Paul Goyette noted below that the D80’s feature set received as rough an introduction as the D40’s. He’s right…but why?
It stems from a mismatch between expectation and reality – expectations on the part of potential upgraders, not new users. For the D80, it was a vocal group of D70 owners. For the D40 it’s a vocal group of D50 owners – though the camera isn’t targeted to them. But with the D50 probably discontinued, there’s disappointment that the D40 isn’t its anticipated replacement.
I suspect that potential D70 and D50 upgraders are looking for game-changer replacements. We’re talking cameras like the D70, D200, original Rebel and 10D – equipment that defined new market niches and increased the price to performance ratio. We (I include myself) were looking for an introduction that would “WOW” us. In fact, something exactly like a Nikon version of the Pentax K10D, which I strongly believe is a game-changer.
What did the D80 bring to the table?
A solid upgrade.
And there’s nothing wrong with that! But, it’s not what was wanted or expected. This meant it was greeted with displaced disappointment as much as anything else.
After the Sony Alpha, the Pentax models and the leaking Pentax K10D info I think people wanted anti-shake, dust-removal, weather sealing (some teaser ads confusingly included rain and the tag line “It’s a good day to photograph”) and other features. None of those made it. What did make it were:
- Better build
- Smaller size and weight
- Better noise performance at high ISO (essentially a tie with 10MP APS-C Canons)
- Wider ISO range
- Better viewfinder
- Better flash system
- Better LCD
- Better …
But not something novel :) Not something “WOW!”
Hence the response Paul talked about.
On a related note, I’d be very interested in a Nikon competitor to the Pentax K10D – perhaps a model positioned between the D80 and D200. Something with:
- Weather sealing
- More cross-type AF points
- In-camera anti-shake
- More flexible auto-ISO
Heck – I’ve got a list a mile long :)
That said, it’s unlikely in the near-term. I suspect Nikon’s moving to a 3 model consumer lineup and a 3 model pro lineup with perhaps a FF model positioned above that, but who knows what 2007 will bring. Hopefully a slew of AF-S primes!