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Friday, 09 June 2017


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Easy Nikon should proclaim they are just about to bring out a real digital version of the Nikon Fm3a and digital version of one of their classic rangefinders.

Hi Mike;

A very good friend who was a Nikon USA Exec. Once told me that the factory people would always poll them for most wanted features in a new camera design. He said, often they weren't listened to. While the Canon engineers listened to their field people and more often incorporated wanted features in a new camera. He said it was a constant battle.

I'm slowly moving from FF to APS-C for my work cameras and I have decisions to make. Nikon's lack of dedicated DX prime lenses has been a serious issue with me, and I gather for many others too. As a vendor, I've always tried to give my customers what they want. It's a pretty simple business rule. I want happy, returning customers.

I think you're correct, Nikon may be Nikon's biggest problem.

Sigma, with their new Art lens series, is an example of how a smaller brand is gaining a prime spot in the high end lens market. Sigma saw a obvious hole and is filling it. I think this would have been simple thing for Nikon to have seen and responded to with a Nikkor series? They still have a lot of brand loyalty going for them. Those Sigma lenses sitting on Nikon cameras could have been Nikon lenses.. given a little listening to their customers.

Best of luck to them.

Since Nikon, et al, failed to foresee the impact of the cameraphone, they were left with two choices: come up with a mind-bending innovation that got everybody buying cameras again (they didn't and they won't) or figure out exactly who their remaining customers were and start giving them what they wanted.

It seems they concluded that their last buyers standing were old guys with money and decided to start price gouging in exchange for a few more features. Not a great deal, so I expect them all to be gone within ten years outside of Asia, except maybe Canon.

We're actually seeing innovation return via Kickstarter, but so far it's been mostly lenses and accessories. I saw one camera recently, the CROZ, but expect to see more pop up as the Japanese continue to cut their products (fare thee well, Nikon DL, I would have bought ye). 3D printing is opening to door to some weird stuff. If the world doesn't descend into totalitarianism or a nuclear apocalypse, the future of photography could be lots of fun.

Every DX format DSLR Nikon makes is terrific. That says something but the fact that the best DX wide zoom comes from Tokina says something too.
How about a 10 or 12mm f2 or something around 25mm 1.8? I suspect that with a couple of "cult" DX primes Nikon could hold on to some potential Fuji converts.

Hi Mike,

I agree with you Nikon has been unimaginative and too conservative over the last few years.

I'm mostly a macro photographer and have tried the Olympus EM1 and think the tilt LCD and focus peaking are great features. I have also tried the EM1 Focus stacking and focus bracketing feature which is absolutely fantastic.

I have on order an Olympus EM1ii and 60mm macro lens.

If Nikon had been as innovative as Olympus has been I would have stayed with them.

Regards ..... Aubrey

What's curious in Mike's analysis of Nikon (which I can't argue with - Nikon is great at what they've been doing for decades and not so great and doing new things or figuring out what new things to do) is why Canon is doing so much better. Canon and Nikon had much closer shares of the market just a few years ago, yet Canon now outsells Nikon something like 2-to-1. I know their (Canon's) mirrorless cameras are selling surprisingly well, but that alone doesn't account for it. It Nikon's lineup of DSLRs looks great next to Canon's - between Sony's sensors and Nikon's overall competence, you can't look at the two lineups and conclude that Canon should be outselling Nikon. I can come up with 3 possible explanations. First, Nikon had a couple public relations issues stemming from problems with a couple cameras and their reluctance to do anything about it. Related to that, Nikon is probably perceived as being behind the times even though they put out a slightly more comprehensive mirrorless system before Canon (unfortunately, it flopped due to Nikon's aforementioned problems knowing what to do differently). Second, video. Canon designs and markets to videographers and Nikon seems pretty uninterested in that market. Third, Sony. I think Thom indicated that it has to do with licensing, but you have companies able to come up with adapters to use Canon lenses on Sony bodies with reasonably good AF, meaning people with an investment in Canon gear can dabble in the Sony system ... or people looking at DSLRs know that they can buy Canon and have options in the future. There isn't really a mirrorless option for Nikon lens owners (Nikon 1 with its 2.7X crop and Sony with very recent and iffy adapters).
Canon suffers from some of the same issues as Nikon - a stale and incomplete APS-C lens lineup and a lack of a mirrorless system that seriously competes with Olympus/Panasonic/Fuji/Sony - and a reputation for subpar sensors to boot, but somehow manage to sell a lot more cameras than Nikon.

At this moment, Nikon's financial health is fine.

The problem is investors don't believe Nikon's business can grow. If revenues and profits remain stagnant, the stock price will decrease.

The issue is Nikon's upper management. Their business model's core is to avoid any intra-company threat to FX body and lens sales. This would be great if the FX body market was growing. The slow pace of new DX lens development and the uncompetitive CX line indicates Nikon fears cannibalization of FX sales. This strategy's economic consequences combined with the destruction of their cash cow P&S business has forced Nikon to be even more conservative.

I welcome any alternative explanation for Nikon's stagnation.

Admittedly hindsight is 20-20. At one time Nikon had the potential to lead the m4/3 market and do exactly what FUJIFILM's did with APS-C. It is tragic Nikon choose to circle the wagons around the FX business instead.

FUJIFILM's new GFX line is a direct attack on Nikon' FX, non-action photography market share. The GFX can use just about any lens with an appropriate image circle. Customers who value sensor surface area will be attracted to the GFX. The sensor area increase combined with a read noise/dynamic range advantage is hard to ignore (data here).

Comparison's with Canon are of limited use. Canon's non-still camera business lines generate a lot of cash. No one invests in Canon because of their still photography business. FUJIFILM has the same advantage.

Nikon won't disappear. But there is no evidence they will change. Photographers who value FX bodies and lenses have no worries. Most everyone else has either moved on or will eventually leave Nikon. This sad state of affairs seems to be Nikon's intention. Investors sense a slow motion, downward spiral.

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