More Misinformation, Disinformation, and Misquoting

When several of the Japanese camera stores put a "next stock date" for the Nikon Z9 of October 2022, the fanboys went wild. Nikon is dead. Of course, Sony isn't selling six of their current cameras because they can't make them, but that doesn't seem to bother them as much as Nikon having too much demand for their new camera.

A couple of things need to be said. First off, Nikon, as usual, seems to be targeting different subsidiaries with different release numbers. North America got at least an entire month's worth of production, but there are other regions that got only a handful of cameras this month. I've long been a critic of Nikon's release patterns, and I have no idea why they do what they do. It has to involve yen optimization of some sort, given Nikon's bean counting ways.

When a dealer, US, Japanese, or otherwise, doesn't get a firm delivery date from a camera company—and they rarely do—in order to seem competitive and timely, plus to take pre-orders, they'll put a dummy date in their listing. B&H, for instance, had the date of 12/15/2021 listed for Z9 availability, which, of course, turned out to be wrong. Yodabashi and the Japanese camera stores who are saying October 2022 for Z9 deliveries will turn out to be wrong, too.

Meanwhile, I'm amazed at all the ways people are able to fool themselves. "It's taken Nikon 3 years to make a mirrorless with usable AF." Nope. They did that back in 2011. I'm pretty sure that someone writing something like this on the Internet has not had the chance to actually use a variety of cameras and see exactly how they perform.

People are even misquoting me. Apparently I wrote that the Nikon Z9 doesn't focus as well as the Sony A1 (I didn't). My actual position is that the Sony A1 AF system lies about when it is in focus, while the Nikon Z9 AF system lies about when it isn't in focus. Neither is what we want, but in my book not showing the right focus position in the viewfinder while nailing the focus (Z9), is better than showing the right focus position in the viewfinder but not nailing the focus (A1). 

Don't get me wrong, both cameras do better than most previous cameras I've used, and I've used most. To totally nail focus 100% of the time, you need to carefully study both the Sony and Nikon, customize the cameras for overrides, and practice using them. No one has done that yet with the Z9. Not even me. Two weeks in Africa was not enough for me to dial in the camera exactly the way I want to use it. However, I should note of the 11,000+ images I took, very few are out of focus ;~). By "very few" I mean maybe 300. So a ~97% hit rate, which is probably double the hit rate any of the Internet naysayers can get with any camera. Oh, wait, they count "close" as "in focus." 

The thing I miss with the Z9 is Group AF, where I define the area looked at and the camera applies closest subject priority (ala the Nikon D6). I also want more native Z-mount lenses, because it's clear that those do acquire initial focus a wee bit faster than the older AF-S lenses mounted in an FTZ adapter. (Note the "initial focus"; tracking seems to work fine with any autofocus lens mounted on the Z9 after acquisition, it's only that few milliseconds to initial focus that is different.)

"Missing focus half the time." Someone doesn't know how to count, and is just making a number up. Especially true because they haven't used one. That's not how the Z9 works. "Misses focus rarely" would be the correct wording.

"The end of Nikon." Highly doubtful. The days of volume push of consumer DSLRs is over for them, but in terms of prosumer and pro sales, they are actually doing quite well. I expect that they'll report higher-than-expected profit for the quarter (in Imaging). Indeed, that may have been part of the reason why they pushed so much Z inventory into the US in December: those units all went right out the door to dealers, which means it's booked revenue, not anticipated revenue.

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