News/Views

Another One Bites the Dust

Sony has officially discontinued the last of their DSLRs (the A99 Mark II, the A77 Mark II, and the A68). Some lingering inventory may be out in dealer/distributor hands, but we’re basically past “last call” on the A-mount DSLR.

Of course, many of you thought they were already gone and are wondering why it took so long for the coroner’s results to be published. What tends to happen is that a few clients regarded as key still have a product being used in production. If they break the product they have, they want to replace it directly, not with something else. 

For instance, several Nikon DSLRs were used in various traffic systems over the years (red light monitors, speed traps, etc.). The vendor who bought all those cameras doesn’t want to have to rewrite any software or do any new testing if they have to replace one, they just want to replace like-for-like. 

So some cameras end up with lingering availability, even though the manufacturer isn’t actively selling them any more. Eventually, though, the inventible happens and it isn’t viable for the camera maker to continue to supply something, typically because of parts.

Nikon Rebates are Back

Nikon has some new rebates in effect for the month of May for DSLR users. Let’s start with the cameras:

  • D780 — US$300 off. Well, finally. That puts the price for the very good D780 where it should have been in the first place, US$1999. Since the Z6 II is now the same price, you have the choice of DSLR or mirrorless using the same sensor technology without paying a premium for either. I like the D780, but it’s definitely a DSLR with the reduced area in the center of the frame for autofocusing except in Live View (mirrorless tends to use the full frame). Great camera, now at a much more reasonable price.
  • D850 — US$500 off. A pretty steep discount for a camera that, to this day, is still one of the best all-around cameras you can buy. Of all the folk that have tried both the D850 and Z7, you’ll find that some like the Z7 better, some the D850 better. I agree with that split decision. Some will prefer a D850 over a Z7, some will prefer a Z7 over a D850. They use the same image sensor and have very similar feature/performance sets. 
  • Lenses — The usual suspects have the usual discounts. There are two that stand out, though: (1) the 16-35mm f/4G is now US$799 (US$300 discount), so if you’re interested in that lens at all, now is the time to pick it up; and (2) the 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6E AF-P lens is now US$399, which makes it a clear bargain. For the more casual shooter, the 16-35mm, 24-120mm, and 70-300mm make a reasonable DSLR travel lens kit. 

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