Thursday, March 10, 2005

The value of backward compatibility

Spring blossom

In this post my friend Robert Scoble talks about the added value of abandoning old standards for the increased functionality of new standards. He used the example of what he perceives as a value ad when Canon abandoned its user base and its old lens mount. He said that enabled Canon to offer lenses that Nikon couldn't, like a 50mm f1.0 lens. Perhaps that is true, but Nikon did have a 55mm f1.2 Nocht Nikkor that was a very fast normal lens. But, more importantly to me, at the time I was a newspaper photographer I had to purchase my own cameras and lenses (this is typical in small to medium markets.) I was, and am, very thankful that all of my old Nikon lenses still work if my camera body has to be replaced. I do not have a big city newspaper or a Sports Illustrated to buy me the latest and the greatest gear.

This backward compatibility led me to continue to use Nikon equipment and I still do so today. I recently purchased a Nikon D2H digital SLR camera and am able to still use all of my old Nikon lenses to make great photos! Some of these lenses are almost 35 years old, and they work on the D2H! The 50mm f1.0 lens that Robert Scoble talks about is an exotic piece of glass, it is heavy and few photographers use it. The lenses I have I use every day, and they are still going strong, even after all these years. Perhaps from his perspective Canon is better. But, I am loyal to Nikon because Nikon has been loyal to me!

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