Nikon cancels all three DL cameras because of “profitability concerns”, no word on future development

Nikon just did something I have been predicting for a while - they canceled all three of their DL compact premium cameras because of "profitability concerns" and provided no information on any future development/release in the DL line. Here is the official statement:

Cancellation of release of the DL series of premium compact cameras

February 13, 2017 TOKYO - Nikon Corporation announced today that sales of the long-awaited DL series of premium compact camera, the DL18-50 f/1.8-2.8, DL24-85 f/1.8-2.8, and DL24-500 f/2.8-5.6, will be canceled.

A June, 2016 release was originally planned for the DL series. However, with the identification of issues with the integrated circuit for image processing, release of the three cameras was delayed indeterminately.

Since then, everyone involved has worked very hard to develop products with which our customers will be satisfied. However, it has been decided that sales of the DL series will be canceled due to concerns regarding their profitability considering the increase in development costs, and the drop in the number of expected sales due to the slow-down of the market.

We sincerely apologize to all those affected by this decision, especially those customers who waited so long for the cameras to be released, retailers and others whose business will be affected, for the inconvenience this decision may cause.


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  • Leo Schwarz

    For those not knowing it, the only “alternative” (on a mere zoom range comparison) seems to be the Casio ZR5000 which has however much littler sensor and darker lens – from 19 to 95 mm for selfie lovers or for those not too much worried about imaging performances.

  • Davo

    Should have cancelled key mission and kept the DL’s.

    • They should cancel all products now which don’t gain anything and key mission is in that category, too. It was way too late to enter the action cam market. Nikon is now a company that earns money but at the same time they burn a lot of money into things which aren’t their core competency. If you play too much games at the same time you will simply fail.

      • Piooof

        I don’t believe in ‘late to enter whatever market’. Android was late to enter the smartphone (à la iPhone) market; Windows was late to enter the PC-with-wysisyg-interface; GoPro was a pioneer in action cams and is severely weakened etc.
        Creating a new field doen’t mean you can’t be dislodged of it very quickly, and conversely. If Nikon had an edge in action cams, they’d sell. The real problem is that there’s nothing new in their KeyMissions, nor any substantial synergy with the Nikon ecosystem that could drive Nikon DSLR users to adopt them.

        • You are entirely right regarding the key mission value and about to enter an existing market. The problem of how to enter an existing market is following: You need to differentiate your product good enough from the competition (have something you can do entirely bettter) or you need to undercut their sales by a massive distribution strategy – this is what Microsoft and Google was doing for Android. They have seen the potential of how to license their software to others and how to make a business model out of it. Regstricted companies like Apple can’t attract the masses because there isn’t enough differentiation in price and products and licensing your software is the only way in the IT business to get a wide range of products covered.

          • Allen_Wentz

            Sorry but that is a gross oversimplification. What made DOS work after MS bought it was totally different than what makes Android work.

            Gates, a wealthy socialite, bought DOS and cut a high-level deal that put DOS on IBM’s (relatively lame) PCs, and the corporate world at the time only trusted IBM. MS-DOS took off and became a standard.

            Android OTOH is given away for FREE and is unsupported, with Google making its money by collecting personal data from folks who use its products. FREE gets lots of market share.

            • Yes, of course it was very simplified because i didn’t want to write a book about IT industry.

            • Allen_Wentz


            • But compare the Windows market share against Mac OS market share see what i mean. With the iPhone it was a bit another story because they were first making this concept suitable for the mass but even this is starting to shrink compared to Android – today the inexpensive Huawei Phones are as good as iPhones for most consumers.

      • Davo

        True on the key missions. But what I’d argue is that the DLs does appeal to some of Nikon’s core users, much more so than Nikon 1s ever did. Most enthusiast photographers like myself like having a smaller portable option that still fits into the same ecosystem as our main kit. That can include both a smaller system camera as well as an even smaller standalone compact.
        The failure in having small competent DX lens options made me sample m43 for a small system camera (still looking though). The Nikon 1’s didn’t really gain much in terms of kit reduction vs m43 systems and was hindered by an even smaller sensor and lacked compatibility with Nikon’s own DSLRs eg. CLS flash system.
        The DLs should have been the Nikon 1’s all those years ago. The faster integrated lenses on 1″ sensors should let it compete with larger sensor system cameras in the popular focal length ranges.
        And DX should’ve competed against m43 and APS-C mirrorless systems, transitioning the poorer quality pentamirrors to EVFs and a producing a decent set of small AF-P lenses as well as more specialized DX lenses than wouldn’t have been appropriate for fixed lens cameras.

  • TwoStrayCats

    Nikon, what is happening to you?

  • Francis Y.

    I hope–and I know this is kinda unrealistic–Nikon will give Nikon 1 users the lenses they originally developed for DL, especially the 24-85 f/1.8-2.8. I have been waiting for a fast standard zoom since the release of V1.

    • whisky

      i hope Nikon will focus on a new Vx with superior glass options. 🙂

  • Fly Moon

    I really think they should hire someone like @thomhogan:disqus

    • Of course they should listen to him! He describes the good and bad in a objective way and can determine the reasons for it. He knows how business can be successful, because everything is a give and take between manufacturer and customers. The problem of Nikon is that they don’t have eyes for potentially new customers and the marketing promotion is not driven to it’s full potential in a way to attract new customers (and there is this loop in-between: smaller customer base – higher prices – less attractive for new buyers).

    • whisky

      Thom is the tail which wags the dog. 🙂

    • nwcs

      He’s written about that on his site. I suspect they wouldn’t like his style very much. That’s not a negative statement on either party but more just a reality of the situation.

      • Style shouldn’t matter anymore if your company needs to save every dollar to stay in business.

        • nwcs

          It shouldn’t but it often does. People are strange and illogical sometimes.

          • Hehe, i know what you mean 🙂 …maybe this is the reason why we all don’t understand what is going on at Nikon.

    • Allen_Wentz

      Why would Nikon hire Thom when he has given them solid advice for many years – – for free! But Nikon management is too arrogant to listen. Seriously though I fully agree Thom would be a huge asset for Nikon IF they change their behavior.

      FWIW here is a freebie from me Nikon:
      Nikon’s problem is corporate arrogance expressed from top to bottom throughout the marketing chain. That leads to a one-way flow of info _away_ from Nikon. Since circa 1960 that has been recognized as ineffective: competitors who set up solid feedback systems from customers back to corporate are now decades ahead.

      Only Nikon’s truly spectacular hardware engineering has kept the firm from not self-destructing sooner due to inability to truly understand the folks buying Nikon products.

      [Note: I am ignorant of non-camera product lines so my comments apply only to cameras.]

      • True. That’s why Thom Hogan is saying that Nikon is completely disconnected with it’s customer base. That’s the reason why we have key mission that nobody really wants.

      • T N Args

        The main reason to hire him would be to get the truth out of him instead of exaggerated click-bait chattering. Which, if they have any sense, they would have been ignoring at all times.

  • whisky

    yes, Nikon failed — but not because they didn’t want to do the right thing.

    big retailers who whored “pre-orders”, going on for a year now, made it much worse by amplifying customer expectations and any subsequent disappointments. the higher the expectations were raised, the further they’d fall.

    to me, the big take-away remains “don’t advertise what you can’t deliver”. Nikon is guilty of this, but much more complicit are the big pre-order sites which kept rolling back availability dates rather than refusing to take orders until availability was certain. JMO.

    • I am not so sure about this. Do you want to have one example? They refused long ago the right actions for the D600 fiasco. In that term it is “yes, they don’t want to do the right thing”. Customers needed legal law action to get this right.

      • whisky

        for a while now, after the “D600 fiasco” — which i consider a new baseline, Nikon has attempted to be more transparent and accountable.

        this doesn’t mean they still have a long way to go. due to what i believe were technical reasons beyond their control, the window of opportunity for the DL market passed them by. if anything, the comments in this forum would make them a little more averse to taking risks. JMO.

        • “Nikon has attempted to be more transparent and accountable.”

          Which is a positive thing staying connected to your customers and giving them the feeling that they are important to the company. Nikon offers now a good solution for D600 owners – they replace the shutter unit or exchange it for a new D610 to solve the problem for free. And i hope they get more open-minded now to listen to it’s customer base about what they want – most of the time they are saying “mirrorless” (but not with 1-inch) at german and english news sites about Nikon (i am pretty sure that most Nikon users here can’t identify the brand name with key mission products).

    • Allen_Wentz

      NONSENSE. My apologies for shouting, but suggesting that “much more complicit are the big pre-order sites” is nonsense.

      NIKON is 100% guilty of its own vaporware marketing. Entities in the marketing channel that do what they are supposed to (i.e., market) are not at fault. Vaporware marketing (normally) is a conscious choice made by the manufacturer.

      We fully agree that the big take-away remains “don’t advertise what you can’t deliver,” but I would state it as “don’t _announce_ what you can’t deliver.”

      • whisky

        unless you’re an APOLOGIST for retailers who do their best to string along pre-customers hoping to get a spot in the queue … we’ll have to agree to DISAGREE.

        i recall a time, not too long ago, where places like B&H didn’t take pre-orders. they sold they’re stock as it arrived. pre-orders were simply not an option.

        now retailers refuse to tell their pre-orders where they are in the queue, and keep open the hope that by placing an order early, their customers are assured a spot in front of the line. this, from what i’ve seen, only AMPLIFIES disappointments when a product can’t be delivered. not only did pre-orders not get their product, but they lost their spot in line

        a few cases in point: the DL; D800; the Nikon 1 70-300mm VR lens.

        i agree 100% Nikon is guilty of not delivering, but they didn’t stack their customers in a queue. expectations and disappointments become amplified when pre-orders fail to materialize and dates keep slipping. if customers weren’t vested into pre-orders, and worry they’ll be sent to the back of the queue should they withdraw — their expectations would, IMHO, not be so intense. at least that’s how it used to be.

        see how easy it is to express opposing views without much shouting. 🙂

  • DrNo666

    We have already spent X om the RnD. To solve the problems we have run into we need likely to spend Y more. We believe that we will sell P number of them and that the customer will can pay maximum Z. Each unit will cost W to manufacture.

    Its not rocket science that Nikon choose to cut their losses with X when Y and W becomes to high…

    • They are playing the cards wrong. The costs are rising because they have this key mission for example no one is really interested in… playing on multiple play fields – by simply taking a look at their product portfolio you see how many fields they want to cover. And the more fields you generate the more you will loose if the business is not running in this particular area.

    • MonkeySpanner

      What is the tolerance in the P number?

  • eclairz

    Yes, but unless you are going to mold a camera body around your hand, the ergonomics will be bad. Also there is the issue of memory, where those module cameras are good for a short amount of buffer and lag between what is transmitted to what is displayed.

    I was toying with the idea of one as it would be much more portable so I can see the appeal. LCDs aren’t that cheap unless you buy in bulk. Also LCDs have different battery requirements.

    But I am going off topic now, the main argument you were focusing on is that R&D goes to waste, which unless they are badly organised and never learn from the past is not simply true. The problem is that for some people the only true value to a camera is lens and sensor. Which makes sense if you’re carrying a tripod everywhere and have all the time in the world to setup. Even mobile devices from Apple and Android have shown that things like Focusing speed, Face Detection, sharing of photos, editing photos, control layouts, start up time. R & D goes into this as well, and improvements may not be so noticeable by the layman until they use a device which is clearly worse than a competitor.

    The question is do you still believe that R & D is a waste of money if the specific product is never launched but is used in other products or is used in further R & D to produce superior products like Apple and Sony are used to doing.

  • EnPassant

    Yes, Nikon still do some great equipment. But the problem I see is that they seem more focused on generating profit for themselves rather than producing what customers actually want. That is fundamentally the wrong focus that in the end could lead to a disaster.

    A prime exemple is Nikon 1 which I think was a massive mistake.
    Nothing wrong with the sensor size. It is perfectly fine for pocketable zoom COMPACTS!

    Didn’t Nikon see the possibility to use the 1″ sensor for a series of zoom compacts? My guess they did, but still decideded for an ICL 1″ mirrorless camera system as the bean counters said they would make more profit selling lenses and accessories, because the cameras were such small Nikon could not use the excellant flash system they already had.

    Had Nikon been first with 1″ zoom compact they could have owned that market. But instead they gave Sony the opportunity with both RX100 and RX10. Even Canon entered the 1″ compact market and now have a full line of such cameras. Nikon’s attempt was as we all know DeLeted.

    Meanwhile Nikon 1 because of the small sensor is not competitive against MFT and APS-C mirrorless systems. Nikon really is good only with DSLRs. But that means they are only standing on one leg. Unlike Canon they have neither a 1″ compact series nor a serious DX mirrorless system with an EVF. The latter is important as many nowdays prefer an EVF over an OVF. No wonder Nikon lost market shares to Canon. If Nikon want to keep their position they cannot be absent from a big part of the market. Because with slumping DSLR sales they may in a few years be in third place after Sony.

    Nikon’s quality problems in the latest years is another exemple of saving money in the wrong end just to make more profit. But all mistakes are backfiring at them costing loss in market shares.

    The big sales of cheap compacts are already gone. And now the sales of entry level DSLRs are falling as well. My prediction is that in a few years entry and mid level mirrorless cameras will sell more than DSLR cameras in the same segment. Where will Nikon make their profit and keep their market share if they only sell DSLRs? The answer is they won’t. They will again be a much smaller company only selling to pro’s and advanced enthusiasts like 40 years ago before the introduction of EM, their entry into cameras for ordinary consumers.

  • Alexander Myodov

    Funny; 24–85 was the only Nikon camera I was waiting and considering to purchase for the latest year or so. No any other Nikon comes near.

    • MonkeySpanner

      Agreed. These 1″ cameras with fast fixed lenses are very popular. I thought Nikon was finally moving in the right direction. Oh well. I will go buy the rx100….

  • Thinkpad_T60

    Now we just have to tip Casio about making a new version with a reduced zoom range but bigger sensor !

  • Joel Andersson

    Shame wanted a DL24-85 as a travelling camera

  • So when should I make the switch to Canon?

  • Cheller055

    Hello Fuji, Sony, goodbye Nikon.

  • pwmorg
  • Perq Elest

    I was waiting for the DL 18-50. I prioritise wide angle and low light capabilities. Nikon should have released the DL18-50 since there is no competition in that area!

    I purchased Canon G5x last summer. I looked at the Nikon DL 24-85 but had no real choice since my holiday plans needed a new camera asap.

  • Setyo Nugroho

    I bet nikon finally found a camera that would kill their other product.. who would buy nikon D5xxx if they can get a better one with nano coated lenses on it at the same price.. the DL series surpass Nikon’s entry level cams

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