>I agree that we use our cameras at our own risk. I agree that >many of us push our cameras to their design/spec limits. What >I object to is: >1 Unrealistic or vague advertising claims, like 'professional >build quality and weather-proofing' (paraphrased)
I think that's where we diverge. I consider the D200, D300, D300s, D1-D4, D700 and D800 to be professional bodies with the build quality and weather resistance to match. Nikon never claimed any "weather-proofing" but I realize you were paraphrasing.
>2 Tools being less durable than 15, 20 0r 25 years ago, when >their real cost is probably comparable.
I disagree with this as well. I find that everything since the D2x and D200 have been at least as robust for my use as any Nikon body (or any other body) I ever used before. There are differences for sure, but none that have affected anything I've done and none that have let me down on the road.
You want flaky? Try any Leica M body during the '70s and '80s. I often travelled with three M bodies because the little buggers kept failing. It was a common complaint. Don't know how many different bodies I went through over the years, but I finally gave them up for Nikon.
I've got plenty of complaints about Nikon DSLR bodies. A D700 (my first one) that coughed up a dead AF module the first week I had the thing. The replacement (over the counter exchange at my dealer) worked perfectly for several years except for the times I dropped it. Even after the drops, it still worked well enough to finish trips and research projects. Plenty of factory quality control issues in recent years have reared their ugly heads too, and that surely detracts from the impression of Nikon quality.
>Nikon's film bodies were sufficiently modular to allow great >flexibility. Nikon could have made the D800E the studio type >body, equipped for tethering, with numerous interface options, >and made a D800T (for Tough) with a different unpierced base >plate, fewer interfaces, O rings on the thumbwheels (harder to >adjust, but that's the compromise), silicone keyboard type >buttons. We happily pay extra for no anti-aliasing filter and >I too would pay and extra 2 or 3 hundred for extra durability. >Field failures cost more in lost work.
I agree with all the proposed improvements. But I think they need to come in the form of special editions, just as you've suggested, because I do not want to pay extra for Tough features I've never needed, I don't want to pay extra for command dials that are harder to turn, and I absolutely don't want to pay extra for membrane covered buttons which I personally hate.
If Eddie Bauer can get together with GM to create special edition van and SUV models, why can't some other high profile third-party pitch Nikon on Tough-type special edition D3, D4, D800 and D7100 bodies? I doubt Nikon will do it because there's insufficient call for it.