Sony FS7 or an FS5 and be done with it.

From what I can see the Canon might do 4K for the 29.99 minutes if you are shooting to an internal CFast card. If that's the case then they just did another leapfrog over the Nikon offering but for the rest of the performance specifications it is, for the most part, just another case of: If you have Canon lenses you buy the 1DX2, if you have Nikon lenses you buy the D5. If you have mirrorless lenses you just ignore all of this.

I certainly don't mind camera makers making new cameras all the time, after all, that's their job. What I have come to mind is the breathless faux excitement meant to roil up those left with good credit and get them all excited about being the first one on their block to drop another six thousand dollars on a camera that's tremendous overkill for nearly all of us. Steve, Precision-Camera.com, and everyone else: Just calm down!

In the last two weeks I have been advised to pre-order (NOW! NOW!) the Fuji XPro2, the Olympus Pen F, The twin Nikons D5 and D500, and now the 1DX2. Please, just send me the product information.... Oh heck, don't even do that. If the product is interesting enough it's already on our collective radar.

After the introduction and subsequent withdrawal and then re-introduction of the Olympus EM10.2, the various fixes and recalls of the D750, the light leaks in the Canon 5Dmk3, and the oil leaks and sensor spatter of the Nikon D600 (just to mention a few brand's introductory disasters) I think I'll remember the lesson I learned way back when Leica first delivered the original M8 (purple pollution fixed with accessory IR filters) and wait until the first generation of rabidly motivated buyers snaps up whatever camera body I might be interested in. I'll let them suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous design shortcuts and, hopefully, will be able to jump in after the manufacturer has first denied, and then acknowledged and fixed, whatever issues there might be. Once the product is sullied in the press, and in the forums, and once the product is perfected, I'll be happy to pick one up ----- for a discounted price.

In retrospect, it's been more fun to cheery-cherry pick the best of the used "instant classics" than it has been to experience the trepidation of being a bleeding edge buyer of the latest cameras.

I am certain the 1DX2 is a fabulous camera. I am equally certain that its target market knows who they are and exactly what the updates and upgrades might provide to them. But knowing what I know about the way I shoot, none of these super cameras are anywhere near my wish list. Just saying'.

Sorry, no affiliate link. Not a product I'm shooting personally. 


Peter Wright said...

I agree that for portrait, studio, product work, just about any camera made in the last few years is enough. However, I had thought that for wildlife/nature photography (not my interest), the latest cameras would be advantageous. But I had that idea challenged yesterday when I visited the "Wildlife Photographer of the Year" exhibition at the ROM in Toronto. The pictures on display were all, for want of a better word, "stunning". They were all shown back projected, and about 3 ft by 4 ft in size. Many of the pictures were taken by dedicated serious people, and so it was not surprising to see that cameras like the 5DIII or D4 had been used, but many of the pictures were taken with cameras like the D300, D7100, and D5100, or Canon equivalents (even a 20D and Tamron lens). A couple of pictures were taken on film (Velvia). What was definitely not evident was ANY difference in the image quality - none! So the only reason to pick one camera over another is because it suites the way you work better than something else – even for specialties like wildlife. We can forget about technical specs.

Mitch said...

I was working a public relations shoot today at our state capitol. In the midst of the melee of humans, one breathless parent came up to me and wanted to know if the new Sigmon or Tokinikon or whatever the heck it was, which was just about to come out, would surpass the already THREE YEAR OLD lens from Leikon or whomever he had been obsessing about.

I took my Nikon 24-70 (hatehatehate the lens but it is a great performer in keeping me compact during the crush of humanity that is a lobbying day) off it's (Soon to be obsolet-ed) D750 body and held it up to him and said:

"This lens is worthless because Nikon just launched a new 24-70, so people are selling this worthless lens all over the place and on Ebay and such for little money because it can't possibly take a good picture. But I'm using it to make real money on a real paying job and have for years. And will continue for years. You should wait until that new lens is launched and go buy the old one."

He was deflated, then excited that his drool-worthy current crush would soon be a lot cheaper, cheaper than the shiny new object of lust which didn't exist yet.

This article makes me miss my Nikon D3s'.

Roger Jones said...

I'm sorry but I'm done. I'm good with my old gear that works just fine and the results from my CCD sensors and my Foveon are excellent. I can't buy any more, or will I. If I need excellent IQ or more I'll break out my old 5x5 film camera.


Tim Auger said...

A moment of sanity. Thank you Kirk.

Noons said...

Never liked this constant "Pro" labeling that has followed the digital photography equipment era!
Apparently, it means the "nirvana" of equipment and everyone should aspire to it.

Wasn't always like this. We all knew waaaaay back when that for professionals, some types of camera were "better" than others. Those were the days of the Canon F1 and some of the early EOS 1 models, the Nikon F series.
And REAL professionals used Leicas, Rolexes and medium and large format equipment, of course!

Meanwhile those of us who cared about photography instead of pose, used the FE series from Nikon culminating in the FM3A and the T series from Canon up to the T90, with some of the new EOS models reluctantly thrown in. And kept as many of the lenses as possible.

Those who knew their photography used the Olympus OM series which were as good or better than any of the above mostly because of their amazing lenses! Mind you, back in those days Oly charged for their equipment a LOT more than they do now. They still charge a lot for lenses but then again, most are worth it.

We are indeed blessed nowadays that most of the mirrorless cameras around are at least as good as any "pro" dslr model - if not better. The only really true differentiation now is the reliability and durability of the so-called "pro" equipment. Which in this day and age of product life of < 4 years is a totally wasted concern!...

That's why my F6 was the last "pro" camera I bought, 2nd-hand. Still operational and working like a charm, all I have to do is put a new film in it and bang: it's got a new sensor!

Meanwhile, the D200 is the best dslr I own and I'm extremelly happy with the OMD series.

Am I a pro? No way! Will I ever become one? Not in this life, that's for sure: I don't take photos of potatos or flat paddocks next to rivers!

Malcolm said...

In defence of the camera companies.

Around 1990 I was at university studying engineering and my tutor mentioned that he worked on electronic sensors for colour photocopiers. He said "One day, they'll put them into film cameras." I scoffed and said (with my then knowledge of photography) "You'll never beat the quality of 35 mm film!" Well, I certainly lost that bet!

So these companies have put in a huge investment over many years so that we can enjoy these beautiful machines for capturing our images. Certainly from 2000-2010 there were noticeable annual increases in specs and that has now tailed off. And I would never argue with Kirk that his lighting expertise has more to do with the quality of his images than his camera! And I have come to realise that I need to spend a lot more time improving my artistic side than on buying new gear (of which I have waaaay too much).

My point is that these companies deserve a return on their investment and we shouldn't be too dismissive now that the law of diminishing returns has kicked in. If they still need to make some money by selling ubercamaras or want to try a few marketing gimmicks like retro cameras then that's fine with me (I really like my X100s!). I for one hope they keep on innovating.

Robin said...

Well, of course, the excitement is very tiring. I have not yet got over the hype for Sony A7rII. At least 99% of us know we will not need the 1Dx Mark II so, I agree, it is rather silly to push it to all of us as if we do. It is sort of the boy who cried wolf for all of these products. We become jaded very quickly. On a personal note I would rather like a 1Dx for my dance and sport shooting, but certainly it is not worth $6000 to me.

Steve Mack said...

Alas, I am lost and crying in the wilderness. My first, current and only dslr is a Nikon D7000. Pixel rot hasn't set in yet, and I can find batteries for it. I don't lust after any more digital cameras. What I AM saving for is a user Leica M3 at my local camera shop. I'll add that to my Leica CL, Nikon FM2n, Canon EOS1n, a few Ukrainian rangefinders and one Yashica MAT. Oh, and I made the mistake of going to large format: I got an Omega 4X5 monorail for Christmas. With the tripod it must weigh 50 pounds! Just the thing for street photography. I'll never learn.

With best regards,