Nikon concerned about shrinking compact digital camera market

Nikon published several new articles discussing their future business plan. In a recent Q&A session, Makoto Kimura (President, Member of the Board) raised his concern on the increasing smart phone market share and shrinking compact camera market:

For the Imaging Company, it is crucial that we determine how best to adapt our strategies in response to market Makoto-Kimura-Nikon-President-Member-of-the-Boardchanges, particularly in terms of new products and product lineups. The rapid penetration of smartphones is causing the compact digital camera market to shrink. Previously, cameras and smart devices were not direct competitors. However, in the current market structure in which these products are competing, we must examine closely the concepts on which our compact digital camera offerings should be based. Thus, when it comes to interchangeable lens-type digital cameras, we need to question our ability to offer truly innovative functions and performance.

In another interview from last week, Makoto Kimura said that Nikon "want to create a product that will change the concept of cameras".

Few other quotes from the President:

Nikon Group posted more than one trillion yen in sales for the first time, during the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013.

The global economy still seems rather unstable, yet appears to be experiencing a gradual recovery. Considering this situation, we will continue to expand our current businesses to strengthen our corporate foundations. To be more specific [...] The Imaging Company aims to create greater enjoyment for consumers by releasing even more appealing products while establishing the Nikon brand in emerging markets.

Updated business information on the different Nikon groups and products can be found here.

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  • HotDuckZ

    AW120 with wireless chareger.

  • AnthonyH

    It might be a bad translation, but he seems to be saying that it’s with interchangeable lens cameras that we’ll see some kind of change in the concept of cameras, as the compact market is dying. I’m not sure what innovations we could see in ILC’s/SLRs, other than integrated Wi-Fi and cellular 4G LTE access. Perhaps more operating system/application approaches to make them more all-in-one. Bigger tablet like screens. Wearable. Wasn’t Nikon trying to buy webOS at one point? That might make some sense if matched up to the idea of making an all-in-one information device that can run applications and take photos/video. Sort of like a Star Trek tricorder.

    • bjrichus

      “That might make some sense if matched up to the idea of making an all-in-one information device that can run applications and take photos/video. Sort of like a Star Trek tricorder.”

      Oh yes, its called a good quality cell phone.

      • AnthonyH

        LOL, yes, except that most current cell phones have small screens of only moderate resolution and color accuracy, have insufficient RAM to multi-task or run memory intensive applications, cannot change lenses or optically zoom, lack dedicated hardware internally to process photos and video, are slow in responding, and are ergonomically very poor for taking sharp photos. It would be innovative to create a device like a smartphone that addresses not just one of these issues, but all of them. I agree–a follow on application or new use would be innovation, but current good quality cell phones are nowhere near reaching the limits of what could be done in creating an all-in-one device.

        • bjrichus

          You are correct that nearly all current cell phones are not up to it. But think about the coming Christmas: Nokia 1020 and the upcoming 20MP Sony phone… Phones in cameras are not the problem, its that Nikon don’t realize it. Maybe they will this second half of the year, but as others have said already, they might have “missed the boat” if they don’t have the product already in late stages of development.

          • AnthonyH

            When smartphones become ubiquitous and as standard-featured as toasters or refrigerators, yeah, it’ll be too late for Nikon. At least for now, there’s still some room for game-changing, although that window of opportunity is closing relatively quickly. Let’s hope that Nikon has something good up its sleeve, because it’ll need it.

            • bjrichus

              I’d like to hope that you are right, but considering that if Kimura and friends have only just NOW realized that things at the low end are not all sweetness and light, and that not everyone wants a 13MP “Hello Kitty pink” compact camera then they missed by a wide mile.

              They had better be working with a phone company or other device maker that will have a product for a camera to go into already as the likes of Sony or even Nokia are going to be a year or more ahead of them. In consumer electronics that is a lifetime.

  • Nawab

    welcome Nokia Lumia 1020
    checkmate Nikon D800!!

    • ShaoLynx

      BS, the IQ of smart phones will always lag behind on full frame sensors.

      • Thom Hogan

        Not exactly. Relative IQ has improved very fast with smartphones. Why? Because they sell in larger volume and there’s more development dollars being put into them. Far more development dollars. BSI and other technologies are happening in the small sensor market first.

        The question that people aren’t asking is this one: is there a limit to how much IQ you really need for practical purposes? We’re very close to the automobile problem. Sure, I can put a V12 500hp motor into a smallish, light automobile, but here in the US I’m not got going to get any real advantage to that due to speed limits on the roads I’m driving.

        With imaging, we have some speed limits. 1920×1080 and 3000:1 contrast ratio are two pretty common ones. Sure, I can see those increasing to 3840×2160 and some higher contrast ratio (likely with software programming behind it), but we’re well beyond the likely consumer level limits with DSLRs these days.

        Which brings me back around to: what cameras are consumers buying these days? Smartphones. Which is where the investment is.

        • ShaoLynx

          I see your point, and I’m sure you’re right about that law of masses. But I disagree about your assertion that DSLRs have reached their top level, even for consumers. Not until my DSLR can see as good as or preferably better than the human eye, will I be content. There is still much to be gained in terms of DR. And I mean: single shot. Another thing is low light capability: make my flash redundant! Using a larger sensor with large photosites, combined with good optics this will always be easier. Those photosites simply have a larger full-well capacity. So, if you invent it for small sensors, apply it to your larger sensors and be better at DR and low light capability.

          • Thom Hogan

            You misinterpret what I wrote. DSLRs are topping out in terms of sales, not image quality. If anything, the drop in sales may provoke the Japanese into even more iteration forward in terms of image quality in DSLRs.

            As for low light, the same number of photons are floating around for a small sensor camera to catch as a large sensor camera. For a long time, read noise was something that very much favored larger sensors. One question I always ask people that’s revealing in their answer is this: how much dynamic range do you need? There’s actually a researched answer (by Kodak back in the film era) that can tell you pretty much where the sweet points are. Bottom line is that too many people get overly fixated on dynamic range, and partly because they’re moving pixel values in post processing by large amounts.

            The thing I’m trying to point out is the old 80/20 rule. For cameras to survive, you need the 80, not the 20. The 80 is where smartphones have been fast encroaching and where the biggest foreseeable pixel count need is about 8mp (essentially 4K video).

            Inventing for small and deploying big doesn’t necessarily work quite the way you think, either. For Canon, it’s actually a big problem, as they seem steadfast in using their paid-for, large process fab for full frame sensors until it dies or they have to switch. Many of the things happening in the small sensor world cost lots of money. If I was counting right, US$6b for Sony to do the latest/greatest BSI-type designs that are coming next. A billion smartphone sales pay that pretty fast. <1 million FX sales would increase the cost of the sensor a lot in order to pay back that fab cost quickly.

            BSI, in particular, started in smartphone sensors and has slowly worked up to the 1/2.3" sensors. It's what the Nikon 1 needs next. Much more than the D4 ;~). Why? Because the size of the data/power lines don't get bigger as the sensor size goes up, so the bigger sensors already have a larger fill factor. The smallest sensors? They're the ones that need to increase fill factor.

    • Drazen B

      Poor boy, back to school.

    • nikon_user

      You have no idea of the craft of photography…do you???

    • Henri De Vreese

      I’ll use a Nokia Lumia 1020 besides my D800e, both different purposes, but neither will let me down.

      • anon

        you mean. D800e in your hands to take pictures and Lumia in your pocket waiting to take client calls for your photography business.. Yeah.. that’s how i’d use them together too…

        • Henri De Vreese

          No, I would use it to take pictures too… Sometimes I don’t want to bring my 14-24 to a wedding, with the Lumia, I get 41mp wide-angel at 1/10 of the weight of a 14-24. I used the lumia 1020 in NY and it blew my mind the same way the D800e blew my mind the first time I used it!

          • nikon_user

            Was it your own wedding ?? 🙂
            If you are at all a professional photographer, i’m the last man on earth to believe you have shot for your customer with a Lumia.
            My local guild will cancel my membership if i do that. 🙂

            • Henri De Vreese

              How would I be able to shoot a wedding with a Lumia if it’s not even shipping???

              I shoot D800e’s with 35 1.4, 85 1.4 and sometimes 200 2.0. The 14-24 Always sits in the bag because I don’t want to get it out for the few times I would use it. But sometimes I need somthing wider for a group shot in a tiny room. From what I seen from the Lumia 1020, It WILL sure be able to find it’s use in that area.

              Hell, I shot weddings with a D2x with basic primes and the results were amazing. Why would a Lumia with stunning glass and sensor not be able to replace a wide-angle?

              It’s not about the how you do it, it’s about the results…
              It’s not that I would EVER replace my D800 with a Lumia :D.
              If I don’t forget I’ll post my first wedding pictures with the 1020 here (link) if it ships in Oktober (Europe, I know…).

            • JakeB

              “How would I be able to shoot a wedding with a Lumia if it’s not even shipping???”

              Then stop writing about something you don’t know about, yet.

            • nikon_user

              “Why would a Lumia with stunning glass and sensor not be able to replace a wide-angle?”

              Size, size …..and size. Know some basic facts, larger the sensor, greater the DR. Bigger the lens diameter, better the IQ.
              You cannot change the laws of Physics.

              What you are calling “basic” primes are some of the finest in the Nikon stable.

            • Henri De Vreese

              Look at the difference between Canon APS-C camera’s and Nikon’s: Nikon has much bigger dynamic range, better iso, and better overal IQ for the same size of sensor.

              So size is nothing. Software is the way forward, if the D800 beats every fullframe in therms of high iso when you reduce the 36mp to 16mp, why would a 41mp camera not be able to be stunning when reduced to 5mp if they used one of the best algorithms ever? (no, it’s not size…)

              35 f/2.0 is far from Nikon’s finest (CA, Vignetting even on DX, low IQ,… but lightweight and fast focus).

              Jake, I did use it some time at it’s announcement, so I kinda know what it’s gonna give (full manual control, very bright lens, very good high iso at wider angle’s (oversampeling),…)

            • nikon_user

              “Look at the difference between Canon APS-C camera’s and Nikon’s: Nikon has much bigger dynamic range, better iso, and better overal IQ for the same size of sensor.”
              You are wrong again. Nikon APSCs have a crop factor of 1.5, while that for Canon is 1.6.
              What matters is pixel size and not pixel count. 41MP jammed into a smartphone vs 36MPin a FF.
              You see , that 41MP in Lumia is nothing but a marketing gimmick.
              Since you are a wedding photographer, when you mentioned “prime”, i immediately thought of the 14mm, 85mm and 135DC.

            • Henri De Vreese

              You have some weird thoughts about wedding photography (14mm prime for a wedding???).

              One of the most used prime’s for weddings are a 35mm and a 85mm…

              The difference between 1.5x crop and 1.6x crop WILL not make such huge differences in quality!
              Ok, I took the most recent camera’s, one with a small sensor, one with a M43 sensor and one aps-c:


              Pixel pitch gets larger with each sensor, but the one with the small sensor is better than the Canon with the larger sensor. Hmmm…

            • nikon_user

              Sorry, i meant 24mm, not 14 🙂

            • nikon_user

              “Ok, I took the most recent camera’s, one with a small sensor, one with a M43 sensor and one aps-c:


              Pixel pitch gets larger with each sensor, but the one with the small sensor is better than the Canon with the larger sensor. Hmmm…”

              I don’t understand what you want to say. The link leads to an ad for Optics pro.

            • Henri De Vreese

              No it leads to a comparisson between the sony RX100II, the Lumix GF6 and the Canon 700D.
              Just click away the standard pop up ad…

            • nikon_user

              Hmmm….strange results indeed. I think i now understand why DxOmark receives so much bashing in Canon forums :). Honestly, if those results are correct, many other respected sources for digital imaging information on the net are wrong.

            • Henri De Vreese

              No, that’s like EVERYONES conclusion about these camera’s and IRL comparisson between the 650D with Canon 17-55 2.8 and Sony RX100 I did, clearly show the RX100 is better (not the most recent, but IQ difference between these versions are very very small).

          • Drazen B

            So you don’t wan’t to bring your Nikkor 14-24 and instead you bring a smartphone cam with 27mm lens that you compare with a 14-24?

            Have you been drinking and posting again? 😉

          • fjfjjj

            Trust fund baby.

    • anon

      I’m sure you are being sarcastic, but that Lumia is crap. You can make the absolutely best 1mm x 1mm sensor in the entire universe (note, I’m exaggerating phone small sensor size) . Image quality isn’t just a sensor. It rides very heavily on the quality of optics. There isn’t a snowball’s chance in hell that a phone will EVER had a decent lens. EVVVERRR..

      • Lucky you’re anonymous because I guarantee you will eat your words. Never bet against digital convergence in the long run.

      • Esa Rahiala

        I have used Nokia PV 808 one year, printed even A2. In available light indoors I rather use 808 than Nikon V1.

  • Drazen B

    Sign of the times, not much can be done about it. Nevertheless, if what Mr Kimura stated is indeed part of the company’s future strategy this can only mean good things for the ILC camera segment.

    • Thom Hogan

      He stated two specific things here: (1) he believes the interchangeable lens camera market is growing; and (2) they have to reduce costs.

      Most analysts believe #1 to be false, and so far this year it has proven to be so. #2 raises my eyebrows. Nikon had some clear QA failures last year, and lowering costs generally puts more pressure on QA.

      • Espen4u

        #1 could be true, because some of the new photographers are upgrading from their cellphones. Most of us here started rather humbly, I with a Kodak instamatic for example (now i have a d800).

      • I think the cutting cost is a generic statement made by almost any other company.

        • Thom Hogan

          True. But I’ve seen links between Nikon saying this in the past and actually doing it. In general, when Nikon says something, they mean it. I would mention a company that is the opposite (says things they don’t actually do) but I’d be attacked by fanboys if I did, so I’ll just let people look up executive quotes and form their own conclusions.

          There’s been a lot of interesting talk behind the scenes in Tokyo lately. I’ve gotten some very interesting comments from key players in the investment community there lately. There’s more happening behind the scenes than meets the eye at the moment.

          I’ll give you a case in point that did appear to the public: why did Olympus suddenly announce that huge new stock sale program? It’s highly dillutive. Hint: watch carefully where the money raised ends up.

          • Pablo Ricasso

            “In general, when Nikon says something, they mean it.”

            So that’s pretty much like when they said “no, there’s no issue with the left D800 A/F sensors”…or “no oil splotches on the D600 sensor, whatsoever” ?


            • Thom Hogan

              Show me the executive that said “no, there’s no issue with the D800” or “there are no lubricant/dust problems with the D600.” Please don’t invent quotes to make an argument.

              In both cases Nikon quietly put entries into their knowledge base that admit to these problems (in a bit of a roundabout way, and definitely don’t acknowledge how widespread the problems were). Their position seems to be “normal numbers of cameras get shipped with problems, and we fix those when they come to us.” I believe that to be not just a delayed and disingenuous response, but one that doesn’t actually address user concerns. Still, they didn’t say “no there’s no problem.”

      • One More Thought

        Thom, thanks for posting and sharing your insights.

        I too agree with you; no company ever got to be great by cutting costs. And Nikon’s QA failures cost them a lot of business; my belief is that they lost many D600 sales, along with associated lenses, etc.

      • ZZ

        QA… yes I would like to see improvements in this chapter; bought a D7100 and one time happened to shut down itself; it was set on ON position and it was like on OFF, move it between ON OFF and now changes. Take battery out and put it back and problem solved. Hope it won’t happen again… but I think it will. I learned battery out-in “movement” from a D300 that started to have problems after passing 100.000 shots. I loved the camera so got to “Dr. Service” and made it work again perfectly.
        After D7100 problem I updated firmware hopping it will solve future problems.

  • Dino Brusco

    Actually I’ve always wondered why all those models – especially in the lower end – while it would be enough designing three or four cameras making them good once for all. It’s a waste of time and resources.

    Nikon should understand which features are really requested by the market, DON’T add necessarily too many mp (while instead improving the sensor size or high iso capability or overall image iq of its cameras) so its customers would be happier and would mention Nikon as a true market leader “Oh, do you remember that old xxx camera I had once? This NIKON is way better in any respect and NOT because of megapixels alone” Cameras then should be updated not every month but every time there’s a significant improvement in materials, functions or building process. This would force Nikon to make cameras at their best and save resources for the future research. If you make a camera “just for the sake of it” none in that segment will be pushed to work at his best. It’s a different approach that should be taken, not only by Nikon but from all camera makers. Go figure how many resources on a world scale we have exploited for nothing, to make cameras declared obsolete in 12 months or so. Companies should be aware that what they have today they might NOT have tomorrow if they don’t use common sense and “go green”.

    • Nikon Owner

      Unfortunately, the perception of people that buy the low-end compact market is more megapixels are better, and higher-power zooms are better. This I think is encouraged by the camera makers as they cannot do (yet) high power zooms.

      Camera makers I think have always had out-of-touch marketing ideas.

      I think the best thing to do – to save the low-end compact market – if it can be saved, is to have a strong marketing campaign, to illustrate the performance advantages compact cameras have over smartphones.

      For example, low-light photography in smartphones is terrible. So, illustrate how much better compact cameras are. This may very well mean lowering the megapixels in the sensor – but this should be a “end result performance” strategy, rather than a “how many megapixels is it” strategy.

      Next, improve shutter lag, and show how that helps in capturing action and sports photography. Again, that will likely result in needing to cut the megapixels down to obtain low shutter lag.

      Perhaps too – redesign the cameras so that they have more robust lenses – get rid of the telescoping fragile lenses – they break all the time, which does not hold well for people wanting to buy one.

      In short – improve the cameras to the point that smartphones are only good for daylight portraiture and landscapes. Develop better products, and strong marketing showing advantages in sports, action, low-light, etc. types of photography – that will save the compact market – if anything can.

      • Nikon Owner

        This I think is encouraged by the camera makers as they cannot do (yet) high power zooms.

        I meant to say – This I think is encouraged by the camera makers as smartphones cannot do (yet) high power zooms.

      • I think the idea that non-enthusiasts just want more MP is not true. If Nokia can put 41MP on a cellphone the camera makers could put far more into actual cameras if they wanted to. They’ve long since plateaued on MP and actively market low light performance, zoom, etc. Most people simply don’t want that great a camera (and don’t mind shitty flash pictures).

        • Thom Hogan

          Nokia is really selling a 5mp camera. The 41mp give them two interesting choices: cropping in lieu of zoom lens, and binning in lieu of larger photosites. I really don’t understand why we haven’t seen the same thing in other cameras, but it IS a very tough marketing problem. The minute you mention 41mp people think of that differently than what they’re actually getting in most uses.

          • Foods

            We probably don’t see it much in other cameras because Nokia developed the technology and it’s proprietary.

            • Thom Hogan

              Binning was done in the D1 in 1999, and cropping has been in every Nikon DSLR since the D2. Not sure what the “proprietary technology” is. All they’ve done is applied things that have been done in the past in one camera format to another.

            • Spy Black

              He means in the cellphones. C’mon Thom.

            • Thom Hogan

              I know what he means. His implication is that Nokia has some IP that they can protect. I believe that they do not. Not only is there prior art, but the ideas are common sense. You can’t protect ideas anyway, you can only protect implementation. It should be very easy to get around any patents that Nokia claims to have in this area. I haven’t read their patents on this, but if the primary claim is binning and cropping, I don’t see how that kind of claim would be upheld when challenged.

            • zoetmb

              I completely agree that you shouldn’t be able to protect ideas, only implementation, but the U.S. patent office seems to have forgotten that.
              Amazon managed a patent on “one-click” ordering which Apple actually licenses from them. This is absurd IMO.

    • Thom Hogan

      This is actually studied in most MBA programs. The Japanese consumer electronics industry and the auto industry have long used formulas that try to extract the highest possible number of dollars from a fixed number of buyers. In a very simple form:

      Say you have a market of 100 potential buyers. If you made one product that sold for X and all 100 buy it, you make 100x. But what if you had two products and could sell 60 of the less expensive one and 40 of the more expensive one to those same 100? You’d make 100x+40y, where y is the price differential. Who wouldn’t want to make 40y more on the same 100 sales?

      Of course, things aren’t nearly that simple in the real world. You could make the second variant of the product cost too much for the things it ads and end up with only 80 sales, so you’d then be getting only 80x+20y (and thus y had better be greater than x or else you lost money making the split).

      A number of years ago I tried to postulate via a complicated formula how many DSLRs Canon and Nikon would eventually have in their lineup. They’ve now exceeded my calculation (6 or 7). In Nikon’s case, we have 8 (D3200, D5200, D7100, D300s, D600, D800/D800E, D4, and D3x). Worse still, the unsold inventory actually means that they have 12 they’re trying to sell simultaneously (add the D3100, D5100, D90, and D7000). I don’t think you can effectively price that many choices into the size of the market.

      I suspect that Nikon is calculating how many models to sell separately for DX (4 models, 8 total available at the moment due to overproduction) and FX (4 models). But I’m not sure that the market works the way they think it does. I’ve been very vocal about the short-shrift Nikon has given DX (no current pro body, lack of lenses), and this whole subject is part of the reason. They seem to think that “if the customer is willing to spend X or more, they’ll always buy FX” and “no DX customer will spend more than Y.”

      • jk

        I think we got your point here , but I do not think that’s the main issue.

        the main issue of Nikon as a company is it is relying too much on camera and imaging division.

        the other camera companies Sony, Canon , Oly , Fuji , Samsung , Rich ,etc are all not simple camera companies , in fact all of these have main source of income other than camera related business.

        • nikon_user

          Sorry, you are ill informed.
          Just click on this link and you will know –

          It won’t matter for them if Nikon decide to wind up their camera/imaging division.

          • Thom Hogan

            Before you start running around telling people they’re ill-informed, you might want to check facts. The Imaging group had sales of 751.2b yen and a profit of 60.7b yen last year. The instruments group within Nikon you point to had sales of 53.8b yen and a loss of -4.9b yen. Yeah, right, those microscopes will save Nikon. Not.

        • Thom Hogan

          I’ve been saying that for years, actually. In fact, if you really dig back into the early days of the Internet, you’ll find that I wrote that Nikon was relying too much on the Semiconductor Equipment division where future growth was nil and not enough on the camera group, which had stagnated. These things come and go in cycles.

          The problem, though, is that Nikon now has a Semiconductor group that has little chance of resurrecting itself in any meaningful way. The industry growth is gone, and Nikon let an upstart take their business away, partly because of poor service (see the Economist article on this). So they are even more lopsided than they were back in the 80’s and 90’s, just the other direction. Cameras are now 75% of Nikon’s business.

          There are only three choices:
          1) Grow the Semiconductor business again.
          2) Figure out how to survive as a camera maker.
          3) Add a new business.

          I think #1 isn’t a possible answer. Even if Nikon could grow Precision by 25%, they’d still end up shrinking.

          #3 is a giant question mark. What business would that be, where would the IP and money to invest in it come from, and how fast could they grow it into something meaningful?

          Which leaves #2 as their only rational choice short-term. At the moment I’d bet that Nikon will within the next four quarters show contraction in cameras. They need something in the imaging side of things that will counter that. They actually needed it four years ago when I pointed out what was likely to happen.

          As for the other companies you mention, Sony makes zero money in consumer electronics as far as I can see. They have the same problem in a far broader range of product categories. They make money in movies, music, and insurance. For them to grow, they have to fix consumer electronics, exactly the same problem as Nikon has, only across multiple consumer electronic categories rather than one.

          Canon is what, one-third imaging these days? That’s enough to seriously dent their overall financials, too.

          So we have the three traditional camera leaders, Canon, Nikon, and Sony, all in the same problematic boat. Of those, only Sony has a smartphone presence that might help them, though how they get past the Apple/Samsung duopoly I don’t know. By now I’m sure everyone’s seen a couple of their forthcoming offerings disclosed. Maybe that’ll get resonance, maybe not.

          For Fujifilm, Olympus, Panasonic, and Ricoh, cameras are really just a negative ROI on a relatively small portion of their money. While no one believes they can all turn that around into a positive ROI that’s a meaningful contributor to their corporate bottom line, they all seem determined to try ;~).

        • Photdog

          @ JK and Thom Hogan
          I agree, product diversification out of the camera related business would probably help Nikon. But on the other hand, the actual development isn’t really a surprise: if you go into fashion-products you shouldn’t be surprised when the fashion changes. And Nikon, like most of the other makers, had its share on the acceleration, updateting cameras and lenses on a yearly basis.
          The whole photography has changed a lot: instead of art and work you got cell phone (and very soon “glass”-) surveilance whereever you go. Furthermore cells are meanwhile suficient for snapshots of babyboy and the pet – at least for the majority of the consumers. And talking about consumers, no AF speed can convince me that Nikon 1 is merely a consumer camera too, whereas the Fuji plays in a different league – even Zeiss decided to make lenses for the Fuji system and not for Nikon 1. In other words Fuji managed to build themselves a future with their X-serie.
          As here was a lot of marketing talk: it always was a good advice to concentrate on the core competencies. In my opinion, at the time you can’t get a better DSLR than the D800/E the D4 and the D7100 in DX. But concerning the lenses, the verdict is not as clear. Nikon does have a bunch of stars, but not every Nikon lens is really one. That would be a field the could really excell in. To me, Nikon 1 and Nikon A cannot even generate a second thought of buying any. However, in the high-level non-DSLR is still some space. As Thom rightfully pointed out, there may be some obstacles to overcome. But e.g. the Bayer sensor should not be chiseled in stone for all times. But if Nikon decides to make their flagships being steared by Android in their thurst of innovations, they may even face severe losses in the DSLR market. Making a Facebook upload to their compass north instead of independent helpful innovations as maybe WiFi download the memory cards to a mobile HD without a notebook will not cut it. Even the existance, if not to say the necessity, of a company like Really Right Stuff, says a lot of chances for real innovations.
          On rock bottom a company will only make consistant revenues if they offer a durable benefit to their core customers. And that cannot be the “butterflies” flying here today and there tomorrow.

  • RMFearless

    Do a decent mirrorless like nex or fuji whit f-mout instead of rubbish nikon one

    • groucher

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. Nikon 1 has lightning fast autofocus, up 60fps, great lenses and the same processor and battery as the D800. f-mount lenses can be used with an adapter that has the electrical connections for af etc. The 300mm f4,for example, gives 810mm equiv. f4 at 60fps – spectacular for action photography. No other mirrorless system comes close.

      • RMFearless


        • groucher

          Glad you agree.

      • Sahaja

        But if they had put that lightning fast autofocus, and so on on a camera with an m4/3 or APS-C size sensor – it might have been even better.

        • I think Nikon picked the sensor size because long term the sensor quality will solve low light issues and they’ll be able to compete on physical size. The real problem with the V1 is ergonomics (idiotic mode selector, hopeless manual focus, unintuitive controls) which, based on reviews, the V2 only partially solves.

          • jk

            then need at least a decade to see it.
            I think as for now , NEX is the sweet spot of mirrorless.
            I covered paid events with just a couple of NEX6 + Zeiss 24mm f1.8 and Sony E50mm f1.8OSS, and I was pretty much impressed with its real life performance.
            the AF of NEX6 is good enough for most of event photography , actually surprisingly good, even tracks some action very well.
            the EVF is much better than most of OVFs out there.

            it records quite good video easily , so if FF NEX out with a bit better AF + a good 70-200mmf2.8 zoom(this is the only one lens the current NEX system lacks) , then I guess I am moving 100 percent NEX + RX1R.

            I think before Sony goes serious about FF NEX, Nikon should announce some kind of serious FX mirrorless system with the Nikon One AF system.

            • Thom Hogan

              I’m really glad you used the term “good enough” in your account. Because that’s the consumer hurdle. It’s not “can I see noise at ISO 12800” or “but this one has .7 stops more DR than that one” or any of the other arguments that usually get posited.

              Not that those arguments aren’t necessary for the “precision” crowd. If you’re a high-end practitioner, small differences can be extremely meaningful and useful. But let’s face it, of the 20+ million cameras Nikon sells each year, probably less than 5% are going to the crowd that can correctly evaluate and use those differences.

            • I don’t disagree about NEX bodies, but the lens lineup is unconvincing (and big). Where Sony really shines is not treating video as a half-assed also ran feature.

              That said, i am blown away by D7000 video when i actually pay attention to manually focusing. This, of course, is impossible with the V1.

          • Thom Hogan

            I won’t get into the whether Nikon got any Nikon 1 model right (they didn’t), but I think you’re basically correct on sensor choice and wrong on your opinion of the lenses. The new 10-100mm is better than any of the DX superzooms. The 30-110mm is better than the DX 55-300mm. The 32mm is better than the non-existent DX 85mm. The 10mm, which isn’t great, at least exists. If the CX lenses are lame, I hate to see what you think of the DX lenses ;~).

            • My problem with the CX lenses is that they get refreshed every year (at least few models did). How can I invest in a system if in one year they will replace the lens I just bought with a better one? I can understand refreshing the body, but the lens? Why not get it right form the first time?

            • Thom Hogan

              Not sure what you mean. “Refreshed” is the incorrect word. What we got was “duplicates.” The 10-100mm power zoom for video was augmented with a 10-100mm regular zoom, the 10-30mm VR kit lens was augmented by the 11-27.5 non-VR lens for cheaper “kits.” Technically, we have more non-macro primes in CX than in DX already.

              Nikon’s laid out a decent basic lens set: 6.7-13, 10-30, 30-110, 10-100 zooms, plus 10, 18.5, and 32mm primes. They certainly have a long way to go to fill out a CX lineup, but I see nothing wrong with their choices so far. You can get from 18mm to 300mm, basically. And two of the primes give you good low light ability. Anything outside of that is starting to get niche/specialty, not consumer, and the Nikon 1 seems consumer focused (other than the FT1 uses).

            • The old 10-100mm lens is no longer available, to me this is a “refresh”. The 10-30mm is still around, but the price is identical to the newer 11-27.5mm. The removed the VR, reduced the size and the focal length and kept the price the same. I preferred if they had released another CX lens instead, the 10-30mm was ok for now, there was no need for another 11-27.5mm.

            • Thom Hogan

              Not sure what you mean by “no longer available.” Still listed as current on Nikon sites in US and Japan. Yes, some dealers have stopped carrying it, but I think that is more of the failed notion of the Nikon 1 as a video camera than anything else. Nikon promoted that lens for video use, but no one really sees the Nikon 1 as a video camera. So given the price, it was a bust. The new lens is far better for still users in almost every aspect, including price. As I noted, the 11-27.5mm was really an attempt to drive more cost out of the low-end kits. I don’t even know why they bothered to try to sell it out of the kits.

              But frankly, this isn’t much different than Sony and their multiple attempts at 18-200mm for NEX, or all the redesigns of the 14-42/45mm in the m4/3 realm. Even in DX, we’ve had three 18-55mm lens versions so far.

              The real issue is whether or not Nikon has continued to expand the Nikon 1 lineup and plug holes. The answer there is: yes, they have. The question for the next year is: will they continue to do that?

            • Yes, I checked the three major US retailers and they did not have the old 10-100mm. The lens is still available in few other retailers. I thought that this lens is completly discontinued.

            • Thom Hogan

              It very well may end up that way. No one seems to use the Nikon 1’s for “quality” video as Nikon thought they would. And they priced the power zoom very high on a product that was already high priced. To me, most of what Nikon has done with the 1 series indicates a fairly unclear strategy for how it fits in with the rest of their offerings. The 1 should slot below the DSLRs, not in with them. The whole power zoom thing was actually something they haven’t done with the DSLRs, so I suspect that this was one of their ways of justifying the overlap position in their minds.

              I don’t dispute that there’s a product management issue going on with the 1 and its lenses. What I dispute is that lenses are being replaced. No, they’re throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks.

            • Dpablo unfiltered

              “The 32mm is better than the non-existent DX 85mm.”
              The FX 50mm IS the “non existant” DX 85mm.

            • Thom Hogan

              Not really, though many use it that way. There’s almost a 5° angle of view change between 75mm (the 50mm on DX) and 85mm. The “preferred” perspective for portraits tends to be 85-105mm at a particular distance. The 50mm on DX is outside that. As I’ve noted, the Tamron 60mm f/2 actually makes a better choice for the traditional 85mm usage, and the best choice ever is still the 58mm f/1.2 NOCT.

            • Sahaja

              85mm is at the short end of traditional “portrait” lenses. 50mm is only 75mm equivalent on DX. They need a fast 57mm or 60mm DX lens to be the equivalent of an 85mm or 90mm short portrait lens.

            • The problem with the good CX lenses you mention is they overlap with F-mount lenses any serious user already has (and each other). What Nikon 1 really needs is fast, relatively wide angle lenses. f2.8 is pathetic for such a small sensor.

              I like the 16-85 in DX. Aside from that…

            • Thom Hogan

              I agree, it would be nice to have a fast wide prime. But “overlap with F-mount lenses”? Can’t agree there because the 2.7x crop factor really messes that up. Even the 35mm f/1.8G DX becomes a longish telephoto lens (90mm+) on a Nikon 1.

              But really, this is just the same problem as Nikon has on DX: where the heck are the lenses in the wide to short telephoto range that would benefit from the smaller image circle size?

            • I have a V1 with to 10-30mm kit lens. There’s no wide angle lens that interests me, and there’s nothing longer that doesn’t overlap with my DX/FX lenses — the 35mm f1.8 included. The 32mm f1.2 is a specialist portrait(?) lens that costs double the 85mm f1.8 for FX and four times the 50mm f1.8 for DX and I already have a 35mm f1.8 (I’m an enthusiast, I already have a DX/FX body — this is their target market? Or not?). If the 6.7-13 were (a) faster or (b) cheaper or if the 10mm f2.8 were 7.5mm I might feel differently.

            • Thom Hogan

              Let’s not confuse overlapping problems and issues the way Nikon has. It was up to Nikon to position the 1 series with the rest of their lineup and the competition. They’ve clearly botched that. One way they’ve done so is with cost. As Nikon themselves now know, the 1 bodies sell quite well at a certain price, a price I believe they still make a profit at.

              Also, be careful of not comparing apples to apples. Technically, if we set the 85mm f/1.8 as the thing we want to compare against, we need a 57mm f/1.3 for DX, and a 31mm f/0.something for CX. Or the other alternative: 85mm f/1.8, 58mm f/1.8, 31mm f/1.8 and just let the DOF fall where it will for the sensor size. Instead, we have a random mishmash of choices that aren’t exactly photographically selected. This makes it very difficult to compare across sensor sizes, and the cynic in me says that this is intentional on the part of Nikon.

              My choice, had I been in charge, would have been a 31mm f/1.8 and price scaled so that CX < DX < FX.

            • Seems like the only confusion is whether CX or DX has the stupidest lens options. I call it a tossup.

        • Thom Hogan

          Phase detection in sensor has a liability: the distance between the microlenses and the data collection is small. This has ramifications on how well the data is discriminated. DSLRs can place their secondary lenses in front of the AF sensor at any (and obviously) optimal distances. The less depth of field you have, the more problem you have getting the kind of phase detect AF performance you have come to expect. One way of dealing with that is speeding up the rate at which data is moved off the sensor, but the bigger the sensor is (both in terms of pixels and physical size), the more difficult that becomes, too. Nikon’s choice of sensor size on the Nikon 1 appears to have taken a lot of different conflicting problems into account.

          No doubt technology will roll along and we’ll get good on-sensor AF performance out of large sensor cameras, but considering that the Nikon 1 was in prototype form back in 2009, I doubt that they could have gotten to where they are today with larger sensors.

          Again, larger sensors will probably get to the level of focus performance (or better) that we see with the Nikon 1. The question, however, is whether that will happen before the smaller sensor gets better light collection abilities. In the end, the smaller sensor is significantly less costly to produce, and thus the camera would have a price advantage over even m4/3 cameras, let alone DX and FX.

          How good does a consumer camera have to be? If the Nikon 1 were a stop better than it currently is, would that be enough so that 80% wouldn’t need more?

          • Calibrator

            You are right about having to take the year into account the thing was engineered but even then the competition had good products.

            And it’s not about a “consumer camera”, Thom, and you know that so don’t draw this card here in this forum!

            Anything less than m3/4 is “horse manure”, simple as that – and bigger sensors get better, too.
            For many people an APS-C sensor is the lower ceiling they will take into consideration and you – of all people – should pester Nikon to fortify their DX infrastructure by supplying adequate lenses *and* bodies they make sense on (mirrorless bodies with good video AF capabilities).

            Something that Canon apparently brings earlier to the market in the form of the 70D now – and it *will* sell, even if it’s only a “consumer DSLR”.

            • Thom Hogan

              Actually, it IS about a consumer camera. One with strong sales and a high gross profit margin. Because without that, there is no Nikon any more. Remember, they’re making 14+ million Coolpix, 6+ million CX/DX cameras, and <1 million FX cameras. I don't care how much better an FX sensor is, it won't save Nikon. That's been my point for nearly five years now. (Please don't get me wrong, I'm not asking them to abandon FX at all. It has it's place, it's great, I and others rely upon it, and the market needs a high end like that.)

              When I presented to Nikon executives many moons ago, I started with a simple chart. It showed what I thought would happen to the market in general terms (smartphones squeezing cameras badly, mirrorless pressing compacts from the other end and DSLRs at the bottom). That's pretty much what's happened. The problem was and is clear: how do you respond to that?

              Nikon getting into the smartphone market successfully is unlikely. There are relatives to it, however, that could work (Nikon Inside, Nikon Glass, etc.). The problem I see is that Nikon is late to both those things (Zeiss beat them to "inside", Google beat them to "Glass").

              As for the "anything less than m4/3 is horse manure," you're basically calling out hundreds of millions of image makers ;~). Maybe if you want to make 36" prints you don't want a 1/2.3" sensor, but this is no different than what happened in film, where 4×6" automated prints were the common denominator of "consumer."

              People seem to believe marketing claims. How about we actually test the on-sensor focus of the 70D before we claim it to be great?

            • Sahaja

              On paper the approach Canon took on the 70D looks interesting. If I undersand it correctly, it makes every pixel on the sensor capable of being used for AF. Though that’s also potentially an awful lot of data to process in real time.

          • Sahaja

            Thom – Thanks for pointing out these technical limitations of on-sensor AF. I was unaware of. this. It goes qite a long way to explaining why Nikon chose the sensor size they did.

            You are also right to point out that these type of systems will probably become able to satisfy the IQ needs of 80% of camera users.

            That kind of leaves m4/3 and APS-C as the digital equivalent of a 35mm SLR; and “full-frame” the digital equivalent of medium format film; System prices fill the same slots.

            I suspect a lot of people now jumping on the full frame bandwagon may eventually move back to APS-C.

    • Steven Solidarios

      I still don’t think anyone would buy a separate camera even if they made a nex/fuji competitor. People are relying on their cellphones to do most of the picture taking now. If Nikon is to survive, they need to license sensor/lens tech to cellphone companies. Just like how beats licenses out sound (regardless of your opinion on quality). I just seen Sony is pushing a lens with a sensor in it that communicates with a cell phone wirelessly with a cell phone. Thats innovative. I love Nikon to death! I use their excellent products on a daily bases to support myself. But do you think the average person cares (or even knows) about f stops, shutter speed, or why this lens is better than that lens? The average person wants to press an icon on a touch screen that looks like a camera to take the picture, then immediately upload it to their favorite social media site. Thats where Nikon needs to start. Wifi in every camera, with a app that connects to whatever phone you have. An app running on your desktop that senses when your camera is in range, saves all your photos to the drive. I believe the average consumer (not semi-pro/pro photographer) wants to pay for convenience, not necessarily quality.

      • zoetmb

        Nikon is just realizing that cell phones are taking away their point-and-shoot market? Duh! They knew this years ago and it’s reflected in their current projections of a 17.8% reduction in p&s sales for this fiscal and it will probably be far worse than that: CIPA shipments are down 47% January through May (DSLR shipments are down 15% and surprisingly, mirrorless shipments are down 17%).

        If Nikon had joined with Apple or another cell phone maker 3 to 5 years ago, maybe. Today, it’s too late. While Nikon could make accessory cell phone lenses, that’s a very niche market. Apple, Samsung and Nokia (surprise!) own the market. None of them need Nikon. And Nikon isn’t exactly great at software.

        But I do think that there can be point-and-shoot cameras that are a step up from cell phone cameras and they would contain all the features you name above. The transfer of photos from the camera to the computer and from the camera to sharing sites has got to be so simple that my 87-year-old mother could do it. Nikon could also open up the cameras and make them app driven and create an ecosystem so developers could write apps and share in revenues the same way as the cell phone makers do. That’s the fastest road to innovation, although Nikon would have to be careful about junk ware, spyware and apps with bugs that would brick the camera.

        I agree that Sony has been very innovative. I also think Nikon has got to simplify the line. I realize that in Marketing, you want to hit all price points and you want to grab shelf space for your competitors, but they don’t need 26 active models to accomplish the former.

        I also agree with those who feel that Nikon has got to do cameras that are designed for video, both on the consumer and pro side. I think the pro market is still in flux enough that someone like Nikon could come in and take marketshare from Red (if not from Sony and Canon) if featured and priced properly. I think most people are under the impression that pro video sensor are larger than DSLR sensors, but that’s not the case. The RED sensor is 90% the size of a DX sensor.

        And if Nikon is serious about video on the DSLR side, they need a few lenses that are designed for video – lens that maintain focus through the whole zoom range.

        • zoetmb

          Obviously, I meant “grab shelf space FROM your competitors” not “…FOR your competitors”. But having said that, with the demise of physical retail, that’s far less of an issue.

    • hendrik

      what turns me off is Nikon1 doesnt have standard hotshoe. With all my Nikon SB, i cant trigger CLS or FP flash with Nikon1. Abandon Nikon1? Yes, in fact i have abandoned DX system. It took ages for them updating the fix prime.

      • Thom Hogan

        Yeah, I don’t understand this “reinventing the wheel” thing the Japanese like to do. If you come up with a better wheel (e.g. a wireless radio flash system that works), great, but just replacing a hot shoe foot with a different hot shoe foot is design masturbation, at best.

        • Spy Black

          Nikon has always been stupidly proprietary, even within their own lines. Remember the F hot shoe? The old cable releases? Ever see the eyepiece attachments for FX and DX cameras? And lest we forget, the Nikon 1.

          • Thom Hogan

            I agree. I believe I’ve been consistent on my request for camera companies to create open ecosystems. I believe that even a controlled ecosystem produces more sales than a closed ecosystem. This has been proven time and again in tech.

      • Neopulse

        Can’t the SB-N5 (as I recall) help trigger the flashes via optical?

    • BM

      This would be nice but it’s not going to save a camera company in today’s day and age. Selling to the mass public will. Enthusiasts would consider anything that is sold to the masses as rubbish. Do you really think the general public wants and interchangeable f mount camera? probably not. The iphone is the polaroid of today. Companies need to sell to the masses to succeed. By the way throughout the short history of photography there have been numerous masterpieces taken with rubbish cameras. Not everyone needs the best to create art. And what if I told you that anything less than a full frame sensor is rubbish? See what I mean.

  • Sebastian

    For a Japanese company, that’s a pretty honest assessment of the situation. It’s the first time I’ve heard them tell it like it is. Good on Nikon.
    But it’s also clear they have no clue what to do about it. Does any of the camera companies?
    Quite a few opportunities for bold(ish) moves have already been missed.
    What if Nikon had joined M43? It would have become THE mirrorless system for quite a while.
    What if they had joined up with a big phone maker? Nikon inside of the phone, the phone attached (physically or virtually) to a Nikon, meaningful Nikon-branded apps.
    What about an open source code for at least one of their cameras?
    I’m sure there are more things like that.
    Instead we have 10 or more 18-xx kit zooms.

  • dnguyen

    Coolpix is crap anyway. Please move on Nikon. Digital rangefinder: Make it happen.

  • BrainBeat

    Reading this post got me thinking. Today I went to a friends 30th birthday party and I think everyone who was taking photos were still using compact cameras and not their phones. Now this is likely an aberration as many events I work at most are either taking photos with their phones or DSLR’s with very few compacts. So where does this leave compacts in the market?
    I feel there is still a very good case for compact dedicated camera at least at the moment. From what I can tell the areas where most phones are used are for close things which mostly is people often using the “flash”. The reason for this is because nearly no smart phones have any true zoom and so are only really useful for close or very wide shots. So the ability of compact cameras to zoom give it an advantage.

    The other thing about photos taken is that very few now days are actually printed out which for either case means high MP is not really needed. This as other have said here should then push the focus to better low light performance.

    Then there is sharing of the photos which a phone will always have the advantage. Also it has been said the best camera is the one you have with you which often will be a phone for most people.

    It is a tricky future ahead for the sector I am sure but I do see a future for compact cameras but there will have to be a lot less models I think and a quality superior to phones (some of which are significantly better than the cheaper end now).

  • chad

    I bought an OMD EM5 a month ago and I see no reason to ever give Nikon a dime of my money again. I hope they are concerned about that.

    • Calibrator

      They why exactly are you here, Sir?

    • BM

      Most likely $3,500 dollars or more after the fact!! too late bro.

  • DK

    Around 8yrs ago Nikon said that they will shift the focus from compacts to DSLR’s. I thought, great. But then they continued to release overly priced/featured p&s trying to ape canon which somehow laid a trap with cleaner sensors back in the days.
    Nikon should limit to 4 primary models (like dslrs) ranging 100-400 dollars, with few variations in between.
    keep it simple stupid.

  • Laurentiu Ilie

    “when it comes to interchangeable lens-type digital cameras, we need to question our ability to offer truly innovative functions and performance”.

    Try some nice new colors for DX DSLR and add some megapixels – great innovations! Another innovation: just update the 18-55.

    No one needs dedicated DX primes or f/4, f/2.8 or even f/1.8 DX dedicated zooms.

    • David G.

      *Psst… Guys… I think he’s being sarcastic.*

      • Laurentiu Ilie

        Thanks, David!

        I believed that it was obvious.

  • whisky

    Nikon would have a better chance at attracting existing customers to new product if they stick to hardware. given their track record on anything software related — Photo Secretary, Nikon Scan, NXx — it’d be hard to buy into any product that’s software dependent, for fear of them ditching support whenever it suits them.

  • vasras

    You have been told this by analysts and pro-am hobbyists for years now.

    Get with a program and release a superb APS-C or even full frame compact with a fat pipeline, 4K video, global shutte, H.265 (soon) – a cam that totally destroys mobile phones in video/photo.

    If not, you are entitled to be eaten alive by Sony mobile phones division, Nokia, Apple and Samsung mobile phones – at least in the compact camera arena.

  • marklondon

    Ok, having read all these posts, most of which are ignorant and terrible (that Lumix camera is pretty bloody good folks, with a Zeiss lens) no-one has mentioned the real way forward for nikon: video.
    To the MBA student earlier, you want a y differential? – step into the video world. The D800 has a terrific rep, despite shooting H264. Canon’s otherwise ordinary 5D3 has just been hacked to deliver 14 bit RAW 1080p: sales are through the roof this quarter.
    They sell their 4K 1DX for $12k. Yes, how about THAT for a y differential in the DSLR market.
    Nikon already have the storage capability to shoot up to 4K RAW in the D4. Use it. Build a more serious video based DSLR. Own a market worth $500M and CLIMBING.
    Then for low level growth get into bed with a cellphone manufacturer – say HTC, they seem like brand whores. Put Nikkor lenses into phones.

    I despaired reading those comments by the CEO above. I realised for the first time that its possible they are so out of touch the South Koreans may eat their lunch in this market too.

    • Spy Black

      “Build a more serious video based DSLR.”
      Why bother doing that? Just build a full-blown professional video camera. It’s really annoying trying to use a DLSR as video camera.

      • marklondon

        If you’ve spent the last 6 years learning to use them its fine. I now don’t notice going back and forth.

        • Spy Black

          It’ll take you 6 days to learn how to use a video camera proper, and will be much easier to use.

          • marklondon

            I work with both daily. My personal rig includes an Alexa, a C300 and 2 D800s (one mainly for stills).

            3 very different camera systems, all good for different things. A D800 that shot 1080 RAW would be VERY useful to me.

      • marklondon

        They’d be better off partnering with an existing video camera manufacturer (Panasonic/JVC/Panavision/the remains of AATON etc) and providing sensor processing and optical compatibility and expertise.
        I realise that’s unlikely 🙂

        • Neopulse

          I think it was with Panasonic (or was it JVC) that has a Nikon F-Mount now. I think they are heading in that direction.

          • marklondon

            JVC. That camera is bizarre, and a dog in the ENG market. Uses 4xSD card to get to 4K. Plus, they want $16k!
            I agree it was great to see a Nikon mount core to a video camera, but that was NOT the way to impress anybody.

            • Neopulse

              It is bizarre-looking I agree. But maybe to me though it is and to others it’s perfect for them in size, weight and ergonomics, but I just don’t see that since I am no a video buff :-S although the evolution of a successful photographer nowadays is how good they can help direct and shoot video of the work they do. According to a known photographer that I personally met in Miami, they are using 4K stills for photos nowadays.

            • marklondon

              Yes, that happens quite often now. However that JVC is a terrible cam. For that price the 1DC and Scarlet are better 4K options.
              Next month the Blackmagic 4K is out at $4k. That should really upset the market.

            • Neopulse

              Would like to see that 4k for $4k camera’s specs. Thanks for the update.

            • marklondon

              Are you in LA? Head over to the Marriot at Burbank Airport. I just got back from playing with it at a Blackmagic function – they’re open til 7. Otherwise they are in NY in 2 weeks, or check their site. Likely to be out by Xmas.

            • Neopulse

              Would be kick ass to go to see it personally before launch. Although I am from Miami FL, I currently live in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I do go visit at least once a year for a month in the winter time to see my relatives there. But the quick info you gave me helped open my eyes more to the realm of video and how more affordable it has become. Even though it will be out when I’m there, chances are I’ll be on a waiting list for months D800 style. A question of mine is, what ideas do you have once you acquire the 4k wonder?

    • Steve

      I don’t think they need a new “more serious video based DSLR.” They could probably change the software in their current crop of DSLRs and coax 4k raw video from them. That being said, I think they need to look at entering some other product markets. Optics are definitely a strength.

      • marklondon

        Yes, that’s pretty much what I meant. I think the D4 is the only one that could take 4K now on the XD card, but a slightly adjusted D800 (for extra heat and an enhanced buffer) could probably manage it. Would sell like hotcakes.

        • Neopulse

          Wait till the D4X comes out. I think it’ll have it.

          • marklondon

            Let’s hope!

            • Neopulse

              I think that will be the trump card against Canon’s 1D-C camera. One of the reasons why Canon decided not to price to high their 1D-C also when it easily could have costed 15k+

      • Spy Black

        I highly doubt the present hardware could handle that. There’s more to shooting hi-def video than what’s in a DSLR. Just because they’ve pull it out of a Canon doesn’t mean you can shoot a production with one. A 60 second spot maybe. Anything else will fry the camera.

        • marklondon

          Ok, you’re obviously an out of touch troll. I know of some serious longform work being shot on the ML hack right now, and several major shows and features shoot very happily with DSLRs. I get it – you prefer video cameras. So do I. But the idea that you can’t shoot ‘serious’ work on DSLRs is bullshit.

          • Spy Black

            Just because someone is offering you a difference of opinion doesn’t make them a troll. I would be curious to see who is making “serious longform work being shot on the ML hack right now”, how many cameras they’re using, and what their 4K capture and recording rig is.

            • marklondon

              Ok, I’ll engage. Your comment above sounds like you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about. Seriously. The ML hack doesn’t do 4K. It will just about stretch to 3.5k, but not stable. So, ergo, troll.
              Re longform on the ML hack, do a small search. I’m advising a crew here in LA shooting a 20 day feature on two hacked 5D3s with Hotrod PL mounts. They start shooting August 5. We’re aware of another one currently shooting in SD.
              As for DSLRs, ‘Wilfred’ is entirely shot on D800s. That’s just one example.
              The Canon 1DX is being used right now on Robocop and Edge Of Tomorrow as B and C cams – in 4K.
              DSLRs are great tools. They do not replace the ‘video camera’. Nikon has an opportunity here to reach a market that will stand some REAL price elasticity – far more than strictly stills shooters. They should grab it.

            • Spy Black

              “The ML hack doesn’t do 4K. It will just about stretch to 3.5k, but not stable.”
              Well, not for nuthin’, but you just proved my point.

              The 1D X, which probably shares enough guts with the 1D C, probably has a better time of it but, as you stated, as secondary cameras.

              It’s all fine and well to shoot hi-def with DLSRs, but people are doing it only because they’re not being given any (economical) options. My original point is that if Nikon is going to make a camera that shoots 4K, what’s the point in making it a DLSR? They have an opportunity take the lead and build a proper camera for cinematography.

            • marklondon

              “what’s the point in making it a DLSR”

              Because we’re used to working with that body style now, and they are very competent at making them. Seems simple to me.

              Investing in the R&D to design a new body ‘Nikon style’ from the ground up is nuts. There are other people much better at that.
              Just give us the images at a decent price – we’ll figure out the rest.

            • Spy Black

              “Investing in the R&D to design a new body ‘Nikon style’ from the ground up is nuts.”

              Is it?

              “For the Imaging Company, it is crucial that we determine how best to adapt our strategies in response to market, particularly in terms of new products and product lineups… Thus, when it comes to interchangeable lens-type digital cameras, we need to question our ability to offer truly innovative functions and performance.”

              Frankly, I don’t think they have much of a choice.

            • marklondon

              Yes, it is.
              No, they have two far simpler, much quicker bottom line choices – put out a better video cam immediately (this being primarily a software adjustment of existing software – Nikon Hackers have already identified the areas) and get in bed with a phonemaker RIGHT NOW for products that will ship within 18/24 months, even if initially its a branding move only.
              Then look to partner with someone already in the pro video space (there are plenty of options) to perhaps build a more classic style of cinema camera, with (crucially for Nikon) matching optics.

            • Spy Black

              Hmmm, I dunno, do you think that’s Nikon’s style? Sure, they could go that route, but Nikon has historically been very proprietary. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see what goes down.

            • marklondon

              We have no choice 🙂

    • Steven Solidarios

      Im glad you brought up video because I think its always been a second thought to Nikon up until recently with the above decent performance of the D800, and even the D600. The one dominating video is surprisingly……GoPro. They made camera’s cool again. You can use them almost anywhere. Easy to use. Sharing and editing video is a breeze. Why cant Nikon do that? Make cameras cool again. Not to say a D4 and D800 backup isnt cool…but how many people can afford half of that these days? HTC. Now theres a company when you see their phones with a bright red “beats”on the back, you assume it has great (if not decent) sound. People would pay a premium for that if thats whats important. I think we can all imagine a uniform yellow “Nikon” logo on the back and know this phone is going to capture great images (in the right hands). Low light is one of those things phones don’t do very well. Nikon should invest heavily into solving that problem for phone manufacturers. I think I remember seeing someone mention before on this thread, “Nikon needs a more focussed line up.” Exactly. Do a few stellar products, not 58 similar over done point and shoots.

    • Danyyyel

      Nikon had all the large sensor video market to itself but chose to do it safe. It is true that the D800 is a good step but nothing revolutionary to swing the market. With the lateness they had from the start they needed something that would make them unique for many years.

      Contrary to many I think that 4k raw is not 100% needed to gain a serious ground in the video market. A true 1080p/2k resolution camera with an on-board 10 bit log high bitrate codec would have been more than enough for 99% job. Put those 14 stop DR images in a high bitrate codec and it would open the market. More so that the d7100 is proving to be better than the D800.

      I know many people will be surprised but the D7100 is giving better video than the D800. The reason is simple is that the Toshiba sensor is doing pixel binning compared to the Sony doing line skipping. The result is no moire/aliasing and better low light than the D800.

      At first Nikon could just put a battery grip type of accessory to make its dslr even more video friendly. Some xlr input for sound and perhaps a bigger articulating screen like the swivi. Then they could design a line of camera like the Canon cinema line, if the market swing into its direction.


    The other day at my son’s baseball game I thought I would take my d800E and 70-200 and take some “decent” photos of him playing ball…All the parents saw me and “no one asked” me about taking photos or “wow”,,can you take some photos of my kid?”” And then one of the moms get her “I phone” out,, starts taking pics of her son …and everybody asking her if she could do the same for their kid.. I guess what I’m getting that “most people” don’t “care”…Except us photographers…and when you do show the “awesome” pics of your kid to someone else…what is the 1st thing they try and show you…”crappy ass phone pics!!!” I truly think that in the next few years as camera/phones get more mp and better sensors ..that is where the “money” is at…any company (in my opinion) would be missing out .. Just like apple said…more pics are taken with I phone than any other camera…(wish I was wrong)

    • FredBear

      So are more GPS locations revealed and conversations monitored with an iPhone.
      Purchase of an Apple product is good news for the NSA.

      • Neopulse

        Heard about that scandal and even England was caught doing something similar (PRISM I think it was called). When anything is widely sold, the government will always want a hand in it. Apple unfortunately had to succumb to that including others.

        • FredBear

          Yup. Many big names involved. Even Microsoft helping break their own encryption algorithms it seems.

          • Neopulse

            Depressing…. I dig GPS location technology to a certain degree. Like searching for a missing persons (kind of like low-jack) where one could activate it and find the person or last known location. But when technology like that is made public, people try to exploit it for the negative, There is no real oversight committee in these kinds of abuse of power situations. Heard the Kinect from Microsoft also is a tool for monitoring in home surveillance.

    • iamlucky13

      You probably also seem less approachable being the guy with a professional-level camera.

      Anyways, the big money is not in the phone cameras. The phone manufacturers have to include a decent camera to compete these days, but that market is growing extremely competitive and low margin.

      The big money is still in the upsells. But it is getting harder to upsell as the consumer products get increasingly competent.

  • fjfjjj

    How about a full-frame mirrorless compact, Nikon? Oh right, too obvious.

  • Laurentiu Ilie

    A camera phone with RAW(especially NEF) support would be interesting for me. Is there any camera phone with RAW support on the market?

  • Toad

    Hey another discussion thread where people talk about what they would like to see and Thomas Hogan telling us why that’s wrong and how smart he is because he’s been talking about whatever for years.

    • papalina

      I’m glad someone else is feeling the same about that.

    • Carl Urban

      You hit the nail…

    • zoetmb

      No. Thom is telling us why something is right or wrong because he supplies business analysis and engineering facts to bolster his arguments. Not saying he’s right 100% of the time (his lens predictions were always mostly wrong), but there’s a difference between expressing an opinion (“Nikon sucks!”) and presenting a reasoned argument backed by documented experience, industry statistics or engineering facts.

      Thom has written numerous highly detailed books about Nikon cameras and maintains multiple websites that are well-received. He has consulted for numerous companies, including Nikon. What have you accomplished in this industry?

      • Toad

        Nothing. I have accomplished exactly jack shit for the industry. I also don’t care. You know what else accomplishes jack shit for the industry? Thom’s constant need to answer every comment in a discussion thread where people are pretty much just voicing their desires or random thoughts.

        He’s got what, three websites? I read two of them. They’re great. But when I’m just voicing what would be interesting or desirable to me, despite it being contrary to what might actually work, I’m doing it more to shoot the shit, not because I need some industry guru to set me on the right path.

  • MB

    For starters how about decent android/iOS app with support for NEF images, and maybe useful one for controlling DSLR over WiFi … that would give people the impression that you have at least some idea of what is happening int the real world today …


    I love my Fuji X-E1. The image quality is better than my D300s and I can get clean images at 6400 iso. Nikon and Canon should be thankful that Fuji doesn’t make a DSRL.

    • Drazen B

      If they could and if they believed there was a market for it, they would. Don’t underestimate a technology (albeit some of it archaic) that goes into designing and making a DSLR from the scratch.

      Fuji is closer to making a rangefinder-style mirrorless X-Pro full frame than a DSLR. And why would they, they don’t really need it in their model line-up, anyway.

  • Aldo

    Make auto mode more intelligent. It’s not good enough. Put nikon software and cameras in cellphones.

    • Neopulse

      Wonder if they already tried doing something like that, but companies wanted part ownership on patented Nikon technology.

  • James Donahue

    Design a rangefinder type using the Nikon 1 tech’s and F lense mount and you’ll blow the competition into the bay

  • Funduro

    Release the D400 already. Stop building 500 different point and shoot models. Build a retro camera ala X100, duplicate an old Nikon rangefinder with fast lens. Stay out of the smartphone market, way to late to get in.

  • Mark123456

    I very surprised that a Nikon or Canon or Sony or “insert big name digital camera manufacturer” has not cut an OEM deal with the smartphone companies for camera technology. letting the phone manufacturer inccorporate thier CCD chip and imaging technology in a smartphone.

    To me it seems it would be huge marketing advantage for a smartphone company to say they have “Nikon” camera technology in their phone and Nikon would have a chance to sell literally millions of camera chips and imaging software in a just couple of years. Imagine what the sales volume of a iPhone 6 or a Samsung Galaxy X5 is going to be anyway – now put a Nikon camera inside? A huge sales bump for the camera technology supplier – granted margins might be smaller than normal, but that’s a business contract issue to work out. Nikon (or Canon or Sony) would never sell that many point&shoot cameras separately and they could catch the smartphone wave much easier and faster than trying to build & market their own smartphone.

    • Thom Hogan

      Sony is taking a different course: they’re doing it themselves. That was why they bought out their cellphone partner Erickson. You’ll see a couple of different approaches of cameras in Sony smartphones coming later this summer. Heck, I’ve already written my articles on them, but can’t publish them until they’re released.

      Nikon apparently tried the “Nikon Inside” approach, but a little too arrogantly and too late. Samsung is going to be Samsung inside. Sony is going to be Sony inside. Nokia is Zeiss inside. Apple appears to be going Apple inside. Who’s that leave? Motorola, HTC (who did their own camera in the One), LG, a few others. The only big possibility I saw other that Motorola for Nikon was HP, who will eventually re-enter the phone market. But HP is linked more closely with Pentax. Dell and Lenovo are two other possibilities, but Dell has far bigger problems to solve than a phone, and Lenovo’s best choice would be to buy one of the makers that’s going to fail (I’m surprised they didn’t buy Motorola).

  • Danny Gillam

    Lets face it, the reality is, Iphone’s and HTC ones make it less likely someone will purchase a compact. With that said, it’s important that Nikon explores the option of teaming up with a phone manufacturer to stay relevant in that area.

    • iamlucky13

      That could be one avenue. Partnering to produce the cameras in the phones would mean only a small dollar value per sale, but the alternative is losing the sale entirely. Zeiss is already doing it, although I don’t know if they’re making the phone camera lenses, or just licensing the design and their name.

  • Gregg

    Nikon needs to get on top of their advertising. If they want to make money off of their point and shoots against the stiff competition from smartphone cameras, then they need to separate themselves from the phone camera.

    Can you zoom seamlessly on a smartphone camera? Can you change shutter speed or aperture easily on a smartphone? Can you change ISO or color correct before capture?

    A smartphone camera is just another type of capturing device. Just as a full frame 35mm camera is different from a medium format 120mm camera body, so is the smartphone camera to the point and shoot, but the thing that makes them worlds apart is the ease of use.

    A smartphone has many of different color filters to choose from after capture,(especially on instagram) but most point and shoots give you the opportunity to tinker with the different settings before capture, which is a the fundamentals of photography!

    Smartphone photography is 100% automated when it comes to exposure, whereas point and shoot’s have manual mode and aperture mode (sometimes) but most always they have the basic, raw information on your photos, which is how we learn.

    I know hoards of people that take amazing photos on smartphone’s, some of them are pros, others just have a phone. The difference would be giving the smartphone and point and shoot photographers each a 35mm film or dslr camera. I can guarantee that those who use the point and shoot would have an easier time (and this is of the beginners of photography; obviously pros and the such use smartphones) using the camera/getting used to it, than the iphone user.

    The biggest thing that Nikon (AND ALL THE OTHER CAMERA MAKERS) should be taking in is that all of these cellphone manufacturing companies are doing a ton of leg work for them. They are creating 10,000 new photographers every day!! All Nikon has to do is sway these the smartphone users into making the next step up!

    • babola

      “…all of these cellphone manufacturing companies are doing a ton of leg
      work for them. They are creating 10,000 new photographers every day!!
      All Nikon has to do is sway the smartphone users into making the next
      step up! ..”

      Exactly my thoughts. There’s more and more of those “I own a nice phone with a camera and I can take some nice photos already, I wonder how I can expand and grow into more serious amateur/hobby type photography” that you see these days buying and owning an MFT, APS-C or even a full frame as the way of further developing of their photographic creativity and potential.

      The mid and top camera segment is only expanding, definitely not contracting, and will do so for some time in the future.

  • Global Guy

    I have suggestions: (1.) Stop intentionally crippling your DSLRs; why wouldn’t a D3100, D400, D600 and D4 user want as close to the best as physically possible within the price range? Don’t skimp on the way down; and take more risks on the way up (seems like you put out innovation in your lower models). (2.) Make every single DSLR be able to perform to its maximum capability, including software personalization. (3.) Use open-source software that can be rooted, hacked, and restored with incredible ease. (4.) Make your lenses BETTER than Sigmas & Tamrons – that’s why we pay you. (5.) Stop overcharging for accessories — just get official third-parties for a pittance. (6.) Stop making 100,000 crappy handhold cameras: make 5 excellent ones with physical and optical features that simply could not be had on a smartphone. (7.) Team up with Samsung to make a Galaxy Phone that plugs into a Nikon body that accepts pancake interchangable lenses. (8.) Make a decent Nikon 1 system that isn’t a toy.

  • Danonino

    Omg Nikon… Just buy a few million “1 20mp sensor (rx100) and put it in a Nikon V3 and J4 and be done with it!! How freaking hard can it be?!?!?!

  • Isn’t this kinda like worrying about nuclear power plant safety AFTER the tsunami?

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