5 Cameras That Don’t Live Up to Their Hype

I get really excited when I hear about new cameras coming out.  I’m a very gadget-oriented and have way too many toys that do so many things that I don’t need or won’t use.  That doesn’t stop me from wanting the next big thing though.

Unfortunately, the next big thing sometimes turns out to be an over-hyped flop. Here’s 5 cameras that have failed to live up to their hype.

1. Nikon Coolpix P6000.  The P6000 was supposed to be great because it enabled photographers to capture RAW images and, therefore, should directly compete with the Canon G10.  Unfortunately, the P6000 didn’t quite live up to the hype. Image quality was nowhere near that found on the Canon G10, which succeeded the very popular G9 (another RAW shooter).

Feature for feature, the Nikon P6000 is a pretty good match-up to the Canon G10. Unfortunately, it fails to deliver where it really matters – image quality.  Perhaps Nikon got a little pixel-happy by stuffing 13.5 megapixels onto a tiny sensor that probably just needed about 6 or 8 megapixels.  Maybe some day camera manufacturers will go back to making compact cameras with image quality as the end-result in mind, instead of letting marketing continue to push the megapixel hype.

2. Nikon D90. I can hear the sighs now, but stay with me for a moment.  No question about it – the Nikon D90 is a great digital camera, BUT its video capabilities leave much to be desired.  Anyone that’s tried to film with the D90 knows exactly what I’m talking about here.  There’s no way that the video feature in the D90 is a viable feature that should be weighed heavily in your purchasing decision.  It’s shaky-cam to the extreme!

If you want a DSLR, go right ahead and buy the Nikon D90.  If you want a video camera, buy a dedicated video camera.

3. Canon EOS 1D Mark III. Everyone remembers how awesome the sound of the mirror flapping at 10 frames per second sounded the first time we heard it.  And, for a while, the 1D Mark III was the cream of the crop for sports photographers.  You have to give credit to Canon, 10 fps at 10.1 megapixels was an ambitious achievement – or so Canon thought.

Unfortunately, the 1D Mark III was found to have some serious AF tracking problems, which produced out of focus images at times. Much to the chagrin of Canon, Rob Galbraith covered this problem very thoroughly, producing over 8000 words on the topic the last time I checked.  Eventually, Canon admitted the problem and began implementing fixes.

The damage had already been done though.  Forum postings across the various online photo communities revealed that some (perhaps, many) were jumping ship for the new Nikon D3.  More than a year removed from the first reports of the AF problems, the 1D Mark III is still the whipping boy in many forums.  Time will tell if Canon can recover from this tough blow suffered by the 1D Mark III.

4. RED Scarlet and EPIC. Some will agree and some will disagree with this over-hyped choice.  However, the fact that these cameras have been pumped up for months by the powers that be over at RED gives us a reason to expect a revolutionary camera.  Unfortunately, these cameras are still vapor-ware, with no hard date set for when we can see them in-person – let alone be able to buy one.

Speaking of buying one . . . .  Unless you are ready to pony up, $2500 for the low-end and tiny-sensored Scarlet “brain” (that doesn’t include a viewfinder, grip or lense), you can strike this off your Christmas list for 2009.  If you are interested in picking up a Scarlet that pairs up against the likes of the Canon 5D Mark II ($2699), then you’d better start saving your pennies toward the Scarlet FF35, which features a full frame 36x24mm sensor and rings in at $12,000 – again, brain only.  If RED thinks this will be viable competition in the DSLR market, then I’ve got some ocean front property in Arizona you may be interested in as well.

5. Casio EXILIM Pro EX-F1. The headline features of the EX-F1 are the ultra-high speed 60 frames per second (fps) burst rate for still images and 1,200 fps high speed movie recording.  The chatter around photography forums, blogs and other sites about the EX-F1 was huge when the camera was first announced.  It was called a breakthrough camera, doing something that no consumer-level camera had ever done before.

Fast-forward to market release, however, and the reviews were less than flattering. To sum the reviews up, it’s a great first attempt at the concept, but it’s still just an attempt.  At $1,000, it’s hardly affordable, and the image quality simply doesn’t live up to the rest of the feature list.

Back At You

What do you think about these cameras and the hype surrounding them?  Did I leave something out?



  1. sonorman says

    Mentioning the 1D Mark III in this list is probably not really fair. Sure, the Camera has had it’s problems. Therefore it’s definitely not Canon’s most glorious hour, but in the meantime the camera ist a stellar performer and has outperformed Nikons D3 (the one with the glorious aura) in more than one AF performance tests. Here is just one:

    In my opinion, number 3 on the list belongs to the Olympus E-3. The Camera is expensive, heavy, bulky and can’t compete with much cheaper APS-C Cameras in image quality, nor in many other areas. It’s the worst example for the “compact” Four Thirds system and far from being an alternative for professionals.

  2. JimPea says

    I agree with the Nikon Coolpix P6000 being on the list. However, you failed to mention their proprietary RAW format based on Microsoft technology and that it would not work on a Mac. Stupid. Glad to see that the image quality sucks, maybe they will be make a better decision on the next version.

  3. anonymous says

    > “Anyone that’s tried to film with the D90…”

    Uh, the D90 is a digital camera, not a film camera. How do you film things with a digital camera? Film is that light sensitive flexible stuff that comes in rolls and needs to be chemically developed. You shine light through it to see it. It’s pretty cool. You should check it out some time…

  4. Thomas says

    I couldn’t agree more about the Nikon P6000. I’m a big fan of Nikon and use their DSLR but the P6000 was a big disapointment. One should mention that the GPS-tagging ist almost worthless as it is very unpractical to use and the antenna is really bad.

    I’m fortunate to have a good relation with my camera gear supplier so after using the P6000 for two weeks I got to return it and got an Canon G10 instead. Love it :)