< ! --Digital window verification 001 -->

Nikon is still committed to their mirrorsless and Coolpix cameras

In a recent interview with AP, Nikon ensured their commitment to the Nikon 1 mirrorless camera system:

Despite the challenging market, Nikon says it remains committed to the CSC format.

‘I think you can say from the launch of the AW version of the Nikon 1 that we are committed to investing in what could be seen as a niche market,' continued Gilbert.

‘So, within the flexibility of the Nikon 1 platform we are able to produce products for [different] sectors.'

However, Tanaka would not be drawn on Nikon's plans for CSC in 2014, only saying that the firm will continue to support this area.

In the latest press release for the production of 85 million Nikkor lenses, Nikon also mentioned their commitment to the Nikon 1 system:

With eleven total lenses included in the 1 NIKKOR lens lineup, Nikon remains committed to expanding and enriching the lens offerings for Nikon 1 shooters.

nikon-coolpix-cameras-ashton-kutcher-ad

In another interview at CES, Nikon UK executives stated that they still see future in compact Coolpix cameras:

The market might be smaller but we are still talking millions of units in the UK... Does Nikon want a good slice of that? Yes.

Why have we released a range of cameras? As other brands reduce their range, it actually gives us some opportunities to fill the gaps that are still there. We can own that market.

This entry was posted in Nikon 1, Nikon Point and Shoot. Bookmark the permalink. Trackbacks are closed, but you can post a comment.
  • Jon Ingram

    Good for them, but I’m not interested. Nikon 1 series has good AF but sensor size is too small. I love Nikon for full frame. I love Fuji for mirror-less.

    • Spy Black

      Actually, it looks like Nikon has finally awaken to the stupidity of their Nikon 1 design and are poised to turn, at least the Vx, into a fully capable camera. We’ll have to wait and see if they price it intelligently as well. For the present price of a V2, you can buy far more outstanding cameras. The J series appears to be destined to utter uselessness however. We’ll have to wait and see.

      • phil

        Back when I bought a J1, it was a replacement for my Powershot G p&s. It didn’t have the controls, but the IQ was more important to me. If I was shopping for a P&S to complement my dslr, I would pick the RX100.

        • Spy Black

          Yeah, no doubt RX100 (II) FTW, albeit way too pricey.

      • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

        Your point touches on Nikon’s other issues. We all agree Nikon makes a confusing lineup of camera bodies, this in turn leads to major inventory issues. But Nikon also prices its stuff in a nutty way — the Nikon 1 system bodies being the most egregious example (where they slashed prices then raised them again then slashed them again, leading to an array of annoyed customers and confused and wary potential customers). So far, Nikon has basically survived, even thrived, because the camera business as a whole is badly run. In an era of just-in-time manufacturing, Nikon massively overbuilds and sticks stuff in warehouses, then plays pricing and currency speculation games hoping to offload its backlog in the future. This works (for now) fairly well with lenses, which keep their value, and worked OK in the film camera days when nothing changed much for long periods of time, but it’s highly doubtful Nikon is going to make any money on its inventory of D3x bodies.

        • YS

          Exactly. All these DX/FX snobs that can’t get a decent image out of a 1 camera are probably just hardware snobs. The real problems with the line were the terrible UI for the enthusiast-oriented camera (V1, ugh) and the crazy pricing. US$900 for the V1?

    • Studor13

      Why do people keep saying the sensor is too small?

      If the sensor is DX or FX sized you may as well just using Nikon’s current bodies.

      The whole point of CX is for smaller lenses. (I have 3 CX and 30+ FX/DX lenses)

      Go and compare a CX lens with one from say NEX.

      • looking

        wow… you have a lens for every photo you took?

        • Studor13

          Thank you for your contribution to this thread.

          Just wondering if you gave yourself a thumbs up though.

      • phil

        Because it is.
        It should have been at least m43.
        What people want is a large sensor in smaller body with smaller lenses. A m43 style body coupled with a slow pancake zoom and small f2 primes would sell definitely more, than a 1″ sensor system that got obsolete as soon as Sony released their RX100.

      • zoetmb

        Except that it’s possible to make a small-bodied camera with a larger sensor. Nikon themselves did it with the Coolpix A. I also think Sony NEX got it right. If I want a shirt-pocket camera, I’ll use my smartphone. If the Nikon 1 line had been DX, I would have bought one. Having a sensor that’s not only not DX, but almost 50% smaller than 4/3 is what made those cameras unsuccessful, IMO.

        Of course, price was a huge factor as well: $900 originally for the V1 body (no lens) and $800 for the V2 body? That’s absurd. Although $297 (discounted from $600) for the J3 body was probably a great deal. I almost regret not picking one up.

        While the CX sensor is 4x the size of the 1/2.3″ sensor that Nikon is so fond of using in the Coolpix line, it’s still way too small.

        • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

          I’d go even further.

          Consider the Rollei 35 (roughly the size of a pack of cigarettes, full frame 35mm film camera with hard controls for all settings). Surely you can fit the battery and electronics where the film spools used to go. (Well, Apple, Samsung, or Sony can.). For that matter, look at a Nikon 50mm f1.8 AF-D. The only thing preventing that lens from being pancake size is its integral hood/focus ring.

      • Jon Ingram

        @Studor13. In my opinion, Nikon the Nikon 1 system is large relative to it’s sensor size. Let me explain. I shoot a Nikon D800 when size is a non-issue. I shoot Fuji-Xe2 (APS-C sensor) when I want a very small and compact system. I bring the rx100 in my pocket or briefcase in situations where I can’t have a larger camera (1″ sensor). Different tools for different purposes. The Fuji system really isn’t that much larger than the Nikon 1 system, but the photo quality if offers is outstanding. Is it a slightly larger system? Yes, but not by much. And it’s MUCH smaller than all of those Nikon DX systems/lenses you were referring to in your post.

        • Studor13

          Jon, I don’t disagree with you but you need to remember that V1 shooters are not that fussed about absolute quality. Like you, I have a D800 for that.

          What is great about the V1 is that the for the size you get unbelievable AF, adequate stills and video quality, and the fabulous FT-1 for those who want to use their F-mount lenses.

          I recently got back from a family short trip from Asia and took only the V1 and two lenses.

          30x45cm prints look fabulous!

          Here are some images taken with the excellent 18.5mm (50mm fov) lens, if you want a look.
          http://issuu.com/studor13/docs/hol_cambodia

          I’m glad that Nikon will stay committed to the 1 system because I will now seriously think about the 32mm f1.2, which I understand is a killer lens.

          • KnightPhoto

            Fantastic Cambodia gallery Studor and direct evidence why the 1 system actually is a great one!

            What the naysayers don’t seem to get is:
            - the total kit size with lenses IS a significant benefit of the 1 inch sensor. Wait till we get the super-telephotos ;-)
            - of course the AF is unparalleled by any competitor. For me this is important, perhaps not for them.
            - I do agree with naysayers that a built-in-lens RX100 competitor is needed.
            - it seems clear that one-day a DX-mirrorless will arrive from Nikon, with all the 1-system features. Given it is to be expected a DX mirrorless will come at some future date, doesn’t mean the 1-system will be cancelled at that time. The two will coexist together, in which case why denigrate the 1-system now?

            Like you I am also considering the 32mm now. The 1-system with primes is very compact and fast primes keep the IQ up.

        • http://marsweekly.wordpress.com/ Mars Observer

          But what do you shoot when you want a small, compact system with a 80-300mm lens?

      • Michael Laing

        I felt at the time of release that Nikon released the one series with a smaller sensor because they wanted the camera to have a faster fps rate and that is one of the primary reasons they put in the expeed 3 processor and in most ways the camera succeeded in doing that. It’s Af system was very fast and in theory it isn’t a bad camera. The problem is that other manufacturers have been in the market much longer and created better mirrorless cameras. The 2 big problems were the way Nikon over priced the product and for me the horrible flash mount. I though the V2 was quite a good camera, when it was released, fingers crossed the V3 will be better and have a normal flash mount.

  • MMS

    mirrorless

  • click

    This could be dangerous. As Apple presented the first iPhone nobody at Nokia thinks that Apple could be dangerous for them. Because Apple had only one phone model and Nokia had plenty of them. One for every gap on the phone market. Now (seven years later) take a look at Nokia.

    • John

      Exactly right – they just don’t get it, it’s really quite baffling.

      They have no idea how to build a strong brand, hell, they don’t even know how to properly name a device.

      • Global

        They really don’t know at all, do they.

        A lot of these kinds of problems are often caused by “generalists” in Asian businesses (especially older ones with very long histories). They tend to promote and rotate and rotate from within the ranks, but the Marketing people get very incestuous and everything is highly sensitive to politics, instead of metrics.

        That’s the only way you end up with all these crappy compromises in products you see; Nikon needs a Renaissance moment like Fujifilm. Its not that Nikon is doing bad — in fact, in most ways they are doing great — the problem is that its a “curse of the blessings.”

        Sometimes the longer you can “survive” by doing something one way (that has been highly successful in the distant past), the worse of you are for the long-term future. Sometimes you just have to wipe a slate clean and get fresh blood, professionalize the ranks (dont just rotate), weed out the politics and egos, and put in place VERY SERIOUS metrics, especially for consumer satisfaction.

        For example, does anyone honestly believe that the Df should not have had video or should have had the very poor 39-pt AF system (its not poor because 39 points, its poor because it doesn’t focus well in the dark, compared to the 51 pt system, which is more advanced and sensitive in the D800 and D4). No. The only reason this happened is because of stagnation in the executive ranks and politics. And how about how GPS can be built into lower cameras, while FX has these huge monstrocity dongles? These things happen when an organization stagnates and begins to go brain dead to PR, in favor of internal politics instead.

        • Spy Black

          The Df used off-the-shelf economical components because Nikon figured it would fill a small market. The primary target of the Df, if you think about it, are old Japanese men, who happen to have disposable income. Hence it’s price. The Df is to the Japanese male market what the Nikon 1 system is the the Japanese female market. Of course the Df is also attractive to older photographers across the globe. Like myself.

          It’s mistakenly looked at as a “hipster” product. Nothing could be further from the truth. If it sells in that market, all the better, but if you take a long, hard look at the entire makeup of the Df, it’s blatantly clear where the market demographics for it’s development came from.

          Hence Nikon saw it as a win-win scenario to use off-the-shelf components to make a camera they KNEW would appeal to those who want to use their old lenses, work the camera old-school style, and don’t give a shìt about it’s lack of video capability.

          Nikon knows me well…

          • Hung Leica Horse

            Spy Black, go back to Elementary school. I counted at least three times you wrongly use “it’s” instead of “its”: it’s price, it’s development, it’s lack of video.
            Or, is that also old-school style…. hipster perhaps?

            • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

              The only thing worse than a pedant (and I am one) is a pedant who is wrong. He used ‘it’s” correctly in two cases and incorrectly in the third. My guess is that it’s a typo. In any event, everyone makes typos in comments — attack the arguments not the typing.

            • Hung Leica Horse

              Ok, Spy Black’s superhero, I’ll attack your arguments. Blaming autocorrect is just simply lame. Anyone with half brain knows that that thing can be turned off, or you can always go back and read what you just typed to check that either you or autocorrect didn’t screw up.

            • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

              “Simply lame” and “anyone with half a brain” — excellent debating and use of evidence. Also nice use of straw man — I did not “blame” anything, I simply suggested it as an option. I’m hardly spy black’s ardent defender — I disagree with him (or her) as often as I agree, I just prefer civil discussion on the points over name calling and nit picking. In your earlier post you also used quotation marks inconsistently — shall we fight about that now?

            • Spy Black

              Maybe you should go back to grammar school and learn correct reading comprehension. Then you wouldn’t post an embarrassing comment like you just did for not understanding what I actually wrote.

            • mikeswitz

              “Ok, Spy Black’s superhero…” Either that’s a typo or you need to go back to Elementary school. And don’t blame auto correct!

            • Spy Black

              Yeah, my lousy grammar. Now what was I talking about?…

          • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

            While I agree with most of your arguments (and it’s possible the 39-pt AF module was used because of size constraints) it would be nice if the Df were true to this concept instead of half-assed. Where’s the split prism focusing screen?

            Given how well the Df seems to have done in the marketplace, maybe it will be followed by a more fully-thought-out version. (E.g. I’d ditch the rear LCD in favor of smaller size and better WiFi support.)

            • Ronan

              The split prism focusing screen was, deemed by Nikon, unnecessary.

              So it’s not there.

            • umeshrw

              Of course it was deemed unnecessary by nikon. That is why they didn’t include it. But why should WE ( consumers) justify it?

            • Spy Black

              As I mentioned in another thread, I think the Df’s lack of appropriate MF focusing screen has to do with hurt pride from losing their leadership role to Canon for slacking on AF technology early on. Seems to me they’re trying to never associate themselves to MF anything, in that respect. It’s obvious the Df is in desperate need of a true MF focusing screen as an optional accessory.

          • NoMeJodas

            “Of course the Df is also attractive to older photographers across the globe”

            Not to all of them. I’m not thaaaaat old ;-) but I shoot (D)SLRs and RF since 1985 so I guess I do qualify :-). I was actually very excited about the Df as the rumors first came up and Nikon started its “Pure Photography” campaign short after. Then came the big disappointment upon its release. I can assure you that there is nothing about the Df that would appeal to me in the slightest (and yes I had it in my hands in a photo store few weeks ago). Its not about the price, its about the half-baked design, bad ergonomics and strange operation concept, the contrary to everything I associate with good old film cameras.

            But this is just me and my opinion which is based on my own shooting style and personal needs. I wish everybody who is satisfied with the Df because it works for them much fun with it! It is just not for me as an older photographer. That’s why I’m answering your comment.

            Cheers

            • Spy Black

              I wasn’t implying that ALL older photographers would like the camera, but it did bring you into the store to check it out, right? You were hoping it would be a good old-school camera like you had hoped. Why you didn’t are your own reasons. Other than the lack of a dedicated MF focusing screen, and price, the Df is the digital camera I have been waiting a long time for. It unfortunately for me is priced out of my reach for now.

            • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

              I’d have been all over the Df it it had either (a) been true to its roots (i.e. a “manual” DSLR first with automation being relegated to second place) or (b) a true hybrid combining the best of digital with the best of analog (in a way that I think Fujifilm accomplished with the X100 and the X Pro-1). Instead it seems like a compromised, poorly thought out, and — worst of all — intentionally crippled attempt to jump on the retro bandwagon.

          • Ronan

            Spot on. Internet trolls don’t see it, but anyone with a brain can tell what Nikon is doing.

          • Michael Laing

            But if they had put a little more effort into it and it up a little (still with off the shelf parts (AF system) shutter system. They could have made a camera, which would have been universally praised and appealed to a greater audience.

            It could have been a great camera and most people were hoping for a great camera, what Nikon released was a good camera but nothing special.

  • Tom UK

    Committed suicide more like.

  • Tom UK

    Committed suicide more like. They just dont listen to their customers. Good luck.

  • Gary S

    Then why don’t they show their commitment to the 1 series by putting out some fast lenses to make up for the tiny sensor?

    • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

      Are you high?!

      What the 1 series needs is a new 10-100mm zoom (f5.3-6.7) and another kit zoom (preferably with a narrower range than 10-30mm and no stabilization) (f3.9-5.9). Slow zooms are awesome.

      And maybe another body with new novelty video modes, selectable using the camera’s only physical control. (Perhaps improve the choice of musical accompaniment for the moving still mode.)

      As long as it uses an external GPS module, has no WiFi support, and is introduced at a price of $900 but gets slashed to $400 by Christmas, I’ll be happy.

      For bonus points, perhaps a different custom hotshoe design.

      And, of course, it has to come in Chartreuse.

      • Thom Hogan

        Yeah, and maybe we should make them bigger and heavier by encasing them in water-sealed cages…

  • Mansgame

    With the money they paid Ashton, they could have offered a recall for the D600. That is all.

    • Spy Black

      A woman scorned…

    • Degsy

      It aint happening.You’re now whining at an olympic gold medal standard about your D600.Do everyone a favour and fuck off to Canon

  • whisky

    it typically takes a few years from planning to production before a new camera can be released. i wouldn’t be surprised at all, if they cancelled their initial V3 prototype, in favor of a more cost/effective one. this might delay the announcement of the next V3 model until later this year. JMO.

  • rt-photography

    “…We can own that market”

    what market? smartphones own that market..

    • Thom Hogan

      I get what you’re saying, but Nikon’s response would probably be: there are still close to 50m compact cameras being sold and we’re the leader in those sales now. Even if the compact market declined another 30% this coming year, that’s still probably at least 35m potential sales to pursue. As the other players leave the market, that makes it easier for us to pick those sales up.

      Of course, that’s a short-term thing only. The following year there would only be 22m or so sales to pursue, then 15m, and so on. Given that they currently sell 9m or so Compacts, if they could continue that they’d eventually be a very big fish in a very small pond.

      I’m not going to fault Nikon for pursuing sales in markets they already have products and experience in. What I will find fault with them is that they have not shown what the future will be for them as a company. What product is going to restore growth? At the moment it isn’t going to be steppers, DSLRs, mirrorless, or compacts. So unless they have something totally secret up their sleeves, they are adrift in the doldrums BEST CASE.

      • rt-photography

        Youre talking sales and marketing im talking about dumbed down simple. In every wedding for the past 4 months or so not once have i seen anyone with a p&s camera. All were holding their smartphones. they want to grind water thats fine by me.

        • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

          That’s what many photographers don’t get. Smartphones have little to no control, other than the latest Nokia, yet end users rarely complain about a lack of controls. This was the Nikon 1 idea at launch, yet the biggest complaint on the internet was about the lack of knobs. The irony is completely missed by most people commenting here.

  • John

    Yeah sure… release a million crappy devices to “own the market”… what a brilliant strategy.
    I am sure the consumers deeply care and know about the profound and earth-shattering differences between the Coolpix S2800, S3600, S4400, S6600 and S6700.

    What consumers are definitely not interested in, though, is a single device which integrates well with the rest of their gadgets. A device that is not ten years behind on the software side compared to Android and iOS-Devices. A device that has a bigger sensor than their cellphone and a distinct design, that’s not boring as hell.

  • Roy’s

    Nikon has the great engineering team, but probably the worst product planning or business strategy team. The feedback or market sharing of their “Nikon 1″ is the answer.

    • Bobby

      Agree. I was really confused when their management said that “we know there is high demand of Nikon S rangefinder system, so we did the DF project” ???

      • Matts

        Fuji is going to announce another camera exactly like FM2 (They call FUJICA). It is interesting to see how market reacts to this camera. If this FUJI succeeds, it will be a big slap to Nikon.

        http://www.fujirumors.com/x-t1-no-double-sd-card-slot-but-super-fast-writing-speed-uhs-ii-and-8fps-with-af-tracking/

        • whisky

          wonder if it would use the F mount?

        • Thommy

          This is what I imagined when we I knew that Nikon had a retro style DSLR.

        • Mike

          It will be APS-C at $1000+ less than the Df. It will succeed by default.

          • Daniels

            No..it’s not because of sensor size or price. The main point is how a camera is designed. Df is like the operation of mix and match. There are so many people who seek for digital FM2, but Df is not even close to FM2 in terms of style and design. Fuji, on the other hand, will offer another choice which is based on simplicity like FM2. I would like to see how it looks and the feeling of control too.

          • Spy Black

            As long as you don’t mind using Fujinon optics.

            • Stephen

              What’s wrong with Fujinon optics?

            • Spy Black

              I guess I phrased that incorrectly. I meant that if you have an arsenal of Nikkor gear, you’re gonna have to jump ship. I have nothing against Fujinons. My first two digital cameras were an S9000 and E900. Fuji makes good stuff.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Agreed. The issue of re-buying lenses was one of the issues for me to not go towards Fuji X. The other issue is responsiveness, though they appear to be improving with every new model release.

            • http://z7photo.com/ Csaba

              Heh, don’t mind?? One of the reason to switch to Fuji (at least for DX) is the pitiful DX lens line-up. Meanwhile, all Fuji optics get raving reviews, and they’ve covered all important primes. They have a zoom that is 1 stop faster than any DX Nikkor (18-55 F/2.8-4) with excellent optical performance, and fast constant zooms are on the roadmap, along with a fast tele.

              That is just one of the reasons I’m not going to give Nikon my money when my backup camera craps out (d7000, my main camera is the d800).

            • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

              Note that There’s an 18-55 f2.8 DX nikkor.

            • Spy Black

              Well, incorrect wording on my part. I have nothing against Fujinons. Fuji makes good products and good optics. I just meant you’re gonna have to jump ship if you want to go that route. If you don’t mind being an APS-C user, that camera looks red-hot!

            • mikeswitz

              My favorite lens right now is the Fujinon 23mm f1.4.. It’s not cheap, but aside from being slightly soft at the corners, it renders beautiful images wide open, it is very fast focusing, and very solidly built. Who minds Fujinon lenses?
              BTW, your spelling and grammer have been pretty damn good.

            • Dpablo unfiltered

              Wow. A 35 f2 you have there for HOW MUCH????

            • mikeswitz

              I paid $800 and it’s worth every penny. I wouldn’t sell it for 9 which is what they cost NOW!!!!

            • mikeswitz

              Wait, aren’t you the guy that owns a gajillion Nikon legacy lenses? And you are asking me how much i paid for a lens I really like? Huh?

            • Spy Black

              As I mentioned in other posts, I didn’t mean to imply that Fujinons are bad lenses, I just meant that you’d have to jump ship to make the best of that rumored camera.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              You mean the television and movie Fujinons, or the large format Fujinons like at this link? http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/fujinon.htm

            • Spy Black

              If your reply was relative to my last comment, then I’d have to make a wider statement that Fuji makes good stuff all around.

        • Andrew71

          No sale, my FM2 has to have a mirror.

        • http://z7photo.com/ Csaba

          Fuji is already slapping Nikon across the (DX) board with their lens selection, quality after-sales support (as opposed to Nikon) and great ergonomics.

          I can’t believe it took Nikon 4 years to design the Df. My main problem is ergonomics (locked EC button on the wrong side Nikon?) which Fuji gets just right when it comes to retro. Everything else is OK (and the sensor is brilliant of course).

  • 32 1.2

    If they are committed, why there is still no V3?
    Love the 1 system, wait desperately for more.

    • whisky

      they may have had to make a few $ adjustments?

    • LarryC

      Committed does not mean they plan on investing in expanding the product line. It minimally means as long as they can continue to sell product and make more money than they spend, they will continue to do so. They would be fools to leave money on the table. They would also be fools to throw money at a dying market.

    • Mansgame

      I still feel ashamed for recommending the V1 to a friend who wanted to get started in photography and instead of a DSLR I suggested she learn with the V1 instead. I can’t even look her in the eye now.

      • Studor13

        Whilst the V1 is not a great camera for learning it is nevertheless a very fine camera. I also have a D300 and a D800.

        A few months back I bought my wife a Sony NEX 5. She used it a couple of times but one day I gave her the V1 to try. Now, she doesn’t even look at the NEX anymore.

        For her the V1 is just great. One thing that she likes more than anything else is that you can shoot a V1 completely silent. The sort of discretion some women just love.

        A DSLR is perhaps better for learning but your friend can learn a lot from the V1. I know I have.

        • groucher

          The V1 is a great all-rounder but its real strength is speed. There’s nothing else currently on the market that comes close for action photography. The use of FF IF lenses with the FT1 adapter turn this camera into something special.

          A lot of guff is written about the V1 ‘only’ having a 1 inch 10mp sensor but this is easily adequate for A3 prints even at quite high ISOs. For video, the V1 is far better and easier to use than my D800.

          • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

            I find it easy to shoot video when I meant to shoot a still :-) But yes I agree with you entirely.

      • graham johnson

        My wife loves her V1, She was very clear she didn’t want a DSLR. PQ wise its very good, better than the knockers would have you believe….

  • LarryC

    “As other brands reduce their
    range, it actually gives us some opportunities to fill the gaps that are
    still there. We can own that market.”

    It must have been wonderful to have been a shareholder of the last manufacturer of buggy whips a century ago when they were told by management that “today, we officially own 100% of the market!”

    • JonB

      What makes you think there is no longer a whip market? Google around; you will find several that seem to be thriving. Just because a market is shrinking doesn’t mean there isn’t profit to be made in it.

      • Thom Hogan

        True. Nikon went from being fifth or so in the compact camera market share to being first, mainly because they’re still iterating and pushing those cameras on the declining market.

        Nikon’s boxed themselves into a very tricky place, and I’m starting to think they might not get out. If, as I suspect, that Apple/Google/Microsoft further disrupt compact cameras by pushing into smartphone add-ons, the position gets trickier. I saw someone above mention Nokia, and that’s exactly Nikon’s problem: they could be the next Nokia if they don’t watch out. Note that Sony is already going down the smartphone add-on way with the QX, but the real problem with such devices is software, not hardware. It’ll be the software players that eventually dominate it. Sensors and lenses et.al. are just parts.

        Nikon’s also hooked on the “we finally beat Canon” thing, too. By keeping even keel in DSLRs and now beating Canon in compacts and mirrorless, Nikon can claim to be the largest camera maker. If they were to cut back on compacts, they’d end up slipping right back to #2. Their fragile egos can’t handle that, apparently.

        People get on my case when I start predicting trouble ahead for companies. I’m generally looking further ahead than they can see. When I wrote early this century that Pentax wasn’t viable, I got a lot of flack for that. People thought that Hoya buying them proved they were viable in cameras, but Hoya didn’t buy them for cameras, which is why they sold them further to Pentax.

        Nikon’s now starting to show the same rigor mortis that was problematic at Pentax. I currently don’t see how they navigate the next pivot in the imaging market if they’re going to continue to just iterate on the current platforms. Maybe they have something up their sleeve that none of us can see, but the thing that bothers me is that I see no evidence at Nikon of the notion that software will eventually dominate imaging. That’s disturbing. There are already so many software things that Nikon isn’t doing today. They are ripe for disruption by the right combination of software and parts.

        I remember an argument I had with a key Nikon engineering leader years ago. He wanted to know what program I’d write for a camera if the camera were programmable. He didn’t like my answer. He thought that I’d say something that did pixel manipulation. I said that it would involve removing workflow hurdles for the user (the same answer that Lightroom’s developers were working on, by the way).

        The difference is illustrative: Nikon sees cameras as an engineering problem (make the pixels better). I see cameras as a user tool that introduces work inefficiencies in its current form. Manipulating a pixel is an algorithm, or an engineering answer that doesn’t involve humans. Handling workflow is a high-level design function that absolutely involves humans.

        • Maji

          Thom,
          Thank you for your insight. Really appreciated. I think Nikon needed that “No. 1″ camera maker to make them feel more secure since they lost out to Canon a couple of decades ago. Perhaps the Japanese look at pride in a different way than we do… there is pride in committing suicide and I hope that Nikon is not going down that path.

          Perhaps Nikon is working with some smartphone company to supply the camera end of the phone/tablet. I really hope Nikon does that because it is a thriving market.

          As for Nikon seeing cameras as an engineering challenge, I am glad that they do. That is why we are seeing products like D800, which are pushing the boundaries. However, they need to look at the workflow aspect, but then in my mind that should come after the hardware/camera challenge.

          • Thom Hogan

            The “camera” in a smartphone is a few dollar part. Okay, maybe a really sophisticated one is in the low tens of dollars. The product margins are low because everyone is competing for that market. So how exactly is Nikon going to make money and get sales/profit growth there? They’d need a huge win on a really high volume phone to even get a return that was worth putting in their financial statement.

            So let’s do a roll call.

            Apple? No. Apple is likely to continue down their current path.
            Samsung? No. They just merged their camera division into the phone group, and they make some pretty nice cameras.

            Hmm. Who else is there with huge smartphone volume? Nokia is now Microsoft and they’re aligned with Zeiss. Sony can just use Sony stuff. We’re starting to get down into the Android clones that all want “reduced parts costs” not “hugely great image quality.”

            I told Nikon four years ago that their only bet was probably Nikon Inside, and that wouldn’t solve their camera problem, though it might keep their brand visible.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I think a different direction would be the new path to follow. You mentioned it in the past Thom, that Nikon had little to no presence in video. Look at how well that GoPro camera sells. There are systems from Contour and JVC which are technically better, yet GoPro sells quite well. Nikon could either buy, or partner, with one of the companies competing with GoPro. Sony is already in that market too.

            • Spy Black

              The mini video camera market may not be a good route for Nikon to take, GoPro owns that world.Nikon would have to be insanely innovative and fast-moving to beat that market, or even hold it’s head above water in it.

              The professional video market on the other hand to me is ripe for a professional Nikon video camera. A camera (or a tiered series of cameras) designed for cinematography and ergonomically engineered as such, that can fit every Nikkor back to Ai, and intelligently priced. That’s a market I can see Nikon competing in.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Nikon wants to be in high volume consumer markets. Flagship products are good for marketing the brand, but I don’t see how revenue would pour in through professional video. So far only a few of the Sony action cams have Zeiss optics. Nikon could enter into that segment of the market, perhaps even with optics for GoPro, though I think a more direct approach would be better.

              Where is all the prototype video gear shown at the Nikon 1 launch. Some people have shown a 4K capability from a V1, but where is the proper fully implemented 4K from Nikon?

            • Spy Black

              We’ll have to see where Nikon goes with video. The forthcoming 1-series, at least the V, may possibly redeem themselves with a few real-world functions. We’ll see.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Of course Nikon could make high priced dedicated Cine lenses, like Canon introduced recently. Just make the aperture control stepless, mark it as T-stops, implement dedicated manual focus with gear integration for focus knob mounting. Also, make the lens body fat enough to easily mount matte boxes, then make the price at least 4x higher.

            • mikeswitz

              This is basically what i repied to Thom a couple of weeks ago. I think it is too late for Nikon in the pro-cine market. Nikon historically has been a great optics company. that is where their strength lies. They have the capability to make truly great cinema lenses. It is their brand and it will be their legacy.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              As prestigious as Cine lenses may be for a brand, I don’t see that direction as one that would improve revenues at Nikon. If there were dedicated consumer video options, then Cine lenses make sense to promote those sales. Otherwise Cine lenses are just producturbation.

            • mikeswitz

              There could be levels to their cine lens brand. Pro-sumer thru full blown production lenses. A real cine lens is more than marking T-stops and follow focus gears. We are talking about lenses that will outresolve the very best 4k sensors and that will be projected on Imax screens the size of a Walmart. The lens you stick on your D4s or Canon 1Dwhatever to pretend you are making a big budget movie won’t do (although they should make those lenses as well). Tell Angenieux, Cooke, Arri and Zeiss that the manufacture of professional lenses (zooms and primes) are just productrubation. I’m not saying if Nikon were to start producing quality cine lenses it would turn around their fortunes tomorrow. But it could help. Both as a brand and a publicly held company.
              ps. tell it to panavision as well.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I’m not knocking the quality, but financially Nikon is not going to turn around the company by making Cine lenses. ARRI, Zeiss, and Schneider Cine lenses I have seen, but these are not high volume lenses. That’s what I mean by producturbation, in that Cine lenses at Canon are not generating significant revenues. These high end lenses are like Ford making the Ford GT supercar; sales volumes are low, but there is brand prestige in doing high end equipment.

              Consumers who buy video either do that with a DSLR, or they buy a fixed lens video camera. Nikon could basically follow the path of Canon and Sony into that market, though I think the action compact camcorder market would be the high volume sales direction.

              Leica make high end, and high priced, Cine lenses, yet do not make a dedicated high end camcorder. They do design optics for Panasonic camcorders. Nikon is conspicuously absent from the sector, as Thom has mentioned. If Nikon made high end Cine lenses, then I doubt they could sell even 1000 of each lens, though that would be along the lines of other companies already making high end Cine lenses.

            • mikeswitz

              Canon is not in the game. Schneider is not in the game. I’ve never seen a Leica lens on set unless it was attached to an M. Nothing in Hollywood production, by the very definition,is a high volume product. Except, of course the final product. How many dollies are sold by Fischer? Not alot, but they make a profit. How many original Steadicams were sold by Garret Brown, initially. I would guess maybe 20 in 1977. I don’t know who owns Steadicam now, but Garret is a Gajillionaire. You are seeing the design of lenses through the prism of what you know, not through the prism of what is possible. Again, I’m not seeing this as a panacea for Nikon, just a bold step. And as they say, one step at a time.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Okay, so how would Nikon monetize high end Cine lenses? My position is to go at this from a financial perspective. I don’t think Nikon Cine lenses would sell at a loss, but this is not an area to turn around the company. What you call a “bold step” is something I see solely as a marketing opportunity. A Nikon 800mm used by a few sports photographers is also a “bold step”, but not enough of those are being sold to generate significant revenues for Nikon. I don’t see huge profits for Nikon supplying lenses for Hollywood. Prove me wrong.

            • mikeswitz

              I have absolutely no desire to prove you wrong. In fact, I don’t even know what you mean by that, although I don’t think making extremely high quality lenses is a “marketing opportunity”. My opinion came from Thom’s idea that Nikon’s future will, or should come from software, not engineering. Given Nikons history I believe it will come from both.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              You dropped the name Panavision like it was a panacea, or a good idea to emulate. Take a look at the financial trouble that Panavision has suffered through the last few years; the company came very close to shutting down due to an excessive debt load. The founders may have become rich from Panavision, and the brand still has respect in the industry, but today’s Panavision is struggling financially to continue.

              Another point in this: 4k is roughly 8.3 megapixels. There is not much that needs to be done in lens design to address that. Obviously low volume lenses can have better quality control, more inspections, and more hand assembly. All those extra steps create higher expenses, which is part of the higher cost. On a design basis, not much tougher than a standard lens. The glass may be a little better inside, but most of the cost is in quality control, inspection, and hand assembly. There is another factor of low volumes not achieving economies of scale, so prices need to be higher to preserve profit margins.

              I just don’t see Nikon becoming a software company on their own. Maybe if they buy into a developer, but then the transition would not be easy. Even then, the giants of software already command the margins, and the bulk of purchases. Why would someone use a (future) Nikon solution over one from Adobe?

              Software can be higher profit margins than hardware, but the scale needed for Nikon to replace falling hardware revenues is quite a massive undertaking. Who can Nikon buy or merge with to make the leap to the future?

            • Thom Hogan

              Too little, too late. The “pile on” technique in tech doesn’t work except sometimes for the lowest cost providers. The Japanese can look at compact cameras to see that. When it became clear in the late 90′s early 00′s that digital cameras would sell more than film cameras did in terms of sheer quantity, everyone piled on. Yet the two leaders (Canon and Nikon) were the ones that stayed leaders. Some of the pile oners have massively negative ROI for their efforts. I mean massively. As in “they’ll never make enough money in the future to pay back all the money they lost pursuing compacts.”

              If you want to control the still camera market five or ten years from now, you either need to be Canon or Nikon, or you need to disrupt the market again. I’m currently betting the latter will happen.

              If you want to control the video market five or ten years from now, you need to be GoPro, Sony, or maybe Canon, or you need to disrupt the market again. I’m currently betting the latter will happen.

              The reason my bets are not on the incumbents is the thing I’ve been writing about: software. Software will be the disruptor.

        • Vin

          I agree, The company that can creatively come up with a multiple platform post shoot workflow will be the winner. In the cameras and phone, computers, predictive editing, retouching, printing file sharing. …… everything from candid to prepress interface. Even better something open, not proprietary.

        • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

          The solution could be engineering, if Nikon would add a Bluetooth module or WiFi inside the cameras. Considering how small these components are now in smartphones, it seems that it would be fairly easy to incorporate. Obviously there is a software aspect in the need to change the menus, and to make connecting to a smartphone, tablet, or computer easier, but how tough could that be?

          I ordered one of those little Gfoto connector chips for Nikon 1 cameras. When I see something small like that, it makes me wonder why Nikon does not produce something simple like that. I understand the desire to sell more new gear, but even the FT1 doesn’t function the same way the Gfoto chip does. Even in engineering, it seems Nikon only goes part way.

          On a positive note, despite heavy internet criticism, it appears that the Df has found some buyers. I’m not one of them, based upon the viewfinder not being enough of an improvement.

          • Thom Hogan

            The solution is not a WiFi chip. The solution is the software both inside and outside the camera that uses the WiFi. Nikon’s current WiFi implementations are crippled and poorly done, IMHO.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              You mean you think an add-on external plug-in WiFi adapter is better than a built-in chip?

              Do you not like the Bluetooth idea? Why?

            • Thom Hogan

              Wasn’t referring to an external chip. “Outside the camera” means software on iOS, Android, Windows, and OS-X devices, at a minimum. And not just “I can connect and transfer something one way” software, but software that solves real user problems. Unfortunately, that also means that the software in the camera has to change, too. Dramatically. What Nikon’s (and many other Japanese companies’) solution currently does is just pass the baton down the road to the smartphone. They don’t even have 10% of the solution.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Thanks for the more detailed reply Thom. Why not partner with another company for the software changes that are needed? Why would it be better for Nikon to develop all the solutions in-house, including providing apps and desktop applications?

              I’m not impressed at all by Nikon View. Unless Nikon buys a software developer, I don’t see the in-house crew making the changes in software. Just a look at the problems Nokia and BlackBerry had in changing software implies it would take Nikon years to complete a software shift. I don’t think Nikon has years to figure this out. Bridge solutions of passing the heavy lifting to other things may not be the best solution, but it’s better than sitting on your hands doing nothing.

            • Thom Hogan

              Well, you’re starting to get my point. Nikon’s own software development isn’t going to hack it.

              The problem is that Nikon WAS partnered with a company that had some of the expertise they needed, Nik. But the history of that relationship says that Nikon doesn’t know how to partner, either.

              Nikon is a go-it-alone company. They’ll license technology from others, but they then want to control it and mask the licensee forever, pretending that all the stuff with a Nikon brand on it is completely theirs. That’s an attitude that will come back to haunt them if the camera market pivots again and towards something they don’t have the expertise in.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I suppose what I question the most about your ideas is the certainty behind them. I hope you don’t mind me being skeptical. Seth Resnick (D65 Workshops) mentioned years ago that the engineers had too much input and control over camera evolution (at the time he was sponsored by Canon).

              I’m not doubting you on Japanese culture. Where you create doubt is in suggesting one direction, and then implying it’s not possible. If there really is no answer, then why bother suggesting one?

              Sony is taking a massive shotgun approach to products. It’s odd that they can continue doing that, given the debt load at the company. I’ve also seen a great deal of internal workings at Sony, and I think the new CEO is going some ways to improve the work environment. I don’t think copying Sony would be an answer for Nikon.

              As for copying other ideas, as you stated there is not much innovation happening at Nikon. So with a lack of innovation, they can either sit on there hands and do the same products, or they can jump onto successes happening elsewhere. The GoPro is disruptive, despite not really being much of an advance over existing technology. What does Nikon have in the action camera space? One thing I think Nikon really need to improve is development time; tough to imagine what they did for four years to come up with the Df.

              Yanko Design, frog, and IDEO are the outside design sources. All fine using Guigario for camera shapes, but they need something more disruptive. Marc Newson with the Pentax comes to mind, though the panning of his camera by aging enthusiasts doomed it in the market. There is not simply one shape and control layout for cameras best for every user.

            • Thom Hogan

              I’m reasonably certain about what I’ve written because I’ve been in high tech in charge of doing exactly what I’m trying to do here (figure out the near future) since 1976, and with a very good track record at that. I’ve also gotten a lot of comments along the way from readers about communicating, programmable, modular cameras, and I can see that they understand and want the things that such a system is designed to produce. Want it more than what they’ve got today.

              The problem for every photographer, from casual family stuff to working pro, has been and continues to be workflow. That’s a software problem, not a hardware problem (though it requires some hardware support to do right). So I’m really comfortable in saying that software done right is the answer. Right in my wheelhouse, actually. If I were to list all the things that I had a hand in initially with software that changed workflow (including the way spell checking is done today), it would be an impressive list, I think.

              The aha! moment for me was in 2007 sitting on the slopes of Kilimanjaro. Two coincidences. First, I had one of those just released iPhones, not because I wanted it, but because it was the only phone my carrier had that was internationally friendly (GSM). Second, they had just installed cell towers all over the mountain for the park rangers to use instead of radio communication.

              So what’s the workflow when you take a picture on Kilimanjaro and want to share it with your family? ;~) Back then Apple and others hadn’t actually solved that problem; I had to email the photos from the Photo Roll. Today I can tell the phone ahead of time where it should go and HOW it should get there (e.g. wait for WiFi connection).

              A lot of folk talk about the quality of the phone images being “good enough” and that’s what’s disrupting compact camera sales. Nope. It’s the workflow. And it’s only going to get better with Apple, Google, and Microsoft driving it.

              You keep mentioning GoPro. Note that even Sony, who was quick to try to counter GoPro, has not been unable to unseat them. If Sony can’t do it, Nikon certainly can’t. Moreover, the current GoPros are all about workflow (WiFi control and monitoring), though not particularly well done.

              Newson’s camera for Pentax is very pretty, but basically a non-starter in terms of solving any photographic problem. It doesn’t handle particularly well, it’s basically the same old Pentax engine underneath so it isn’t better in image quality (and worse in focus), and there’s no attention to workflow. That’s not innovation by design, it’s the same thing as the Df: design overwhelming function.

              There is an answer. The odds of Nikon executing it are low at this point. Sony’s far closer to the right track at this point, but still has a long way to go, and their randomness of model proliferation isn’t helping. So why do I write about the subject? Maybe, just maybe, someone in Japan will pick up on something I write and stop heading the wrong direction. Maybe we’ll get an entrepreneurial initiative that tries to jump in. Maybe someone writing software somewhere will realize that there are some things that can be done to cobble together a partial solution.

              Would you really rather have me shut up? What purpose does that serve?

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              It’s not always what someone says. Sometimes it is the way it is stated. Perhaps the message is being read by some executives and engineers. Sometimes a yes can mean “yes, I hear you”, instead of “yes, that’s a great idea”.

              Even you stated it in that culture may be a barrier to change. What Shinzo Abe is doing with Abenomics may have been unthinkable not long ago in Japan. Does that indicate younger minds and fresher thought, is it an experiment, or does it signal real long lasting change. If Abenomics fails as a fiscal and monetary experiment, then no Japanese company may survive.

              I’ve seen little bits and pieces of people hacking cameras. That Gfoto chip for Nikon 1 lens adapters is one example. Some of the lesser DSLR bodies is another. Nikon could open up the code to outside developers, sort of like the developer program use to be at Apple, or when PALM was still around. Obviously security would be an issue, though that could be solved.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Also, I stated “Obviously there is a software aspect in the need to change the menus,
              and to make connecting to a smartphone, tablet, or computer easier, but
              how tough could that be?” There is a software question, or did you miss that?

            • Thom Hogan

              Have you looked at Nikon’s WiFi software? It’s not just a menu that needs changing, it’s the ENTIRE approach.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Yes I have, and I was very disappointed in Nikon WiFi. Even on the D4 it’s not much of an improvement over an add-on. It’s still easier to tether with a USB cable, though I think it’s a shame that’s the best solution in 2014.

              I understand the financial aspect of the potential of high margins in software. The problem is that I don’t see that skill existing at Nikon, nor at Canon, though maybe at Sony or Samsung. Does Nikon have the financial power to buy a software team to solve their problems?

            • Thom Hogan

              You’re thinking historically, not present or future tense. “High margins in software” are mostly a thing of the past. Indeed, what complicates Microsoft’s CEO search and future is that very question. Apple and Google have effectively reduced most software margins to zero. Apple, in particular, uses software to sell hardware. (I’m not entirely sure what Google is using software for, though they claim it is to get access to mobile users ;~).

              This is actually the camera problem: hardware sales are down, hardware margins are down. Adding software the right way might be able to drive sales and margins back up, done correctly.

              Nikon could buy a software team to solve their problems. The problem is that they’ll want to relocate it in Tokyo, have it train existing Japanese employees, and use Japanese management techniques on it. Yet all the things they need to connect to are in constant flux centered out of Silicon Valley and all the other Silicon XX’s scattered through the US and Europe.

              You can’t hard code Facebook support. Twelve months from now, Facebook will be different than it is today, will probably have new APIs, hooks, and abilities. Now add Flickr, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, and dozens of other things, plus the dozen new things that you don’t know about yet. You really ought to hook up to Adobe and onOne and Phase One, and a host of other software providers, too, and they’re constantly changing things, as well.

              The tail is currently wagging the dog. The dog is trying to avoid acknowledging that.

              Finally, there’s the imagination versus iteration thing. I’m broadly generalizing here, but Silicon Valley is much better at the imaging side and the Japanese companies are much better at the iteration thing. We are currently in need of imagination. Iteration is no longer driving sales.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Well Thom, now it seems you are contradicting yourself a bit, though perhaps I can understand Nikon’s reaction to your suggestion a bit more. If, as you claim, there are no margins in software, then why push the software side of things? It also seems that you are suggesting Android on Nikon, though I think you had an article in a similar direction about a year ago. (yes, I read your articles)

              There are many ways to look at margins. If you simply look at gross margins, then MSFT trumps GOOG, who then both trump AAPL in Gross Margin. MSFT doesn’t look like a hardware company to me, despite great sales of Xbox. MSFT also generates licensing revenue off Android.

              http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Microsoft_%28MSFT%29/Data/Gross_Margin
              http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Google_%28GOOG%29/Data/Gross_Margin
              http://www.wikinvest.com/stock/Apple_%28AAPL%29/Gross%20Margin

              Outside of those giants, there are indeed a ton of app developers who have nearly invisible margins. The so-called “app economy” never really happened, other than a few successful companies.

              Disclosure: I have no position in MSFT, GOOG, nor AAPL at this time. I do write financial articles for a major internet financial news website under a pen name, and I write investment outlook articles for a private equity company. My 2013 profit margin was over 15% not including over 4.5% annual dividends, and I have a multi-year accuracy ratio of over 78%. I’m not just a commercial photographer.

            • Thom Hogan

              Look at Apple’s hardware margins. Now look at someone who isn’t investing in software in the device. There might not be a great margin left in selling software the old way, but it can prop up hardware margins.

              Remember, in semiconductor-based products–and cameras will eventually lose the OVF and become pretty much all semiconductor-based–parts drop in cost, parts become ubiquitous to any company that wants to play, consumers expect prices to go down and not up, and what eventually happens is margins erode. Eventually they erode to where you don’t make money because the cloners are willing to take fewer pennies than you and the infrastructure you built demands more pennies.

              Disclosure: I own Apple and Google stock and have for quite some time (amongst others). I do not own Microsoft stock any more. My actively managed portfolio apparently did better than yours last year ;~).

              Apple has mostly avoided this, and it’s because of the software value added.

              Microsoft is living off two big cash cows. Remember when Kodak was living off a cash cow? The problem for Microsoft is that the consumers have mostly moved to mobile away from personal computers and Microsoft has lost most of their presence there (except apparently in places like Argentina). It’s businesses committed to Windows and Office that keep the cash coming in, and the latest iterations of those products didn’t generate the usual uptakes Microsoft has seen in the past. Virtually none of the curves I see in Microsoft’s businesses look particularly good or headed in the right direction. They need to reverse the course of what’s happening in virtually all of their businesses except perhaps Xbox.

              A company can look good in its current financial statements yet be in trouble. I’d tend to put Microsoft in that category, though I also believe that they have a longer window to deal with their issues. Nikon’s last financials looked pretty good, too. But all the curves are pointing towards danger ahead.

              But since you want to make this about financial management, let me ask you a question: would you buy Nikon stock right now? ;~)

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Congrats on a good investing year.

              If the idea was to become more like Apple, and I’ve seen that thought thrown around often, then it has to be considered what it is to be Apple. We’ve seen that cult like over-exuberance before in other stocks, though we can look beyond share price to look at how Apple runs things. First off, I don’t think any company can be Apple now, and it even looks like Apple may not be Apple that much longer, at least not like the Steve Jobs Apple. Obviously I would expect the fans to dispute that, but this is not about Apple, it’s a discussion about another company being Apple, or being more like Apple. Besides, if Apple did come out with a camera, I think the current Japanese big three are in trouble.

              Apple creates a desire and perceived luxury prestige in their products. As I type this on a new MacBook Pro, I curse the hard edge of the metal body for digging into my wrists, though I admit the polished aluminum and solid construction make this laptop feel like much higher quality that most other laptops. Design is a big part of Apple products, though for the most part they do work quite well. I’ve been dealing with software issues, though the issues are with third party software. As a walled garden, Apple works very smoothly, something which can rarely be stated for Windows on any machine.

              The camera companies keep it in-house too, though too often the products appear to be design by committee, or design by survey. When the Nikon 1 System was launched, I read some revues that claimed Nikon was trying to be like Apple in design. The problem quickly became that camera users expected certain things to be there, like a PASM dial. If the same mentality had been applied to the first iPhone, which was short many buttons compared to other phones, then Apple would not be as large as they have become. I doubt Nikon will take such a chance like that again, and the V2 was a good indication of that. So with that in mind, that the Nikon 1 failed as a design product, I don’t see Nikon taking similar chances, though I would like to see them do just exactly that. If the leadership at Nikon changed, and the system was more open to developers outside Nikon, then I would consider an investment. Of course I prefer energy investments to technology investments, so it’s doubtful I would invest more in technology in the future.

            • Thom Hogan

              Apple is certainly not perfect, but they do care about solving user problems, so their products tend to always solve some user problem they’ve noted. I’m not convinced that the Japanese camera makers even see user problems, so they tend to solve them randomly, if at all.

              You point out Apple’s desire/prestige factor. Well, you really only have two choices in consumer products: go for the high end (BMW, Bose, Apple, etc.) or race to the bottom to produce the least expensive functional clone. Middle ground is dangerous and often temporary.

              Tech investments right now are not good short term choices, I think. When you invest in tech these days you have to at who’s got the right long term view and is likely to be able to weather all the coming, inevitable changes. That’s been the drag on Apple lately: people bet that Cook doesn’t see as far out or as clearly as Jobs did, so might not lead them through and into new markets as well. Meanwhile, Page at Google seems to be looking really far out; it’s a good thing he has a near monopoly in the business that brings in the dollars.

              It’s tough to make the big bet play in tech. But the camera makers are past the point where they should have made one. Now their best hopes are two: (1) no one comes in and disrupts what business they have left; and (2) if disruption comes they’re fast enough to react and out perform the disruptor.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Depends upon which market you investigate. Trends in the United States are not often trends overseas. The success of Xiaomi in China gives another approach. Lifestyle connections and real world marketing are big trends at the moment. There was a joke not long ago that went: “How do you tell if someone owns an iPhone? Just wait and they will show you.” Now the US market is saturated with iPhones, much as it once was saturated with the Motorola RAZR. So Apple moves onwards to other areas of the world. Some analysts see China as the next upward boost for Apple, yet there is Xiaomi connecting with many Chinese consumers.

              Funny how Samsung has gone nowhere in cameras, yet dominates in global smartphone sales volumes. The consumer electronics realm is full of fickle consumers. Sony has done terribly in smartphones, yet has now made up ground in cameras. What is even more surprising is that Sony was close to shuttering the camera division not too many years ago. Perceived luxury and prestige can be found in that blue Zeiss logo on some Sony products. Panasonic has not made much ground with Leica designed lenses on some products, but maybe that is due to the missing red dot. Can the Japanese produce a true affordable luxury product without partnering with a prestigious brand?

              I think camera price points are a huge issue. An Apple iPhone is not expensive. Even a MacBook Pro is not too far out of reach for many. Higher level DSLRs are above the price level of a MacBook Pro. Camera sales hover closer to the $1000 (USD) level, yet what aspirational products exist at that level?

              I’ve read too many articles about the death of photography. Whether it is the death of professional photography, or the death of camera makers, the question seems to be “does anyone really need a camera?” Lots of people honestly do not need a smartphone, yet they want one, and are willing to pay per month to use one. I don’t think smartphones are replacing cameras, any more than the average consumer is simply running out of money.

            • Thom Hogan

              Certainly regionality has come back into play. Everyone seems to think that having a “global market” means everything is the same everywhere, and that’s never truly been the case. As the camera companies are once again discovering with mirrorless versus DSLRs (and even compacts, which are still more popular here in the US than in some other areas of the world).

              However, your Motorola comparison is a bit awkward. Apple has proven multiple times in this century that they can find and own a market to saturation: iPod, iPhone, iPad. Motorola, not so much. The funny thing is that I’m not 100% sure Apple really enjoys having dominant market position. While they sought that from the beginning, I think they enjoyed being a high-end, slightly more niche player than they admit. It actually makes design decisions easier if you stay high market and not try to pursue volume.

              Samsung may dominate global smartphone sales volumes, but at what cost? They spent a lot of marketing money to do that, and they hide a lot of those expenses in SG&A and then pretend they have strong product margins. I’d be more worried if I were Samsung than if I were Apple.

              You claim that Sony “has made up ground” in cameras. Please cite the numeric evidence of that. Just because their products are getting a lot of buzz doesn’t necessarily mean that they are selling. Perception is not sales.

              Most camera sales are in the US$300-800 range. It would actually be instructional to see the median versus the average sales price of different camera systems. I think some people would be shocked at the numbers. A highly competent camera is most definitely affordable. That’s what makes the current decline in camera sales very, very scary.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              The 2008 Sony Annual Report shows digital camera sales, including an indication of compact sales increases above 2006 and 2007. It was around that time that Sony DSLR sales had yet to take off, and Sony was wondering whether to continue. Sales between 2012 and 2013 did decline overall around 4%. Between those years “… fiscal year 2010 Sony enjoyed a 15% share of the global market for
              interchangeable lens digital cameras, up 5 percentage points from fiscal
              year 2009.” (quote from Sony 2011 Annual Report). I don’t do short term investments, nor do I consider one year of data a trend, though I understand that is how some people choose to view the markets. I’ve never owned shares in Sony. I do have many friends working at the company. Also, volume of cameras sold does not always imply higher profit margins.

              The Motorola RAZR is a specific example of a popular product reaching saturation. The Apple iPhone has reached market saturation in the US. I was comparing two products, not two companies, though that point appears to have been missed. Anyway, if the implied mentioning of Apple is to suggest that companies can only succeed by becoming the next Apple, then I strongly disagree with that idea; only Apple is Apple, though at the moment not so much. Tim Cook is a master of the supply chain, and as CEOs mold companies towards their strength, we see how they develop. Apple products are now simpler to manufacture, tougher to upgrade, and sell at higher profit margins. If becoming Apple were the only answer for a company, then they should figure out how to sell to Apple, or how to become a much smaller niche company.

              The last point you bring up may suggest a future direction, though not $300 to $400 compact cameras. How can cameras under $1000 be more appealing as personal luxury choices?

            • Thom Hogan

              Be careful. 2010 had significant NEX sales in it, which is why the “interchangeable lens camera sales” hit 15% (in terms of CIPA shipments, not actual retail sales, by the way). It’s not DSLRs that drove the change. The trend has continued. In the US, for example, Sony’s actual DSLR share is in the low single digits now, with Canon/Nikon now over 90% of the RETAIL sales. Meanwhile, compact cameras collapsed for Sony to the point where they’ve gone from #1 to being #3, and passed by Nikon which went from #5 to #1. As for profit margins, Canon and Nikon have been consistently profitable in cameras as outlined by many quarters of financial reports, while Sony has not. Indeed, Sony eventually collapsed still cameras in with the video cameras, and now it’s near impossible to see accurately what the still side is doing on its own.

              Your comparison of RAZR and iPhone still seems a little off. While iPhone’s have reached market saturation in the US, we also are on generation five and it seems clear that iPhone users are replacing their iPhones with iPhones. RAZR users didn’t tend to replace their RAZRs with RAZRs. How long Apple can juggle this, I have no idea, but at the moment there’s no evidence that they’re done juggling. Motorola dropped a ball almost immediately after making RAZR successful. Moreover, Apple also successfully made an iPod like an iPhone to extend the iPod line longevity, and extended the iPhone into an iPad. What I’m pointing to is a HUGE difference in execution.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I think Motorola was surprised by the success and demand for the RAZR. There were several versions, though the variation was slight. Apple got in and launched the big push for smartphones, so they enjoyed early adopter and a run-up in usage. Now we are in a replacement cycle. I recall a friend, who use to work at Nokia, stating that their mobile phones at one point were made too well, so there was a shift towards making mobile phones that would not last as long, though that was about 10 years ago. Gartner Group is one research agency who often point out product cycles. Once a replacement cycle market it reached, then growth becomes difficult in a market region.

              http://gs.statcounter.com/#mobile_os-ww-quarterly-200901-201304

              The similarity with the camera industry is that the boom times of growth have
              ended, and it certainly looks like a replacement cycle, but not
              necessarily buying from camera companies. I agree with some of your points about DSLRs. The idea that cameras will be bought again when the economy improves, just doesn’t seem like good forward planning. Arguably many cameras are just too well made, and work quite well enough for how people use them. People I use to see with compact cameras often only shared images on the back LCD display. The photo lab found out how seldom people print images. Even the inkjet printer makers guessed wrong on how people would share images. Now we see Apple touting that the iPhone has more images on the internet than any other camera. Anyway, we’re just going to disagree on mobile phones, and I think the
              conversation should go more back towards camera companies.

              I still think the message in marketing can make a difference. There is too much emphasis on the specifications and numbers, especially when many end users never move the dials off full automatic. I seriously wish some camera reviews were done by people who did not know what all the settings meant. The usage of smartphones as cameras should indicate that many people are okay with full automatic operation. Images on computers don’t need a ton of megapixels. Even on 4k televisions, there is not a great need for megapixels to show images. Why doesn’t the marketing message from the camera companies shift towards HD, 4K, and 8K, instead of megapixels? Relate the next generation of cameras to televisions, instead of just using megapixels.

            • Thom Hogan

              Okay, let’s start with that first line. What does it say about a company when it is surprised about the success and demand for a product?

              My PhD work was in New Technology Economics and Management, and specifically the primary thing I studied was how do product and new category cycles work? Every technology it turns out, has a household adoption threshold. Some are easy to figure out, others are harder. For example, it’s easy enough to see that phones might end up in multiples in a household (one to a person or back when we wired, room), while a washer/dryer combo would, at best, reach one to a household.

              The film SLR barely reached over 50% of households (i.e. one to every two homes). Digital has done better, but I don’t think it’s a >1 technology. Indeed, my original estimate back in 2003 of when the DSLR market would saturate was based on my best guess of saturation, and it turns out I was probably off by only a year.

              The market that’s still developing is the “photo album.” Households take way more than 1 photo ;~). Indeed, they have what would be perceived as constant consumption. Where do these go? Well, Facebook, for example. When I said that the key to the future of photography was connectivity, that’s why I said it. The photos would rattle off the household cameras infinitum. Where would they go? How would they get there? What would happen to them? How would they get displayed? How would they eventually be organized?

              As it turns out, a lot of those problems haven’t yet been fully solved. Facebook is just a giant box that things continue to pile up in. “Search” and “Date” will be less effective tools to find the photo you want over time. Moreover, you really have no control over the sharing on Facebook. Wrong answer.

              Some new cameras will be bought when the economy improves. It’ll all be replacement buying, though, and it could be short-lived. I expect a slight bump upwards again with sophisticated cameras, but not much of one.

              Good marketing is good storytelling. Tell me a Japanese company that tells good stories.

              As for why doesn’t the camera marketing message shift to HD or 4K: have you tried getting your images from the camera to your TV? Requires a cable. Image can’t be edited. Image will be downsized/managed by the chip in the camera that was designed years ago. How do you find an image FAST on the camera to display? Are all your images on the camera, or did you already move them somewhere else that’s easier to connect to the TV? ;~)

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              To me it states that a company had lower expectations. Even Steve Jobs did not expect the iPhone to do as well as it did after launch. How many decades ago did you get your degree? ;)

              Economic conditions are limiting wider adoption of smartphones in some markets. While there are some interesting trends of some people having their only internet access through a smartphone, even in those markets the economy plays a role in saturation levels.

              Facebook is one direction, but far more useful for instant gratification. Flickr appears to be more geared towards recording history, though it depends upon where development takes future versions of Flickr. Instagram is more like the one-liner of photography, though it speaks a little to a desire for nostalgia. Of course whenever economic conditions are tougher, nostalgia gains in popularity, though often in a way that is not factual to the way things were years ago. Images that are shared quickly often lack staying power. That may work sometimes in advertising, but I think the shift in behavior is changing the ways people interact. If we lose interest in images from years ago, then storing and sorting become less important.

              So why not have images on television? Google Chromecast is one low cost and simple device that enables that, even after post processing. Use the Chrome browser on a laptop to pull up Flickr, or a website, then view on a television. DLNA certified products are another method. There are already several smartphones that can playback images on televisions without needing a cable connection. Canon, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony have some DLNA capable devices. Of course these are newer things, and someone with an older camera may have trouble getting those to work. Sure, there are HDMI cables, though definitely that way to view images is not user friendly. Sounds like a software solution could be incorporated in some cameras to make this easier. ;)

            • Thom Hogan

              You’re still not getting it. All three things you write about here all have the same core need: vision.

              The difference between RAZR and iPhone was that one was a product, the other was part of a vision. When a product becomes successful but you don’t have a vision for how it fits into the world long term, how do you iterate it and make successful followups? You can’t, because you really aren’t sure what made it successful. My recollection of RAZR was that it was size and style that fueled its success, not a tangible ability. Nokia at the time was deep into their dive for the bottom where they made phones that wouldn’t last much longer than the cellular contract ;~).

              Facebook, Flickr, et.al., seem to have the same problem. Their “vision” tends to be “we’ll sell ads.” Or maybe “we’ll sell what we know about the person using the service. Their “vision” is all centered first and foremost on revenue stream and profit. That’s not how it works for content services. Build great content and you attract lots of users. Attract lots of users, charge others for access to them by the eyeball. What I see with all the social and photo sites is that they don’t have a long-term vision on how they RETAIN users. If I’m going to put my photos somewhere, I want that somewhere to be around ’til I die and probably until my children die or longer. I don’t want random changes of what I can and can’t do with them and how they appear. I want a service I can rely upon that gets better and better at serving me. Do that, and you can sell me to others (ads, etc.). Don’t do that and my loyalty is essentially zero. When the better, disrupting service comes along, I’ll jump ship.

              With photos-on-TV we are also in the vision problem. Your solution is “shoot with camera, post process with something, put on a service somewhere, then browse on the TV.” In just that little example you need Nikon, Adobe, Flickr, Google, and Samsung to all have the same “vision” in order for it to work without being a hodge-podge of random abilities that keep changing and force you to a manual workflow. Sure, it can be done. And I can teach squirrels to dance, too.

              Apple is probably closest on the photo thing: take an image with the iPhone and it gets into their iCloud Photo Stream, you can process it any time you want with iPhoto/Aperture (and on any device), and then display it using AirPlay on your TV. Still has some loose ends, and there’s the issue of what if I’m at YOUR house and you’re a Microsoft/Samsung user: how do I display my images on YOUR TV? Still, right now the only solution that seems to have any real vision about how things go into the future.

              And that’s the problem with photos now (and always has been a problem with them). We might take them now, but we want to access and show them randomly and in different ways in the future. We don’t want to go down a road where our images get somewhere and that somewhere either disappears or gets changed so much we don’t want to use that any more. People collect thousands of images that are important to them in their lifetime. The camera makers NEVER gave consumers a solution to the problem, and at this point, it looks like they never will. As more “cameras” get added to our collection (household surveillance cameras including baby monitors, auto cameras, google glass always record cameras, and more), where are those images going to go and how will we access and display them?

              You’ll note that when we came out with QuickCam back in the 90′s, we instantly had a set of software tools that went with it. When we sold the hardware business to Logitech, I was a little surprised they didn’t try to pick up the software stuff that we had and were working on into the future, because it was actually the combination of computer-connected camera and software that was the actual vision, not a camera. Logitech is still struggling with their decision, IMHO.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              What you don’t “get” is that not everyone is going to agree with you. If you cannot accept ideas beyond your own, then I have to wonder if you actually learned anything while pursuing that PHD. It reminds me why some people state the acronym of PHD means “Piled higher and deeper”.

              You then dismiss selling advertising to make free portals sustainable, and instead suggest a subscriber service. I suppose your personal wealth is high enough that you don’t consider all those monthly services that you now pay to use. How much more money will people really shell out per month to use the “next great thing”? This idea that people will pay even more for another service is popular in some circles at the moment, yet amongst the plethora of ideas being thrown around, there will be very few winners. I’m all in favor of advertising sponsored services, much like many in advertising advocate. Subscriber models are near hitting a wall.

              http://www.dlna.org/

              There you go. That link to DLNA. That could easily be made standard. It would get rid of the “hodgepodge” as you call it. Though perhaps you want Apple to make a camera, a subscriber service, and integrate it through Apple TV. I bet Apple really wants the all Apple household, because that’s their great vision. I’ve used Apple computers since I started college in 1994, but I have no desire to jump in with both feet for an all-Apple house. If your dancing is as good as your reading, then the very least is that you would entertain the squirrels.

              The reality is that neither of us is sitting in an office in Japan guiding the next wave of ideas at the camera companies. I don’t mind seeing confidence in others, but when people disagree with your ideas, or put forward other ideas, sometimes it can be as simple as you stating you disagree. I certain do not agree with you, so I suggest you cut your lost time on this and simply accept that I have different ideas. I am entitled to my own ideas. I appreciate your time answering this, and I did enjoy parts of this discussion. I’m certain there will be other discussions in the future when our paths cross. At this time, I am signing off of this one. Feel free to post here again, but I will not be replying to this topic any further. Both of us have better things to do with our time. Danke sehr für alles Herr Hogan.

            • Thom Hogan

              I don’t believe in all these wishy washy, cover your back side types of prognostication. Take a stand. Defend it. If you can’t defend it, reconsider and take a new stand.

              I don’t dismiss advertising to make content sustainable. Remember, I’ve worked in the media business on the side or directly for all of my very long career. But what happens often in media is this: the business starts seeing that their customer is the advertiser, not the consumer of the product. They do things that cater to the advertiser that are at the detriment to the content and the content consumer. When you do that, you lose circulation. The number one thing we look at in media is “retention.” And not just first renewal, but in magazines, for instance, the standard is the second renewal point. Magazines that pay attention first and foremost to their READER have very high two-year renewal rates (my last one was 82%). Magazines that stop paying attention to the reader and pay mostly attention to the advertiser (e.g. promising ads adjacent to editorial, etc.), tend to have low ones. At about the 50% rate, you end up spending more trying to attract new customers than you can easily sustain.

              Note that my site is sustained by advertising. It’s not like I’m against it. However, it’s where you put the focus of your organization that’s the trouble. In the first Web Bonanza, the recipe was: (1) raise lots of venture capital; (2) attract as many eyeballs as possible by providing service/content for free; (3) figure out how to monetize all those eyeballs. It was in Step 3 that most of the Web 1.0 failures came. Some weren’t able to do it at all. Some concentrated on it so much that they lost what they built in #2. In Web 2.0 and 3.0 the steps have changed slightly: (1) attract as many eyeballs as possible by providing service/content for free; (2) raise lots of capital; (3) figure out how to monetize all those eyeballs, typically through either selling the information about those folk or selling advertising to them, often both.

              All those stories about retaining teens at Facebook are just a small warning sign. Ultimately, all these Web things will face the same retention issues as newspapers, magazines, TV stations, cable services, etc., all have. My contention has always been that you don’t mess up the customer relationship, that you continue to provide them what they’re looking for at the highest possible quality you can. You can’t stop providing that or cut back on that so that you can spend time satisfying the advertiser. Virtually no Web operation (including mine) has what we used to call the Chinese Wall separating editorial from advertising/business. Look at what Yahoo just did with their technology and food launches: advertising is “sponsored content” and looks like content. Not a smart move, IMHO.

              I’m aware of DNLA (and a number of other organizations promoting some sort of standardization). No, it wouldn’t get rid of the hodge podge, it would tend to create lowest common denominator technologies. We have some of those already in cameras: DCF for instance. It’s why we can’t rename files, have other folders, and a host of other issues. I’m not a fan of negotiated standards to protect company interests.

              Yes, you are entitled to your own opinions. But just because you are doesn’t mean I’m going to change my opinion to yours. So far you’ve not actually given me an argument that would change my mind about my current beliefs in any significant way. Thus, yes, I look intransigent. But I’m not inflexible. In the face of evidence that I’m clearly wrong, I do change my beliefs.

              It’s entirely possible that Nikon will continue to grow sales and profits in their camera group for the next ten years. The evidence is that their previous growth spurt has come to an end and that profits are under strain at the moment, but maybe they’ve got a response we don’t know about yet. I’ll evaluate that when I see it.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I have to wonder if it is just doom for Nikon, because you are strongly suggesting that is it. When you state that a company needs change, but corporate culture is a barrier, then it certainly seems you are suggesting it is not possible to make changes. How many years do you think Nikon has left?

            • Thom Hogan

              Right now it’s gloom for all the Japanese camera companies, and doom for many of them. Those aren’t set in stone; the right products done right can reverse the trajectory for a company.

              We’ve watched this game before. It’s happened in HiFi gear, with TVs, with PCs (I’m speaking of Japanese PCs, like the old proprietary NEC designs), VCRs, and more. Invention, boom, everyone copies, bust. The companies that “live” have invention cycles that hit at about the same time as the bust cycles.

              So the answer here is: does Nikon have an invention cycle in them? If not, can they guess correctly at the next boom cycle and get to copying before the rest? If you can answer those questions you can predict Nikon’s fate. I can’t predict those answers at the moment, though Nikon’s riding the tail of the previous cycle pretty darned hard, which is usually an indication that there isn’t something in the near term wings.

              People that have read my site for a long time know that I started sounding the warning signals on this quite some time ago. I was amongst the first to point out when Nikon became primarily a camera company, for instance, and that their fortunes were getting progressively tied to cameras, but that I expected cameras to be nearing peak sales (I missed that prediction by six to twelve months, and I made my original prediction on that eight years prior to it happening).

              Then again, we went through this same thing once before: with film SLRs. The same two players went to the mat on marketing over substance to win the remaining camera market. So there’s precedence that Nikon survives (though not without a lot of pain).

              Still, the question that’s unanswered for Nikon is where any new growth in the company will come from. The current boilerplate rhetoric in Japan is “economies are depressed worldwide and when they recover camera sales will recover.” I’m not buying any part of that statement, but that’s just me ;~)

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Somewhat agree with you, but in a slightly different way. Aging boomers near retirement fueled quite a bit of the purchases of DSLRs. Difficulties on Mainstreet mean that the average consumer will stick with what they already own, or simply go at photography with a smartphone. The smartphone vendors already know this, though Samsung and Apple control the market. Maybe Nokia makes some inroads, but brand heritage is not helping them much at the moment.

              Economies are indeed depressed and in a very slow recovery, mostly propped up by some central bank activity. While this helps Wallstreet, very little of the stimulus makes it to mainstreet. That leaves an emerging consumer in China, though the camera companies need to figure out how to get these new consumers to go beyond a smartphone towards a larger camera. I’m not convinced that China will alter the course, even with “Made In China” stamped on many lenses and bodies now.

              I think the other killer was the marketing of megapixels. We’ve been at the point of having enough for how most people use cameras, for at least a few years now. Oddly enough Apple was the first company to very openly mention size of pixels and quality of pixels, instead of megapixels. The average consumer is slow to appreciate such marketing message changes, though it may take a while longer. Of the big camera makers, I know of surveys from one that indicate the top considerations on camera purchases as megapixels, price, size, and zoom capability, in that order. Marketing has a huge duty to change the message.

  • lorenzo

    Confetti or dust on the sensor?

    • Profetti

      Just give it some proper blow job!

  • http://marsweekly.wordpress.com/ Mars Observer

    Good to hear. I think the Nikon1 fan base will continue to grow over time, and with proper marketing. There are a lot of advantages to the system that many people currently don’t (but should!) appreciate.

    One of the biggest problems is that Nikon wrongly answered the question: “Who is the market for the 1 System?”

    As far as North America and Europe goes, the correct answer is: “Nikon FX owners, and DX owners moving up to a FX/CX combo.”

    I can understand how they got it wrong – the answer is completely different when talking about the Asian market.

    • groucher

      You’re correct. The real problem with the V1 is its marketing. It’s pretty obvious when reading the comments on here that many people simply don’t understand what the camera is all about or what it is capable of. Nor can they say why they don’t like it, other than the dreary ‘it’s only got a 1 inch sensor’ mantra. The V1 is a lightweight speed-demon and is the perfect complement to the high res but slow D800.

      • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

        It would have been perfect if it had better controls. The mode selector is a disaster, and so is the way manual focusing works.

        • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

          The 18.5mm f1,8 really opens up the V1. While I find the 32mm interesting, I would rather see a fast 8, 9, or 10mm for low light shooting.

      • Thom Hogan

        The V1 had three problems, not one. (1) Price. (2) Controls. (3) Marketing, which became even more important because of #1.

  • JosengSisiw1

    Nikon is committing Seppuku.

  • Nikon Juan

    Nikon is still committed to their clueless…ness.

  • Mike

    I’d like to see a Nikon 1 fisheye lens and accessories to take on GoPro.

  • Ms.PatSmear

    Every Metrosexual Male Japanese has a white one around their necks visiting Hawaii, and Hollywood. Those under achievers cameras are a huge hit in Japan…White Cameras with White Lenses to go with those boys White Shoes, White Jackets and White Pants, and Shirts! Makes Sense! lol

  • bgbs

    I own Nikon 1. It’s not a DSLR replacement, and it is not meant to be, but it is a great compliment. Nikon 1 is almost like point-n-shoot but a step above. Other mirrorless systems tend to compete with DSLR’s, Nikon 1 does not.

    The only thing that Nikon 1 misses is better lens selection, but that’s the case, pretty much, across all mirrorless systems.

    The problem with Nikon 1 is not the camera, but rather a marketing one. Nikon has an awesome AW1 out, nobody heard of it, but thats the kind of camera that, if cellphones are replacing point-n-shoot, AW1 is taking a place of eroded point-n-shoot market which cellphones cannot touch.

    • Degsy

      But phones that can be used underwater are already out there.Not as deep as AW1 but deep enough for the average holiday on the beach.

      • bgbs

        I haven’t heard of any underwater cameras except for the expensive housings and maybe couple of obsolete models.

    • Hung Leica Horse

      “it is a great compliment”
      compliment or complement?

    • Dead Pixel

      The Nikon 1 is a ‘phone that can’t make calls.

  • Spy Black

    “I think you can say from the launch of the AW version of the Nikon 1
    that we are committed to investing in what could be seen as a niche
    market…”

    What a frightening comment…

  • george

    So, DSLR, P&S and mirrorless, two and a half product lineups?

  • Sundra Tanakoh

    I thought Nikon dropped Ashton and was replacing him with Ray Charles as spokesman.

    • Hung Leica Horse

      You’re kind of late on news, Ray Charles has been dead for almost 10 years.
      Instead of Ashton, Nikon should consider Miley Cyrus. If every Nikon 1 came with one of her twerkings, I might consider buying one in every color.

      • http://loewald.com/ Tonio Loewald

        And he was blind. The fact he’s dead makes it funnier ;-)

      • Sundra Tanakoh

        Yeah a dead blind guy for a company that is blind to its customer’s requests and dead when it comes to innovation. So Ray Charles would be just fine. Man that took a few days to set up!!! Thanks guys.

  • Anonimm

    If I were Nikon, with the publicity money I’d buy shares in Samsung ;)

  • FredBear

    Committed as in suicide?

    • Sepuku

      Committed as in nuts.

  • Raf

    The 1 is a dead horse, and may drag Nikon down with it. I can still claim to be an Nikon user because the D700 and few lenses stored deep in the closet. (using Fuji X now). The so-called ‘news’ on nikonrumors is so boring, and the stuff they brought to the market seems 10+ years old ideas. To be frank, just simply put their current APS-C camera and take the freaking mirror away, Nikon’s outlook can be 10 times brighter. They have all the technologies, just refuse to admit mistakes and move on.

    • NoMeJodas

      Nikon’s APS-C line is dead-end. They barely have decent APS-C lenses (unless you are a big fan of 18-xxx/f3.5-5.6 zooms which they have tons of) and their QC for APS-C sucks even more than for FF. I had to return back three copies of the 35mm DX to Amazon because of backfocus issues that where uncorrectable in camera. After the third time I gave up and ordered a 40mm DX instead, with which I had better luck (my copy also had a backfocus issue, but at least it was correctable in camera).

      Nikon is not the same company anymore since the tragic floods in Thailand.

    • KnightPhoto

      OK, here’s where you Fuji guys aren’t paying attention:
      - the guys buying Fuji are typically replacing their entire DSLR kits – most often DX kits but yes some FX users are likewise dropping their FX kits as well. That’s fine. Fuji is sitting in the middle with a good and growing line.
      - as mentioned by others, those of us buying into the 1-series are KEEPING our DSLR kits and supplementing with a small system to go with our DSLR kits. This likewise works very well.
      - two different things happening.
      - the fact that Nikon’s DX line is neglected does not make the 1-system bad ;-)
      - why is Nikon’s DX system neglected? #1 because FX is being favoured (and that makes total sense, FX IS better for the high-end) #2 perhaps Nikon is readying a Nikon 2 DX mirrorless line. If I were CEO I certainly would be doing so. If Nikon aren’t planning #2 then yes the bleed off to m4/3 and Fuji will continue for the group that is abandoning DSLRs. But not for people like me, I’m either all-out FX or I want something truly compact on my belt pouch like the Nikon 1 system. DX is a tweener system, but it could still be profitable, and it should be arriving in mirrorless form from Nikon. This system would compete with Fuji and M4/3.

      • Raf

        KinghtPhoto, what you said does make sense!
        However, number of people like you may not be big enough to justify a product line. If you ready Fuji X forum, you may get the idea that Fuji is eating out of Nikon big time. I don’t want to switch system but there is no choice from Nikon. Now I am quite big into Fuji, is it too late for Nikon to take me back.

        • mikeswitz

          I have been a Nikon shooter pretty much my whole adult life. I have been an X pro1 shooter almost 2 years. I love my D800 and my Fuji. Would not abandon one for the other. Ever. Different systems for different jobs.

  • Nikoff

    We know Nikon is commited to ‘pixes. They launch 10 -20 of the things every year FPS.

    It would have been more interesting if the spokespersons had said that Nikon was still commmitted to high- end DX.

    But of course Nikon has no interest in that market any more.

  • Neopulse

    Why hasn’t the prices dropped more on the V2? It’s been out for so long and the GX7 and X-E2 are more appealing because of it.

    • KnightPhoto

      Prices HAVE dropped locally for the V2, was around $400-450 recently…

      • Neopulse

        Locally :-( I live in S. America so going locally to where you’re at might be a bit of a pain. I look online at Adorama, B&H, Amazon, etc and nothing. But I still think there will be a fire sale of sorts when the V3 is soon to come out. Hopefully it’ll come out along with the D4s or D400 and a lens or two.

      • Neopulse

        Forgot to ask for those local stores websites if possible :-) so I can keep on eye on their prices.

  • John Chandler

    nikon 1 is dead and putting more money into is a waste of time. they need to take lessons from Sony with the a7r. nikon really seems clueless. the nikon 1 i can only recommend to those who want something automatic and only if it sells for about 2 to $300, anything more than that makes ppl look for something else like a sony rx100, more features, smaller and costs less.

  • Zesty

    Many people here seem to have such an inflated ego about their photography. You try to convince yourselves that nikon’s 1 inch sensor is as abomination. You try to justify to yourselves why you just forked over a few thousand dollars in order to take shots that are pretty average. You’d think some of you were more talented than staff at National Geographic or similar the way you babble on about gear.The truth is many people here are enthusiasts and are not changing the world with their photos. Explain to me why a photo of your baby and it’s boogers are better off with a larger sensor. Do boogers look better with bokeh?

    • Spy Black

      My boogers definitely look better with bokeh. :-)

      I don’t see a problem with a 1-inch sensor, I see a problem with a lousy camera design. The vast majority of my photography is done with a Canon S110, a camera with an even smaller sensor than the 1-series. But it’s intelligently design to give me immediate control of the camera’s functions, starting with a PASM dial. I have direct access to f-stop and shutter speed as well. It’s touch screen gives me immediate access to secondary controls on a heartbeat.

      It’s relatively noisy sensor doesn’t stop me from getting a shot, even under low light conditions. It also fits right in my pocket, which is why it’s the camera I do that vast majorityof my shooting with. The only competitor in the 1-inch sensor market is the RX100 and it’s new II incarnation. For the size of it’s sensor, the 1-series are insanely gigantic.

      The J and V cameras are an embarrassment compared to my puny little Canon.

      • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

        CameraSize shows a J1 very close in size to that Canon S110, other than not having a collapsible lens. The Nikon P330 is very similar to your S110. I hardly think a few millimetres constitutes “insanely gigantic”, though it fits in with internet hyperbole. ;)

        http://camerasize.com/compare/#446,384

        • Spy Black

          You’re looking at just the body, and already it’s larger. That body is useless without a lens, and the standard lens on the 1-series makes it quite large. No match for my little S110, or the RX100/II.

          • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

            You must have small hands. ;)

            I’m curious why you bought the Canon S110, instead of the Nikon P330, or Sony RX100?

            Also, do you actually own a Nikon at all?

            • Spy Black

              True portability is the reason for the Canon.

              I actually bought a Nikon P310 first, but it died 4 days into owning it. Not a good omen. The P330 didn’t exist yet when I bought the S-110. It was a toss-up then between the S-110 and the Panasonic LX-7. The Sony was unfortunately too expensive for me (and still is), otherwise that would have been my camera-on-the-run. The S-110 won on it’s compact size, it literally fits in my pants pocket, and still gave me full tactile controls. The Pentax was just a bit too tight, and had a smaller sensor as well. The removable lens cap was a turn-off as well.

              Yes, I have a multitude of Nikon gear that I started building back in ’74 with my first F.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I’ve never owned a pocket camera. I guess you have described a potential average compact camera consumer. Essentially you are the market.

            • Spy Black

              An average enthusiast compact camera consumer perhaps. The average compact camera consumer buys something like a Coolpix.

              So you walk around with a DSLR all the time?

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              If I don’t carry a bag, then I take the Nikon V1 with the 18.5 f1,8 and the flash. If I grab one of my Lowepro bags, then it could be one or more bodies and lenses. One of my work bags would be a minimum of two bodies, though the lighting and grip bags take up a bunch of room, but usually I have at least one assistant. I also shoot large format and medium format for some of my work.

              I’ve been thinking about a walk-around camera. Tried a couple SuperWide Slim cameras for a while, which was fun. Then used a 1937 AGFA Jsolette with a Sekonic L-358, and got lots of great shots because people thought it was fun to get photographed with such an old camera. I’ve done the same with a 1950s era AGFA folder, though the shutter is not as reliable as on the 1937 model. Considered getting a pinhole, but I will wait for Ondu to start taking orders again. After all that, I’ve thought about the Coolpix A, though I’m curious about a possible Coolpix B, and I would like to see a lower used price to make the A a better value.

              If I walked around with my D3, then I don’t think I would get many good casual practice shots. Pro cameras look too intimidating. I would be better taking the FE I used in college (graduated 1998). Unless you can pull off looking like a clueless tourist, I think it’s tough to walk around with a DSLR. There is also the security worry of someone trying to steal a DSLR. Best to leave the DSLRs as work cameras only.

            • Spy Black

              “Then used a 1937 AGFA Jsolette…done the same with a 1950s era AGFA folder”

              For film, you might want to consider a Fuji GS645, this is the most compact medium-format camera I ever worked with, as you can see from the attached images. Be wary of the bellows however, as mine had pinholes.

              My personal opinion for compact digital is that I would bypass the Coolpix A or the possible B, unless the B comes with a zoom. You should closely examine an RX100 II for that kind of shooting. Perhaps buy one, shoot around for a week with it, and decide if it cuts it for you. The convenience of something that small and portable is not something to be dismissed.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I tend to shoot wide or normal. The only zoom lens I own is the kit one that came with the V1. Tried an RX100 and didn’t like the responsiveness. An RX1 would be a consideration, but the price is way too out there. Looked into XE1 and XE2, but not that compact, and another lens system to buy into. I can mount a PocketWizard onto a Coolpix A, so in theory it could be a lightweight back-up camera for work.

              I have a Bronica RF645 with 45mm and 65mm, which is my main medium format, though mostly just a work camera. The old AGFAs I have for fun, and I restored them myself. I’ve also shot with Rollei 6008, Contax 645, and Mamiya RZ67. I have some experience with numerous other medium format cameras through renting, tutoring, and assisting.

              I’m tall with big hands, so really small cameras don’t always feel right to me. Old gear is fun for experimenting. The 1937 AGFA is the oldest working camera I own, though I do have a lens that dates to 1854. Sometimes it more about how people react to a camera, than the technology inside it. The other thing is that really old lens designs render some very compelling images.

            • Spy Black

              Have you checked out the RX100 II? It’s a whole new beast. Has a hot shoe too. I know you mentioned big hands, but something that’s always with you is a very cool asset.

              The thing about the GS645 is, again, quite portable for it’s format, and a surprisingly good 75mm optic. It has it’s own retro-ish look due to it’s bellows, although that was never the intention in the design. The light meter is pretty accurate too.

              Just throwing that out there.

            • Spy Black

              Curious, where did you find components to rebuild your cameras? Did you scavenge?

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              I used screenprinting ink on the old bellows. Works well and remains flexible. Old shutters can be cleaned and re-calibrated using a microphone and sound wave application. The lenses are tougher to get apart. No parts needed if you find a good one, though I did find a few NOS bellows for the 6×9 folder. I also made my own watch with wind up movement a couple years ago, and it keeps perfect time. Helps to have some tools and lots of patience.

            • Spy Black

              Hmm, not understanding how you’re using printing ink, is that to seal holes in the bellows, or otherwise?

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Same stuff you use to screenprint on T-shirts. I use a small paintbrush on the inside of the bellows. Works better on the really old leather bellows, than on the post WWII synthetic bellows.

            • Spy Black

              So yes, sealing holes? I may try it anyway on my Fuji.

            • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

              Place the bellows in the sun to heatset after you apply the screenprinting ink. I’ve used mostly Speedball brand black ink to do this. It seems to help if there is some cloth or texture inside the bellows. If it is a rubber bellows, then I don’t think it would work.

      • KnightPhoto

        Disagree, I can work around lack of PASM. What I can’t work around is the software hobbling. If the 1 system allowed full on Auto-ISO (focal length sensitive and ability to set a minimum SS when in Aperture priority) like the D4/D800, I could care less about the physical controls (V1′s would be plenty good enough).

        • Captain Megaton

          In you want to set the shutter speed, switch to shutter priority. It might sound stupid, but with auto-ISO enabled it works just as well as setting a minimum SS parameter.

          • KnightPhoto

            Thanks Megaton yes, that is what I ultimately do with my V1, shoot it in Shutter priority (or manual), even though on all my other cameras I shoot Aperture priority (or manual).

            As mentioned, this mode difference is caused by the hobbled Auto-ISO firmware in the V1/V2 and needs to be changed.

        • Spy Black

          “Disagree, I can work around lack of PASM.”
          OK, but why should you HAVE to? At gunpoint?
          “What I can’t work around is the software hobbling.”
          Yeah, well, the whole package is hobbling. ;-) Hopefully they’ll finally get it right with the next incarnation. We’ll see.

  • istreetshooter

    Despite its faults, the V1/2 has focusing speed like Ricky Bobby. That’s what most mirrorless cameras seem to be missing. I don’t count focusing on a tree or mountain, I’m talking about moving objects.

    Yes, the V has the stupid faux hot shoe, but a $15 adapter lets me put on a standard microphone. Some models from Samsung and Sony want us to buy microphones just for their cameras.

    Plus, it has the EVF missing in many other mirrorless cameras.

    So, yes, the 1 series has some major problems, but the Vs have definite positives. The Vs seem overpriced based on sensor size and control access, but it seems underpriced for its focusing and video.

  • Tim

    If only they were committed to their pro market….
    E.g. skipping PPA’s convention trade show, ignoring the screams for a reduced resolution RAW mode on the D800, etc.

  • Raf

    This message is a declaration to the Nikon users: If you are looking for a mirrorless, go elsewhere. Which I did.

    • http://www.gordonmoat.com/ Gordon Moat

      Where did you go? What’s the biggest advantage of mirrorless?

  • Back to top