Weekly Nikon news flash #340

→ The new Zeiss Milvus lenses for Nikon F mount are now shipping and currently in stock at B&H and Adorama.

Mary Ellen Mark Nikon FM2 camera
→ Mary Ellen Mark’s Nikon FM2 camera is now for sale on eBay. Read the whole story here.

Repro-Nikkor-170mm-f_1.4-lens   Nikkor 13mm f:5.6 AIS lens
Nikkor-Ultra-Micro-250mm-f_4-lens   Nikkopr Reflex 2000mm f:11 lens
→ Few other rare Nikon lenses on eBay:

→ Nikon tops Noble Group as the most shorted stock in Asia Pacific:

"Short sellers have doubled their positions in Nikon in the last year, borrowing 21.2% of outstanding shares, as revenue at the camera maker continues to stagnate, data provided by Markit shows."

→ Firmware update version 1.1 for the Nikon Coolpix S9900 camera now available.

nikon-logo India flag
Nikon is big in India - it has around 55% market share in the DSLR category and 43% in the compact category.

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  • CaMeRa QuEsT

    If Nikon management themselves don’t succeed in bringing down their own company, the short sellers will!

    • longzoom

      Come on, the LegoNikon will keep them!

  • Bobbo

    Instead of $25K for a Nikkor 2000mm, why not just get a Celestron C8 for $500? It even works as a telescope, and actually has slightly more aperture (that’s a 2,000mm f/10) AND it can be collimated.

    • I’ve always wondered the same.

    • nwcs

      Yep. Although for good astrophotography you’d also need a flat field and coma corrector. My dream setup for this would be a Takahashi refractor on an iOptron pillar and a smaller one as the tracking scope.

    • Spy Black

      Because this came from another time and place. It’s a collector’s item now (not that it can’t still be used, of course). The Celestron you mentioned may well have better image quality, but this Nikkor is from a separate reality.

      • But not for a used optical tube assembly, which is essentially what the Nikkor is.

      • Bobbo

        Orange tube C8s introduced in 1970 — when the Nikon was introduced, btw — with tripods and equatorial mount wedges can be had for $500-$600 all day long. Also from another time and place, and yes, a collectors item to many in the classic astronomy circles.

        • Spy Black

          Well, I was referring to a new unit, and if it has not evolved since that time, then I would imagine it is optically similar to the Nikkor.

  • Spy Black

    Interesting to see a 13mm that was actually regularly used, albeit not well-cared for. Overpriced for it’s condition, methinks.

  • Captain Megaton

    I don’t think I’d ever have any interest in owning a camera that was once used by someone famous. Fortunately for the Mary Ellen Mark estate, other people don’t seem to taking the same position.

    • AYWY

      Maybe some rich people want it displayed somewhere as a conversation or show-off topic.

      Or a museum somewhere could be interested – they are willing to spend if they feel the item fits what they are trying to do.

  • Captain Megaton

    Re. short selling Nikon: people short selling are buying shares to loan out to other people. So there is as much demand for people taking the bet that Nikon will recover as those taking the bet that Nikon shares will continue to tank. Have I got that right?

    • neversink

      Only 22 percent of the shares are short, which is large, because not all shares can be shorted. Only shares in a margin account usually can be shorted, though I don’t know the rules of the Japanese stock market compared to the US.
      The one thing about all these short seller of Nikon is that if there is really good news in Nikon the stock will skyrocket as short seller panic and run to close their short position, which could create a meteoric rise in the stock….

      • Eric Calabros

        It just means nobody think Nikon will rise again. Simple as that.

    • Thom Hogan

      In every transaction of this type, there will be a winner and a loser.

      So what these folk shorting Nikon stock are betting is this:

      * Precision is 20% of the company and not going to grow or provide much profit.
      * Medical and other stuff are maybe 5% of the company and not only losing money, but requiring additional investment through borrowing in order to grow.
      * Three quarters of the company is in a market where unit volume is in decline, profitability under deep stress, and no end of that in sight.

      For a stock price to go up, you need growth in something. Where is it at Nikon?

      • RS-Yoyo

        Well, Thom…they seem to be growing in one segment: Negative brand image. The negative chatter as of late (even coming from me) has been getting louder without much reprieve.

        My view of Nikon’s problem?

        From an investor’s viewpoint, what has Nikon done (lately) that can be universally viewed as “Great” (as in, it makes competitors copy, customers pine, and the not-fanboys tout)? Servicing? QC? Customer Service, then? Demand Forecasting? Well, how about one of their products? A product LINE, maybe? Okay, Innovation? Mobile presence?

        Fine… I’ll give you a moment.

      • Perhaps after the release of a new product Nikon may get an increase the following quarter to allow them to beat the street estimate. Otherwise, the stock may continue to fall. A D5 along would not trigger significant sales but perhaps a D5 and a D400 could create enough momentum to scare the short sellers.

        • Thom Hogan

          The trend among all the camera companies is this: build higher end models, push pricing upwards. Sell fewer cameras, but get better margins, preserving profit numbers, at least temporarily.

          However, this really only works once. It’s a rare customer that can afford US$2000+ updates every year or two. In essence, by pushing your customers upwards in the product line, they’re going to update less frequently.

          The reason that the D70, D80, D90, D7000, D7100, D7200 progression worked so well is that people can afford to update a US$1000 body every now and then. Plus, given all the discounting that keeps going on, the smart buyer in this category is really only paying US$600-800 for their updates, because they’re buying at the tail end of cycles, not the front ;~).

          So, from a three-month view of the world (one financial quarter), yes, you may be able to goose a number to look good for a short while. But Nikon has been one of the most shorted stocks on Nikkei for over two years now, and the short position is growing. Indeed, the short position is starting to approach half of the stock that liquidly trades. That tells me that some of the short sellers are doubling down and in it for the long haul. And frankly, I think they’re right.

          Precision won’t do anything either way for Nikon’s bottom line in respects the short. Medical loses half the money it takes in. Which leaves over two thirds of the company, and maybe as much as three quarters, to the whims of the camera/lens market, which is clearly still in decline with no bottom reached. As I note in my article today, it seems clear to me that Nikon is managing to constant market share. That means declining volume. In essence, Nikon is a negative growth company, and that’s what the short sellers are betting on.

          • Unfortunately the potential chain of events cause me to
            think of an investor who consider selling off stock or in this case merchandise
            to avoid a panic sale and get the best value early on. I have two bodies for use in Birds in Flight and
            some landscape photography: (1) D300
            that has good FPS but poor noise handling and (2) D800 that has reduced FPS but
            improved noise handling.

            For the price of a D5 I could afford both a D850 and D400; I’ve
            been disappointed there’s not been a D700 or D300 replacement with the Pro
            controls and level of weather sealing.

            If I had invested in Canon I would have better choices now
            and perhaps into the future. Also, now
            may be the time to be a leaker to explore mirrorless.

            Although I’m disappointed, I will wait to see what Nikon offers
            in the first quarter of 2016.

            • neversink

              I am not disappointed there is not a D700 replacement. The D800 and D4, the two cameras I now use, are so much better than the D700. The D700 is dead, along with its sister the D3s. So get a life and please stop whining about the D700.

            • I respectfully honor your view. In fact, I agree that the D800 and D4 is an awesome pair and each is better than the D700. My comment is WRT the fact that Nikon has not yet provided a follow up to either the D300 or D700. My perfect combination would be a D800 (D850) and a D700/D300 replacement (D400) so I can buy both!. While I can buy a D5, I’d only do so because Nikon has failed to offer a Bird in flight solution with Pro controls. I’m a passionate nature photographer who is not a professional photographer. Nikon has the potential to loose several previously loyal customers if they continue to neglect our preferences.

            • neversink

              So which company would you buy your cameras from if you left Nikon???? Do you think you would be happy. As a professional photographer working for more than 30 years with all sorts of equipment is to forget about finding perfection in a camera body or its lenses, accept that no product will probably ever be perfect, and start concentrating on perfecting the final image. One can take great photos with any type of camera if you have the knowledge and the talent. Even with a pin-hole camera.

      • neversink

        Or you need a merger, which I would not like to see.

    • dclivejazz

      Actually, short sellers technically borrow the stock, not buy it, or lend it out. Instead, they borrow it at a certain price and hope to pay it back when it has a lower value. If you lent it out and got it back at a lower value, you’d be the one losing money, not making it.

      Short sellers take a big risk that if the the price of a stock actually climbs, their losses could be limitless. So it takes confidence to sell short, and it speaks volumes that there’s that much confidence in selling Nikon short.

  • Interesting to see Mary Ellen Mark’s priorities; an FM2 and 28mm f/2.8. Reminds me of a workshop I attended conducted by Gene Smith. A class mate brought to a session a new Nikon F2 with a 50mm f/1.2 lens on it and showed it to Smith. He said, “Hmmm, a new camera. Got any new ideas?” Love to hear what folks like that would have to say about megapixels and Otus lenses.

  • nwcs

    I’ve always wondered something… Since optical glass for lenses takes so long to prepare I wonder if the camera companies recycle any glass they get back. Maybe from a broken lens or trade in opportunity? It wouldn’t surprise me if some elements in some lenses are also found in others. I wonder if any recycling takes lenses from one body to another if they are undamaged?

    • Nikos Skartsilas

      They probably do this. This must be one of the reasons they established the program that you can change a “broken” lens with a new one paying about half of the official start price.

  • bgbs

    Nikon needs to jump into the cellphone business. I mean, not making their own cellphones but produce sensors and lenses for cellphone makers. If you have a cellphone branded with Nikon camera, I think people would be happy as that would equate Nikon’s imaging tech a step up from what’s currently in them.

    • Too late for that I think – they should have done this 5 years ago.

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