D90x Approacheth?

With Canon’s new consumer DSLR offering 1080p video (albeit at 20fps), 15MP, and 14-bit RAW, the obvious shortcomings of the D90 are more obvious than ever. I also note that my favorite discount camera store is out of stock on the D80, while Amazon is selling D80s for the same price as D90s. Obvious conclusion — the D90 is replacing the D80 at the ~$700 price point and a successor to the D90 with the obvious deficiencies addressed is on its way.

Another Annoying D90 “Feature”

Turns out that the D90 uses lossy compression on its RAW files.

The D90 achieves relatively small RAW file sizes by applying lossy compression to the data whether you like it or not – to put them into context, the D300 with the same resolution typically delivers 12-bit RAW files measuring 13.6MB with lossless compression, or 14.2MB with no compression at all. It’s always good to save space, but we’d sooner the D90 employed lossless compression on its RAW files, or at least gave you the option. For that you’ll need the D300. (Cameralabs.com)

This is a really annoying decision. It’s bad enough that the D90 doesn’t offer 14-bit image processing (something you get with the much cheaper Rebel XSi, and the slightly cheaper 40D) but this is just dumb. Perhaps Nikon’s lossy compression is so damn good that no-one can tell the difference, but why not make it an option. I guarantee not having a lossless file format will cost Nikon sales.

Deliberately crippling cameras (heck, I’m betting that Nikon is using the same circuitry as the D300 and just flipping some firmware switch to disable 14-bit processing and uncompressed RAW) means that the digital camera market is teetering on the edge of massive price drops (after all, it’s clear that the D90 is a D300 in a flimsier box for 60% of the price, or would be sans deliberate crippling), which are all the more likely given the economic situation.

It used to be typical for camera companies to sell a ruggedized version of a consumer camera for a ridiculous amount of money. For that you got interchangeable components (focusing screens, backs, viewfinders), weather seals, longer life components, faster motor drives, and so forth). But the cheaper camera didn’t have a special circuit in it to deliberately fuck up your pictures.

Until Nikon is willing to stop insulting my intelligence, I’m not buying another piece of Nikon kit.