Nikon to End Film Cameras in Favour of Digital
Nikon Corporation in Japan announced last week that it is to stop all future production of film cameras. This is due to the massive drop in sales in favour of digital.
At their last year end of March 2005, film bodies accounted for just 3% of the total sales volume. This is compared to 19% the previous year, a serious drop which meant something had to be done.
Nikon, along with Canon, have always been seen as the forerunners for press and sports photographers. Many of who were still using film for whom this will mean a serious rethink.
Having worked for Nikon briefly in the 1990's, and having owned the Nikon F3 and F5, this is a huge decision. These stunning high end cameras, including the new Nikon F6, arguably still produce the most incredibly detailed images.
Is Digital Better than Film
Some argue film cameras are still better that digital in relation to colour rendition and "dynamic range".
Dynamic range is the ability for a camera or sensor to distinguish between the sharp contrast of light and dark areas. A silhouetted tree for example, and produce a well-balanced image.
Nonetheless, Nikon's decision only fuels what many have said all along. That film is dead other than for the die-hard fans. As well as those who still love the smell of the chemicals and the thrill of the darkroom.
This to me was an obvious move and I expect others to follow suit as the digital era gathers momentum.
For Nikon to end film cameras, I assume that the resources saved from making this decision can now be spent on research and development. R & D needed to bring digital technology right up to date and to continue their "race" with Canon.
In the 1980's when I was enthusiastic teenager, I drooled over the then "unaffordable" Canon A1 and Nikon F4. Now I guess I will have to browse the collector's shops and antique stalls if I want one. Sigh, I feel old all of a sudden.
Although, the thought of what photographic advancements could be around the corner for my 2 year old son and baby daughter in 30 years time, keeps me guessing as to how far technology can go!
For more information on this news, go to The Observer Online