Why Are New Camera Models So Like the Old Ones

Why Are New Camera Models So Like the Old Ones?

This is the time of year when ‘gearhead’ photographers are looking at the news feeds for new camera and lens announcements. The comments that I’ve seen so far bemoan the scarcity of them, while forum pages and rumour sites abound with hypothetical new models and specification lists. Since there are only two ways to arrive at each specification, it is typically quite simple to tell when a list like this is speculative.

The first is to simply go item by item and extrapolate a little from the specifications of the camera that will allegedly be replaced by the new camera. The second is to choose two models from the range and create a specification that is in the middle of them.

Since the creation of new camera models doesn’t function in this way, neither of these things is likely to be accurate. If you count assemblies like the shutter mechanism as a single part, digital cameras have up to 100 major parts.

Rarely does a new model differ significantly from a previous similar model.

Why Are New Camera Models So Similar to Old Ones?

The development of every component of a camera requires time, effort, and money. The overall cost of creating new models would be too high if no parts could be reused. Instead, complete redesigns are extremely rare, with most components being carried over from one model to the next.

It’s evident from comparing the model offerings of the various manufacturers that they operate on what I’d refer to as “platforms,” a term I’ve taken from the automotive sector.

What is a Platform?

A ‘platform’ is a set of parts that fits and works together to make a complete camera. They change over time as new models force a redesign of various components. When you look beneath the distinctive body shells of a series of cameras, the similarities are often quite obvious.

So, if trying to speculate what a new model might be like, it’s best to start with a manufacturer’s existing platforms and see what might be done with those. The parts that change quite frequently are the electronics, because the development effort in a new printed circuit board is relatively small – and things like new image processor chips will be used to update across every platform.

The Nikon Range as An Example of a Long-lasting Platform

An individual platform’s life cycle could be quite long. The 2010-released Nikon D7000 platform continued through the Nikon D7500, which is still on the market today, and branched out into a full-frame version, which is still in use today in the Nikon D780. This indicates a 13-year lifespan for the camera platform.

The reason that the rate of model releases has slowed is down to two main factors. Firstly, the size of the specialist camera market has contracted. Economic theory requires that there must be fewer new developments because new developments must be financed by sales, which must be down in a given period. In addition to that, two of the major manufacturers have been making a transition from DSLR to mirrorless cameras. Due to this, each of them had to create multiple entirely new platforms within a short period of time.

We should anticipate a slowdown in new releases as a result of these two factors working together. We should be grateful that the manufacturers are still present, with displays piled high with gear, even though each new gear show comes and goes without any significant new releases.

Read More: Best Camera For Blogging

Source: amateurphotographer

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