For this week’s Engadget Interview, journalist J.D. Lasica spoke with Steve Heiner, the head of Nikon‘s digital single lens reflex systems, about how Nikon is faring in the transition to a digital world, its new line of D70S and D50 cameras, and the hullabaloo about Nikon’s encrypting white balance metadata in RAW image files in some of its cameras. Or at least he tried. Heiner, an accomplished photographer, spoke from Nikon’s headquarters in Melville, NY, with two media representatives listening in.
Let’s start with the big picture. In the age of film, Nikon was always known as the class of camera manufacturers. How has Nikon been faring now that we’re transitioning to the digital age?
Nikon has had a line of SLR cameras for many, many years. Even before we started making SLR cameras, we were making world-class Nikkor optics. Our reputation has been built over the years as much on our lenses as on our camera bodies. We take a great deal of pride in that.
Twenty years ago, when I first joined the company, I got a peek at some of our first digital products. Back then, Nikon was the first to introduce the NP1000, a film transmitter designed for photojournalists at newspapers. You could web process a C41 or a black-and-white negative and scan it using this device, and it had a modem built in so you could transmit the photograph.