Nikon, Sex, Hollywood & Marco Polo

Actually, I owe the title to Scott Kelby rather than the ongoing Nikon Marketing teaser where something ‘Nikon’ is claiming to be Sexy, Hollywood and Marco Polo, all rolled into one, with Innovation thrown somewhere in between. I could have waited for a couple of days for the mystery to reveal itself with the countdown cards, each with a companion trait, but I figured it is unlikely to make any difference to my final thoughts on the subject. And the credit to Scott Kelby? Well, I’ve stolen this trick of attracting readers with ‘fake titles’ from his famous book ‘Digital Photography’!

Don’t go away just yet. It is not really that bad. I will take a plunge right into the middle of Nikon, Sex, Hollywood, Marco Polo and all.

The Nippon Kogaku K. K. started operations as early as 1917. And while they have not been quite the originator or the innovator the way Leica or Pentax have been, they have perfected and produced some of the finest cameras and lenses the world has ever seen. They started out making lenses for Leica and Contax and ventured into manufacturing their own ‘Rangefinders’ and small cameras. The ‘F’, launched in 1959, is famed to have triggered a revolution in single lens reflex cameras. indeed, the successive ‘F’ series have gained cult status among professional photographers and photojournalists the world over, thanks to their ruggedness and system compatibility. Their mettle has been tested from the Antarctic to the Sahara, and even in the extremities of space, as exemplified by the numerous voyages aboard NASA spacecrafts. Even after the world went digital, Nikons have retained their class and fan following. The D2XS, and recently the D3S, were chosen by NASA for photographic documentation of their unearthly ventures. Going by their feats, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Nikon cameras had gone ahead and claimed, “I am Neil Armstrong”, instead. But to have made it a bit innovative, or rather sexed it up a bit with a Holywood twist to it, what about:

My name is Nikonus Decimus Meridius, Commander of the Armies of the Cameras….

As it turns out though, photographic excellence may not coexist with financial excellence. The fate of legends like Kodak and Pentax are rather sordid sagas of competition, marketing and psychological warfare. In the duopolistic scramble between Nikon and Canon today, Nikon cannot afford to lull themselves into complacency of success they are having with their DSLR cameras. They are frantically trying to gain a foothold in the curiously lost battle of compact cameras where Canon have been ruling, thanks to a slew of series and models which are good at what they do and are considered ‘sexy’ too, courtesy catchy shapes and colours. In fact, one of Canon’s famous series is even named ‘SX’, only a vowel short of the magic word! Big deal. Nikon now seem to have decided being rather direct about the sex part of the whole stinking thing. And within the sexy frame you have flashes of facts, fables and fictions a la Marco Polo. Very, very romantic!

Alas, if only the photographic equipment makers focused on producing cameras that remained sizable in the hands of photographers rather than chipmunks! If only the cameras just took great pictures instead of trying to churn out Holywood flicks, cutting out cheap audio albums, being internet browsers, turning into GPS navigators and mobile phone devices! If only, the cameras were left alone being cameras rather than being converted into skimpy, touchy, feely, sexy ipods with all modes merged into a single Sex-Priority mode that would auto-sense the sex of a subject and shoot even before you switched it on! Trust the Marketing gurus to induce you into asking just the same.


  1. Couldn’t agree more. Woh subah kabhi toh aayegi, when cameras will once again, just be themselves :). And a real camera is sexy(i.e. if your endocrine system is functioning normally), you don’t need to sex it up!

    I once had an opportunity to use a Nikon SP rangefinder with a rare Nikkor 50mm f/1.1, the fastest lens ever produced by Nikon. Needless to say I loved it!

  2. The Sixth Sense

    Folks, I posted “Nikon, Sex, Hollywood & Marco Polo” on March 05 2010 at 1:37 am India time which is set to UTC+5.30 hours. I’m sure you’d have come across the following line in my post:

    “Going by their feats, I wouldn’t have been shocked if Nikon cameras had gone ahead and claimed, “I am Neil Armstrong”, instead”

    Well, Nikon actually went ahead and said just that, i.e., “I am Neil Armstrong!”, somewhere in France on March 05, 2010! Remember, the clock in France is set to UTC+1 and even if they said this at the Zero hour of March 05 in France, I’ve clearly preceded them by 4.30 hours.

    Keep reading the prescient stuff here!

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