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If you haven't been to the or Web sites today, you're missing a lot of new information. Indeed, all this week both sites will be very active with updates. On we've got the initial commentary on the D4, on the initial commentary on the Fujifilm X-Pro1, plus both sites have other articles today and will have more all week.
Thom Hogan's profile photoIan Spencer's profile photoJeff Martin's profile photoTim Glaser's profile photo
+Arthur Clune The X-Pro1 is covered in a news article, the camera specs are now in the camera database on the site, and the lens specs are now in the lens database on the site. Use the menus, they're you're friend ;~).
Great warmup on the mirroless birds in flight! I look forward to the next installments particularly to see what happens to the capability once you trade the native lens that can focus track with an adapted (FT-1) lens where you are then limited to center single point AF.
+Arthur Clune The site isn't optimized for a phone and probably won't be. My sites are LONG-form content, not short form. You'd be scrolling forever in the reviews, for example.
+Terry Banet The FT1 limitation isn't all that problematic, though you're not going to get in focus bursts with it. It seems adequate for single focus acquisition, even on moving targets.
By the way, the long-form format suits me. Have to admit, using a pc makes me a dinosaur by now?
What AF settings did you use on the V1?
The X-Pro1 is the first EVIL camera to really pique my interest, as it appears designed for photographers instead of people upgrading from cell-phone cameras or prepubescent Japanese girls. I'm curious to see a lens road map and learn whether Apple supports the non-Bayer raw format. The D4 couldn't interest me less, but I can see the appeal for plenty of folks.
How long do you reckon before nikon/canon/others uses a different CFA configuration ala Fuji X-pro1 ?

Is Moire the only reason why we have AA filters to begin with ? I know we needed it during the 3mp era.
I too am wondering what their lens roadmap will look like, and how quickly apple will jump on the raw conversion bandwagon. Especially since I use aperture, and shoot raw or raw+jpg... :)
You know what would be cool (coolerpix) ?? A coolpix camera similar to the Canon G1X.. unfortunately that will kill the new V1/J1 cams.
No comments on the price? Does Fuji want to claim they have an "affordable" Leica? Or are they trying to make Sony's NEX-7 into a bargain?

Oh, and there's an optional grip...
Also, I'm always a bit skeptical about Fuji. They have a track record of disappointing firmware problems which let down what could have been excellent cameras.
Thanks for all the work! The sansmirror site is a mess however, sorry. It is really hard to find new articles there.
"A mess" is a bit harsh, but I too had trouble finding the Fuji article. Never had to delve into menus to find things in ByThom.
Thom, first of all, let me say thanks for your great writing and reviews, I always look forward to reading them.

But I do think SansMirror has a discoverability problem -- I was a little disappointed this morning that there were no new articles; I didn't realize there actually were several until I came here.

A suggestion. byThom is organized chronologically, SansMirror categorically. Why not add a chronological organization to SansMirror? I'd suggest a main page just like byThom: all articles published in the past month. At the bottom, there would be links to past months from the current year, and past years. Underneath each article would be a link to it in the classification (e.g. underneath your article "FujiFilm joins the Mirrorless Crowd" would be a link to it in the "News/Views" section; the link or an "archived in" tag should make the location explicit) thus linking the chronological and categorical classifications.

That solves the discoverability problem and gives readers the choice: do I want to browse by date, or category?
+Tom Williams That particular shot was AF-C, Single Area. But during that session I was experimenting a lot. I would also point out that it didn't make any difference which AF settings I used, the Nikon V1 still beat the G3 hands down, even when set non-optimally.
As soon as I saw the announcement for the G1X, I was sure you would comment on the "X" and went to your site to check. Great stuff :)

Now all we need is the Nikon 1 X1 with the additional controls you had in your incorrectly named Z1.
+Andreas Yankopolus The Fujifilm lens roadmap is nine lenses, starting at 14mm (21mm equivalent). Plus an M-mount adapter. So I think the lens question is just a matter of time. Note that the X-Pro1 is as big as a Leica M9: it is not a small mirrorless camera, though the lenses are modest in size.
+Alvin Panugayan I suspect the Coolpix P8000 will partially match the Canon G1 X by using a Nikon 1 sensor. No, it won't kill the Nikon 1. If we haven't learned that there is demand for both fixed and interchangeable lens cameras by now, we never will ;~).
+Andre Pontes The price of the X-Pro1 is indeed high. Basically US$3100 for camera and a set of lenses. But for its intended user, I doubt that price is ever the issue. It's the Apple thing: correctly designed products are not particularly price sensitive.

That said, Fujifilm has so far in the digital age not ever quite got design and performance right, including the X100 and X10. Let's hope that they're up to the challenge with the X-Pro1.
+Andre Pontes +Whitney Dunn +Arthur Clune About the sansmirror and bythom organization. I have far more complaints about the bythom organization and discoverability than for sansmirror. My intent is to create deep/broad/living content reserves, and just posting stuff in chronological order tends to actually make anything but the most current disappear. So I'm not going to abandon a hierarchical structure for the new sites.

But sansmirror is much more discoverable than you seem to think. Just come into the main page. Well, lookie there: a list of the most recent articles. Moreover, for many of the sections, just coming into the main page of that section (e.g. clicking the menu name) also gets you into a discoverable mode for that section (though I'll admit I haven't quite got that worked out for the Cameras/Lenses/Accessories sections yet.

Finally, discoverability isn't just about "new stuff." It's about finding older stuff, too. The site is slowly being optimized for both.
+Thom Hogan Actually, the first thing I checked and was misled me was the list of most recent articles, as it didn't say anything about the Fuji.
+Thom Hogan I don't know about that. I know the price is too high for me, for a camera intended to complement a DSLR or as a take anywhere one.

But it seems to be a trend. Since "mirrorlesses" are a novelty, makers feel they can charge a new price for them too. Time will put things right, I guess.

But Fuji got one thing right: a proper hot-shoe, something Nikon didn't.
+Karel Kravik Not sure what you mean by " Google Reader." That's not how you want to subscribe to RSS. Use the link that's on the News/View page, and the link on the Articles page to subscribe to those sections. They are clearly named for what they do, and they should do the right thing.
I ran through the list of most recent articles an today, clicking on each link. Some forwarded me directly to the linked site, while others opened a new window. The difference being I need to either backup or delete the linked article to return to the list of recent articles. Do you plan to standardize the jump to a link?
Kurt, Anchorage
+Kurt Kramer Good catch. A default was set wrong. It'll be fixed tomorrow (though it appears that the default can be easily reset on me if I don't watch carefully, so it may happen again ;~).
+Andre Pontes I doubt that Fujifilm sees you as a potential customer. "Complimenting a DSLR" is not the same as "Substituting for a DSLR." You may be a customer for a Canon G1X, actually.

No, it isn't the novelty status that is causing the prices you see, it's the fact that there is growth regardless of price. The camera industry HAS ALWAYS chased this, because it means higher profit margin. It's like watching sheep trying to find the greenest grass.

As for P8000, in thinking about it, if Nikon does what I said, it would probably be called a Nikon 1, let's call it the F1 model (fixed lens). But with the G1X, it's clear Nikon will have to respond somehow, otherwise the P7100 market they have is toast.
Pasting to Google Reader's Subscribe box is exactly how I try to subscribe to site that does not have a prominent RSS feed on front page:) To be precise - this is the problematic line from page source: <link rel="alternate" type="application/rss+xml" title="RSS: Welcome to sans Mirror" href="" />. According to Google Reader, you have 564 people subscribed to and just 45 have found the news feed. Looks like I'm not the only one:)
Nikon develops a new sensor and decides to introduce 2 cameras with interchangeable lens that are clearly aimed at P&S upgraders. Now they are working on a camera aimed at enthusiasts with the same sensor but with a fixed lens.

I wonder how long it will take them to realize they got this backwards.
I think what throws me off on the Sansmirror site is the fixed quote and text at the top of the front page. It's not immediately obvious there's been an update to the site. Maybe make the list of latest articles bigger, more towards the top of the page and with dates. I also think you should stick with the having a photo and teaching point at the top since I always take a new photo to mean that there are updates. If you use the same image that's on Bythom, it might also be a good way to unify and link between your sites.

What's silly is that with the tech that's in the V1, Nikon could probably have made an XPro-1 that's better than Fuji's. Here's hoping they decide to do it one day.
+Karel Kravik I'll repeat, the only way to get correct RSS feeds off sansmirror is by using the links within the site itself.
+Carsten Schultz I'm looking into that reference: it may be a remnant of a previous link that was on that page.
+Doug Livezey I'm not sure Nikon got anything backwards. However they certainly have clear gaps in their product line. The only real question about Nikon is always "when?"
+Ian Tseng I'll look at that.

But Teaching Point images on the front page are going away soon. At least as soon as the bythom site gets redone, which is still a ways off. Too many things to get done, not enough time.
+Ian Tseng I'm not sure the Fujifilm X-Pro1 is really a tangible target for Nikon. Fujifilm will claim success if they sell 200k of them, which they certainly will. But you have to remember that Nikon is now a consumer camera company. It needs to sell 20 MILLION plus cameras a year and growing. Niche markets will be backfill for Nikon, not primary targets. I'm sure that'll upset a lot of you to hear that, but it's an unfortunate truth. As interesting as the D4 is, its a less important product to Nikon than the D3100, D5100, D7000, and D300s replacement, and by far. The same thing will be true in mirrorless, and in compacts.

That said, I'm still highly critical of their Nikon 1 design decisions. They made too many mistakes. Fortunately, many of them should be able to fixed in firmware.
+Carsten Schultz See my earlier comment. Not yet linked to an RSS feed. Coming.

While I appreciate the comments, you're talking to a one-man shop. I can stop everything else and just spend the next few weeks doing HTML, or I can continue to create content and slowly tweak HTML. I can pretty much assure you that you don't want the former.
I didn't really feel like appreciated and you can well ignore the other 563 people besides me who got it wrong. No problem.
Thom, I understand completely. It's just that the shortcomings of bythom are easy to deal with, while sansmirror frustrates me. It wouldn't if would not want to read what you write. 
+Karel Kravik Found the old RSS remnants and why they were still there. Will be removed on next site update. I appreciate comments that improve the site. However, I'm not going to act on all of them, and certainly not instantly. When something is easy to do, it's easy enough to roll into my content additions and I'll do it. But I have a long list of outstanding things, including testing the fix for the Opera bug.
+Carsten Schultz New tools, new database, new options, new content, new organization. I'm frustrated too. However, I believe the shape of things is correct for the long term. Remember, I have to do this for three more sites...
If you add the auto abilities of the V1 to a camera like the ProX-1, would it really still be a niche product? It would fill the enthusiast niche but undoubtedly do well in the consumer market as well. If you then stuck it in every Best Buy with the Nikon brand, lots of posters and bundles, it would easily sell as well as anything else Nikon promoted. The only difference is, there would be less enthusiasts telling their friends to wait for the V2.
+Ian Tseng Yes, it would. We're talking about a large, hand-built US$1700 body with retro design that only uses special primes. Adding faster autofocus wouldn't change anything. It's not going to appeal to the masses by adding some stuff from the V1 (which isn't going to happen anyway ;~).

Now turn things around. Would adding some primes, some manual control, and a higher pixel count sensor on the V1 increase sales significantly? Yes. We'll get the primes in the coming year. Doubtful about the rest any time soon.
I know I'm still left wanting. Haven't found the Goldilocks camera yet.

The X10 could have been it, but apparently Fuji botched it. G1X comes closer (hot-shoe, swivel LCD, large sensor) but, in the end, I think I'll stick with Nikon, because of auto-focus and the ability to use Nikkor glass.
+Bruce Taylor Yeah. I've been expecting that (Android-based camera+ as opposed to phone+). Panasonic and Sony have fiddled with something similar. It's going to be a little trickier than just slapping Android on a camera, though. We need to see someone do what Amazon did with Android for the Kindle Fire (e.g. kill the Androidness and put a dedicated UI on).

Aside: Google has lost the thread (if they ever had it) with Android. By buying Motorola to help with the patent defense, and with Amazon showing that a non-standard actually resonates better than the all the standard Android devices, we'll see a lot more deviation in the future. The problem is that this means also that the whole reason to get into Android disappears for Google. Wait until we see an Android-based, non-standard UI phone from someone with Bing as the search engine ;~). It'll happen. Indeed, if I were Microsoft, I'd encourage it (with a nice payment to dump Google search for Bing to the makers). And that will prove that Google shouldn't have gone there in the first place.
There were a bunch of Android phones that came out with Bing as the search engine. A lot of the first non "Droid" branded Android phones on Verizon were that way. I think users couldn't even them change back to Google.
Thom, fair point, and I agree with you on SansMirror: it's much more cohesively organized.

However, as a reader, don't discount the attraction of "New!"; I also find even a few date cues can be helpfully orienting.

Again, thanks for the great writing and resources. They're appreciated.

Thom, have you seen this? An iPhone sized Full Frame camera phone. They were at CES, so there is good chance this is real. You though that Apple would do this before the Japanese camera companies, but it turns out that a German company did it first.

So who do you think will buy the Prototype and the technology? Apple? Sony?
+charles embrey +Ian Tseng Calm down. From their Web site: "As you’ve most likely figured out, the WVIL camera is not a real product." The video you point to is a known fake video from LAST year's CES.
Unfortunately, the WVIL is not real (CES 2011 - so last year ;-)), but it's exactly the kind of communicating, programmable, 'cloudy' camera Thom is going on about! I sure hope Apple (or Google) are working on something along those lines. A smaller sensor would work just fine for me.
Going a little further could be even more attractive. Why not square lens/sensor (or one the size of those small kaleidoscope modules) that communicates with my iPad/iPhone? Why have to attach it to something. I could look through a view finder, capture the image which is written to my iPhone/iPad.

Although I'm sure some physics would get in the way.
Hi Thom, having owned an X100 (later sold it due to unusable AF) I'm wondering if they have improved this. I'm searching around but none of the (pre)reviewers neither the official press release has mentioned this. In my opinion this was one of the major design flaws of X100 and if they haven't addressed it could be an selling issue.
+ Thom Hogan Well known to you, but I;d never heard of them before 8-0. What make a good hoax is plausibility. "Imagine keeping your iPhone in your pocket, but holding a camera module that communicates fully with it."
+Mark Brown Square wastes pixels and either requires constant aspect ratio setting or post processing cropping. The grim reality that neither users nor the camera companies want to face at the moment is that the current "display standard" for aspect ratio is 16:9. Let's see, picture frames (should you be one of the few still printing images) are still 8x10, but if you're putting an image on computer, TV, or digital picture frame you see a slow but inevitable move to 16:9. At least the camera phones have figured that out ;~).
+Marko Panger To my knowledge, no one not under NDA has actually been able to shoot with an X-Pro1, so the answer isn't known. I'd guess no, it hasn't improved much, if at all. It doesn't have their phase detect pixels on the sensor, either.
+charles embrey The WVIL thing was very widely covered just after last CES, which is when the video appeared. The Polaroid Android camera is real, at least it's a real prototype. Polaroid themselves will be the first ones to admit they have a lot of work left to do, though.
+Roy LaFaver I think you're probably mistaken. The more likely issue is either geometry, timing, or both.

Geometry: phase detect is very angle sensitive. That's one reason why f/5.6 is the usual max aperture cutoff and why autofocus sensors are tightly grouped in the central area of the FX frame, for example. Most DX/FX Nikkors already have long back-focus designs on top of the physical mount distance, while the CX lenses have very short back-focus and a very short mount distance.

Timing: it very well may be that the whole signal loop coupled with the EXPEED3's capabilities is at or exceeds the timing needs.

My guess is that Single Servo is required by the FT1 because of timing, Single Area is required because of geometry. But it's just a guess.
+Thom Hogan Hello Thom. I have been wondering how the camera manufactures keep their dslr cameras with video capability in the same pricerange as cameras without video. I would think that a D4, or other model, with video would be considerably more complicated and therefore also more expensive. Yet, apparently they are in the same pricerange as before video. How is that possible?
Much of the underlying hardware is the same: An imaging device that sends data to a buffer and it is processed. Thus, to do video on a DSLR, much of the hardware remains the same as long as you can push the megabits and process the information fast enough; then you just need firmware that knows how to handle and encode video.
+Jeff Martin Yes and no. The hardware does actually change the minute you want to do video, as you need a heck of a lot of bandwidth and more memory to handle the video stream. It's at least an order of magnitude more data. The Nikon 1 is a good example of that: 1GB buffer RAM in a compact camera body was previously unheard of. This has potential positive possibilities for still users (e.g. the Nikon 1's 60 fps capability, though that exhausts all of the internal bandwidth and metering and focusing decisions are thus punted on).

The question has always been one of balance. Since the D90, Nikon has spent more time on the video side than the still in terms of engineering time and effort. This is disguised by model upgrade. For example, the D90 to D7000 transition. While the D7000 looks better as a still camera than the D90 at first glance, it's mostly because the D7000 simply borrowed from the D300. This has been a design theme at Nikon for some time. Likewise, the D5100 got things from the D90 level camera during its update.

However note what ISN'T happening. We're still pretty much at the D200/D2x level of features on the still side. Yes, the metering and focus systems are being tweaked for performance, but that's pretty much a given. We're not seeing tangible new features on the still side, and the ones we are seeing are licensed into the ASIC (i.e., not necessarily Nikon-originated).
That's what I meant, Thom: The actual specs are changed (beefed up, in this case), but the hardware structure is still very similar. Merely beefing up the RAM is a matter of spending a little more or waiting for the technology to get there. Same with sensors or image processors.

As for cameras themselves, I'm convinced it's just a matter of time before some company - probably Samsung or even Ricoh, definitely one of the little guys - goes nuts and throws out a camera with Android installed. It'll probably be a small-run, high mark-up, easy-to-discard model if it doesn't catch on, but we're entering an era of microchip process technologies that permit incredibly tiny, incredibly cheap silicon with very robust capabilities, and I think it's only a matter of time before that computational horsepower is harnessed for more general-purpose processing in-camera. That's right, within five years I'm predicting a camera that comes with a respectably full-featured OS. Heck, make it three years. :)
+Jeff Martin I have no doubts that we'll see Android cameras, especially since Polaroid just demonstrated one at CES. But I'm also absolutely convinced that doing that is not the answer. This is the whole Microsoft/Apple thing all over. A great future connected/programmable camera of the future isn't defined by which operating system it uses.

All cameras have operating systems, every last one of them. Some of those OS's are deep and rich at this point, since they've been developed over 20 years. The greatness of a product is created by what you do with the operating system, and there you don't need Android. Indeed, I'd argue that Android has the wrong UI for many of the things that people are trying to use it for, as Amazon and B&N both demonstrated with their readers. Now, it may be that you don't want to come up with a new OS yourself, or your current OS doesn't do something that Android does in the lower levels that you need, but I'll remind everyone that Android is actually Linux in another form. You could just use Linux ;~). But I'll go much further and say this: it's not going to make a difference what the OS is at the low levels (assuming it does the necessary plumbing and provides the necessary access to higher levels), you're still going to need a supplemental ASIC that is focused on imaging, and you're still going to need a completely different UI than Android supplies.

We went through this same analysis back in the late 80's when pen-based products were being produced. Both Palm and GO came to the same (and correct) conclusion: the existing OS's didn't cut it, especially at the UI levels. We needed a different set of things than were in the OS's available at the time. Even Microsoft discovered that when they tried to put PenWindows on top of Windows (which is one of the reasons we got CE). Those who don't study history are doomed to repeat it. Apparently Polaroid is going that route.

Companies WANT to find easy outs. "Hey, there's an OS lying around over there, use IT!" The great companies just buckle down and do the right thing.
To get back to this one last time: Thanks for the new articles on both sites. I have now learned to ignore the list of new articles on, but if you do not keep it up to date it really is better to remove it and maybe link to instead. Again, not meant as a complaint, and thanks for the articles!
" especially since Polaroid just demonstrated one at CES"
Well, slap me silly and call me a pinata... shows how much I'm paying attention, right?

I don't think Android is a "solution", but I certainly think it's going to be perceived as one. It's true that all cameras have an operating system, but that's why I qualified it with "respectably full-featured", or in other words, better access to the hardware it runs on. Right now we've got piles of closed systems, with so little access to the guts of machines that you can't even call it a "walled garden" like with Apple's ecosystem. Some hackers have managed to get to the guts of Panasonic's cameras, and there's a similar hack for Canon cameras, but not everyone likes to void their warranty.

But yes, Android would be the "quick and easy" solution for the companies, and would be unnecessarily too much a dedicated camera. However, there would also be a marketing bonanza in doing so; Nikon got lots of free press just by putting out one little model with a built-in projector, and Android is still kind of the New Hotness in the tech world. I don't see it for a functionality purpose (although ready access to a pile of camera-related apps would be a plus), but all the pieces are in place for someone to give it a go, and the tech for silicon process is getting to the point where even embedded chips have die area to spare.
+Jeff Martin Guess I need to slap you again ;~) Nikon's firmware has been hacked, too (recently in the news, though I don't consider it news because they haven't done anything useful yet).

No, Android is not a solution. Manufacturers that aren't investing in their own solutions can do me-to solutions, much as we've had in the Wintel PC business for many years. The problem is that ultimately, they all want to put their own front end on to differentiate, they all want different things to change in middle to accommodate some Techno Hardware thing they DO have IP on, and they don't have either the product cycle or the engineering resources to do either of those things right. Android is a mess already, and it's only going to get worse. Meanwhile, Apple, Microsoft/Nokia, HP, Blackberry, and a few others do have something they can call their own and can tweak right (though HP is questionable, as they really blew the Palm acquisition and may still blow it completely, and Blackberry seems to be fumble prone). The phone carriers don't care except for a couple of things: can we get it cheap, and can we get customized for us? Android will fill the crap role that all those Samsung and Nokia phones did prior to smartphones, but I doubt anyone, especially Google, will make much money off it. As it is, Apple is gobbling up all the profit that exists in the phone industry that the carriers haven't.
I agree with Thom not all sites are phone friendly possible, he would have to manage two sites for his content. This is why iPods / tablets sell so well. Phone for short quick things works well and tablet or computers for more demanding apps and sites. The future may make standard sites automatically serve phone content better, personally I want a larger screen for most things.
I'm just seeing developments in the camera world that parallel the developments in the PC world through the '80s and '90s: Hardware is getting astronomically cheap (compared to the "early days") and they have to figure out something to do with it. It's what happens to a mature market... once the core technology or application is spit-polished and so refined that only minor iterations mark each successive model year, all that's left to do is add bells and whistles.

What some third-party OS offers is access to a giant pile of standards and device drivers, although you bring up a great point about their in-house IP that I didn't consider. However, I'm not bringing this up as something I look forward to; I'm just trying to deconstruct tech trends and use those to anticipate what's coming up. I don't think farting apps on the Nikon D5 would change much in the photo world, although it would probably grab a whole lot of non-photographic attention. :D
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