Nikon’s new President: Nikon will not have the same stable growth in the next ten years

Some top level changes happened in the Nikon's top executive level today. See the official details here and here.

The new company's President Makoto Kimura (62) said this in a press conference in Tokyo today (via Reuters):

"Nikon's imaging business has been expanding quite steadily over the past 10 years. But can it enjoy the same stable growth for the next 10 years? The answer is no. Growth for existing digital camera products will inevitably slow and they are set to move into a phase of saturation. I intend to keep dialogue open for everyone to decide what we should do to achieve further growth despite this trend."

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  • So he doesn’t know what to do, the new president?

    • Anonymous

      agreed, that’s EXACTLY what “open dialogue to decide what we should do” means! 🙂 Pathetic statement, LOL

      • Ignacio Menevichian

        how would you feel as an employee if your boss, or even worst, as a shareholder, if the president of the company was so close minded that wouldn’t hear any sugestion?
        does “open dialogue to decide what we should do” mean that he has no idea what to do?, not at all!, as a lider one of the first things you have to do is make your employees feel that you respect and will consider their opinions… doesn’t matter if you, then, do whatever you want.
        it’s just a motivation technique to make your people to work harder.

        • Ignacio Menevichian

          …to make your people work harder.

      • NikkorPM

        Get a clue. What he said was in line with corporate Japanese culture.

    • C Benson

      Did you read Reuter’ s article on the subject? They stated “Kimura, who holds a masters of science in mechanical engineering from Waseda University, joined the predecessor of Nikon in 1974 and rose steadily up the ranks to become head of the imaging business, which handles cameras, in 2002. He is going to be Nikon’s first top executive with expertise in both technology and marketing,” said Kariya, referring to Kimura’s experience as both an engineer and a marketer of cameras”.

      Give the guy a chance, you don’t know what he has plans for Nikon for the future.

    • Worminator

      It’s no more than admitting the obvious. 2000-2010 dLSR ownership went from nothing to near saturation. Everyone who wants one has one, and they work just fine for most people … i.e. there is no pressing reason to upgrade.

      Nikon will be able to squeeze out another round by milking the video recordings features, and perhaps another one or two from sensor and circuit improvements… but that, friends, it about where it’s going to end.

      They’ll always be the latest and greatest cameras, but they will be further apart, and change less and less, as the next decade unfolds.

      • and who is going to use all 640k or memory, that isn’t even something we can imagine at this time. we will never need that much memory. – bill gates

      • Cadence SF

        I think the next step would be to make DLR that is easily up-gradable. Maybe with a removable back. Or to be up-graded at Nikon service plants.

        I think Nikon made plenty of good lens, and I don’t feel like I need anything else after being at this for almost 20years. There’s only so much you can buy (unless you’re a collector. that’s a whole different pursuit) for each niche of photography.

  • FakeKenRockwell

    Aww c’mon, no new D40?

    • specs

      If Nikon launched today a 6MP APS-C camera with the technology of today I would be really tempted to buy.

      Imagine a retro D40 beating a D3s in ISO and dynamoc range.

      • Tomaocron

        And that was a rude comment…

      • enesunkie

        Children children.. let’s play nice.

        • Tomaocron


  • Anonymous

    yeahhh kick some butts out!!

  • Niggon


  • Ola Forsslund

    Freightening that they dont know what to do! Don’t they understand that they have a new market at their feet?

    Just expand the Nikon DSLR system with dedicated Camcoders sporting video-dedicated DX/FX sensors and F-mount.

    • Anonymous

      Or do something daring like modernizing the rest of the lens catalog, not just a handful of pro zooms, and make them affordable. No more screw focus!

      • Rafael

        agree! no more screw focus!

        • Mikael

          Screw screw focus!

          • b

            i thought about saying that, too. well, good for you.

      • nick

        I don’t think its that simple. They’d lose a lot of money doing what you suggest.

        • Rafael

          lose money? I respectfully disagree, they are losing money on people changing to Canon everyday cause of this.

          Do you even know what screw focus is?

          • nick

            wow, close minded much? Obviously I know what screw focus is.

            I say that they’d lose money because updated versions would be expensive, and according to surveys there simply isn’t mainstream demand for those focal lengths.

            I, as much as anyone, would love it if they finally updated their catalogue of primes and made them affordable – but the users like us (nikon rumors/dpreview readers) actually make up the Minority. From reading these sites we get the impression that there’s this giant consensus of what Nikon users want – but really we’re the small hardcore subset of nikon’s customer base.

            Most users want cheap mid range zooms, and they don’t care about fast glass. This is exactly why nikon produces so many lenses in this range. It’s frustrating, but they’re doing it because it makes economic sense.


          • Zoetmb

            Do you even know what the economics are of lens production or how many lenses get sold in the industry?
            The poster below is correct: reading postings on sites like this one give a skewed view of the market. If I read only this site, I would believe that every photographer would purchase at least five lenses.

            Would it surprise you to learn that the industry sells only 1.6 lenses for each body sold? And that Nikon, in the 9 months ending Dec 31, 2009 sold only 1.47 lenses for each body sold? And that includes kit lenses!

            The average purchaser never buys another lens aside from the kit lens. The “.6” or the “.47” is coming from the people on sites like this one, but it’s simply not a lot of lenses. Nikon sold 4.2 million lenses in the 9 months ending December. Considering there’s about 65 lenses in the line, that’s an average of less than 7200 lenses of each model per month worldwide! Break that up into Asia, North America and Europe and now we’re talking about 2400 lenses average per month of each model in each region. In the world of consumer electronics, that’s nothing.

            Having said that, I think the statement by the new President of Nikon is ludicrous. I don’t know what their stock did after that statement, but if Nikon was a U.S. company, it would have tanked.

            If the new President of Nikon doesn’t have a vision of the role Nikon can play moving forward, than they chose the wrong guy. There’s certainly plenty of future technical capability still to be implemented to build a market around replacement DSLRs and in addition, Nikon should be talking about what future non-DLSR cameras might look like, enough to say that they expect constant growth.

            Anyone manufacturing computers could have said in past years, “well..everyone has a computer now, so there isn’t going to be any more growth”, but that would be absurd. Apple’s a great example of how to move forward and create entirely new product categories when your core business matures, except in Apple’s case, even the computer line beats prior years almost every single quarter.

          • Jose

            Then, go Rafael, buy a new canon camera, I am sure you will complain in two or three months. After you taste the very good quality of most of Nikon products you will see the real diference.

          • Rafael

            Ronan.. how much anger, have gotten laid lately? (I think I am entitled to return the insult)

            listen, I own a D3x, D700, D300, F100, FM3a
            20mm f2.8 AF, 20mm F2.8 AIS, 28mm f2.8 AFD, 35mm f2 AF, 50mm f1.4D, 50mm f1.4AFS G, 85mm f1.8 AF, 100mm f2.8 AIS E, 17-55mm f2.8 ED DX, 24-70mm f2.8 G ED, 70-200mm f2.8 and a Nikon 1.4 teleconverter. SB-26, SB-800 and SB-900 speed lights

            from all of these 11 lenses, 5 are screw driven autofocus, and NEED updates, I am not asking for new lenses like you noob, I am a working pro, and I need the fast AF.

            I state my mind which I am entitled to do, and you use your personal subjective opinion to state crap, same as Jose, so Im posting an image of my equipment here:


            its an old picture so youll se a D200 instead of my D700 with my 24-70 that is also missing, but I dont have time to take a new picture just for you fools, so while your playing with your D90 and using your lightning fast 18-70 lens remeber this post, and think that I may be a serious professional with an opinion that you may find harsh, but hey guess what THATS LIFE! so go get one!

          • gobyli

            Rafael, you have your professional needs, that’s your problem, stop making YOUR problem everyone elses problem, or nikon’s problem
            it’s now the overall marketing condition of photo-gear production we’re discussing, not the needs of some minorities like you, fool

          • Rafael

            mmmm let me see.. in your words:
            ¨the overall marketing condition of photo-gear production we’re discussing¨ .. and I am a minority? that invests more than probably the equivalent of 12 to 14 rookies who buy D40 kits, and I am the minority? fine..

            but hey, no problem.. keep the insults coming so what,

            I think I have a say on Nikon Marketing issues…

          • Discontinued

            I ‘m with you and share your needs and desire for upgrades in lenses and bodies*.

            But I think you’ve got President Makoto Kimura’s statement wrong as many others here. “Further groth despite this trend” means something different than you read into it. It says that Nikon will come up with new products.

            bare in mind, that many people buy their D3000 kits, cause Nikon has earned a reputation among pros. Many people have chosen Nikon above Pentax, Olympus or whatever for that reason: just to have the same fancy neck straps. And your one of them. So what ‘s your point?

          • nick

            All I know for certain is that revamping every single screwfocus lens as Rafael suggests doesn’t make economic sense, at all.

            They’ll do it. But they’ll do it piecemeal, and according to demand. It’s pretty clear that the 85mm 1.4G is next in line. They’re a business, and they release new products with an eye to the big picture. Feeling “betrayed” about this sort of thing seems petty to me considering the strong line of lenses already available – and the steady stream of new lenses that have been trickling down.

            Along the same lines –
            can we STOP blaming the equipment? If you own 12 professional lenses and you still aren’t getting the shots you need – upgrade your knowledge, not your AF-D lens to an AF-G lens.

  • Rafael

    man.. those are certainly NOT good news, how can he come out and say that? plain and I´ll keep the faith anyways.. I am a Nikon guy now for more than 20 years, hope this new president isnt a screw up, cause things were going well , last year, new 50mm f1.4 , 24-70 f2.8, new 300 f2.8 VR II , D3x etc etc etc , cmon!!

    and please give us the new 85mm f1.4 AFS and the new D700x / D800..

    • nick

      the new president is the guy responsible for everything related to nikon DSLRs – so he’s obviously not a screw up.

    • Anonymous

      “last year, new 50mm f1.4 , 24-70 f2.8, new 300 f2.8 VR II , D3x”
      The only thing true about this statement is the 300/2.8 VRII last year

      24-70/2.8 2007, D3X 2008, 50/1.4G 2008

      And regarding what he says, it’s progress will slow down over the coming years, we already did so much technology wise, innovation will be harder to create

      • Denko

        “And regarding what he says, it’s progress will slow down over the coming years, we already did so much technology wise, innovation will be harder to create”

        That is code for “we can milk the consumer now and do not have to innovate”

        • nick

          he’s saying the opposite. he’s saying that the market is saturated and if nikon is going to survive – they’re going to have to do More than just milk the current users.

          He’s saying nikon needs a NEW market / New product – maybe something entirely unrelated to DSLRs

          • Mikael

            He’s saying that the camera market looks too much like Rockwell’s pictures and that they will need to tone down the colors and redo the composition properly in order for the pictures to be bearable to look at.

            Even if the picture looks more boring at first sight, it’s all for the best.

          • PHB

            That is my reading. Having been a Principal Scientist for an S&P 500 company, I know the types of issue he will be dealing with here and can guess at the type of activities going on to address them.

            The DSLR market is not going to go away, but it is not going to continue to grow as fast. So to keep growing Nikon needs to innovate and develop new markets.

            One move I would be considering would be to acquire Red and make a serious play for the high end cine and TV videography market. Alternatively consider entering the market via the new EVIL format. They have the camera bodies, they have the optical formulas for the lenses. What they lack is engineering the lenses and cameras for video.

            Another possibility would be to go into the consumer video area and compete against the Canon Vixia line. Yet another would be to go into camera accessories in a bigger way. Nikon has not really looked at their opportunities there since digital first came along.

    • fotosniper

      You mention the need for AFS for faster af speed? My 50 1.8d AFs a hundred times faster and more acuratly than the 50 1.4 AFS. dont count on updates being better.

  • ZinhaEq

    I can understand that they cannot make new DSLRs and lenses at a rate and with functions we would want, but if this statement is true, they can suck their vacuum cleaner bag.

  • getanalogue

    yep, Kimura-san is damned right! If Nikon launches new body with 3 chip tech, a limit is reached. Pic quality would be so good, that any new camera would be obsolete. You could print 1 meter by 1,50 meter without any problems and in super qality. Want more? I am waiting for D 400, and could do the same.

    • You’re kidding, right?

  • Philipp Hilpert

    stupid president? what would happen if jobs would say his ipad sucks? and macs too?

    • hmmm

      ^ There’s no need for Mr Jobs to state the obvious

      • hcm

        lololololol LOL. sad but true

    • C Benson

      Hey!! Don’t bring the Mac God (Steve Jobs), into this situation. Nikon is not into trends, they are traditional type company that moves slowly compare to Apple.

      • Maybe that’s the problem? They need to step it up or the market will step around them and leave them in the dust. Same for Canon.

        And that comparison is a little off–Apple is a niche competitor, comparable to Leica.

        • Zoetmb

          A niche competitor? The Market Cap for Apple at $224 Billion now makes it the #3 U.S. company behind Exxon/Mobil and Microsoft. Wal-Mart is #4.

          If Apple’s stock grows another 10% compared to Microsoft, Apple will move into the #2 position (in terms of Market Cap), even though Microsoft’s earnings is about 4x the size of Apple’s. In terms of revenue, Apple is #73, in terms of earnings, it’s #23 and in terms of margin (14.9%), Apple is #10.

          • Maybe they’re profitable…but they are still a niche product used by less than 10% of the desktop market (right under 8%).

            Market cap is a key indicator, but it does not tell the whole story. The iphone is a big win for apple, but it’s not their entire business. Their staple has historically been personal computers and they have not had anything like the ubiquity of the iphone with a personal computer. Ever. The are a niche computer maker, who happens to have success with a couple products outside their typical domain. They are good at exploiting new niches. They do not dominate the market for any one product.

            Don’t get me wrong, they make a nice product (well, except the iPad {available in extra absorbency}), but I bet Nikon shipped more units of P&S cameras last year than all the iphones that have ever been produced. (If someone wants to research that I’d LOVE to see the numbers)

          • Ok, I got curious an looked myself. I can’t find Nikon specific number for P&S cams.

            According to wikipedia, Apple has sold 50million iphones across the three different gens of iphone since June 2007 through the first quarter of 2010. During that same period, about 271 million P&S cams were shipped (not sure how many sold).

            Only last year 95 million P&S units shipped. Nikon probably has less than a third of the market there, so I stand corrected about my theory. But when you look at these numbers you realize that even among cell phones, the wildly popular iphone is a niche product:

          • Jose

            let me add something, in the past apple invested a lot of money in not succes products, it put this comkpany in red numbers, they hit in the center of the targetr with the ipod, iphone and may be with the ipad, but remeber the best seller celullar manufactur was nokia, today is not.

        • Cadence SF

          I bought Nikon BECAUSE they didn’t move so fast. Instead they took each step carefully. (Canon ditched their Manual focus camera user like they were never there. But Nikon kept compatibility) Canon maybe on to the latest technology/or hype, but I don’t like the way they handled their customer.
          And Nikon actually does a lot of subtle thing that is actually useful. D-3 and D-700 can still use screw drive, some may not care, but I’m not about to trade 80% of my lens for the latest. I’m in it to have fun taking photos, not so that I can have the latest.
          Infact the latest DSLR are way slower than an F-4 from the 80s. I can set it up in 20seconds instead of a minute. Why? Because they used to have dedicated dials for each function.

    • Anonymous

      I pad sucks!!

    • T140Rider

      In the UK, we call that doing a ‘Ratner’ after Gerald Ratner owner of a chain of Jewelry shops said that the stuff that he sold was crap.
      The business didn’t stay in business for very long after that….

  • mochapaulo

    Simple. Go to medium format and make a open system. Let Nikon’s camera built like LEGO. We are getting bored of upgrading as a whole. But I definitely welcome partially change part by part. Sensor, shutter speed, movie module, just makes it like RED Scarlet! It is not a crazy idea. And I believe it is the way to make the camera industry live longer.

  • Darin M.

    I bet it’s all because of that presentation Hogan made 😀 ROFLOL

  • Rafael

    Dear Mr. President (Nikon President that is..)

    we dont want more Screw Focus!
    give us new products, but NOT crazy expensive like you have us accustomed to.
    Listen to your clients! and produce a camera between 12 and 24.5 megapixels that is not crazy expensive for the few of us that can use that range in megapixels., and DONT make it a DX one! for gods sake!
    update most , (or at least the most important) screw focus driven lenses! like the:

    85mm f1.4
    85mm f1.8
    20mm f2.8
    and a few others.. (feel free to suggest a few)

    add the VR feature to some important ones like the 300mm f4 AFS
    dont waste time (and money) putting VR in to wide angle lenses (they dont need it!!)

    keep the MB-D10 grip compatible with a few more new cameras, and do some careful manouvers not to hurt our economy more, since you are already more expensive than most of the competition.


    • Ok, let’s go down the list. How long has it been since Nikon released a screw focus lens? Everything they release new has an integral motor. Do you own any screw drive lenses? The couple I still own are great and focus quite fast on every body I’ve owned.

      Why would Nikon waste R&D making a new FX sensor when they can use the existing, quite good, 24mp Sony? (and yes, their version is different and better than the Sony implementation, but it ain’t $4000 different–it can easily be dropped into a cheaper body). Companies are always going to do what every is the best ROI. Using existing tech in new ways is always the course of things.

      You DON’T just add VR to an existing lens. It takes a whole new optical formula.. THAT is expensive to design and set up a whole new fab for. We will see VR in more lenses as time goes on, but you won’t EVER see an old formula magically get VR. Why do people keep asking for the impossible with this?

      I like the EN-EL4, but if they could make a cheaper+better MB-D10, I wouldn’t complain.

      • Gerry

        Although I think Rafael’s comments are usually somewhat outrageous, I do agree with the 80-400. I own both the 80-400, and the 70-200 f2.8 vr 2. When using the lenses lower range, the 70-200 autofocus is much better for birds. However, I really like the range of the 80-400. I went out the other day and had a handful of shots that did not focus that would have been great had they focused quickly.

        Your comments may be true for the other lenses, but when I think of my 80-400, I would like something that focuses much quicker. That being said, it is still a spectacular lens in my opinion. When the 100-500 is released, I will be first in line to get though.

        • What body are you using the 80-400 on? The 51-point af is AWESOME for birding. I don’t think anything else from Nikon or Canon ever worked so well. Even with AFS, the lesser bodies will hunt chasing birds.

          • Gerry

            I’m using a d300 body. My comments are more oriented towards when a fast bird is coming towards the camera, straight on. The 80-400 does not seem to react quick enough, especially when zooming out and focusing at the same time. When tracking, it is great. Don’t get me wrong, I love the lens, I just wish it had a little faster response with the focusing. I just cannot wait for the 100-500! I will be so happy when that is released.

          • Try focus priority. It’s a must for sports. Seems to work better for birds too. When you can track em!

  • The invisible man

    It’s true, as I said, give me a D700 with 18-24MP and I’ll keep it for 15 years, digital cameras comes now to maturity. (lenses also, VR, AF-S, G mount, etc)

    • I think you just described the case for NOT getting what you want.

      Nikon &Co want to be able to sell you another camera inside 2 years. Else they’ll have to price these things like appliances and the tech improvements will move slower.

    • JorPet

      I think you (and Nikon’s new president) are missing the new reality.

      Cameras have moved into the same realm as PCs. Users will need to get used to upgrading every 2-3 years. The changes in sensor/CPU/memory access will always make a compelling argument to upgrade every couple of years. You get 24MP and a couple years later you would be able to get that same 24MP with double the ISO sensitivity. Then you need new memory access specs to be able to write that data faster to larger memory cards. Faster CPU to process the massive increase in data faster.

      Just like the average PC user can really go 10 years or more between upgrades, but rarely does. They want the increase in capability to run the bigger apps that come out.

      Welcome to the tread mill…

      • nick

        That’s a pretty good way to look at it – but in order for it to work, they’ll need to open up cameras to third party software developers. You want the next generation of cameras to be able to run applications that the current generation just can’t handle. The camera will become a platform of sorts

      • Stephen

        I agree that most computers need to be updated every 2-3 years, but I think that has less to do with the want of a better computer and more to do with the general life span of a computer.

        The reason most people buy a new computer is because their computer is running slow. Well, that has more to do with use of the computer than the actual technology inside. As the friend and family IT nerd I’m always asked to build new computers for people. However, if I just reinstall the operating system fresh on a new hard drive most people are amazed at how fast their computer is.

        Cameras don’t have this problem. They are a closed system, they don’t suffer from operating system and program bloat. It’s the same reason why MACS seem to last longer and have less problems. So I think the comparison doesn’t hold up.

        Now it does when we are talking about point and shoots and super-zooms. My father buys a new point and shoot every 18-24 months. He’s a bit of a bleeding edge kind of guy, but my sister who is anything but tech savvy buys a new point and shoot every 2-3 years.

        I look at the average DSLR user and I just don’t see them upgrading. I see this group constantly talking about upgrading, but I don’t think anyone here does with the frequency they claim. I still shoot regularly with the FujiFilm S5Pro and it’s ooooooold.

        So what is my point. My point is I can see that nikon is wanting to slow down a bit. Look at the last set of upgrades. What did they really add. Okay video was admittedly a big thing, but it really doesn’t offer a lot to most still photographers. Yes there are few like me who actually use both professionally, but mostly it was a just a marketing decision because Canon has it. As with all feature creep, one company decides to wait on a technology, they get left behind.

        So I guess I’m going to say that this isn’t a bad idea. Yeah, there are some holes in the product line. Yeah, we need a D700x (crosses his fingers for 24MP), but do we really need a new D90. And as far as I’m concerned the D3000 and D5000 are all the camera most non-pro users are ever going to need, and much more.

        If I really think hard about it, most of my photog friends buy new equipment about every 3 – 5 years. So if they slowed down to a new release that often, I wouldn’t really complain. It would just make Nikon Rumors really boring.

        • 2005: bought a d70
          2006: bought a d2x and sold the d70
          2008: bought a d300
          2009: bought a d90
          2010: bought a d700 and sold the d300

          Would buy a d700 with 24mp in a heartbeat…if/when the bugger pops into existence on a store shelf.

          You bring up an interesting issue: software on these damned things is holding them back. And I think it’s intentional, but I haven’t a good idea why.

          My D90 would rule if I could get at it’s lens calibration tables myself. I consider this intentional crippling. Likewise, my d700 shows me when I pop a battery in it that it’s hardware can indeed show a darkened DX crop in the viewfinder like the D3, yet this feature is crippled with software. What else could be enabled with software? How many d90 features could the d700 gain and vice versa,

          It’s only a matter of time before these things are hacked. If Nikon doesn’t open up the features or innovate, then the motivation is there.

      • Richard

        Your point overlooks the fact that the PC manufacturer does not sell a PC with the same components in it for years and years. The PC components are updated as better ones become available. Camera manufacturers tend to do the reverse, except with their P&S cameras which are refreshed on a cycle of a year or less.

        There is absolutely no reason why the camera manufacturers can not upgrade the electronics more frequently than they do. They should have already sorted out the ergonomics of the camera body and can leave that pretty much alone for a longer period of time.

        Two years is an eternity in the electronics business.

      • Jose


        Please looks the new intel processors, i3,i5 and i7 are the same than dual core i3, core 2 duo, i5 and core quad, i7 with some improvements suchs as nikon d300s and d3s.

  • Mauricio

    Mmm… If I didn’t know better, I would think two things. A-) They want to expand and they are giving some FYI to shareholders about possible new directions. As most companies when they make a statement like this they generally already know the direction they are going… OR, they could be facing some financial issues and this is again, a way of putting a hint of it out there, again for shareholders.

    Since us consumers are a second in line. An no one is stupid enough to be vague, so I am not taking this statement fully at face value. Not with companies who have PR departments.

  • Kwartjuh

    his first statement is hardly suprising. the market is pretty much saturated and like the guy above said: digital camera’s are pretty mature nowadays. But the second statement suprises me a bit as there are plenty of opertunities to expand on. For instance: dedicated video camera with F-mount. (2k or 4k resolution).
    Besides, it is quite a desperate statement coming from the new president of the company.

    Also, as stated above, Nikon has been taken insane price-hikes the past 2/3 years. That does not help either i guess.

    • Richard

      Gee, do you think the price increases have cut into sales volume?

      You have to wonder what their margins are, even taking into account the exchange rate with the dollar.

  • Pdf Ninja

    Some folks will always buy the latest and greatest, and I think there are plenty of opportunities still. Super lightweight FX body, Apple-like app store for cameras, ad-hoc WiFi connectivity with smart phones, and of course a more affordable high resolution body. I say Thom Hogan for President.

  • Ed Nafzger Ret RNLMC

    Hi guys on the side of prophotohome are rumours about a D900 out in the field

    • Ronnie

      they copied that from here

  • Joe

    The new president is actually the head of Nikon’s imaging business, he did well in bringing out some great stuff like D3 and D300. Hope he continue his good work in his new position.

  • Sandpiper

    I think it is not uncommon for CEO’s to not have a clue about where to go with a company, and not understand the company. May be wrong in this case, as he may be a long time Nikon employee, I don’t know. If the statement was in Japanese, it could suffer from translation.

    But I can’t believe the market is saturated. That is like saying the cell phone market is saturated. My daughter gets a new point and shoot about every year, because she loses the old one, or runs over it, or whatever. My older brother buys every coolpix Pxx model that comes out, at least every other one, even though he has not room to keep all his toys that he already has.

  • KuwataS

    the world economy is still less than rosy at the moment, it is not surprising that Nikon may be restructuring internally and rethink its financial future.
    Rather than being idealistic and make product that doesn’t sell and no one wants, he is willing to hear your suggestion so I think this is a good thing in a way.
    I guess we’ll see who is crazy.

  • James

    Hey Nikon, here’s a thought, LISTEN TO YOUR CUSTOMERS!!!

    You want people to buy your stuff, then offer them a way to give you some feedback on what they would like to have. Like fast primes, updated versions like the 300 F4 AFS, come on that lens still has an aperture ring. Etc, etc.

    • Anonymous

      Eh, having an aperture ring is a feature, and a good thing. Lenses without are crippled.

  • Gorgonzola

    what a pathetic statement omg such a noob statement I think I will go sick a typical commercial capitalist rubbish no clue I dont give a damn about this company and what it does statement….

    I feel sad for my Nikon gear with that kind of comment…

    • nick


  • nick

    Kinda bizarre to make a statement like that. Wouldn’t that send shareholders running – hurting the company even more?

    Also –

    For the record, I don’t think the people screaming “update your lenses!” or “listen to your customers” understand what “market saturation” means. When a market is saturated, it doesn’t mean that sales completely stop – it just means that the potential customers buying your product are already customers of that product (i.e. already own a DSLR).

    An example is refrigerators. The market for refrigerators is saturated because everyone pretty much already owns a refrigerator. The only people buying them are people who are upgrading.

    So everyone who buys an updated lens or upgrades a camera body doesn’t help the market saturation problem. The key is getting people to buy a NEW dslr or a NEW nikon product, when they’ve never owned a nikon product before.

    • JorPet

      I think the refrigerator comparison is the wrong one in this case.

      When you have a baby, it doesn’t change your refrigerator requirements. Same goes for when the child switches from crawling to walking to riding a tricycle to riding a bicycle. Still the same refrigerator. You keep it until it dies and then go buy a new one.

      The typical user (of which I would say I am, probably more so than most on this forum) gets a cheap Coolpix when the kid is born. A better one as they get older and start to be able to do more. You need faster start up, faster shutter speeds and longer reach as the kid can move faster. Pretty soon the kid is into sports or music and you are taking pictures that just can’t be made with a Coolpix and you move up to a DSLR. Then you want to start pushing what can be done and you upgrade. Faster glass, faster camera, longer reach.

      This mimics PCs far more closely than any appliance. PCs have been a saturated market for the last 10 years or more and yet they still sell more PCs today than they ever have in the past. Compelling reasons to upgrade are the key after the point that saturation occurs.

      • nick

        I mean I agree with you. I said above that in a saturated market sales don’t stop. It just means that in order to increase your sales, you need to capture more market share(away from companies like Canon)….but forget about convincing new people to come to your market. A company can be quite profitable in a saturated market.

        Nevertheless, it might still be in Nikon’s best interest to expand into an untapped market (kindov how Apple creates different products). You just tend to see more steady growth in market that ISNT saturated.

        • JorPet

          I agree. Once the market is truly saturated, then being an innovator rather than a follower becomes critical. Creating your own niche markets is the best way to own them.

          Unlike some, I think that there can be multiple companies innovating in different directions and all can be successful if they develop and market correctly.

  • because business with TVs is also saturated

  • twoomy

    If they would just release the D700x/D800/D900 with a good walkaround lens already and throw in an EVIL system, that would get them some growth for the next 3 years at least!

    • regular

      I give him 6 months to release an innovative camera before I make my mind.
      But it would be positive sign if Nikon was releasing a rangefinder.

  • Dr SCSI

    “Kinda bizarre to make a statement like that. Wouldn’t that send shareholders running – hurting the company even more?”
    Thinks about your statement for a while….and now follow me.
    1.) New president comes on board and makes a strong statement like that, basically prepares everyone for bad news. Between the lines, one might read that if Nikon goes south, he told us so, he didn’t hide anything. The fact that he is new, might indicate the previous president didn’t do so good and left Nikon in a bad position.
    2.) If the new guy is suffering from the Chicken Little syndrone, this may play to his favor in the future. The company continues to do what it has been doing and it appears the company didn’t lose any more ground.
    3.) If however, Nikon did better than expected, but yet they want people to believe tough times are coming, such an anouncement will probably send stockholders running. Stocks dropping in price, make it cheaper for the company to buy back its own stocks.

    Any combination of the above scenarios could apply. Or none at all. No matter what happens now, the new president is in a win, win, win situation. He can’t fail Nikon, because the last guy did that, he’s not to blame. If he continues the status quo, and keeps the company in black, he’s doing good. If he is able to scare stockholders, and the stocks drop substatially, and he can buy them back for cheap, he is also doing well for Nikon.

    Now its our turn to win… Maybe he had been telling his boss, the prior president, “Hey we need to be offering XYZ. My guys have already engineered and built it, and this is the direction we should be going for success”. But unfortunately the old President, was losing hand over fist on the other half of the company, the imaging department which makes the lithography steppers, and they couldn’t afford a risky venture on the next wiz bang item the camera guys were working on, thus innovation took to the back burner. Now Mr. Makoto Kimura can pursue bringing those unseen goodies to market, since he is the big boss now!
    I can hardly wait to see what Nikon has coming out next. Like many here, the low light photography capabilities of the current gen DSLRs has opened new creative avenues. Maybe Mr. Makoto Kimura can keep up with our never ending thirst for new gear that is as revolutionary as the D3 and D300 were in 2007. I would like to see him start augmenting our toys with new flashes and more lenses.

  • What a terrible perspective for a new President! Just a horrible stance. Sounds like he’s ready to just close up shop.

    • donde?

      The better managers know when the rough times come. The worse ones think there’s always being 10% increase.

  • Anonymous

    BAH, someone in marketing said it would sound good if he said that.

  • donde?

    There’s no such thing as stable growth over a very long period of time. I too feel imaging market is getting very saturated, everyone has a digital camera nowadays, the new ones cannot do that much more. Photo sharing is much less of a kick than it was 3 years ago. People are growing tired of producing and consuming new content.
    In such a situation the only thing you can do is open new markets or shrink and focus to where the profit is. New markets are tough decision though and probably have to be created first. Everything besides mainstream DSLRs and compacts seems like a niche business right now. Even EVIL cameras are just filling a gap that’s not too deep.

  • Antman

    It’s normal for big, traditional Japanese companies like Nikon to replace one old Japanese Man with another old Japanese Man as President. They nearly always get promoted through the company, so by the time they reach this level their approach would have been completely shaped by the culture of the company. Decision-making is based on consensus rather than the leadership of an individual. All this means that a changing of personnel is unlikely to cause any change to the strategy.

    I’m surprised he talked about stagnation though. I’m sure that European, Japanese and American markets are pretty saturated, but there’s surely good growth to be had in China and other emerging markets still.

  • Mephisto

    Such a lame cheap talk. I invested so much in Nikon, I really don’t want to hear the new president’s dismal outlook on the future of the Nikon photo products.

    From this, and other articles I read about the subject, I see the new president has no vision, idea or slight energy to push forward.

    He’s basically giving up to the competition in the market.

  • PM Buck

    What a shocking statement. Several thoughts come to mind. First, he could be saying this in order to soften the blow for shareholders because he knows their earnings this year are going to be significantly lower than previous years. I highly doubt that there d300s, d3s, d700, 16-35 f4, and 24 f1.4 sales have been anything spectacular. Secondly, the days of cameras being designed for strictly still photos is over. Whether we like it or not video is the new trend and it will not be slowing anytime soon. You ask commercial photographers what the business landscape is looking like today and I guarantee the majority will tell you that you better know how to shoot video. Businesses budgets for still photo shoots is declining and even being replaced by video budgets. Think about it, it’s a two for one deal. They get video plus stills because you can now just pull a frame from the video. One highly successful commercial photographer said in ten years time he will not be shooting stills…..Scary as hell to me. I love photography and have absolutely no interest in shooting video for a living but in these highly evolving times it’s all about employing an adaptable business operation. Canon’s advantage here is that they have been producing video capable device’s for years. They know and understand the technology as well as anybody. Nikon on the other hand has been struggling with video (full HD 1080p) hence one reason why we have not seen a 1080p capable dslr. There was a post here several months back where the VP of Marketing for Nikon stated that they were putting all efforts into achieving full HD video capability for their DSLR’s. I think it was back in January, anyway the impression I felt after seeing the clip was that Nikon still did not have the 1080p capability yet. I am sure that they will not release another pro DSLR or in fact any DSLR until they can include a 1080p video function of reputable. I think his statement also reflects the fact that camera-phones must be hacking away at the market share of point and shoot. Apple’s upcoming Iphone 4 or whatever it’s going to be called is said to have 8 mega-pixels along with flash and on the other side is a video camera for web chatting. The explanation that the technology of cameras is maxxed out or will not advance as fast is bogus. New sensor technology is heavily researched and the announcement of inVisage’s microfilm is just the beginning. That technology will be employed in camera-phones by the end of the year. Just check out these article’s, the first one says that the market for CCD &CMOS image sensors is expected to grow over the next 5 years.

    I think Nikon fell asleep at the wheel after the launch of the D3, D300, D90 and just sat back and enjoyed the profits from that year instead of working on the next best thing. Or they are having a major creative block and cannot quite produce a camera that is full of latest technology and that is up to their standards??? Sorry for the long post, I am just a frustrated and confused Nikon fan.

  • I looked at Nikon’s financial results, and they are losing money on a consolidated scope, i.e. the company as a whole (Precision Equipment, Imaging Product & Instrument Divisions). However, the Image Product Division (the one selling DSLRs) is doing quite well considering the economic environment. By comparison, Nikon’s operating profit for their Image Product Division decreased by 5% whereas Canon’s operating profit for their Consumer Business Unit (the division selling DSLRs) decreased by more than 15%.

    The Precision Equipment and Imaging Product Divisions have very poor results. Therefore, when Makoto Kimura said that “I intend to keep dialogue open for everyone to decide what we should do to achieve further growth despite this trend” and if we read between the lines it is possible that Nikon plans to restructure these divisions. I did not read the whole announcement because I did not find it. It could have been interesting to read it as whole to get the real meaning of the announcement.

    Moreover, we should take into account Japanese corporate culture which lies on consensus (as Antman said). This kind of announcement does not necessarily mean that Makoto Kimura has no balls or no ideas…

    The announcement was mainly targeting investors and not customers. For customers, bad financial results are not necessarily bad news (except if the company is going bankrupt, but I doubt it considering Nikon financial statements). To increase sales (and profit), the company could be forced to launch new attractive products. Speaking of new products, if we read between the lines, it is also possible that Nikon already decided to launch HDSLRs despite the reluctance of Nikon customers?

  • M!

    digital cameras are saturated.
    he’s hinting on the upcoming F7.

    • Richard

      Why is this man president? Talk about a “gloomy Gus”!

      He should be pumping us full of sunshine about the exiciting future for Nikon product development in the coming decade. Does he own a lot of stock in Canon? Maybe he has a short positon on Nikon stock. This surely will not help it.

      I can just imagine a ‘Help Wanted’ ad…Wanted: Chief Executive with vision.

    • R!

      I would love a F7 like a R10 or a M 10 M!

  • “I intend to keep dialogue open for everyone to decide what we should do to achieve further growth despite this trend.”

    I belive this is a good approach. Of course, it is in the japanese management style, oposite to the american school of management.

    So they have to listen, but this is not enough. They have to surprise the market.
    The DX lens market is so undeveloped!

    As a DX user, I am waiting for great DX lens, not only for useable lens like 55-200 VR, or 35mm AF-S.

    Even the focus on my 35mm AF-S is a little bit on the slow side, comparing with 10-24 and 70-300VR, in terms of focus speed and it misses the focus many times comparing with any other lens, I use it very much and I don’t plan to sell it.

    Overall, the 35mm AF-S, I belive it is a success. So.. what more do I need?

    1. DX AF-S 135mm f/2 or f/2.8, with or without VR. I shoot a lot at about 135mm with my 70-300mm VR, and I often need some more light gathering.

    2. DX AF-S 90mm f/1.4 or f/1.8(without VR) or f/2 or f/2.8 (with VR).

    3. DX AF-S 50-150 f/2.8 VR or DX AF-S 35-150 f/4 VR.

    4. DX AF-S 24-120 f/4 VR or DX AF-S 35-105 f/2.8 VR.

    5. DX AF-S 300mm f/4 VR or even f/2.8.

    6. DX AF-S 500mm f/5.6 VR.

    7. DX AF-S 24mm f/2 without VR.

    8. DX AF-S 12mm(or 14mm) f/4 or even f/5.6, without VR. I already have DX AF-S 10-24mm, but it is relatively heavy (especially for the case I have to carry about 4-5 lenses) and most of the time I use it around 12-14mm. The 10-24mm, for many DX users is a little bit too expensive.

    9. DX AF-S 50mm f/1.8 with faster focus than AF-S 50mm f/1.4.

    .. and don’t forget: all of them with fast focus!

    Those lens would be also great for a small sensor and small body Nikon F-Mount camera that I am also waiting for.

    So, Mr. Makoto Kimura, give us a sign that somebody at Nikon is listening the customers.

    • Recent Convert

      How do you imagine is a 135mm, 300mm or 500mm DX lens different from the already existing FX lenses?

      • At the launch of the DX AF-S 35mm F1.8 lens, Mr. Ludovic Drean, Product Manager for lenses, Europe, said: “It’s about price, size and weight. We wanted this to be a lens for the entry-level. If we’d tried to make an FX 35mm F1.4 it might cost €1400, rather than €200, and we wanted to make sure it was an affordable lens.”


        • Recent Convert

          Savings can be had by “going DX” on focal length below about 50mm for primes, and approximately 70mm for zooms. Above that focal length, the limiting factors no longer include the size of the “image circle” (also known as the “circle of illumination”). Instead, the overriding determinant for the lens complexity is now the aperture (that is the f/x.x number). The aperture is the same for a lens of a particular designation, whether it is FX or DX. A 300mm lens is therefore automatically an FX lens. Making it DX saves absolutely nothing.
          That’s why I asked the question, but I guess I should have explained this, rather than packing a lecture into a question. Sorry.

          • Many thanks for your reply.
            I heard this theory before.. or something similar but I have some doubts about that.

            For example:
            Sigma DC 50-150 f/2.8 weight 780g / 27.5oz.
            Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 weight 1370g / 48.3oz.

            Let’s say your theory is right, then comparing:
            Nikon AF-S 300mm f/4D ED-IF – 1395g – $ 1,374.95 with
            Nikon AF-S 300mm f/2.8G ED-IF N VR – 2850g – $ 5,199.95, could you imagine the price and weight of Nikon AF-S 500mm f/5.6 VR (DX or FX), comparing with Nikon AF-S 500mm f/4G ED VR ?

            The same thing for AF-S 135mm f/2.8 (FX or DX, with or without VR), comparing with AF-D 135mm f/2 DC.

          • Recent Convert

            The Sigma 50-150 is still under that 70mm threshold and therefore benefits from making it DX. Based on the fact that the front element of a 500/5.6 is 0.7 times the size of a 500/4, I would guess that a 500/5.6 would weigh about half as much as the 500/5.6 (the length does not change much, but the other two dimensions do). As for price: you need to ask Nikon. I would expect less than 1/3 of the 500/4, but that’s just gut feeling.

    • Jessica

      Why would you want more DX lenses? Unless you plan on always having a dx sensor camera. Don’t get me wrong, I own the 16-85mm and 10.5mm, but I know my next camera update will be an FX camera and thus will have to replace these lenses (or deal with 6mp shots).

      I think Nikon should concentrate on implementing full frame sensors into more cameras.

      • First, I am not a PRO, and I don’t have any plan or dream to turn PRO, to shoot like a PRO or to use gear that PRO’s use.

        I just want to use and carry what I need now, not what I could probably use in the future.

        The only reason that I might be interested at this moment in an FX camera, would be a huge pentaprism wievfinder to focus manually, but this is just not enough.

  • Nikonuser

    Finally, a president of a relatively large corporation with a realistic outlook for once! He actually sounds modest, unlike many executives.

    Spoken like a true engneer who understands the chanllenges first hand, rather than spouting junk about how his company “wants” to increase market share.

    Watch carefully: Nikon is going to be stronger than ever soon, and it will be this man who is responsible. Mark my words.

    • Gerry

      I agree. The reason other presidents don’t say this is because of over reaction like you keep reading on this board. Why are people upset about hearing logical comments, and a president who is not afraid to tell the consumers the truth.

      • Nikonuser

        and from the second part of the quote it is obvious that he wants to prevent the market contracture if at all possible.

  • Nikonuser

    …actions speak louder than words….

  • Warren Tom

    Nikon reports annual earnings May 11th, 2010. Nikon has been bleeding money since last year.

    It does not take a rocket scientist to know that not many people today will spend $1,000 to $7,000 on a DSLR. It isn’t going to happen even though their seem to be many millionaires on this board that claim they have money burning a hole in their pockets.

    How many people going to spend $2,000 on a lense?
    How many professionals have clients willing to spend money?
    How many hobbyist want to blow money to upgrade their DSLRs?

    Good luck Nikon.

    • JorPet

      Well, between just the US and EU, personal income is approximately $29,000,000,000,000 per year. There is money out there to be spent. You just have to create what the consumers want.

      Most Coolpix level users probably buy a new camera every 2-3 years for multiple reasons. A little imagination on the part of corporations goes a long ways in creating profits.

  • Gustav

    He didn’t say the market is saturated, he said the market is moving into a phase of saturation. That means, the people to sell cameras to, are already going to have cameras, and most won’t feel the need to upgrade every few years. After all, if someone has a point and shoot and can print 4x6s from it, why do they need a new camera? Don’t forget, the bulk of Nikon’s customer base are not gear-heads. And while the pros will replace their cameras every few years, they are a small subset of the market and are not who Nikon pres was talking about.

  • Me

    Are you guys kidding me?

    What he’s saying is that cameras will eventually top out at resolution and colour reproduction. After that, what do you do to convince people to buy new cameas each three years. Well, damned little actually.

    • The Point and Shoot market is going to by and large be subsumed into cell phones. Yes, people will choose convenience over quality. This will mean fewer and fewer pocket cameras sold.
    • The DX market will mature at 16mp. Yes, there will be improvements in ISO but that’ll be about the limit for DX. If this is news to you, please go open a physics text book before arguing with me.
    • Growth will be in the FX market, but once we hit 32-25mp, that’ll be it for the same reasons.
    • Unless someone comes up with a way of duplicating the Foveon sensor so Nikon doesn’t have to pay ransom to Sigma, the big achievement after that will be eliminating the Bayer pattern.
    After that, what’s left? Well, better and better cameras, sure, but when all cameras are either 16 MP or 32 MP, how many lines of camera do you need to support? I think things will start looking like the old days of 35mm where the money was not in the bodies but in the ecosystem.

  • Jake

    Rather than working on creating more of the same stuff with diverse silly names, Nikon should focus on less but solid. I’m tired of seeing similar DSLRs with no really WOW factor…..OK, the D3s but I’d rather invest on something else. On the film era, when everything was about the F3, F4, and F5… was quite enough to have those up….now what? Too many DSLRs and coming up one after the other. I’d rather see the Nikon team working to make less cameras and solid, and only dramatic updates every 3-4 years; I would love to see 1 new camera every 3 years…rather than 5 in 1 year.

  • Zorro

    He might, at last, release the rumored D40s.

    • Man, you’re cool. There will be no D40.
      By the way, how do you imagine D40s?

      • Zorro

        Same sensor (6MP)
        Same shutter with 1/500th flash synch.
        5 sensor auto-focus (All cross point)
        EXPEED processor.
        5 frames/second.
        High res monitor (460K dots).
        Bracket capability.
        Kelvin settable WB.

        • Gerry

          man that was a funny post! best one I have read yet on NR. Thank you for that. 🙂

          • Zorro

            You’re welcome 🙂

  • Ubiquitous

    Excellent news, imho, and this is the way I see it. With Kariya (Precision Division) and Ichiro Terato (Executive VP – Mitsubishi Bank,) Nikon became a bean counters’ corporation. I was surprised when Nikon came out with the 16-35 and 24 1.4, a turn in the right direction. Now, I see why. Kimura (Digital Imaging) might have been pulling the strings (This change is in the works for some time, folks.) No doubt that the fiasco with the 70-200 VR II, had a lot to do with this.

    What Kimura is saying about asking people’s suggestion, is the right thing to do. Kariya and Terato ignored everyone. They just became a financial driven corporation, imho. This is a new beginning. Nikon should be a technology driven company with their engineers having a much bigger say in the future of the company.

  • Iceman

    Ubiquitous – what was the “fiasco” with the VR II…I missed that one.

    • alvix

      ..same here… ?

      • Ubiquitous

        OK. The way Nikon handled the situation was not stellar. Nikon Central, not their surrogates, are yet to give an official explanation. They just ignored the issue hoping it would go away. If there is nothing wrong with the lens, say so, in no uncertain terms. Period; the whole issue evaporates.

      • nick

        people thought the lens was defective and freaked out. turned out it wasn’t.

        • Ubiquitous

          Well, the sale of the 70-200 VRII we just halted on Amazon. Let me say again, Nikon Central is yet to come out with a statement that there is nothing wrong with the lens.

  • Anonymous

    Split the line. For that that want 1 million ISO .. make it at 10MP …. for those that can make due with 6400 or less but want more MP … give us that camera. Growth by splitting lines.

  • CC

    Guess what folks… He’s sandbagging…

  • So Nikon will stick to 12.3mp FOREVER?????????????????

  • zzddrr

    Yep, at least we know that Nikon not only has idiot execs but it is by himself the CEO who is braindead.

    On the other hand, it is clear that Nikon does not have the resources to compete with canon and most likely sony. I am afraid we may have to evaluate other companies since the top Nikon guru has no clue about what to do. Fantastic.

    • kai

      could not agree more! This is just stupid.
      After all, he is the president of the company!
      If I am nikon’s shareholders, I will for sure sell all my nikon stocks because this guy is completely clueless of what to do in 10 years.
      No leadership skills at all!

  • ArtTwisted

    everyone needs to relax, hes stating known facts about the industry and telling his shareholders that he is taking suggestions and talking to his employees to come up with new eays to increase there profits. What part of that is wrong.

  • Kiat

    Common Nikon… you can do better than this. Lead the market, set the trend.

    Go back to your charts, set your objectives and priorities. Set your countermeasures right.

    I have never seen a Japanese company so discouraged.

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