New interview with Tetsuro Goto from Nikon: “full frame is the trend, if Nikon will go mirrorless it must be full frame”





The Chinese website Xitek published a new interview with Tetsuro Goto from Nikon. Here is a translation of the main points from the interview:

Interview with Tetsuro Goto: full frame is the trend, will have Nikon’s DNA mirrorless

  • On modifications of Mr. Goto’s personal Df: no major modifications, only some small ones. This lens is 40 year old, the lens shade is almost 40 year old. The white UV is 30 year old, made by Nikon’s predecessor Nihon Optics. I am not a collector so this lens is purchased from a friend of mine. When I showed him my Df he said the lens and UV fit the Df better. Of course I have modern AF lenses but the Df overall design style is better with old lenses. Many Df lovers make DIY parts for the Df, such as the hot shoe cover with a Nikon logo and power switch.  I color the dials with my favored colors. They are easier to be recognized in dark. Frequently used buttons in the back are taped with red film sold in market. The dial in the front is etched with my name and Nikon. Nikon Japan used to provide this service at 3000-4000 Yen but they no long do this. At the bottom I added a grip, sold by third party. With the grip all the fingers can wrap around. The original grip is kind of slippery so I modified it. To reduce weight I modified the grip by cutting some holes, took away a few things to expose the serial number. It saves 4g of weight with these holes. The screw to secure the grip to camera is modified by me. The batter door was black but I replaced it with a silver version.
  • On why Mr. Goto doesn’t like silver version of Df which it’s popular in China: the overall silver style is not my favor. Old cameras used to have silver and black versions as well but the Df silver version is not like the one before. Actually our survey says silver version is about 51% of sales. When we introduced the Df we made more black version but there were more and more people choosing the silver version. I modified my Df viewfinder with the split focus screen. With the manual focus lens this is more convenient.
  • On Replacing focus screen: it’s not that difficult to replace the focus screen. There is Facebook Df group with 160 plus users and increasing. Many (DIY) ideas are shared in the internet and I learn some of these from them. Coloring dials based on one’s like and such are not that difficult. Df is different than other DSLR in that there are rooms for DIY.
  • On successor of Df in Nikon 100 Year Anniversary: the company position is that it needs Df sales volume increase to justify the investment of developing Df successor. Although Df reviews are very good buy overall sales volume is not. If we don’t buy the Df now, it’s hard to expect a Df successor. If you like Df, please buy it now. Personally I have been thinking about Df successor, not like the Df now but more retro style. Design drawings and the overall product design are ready.
  • Answering the question of Df being to too thick and handling, plus plastic feeling: Df launch was in fast schedule. Although it integrated key components from D4 such as CMOS sensor but the it didn’t meet user’s requirements. Our current products such as D850 and D7500 are much thinner now. If we were to launch Df successor with D5 and D750 technology we can achieve thinner and smaller requirements. I didn’t buy the silver version because the metallic feeling is not there, unlike previous F series metal feeling. The top of the camera is not plastic in fact, it’s metal. The whole body is made from metal except the area around lens release button. The shell coating didn’t reflect the metal feeling.
  • On split screen and focusing with manual lens: there is a focus assist in Df but it looks like users are not satisfied, some may install a split screen. In fact not only Df but other Nikon DSLR and DSLR can replace the focus screen with a split type. A small Taiwanese company provides parts but they are unknown.
  • On Df platform being the same as D600 and user expectation of Df successor: Df was introduced four years ago, obviously it can’t be compared to today’s DSLR. If the new Df were considered for its functions, there would be many improvements.
  • On Df sensor mega pixels that were considered 36 and 24mp but settled down on the D4 16mp: High MP has limit to high ISO and high dynamic range. Why the D4 sensor decision? Because its low MP sensor has excellent high ISO performance. If we were to increase MP to, say 24 to 30MP, I think it’s boring. If we use D5 sensor its high ISO is very good. Otherwise we may go for D850 sensor. There could be two versions, a D5 version and a D850 version to satisfy more users. However, fast shooting rate such as 10 fps won’t be there and I wouldn’t put video in there too. If we put all the features in the market today to (a Df successor), how does it differentiate from cameras in the market? When we designed Df back then we didn’t consider every potential user, only a few niche customers. So we throw away some unnecessary features.
  • On mirrorless and Nikon S2 style mirrorless: I have considered many options. Mirrorless cameras can be made thinner body but without the mirror shutter sound and vibration are gone, although they can be simulated electronically. How to integrate these technologies and ideas is one thing, how to execute and to build products is another.
  • On Nikon future mirrorless and retro style of Olympus, Fuji and modern style of Sony, suggestion of combing retro and modern style: full frame is the trend. If Nikon will go mirrorless it must be full frame.
  • On Sony A9 being driven by sensor technology: D5 is designed by Nikon, made by other company obviously. Nikon customer base is very broad, from novice to enthusiasts to prosumer to professional, that’s Nikon’s advantage. Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm can only cover a small part of that. So far there is no professional using their products. So when they develop products, even like retro style, they only try to meet these people and that’s only what they can do. Their customer base is limited anyway so they have limited view in developing products. If we were to take everyone’s features to integrate to Nikon products like you suggested, Nikon would never do that. Of course we would consider good stuffs, mostly things behind the back. Nikon would absolutely not consider overall view, design style, and function from others. Because Nikon has almost 60 year history of making cameras and we have been communicate with all kind of customers and listen to them. With such experience we are a level not those companies can be compared. If we were to introduce a mirrorless camera, we would not be like them, such as pushing out a lot of models. We will lock in customer’s main requirement to introduce a new product. If fact before A9 was introduced, Sony went through a lot failure internally. Nikon has a lot more failure experience than Sony.

Thanks for the translation Jeff!

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  • Proto

    Two steps —

    (1) Make the camera that consumers want (mirror-less etc)

    (2) Market it to the emotion they crave (being an uber photographer with sexy gear and skills)

    Extra step — Dont delay too much. Opportunity has a small window!

  • While most folks are seeing statements of arrogance and obliviousness (??) regrading Nikon’s competition, I think he knows what he’s talking about, even if he does sound cocky.

    For example, Nikon still has plenty of time before we see an Olympics where a noticeable chunk of the pros are shooting with Sony A9’s. Oppositely, when the D3 first came out, the transition was extremely quick from those “100% white lenses” Canon ads, to the significant presence of the D3 at the next Olympics which I think came only 1-2 years after the D3 announcement.

    I know it’s only one tiny metric on the grand scale, but it’s still a good one. Most of the people I know who are buying the A9 are NOT “bigtime” pros, they’re either just hobbyists who talk big, or they’re “smalltime” pros who don’t even actually shoot sports, just weddings and portraits.

    Again, I know this personal metric is just a microscopic one, but it’s a data point nonetheless.

    For those who want more factual evidence regarding “serious pro” (sports) photographers and Sony, all you have to do is look at their non-existent “big gun” collection. The bottom line is that Sony has nothing at all for pros who shoot telephoto sports beyond a 70-200mm f/2.8, and that’s just as laughable a situation as Nikon’s cocky statement about “no pros” using Sony. (For those who like numbers, it’s a ~$50,000 collection of lenses, if you add up all the Nikon “big guns” from the 200mm f/2 to the 800mm f/5.6)

    Therefore, Sony has a long way to go before they truly threaten the D5’s highest-end pro sports shooter user base. All Sony has right now is a 1-2 generation head start on the R&D of achieving speed and precision with sensor-based technologies. A gap that Nikon has probably already been working on closing for many years now, considering how far back their patents go. (Quad-pixel AF, anybody?)

    • Max

      I agree with everything, but it’s worth noting that Sony only needs 3 or 4 lenses “big guns”. I’m sure those will come quick when they are confident about the technology.

      • You could argue that they only “need” one or two big guns in order to put the fear of god into the D5, say, either a 300 2.8 or a 400 2.8, and either a 500 f/4 or a 600 f/4. Just two of those lenses alone would mean that Sony is serious business, and getting a move on.

        However, there’s at least seven major “flagship” lenses out there which Nikon D5-D4-D3 shooters already own. The folks who only ever bought one of those seven lenses might get lucky and find that Sony has made THEIR favorite lens first, but the rest are still going to wait.

        I think Sony is rumored to have a 300 2.8 on the way, and that will be a major shot across Nikon’s bow. But it still takes a LOT to R&D the optics of such lenses, and Sony will not be able to just rattle off 3-4 of them overnight. It’ll take many years to develop a full set.

        If this were Vegas sports betting, we’d put the over/under bet at 4 “big gun” lenses, and I would put $1000 on Nikon delivering FX mirrorless BEFORE Sony gets to 4 “big gun” lenses.

    • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

      If Mr Nikon was coming across a bit C&cky then be careful with this and don’t underestimate a) your competition and don’t take your users / owners for granted. Although Sony may be missing some lenses they will soon make this and couple with more updates to the A7 family and possibly extend the A9 family outwards.

      Still have a soft spot for Nikon though and are routing for them to succeed in every market.

      Still be puzzled about few of their decisions made or not made and some of their time can be viewed a bit off.

      Example when they brought video to DSLR with D90 (superb decision) why didn’t they expand out to produce a camcorder range or produce a video range of DSLR’s like Canon, e.g.,Canon EOS-1D C Camera (EF mount / PL mount)

      • Because, quite simply, Nikon doesn’t have that kind of $$$ to invest in R&D I suspect.

        Besides, this whole “video in a photographic camera” thing was not as cut-and-dry at first; Canon’s 5D2 was a wild upset to the cinema industry, but due to such limited functionality it almost WASN’T. Many movie makers took one look at the file format and the available ports on the 5D2, and laughed.

        Nikon *should* have seen the writing on the wall and tried a little harder to at least develop 1080p video sooner and with better quality, they *should* have offered more things like for example a way to easily adapt in/out ports for XLR, HDMI, or whatever the technology at the time was, I dunno. They could have at least thrown some money into doing a better job of live view and video sharpness, marching ants, zebra stripes, etc. by the time the D800 rolled around.

        Unfortunately, Nikon saw themselves as mostly a photographic company, not a videography / cinema product company, so they focused on cameras, instead of camcorders.

        I bet if they had known how imminent the collapse of the P&S market was, maybe they could have re-directed some R&D money from that sector towards something along the lines of a handycam, or a gopro, or anything more future-proof. But alas, hindsight…

        • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

          Excellent reply thanks for your insight.

        • David Gottlieb

          Most movie makers and commercial film companies use an Arri Alexa…

      • David Gottlieb

        Sony needs more than lenses to improve their pro-mirrorless line. Honestly, the IQ in the images coming out of their top mirrorless cameras is quite inferior tomost DSLRs out there….

        • John Alexander

          WOW

          • David Gottlieb

            John – you are correct. i overstated it and edited my post…. I don’t happen to like the A9 myself, so I was unduly harsh and subjective in criticizing it. My apologies.

  • Dave

    I very much doubt that Nikon is going to let Canon have all the APS-C users(along with Fuji/Sony).

    • Allen_Wentz

      Yup. Nikon needs to brand at FX size but needs to sell at DX size.

  • sickheadache

    Rejoice FX Kings..A Sad Day for them DX Queens.

  • br0xibear

    Can’t tell if he’s discussing Nikon policy as a company, or his own personal thoughts about Nikon.
    Maybe it’s a translation or cultural issue, but not much of it makes any sense to me…but as I’ve said before, not much that Nikon do makes much sense to me anyway, lol.

    • Nakayamahanzaemon

      Haha. By the way, Mr. Goto has retired from a formal Nikon position, and his job is now to support the head of imaging division, which I guess isn’t so much powerful. So it may be dangerous to take his word as Nikon’s official statement.

      • Jeff Curtner

        Remember he wasn’t interviewed by someone at his home. He was at a Nikon China event as a guest speaker. If Nikon China marketing is still the same way as I dealt with a few years ago, most of the questions are submitted a few days prior to the interview. Impromptu questions are allowed but you usually get the Japanese version of “No” in variations, such as answering a complete unrelated topic.

        The very good way to get answers is to drink sake with them. After enough drinks some will loose up and spill a few things.

    • Thom Hogan

      Both.

  • Exynos

    This translation is misleading …

    • mas921

      Exactly!

    • I assume you have a better translation. Just post it here.

      • MB

        I think he has the point …
        I was told … well I dont speak Chinese so I had to ask … that more in line of what he said would be:
        “Current trend in camera business is full frame and Nikon can not ignore this and will consider mirror-less full frame camera … ”
        I would really like some of our Chinese friends here to step in and clarify this …

        • sure, I am open for a better translation – I have not seen it yet

        • keep in mind that this interview was already translated once from Japanese to Chinese, so yes, I agree that the translation may not accurate which is why I asked for a better translation

        • not too liberal

          I think your translation is closer to the Chinese version.

      • Exynos

        He didn’t say in any santence they will enter mirrorless market

        • I will repeat what I already said – if you have a better translation, please post it here, otherwise you are just trolling.

          • EnPassant

            He is not. Some important parts are completely misleading. See my translation of key parts above, sorted as newest first.

        • EnPassant

          Correct! But there was a long discussion about mirrorless in the question. And Mr. Goto answered the question in the view of that. Naturally only from a hypothetical point without confirming anything nor even using the word mirrorless!

    • Jeff Curtner

      The original Chinese is: A:目前整个相机的趋势,全画幅是一个方向,如果尼康去做无反肯定会是全画幅的,必须要考虑做全画幅。

      So the full translation is:

      Answer: The overal trend of cameras is that full frame is one of them. If Nikon is going to mirrorless it will be full frame, must consider doing full frame.

      • It’s very clear to me. Thanks.

      • EnPassant

        That is not how I translated it. See above.

        • Jeff Curtner

          Do you understand Chinese without a translation engine?

          • EnPassant

            No, but I do understand languages well.

      • Exynos

        Key word ‘if’

        • MB

          ‘If’ in this context seems more like a rhetoric.
          Like in:
          We will build the house, so IF we are going to build it we must make it big …
          So decision is already made and he is only discussing some details…

          • Exynos

            Wait and see

            • MB

              Aren’t we all … waiting I mean …
              And hopefully we shell all see …
              Are you suggesting Nikon will not enter mirror-less market? Because that I would really be interested in seeing … although that would also mean that Nikon will leave camera business all together … and that would really be something …

    • EnPassant

      Exactly! See my translation above of some parts.

  • mas921

    He said mirrorless must be full frame. when i think about it said in japanese (intermediate level here nothing much) the context would be “have to include fullframe” rather than “start with” or “only” full frame as the latter two would require additional words in the japanese language, AFAIK.

  • Thinkpad_T60

    As said by others, this guy is so full of shit.

    “Olympus, Sony and Fujifilm can only cover a small part of that. So far there is no professional using their products.”
    Ayyyyy Nikon entering total denial mode !

    “Their customer base is limited anyway so they have limited view in developing products.” “Because Nikon has almost 60 year history of making cameras and we have been communicate with all kind of customers and listen to them.”
    ROFLMAO §§ SAYS WHO ??§§
    BECAUSE YEAH NIKON HAS SUCH A BIG VIEW, AND IS SO MUCH LISTENING TO ITS CUSTOMERS, THAT THEY KEEP MAKING PR AND MARKETING DISASTERS UPON DISASTERS.

    • If Sony, Olympus and Fuji were that strong, Canon would not be able to come in and eat their lunch in a short period of time with a very limited mirrorless offering. What Goto said makes sense to me. I can bet Canon will be the #1 mirrorless player next year (if they are not already) while Fuji is not even in the top 3 and I agree that Fuji is really doing a very good job with their mirrorless product line.

      • Thinkpad_T60

        I didn’t claim the three were ultra strong.

        But look again at this quote and reflect on the hubris : “So far there is no professional using their products.” “No professional” really ? It better be a translation mistake because that’s otherwise a very sad denial.

        One reality is that both Canon and Nikon have captive market shares with all their lenses. Another reality is that they should be able to make good mirrorless systems – if they want it. I’m not denying it. But a third reality is, the other three smaller camera makers can and do chip away customers from the big two. And that includes pros. So pretending that this doesn’t happen is yet another bullcrap from Mr. Goto.

        • António

          If “this guy is so full of shit” it seems likely that you expect nothing but “bullcrap” from Mr. Goto but it is a bit more complex how to classify taking his words as Nikon ideas, policies or market strategy considering that he doesn’t hold any executive position in a company where he got is retirement pension from.

        • I will say it again – he is right, not many professionals are using mirrorless products and that is a fact. Just look at any sport event and tell me how many mirrorless cameras do you see by the sidelines. Sony just recently introduced a camera with two memory card slots. Fuji did that last year. No serious professional will use a camera with one memory card slot. Just an example.

          • Thinkpad_T60

            Don’t you see the blatant semantic difference between “no professionals” and “not so many professionals” ? This detail is the difference between lying and stating a somewhat truthful statement.

            • ok, here I agree with you

          • Robert Falconer

            Except that Goto didn’t say “not many”, he said “no”, which is sadly out of touch with reality. There are a number of pros now using mirrorless cameras, and it needs to be pointed out that sports — which always seems to get trotted out synonymously with “pro photographer” — is only one type of pro photography. There are many others, some of which I’ll wager most people probably aren’t even aware of.

            “No serious professional will use a camera with one memory card slot.”

            I also think this is a gross overstatement. If you’re assuming it’s because the second slot serves as a “just in case” backup, you might be surprised just how many of those pros use the second slot for overflow.

            • Nakayamahanzaemon

              I think that there is misunderstanding or mistranslation between them. It’s so hard to believe that Mr. Goto doesn’t know some pros are using mirrorless cameras. Olympus, Panasonic and Fuji have pro-service in Japan, and they have catered to their star pro-photographers.

              Even if he says so, you don’t have to take it seriously. He is a retired executive. He led his own team called “Goto lab” which gave birth to the Df, but the lab was disbanded in June this year. He is a legend who created the F3 to the F5 and the D1 to the D3, but I guess that his influence is waning over Nikon’s policy.

            • Robert Falconer

              I hope that’s the case. Someone of his professional pedigree shouldn’t need to pump up Nikon by slighting other brands. The F3 through D3 were storied products, but the Df was a serious misstep, IMHO.

          • David Gottlieb

            I know of no professionals using a mirrorless as their go-to camera. Some have a small mirrorless they take along with them for fun, like a fujifilm x-t2. But for bread and butter photography, I don’t know of one pro who uses it. Yes, one or two photos might be sold every now and then with one of these. I do have one friend who does even photography (she uses Canon) and takes one of these x-t2 cameras along on her shoots, but she admits she doesn’t use it much. Although when she pulls it out, there is always a number of differing comments.

            • exactly, many people also don’t understand that Fuji pays a lot of phographers to shoot with their cameras and promote them – this is often not disclosed

      • David Gottlieb

        Peter, if you think Canon will be the #1 mirrorless contender next year, where in this division do you feel Nikon will be next year in 2018, and in 2019? I have no idea. Full frame mirrorless is the way to go, at least for my needs. But professional photographers need the excellent focusing system of the D850 and D5 (or better) integrated into the new mirrorless — as well as some of the other features.

        • it really depends what Nikon will do with their mirrorless and I don’t have any good intel on that yet

  • Michael Jin

    Interesting that he talks about third-party focusing screens. I wonder which company he’s talking about. Out of curiosity, if you installed something like this, wouldn’t it screw up the autofocusing ability of the camera?

    • Check out http://www.focusingscreen.com. A few of NR readers are using their screens.

      • Ric of The LBC

        the K-3 Type is the one most Df users install. Too rich for my blood.

      • PubliusII

        They are pricy, which moves the swap into the “think about it” category for me. I did put a new focusing screen into my D40 and the autofocus on the kit zoom 18-55 worked fine afterward.

        Even if a new screen screws up the autofocus on my Df, I won’t care because use manual focus lenses with it.

        Killing resale value? Well, that might matter if I ever sold a camera I’ve ever bought! The Df was the second camera I’ve bought new (and it was a refurb anyway!) since the Nikkormat FS bought new back in April 1970. All the rest — lenses too — have been bought used.

  • Дмитрий

    stupid idiots dismiss the marketing Department. you 100let ago said to have a mirrorless ff but do you think that will eat and Nikon 1 only here don’t appreciate the monopoly with canon giving people shit
    your marketing brought you up to 3 lines among the camera manufacturers.
    I trust canon and sony, though they themselves produce sensors
    and you didn’t invest in development when I was on horseback
    nikon needs to die like Nokia

  • Robert Falconer

    I believe the S mount was even smaller than the F mount, so engineering-wise I would never expect them to do that.

    • PubliusII

      Indeed it is smaller in diameter. I’m just thinking about moving cameras in a new direction: smaller. Smaller in”footprint” and size-in-the-hand. Plus also moving the controls back toward the basic simplicity of shutter knob and aperture ring, plus a few automated modes.

      For years and years, increases in technical capability, plus marketing’s need for new features to ballyhoo, has marched everyone toward hand-filling plastic monstrosities. And I’m aware this evolution proceeded along a similar path back in the film SLR days.

      I just think it’s a mistake when the focus, so to speak, of whole exercise is taking pictures.

  • Ric of The LBC

    then the final translation is by Yoda

    By Yoda the final translation is.

  • eric

    if Nikon puts out a retro style full frame mirrorless i will buy one. i think they would wise to do something more than just put out a basic mirrorless, they need to do something unique that gets talked about in a positive way.

  • Yes, but unless I get a better translation, the is what we have for now.

  • Jeff Curtner

    I did the translation. I have some experience in dealing with Japanese speaking people (via translator or English) in my previous job working in media. Mr. Goto is a bit different than many Japanese executives in this interview with more candid answers, even to a point of being arrogant.

    However, we need to keep in mind that he is not really an executive in Nikon. He is retired from normal operation activity and given a position to run a forward vision lab.

    There is certainly a sense of frustration from him when he talked about Df successor by mentioning sales volume, and even suggesting buying more Df in order to justify Df successor development cost. I would interpret that as the bean counter in HQ not being happy with the Df sales result. He even went on to say the drawings and design are already complete, which I believe are the style and function design but not the actual internal electronics design.

    The Df was design by him mainly from a design style point of view. I am quite sure the normal Nikon R&D people took over his design and converted into a real product. The Df main problem is the main guts are based on D600 other than the sensor, and yet they sell the Df at a high premium which either they are greedy or the cost of D4 sensor being expensive. In other words, a very good overall design botched by poor execution.

    If they would make a Df 2 they need to bring down the price to the level of D810, maybe slightly higher than the D750. They need to figure out how to cut down the cost by not using too many cheap parts like the Df. Sensor cost is usually the number one cost in a camera, followed by the LCD. They could even build an APS-C version of Df by using the 20mp sensor in D500 and D7500. That’s a volume part sold by Sony but I am sure people will take a Df version of D500/D7500, just like what Fujifilm has been doing.

    The last part of the interview is typical Nikon arrogance. Large customer base could evaporate if you don’t plan ahead. Should we say Nokia, or “Hello Moto”? Nikon and other camera companies should really take lesson from Apple by going where the puck is going to be. Right now I don’t think they even go to where the puck has been. There are so many software based innovations in the smartphone industry and yet none of the Japanese camera companies are paying attention.

    The real good sign is that the Nikon bureaucrats actually let loose of him by talking to media.

    • Thanks Jeff!

    • Thom Hogan

      I was wondering when this would come up.

      Goto-san was incredibly involved in key Nikon decision-making post D2 and up through the D4 generation (which includes the Df). He made a lot of intelligent and excellent decisions, but there were duds.

      But he’s no longer involved directly in the company decision making. It’s unclear to me exactly how he got to the special adviser position he has today, and thus it’s impossible to determine his exact influence on what Nikon Imaging will actually do. I mentioned subtext and context before in my comments. This is one of those.

      I believe that we can’t take his statements at face value to what Nikon is actually going to do. I can’t discount that he’s trying to influence decisions from outside the main consensus management loop.

      • Jeff Curtner

        Nikon HQ will send out someone from Japan to their sales subsidiaries around the world during new product launch or important event. Usually they are from the marketing department and rarely someone from the R&D side. We may see someone R&D heads in events happened in Tokyo from time to time but rarely outside of Japan.

        Sending Goto san to China for the 100 year anniversary is kind of strange. But then again we may treat him as yet another high level marketing person from Tokyo.

        The subtext that I sense from his explanation of Df successor is frustration of not being able to get firm decision from the bean counters, or actually denied by the bean counters. If I were him I would be frustrated by the D600 guts in the Df as well and not Df 2.

        He went even so far to say the (style) design is done and ready (to convert into a real product). That’s very unusual for a Japanese to say publicly so yes I agree with Them that he may be trying to influence the bean counters from outside.

        I find the interview is very interesting, not like all other Japanese executives I had interviewed before in my prior job. It’s very candid and bold, or arrogant to a point.

        I will check with the original interview author to find out who other Nikon people were at the interview.

  • EnPassant

    The problem with what is published here is that it is not even a bad translation but an interpretation of a bad translation!
    To try to make a better translation of the important key points I translated the original text at xitek with google translate into all three languages I know well and made some thinking of my own trying to understand more exactly what was said.

    What I understand from the translated interview Mr. Goto say that because if sales can’t be raised input and output is a problem developing a second generation Df and something Nikon need to consider.

    My interpretation:
    If Nikon are to develop and produce a Df2 they must think about how to increase the sales of such a product compared to the Df that had disappointing sales.
    So Mr. Goto is not making a condition that Df2 will only be produced if sales of current Df increase. Which is unlikely for such an old camera.
    But as a salesman he of course say: If you like Df buy it now! (^_^)
    Because Df2 will take some time making.

    The answer about mirrorless was asked in the light of the question about making the Df2 a retro style mirrorless camera.

    My interpretation of the answer therefore is:
    Df is currently full-frame. Full-frame is a possibility. Nikon can’t confirm their (mirrorless) camera will be full-frame, but it is something they must consider to do.
    So Mr. Goto is neither saying full-frame is a trend or a Nikon coming mirrorless must be full-frame. Just that a mirrorless full-frame is an option Nikon must consider.
    My personal conclusion is that since the mirrorless camera must already be in development should it come next year therefore will use a DX sensor since something Nikon only consider can’t be in late development yet. Making initial lens constructions for FF mirrorless lenses is no proof a FF mirrorless camera is coming anytime soon as those nowdays are easy to make on computers.

    And about the mirrorless competition Mr. Goto say:
    Nikon have a very wide customer base from beginners to pro’s and that is their advantage. Only a smaller part of the true proffessional people use Olympus, Sony and Fuji.

    He is definitely not saying no pro’s at all are using mirrorless cameras from said companies. He is just stating the fact that Nikon (and although not mentioned) Canon are dominating the pro market as they have been doing for more than 40 years. Mirrorless companies are still in development of their systems and customer base unlike Nikon and Canon who had very complete sets of cameras, lenses and accessories for a very long time that have been refined during the years.

    • Jeff Curtner

      Your interpretation of only smaller part of the true professional people use Olympus, Sony and Fuji is just plain wrong. At least wrong from the original Chinese.

      像奥林巴斯、索尼、富士他们能覆盖的只是一小部分,真正让专业的人来用他们的相机,目前还没看到。

      The last two sentences word by word: to have the real professional users to use their cameras, so far have not seen.

      I stand by my translation.

      PS, google translation engine is not the best all the time. For this article I find the bing engine is slightly better but nothing beats a native Chinese speaker who has lived in US for many years. 🙂

      • EnPassant

        The Bing translator you suggest say:
        “Olympus, Sony, Fuji and they can cover just a fraction of the Real professional people to use their cameras”

        Google say:
        “like Olympus, Sony, Fuji they can cover Just a small part of the real professional people to use their camera”

        That is not the same as your interpretation.

        The last part of the sentence, “so far have not seen” is pointing to the beginning of the whole sentence about Nikon having a bigger market base and more or less complete set of products, like tilt shift lenses for exemple.

        Mr. Goto simply correctly states the facts. The mirrorless competition so far haven’t got many proffessional users because they haven’t got the customer base, nor all the products needed to satisfy a wide range of uses.

        To be able to translate the real meaning one must know several languages well and their differences. Only then can one be able to see how things are expressed differently in different languages.

        Translating word by word simply doesn’t work. Because the same word can in some languages have several different meanings depending on the context.

        Sentences are also built differently with different order of words and parts of sentences.
        It’s simply a lot one have to grasp to do a good translation.

        In this case one also must have a technical understanding of cameras and of the camera market and last but not least a sense for what is reasonable.

        As to the last thing thinking that Mr. Goto would claim Sony and other mirrorless producers have no proffessional customers at all make no sense at all. Stating the facts they have much less pro customers yes, but not speaking such careless and disrespectful about the competition.
        Mr. Goto is no YouTuber spitting out lies left and right. I’m sure he is much more careful about his reputation, especially as he had a leading position in Nikon. And if anything the top management there is known to say very little.

        As to your undocumented talk about some native Chinese speaker (You, or somebody you know?) living in USA doesn’t prove anything. Many native speakers are quite bad using their own language and even worse with the language in another country.

        Secondly this was only one of the three parts where our translations and interpretations of them were different. This leads me to think my interpretation of the real meaning of the parts I looked at is better because I have a deeper understanding of languages despite only using computer translations and not having a Chinese speaking friend. I also think I have a much better sense for what is reasonable than many commenting in this thread.

        • Robert

          I agree with your interpretation. Seems reasonable that Mr. Goto states facts and cares about his and Nikon’s reputation. Good communication between different cultures using different native languages is always a challenge.

        • Jeff Curtner

          I do agree with you a good translation needs understanding on both languages and cultures.

          When you stop using translating engine, your interpretation will be trusted.

    • Jeff Curtner

      “To try to make a better translation of the important key points I translated the original text at xitek with google translate into all three languages I know well and made some thinking of my own trying to understand more exactly what was said.”

      If the three languages are closely related, say English, German, and Dutch, relying on a translation engine to cross check with these three languages is no better than one.

      You really need to find a live person who understands both Chinese and English to check my translation. While I am not saying mine is 100% as I did it within an hour, I stand by my translation based on the Chinese article. Whether the article captures 100% of what Mr. Goto said in Japanese is another story but I tend to trust the translator Nikon China used as they are all educated in Japan.

  • Chinky

    If its full frame, I’m not buying the camera. I prefer the d500 over the d750 because the apsc lenses are smaller and lighter. I see no difference in IQ between the two cameras, why wouldI shlep heavier lenses? I want a smaller camera and lenses and lighter weight and fast video AF when I buy a mirrorless camera. Otherwise I can stay with my DSLRs.

    If Panasonic produces a m4/3 camera with fast video AF, I’d buy that over a Nikon FF mirrorless. Even the gh5 with a 12-35 will weigh less than a FF mirrorless with FF 24-70 lens.

  • mtakeda

    I agree with Jeff’s last paragraph regarding arrogance on the part of Mr. Goto and after I read the article of his interview I decided not to buy D850. I have had D810 and this attitude reminded me there was quite controvecy back then that the one side of the auto focus was not sharp but Nikon ignored the report from the users. I guess the tradition continues.

    • Jeff Curtner

      It’s not just him, it’s the two large Japanese camera makers. They have been living the good time for too long and their business is built around large volume. I heard Nikon and Canon won’t start a new model unless they can predict sales volume in product cycle over 300k (or 200k?) units. To put that in perspective, Olympus annual ML units is just around 500k.

      We can’t simply blame Nikon for this model. Camera business is more than half of their revenue whereas Fuji, Olympus, and Sony all have major revenues from other sources, camera business is only a tiny portion.

      • Thom Hogan

        Can’t vouch for your numbers (other than Olympus’), but yes, projects don’t get off the ground at Canikon unless they meet some clear hurdles in the bean counting analysis.

        Funny thing is, those predictions–particularly on the Nikon side–have been comically wrong. They’ve been too high in projections for some things (Nikon 1, Df, et.al.) and way too low for others (Coolpix P900, D8xx, even D500). This suggests that those making decisions are not at all connected to their customers.

        • Jeff Curtner

          Other decisions probably based on future sales projection but not connected to customers include: no Coolpix A successor and DL for sure.

          If my memory is correct, I learn about DL back in 2011 or 2012. Not exactly like what the DL was but some high level marketing person admitted they will have 1″ compacts, aka non-interchangeable Nikon 1. And that’s a few months before Sony introduced the RX100 because I did buy a RX100 right after it’s available.

          • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

            Missed opportunity by Nikon not doing / producing their DL’ sooner, would have a) provided competition to Sony & Pany b) would have sold well – especially spun a few series / marks, e..g, 2017 DL 24-85 MK 3, etc c) would have gained more market share in the 1″ sector and more kudos and positive kudos / customer awareness that Nikon produce excellent cameras across the board.

            • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

              Must appologise to everyone for any possible negativity or being a moanie chops – especiallu keep on harping on DL – would like Nikon to be as successful as much as possible but to listen more to their customers

  • Dominic Siu

    Being arrogant makes you die very soon, Nikon

  • well, i think if the df price started at a lower price due to people awe on the mp, wouldnt be such a burden, i got my black df but was lackin alof stuff, but love it cause its simple.

    • PubliusII

      For me, simplicity of the user interface is paramount. And that means manual controls: shutter-speed knob, aperture ring on lenses. The more the user interface diverges from that of a Nikon FE or a Pentax ME Super, the less I like it.

  • Gabriel

    hahaha poor Nikon talking BS out of desperation. Nobody cares about Nikon..you are the new nokia or blackberry

    • I am just curious based on what facts are you making that assumption.

      • PhilK

        I must admit that Nikon has demonstrated a few of the characteristics over the last 5+ years that doomed both the companies mentioned. (Blackberry still exists but it’s a tiny shadow of its former self and effectively nonexistent in the product category it was originally famous for)

  • TwoMetreBill

    Can’t believe how so many people fell for this fake news article, must be people who get their world news from Fox.

    Yeah right, someone with this much experience thinks no professionals use Olympus, Sony or Fuji. And the earth it’s flat too!

  • Thank you Goto San, the Df has brought me much happiness for 4 years. I’m disappointed that there won’t be a successor. Until there is, I’m very happy with my new X-Pro2.

    • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

      Can I ask a silly Q – why have you picked up the X-Pro2 and are you still shooting Nikon and the Df ?

      • Hi, yes I’m still shooting with the Df, it has qualities I can’t get in any other camera and I own a large collection of F mount glass. The X-Pro2 is in my everyday bag, it is well constructed, small, light and has beautiful little primes. I enjoy them both.

      • ryanyomomma

        Well I shoot a Nikon D800 AND an X-Pro2. I see no problem shooting on more than one system.

  • Zen

    IF Nikon will go mirrorless it must be full frame”

    Does that mean they’re still wondering if they should launch a mirrorless or not??? LOL

    Maybe they’re waiting to see how the d850 does in the market?

  • webdiver

    does it have to be just one sensor size? maybe do like with slr’s and have both aps-c and full-frame, I’d like to the D850 sensor on a Nikon though…

  • Walter Lee

    Thank you Nikon Rumors. Your translation is very close, but I’ll try to translate it again. By the way, my mother tongue is Chinese and one of my daily jobs is translation. “目前整个相机的趋势,全画幅是一个方向,如果尼康去做无反肯定会是全画幅的,必须要考虑做全画幅。” Translation and my own remarks: “Full frame is a direction of the trend [note: he didn’t say “the” direction or “one of the directions”, but just “a direction’; so he’s deliberately vague] in the whole camera [market]. If Nikon goes mirrorless, it’ll definitely be full frame; it must consider full frame. [note: it’s a run-on sentence; so only the reporter at the scene can tell whether it’s slip of the tongue]”.

  • Walter Lee

    According to the original text of Xitek’s report in Chinese, Tetsuro Goto is “former head of development”, who is now “senior consultant”. In Japan, “senior consultant” who is an ex-head of a certain department is often a position for the semi-retired. Depending on his age, it may also mean that he’s no longer have access to the latest news from the senior management. So, what he said about full frame is probably his own opinion, not necessarily Nikon’s final decision.

    • Jeff Curtner

      Many Japanese companies have a mandatory retirement age at 60. I am not sure if Nikon does have such policy and I won’t be surprised if they do. It’s a well known fact that Mr. Goto has been retired for quite a few years and was assigned to run a lab after retirement. The lab I read somewhere is now closed so his official capacity is a senior advisor.

      As a senior advisor or consultant, he doesn’t have any decision power but as in Asian politics retired senior officials do have influence.

      Then again, as I replied to Thom Hogan earlier, I do agree that some of his words are frustrations about Df successor not being approved due to Df sales result.

      • Walter Lee

        Well, two possibilities: in many Asian corporations (mine included), a retired senior person is either much more influential than his “senior consultant” position appears to be, or much less — it’s almost never the case of “more or less the same”!

  • TribeTrain17

    If? Hahah. When….

  • Anthony Papagallo

    So to sum up;
    “Its like a finger pointing away to the moon, dont concentrate on the finger or you will miss all that heavenly glory!”

  • Kevin K

    Well I think the bigger point is why Nikon’s service and quality have gone downhill to the point of impacting peoples work. I had a trip planned to “The Wave” and was preparing for months. My autofocus sensor went all wonky so I sent it in for repair (under warranty). Over a month later I still don’t have my camera and used a Sony on the trip. It preformed great and it’s been dropped, banged, and tossed in many a bags, while my Nikon has always been given the best care. I think the real issue is that Nikon cameras may be great and may be better than mirrorless but they also need to work. It would be cool if they updated their terrible wifi apps as well but I can’t expect much from a misogynistic company stuck in the past. I’ve had Nikon’s since the F100 and one experience with their service and I’m ready to switch.

  • Thylmuc

    So, Nikon is not going to build a Df2 because they are unable to find out what they did wrong with the Df? That sounds weird.

    May I suggest that it might not have been the best of ideas to announce “pure photography”, then clutter the functionality with the typical assortment of useless featuritis?
    May I further suggest to simply ask people who still cater to the operational style of the Df, what they want in a camera. Like F2 or F3 users, etc. Leica M users? Don’t ask long time DSLR users.

    • KnightPhoto

      Nope the market has spoken and the keep-it-simple camp doesn’t have enough buyers in it. Not sure why people in this camp can’t simply ignore the features they don’t use. I don’t understand that, does not appear to be a rational position. Although I could easily design a menu system that allows one to turn off the stuff people don’t want to use. Maybe that’s the ticket 🙂

      I’m in the camp that didn’t buy the Df because it didn’t have video. Now if the Df2 is a mirrorless video-centric camera with retro controls and has every other source of automation and Nikon high-tech like quad-pixel AF, focus peaking etc., then yeah 😉

      • Thylmuc

        if I consider myself in the “Keep-it-simple camp”, the Df failed attracting me because it is anything but simple. There are probably a lot of potential buyers feeling like I do.
        For reference purposes, download a manual of:

        Leica S
        Hasselblad X1D
        Leica monochrome (no back LCD)
        These cameras have only functions that are needed, but not those that go beyond the function of a camera (like a Photoshop substitute, or an image archive).
        Ignoring features on an overloaded menu is not so easy, in particular if you set something inadvertently to a wrong option and don’t know how to get back, since so far, you “ignored” it.

        I fully agree with your solution to provide different switchable firmware levels. This is something I’d love to see. could even be added to the Df, though I’d prefer a hardware switch 🙂

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