Weekly Nikon news flash #282

Topaz Labs released new software called Topaz Impression – designed to transform your photos into realistic-looking studio art with 47 different presets. The new Topaz Impression is now 25% off until September 30 with coupon code: SEPIMPRESSION.

→ Nikon is pushing FX cameras: the company announced two full frame F-mount microscope cameras: DS-Ri2 and DS-Qi2 (with a full frame 16MP monochrome sensor!). This is an interesting development – previously all microscope cameras used c-mount.

DigiCamControl version 1.2.0 released (free Windows tethering solution for Nikon cameras).

Nikon plans to invest in medical startups.

→ There will be a new Nikon cashback program coming to Germany (November 2014 – end of January 2015).

→ Nikon has a roadshow in China that will cover 110 different cities.

→  The Japanese website DC.Watch published a long interview with Nikon’s executive (Kusumoto Shigeru) where they covered many different topics, including a potential D300s successor. Unfortunately, the Google translation is useless – if anyone can provide us with a better translation (at least of the most interesting points), please post it in the comments section.

Update – here is translation of the interview (thanks HK):

DC Watch(DC)Nikon’s new release targeting Photokina ’14
is only D750 and 20mm 1.8G. Only “Better Successors” came out. But what’s next?
Nikon Mr Shigeru Kusumoto(SK)We have released D3300 early this year. But we are aware that Nikon is in “Only Better Successors syndrome” and working h ard to break through it.

(DC) Shipment of Mirrorless system is increasing alongside DSLR market is shrinking. Break through means changing this market trend?
(SK) Yes. “Only Better Successors” will never expand market. But on the other hand, existing customers expect “Better Successors”. So we can’t ignore them. It’s difficult to manage but Nikon will release updated products in 2015 as planned. We are planning to challenge new category. It’s not limited as DSLR. But something different. Like integrated camera.

(DC) You mentioned customer loyalty, But to consider this point, high end DX format has not been updated very long.
Especially D300s (Released Aug 2009) has not been updated. Alongside Canon has replaced 7D after 5 years from release. Your loyalty customers are expecting something similar from Nikon aren’t they?
(SK) We are aware that Canon has updated 7D as it was rumoured and customers expect D300s replacement. As 7D mark II has been realised, now it becomes a benchmark for us and customer’s expectations will be much higher.
This is an official statement. But we are listening customers’ voice and making products better. Biggest competitor drive Nikon customers to speak up “We want it from you”. To hear this, we feel it’s our honours as camera manufacturer because customers are expecting us our new products. I personally really want to fulfill customers’ hopes and this is my task as top of marketing devision.

(DC) As new challenge, your Coolpix S800c with Android was released in 2 years ago. More than two years earlier than Panasonic’s DMC-CM1. Nikon has updated this Android camera with S810c. How do you think about them?
(SK) To be honest, it was not profitable product. But it had some sort of positive impression to the market that Nikon can make such kind of products in very difficult time, direct competition with Smartphones.

(DC) No successors?
(SK) When we released S800c, we thought Android will contribute to enhance camera’s function and usability with their apps but Andr oid is not only one solution. Integration of Android device and Digital camera is one of the challenges in the future.

(DC) What have you learnt on them?
(SK) As Smartphones became majority of digital gadgets, other gadgets have similar user interface. Customers are familiar with “Smartphone-ish” user interface and to make camera’s user interface easy to use, we can’t ignore Smartphone’s manual free user interface.

(DC) I believe Nikon will push D750 for Christmas shopping season. But to consider its small size, right weight, and
tilting display, The D650 fits it rather than D750. Will Nikon keep offering three different product lines for consumer full-frame DSLRs?
(SK) Yes. We are going to sell D750 worldwide. I think ramp up of D750 sales will be around Christmas shopping season. About D750’s position in our full-frame range, Same size of image sensors as D800 but entire chassis is smaller. The balance quality of images and portability, that’s why we named it D750. You mentioned that DSLR market is shrinking 15%. But full-frame range is not suffered by this unfavourable market trend. FX format� �s customer has various tastes on DSLRs. So we needed new camera that is not D800 nor D600. We are planning to update these three models. But alternative option is also in our mind. But we want to listen to the voice of customers and optimise these product lines. In the meantime, we are going to keep selling them.

(DC) 1 year has passed since Df has been
introduced. It seems out of Nikon’s product lines. Any future plans?
(SK) Nikon Df is designed for “hard-core” Nikon users and we are maintaining this product in long term. We have no plan to release i ts replacement very soon. But now we are seeking future enhancement. But to see sales trend in regions, The Df is selling well especially in Japan.

(DC) As Professional top end range, I think
Nikon D4 was not so impressive. But big enhancement in D4S. How is the reputation of D4S?
(SK) We received big feedback from customers. And we have reviewed to see what has to be improved. As a result, even from person who has criticised predecessor D4 is giving D4S good feedbacks. We need to update this professional range camera in the future. But we can’t be stay be hind the competitor and need to overtake with massive lead. This is Nikon’s responsibility to our customers.

(DC) Nikon has 3 different image sensor format, FX, DX, and CX, Nikon 1 with 1 inch sensor. But Nikon 1 is not doing very well from launch. How are you going to do with CX format?
(SK) We still can’t say that CX format is becoming popular. But when we have introduced Nikon 1 V3 and Nikkor VR 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6, All customers and resellers’ reaction has been changed. Even in north American market, that mirrorless cameras are not so popular, demand for V3 is going up. And now we are offering V3 “Premium Kit” with electric viewfinder and extensional grip as primary product of V3 range. We are feeling that market has changing. It is correct that sales of Nikon 1 J1 series was not so good as expected. But from V3, market’s reputation has changed. It’s because of enhancement of 1 inch image sensor’s quality.

(DC) When Sony has introduced 1 inch sensor with Cybershot RX100, Only Sony was using it. But from last year, many camera manufacturers are using 1 inch CMOS sensor. You said that Nikon 1 has increased its merchantability, But don’t you think other compact digital cameras with 1 inch sensor will be Nikon 1’s competitor?
(SK) I believe we are the first runner of 1 inch image sensor. And we will keep developing and promoting Nikon 1 series. We are aware that customers’ expectation to Nikon 1 series is becoming bigger and bigger. But with this CX format, we can build entire camera system very small. We think it’s our advantage.

(DC) 70-300mm lens is really impressive and it should be boosting sales of Nikon 1. But this lens is still out of stock. When will it be sold worldwide?
(SK) We have got so big demand on this 70-300 lens. It was far beyond our expectations and unfortunately we are not being prepared to such high demand.
We thought there will be certain demand in Japan, But it was extremely high. And in other region, this lens was sold with Nikon 1 V3 including “Premium Kit”. That made customers wait so long especially customers outside Japan. But supply issue has been sorted and it is back to normal.

(DC) How about waterproof Nikon 1 AW?
(SK) In the meantime, the AW1 is limited for niche market. But there is some room of enhancement. To realise waterproof, of course you can cover entire camera with housing. But it will make camera bigger and spoil usability. The AW1 has more room to improve and we believe we can offer its successor in the future.

(DC) Your new Capture NX-D looks less functional than NX2 and usability is not so good. Capture NX2 users are complaining.
(SK) To make expansive RAW processing software popular, we made decision to offer NX-D for free of charge. We are aware that during beta testing, customers’ reputation was not so impressive. But Nikon will develop our RAW processing app NX-D only.

(DC) Any plan of new lenses? I can’t deny that Nikon is offering
something original. But it’s not developed by power of organisation but only coming from one engineer’s emotion.
(SK) Offering new lenses is very important for camera manufacture. It has not changed from long time ago and we are discussing again and again. We can’t supress one engineer’s emotion. But we are developing products considering how to attract potential customers who has not experienced joy of changing lens. Nikon has three core lens product lines and releasing so many lenses every year. But if we can’t attract customer, they will never buy it. Please keep an eye on us.

(DC) Any news for Coolpix A with APC-C image sensor? Other manufactures are releasing compact cameras with large image sensors here at Photokina.
(SK) Actually I personally am involved to this pro ject. But due to unfavourable sales, we can’t maintain this product very well. I personally want to make it better and offer successor. Of course we can’t ignore profitability of new project. Now we are considering how to develop it. Market has changed since we have introduced Coolpix A. But we believe demand for premium compact cameras is still high.

(DC) Smartphones are replacing compact digital cameras and it makes entire digital market is shrinking. Will Nikon keep current product lines including low-end compacts?
(SK) We can’t say that compact camera’s demand is shrinking. It’s up to regions. In some region, demand for premium compact is high. But in other region, still big demand for low-end cameras. We believe that low-end product line will not go extinct. We are not only fighting with smartphones. We are finding way to work
with smartphones together.

(DC) 2017 is Nikon’s 100 years anniversary. Do you have any ideas of anniversary limited editions?
(SK) Another 3 years to go. We have not started anything so far. But 100 years is big anniversary. We want to make something special that shows our miles tone for next century.

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