Weekly Nikon news flash #440


→ The 2017 Complete Photography Bundle by 5DayDeal is back: you can get $2,500 worth of photography education for $117 (96% off).


→ New: Nikon D850 Menu and Custom Settings Setup Guide.


→ The current Nikon deals:


Just announced: Nauticam NA-D7500 underwater housing for the Nikon D7500.


The Nikon D850 won the Gold Prize at Digital Camera Grand Prix 2018.


Nikon received the Shokumon Award from the University of Tokyo.

→ DxOMark smartphone ratings explained.

New interview with Nikon on the D850 camera - any translation or recap is appreciated, here is the Google translation.

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  • Ali Moradi

    There seems to be more reviews about the Nikon D850 than actual Nikon D850 in people’s hands…

    • br0xibear

      There’s never been any D850 stock in the UK, apart from a few very early pre orders.
      It’ll be interesting if those waiting for their D850, have second thoughts when more concrete rumours appear about the mirrorless.
      Does anyone know why there are such a shortage of D850s, did they run out of parts?, run out of staff ?…run out of money ? lol

      • br0xibear
        • Proto

          and ebay scalping is still holding steady at $4300 – $4500

        • You are crazy good with these pictures.

          • br0xibear

            Oh that’s all Matt Groening…just a few mins of photoshop from me.

            • Selecting the right image is a skill. Not to mention flawless photoshopping….

      • Nikon should have done better for sure. It’s not like they did not have any headlights as to needed supply. Makes me wonder if some of it is on purpose. Demand generation. Almost 2 months now. Orders taken 08-24 with many prepaying. First ships 09-07 or 08 and limited after every 2 weeks. Disapponinting. But par for course for Nikon as the D800e was handled the same way.

        • Thom Hogan

          I think it’s a combination of things. They’re running really tight to the bone, so they aren’t overbuilding anything these days. I’ll bet that the bean counters forced a conservative number on the initial build out.

          • PhilK

            I’d agree with that.

      • Aldo

        2499 gray in a couple months

        • Thom Hogan

          Maybe.

          Nikon doesn’t seem to understand how their regional distribution eventually hurts them. But the SE Asia orders will dry up first, and that will begin the gray sales, as usual.

          • CERO

            Wont they just transfer the production of Asia to Euro and USA markets at first? (unless they accumulate too many units in asia)

            • Thom Hogan

              This is the part of Nikon’s feeding the gray market I don’t completely understand. Anecdotally, I’d say the answer is no.

      • Thom Hogan

        Demand exceeds supply.

        Manufacturing didn’t get a head start, so basically everything that was made in the first six weeks was shipped. We’re now in the realm of what is made every two to four weeks is getting shipped immediately. Nikon did a two-week buildup shipment in September. Not sure if they’re going to do that twice in October, but I think so.

        But the D850 isn’t a 50k unit a month build. It seems like it’s more 10-15k unit/month. That may be sensor-driven. Sensors just don’t pop off fabs in a couple of days. From initial wafer coming in to final chips going out can be as long as three months, so you can’t just “turn the handle to maximum” and get immediate response.

        • br0xibear

          The “demand” seems to be coming from D810 owners updating/upgrading. There’s loads of used D810 bodies for sale in the UK, WEX alone has 17 for sale on their site…and they’re still selling new ones.
          Good time to buy a very lightly used D810, as new, boxed, shutter count of 11,142 for £1839 (£2399 brand new).

          • Thom Hogan

            Absolutely true.

            This also puts Nikon in a pinch. They’ve now established about a three-year cycle to improve this key camera. So, come 2020, they need to do it again and get D850 users to upgrade. That’s going to be a challenge.

            • AnotherView

              Well Thom, the D850 is so good I’d be very happy to take a (well deserved) break from constantly upgrading.

        • ToastyFlake

          Do you know who is manufacturing the sensors?

          • Thom Hogan

            The current best guess is that Nikon is using the old Toshiba fab, now owned by Sony.

        • El Aura

          How flexible are the production lines for Nikon’s DSLRs and its components? Can the same factory easily switch from assembling one DSLR to assembling another one? And in regard to sensor production, does it cost (much) more to produce 5x the rate for six months and then scale down to 1x for two years than to run at 2x for 2.5 years?

          • Thom Hogan

            I can’t say for sure as I’ve not been to the Thailand plant or talked to key people there for awhile. But my sense is that, yes, Nikon can move production fairly rapidly from one model to another as long as the parts supplies let them.

            Sensors tend to be created in batches. You don’t just put a sensor back into production to make a few more from time to time. To get price, you commit to a number, and commit to fixed batch quantities with fixed run dates.

    • Amir

      Did you get your D850 that you have purchased/pre-ordered from multiple sources?

      • Ali Moradi

        Nope. Still waiting.

  • Mike Gregory

    the D810 seems conspicuous by its absence in the sales

    • TwoStrayCats

      I’m glad I’m not the only one to notice that…

  • Santiago Villamil

    Anyones knows of the quality of any of the books included in the promo bundle?

    • Amir

      Meh!

  • Eric Calabros

    From the interview:
    “According to our survey, the trends for video in Japan, Europe, America and Asia are clearly divided. For example, in the question “Do you shoot movies from usual?” Only about 20% responded that they took pictures in Japan, while about 80% in Europe, the United States and Asia.”

    Ok, start thinking​ outside​ the Japan box then.

    • Thom Hogan

      Oh, you noticed that, did you? ;~)

      But even those statistics seem wrong to me, so I have to wonder how they’re wording the questions that net them those numbers.

      Get in your car. Close your eyes. Have someone tell you how much accelerator to use and when to turn. That’s a bit akin to how Nikon’s design-to-survey system works.

      Thing is, the camera business isn’t like the auto business. In the auto business we had lots of car guys (sorry gals, but they were all guys until recently) getting to top levels of companies and driving designs, innovations, and performance. While that distorted designs a bit, at least those doing all the product thinking were using the products and trying to make them better.

      We have bits and pieces of that in the Japanese camera business. Here and there you’ll find true photographers (camera guys) driving development, but not nearly everywhere, and upper management in many of these companies is now far removed from being a true user of the products they make. Nikon’s upper management now is mostly guys that killed the stepper business. Not sure how they’d know how to make good camera design decisions, but fortunately there are still some really good design leads in the Nikon teams that care. They just don’t get out much, so they tend to be myopic. And random surveys won’t help them.

      • PhilK

        “…mostly guys that killed the stepper business…”

        You really are fixated with blaming all Nikon’s woes on the semicon lithography biz, eh? LOL

        Also, there are tons of CEOs of successful companies in this world who are not afficionados of every one of their company’s products. I think that attribute is far, far down the list of what makes a good CEO of a large multinational company. (Tho a consumer products company still needs people in top management who are either excellent ‘product people’, or at least know how to hire/manage the right people to handle that.)

        Nikon’s management problems as far as I’m concerned are mostly due to poor strategic choices, resistance to change, and lack of management diversity. (eg young people, women, people from outside the company, etc)

        Despite all that, Nikon still has product mojo and regularly produces products which are state-of-the-art in many respects. And is even starting to show signs of listening more closely to users/industry trends.

        Their financial challenges and lack of scale in comparison to competitors like Canon and Sony also make matters worse by constraining their strategic options. That is a fairly new problem when comparing to what one might think of their heyday in the 1970s/80s/90s. Sony was a non-issue and Canon had not yet become 5x Nikon’s size along with vast electronics experience/resources which has now become absolutely critical in the photographic products field.

        • Thom Hogan

          And in your answer is the detail ;~).

          Nikon lost the stepper business leadership because of “poor strategic choices, resistance to change, and lack of management diversity.” Yet those same folk are now in charge of the entire company. QED.

          > Nikon still has product mojo
          Nikon has, as I’ve noted elsewhere, essentially one hot product now, the D850. The D850 stole quite a bit of the D500’s thunder and sales, and the D500 was their previous hot product. The problem Nikon has remains: they’re leaking market share very fast, and that was a huge problem with declining volume of the overall market. But it’s still a problem now that the market–at least this year with optimistic shipment schedules–has essentially bottomed out.

          Dealers are started to wonder whether they should carry Nikon or not, at least here in the US. They can’t turn most of Nikon’s inventory. What they can turn is D500, D750, and D850, and the former two really only with substantive discounts (which the dealers end up subsidizing on instant rebates).

          You make the point about a consumer products company needing top management that are product people. Nikon is a consumer products company (more than 60% of sales). So who exactly is that great product person in top management? ;~)

          You also seem to remember the 70’s/80’s/90’s wrong. True, there was no Sony. But it was Minolta that came in and stole Nikon’s market share, and rapidly so. Had Minolta not got into financial hot water with the patent suit from Honeywell, things might have been very different for Nikon. You cannot say that Nikon’s “success” in re-establishing themselves as a distant number two in film camera sales was mostly due to Nikon’s efforts. It was mostly due to collapse of a competitor.

          • PhilK

            Are you actually criticizing Nikon’s decision to produce the D850, because it may cannibalize some sales of the D500?

            Because I thought you had been criticizing for years Nikon’s apparent fear of “product cannibalization” for depriving the world of good/competitive Nikon products. Make up your mind. 😉

            I don’t think it’s a new concept that some items in a vendor’s product line will be popular/easy sells and others will be less so. Back when I was in photo retail this was the reason many companies required carrying the less-popular models if you wanted to carry the more popular models. Because most retailers want to take the easy road and only order the easy-to-sell stuff. But that undermines a manufacturer’s overall success, especially a company like Nikon or Canon which produces a vast variety of models and accessories. If they make an esoteric accessory specifically because it separates them from their less-comprehensive competitors, but users can’t find anywhere to try or buy that accessory, it undermines the manufacturer’s whole motivation to produce such accessories. (It also undermines a retailer’s profitability if they are looking at the ‘big picture’ long-term view, but most retailers – especially photo retailers in my experience – are A) lazy and B) don’t make very good strategic decisions.)

            Minolta became a much bigger factor after their Maxxum cameras were introduced, but in general they were #3 or #4 in sales (along with Pentax) through most of those years. Then they started making a bunch of “bridge” cameras – that ultimately weren’t that popular with customers – shortly before giving up on the camera business for good.

            As for “collapse of a competitor” – when you are consistently one of the top 3 vendors in an industry, for many decades, that started out with dozens of competitors and ends up with basically 2 or 3 at most (including yourself) and 3-4 also-rans, then I’d say you did pretty alright. 😉

            We all know that Nikon can do better, and many of us (including myself) have long mental lists of the areas we think they could stand improvement on, but the fact remains that they are still a major survivor of the industry, to this day. And that’s still a pretty good achievement.

            • Thom Hogan

              Nope, not at all. Just pointing out that Nikon has become very much a one-camera-at-a-time company. The entire product line is completely out of whack, and you can see it in the sales numbers now.

              If the product line was correct and price elasticity of demand being met properly, the D3400 would outsell the D5600 would outsell the D7500 would outsell the D500, and so on.

              What Nikon corporate is currently trying to figure out and arguing over is just that. They see that they can’t just count on a single product at a time to make their numbers and that their lineup below the D500/D750 is basically dying quickly. That has huge ramifications long term.

              I think you need to go back and look at the actual sales numbers in the film SLR era. Minolta Maxxum’s took the number one share in the 70’s. The suit with Honeywell was problematic, and slowed and distracted them while Canon and Nikon responded. But the overall impact on Nikon was they went from a strong #2 to #3 and in the 90’s back to a weak #2. The transition to autofocus basically is when Canon doubled Nikon’s market share. It wasn’t until DSLRs that Nikon recovered to a strong #2.

              Hmm. That’s almost exactly where we are today again: Canon 48% ILC market share, Nikon 24% ILC market share. Coincidence?

            • PhilK

              Do you have some special insider knowledge about precisely what “Nikon corporate is currently trying to figure out”?? Do tell.

              In the modern camera marketplace, with very short product cycles and fast product obsolescence rates, particularly for a large and diverse producer like Nikon, I’m not convinced that it’s realistic to expect a product to have a lock on a particular segment of the market for more than 6-12 months anyway.

              If the D850 is cannibalizing the D500, that could hardly be Nikon’s fault – they occupy fundamentally different market segments. Nikon seems to have hoped to position FF as the future of their ILC market (a reasonable strategy given the sensor IQ advantages and lens ecosystem compatibility) but customers screamed bloody-murder for years demanding a higher-end APS-C product, and Nikon finally gave it to them in the form of the D500, which has been, AFAIK, a very successful product.

              The issue with the D7500 is different. The whole D7xxx line existed, from what I can tell, primarily because Nikon never upgraded the D300/D300s, and stuck with a low-end body for that segment, which really was the extension of the D90 product. (A slightly newer, cost-reduced version of the D300)

              The main problem here was never producing a D300/D300s successor. Now that they have one, the D7500 is an anomaly. I’m inclined to think the only reason it exists is because it was easy to iterate the D7200 and produce a new SKU for their product catalog without much development investment – no doubt appealing to a company desperately trying to conserve resources. (Tho they didn’t forget feature-reduction to reduce D500 cannibalization. 😉 ) I’m not sure the D7xxx series serves an actual market-segment any more.

              Re: the low-end DSLRs, they are being heavily cannibalized by external competition, eg mirrorless, superzooms, even smartphones. Nikon is probably only culpable here for not having a MILC competitor, yet. This is not news, either.

              Neither do I think that a dedicated camera manufacturer in the smartphone photography era should necessarily assume that their low-end products will automatically outsell their higher-end products. Smartphones rule the low-end now. And maybe even the “advanced amateur” segment as well, before long. I’m thinking what Nikon needs to do here is eliminate the D7xxx series and move the D5xxx series a bit more upscale. (Or just replace it with mirrorless)

              Re: knowledge of sales numbers in the film era – you just put your foot in your own mouth by claiming Maxxum had #1 share in the 1970s, an era when that product didn’t even exist. 😉

              Now assuming you were actually referring to the 1980s, yes, Maxxum put Minolta on top for a while. But some believe it was not just the Honeywell suit, but things like Canon’s EOS tech (along with USM AF) and their ill-fated investment in APS that did them in, too. Nikon didn’t have that USM for years but still did much better than Minolta then – and Honeywell went after them for AF patent license fees too.

              https://www.inc.com/ilan-mochari/minolta-innovation-myths.html

    • Nakayamahanzaemon

      80-90% of Nikon’s sales are coming from ex-Japan markets. Nikon noticed it long time ago. Make sure that this interview is for Japanese customers. They wouldn’t have said that they are ignoring Japanese customers.

    • Captain Megaton

      The nuance there got lost in translation.

      The survey question was “do you ordinarily record movies”. 20% in Japan replied yes, compared to 80% in Europe, the United States and Asia.

      But, the question was not filtered by device. It included, therefore, people taking videos on their phone and uploading them to facebook. Something *way* more common in most of the rest of the world than it is in Japan, where only Youtubers do video, typically. (We’re a video-averse bunch, as a whole.)

      So the survey response was an accurate reflection of a unique aspect of Japanese society, but hardly relevant to the feature set of the D850. That section of the interview was just a big non-sequitur.

  • T.I.M

    The 24-120mm f/4 is really good, especially when you’re too lazy to carry the primes.
    :o)

    • Aldo

      It could be a good lens if you know how and when to use it… it will not replace primes

  • monocolor

    D750 prices have been at the posted ‘sale’ rate above all year.. outside of the may/june sale when it got cheaper (and they included the OEM grip). I’m really really hoping that sale comes back very soon.

    • Thom Hogan

      With no new cameras in the quarter, the D850 supply basically constrained and now hurting the D500 and D750 sales, yes, I think you’ll get your wish. Don’t know when. But Nikon really has no choice but to use price as a lever this Christmas season or else post abysmal results for the quarter.

      • Captain Megaton

        I tend to think they’ll push the D7500 hard this Christmas, as well as hawking the usual D5600/D3400 double lens bundle deals to the rubes.

        Looking at the prices above, they are pushing the D750/24-120 but not the D750 body. That fits in with giving the D7500/kit space at the $1500 mark, and while that operation is ongoing it’s unlikely we’ll see discounts on the D750 back to 2016 levels.

        (Note D610 is so completely forgotten Nikon should really do the right thing and just put it out of its misery.)

        • monocolor

          I’ve been following D750 prices pretty much daily since late May. I
          wanted to buy one then but couldn’t get the funds together in time (due
          to slow selling gear). Both the body and the body+lens kit are the same
          price since that may/june sale I mentioned. There really isn’t a
          unique sale offer at the moment; It is what I’d consider the ‘normal’
          price.

          Now my gear is sold, the funds are ready, and I’m ready to move to Nikon. Just waiting on that sale to make the most of it. Btw the actual may/june sale was D750, 24-120 f/4, OEM grip, 3rd party extra battery, and I think an SD card for 1996 and change USD… oh and 2% rewards.

          • Captain Megaton

            I feel your pain. The best time to buy a new D750 was the second half of 2016 when it was consistently selling for $1500. It’s hard to stomach paying more than that for a camera that’s a year older now, and indeed reaching the end of it’s shelf life.

            My advice is wait until after Christmas, especially if you are willing to consider buying used. Nikon’s mirrorless announcement, widespread availability of the D850, discounts on the D810, possible rumors of a D750 replacement could combine to really soften the D750 market.

            • PhilK

              If you put any stock in the DPreview stats, it seems that the D750 is still quite a popular model.

              In fact, seems to me that the appearance of the D850 only increased its profile in user surveys there. (Presumably because the D850 then became the “halo” product, and the D750 become the model a lot of people ultimately bought or wanted to buy because they can’t afford/justify the price of the D850.)

            • Captain Megaton

              I had imagined demand must be tailing off. It’s been out 3 years already. I could be wrong though. It’s a great camera (still!) and there isn’t any obvious competition (6DII having derped itself, and, well, K-1 isn’t on most people’s radar).

  • Thom Hogan

    It’s a pretty decent 28-60mm lens. The extremes don’t perform to the levels we want with the current top cameras, though (e.g. D850).

    More and more I’m thinking the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5 is the better choice for all-around convenience. I’m going to have to test that theory soon.

    • Aldo

      Please do test theories before judgement Thom =). The 24-85 is a much inferior lens by comparison.

    • Tony Beach

      I’ve tried two copies of the non-VR version of that lens, and both went straight back. Weirdly, for a kick-around lens I’m still using the old 18-70/3.5-4.5 DX kit lens on my D800 — smaller files, decent enough image quality (particularly corner to corner where the FX lens falls apart even at 28mm), small, and it seems that to significantly improve on it I will have to spend quite a bit more money (not to mention more weight and larger files).

      • Aldo

        Even the 18-55mm vr 1 is better on fx than the 24-85mm.

        • Tony Beach

          My assumption would be you can get more detail at 85mm than at 55mm.

          • Aldo

            I wouldn’t be so sure.

            • Tony Beach

              It’s just an assumption. I would have to check, but I never got that far with my testing of the two copies of the lens I tried because they were so miserable at 28mm in direct comparison to the 18-70. I could try the VR version, which costs more, but I decided that if I want better image quality than a relatively slow zoom in DX format at 16 MP then I should just stick with primes — so I spent the money on a Nikkor 28/1.8G and it’s a fun lens with its short MFD, lowlight capability, very good corner to corner performance, and even reasonably okay bokeh for a wide angle lens.

              For 85mm I currently have the Nikkor 85/1.8G, so if it’s sharpness in the center at a relatively wide aperture or corner to corner moderately stopped down that you’re after, along with lowlight capability, then there is no better value at that focal length; its bokeh though is so-so as soon as I stop it down to f/2. My thinking is the best zoom lens in this range would be two cameras each with prime attached to them, and a little leg work.

            • Aldo

              I havent either… but I know for sure over all the 18-55mm is a better lens

            • Tony Beach

              Tried the original VR version, the copy I had wasn’t as good as the 18-70 I have. Sticking with the 18-70 for now, apparently can’t beat the value of it.

      • PhilK

        Whereas I use the old 28-105 AF-D in that range because A) very low and simple linear distortion, B) 1:2 macro mode and C) good enough IQ especially since I’m mostly still shooting 12MP files for now. (I would like to replace it but not if I have to put up with stuff like horrific linear distortion which for the kinds of subjects I often shoot is a major problem)

        I was excited when the G version of the 24-120 came out (the predecessors were terrible), but it’s pretty disappointing that its IQ doesn’t seem to even match the level of the older and cheaper 1st-generation Canon 28-105L which has been on the market since 2005. I don’t care about the extra 15mm.

        I still have an 18-70 DX that I originally bought for my D300, a very good value if you don’t mind no VR. (It’s on the “need to sell” list tho since I no longer make DX files.)

  • zipfangs

    “$2,500 worth of photography education for $117 (96% off).”

    I’m not sure why you keep posting these. It’s a bunch of $2 ebooks with inflated prices – $149 value! – sold for way more than what it’s worth. $149 really? Has anyone, ever, paid the retail price for your “posing guide”, when you can get the same info off youtube? I doubt it.

    96% off. Give me a break.

  • Aldo

    Yes the 80-120 range seems to serve no other purpose than to make it look good on paper. It’s important to understand what a photog is trying to accomplish with a lens and then buy it… not the other way around.

    • Bob Thane

      Personally, I love the extra reach of the 24-120 over the 24-105. It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes it that much more useful. Less important with high res cameras, but still nice to get as much reach in camera as possible.

      • Aldo

        Sure you are getting 120mm… but at what effective resolution though? My 85mm 1.g beats it… meaning I get much more detail cropping the 85mm image to a 120mm equivalent.

        • monocolor

          Your 85mm prime doesn’t zoom out to 24mm either. :cP

          • Aldo

            yeah but you are missing the point though.

            • PhilK

              If you need the flexibility of the zoom for the kind of work you’re doing, then you need it. No amount of lovely image quality will give you a wider angle of view on that 85mm when you need to do a specific landscape shot, etc. 😛

            • monocolor

              We’re discussing a 24-120mm zoom lens. I get your point about your prime, I just think it’s inconsequential when discussing a 24-120mm zoom lens. Your prime and the zoom are different tools for different ocassions and neither replaces the other.

        • Bob Thane

          Absolutely – compared against the Sigma Art at 105mm the 120mm might not be much of an advantage. But assuming that there’s no major barrier going from 105mm to 120mm I’d prefer that Nikon make a 120mm lens.

  • CERO

    Meh, Id keep my 24-105mm Sigma ART.

    • PhilK

      How has the AF worked for you?

      I was looking at that lens at one point too, but I keep seeing reports of inconsistent AF performance and other inconsistencies.

      • CERO

        I must have had a good copy because I 95% of the time, nail focus.
        Note that I got mine at Henry’s (Canada) and imported it.

        I also have a decent 150-600mm copy from Sigma.

        • PhilK

          Thanks for sharing.

          I still have that lens in the back of my mind. Maybe I should try renting one..

  • decentrist

    deals?

    • Yes, that’s what I said, right?

      • Captain Megaton

        FYI: He’s sarcastically implying the prices are not low enough to be worthy of that description. (see monocolor’s comment)

        • I know and with my comment I imply that I just report the facts, independent of whether some people like it or not. Many readers find the deals I post helpful and some don’t, but this doesn’t change the fact that those are deals = prices lower than MSRP.

          • Captain Megaton

            Don’t take this personally or as a comment on what you should or should not post, but a lot of people don’t equate “less than MSRP” as “deal”. Even I don’t. Call me cynical, but that’s exactly how marketing wants you to think.

            • PhilK

              Especially since, at least in the USA, the courts have allowed manufacturers and retailers to start colluding on price again, allowing manufacturers to set a “minimum advertised price” that retailers are not allowed to go below. So you rarely see any pricing differentials that amount to more than a few dollars from reseller to reseller.

              Forward to the 1970s.

      • decentrist

        well yes, they certainly are deals

  • peter w

    Why is it, that I am not tempted by a $ 2500 for $ 117 deal? 4500 minutes is quite a few days before you find out the worth of the deal…

    • silmasan

      Because they sound like someone offering a brand new D810 for $131 or D850 for $155? At least that’s how I see it… 🙂

      • peter w

        I suspect they will be delivering a brand new D40.

  • PhilK

    I would gladly put up with vignetting – something that can be automatically corrected virtually 100% with either in-camera or external image processing if one is so inclined – than the annoying complex/wavy linear distortion. (Which can not be completely corrected in post, and even if one does “correct” it, when you have to stretch pixels to do the “correction”, you end up with other IQ problems.)

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