Dear Santa

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Dear Santa,

I don’t really need anything for Christmas this year. But I would appreciate if you would bring some gifts to my favorite photography manufacturers.

Canon: An 0.18 µm CMOS fabrication plant is what they really need, Santa. If that won’t fit in the sleigh, then maybe you could bring them a few million Sony sensors. Something around 36 megapixels would be nice.

Oh, and maybe some 200-400 f/4 IS lenses. They seem to have lost theirs. You know, the ones they announced in 2009?

Nikon: I’m asking for a lot here, Santa, but ‘tis the season to help those in need.

First, if you could fit a quality control department in the sleigh that would be lovely.

Also, could you bring Nikon USA a reasonable Factory Service Center, too? If that’s not possible, then I’ll go ahead and ask you to bring them some customers in 2014 or so, because they’ll be needing new customers about then.

And Santa, if you’re feeling really generous, then maybe you could give Nikon the secret of electronic aperture control? Mechanical levers are sooooo 1960. It’s not like leaving out aperture control motor is making the lenses less expensive.

Sigma: Santa, Sigma’s been very, very good this year, pricing that new 35mm f/1.4 lens like they did; improving their service department; and giving us complete control over the lens autofocus system next year. Luckily, I've thought of the perfect gift for them.

Give them an interchangeable mount, Santa. Put the lens in one section, the camera-specific mount and electronics in another that connects to the back of the lens. That way, when their customers want to change camera brands they won’t need to buy a whole new lens, just a new mounting section.

You know, Santa, they could then include a mount adapter or two with that Foveon camera that used to cost a gazillion dollars. I bet more people would try it then, since they wouldn’t have to buy a whole new set of lenses.

Speaking of cameras, though, if there’s any room left on their list, could you maybe give them some image processing chips and to speed those cameras up a bit? That would be nice.

Sony: This one I’m sure you’ve already got figured out, Santa. Lenses. They just need some good lenses. They’ve got 13 NEX cameras now. If you look at the B&H web page you’ll see that there are 9 NEX lenses, but 42 adapters that let people to use other lenses on NEX cameras. (Seriously, I'm not exaggerating, Santa. Check for yourself.)

What? OK, I guess since you already gave them Olympus that should cover the lens thing in a year or two.

Olympus: A real telephoto lens in micro 4/3 mount would be perfect. Something around 150mm and f/2.8, perhaps, or 250mm and f/4?

Fuji: Just a raw converter, Santa. That was easy, now wasn’t it? It may not be all they need, but it’s certainly what they need most.

Tamron: Like Sigma, Tamron has been very, very good this year releasing some awesome, reasonably priced lenses and providing perhaps the best factory service in the industry, so they should get something especially nice.

But I’m not sure what they want. I know they could use a more accurate focal-length calculator, but I doubt they really want it.

Maybe you should give them that interchangeable mount idea too? Wait, they’re the ones who started that, way back in the day. Maybe you should just remind them about the Adaptall, then.

Wait, I’ve got it, just the thing for Tamron this season. A 200-500mm with Vibration Control. Now that would be something they’d like! It would be like Leica, reviving a classic.

Leica: Speaking of Leica, just bring them some good LCDs to put on their new cameras. It’s kind of sad that the PanLeica V-Lux 4 EFV had about 10 times the resolution of the M9’s LCD.

They’ve got everything else. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. They’ll tell you.

So let’s give them another gift by subtraction. If you could, Santa, while you’re delivering their presents, could you maybe remove the words “brilliant” and “sheer joy” from their marketing department? I know that’s not your usual thing, but I think this might be the nicest gift of all.


Roger Cicala, Lensrentals.com

December, 2012

PS: I almost forgot. Please bring Samsung a marketing department. Nobody remembers they've got some good cameras and lenses, too.

40 Responses to “Dear Santa”

Paul Alan Putnam said:

Genius. So fun. Roger, this is now my favourite photo blog.

Anton said:

If I'm not mistaken, Canon already has the 0.18 µm CMOS plant - it produces sensors for their top compact cameras (SX100/110 and the like).

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Good point, Anton. I should amend it to make it a full-frame line in the 0.18 plant :-)

Joel said:


How come there are no gifts for Ricoh, Pentax, or Panasonic?

David said:

Samsung makes real cameras!?!?! I loved their Memoir phone, it had a great camera in it... but it was a phone first.

Chris said:

Haha, love the Leica comment: "They’ve got everything else. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. They’ll tell you."

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Joel, I just ran out of steam. But if you want to leave a suggestion I'll pass it along to Santa. Ricoh, though, got Pentax. That should be gift enough for them.

Kevin said:

I want all manufacturers to put higher sync-speed shutters in their cameras. I use flash outside often and I would have been all over the 6d except for the slow sync speed. Something like 1/400 would be perfect.

Duncan said:

Unfortunately Canon are likely to be disappointed. Apparently everything they put on their Christmas list costs twice what it did last year.

Olympus have just asked for money. Bit boring of them, but it's what they wanted more than anything else.

Gary said:

You forgot to ask for a reality check for Hasselblad - pimping a NEX 7 and charging 5 times as much for it.

Lizbeth said:

Uh oh, expect coal dust on sensors and lenses from some of the manufacturers.

Jeff Paull said:

I want to sign up for your blog if I can, but not on twitter.
I'd rather not have to use Facebook.
If possible, sign me up, without facebook.
Otherwise, facebook it is!
Thank you, Jeffrey Paull

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Jeff, there's an RSS feed, too.

Bob Howland said:

I would ask for Sigma, a 200-500 f/4 lens, sort of a big brother to their 120-300 f/2.8. Their 200-500 f/2.8 is too heavy and expensive to take seriously.

Nancy Young said:

"They’ve got everything else. If you don’t believe me, just ask them. They’ll tell you." I'll quote you after that!

Like the post ;) funny and positive one, thank you!

Rick Stocker said:

I am still waiting for my micro four-thirds safari lens. 75mm or 100mm to 300mm or 350mm, f4.0, weather sealed, primo optics and who cares about the price. "Good things are seldom cheap and cheap things are seldom good."

I wonder what the weight would be for a 350mm f4.0 micro four-thirds lens? Perhaps would have to settle for 300mm. At any rate is would be smaller and lighter than the Zeiss F 350mm f4.0 lens for Hasselblad that I used to lug around.

Andrew Burday said:

Santa needs to bring Pentax an up-to-date autofocus system, in particular one that can track action. Then they need a reasonable long tele or tele zoom -- something between 300/4 and 560/5.6. Compact, rugged, weather-sealed bodies with great sensors, but difficult to use for sports or wildlife -- this is a problematic combination. If Santa has any love left over, he could also bring Pentax some 645D lenses. Pentax is the Sony of digital MF.

I don't know what Santa should bring Panasonic, but it should be something good. They've been extra special nice when it comes to video and lenses.

In all seriousness, why is it a problem that Nikon still uses a lever to control the diaphragm?

Tom Reichner said:

I have one request, and it's for Sony.
It's kinda the same as Roger's request, but more specific.

Santa, please give Sony a few fast, prime supertelephotos for their NEX lineup. NEX sounds great, but with no way to fill the frame with a small subject that's far away, the cameras are practically worthless to serious wildlife & bird photographers. Sony needs these lenses badly, so that they can sell more NEX cameras!

And don't forget to fill the stockings with some top-notch 1.4 and 2x teleconverters to go with these new lenses!

LensRentals Employee

Roger Cicala said:

Andrew, it works well enough. Unless the lever gets bent in the camera or lens, which does happen. If it's not too bad, the lens just is, say f/4 when it's supposed to be f/5.6 or such, not a big deal. But if it's bad the camera or lens becomes unusable.

jds said:

Damn you good ... What a blast to read!!!

No new photo equipment website/blog on my Santa list, I already have it.
Accurate analyses, no fanboy crap, and so fun to read ... I've got it.

On my list again, but Santa hasn't been listening for years: A reasonably priced (say $1000-$1500) 500mm stabilized, say f5.6. Sigma, Tamron?
Nikon, Canon? Heck, I'd even take an f8 ...

Michael Steinbach said:

Oh please Santa, give Nikon a customer service department ;(

Jeff said:

Brilliant...Absolutely Brilliant,

Walter Freeman said:

I'll second the "Hey Olympus, we can has telephoto prime?" call, and (along the same vein) ask Nikon for a 300/4 with VR.

Chris P said:

Being British I love ironic humour; this posting and the one on the two large rival corporations make you the winner for best of 2012 competition.

You mention Canon's 200-400 with a wait of 2-3 years, but Nikon beats them again with 5-6 years for an updated 80-400 ;-)

Ian Parr said:

Love your blog Roger. It's some of the funniest reading on the web.

Santa's obviously pretty busy so I doubt that everything on your list will come through. Come the New Year I'm wondering who among your wish list will be sporting a "new bicycle" smile and who will have the "oh great, socks again" face?

VAphotographer said:

You wrote 2009 for the announcement of the 200-400 but I didn't find any mention of it before last year. I don't even remember much rumors about it before - especially not as many as there are now before each announcement.

Ranger 9 said:

Lots of fun! Amendment: Fuji also needs some more actual, physical lenses, not just a handful and a bunch of "roadmap" promises. And it might be out of character for Santa, but Fuji also could use a way to strike their users colorblind: the color-smearing problem on the X-tran sensor is inherent in its design and is never going to go away, no matter what kind of raw converter they get in their stocking! Of course we know from Leica-land that committed users are really good at seeing aliasing and convincing themselves that it's "crisp detail," but smearing is harder to fantasize away...

DeeDee said:

LOL! Love this! Hope you had a beautiful Christmas, Roger. Yours is one of my favorite blogs!

Lee Saxon said:

LOL good stuff! One nit: I disagree on Nikon's aperture rings. I want them and everyone else to go back to aperture rings. I want my lenses to be usable on mirrorless via adapters and be future-proof for when Nikon suddenly decides to change the lens mount electronic protocols without warning (you know they'd do it).

1970's Nikkors are great in 2012. Will 2012 G Nikkors even make it to 2020?

Dr Croubie said:

If we want Santa to bring a present for Pentax, how about some actual customers? They've got great cameras using great Sony sensors with the K5 (ii), the only weather-sealed APS-C kit lens of anyone (that I know of), the AF might not be up to 7D standards but the IQ beats it to hell, and it's priced like a 60D.
If they need some big superteles to help them get customers, Santa can bring them some of those too.

Speaking of which, can Santa give Canon (or Nikon, or even Sigma/Tamron), some Weather Sealed APS-C kit lenses? Just tell Canon it won't really cannibalise their L lens sales if that's all that they're afraid of (nobody's going to buy a 7D with only a 24-105 main lens, or even if they are then a Weather Sealed 10-22 would be nice).

Esa Tuunanen said:

0.18 microns... Only six generations behind process used by Intel. 22nm would fit lot more functionality into pixel level circuitry on sensor. And I remember reading Sony using 65nm process.
But then again what with Canon's lack of innovation that's fittingly old tech for them.
Though I suspect there's lack of available 18 micron fabs unless someone turned one into museum.

Olympus needs hybrid AF, and working one like Nikon 1's, not like Canon's it's hybrid AF but operates no different from CDAF.
CDAF not knowing how much and to which direction focus is amiss is also reason for bad AF compatibility with 4/3 lenses.
With some additional lower end consumer lenses to fill line with high end teles from 4/3 they would have good line up. Actual focus tracking capability is needed anyway.
Another thing would be Pentax astrotracer like feature to make more use out of new IBIS.
And their designers could use book about ergonomics of human hand, they seem to have lost their copy and replaced it with Carl Bark's Lost in the Andes!

Which is what Panasonic has gotten exactly right in GH3 unlike other mirrorless makers.
Annoying, clumsy and ineffective to use even in good conditions fashion gimmicks and P&S menu surfing aren't worth a shit in cold... like in exposed fingers cooling in second and freezing in five if there's slightest wind cold.
Puts fun back to photography when camera has ergonomical grip and actual enthusiast level controls working reasonably well also with gloves.
Now if Panasonic would just get IBIS of Olympus to improve hand held low light capability with fast primes (which never have In Lens IS) and any possible lens you can attach.

Sony again has lenses disproportionate enough to NEX bodies so before even bigger lenses they need ergonomical body or otherwise they need to integrate controls and grip to lens so that camera is just rear cap of the lens which is carried on shoulder like M72 LAW.

Kai said:

@Esa: A 22nm process will only help the digital circuitry; it won't help much for analogue circuitry like the A/D converters on the sensor.

Fritz said:

@Sigma: A while back they produced the Kodak FF DSLR with a Canon mount. If they'd do the same for their present Foveon DSLR, they might get a lot of business from unhappy Canon owners who have too much L lass to switch to Nikon.

A said:

Dear Santa,

I have but one belated request for 2012: Please can you clone Roger, so we can enjoy even more of his articles?

Happy New Year, and I hope 2013 is a great year for everyone!

Joe said:

That 4/3 ED 150/2 tele is a bit rich at $2,500 plus the cost of a 4/3 to M43 adapter. How about a 120/2.5 or a 150/2.8 in the $800 to $1,000 range? That would even fit under the tree.

Graham Cifra said:

Regarding the universal mount thing: why exactly did Adaptall go away?

Eric said:

Bless you Roger, for giving joy and good tidings to all.
I hope you will write many a column in years to come....

Manuela said:

I don't need more Sony lenses, I am perfectly happy with my converter+Leica-R lenses. I need a FF-NEX :-)

Arturo said:

@Graham, because of EOS?

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