Nikon doing well, better than Canon in the past two years (2008 vs 2006)


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  • bigmouth

    So what? Nikon was behind for nearly 20 years and its true come back didn’t start until the introduction of D3 and D300. There’s nothing to celebrate about since Canon marketers are not idiots. They did stumble over 1D mark III’s focus problem which in some way really hurt them. But they’ve built enough momentum now with 5D mark II, the 1D mark IV is likely to over pass D3 and D3s for quite some time. Then, Nikon is no longer leading in any category (7D is at least on paper superior to D300s, 5D mark II is clearly a winner over D700 because of its video fuzz). Then what?

    What’s worse is that Canon is catching on all the little “nitches” that Nikon enjoyed over years: pop-up flash commander, viewfinder grid overlay. On the other hand, Nikon was unable to really do much to surpass the lens arena except the 24-70 and 14-24 – price wise Nikkor lenses especially the pro ones remain to be too expensive to gain any prosumer popularity like what the Canon F4L group did.

    • nikkor_2

      In sports photography, the impact has been significant. Many Canon shooters have been quite dismayed with the 1D Mark III’s autofocus performance; I’ve talked to a fair number at a variety of events.

    • Nikkorian

      I dont see where 7D is superior on paper to D300s! D300s still has, on paper, the better AF system, and apart from the video features (who needs them anyway), I can’t see any superiority of the 7D, maybe equality.

      • bigmouth

        7D’s 18mp sensor’s capability remain to be seen – 50D sort of lost its raise because it’s uninspiring performance in high ISO area – I have a feeling 7D will be better but not significantly – then D300’s sensor is not that great either. 18mp gives you a good jump on crop-ability though. So it can be a plug.

        8fps / 100% viewfinder / new 19 point all cross type focus system / flash commander / virtual horizens, so on and so forth, plus the traditional lead on lens choices, I really think 7D can be a D300s killer – at least to those entry level camera owners who are thinking of moving up.

        Maybe I am being a little passmistic here, but without a direct competition from the Lens offerings, Nikon will likely to lose in the body war.

      • Video is precisely why I purchased a D300s to add to my D2x and D700 lineup. I don’t use the camera for anything else BUT video. I paid $1,800 because for my needs it really offers more than the higher cost alternatives (i.e. dedicated prosumer digicam, 35mm lens adapter, and lots of work to make it look even half as good as a camera with native 35mm lenses).

        So while you may not see the need for video on the DSLR bodies, I think it’s a bit narrow minded to say things like “who needs them anyway” in regards to the video features.

        So far I’ve shot and cut two projects with the D300s (tests in preparation for real work), and regardless of what anyone says the results are certainly head turning. Everyone I show the videos to specifically comment on how “clear” and “professional” the vids look, and how they were only expecting to see a “normal” video instead of what I actually showed them.

        Check em out:

      • Alex

        “I can’t see any superiority of the 7D, maybe equality.” – You must not be looking hard enough. I’m a D300 owner, and I absolutely love the camera. I don’t see any need to upgrade until it simply “gives out.” However, I do believe that Canon’s 7D will be superior to the D300 and D300s.

        Personally, I disagree with your comment about the D300s autofocus being superior. I do love having 51 focus points, but the D300 and D300s only have 15 “cross-type” points, whereas all 19 of the 7D’s are cross-type. And unfortunately, Nikon put all 15 of the cross-type points in the center of the 51, and on the 7D, since there are only 19 all together, those cross-type points will be more spread out. I think that’s a huge advantage… but if you don’t own a D300, maybe you can’t see the advantage.

        7D shoots 8 fps, D300s shoots 7 fps.
        7D has 1080p HD, D300s has 720p HD (and while the Nikon does have the on-paper advantage of autofocus in video mode, you can see for yourself from sample videos that it really sucks in use).
        7D has some new “intelligent viewfinder,” which seems pretty cool to me.
        7D has 18 megapixels, D300s has 12 (which doesn’t matter to me, but it probably will to sports shooters)
        7D MSRP = $1699, D300s MSRP = $1799

        Obviously it all comes down to what you need for your style of photography… but “on paper,” I think the 7D has the advantage.

        • arz

          The next you know is that Canon start to offer center pinch lens caps and lens hood to all of its lenses. Then Nikon is toasted!


    • Roger Moore

      I think Nikon was catching up even before the D3/D300. Pro-grade SLRs make up just a small fraction of the market, not even close to enough to explain Nikon’s improvement relative to Canon. The difference really started at the low end, with cameras like the D50 and D40 and, even more important, with Nikon’s better selection of consumer-grade DX lenses.

    • jo-1

      very true!

      The win back from Nikon is purely done by the D300 and D700 / D3 – I’ve switched early 2009 from Nikon to Canon simply because of the better lenses in my favorite focal lengths.

      Three is no equivalent on the Nikon side at all!!

      TS-E 17 and 70-200 f/4.0 are clearly the best in their class plus the 70-200 f/4.0 is unbeatable in weight – so the point is more the question who has better lenses plus the better strategy and I decided with my money to go for Canon even though it is a huge mental step to accept who’s better (having used Nikon glass and bodies for nearly 20 years)

      In the era of computer darkroom on the back of the camera the software plus in house development capability for sensors decide which brand to choose. For the time being it is Canon and Canon is likely to stay the quality winner. Even my 5D II is on the same level as the 3x more expensive D3x and it is 2x faster at 14 bit 😉

      • HDZ

        I have 70-180 micro, please look the price in eBay now.

        Just sold 28 1.4D and HK-7 in triple double price that I pay, can Canon do this?

      • Anonymous

        Not sure how you think that the Canon 70-200 is superior to the Nikon offerings. In the same range, but with 2.8 aperture, Nikon has beaten Canono in all the tests I have seen. I think that both lenses and bodies are mor or less equal, I would find it very surprising if switching made you a significantly better photographer.

        • arz

          He’s talking about Canon 70-200 F4L, not the 70-200 F2.8 L IS.

          Yes, you can say that 70-200/2.8L IS is on par to the new Nikon 70-200 VR II, the problem is, Nikon’s 70-200VR cost like $2000, where Canon’s 70-200 IS is only $1500. Not only that, you can buy a Canon 70-200/2.8 with no IS for only $1000, and it has USM. Nikon has nothing else – AF-D version?

    • msb29

      I’ve been looking at thousands and thousands of samples on the internet for the past 3 months…Nikon is the best and by far. The final result is what we’re interested in, not what’s on paper…
      Even if some Canon cameras are great, I have yet to find one image with the same quality as we can get from Nikon.

  • Zoetmb

    I don’t know where they’re getting their numbers from, but this doesn’t seem right to me. With Sony in the game, both Canon and Nikon’s numbers have to go down.

    In Nikon’s fiscal 2008 (ending March 2008), Nikon reported selling 3,090,000 DSLR units as compared with CIPA shipments of 7,714,234 giving Nikon a 40.1% market share on DSLRs (not including lenses).

    In Nikon’s fiscal 2009 (ending March 2009), Nikon reported selling 3.42 million DSLRs compared with CIPA shipments of 9,132,105 giving them a 37.5% market share, a loss of 2.6%.

    For the 1st three months of Nikon’s fiscal 2010 (April-June 2009), Nikon reported selling 840,000 DSLRs compared to CIPA shipments of 2,517,541, giving them only a 33.4% share.

    So I don’t know how they can possibly come to the conclusion that Nikon’s market share is growing.

    • Jack

      They’re comparing 2008 vs. 2006. You’re comparing 2008 to 2009 and 2010, which were not taken into consideration in this graph.

      • Zoetmb

        Fiscal 2009 IS mostly 2008. The point is, Nikon’s share trend is down, not up. When I get some time, I’ll go back and check CIPA 2006 numbers, but my guess is that Nikon’s share for 2006 will work out to 38%. It then peaked at 40.1% and has been on a downward trend since, which is what we’d expect, partially because of Sony’s big entry into the market and also because this year, Nikon stated as part of their strategy that they were willing to give up market share in order to increase margin.

        • Jack

          Okay, I see. I guess I’m not sure why we should be concerned with Nikon’s market share at this point. I would think even being number 3 or 4 is still good as long as you’re selling cameras and making money. I understand if their market share drops dramatically and they lose lots of money, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon. Of course, I don’t know what their situation is, but I’m confident I’ll still be able to use my Nikon gear for many years to come.

          • Zoetmb

            OK, I went back and checked fiscal 07, which is April 2006 to March 2007 and Nikon had a DSLR share of 36%.
            I can’t provide a figure for fiscal 06 because CIPA didn’t break out DSLRs from other digital cameras back then.
            So we have:
            fiscal 07: 36% Nikon DSLR share
            fiscal 08 40.1%
            fiscal 09 37.5%
            fiscal 10 33.4% through June

            And the only reason I brought any of this up is because of the posted graph which implies that Nikon’s market share is growing, which it most definitely is not.

          • Actually your data confirms the above graph – they compare 2006 with 2008 and Nikon did gain around 4% market share during that period – it matches exactly your data

    • Jack

      They’re comparing 2008 vs. 2006. You’re comparing 2008 to 2009 and 2010, which is not what this graph is showing.

      • Jack

        Whoops, didn’t hit stop fast enough.

  • NikoDoby

    I wonder what will happen to me if I post this in the canon forums? Hmmm

    • Try it!

      • NikoDoby

        Ahh… did you say double dog dare to me?

    • Gustav

      It won’t matter as it seems all the Canon fanboys are here anyway.

  • I am not scared from Canon, I am scared from Sony… I can bet that they will be #2 in 5 years. The question is who will go down to #3, Nikon or Canon?
    Did you guys see Sony’s rumored 2010 roadmap:

    • Ennan

      yeah but at what cost to sony? They are losing so much money right now right across the board. I read something a while back where the head of sony had said he wanted to sony to stop focusing on electronics and cameras and switch to software development but the board of directors wouldn’t let him.

    • zeeGerman

      I don’t mind which manufacturer is first second or third, in terms of market shares. That doesn’t mean much, and certainly nothing about quality. What I do fear, or well, at least critically look at, is the cooperation between Sony and Nikon. Nikon is a really small company, compared to Sony. Nikon wouldn’t be the first company that gets absorbed from a formerly friendly company, during difficult times.

      • Gordon

        I would hesitate to guess it would be Nikon coming in at third spot eventually, unless they continue to be aggressive and maintain the momentum they’ve gained the last couple of years.

        In hindsight, Sony may of been better positioned in the DSLR market if they purchased Nikon instead of going with Minolta/Konica. Minolta’s lens range was very dated when they tookover, especially at the pro end, and the brief stint as Konica-Minolta did not do much for the lens line-up either.

      • Zograf

        Nikon, As far I remember, is already part of Mitsubishi Group companies(or similar big one) so it won’t be easy to be absorbed by Sony.

        • zeeGerman

          You’re right, I didn’t know that. But still, this doesn’t mean that it is out of the loop, just like Opel, which belongs to GM, is practically bought by Magma these days.

    • Sony Lenses

      By the way, have any of you played with Sony’s lenses in Best Buy or places like that? They are wonderfully smooth with a very precise feeling of control. By contrast, my Nikon 24-70 almost feels like it spins and the control is not that great, despite comparisons to even worse feeling lenses (Canon’s included).

      I’m just saying that Sony is making gear that feels very good. I’ll stick with Nikon because of the investment. But if I had known Sony was all in, I definitely would have considered it.

      • zeeGerman

        I only know the Zeiss ones, and they are really fine. But I didn’t expect anything else from Zeiss. In fact I wish they would add auto focus to their line of ZF/ZE mount lenses.

        I think you’re right about Sony, they already offer a good lineup. Right now at least their bodies are fairly cheap, but that will change. Non the less, for newcomers they are a serious option in the meantime, and of course for all those that believe that 24mp makes their pictures better. 😉
        Me personally, I wouldn’t jump on the Sony train, as I don’t like their general proprietary policy/strategy.

  • El Aura

    Nikon already caught up with Canon in 2007 and the D3 and D300 was pretty much only available for one months of that year. In other words, the D200, D80 and D40(x) must have already put Nikon back up to parity with Canon.

  • Max

    Agree with zeeGerman – market share really means nothing. Depending where you’re coming from (i.e. into photography or into investments) the priority should be on making the best, robust system. To me (an ex-Contax/Zeiss guy) that means optics and rock solid, great feel, well performing body. (Personally, camera makers are adding too many bells and whistles to camera bodies now adays – but that’s another topic). Secondly, camera makers should focus on profitability. No sense having market share if you’re not profitable (to plow into R&D, etc). So who cares who is selling how much and what their market share is. You make the damn best product/system at a reasonable value – the market will follow.
    By the way – would love to see Contax back in the game!!

  • tibor

    “the priority should be on making the best, robust system(…)Secondly, camera makers should focus on profitability(…)make the damn best product/system at a reasonable value – the market will follow.”

    I am sorry to tell you, that, even if I totally agree with your points of making the best quality products ever, this point of view goes directly against profitability in a long term for a brand.
    If the best system goes out, with suberb & robust bodies, lenses etc… no one will ever need to change his camera ever. That’s why cameras are nowadays only cool electronics with a crappy armor-body around.
    Its also a bit the same with girls : you may have the most beautifull wife on the earth, but will always turn your eyes on the next model !!! 🙂

    • NikoDoby

      Profits ALWAYS come first. You can’t have any other goodies if you don’t make any money from your product.

      • Ken Elliott

        Actually, I’d have to disagree with this. Serving customer needs come first. Profit is an indicator as to how well you meet customer needs.

        Example: GM focused on increasing profits by cutting costs of their cars, and have seen a huge decline in market share over the last 30 years. Toyota has focused on improving their cars, and becoming more responsive to customer needs. They have had a huge gain in market share and profitability.

        Like eating, it is important, but if it become your prime focus, you tend to self destruct. It leads you to make bad decisions.

        • NikoDoby

          Nope, the sole purpose of any business venture is to make money. You don’t invest or start up a business to make people like you. You do it to make more money! Toyota’s perceived goody goody image goes only as far as the return per dollar they get out of it. If people believe your product is better then you charge more for it. Look at Apple. Business is strictly about the money.

  • Ronan

    Nikon has always been ahead of Canon. Why do you think Nikon use to make glass for Canon.

    • NikoDoby

      Yes indeed they did. Even now canon users still mount Nikkors to their 5DmkII 🙂

  • EG

    I wish for a D3000L as in LowLight with a 6 MPix-sensor with insane high sensitivity that allows iso25600 or hopefully even more in a small (and somewhat cheap) camera. Please Nikon don’t cripple highiso but let the user decide how bad quality that can be accepted even if You have to call it Hi1, Hi2, StupidHi3, InsaneHi4 and so on so that nobody can blame You for the quality.

    That would make me abandon the trusty D40.

    If it also has a useful movie (VGA is enough) mode it would be perfect for me as the only camera I need.

    • AS

      Start learning how to use a tripod and stop dreaming about fairy tales…LOL

      • EG

        Since my kid doesn’t play in slow motion the tripod is useless for taking pictures of him. Or do you mean that the tripod is for hitting him over the head until he is moving slow enough for photos with a tripod?

        My point is that I want:
        1) Less megapixels and more DR and sensitivity.
        2) Less parental control over how high the sensitivity can be pushed when taking jpg’s.

  • Jack Lim

    If you have been a photographer since the 80’s it would be strange to hear people talking about Nikon catching up with Canon. It was Canon trying to catch up to Nikon at that time. Nikon was the undisputed champs and Canon was second fiddle.

    Come the digital age and everything changed. But Nikon is back and looking good.

    However, I see a few major risks with Nikon. They are purely dependent on Sony for the sensor technology and recently they are struggling with profit . Their business is mostly centered around digital camera and they are not as well diversified as Canon and Sony. Their market cap is about 7x smaller than Canon and also smaller than Sony. The last few points may mean they may have less to spare for R&D and be a technology provider.

    We all know, in business, it is never the maker of the best product who wins but whoever can hold the balls of most other partners and competitors. Microsoft & Intel are great examples, they hold the balls of PC manufacturers for decades.

    So look at Sony, they may not be the best camera manufacturer but they make money from every Nikon dSLR sold and every Canon PnS (which uses Sony CCD sensor). If we include PnS, I think Canon is still the biggest overall digital camera manufacturers, but no doubt, Sony benefits the most. If they don’t lose it all in PS3 and Sony Ericsson, that is.

    So my point is, Nikon ought to diversify and start creating technologies that can make then more money.

    • arz

      You mean how? By inventing their own sensors?

      • Mike

        They already did, the Ds and D700 sensors are not Sony sensors.

        • rhodium

          And might I say, they are mighty fine sensors.

          • Jack Lim

            I believe the term ‘design’ can be a little misleading. My impression is that this is purely from a configuration perspective. An instruction to manufacturers on the specs of the sensor.

            There were reports that the D3/D700 sensors are not from Sony but manufactured by another semiconductor company, Renesas.

            I believe Nikon does not have a foundry for producing sensors.

            Sensor development is largely a semiconductor research. From what I know, Nikon does not have as comprehensive semiconductor capabilities as Sony or Canon. I don’t think I have heard of Nikon filing for semiconductor patents for image sensors like Sony, Canon or Panasonic.

            Besides, I cannot imagine Nikon selling this sensor to anyone.

  • Sanford

    Nikon can get better is not because of D300/D700 overrun 5D/50D series. The chart is based on “Units”. Most DSLR units selling is on the beginner class.

    It is the success of the Nikon Market strategy. Make D40->D5000->D3000 using the price factor to beat the 350D to 500D. Canon only gives out the 1000D to counter them. It is clearly that 1000D is not enough to beat D5000 & D3000

    On the other hand of beginner unit, Nikon uses D80->D90 to focus on quality side. They are obviously better than 350D to 500D. To counter it now canon make a new line 7D to against D300s, lower the price of 500D(price factor)/50D/60D(quality factor) to against D90.

    7D’s spec is good, may be better than D300s. However, D300s 80-90% design is from the old D300 design – that is already proved its reliability. But more than half of 7D is the new design – there may be problems we don’t know as on the 5D2(black spot) & 1D3 (focusing). To prove 7D’s superiority, 7D has to pass the test in the real market first.

    However, 7D will not boost on the number of Canon “units” sold. Canon needs to make some much more attractive beginner DSLRs to achieve it.

  • I think the headline might be a little bit confusing. “doing…better than Canon” implies they sold more or made more money, doesn’t it? The headline should have been “gained market share from Canon” or something. I don’t know the absolute sales figures, but I assume that Canon still sells more – isn’t that correct? It’s the same thing when people say that Apple had a better year than Microsoft, when MS still has an overwhelming market share to Apple.

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