Monday, July 16, 2018

RIP 9/21/2011-7/11/2018

I think it was about six years ago that Bobbi and I walked into Target's camera department...well, it was just like an aisle or an aisle-and-a-half by then...and saw a display for a new and unfamiliar camera from Nikon.

It took interchangeable lenses, but not regular Nikon lenses. The back and top of it were nearly devoid of controls, like a compact camera. There was what looked like a mode dial, but it was mostly unfamiliar hieroglyphics instead of the normal "PASM".

There was a position with a movie camera icon, so that was video. And there was a green camera icon, which I guess would be automatic scene selection? Program mode? Who knew?

There was a video display playing a looped commercial showing the cool burst photography tricks, and high speed video. I remember the price tag seemed gobsmackingly expensive, as much as an entry level DSLR kit, maybe a few bucks more.

And some parts of it didn't impress 2011 me, who didn't know much about cameras.

The lens that came with it only had three zoom X's, while the Kodak EasyShare pocket camera I was using at the time had that many and cost me a fraction of the price. They both had the same number of MP's, too. (2011 me didn't know much about sensor sizes and crop factors at all, and only had a half-forgotten grasp of apertures and ISO's and other such things.)

In retrospect, it's like the Nikon engineering department had been dragged kicking and screaming into building a mirrorless camera with the sole directive that it not steal a single sale from Nikon's meanest entry-level D3100. The result was a camera that seemed oddly frivolous to camera nerds and yet frighteningly expensive to people who wanted to move up from clipping plastic magnifiers to their iPhone lens...or from Kodak EasyShares.

The last new bodies in the series had been released back in early 2015, and everyone knew that the Nikon 1 was dead, so the announcement a few days ago was pretty much pro forma.

That being said, the early ones like the J1 I'm playing with this month are available dirt cheap as refurbs or used, and even the J5's can be found as NOS in some places for decent prices. Last of the Nikon 1 line, the J5 had a much more normal camera interface, but it was too late to save the line of quirky cameras.

I do want to see how the high-speed video and burst shooting does for action shots at the range...