Weekly Nikon news flash #355

Nikon AF-S Nikkor 800mm f:5.6E FL ED VR lens
→ Nikon AF-S Nikkor 800mm f/5.6E FL ED VR lens price check - I think those are the lowest prices I've seen so far:

→ Few updates on upcoming third part lenses for Nikon F mount:

Laowa Zero-D 12mm f/2.8 distortion-free lens coming soon

New lens from Meyer-Optik coming this Spring (plus Trioplan 100mm f/2.8 update)

Leaked pictures: Tamron SP 90mm f/2.8 Di MACRO 1:1 VC USD (model F017) and SP 85mm f/1.8 Di VC USD (model F016) lenses

→ New case relay camera power system for Nikon cameras will be officially announced next week:


→ Nikon published two Q&A related to their Q3 financial results (Imaging Products Business):

Q: Can you tell us about your future market forecast for digital cameras-interchangeable lens type?

A: While we are currently not at a stage where we can provide a concrete forecast for the digital camera-interchangeable lens type market for next fiscal year, our view is that the market will continue its downwards trend. In the markets for digital SLR camera and interchangeable lens, both of which constitute leading products of ours, the inventory adjustment finished during the second half of 2015, and we predict that the supply-demand gap will be resolved during next fiscal year. Our view is that the rate of negative growth in those markets year on year will halt at a single digit.

Q: Can you tell us about the delay in the release of your "D500" new digital SLR camera?

A: As we have received a level of orders that has surpassed our expectations since announcing the release of the "D500" at the beginning of the year, we have decided to delay the product's release to secure sufficient quantities of the product. We apologize sincerely for the great inconvenience that this delay is causing for customers and other related parties. We are doing our utmost to increase the production of the "D500" so that we may supply it in late April.

Nikon NSR-S631E ArF Immersion Scanner
→ Interesting: Nikon Precision recently announced their latest super high-end semiconductor production scanner, which supports production down to 7nm process node and step/overlay accuracy of 2.3nm. There are only 2 companies in the world that produce devices with this level of precision: ASML from the Netherlands, and Nikon. ‎Between them, they own over 90% of the market in semiconductor patterning lithography devices. ASML buys or outsources production of all their hardware components, whereas Nikon produces their product completely  in-house. These devices have been referred-to as the most precise equipment ever made, with accuracy levels measured to a handful of atoms (typical atomic diameter is.0.3nm).


→ I was told that the new Nikon D500 can remain powered "off" and the user can still transfer photos to their smart devices.

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  • It definitely wouldn’t be bad if the Precision department finally starts to grow a bit… or at least not leak money 🙂

    • PhilK

      Actually according to their FY2016/3 results (December 31 2015), it’s the imaging group that is hurting them the most now. Precision’s numbers actually look slightly better than a year ago.

      Imaging isn’t losing money, but its sales and profits are declining significantly.

  • I was involved in the semiconductor industry for 20 years. The precision of the Nikon steppers and scanners is breathtaking. They also have made several pieces of metrology gear that were breakthrough machines and class leading in their fields. Despite the criticism levied on this blog by some commenters, Nikon is an amazing company.

    • nwcs

      My understanding is that Nikon is not criticized for their products (even the semiconductor side) but their terrible customer service on all fronts.

    • Eric Calabros

      But they lost their market share to ASML. Nikon DSLRs are also amazing, and better than Canon, but stockholders want growth and profit, aka Money! if you can’t make money with your awesome product, its not awesome enough.

      • And Canon isn’t really a player in it at all any more, so they lost market share, too. Nor is Ultratech, GCA, TRE, P-E. It’s a cyclical industry and the needs are hard to predict. Despite all that, anyone involved in this arena deserves kudos for being able to compete in it at all…that was my only point.

        • PhilK

          Agreed. When there are basically only 2 companies in the world able to play at that level – and we are talking absolutely state-of-the-art manufacturing tech at the very highest levels – I really don’t think Nikon has much to apologize for, being the only other company in the world that can field a product in the top echelon of that market. Regardless whether they have lost marketshare – EVERYONE in the business except for one company lost marketshare, and most of them lost much more than Nikon has.

          ASML already has EUV (Extended Ultraviolet) scanners, which some feel is the “next big thing”, but clearly Nikon continues to perfect their 193nm immerson scanners with multipatterning to allow them produce 7nm-scale parts, using a well-proven platform. It seems to me (as an ignorant outsider) that sounds like it’s probably still a very viable product.

        • nhz

          It is also interesting to note for photographers that about a decade ago Canon had a good position and a lead in DSLR CMOS image sensors because they produced the sensors in-house using their own equipment. Over the years this advantage slowly became a disadvantage and some users felt that they held on to their own sensor production technology for too long (likely for cost/investment reasons, or maybe patents). Over the last decade progress in Canon DSLR sensors has been minimal, with only a gradual increase in resolution and little gain in noise/DR performance.

          It seems that finally Canon caved in and is using a newer process for the 1DX2 and 80D sensors, although it still isn’t clear if they are now catching up with recent Sony/Nikon sensors.

          • PhilK

            As far as I know, the only sensor that Nikon produced completely inhouse (or at least had OEM manufactured only for them, not based on any other existing sensor design) was the LBcast sensor used in the D2 series. And it had several flaws that ultimately doomed it in the marketplace.


            As for Canon’s own sensors – I assume that is the key reason why they were the only company with a “full frame 35mm” DSLR for a number of years, which put Nikon at a severe disadvantage. And Canon was also the only company with a >20MP camera for a long while as well, again putting Nikon at a significant disadvantage competitively until they introduced the D800. (Using a Sony sensor)

            So I would not argue for a minute that Canon’s internal sensor fab has been a competitive problem for them, quite the contrary. (And while it is true that they are not competitive with the top sensors like Sony in terms of DR these days, they are still good sensors)

            • ITN

              The D3, D700, D3s, D4, Df, and D4s sensors are Nikon’s own designs as well (and certainly no other camera manufacturer is using them), and many others that they use in their cameras that are developed with their partners include substantial parts of Nikon technology.

            • PhilK

              The LBCAST sensor was the only completely unique Nikon sensor as far as I know.

              I believe most of the other “Nikon” sensors are either modified versions of standard items that their manufacturing partner sells to other customers in slightly different forms, or some sort of hybrid where they are using IP or components from other sources, along with their own designs, and generally having them physically produced for them by an OEM partner. (Which looks to have been mostly Renesys, for most of the 2007+ “Nikon” sensors)


              And while they might be significantly unique, Nikon is not in a position to make their OEM sensor fab produce products they are either physically incapable of, or not licensed to produce because they do not own the IP required to legally produce them.

              For example, Canon probably has a patent on their “dual-pixel AF” tech, which is sensor-dependent. Canon also happens to make their own sensors.

              Nikon cannot simply go to Samsung or Omnivision or Sony and say “build me a FF dual-pixel-AF capable sensor”, if the technology that facilitates that belongs to Canon and they are not willing to license it.

            • ITN

              Nikon probably cannot license dual pixel AF from Canon because the latter are their main competitor and probably are not interested in such an arrangement, or would price it through the roof. But Canon’s image quality especially at low ISO has been lagging and their users have more shadow noise to deal with. Perhaps it is because Canon hasn’t been co-operating with other companies that work on sensor technology they don’t have access to the best tech, or it could be a limitation of their manufacturing facility. Nikon has the advantage that they can always pick and choose from one or several of their semiconductor manufacturing partners (who may be using Nikon equipment to make sensors and other components) and their own sensor team to have the best technology available for their sensors. This is why it seems that since 2007 Nikon cameras have always been at the top of sensor SNR measurements, irrespective of who manufactures the sensor (with the exception of some Nikon 1 cameras before the J5). In my opinion Nikon has been smart not to commit to any one manufacturer or design for their sensors. In the beginning years of DSLRs, Canon had the edge in high ISO and full frame sensors, but the positions have been reversed long ago. It is rather silly to contend that the D3/D3s/D4/Df sensors are not Nikon – many industry insiders are saying they are all Nikon design and certainly no other manufacturer of cameras has anything similar to those cameras in terms of their image quality characteristics.

              Canon dual pixel AF is not the only on-sensor PDAF system; Sony has their own system and Nikon has their own in the Nikon 1 cameras (which if I recall correctly, was the first fast focusing mirrorless camera). Canon seems to have difficulty with incorporating DPAF in their mirrorless cameras – perhaps the small cameras don’t have the processing power to deal with the huge amount of data from this system, and a DSLR or C300 II sized camera is needed for continuous AF. Nikon’s and Sony’s on-sensor PDAF systems seem to work fine even in small cameras.

              In any case I am glad Nikon’s sensor focus is in still image quality rather than something else. It makes a difference, when capturing landscape images with the D810 at ISO 64, no bracketing is usually needed to deal with high lighting or subject contrasts. Canon users seem to be bracketing like crazy to able to capture enough information. Then there is the problem of mismatches in the scene content between exposures, e.g. when there is waves or other movement during the photography.

            • PhilK

              My point wasn’t the reason why Canon or anyone else might not license important IP to a competitor to use in their own products, my point was that Nikon could not simply have, for example, gone to an OEM in 2006 and said “build me a 40MP FF sensor” when that OEM hadn’t the process technology to produce such a product, nor any reasonable way of getting there any time soon.

              And while it’s true that Canon is known to be *slightly* behind their TOP competitors in terms of DR for the last few years, they completely destroyed Nikon’s competitiveness in pro DSLRs with those FF and high-MP sensors of theirs for many years. Finally Nikon started to claw back a bit when the D3 came along, but at that point Canon had enjoyed a huge 5-year headstart on FF DSLRs, and their flagship was now up to 21MP.

              Finally Nikon leapfrogged that (slightly) with the 24MP D3x. But by that time Canon’s sensor tech, head-start on image stabilization and other EOS advantages such as USM AF had decimated Nikon’s pro marketshare, kicked them out of the top position in the pro market that they had held since the 1960s and they have never recovered.

              So I would certainly not downplay the strategic significance of Canon’s control of their sensor supply. 😉

      • PhilK

        There are different perspectives to consider. Certainly from the perspective of corporate shareholders, I would agree that an “awesome” product is one which makes a lot of money and sustains/expands the company.

        But from the standpoint of users, history has shown that a variety of very nice products didn’t become a success in the marketplace due to factors that aren’t necessarily related to quality or functionality. The market can be an extremely fickle beast, and sometimes just poor marketing can doom a product.

    • Aldo

      Nikon is truly awesome…. They are just too obvious when putting their business far ahead the consumer that gets people a little ticked off imo.

    • PhilK

      Cool overview and demos of some of their metrology equipment and instruments:


      • Thanks for sharing that. None of these things happen in a vacuum. It takes intimate relationships with industries and the companies that operate within them to even begin to understand what needs are to be addressed by these instruments. There is a high level of cooperation between all parties. Ironically, that’s something that isn’t the case between Nikon and camera users (some of whom are photographers-)

      • doge

        That’s a cool video.

  • That Case Relay thing looks pretty ingenious, the way you can swap out external power packs uninterrupted.

    However, considering Nikon cameras operate at 7-9V usually, (standard battery versus standard DC-In adapter) …going from a 5V USB bank to 7+V is not exactly going to be efficient. Not to mention the intermediate charging of the Case device itself.

    I’d love to perform some testing, though, using my Anker 21000 mAh 5V battery pack, versus my pair of 5800 mAh 7.4V LiPO batteries.

  • Rick

    “ASML from the Netherlands, and Nikon. ‎Between them,
    they own over 90% of the market in semiconductor patterning lithography
    devices.” True, and ASML owns approx 70% of the total market, so Nikon is only 20%. (2015 figures)

    • PhilK

      Yep. And every other company in the world’s marketshare is zero. 😀

  • Aldo

    Dang I missed the deal on the 800mm lens… I guess I’ll go buy a car or something…

  • stormwatch

    I really should not say anything on this topics. But I must clear something up. It’s true that ASML and Nikon hold almost the whole market share.
    But in reality, Nikon is just a 5th league player in comparison with ASML. And this “outsourced” production makes me laugh. Nikon should better learn something from the ASML, and that knowledge could be used on any part of their business, from quality control, customer support and espeicially quality of the product.Otherwise they are completely happy with their 10% of the market.

    • PhilK

      Intel gave Nikon a “preferred quality supplier” (PQS) award in 2015. Quoting from Nikon’s annual report:

      “This award came as a result of the industry-leading commitment Nikon demonstrated across all critical focus areas on which the Company was measured: the quality, cost, availability, technology, customer service, labor and ethics systems, and environmental sustainability of its semiconductor lithography systems.”

      I don’t think any apologies are necessary.

      • stormwatch

        And so what? ASML is the major force behind Intel. Without ASML, nowadays there would not be Intel as we know it.

        • PhilK

          That’s like saying if Nikon/Canon/Pentax didn’t exist, no one would have ever marketed a FF DSLR. Or if Japan didn’t exist, no one would ever take photographs.

          • stormwatch

            If Japan did not exist, nowadays we would be pretty much in the 1920’s. But you actually do not have point in this conversation, I agree that Japanesse are best in majority of electronic and mechanic department, but it just happens that they’re not the best in this one.

            • PhilK

              LOL, no.

              Actually if you look at the history of the photo/optical industry, the majority of the Japanese manufacturers in the early days either patterned themselves after the Germans (which is why we have companies and products like “Nikon” – patterned after “Zeiss Ikon”, and “Nikkor” – patterned after classic German products like “Planar” and “Tessar”), or actually took technology directly from them.

              Nikon in particular revered German optical tech in the early days, and sent many engineers to Germany to study optical design there.

              So no, the absence of Japan in the world would not have set back human progress 100 years. But you did give me nice chuckle. 😛

            • stormwatch

              Actually it will. I knew you would mention Germans, if Germans were only to push the Photography development without Japanese, we would be still at least 15 years far from F5. You know it’s true.

            • PhilK

              Whatever you say. 😀

  • Mark Kleijnen

    Nikon lost a great part of the wafer stepper market share as ASML pushed the risky investment of liquid immersion technology (which, if I understand correctly, is making a lens using water on a spinning disk). Afterwards, ASML increased the productivity with their popular twin scan, where they employ parallel preparation and wafer stages. Now with ASML’s latest EUV machines, competition for Nikon is still very hard. But seeing that ASML is from my hometown and that it started as a Philips venture, I am more proud than sorry for Nikon :).

    • PhilK

      Nikon’s high-end products use ArF immersion lithography, so that’s not unique to ASML. EUV, on the other hand, is still a tech that only ASML is shipping so far.

      It’s hard to say, looking at Nikon’s annual report, how committed they are to pushing into new fields like EUV. They talk about “mature” segments of their businesses, but don’t get specific about which segment they consider “mature”. The latest scanner is an evolutionary step from the prior NSR-S630E model. On the other hand, I noticed a recent job listing for an optical engineer in their US-based semiconductor equipment research arm that does list “EUV” as one of their areas of research. 😉

      What is clear from their annual report is that they foresee their next big push to be in the medical equipment field, and they are prepared to do some additional buys in that regard if necessary too.

      • Patrick O’Connor

        How did you bold “is”?

        • PhilK

          One of the things that’s been frustrating to me about Disqus’ limited functionality is (what I thought to be) lack of text attribute support.

          But I saw a comment the other day that had bolded text… AHA, that’s cool I thought, how did they do that? Well it seems that Disqus supports at least some user-entered html tags. The bold “B” tag does seem to work, I haven’t tried any others yet. 😉

          Let’s do a test:


          Block Quote

          OK – lists don’t work but all those above do. 😀

          • Patrick O’Connor

            I can’t see the formatting so did you use , or and ? I can’t remember but I thought I’d tried to use bold before but it didn’t work.

            • PhilK

              I can’t literally post the characters in a comment because they will get interpreted as html and you won’t see them. 😉

              To add the requisite tags, replace the square brackets depicted below with angle brackets. And please make sure to “close” the tags at the end of the attribute, on some systems if you don’t it will cause rendering problems in other comments.


            • Patrick O’Connor

              I tried it once but it didn’t work. Since I do some html/css editing but mostly use CSS rather than the html tags, I probably did something wrong.

  • S Cargill

    I see trees of green, red roses too
    I see them bloom for me and you
    And I think to myself
    What a wonderful world
    I see skies of blue and clouds of white
    The bright blessed day and the dark sacred night
    And I think to myself
    What a wonderful world

  • Spy Black

    That’s a helluva claim for the 12mm. Will be interesting to see how that all pans out.

    • PhilK

      I calculated today the focal length equivalent for the new wide-angle secondary camera that LG is including on their new G5 flagship smartphone: 9 mm FX equivalent. :-0

  • Ritvar Krum

    if Nikonians want a top quality 800mm f5.6 for reasonable money? buy a Canon 800mm and top Canon body (yes even a 6k$ body is in for that price) – and still get some change.

    • Patrick O’Connor

      Yeah but then they’d have a crappy body! 😉 <- I'm joking.

    • PhilK

      If you touch one of those Canon bodies, it will jinx you. 😀

  • RHNO!

    Nikon User sind Schwanzlutscher

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