Weekly Nikon news flash #396

nikon-winter-cashback
Nikon UK cashback is now up to £510.

Phottix-Mitros+-flash
Phottix released firmware updated version 1.17 for the Mitros+ flash for Nikon.

digital-camera-market-forecast
Digital camera market forecast till 2023: units shipped down, revenue up.

cipa-interchangeable-camera-shipment-data
CIPA released their interchangeable camera shipment data for October -  we see a nice uptrend in September/October but the numbers are still lower compared to 2015 and 2014.

nikon-canon-service-and-support-infographic
→ Canon took a direct swing at Nikon with this survey/press release.

nikon-press-center
Nikon issued a notice of solicitation for voluntary Retirement

→ The new Fotodiox Fusion Nikon to Sony adapter can break your camera.

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  • Julian

    So basically prices are gonna go up a lot or?

    • Eric Calabros

      a lot a lot 🙂
      But I don’t know how camera makers gonna justify that. Based on this chart, they have to double their profits in only 5 years. It just covers two generations of a DSLR. do they want to sell D7500 in 2020 for $2000?

      • Julian

        One positive will be that resale values of old gear should also increase I suppose…

      • Don’t confuse profit with revenue.

        • TwoStrayCats

          For the end user the definitions don’t matter. Price and perceived value are everything.

          • It DOES matter if you are making an analysis. Doubling revenue while selling fewer cameras can only happen one way…raise prices. That is the point of the article. Doubling PROFITS while selling fewer cameras can happen any number of ways…reducing workforce, building the camera in Haiti instead of Germany, using lower cost parts and materials and of course raising the price. But that WASN’T the point of the article.

            • akkual

              It isn’t necessarily the price increase. Due to mobile phones, people have stopped buying Point and Shoots. Point and Shoots are low price mass product, so they sold 1million of $100 cameras for 100million of revenue (example). DSLRs and mirrorless are not mass products, but more expensive enthusiast products. It could be (and most likely is) that people are buying more of these enthusiast products than ever, which increases revenue although the sum of shipped cameras decreases. For 100million you need only sell 100k of $1000 DSLRs. Photography is getting more and more popular hobby, and people quickly realize mobile phones have restrictions.

            • Yes, we’ve all been talking about that for ten years now. No disrespect intended…welcome to the discussion. But, that’s not the point of the article we’re discussing.

      • Reggie

        It’s revenues, not profit. And they have been successful in driving people up the ladder the past few years, lower priced full frame, etc. But development cost is likely going (and will continue to go) up, so this isn’t going to be pure profit. It will take a lot of R&D as diminishing returns set in for improvements for lens tech, for example.

        Still, I agree that at some point, the price increases will see a significant leftward shift in demand, and thus revenues will likely level out at some point (and profits drop). I think it’s going to be a rough few years in the industry, and by the time you hit that 2023 mark, I just can’t see Olympus, Panasonic, Sigma, Pentax, Fuji, Sony, Canon, and Nikon all still in the market. Not to mention Leica, Hasselblad, Mamiya, and Phase One. It just seems so saturated for a market that is dwindling in sales.

    • animalsbybarry

      The trend is not sustainable
      Prices cannot continue to increase at the projected level
      Metalenses will soon replace conventional lenses… single element super lightweight, with much higher quality, much lower cost

    • Flyespresso

      You guys are missing one source of revenue, costs can go down thus creating a greater profit margin on a per unit basis.

      You’ll see less aggressive rebates/discounts, you’ll see a slower pace of R&D / New models, bigger focus on manufacturing technological improvement vs product advancement.

      All good things, it’s just a sign of a more stable/mature marketplace. Manufacturing advancement is really nice for photography as it generally means more automation; this in turn creates better QA and greater consistency sample to sample.

      It’s not just price!

      • Nyarlathotep

        Revenue does not equal profit. Revenue is just income with no consideration for expenses. I suspect that chart is the tip of the chart, has a non-zero bottom. Otherwise, as others have pointed out, roughly doubling income while roughly halving units sold would require roughly a quadrupling of pricing per unit.

        If the graph was showing net operating income, instead of revenue, your comment would make sense. So either the graph is mislabeled, someone things prices are going to quadruple while units sold halve, or more likely, this is just the tip of data and the bottom of the graph starts at some Y number of millions of units.

        • Flyespresso

          I agree on the non-zero bottom but I think they mean profit not revenue. It’s generally mixed up pretty often by those that aren’t that knowledgeable of the differences.

          • Nyarlathotep

            As a marketing research company, they ought to know the difference. Otherwise, that is a giant rookie mistake.

        • Thom Hogan

          FWIW, they list Canon and Sony as “clients,” which I guess means that someone at each company bought at least one of their hundreds of US$4325 reports.

          • Andrew

            This fake survey is everything I have been thinking of late. Buy my camera from Nikon and get Canon to service it 😉

      • Allan

        “….it’s just a sign of a more stable/mature marketplace.”

        Sales went down from 2014 to 2016 – fact. Sales are predicted to continue to go down – guess.

        What is stable/mature about this trend?

        The camera business is in deep doo doo.

        • Flyespresso

          That’s an indicator of a stable/mature market from a consumer perspective. The need to go out and get a more advanced product every year has passed. Now people are holding onto their camera longer as it meets their needs.

          There has to be a net benefit for a consumer to spend money.

          • outkasted

            or a semi pro….they still have these right? Semi pros? either way my refurbish D700 and D3 are doing quite well! Thank You nikon for launching 2 superior products. They are #workhorses

            • Wade Marks

              You bring up a great point. Lost in the midst of so many people bashing the camera companies is the fact that one of their “problems” is that they build equipment so good and so reliable that many do not see a reason to upgrade that frequently.

              Camera companies have been making cameras that are “too good.”

      • Allan

        “… you’ll see a slower pace of R&D …”

        There will be less incentive to buy a new camera. The decline in sales will accelerate.

        The camera companies need to increase R&D, or they will go under. As Thom has said, they are not solving customer problems.

        The camera companies have not kept up with the consumers’ expectation of easy and rapid sharing of their photos. They don’t want better quality photos.

        • Flyespresso

          You can spend as much as you want on R&D, but if there is no return on investment, it’s kind of pointless.

          The decline in sales can be met with a decline in R&D and still sustain profit.

          What Thom is saying is different–that’s just what they should be spending R&D on. Not how much…

          • Allan

            This approach only works for the short term. If you continue to lose customers, and sell less units per unit time, you’re gone.

          • Mr_Miyagi

            “The decline in sales can be met with a decline in R&D and still sustain profit.”

            Let me repeat for you what a knowledgeable and wise man wrote about cost-cutting just a short while ago for you to contemplate:

            “Thom Hogan –> J-Man • 9 hours ago

            “The camera makers are all pretty darned lean. I fail to see how you take 50% of the cost out of the camera while keeping the volume the same. We Nikon users have already seen what moderate cost cutting does to our QC and customer service.”

        • Wade Marks

          I agree that people want to be able to take a pic and then easily/rapidly share it. However there is no solution for a dedicated camera that will make it easier than a smartphone. None.

          The next best solution ironically is something like Nikon’s Snapbridge, only Nikon has not yet implemented it well enough. But the idea is sound: if I can make it so that my camera automatically pushes photos to my iPhone, so that afterwards they are there to share/edit, then that’s the next easiest thing to taking the photo with the smartphone itself.

          We’ll see if Nikon can perfect Snapbridge. If they do it will be a powerful feature.

          • Allan

            If you spend the appropriate amount of money and hire talented people, is it so difficult to get it right the first or second time? Hasn’t it been several years that they’ve offered Snap bridge?

            • Wade Marks

              Snapbridge first came out w/ the D500 in Jan of this year.

              As to getting it right: I don’t know the complexities involved, but it is surely more than we can imagine. The software has to work well with the Bluetooth and Wifi, the app has to work well with iOS and Android, etc. There’s the internal processor to consider, etc.

              I think the problem is that the camera software is not really designed for this sort of thing, and Nikon doesn’t really have expertise in this field. It sounds good about them just throwing some money at the problem and hiring some talented people, but it usually is more complex than that.

              Let’s say I hire in some really good coders…but then they run into the same difficulties working with the camera operating system and its limitations. They say, we need to rewrite the camera software. Then that requires a newer processor, and you get into a whole lot of new complexities. For all we know Nikon is working on this but it takes a while to get this all sorted out.

              Keep in mind that the other camera companies haven’t proven to be very good at this sort of thing either, for the same reasons.

              That said, Nikon has the right idea: they just need to execute it right. But that’s easier said than done.

          • “However there is no solution for a dedicated camera that will make it easier than a smartphone. None.”

            I don’t need it to be easier than a smartphone, I just need it to not be stupid. Snapbridge is not the answer, it’s just a more flashy variety of stupid.

    • Yes, it seems that this is how companies are going to compensate for falling sales and we are already seeing that.

      • ZoetMB

        It doesn’t just mean price increases, it means a shift from low end products to high end products. But I think this may be a fantasy on the part of the camera companies and they’re forecasting this because the execs will get fired if they project declining revenues/profits. It could well have nothing to do with reality. When was the last time Nikon made a forecast?

        It’s fine to say that the low end is smartphones so that’s no longer a market, but my personal feeling is that they’re pricing a lot of people out of the market. These are people who don’t want a Nikon 3xxx, 5xxx or even a 7xxx, but are finding the better models that they once could afford, no longer affordable. Same for lenses.

        Also, the camera companies could once depend upon pros, but there are fewer pros and especially, fewer well-paid pros all the time. News organizations who once would pay for almost any equipment now accept smartphone photos and are sending journalists out with cameras instead of hiring pro photographers. The few hundred “A-list” photographers at the top aren’t enough to keep these camera companies in a healthy business.

        While my own purchasing habits are just anecdotal, back in the day I bought the big 2.8 zooms in quick succession. I’d love to replace them, but I really don’t feel like they’re affordable. The retailers were also able to offer bigger discounts in those days – Nikon is far more strict today.

        On the upside, there is still plenty of interest. PhotoPlus Expo was mobbed this year and last year. But in 2015, only 10 million DSLR and mirrorless cameras were sold worldwide. That’s really not very many. (20 million were sold in the peak year of 2012). As much as we all agree that the compact market is dead, they still sold 22 million of them last year (although 108 million in 2010).

        So if the camera makers pursue this strategy of fewer units but more revenue, what they’re essentially doing is turning their businesses into a high-end niche market.

        • akkual

          You are correct that this forecast most likely is made based on selling less cheap P&S and selling more expensive DSLRs/mirrorless. Will this forecast hold? That’s a good question. I would say that since photography is getting more and more popular hobby, it’s important for high end manufacturers to provide clear path in price ranges and even try to bring down the prices of many enthusiast products to increase the potential buyer base. This would be wise. Nikon has done this with their FX line recently by creating magnificent f/1.8 prime range and having D610 and D750 on their lineup. The worse Nikon could now make, is to start rising that range’s price. Rising higher end prices (f/1.4 and D810/D5) range doesn’t matter much, because most of the people who would buy those in the 1st place will buy them be the price $2700 or $3000.

    • Thom Hogan

      Or the chart is completely bogus.

      The more I look at it, the angrier I get. Let’s just take dollars (which they can’t seem to decide whether is in Billions or Millions). They show dollars going up 2014-2016. As I reported last week, the CIPA numbers for 2013 to 2016 are:

      * 2013 1.671 trillion yen
      * 2014 1.431t
      * 2015 1.334t
      * 2016 1.1t on a liberal estimate

      Yet, if their chart is 0 axis, they show a 50% rise in dollars from 2014 to 2016.

      So even ignoring all the other problems with it, their numbers are going the wrong direction.

      Then, again using the left axis with the assumption it goes to zero (the only reasonable assumption based upon their words) they show units going down about 20%. Again, the actual numbers:

      * 2013 62.8 million units
      * 2014 43.4m
      * 2015 35.4m
      * 2016 23m on a liberal estimate

      Yeah, they didn’t even get the actuals right, so how could the hypotheticals be right, too?

      Now let’s go one step further and say that their 2014 numbers actually matched actuals (they almost certainly don’t given their other numbers) and see what their 2020 numbers would claim the market looks like:

      * 2014 1.43t yen and 43.4m units (32972 yen per unit)
      * 2020 2.00t yen and 25.5m units (79431 yen per unit)

      Not going to happen.

      • Eric Calabros

        Unless we accept buying Corolla with Lexus price.

        • Thom Hogan

          Oh, it’s even worse. I decided to go try to get the study. In their write-up about it, they correctly identify that the market dropped in 2015 to 35.4m units, though the chart they use to advertise the report shows that it rose. So their visuals don’t support their words.

          I’m beginning to think I should charge US$4325 for my reports on the industry ;~).

          • Allan

            You’re worth more.

          • silmasan

            In that case you’ll have to charge at least EUR 5623 come 2017!

          • Eric Calabros

            Fake news, even in market research? May God help us (and companies).

            • Orange Elephant

              Fake market research? Noooo! please say it can’t be!!!!! 😉

            • Thom Hogan

              Funny thing is we’ve always had fake news and people that believe it (think National Enquirer). What the Internet has done is essentially make the dissemination of real versus fake equal and tougher to discriminate between.

          • nwcs

            I wonder if their graph is just a throwaway image and not intended to be anything other than chart junk (as Edward Tufte would say).

            • Thom Hogan

              At this point I’d have to say that it is. However that graph is on their page marketing their report. Such deception in marketing certainly makes me question the validity of any report they produce.

  • Glen

    My Nikon kit is currently very well filled out with everything that I actually have reason to use. Only reason I would need to spend money now is because something breaks or something comes along that is such an upgrade from what I have that I feel the need to buy it.

    There are certainly some lenses that, while not really necessary for the type of shooting I do, I would consider buying for the enjoyment factor if the price was right, but Nikon has been pricing things well beyond what I would consider for a non-necessity purchase. Raising prices more is not going to help with that.

    Of course the one thing I am ready to spend money on, the DL 24-85, Nikon is still unable to ship.

  • MonroeAlan

    I suspect this is based on a downward trend in people thinking they become “professionals” or even advanced amateurs simply by buying a camera with Nikon or Canon on the front. Cameras are becoming more advanced and expensive. Does anyone remember a true basic body like the D40, or D100? Trends — more capable and more expensive “introductory cameras” are colliding with prices getting too expensive for toys and occasional use. Decades ago, we saw Brownie Hawkeyes and Speed Graphics, or Leicas on the two extremes. This may be the coming of a similar split – smart phones and DSLRs.

  • Glen

    Also, assuming the chart scale is linear and starts at 0, they are projecting to cut # of shipments in half but double revenue. That implies a 4x increase in average sales price.

    • Jonathan

      Not necessarily. I mean, I expect prices to rise, but that’s not necessarily the only factor. Cost cutting measures can make a big impact. Automation allowing for a reduced head count can make a big difference. As can standardization (ie, reusing sensors or AF modules across models, etc.).
      That said, that chart looks ridiculous. I doubt there’s ANY combination of realistic price increases and cost cutting measures that will achieve what’s projected there.

      • Captain Megaton

        Cost cutting reduces expenses and increases profit. It does not influence revenue directly.

  • Wade Marks

    Interesting business theory: With declining demand, actually raise prices.

    Of course, after a while it becomes self fulfilling prophecy: sales are down, raise prices to make up for lost revenue, sales go down even more due to high prices, leaves only the more wealthy people as customers…camera companies take surveys showing that only the wealthier are buying and are less price sensitive…so repeat cycle.

    I agree that camera companies shouldn’t race to the bottom in pricing, and have probably lost the lower end of the market to smartphones…so they do need to concentrate on the mid to upper level markets. But they still need to deliver value in price to performance/features, and they also need to remember that even the very wealthy can be price sensitive.

    In short, they need to strike a balance, not just go for ever higher prices.

    • ITN

      It is not that camera manufacturers will actively raise prices of similar products that cost less in the past but simply sell relatively more of the higher end products as that’s what is left when the consumer camera market collapses. The price of the average unit goes up because low end equipment is no longer sold. Of course this graph is just an optimistic prediction designed to calm investors. In reality the camera market is not likely to grow either in units or in value.

  • 247th

    I believe the chart will plateau eventually and the sales with decrease with the volume. The price of the product won’t be able to inflate to infinity. ie. If Nikon released their 70-200/2.8E at $3500, how popular do you think it would be with today’s currency rate. If it was $5000 would people want it? No. You can only inflate so much before the demand and the price plateau at maximum efficiency.

    • Captain Megaton

      There are people out there who will buy a $5000 Nikon lens precisely because it is $5000. Make it $7000 and they will only want to buy it more.

      • decentrist

        conspicuous consumption is the realm of Tiffanys/Leica, not Canikon…mostly

  • dikiz

    Raising up prices as demand is going down is non-sense. They will be able to sustain their profits by squeezing more amateurs and semi-pro, but that’ll work for a very short term – it’s not like this industry was able to bring a lot of innovations and improvements at a fast rate….
    They’re digging their own gravre.

    • Paul H.

      No. You misunderstand economics, since demand always drives down prices. When fewer require the goods/services in question, there will be fewer who will compete for the fewer dollars. And those who buy those goods/services will have to pay more for each unit in question.

      • dikiz

        What you describe is NOT the supply and demand law. Which is what I call non-sense. “will have to pay more for each unit in question.” It’s exactly what I meant “sustain their profits by squeezing more amateurs and semi-pro”.
        Looks like you totally overlooked my point.

        • Paul H.

          I’m not sure if I misunderstood you, or you are reacting emotionally to an opposing view.
          Even when the demand equilibrium is reached, prices will continue to rise (for a host of reasons, inflation notwithstanding). Only increased demand would cause the prices to go down (or stabilize, temporarily), unfortunately.
          This phenomena is not unique to electronics. Consider the flat panel television: when it was first released, how expensive and relatively crappy they were. Early adopters helped us mortals see their utility and advantages, which started the process of newer, better, cheaper as more buyers entered the market.
          What we’re debating here is the opposite trajectory, and why fewer sales is amounting to higher prices.

          • dikiz

            Push that logic further, to an extreme situation. Say the new Galaxy makes pictures 5 times better than the best DSLR out there. The demand for DSLRs will collapse to 0 and you think prices will keep going up whereas no one wants them?

            • Paul H.

              Now you are just being silly. In the real world, niche markets survive because of their necessity among existing users. For example, the VW beetle/bug was once a popular, cheap, entry level automobile, but it faded due to intense competition. It came back as a niche and, at a $20k starting price, is hardly entry level anymore – even though they only sell a fraction of what they once did.
              The DSLR will occupy a niche until it is technologically irrelevant (which cannot physically happen with stupid phones) and will command more dollars for the shrinking base of users who demand them.

            • dikiz

              Why would I discuss with someone who doesn’t know supply & demand curves, calls me emotional and silly?

      • Wade Marks

        Econ 101: Supply and Demand curves. Demand goes down as prices rise; supply goes up. Where they intersect determines market price.

        If demand goes down, pricing goes down; less pricing pressure. It’s a weird economics where less demand gives you reason to raise prices.

        • dikiz

          Yes that’s what I meant. Less people are buying their products so they raise up prices so that with fewers consumers they maintain their profits at same level. It’s a simplistic reaction

  • Kick ’em while their down! Always a bit of risk for the assailant, but I know my colleagues who shoot Canon seem fairly happy with service, so maybe they feel OK about making the challenge. I shoot a pretty fair amount but I wouldn’t say i “pound” my equipment. Honestly, the gear is so reliable I don’t need service but for very rare occasions. It’s been fine for me.

    • Eric Calabros

      I think Canon is certainly aware internet vocal shooters are bashing it for lagging behind technology wise, so they wanted to make an indirect response: “maybe, but tech is not everything, we are leader of this market, for a good reason”.

  • Semaphore

    I’m always surprised by how many people fail to grasp the concept of inflation – prices can, will, and do go up indefinitely. The more pertinent question is the RATE at which they go up.

    And this graph is essentially garbage in showing that.

    Plots that don’t label their axes are almost always trying to deceive you.

    • Adam Jackson

      Yes, for all we know, the bottom of the chart could be cut off, accentuating the change over time. We need more details on the y-axis to gain anything useful from this graph.

    • Captain Megaton

      The graph is garbage and taking the assumption the axis are not truncated predicts 3x more revenue from 1/3 fewer units shipped by 2023.

      Which, why yes Dorothea, means they are apparently predicting a camera will on average sell for nine times what it did in 2014.

      Can you say: “No chance in Hell”?

    • Glen

      I think most people here actually do understand inflation but at its current rate of 1-2% (in the US at least) it is not enough to make a huge difference over the time horizon of this graph. The revenue portion of the graph roughly doubles from 2016 to 2022, assuming they were selling the same exact mix of units that implies an inflation rate of 12% annually if this were due to inflation alone. Of course they are also saying unit volume will be cut in half so that means we are more like 20% inflation if inflation is the only factor.

      Of course electronics tend to not rise in price as quickly as other products due to advances in manufacturing technology. The high end desktop that I bought in 1992 cost about the same in nominal dollars as the high end desktop I bought in 2015. Of course the 2015 machine is probably 1,000 times faster than the 1992 machine and in terms of inflation adjusted dollars cost about half as much. I know cameras and lenses do not benefit from this as much but inflation is clearly only a small piece of the story of this graph, assuming there exists a cohesive story behind the graph which I doubt.

  • Wade Marks

    Thanks for sharing that info re metalenses. Fascinating stuff.

  • TheInfinityPoint

    I’m actually glad Canon did that survey. Maybe this is the level of embarrassment they need to get their customer service quality act together. I have my own Nikon support horror stories which would put me in that ~25% of customers not happy with Nikon tech support. The worst was when they shipped me my lens back with a scratch on the front element (that wasn’t there when I shipped it to them). I have to say I am envious of my fellow Canon photographers who can have their gear serviced right here in Honolulu (where I live). Minimum round trip service time to Nikon in LA is 2 weeks including 2-day shipping via UPS.

  • Joris

    I believe the numbers are dropping as the market for entry level cameras will drop (most people can shoot a decent picture with their mobile phone today).

    Companies will then need to compensate with High end models for which amateurs or professionals are ready to spend bigger bucks.

    One of the good example is the official price of the D500 !

    • Pippo

      Another side of story. Web&social networks no need of D800 quality photos. Overall quality of trillions of pics go down or, if you like, this stuff are from smartphones. Manufacturers big money from P&S and cheep DSLR are gone. I dont know, how can firms gain up revenue, but unit shipment graphic is real. In future, people will buy camera for real usage, not, because neighbor have it.
      In auto industry we see Audi 1,2…,8. 10 years, and all go back to small, middle and large

    • peter w

      D200 1850 euro 2005

      D300 1950 euro 2007
      … 2050 euro 2009
      … 2150 euro 2011
      … 2250 euro 2013
      … 2350 euro 2015

      D500 2400 euro 2016

      Wat denk jij Joris?

  • peter w

    I am not surprised Canon users are more content with the service.

    In my country Nikonians are known to be snobs, compared to Canonisti, picking on details and not easily satisfied. This is confirmed by a salesman who specialises in things like cabled remote controls MC30 and its clones. Canon guys don’t bother about using a screwdriver any time to scratch the contacts to get their 10 dollar remote to work. Nikonians scratch their heads, swallow thrice and pay 60 euro for something that appears to be working all the time. Yes, you may find this a very rough and generalised and rather an unscientific view, it is.
    (I was happy to find one second hand ;). )

    • Eledeuh

      Anecdotal evidence at the very best, not even worth taking into account nor worth mentioning for anything.

      • peter w

        ah, and you read nikonrumors for what reason?

        • Eledeuh

          …news and trusted rumors related to Nikon, all of it refined by the admin of this website ?

          Are you trying to say that your anecdotal evidence above fits in one of those two categories ? 🙂

          • peter w

            What i am saying in my first comment, is that measurement of client perception is very important to corporations, but should be compared externally only after judgement if the population is comparable.

            The anecdotal evidence – I clearly present it as anecdotal -is not evidence but illustration.

            It could very well be that the way Canon treats their clients is more comforting, rather than better. It could be the coffee.
            The difference in speed is better data to praise Canon.
            In America. I have to deal with Nikon Europe.
            Our politics here are orienting on use of anecdotal evidence and lies more and more. Instead of misinterpreting real data.

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