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Tuesday, 7 March 2017 | MYT 12:57 PM

Photo Kit: Another one bites the dust

Retro chic: Nikon should be making cameras that look and function like this camera. —Sshjs930/Wikipedia.

Retro chic: Nikon should be making cameras that look and function like this camera. —Sshjs930/Wikipedia.

Man, it’s been a sad time for photography in general no thanks to two pieces of news that have popped up in just the last few months.

I’m just going to follow in chronological order here so I’ll start with the first piece of news that I read earlier this year – Nikon reporting that it had an “extraordinary loss” in 2016.

While the news isn’t good, it isn’t as dramatic as it sounds – the use of the term “extraordinary loss” is taken to mean that it was a one-time loss thanks to a write-off of Nikon’s semiconductor lithography business.

That business, which used to be a major cash cow for the company, is now essentially gone and as a result, Nikon has had to do some major restructuring of its other businesses, including the camera business, to compensate for the loss.

The direct result of this is that Nikon’s restructuring meant that some not-so-profitable product lines had to go, which in this case meant the DL line of premium compact cameras.

In my opinion, Nikon shouldn’t have killed off its DL line – premium compact cameras, especially with good video capabilities, are still a good market to get into.

Instead, it should have been the KeyMission line of action cameras that should go, as the market for action cameras is so saturated now that even companies like GoPro have seen their sales suffering in the last couple of years. 

Another thing I think Nikon should get into is the proper retro camera. 

Yes I know that they’ve tried with the Nikon Df DSLR, but that camera was huge by retro standards and only looked vaguely like a classic Nikon.

However, the most offensive thing about the Nikon Df is that it functioned like a regular Nikon DSLR and their only nod to a classic camera was to take away the ability to record video – what a bummer.

If it were me, I’d suggest Nikon design a camera that was almost exactly the same size and shape as the Nikon FM2, F3 or (even older) the classic S2 rangefinder camera but with digital components. 

And finally, one last piece of news is that Popular Photography magazine is closing down. I used to subscribe to this American magazine (which has been in print for 80 years) so it’s sad to see another major photography icon close its doors. 

In recent years however, I stopped subscribing (and evidently many did as well) because the magazine just failed to keep up with the needs of the modern photographer – there was very little how-to help on video and technique and too much emphasis on hardware reviews, for example.

I guess change is inevitable especially when the photography business has been in flux for so many years – on the upside, Kodak has recently announced that it will reintroduce Ektachrome slide film (thanks to an upsurge in demand for old cameras), so there’s some good news for classic camera enthusiasts.

Tan Kit Hoong (tankh@thestar.com.my) is a journalist who's been an enthusiastic photographer longer than he's been reporting tech news and this monthly column allows him to ramble on about cameras and photography.

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