Nikon’s stock is up

Just a quick update: Nikon's stock is up since they announced their Q2 financial results two days ago. Here is the last 5 days chart (for comparison the last time they reported bad news in February 2017, the stock went down 15% - it hit 1300, now it's at 2350):


Next is the 3 months chart:


1 year chart:


5 years chart:

Source

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  • It seems that the financial institutions or whoever is buying the stock like what they see.

    • Alexander Gray

      No! It has to be doom and gloom. The comments here said so!

      • Well, I assume that the people who buy the stock know more than the people who comment that Nikon is going down.

        • danceprotog

          Maybe they got a whiff of the mirrorless prototype technology and boom!!!

          • ITN

            Probably it’s the D850 which is selling well and giving an impression of strength.

            • Vinnypimages

              On most indexes, even before these figures and the D850, Nikon was graded as A for Growth and A for Momentum. It’s shares are about a third of the average price to sales so investors are pretty happy that it’s good value. They are cash rich and leaner than they were in the good old days. Pretty much only Canon, Leica and maybe Olympus camera divisions, apart from Nikon are making profits from ILCs. Smaller profits are always better than smaller losses even if only one is moving in the right direction.

        • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

          The investors may like what they see Nikon doing in making the company more profitable, reducing overheads of old inventory, reducing head count, factory space ( reduce wages, pension, etc ) and farming out their manufacturing and possible service to external vendors – saving overhead.

          The share holders may have been given one or more presentations where an outline of the future is given along with reports / figures of their recent successes, e.g., D850, etc

          One of the dangers is of course is long awaiting time of new equipment, pitching stuff at a higher and higher price tag, poorer customer and repair services. All of which may erode Nikon’s reputation and may make people switch or not buy as much Nikon equipment new again or for a bit or going for second hand / gray products.

          However 2018 is very key to Nikon in trying to bring out a second mirrorless system that hits the ball running at both DX (D3xxx arena ?) & FF (D600 arena?) along with a set of good lenses and a possible roadmap table along with supporting the F Mount lineup with some new updated lenses, e.g., 200-400 F4, 24-120 F4 etc.

          Also to manage the expectations of the existing customers who will hopefully migrate slowly over time to mirrorless and to gain some new customers in their Nikon 2 system.

          • Davidvictormeldrew Idontbeliev

            Opps sorry for my Jessica Fletcher (Murder they wrote) novel above…. lol

          • Thom Hogan

            The investors like the profit orientation, the sound fundamentals, and the increased dividend. The customers, well, we’re the ones complaining, that’s not a problem is it? ;~)

            • RC Jenkins

              LOL! ahh…the disconnect.

              hmmm…failure to adapt has historically never hurt big, lumbering beasts in the past, has it?

              Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some errands to run. I have to call a registered taxi service so that I can return my Jurassic Park DVD to Blockbuster, and then pick up my Kodak prints from Sears.

            • Roger S

              LOL

            • mikeswitz

              Not as long as we keep buying. Look, Canon and Nikon simply make the best cameras and lenses on a consistent basis of all the manufacturers still in business. Are either the first to innovate? Hardly ever. There are, comparably, few Sony, Fuji, Olympus, et.al. complainers, yet who is selling the most cameras. Have the big two missed opportunities? Of course. You and I disagreed a while back about Nikon making true Cine lenses, ala Arri, Angeniex (sp), Cooke. They are big and expensive but they are the best tools for the job. they might have broken even but it would have been great for the brand. Canon could have made a camera closer in quality to the Red, but they didn’t. “The investors like the profit orientation, the sound fundamentals, and the increased dividend.” The customers like the best cameras available for the price, regardless of the complaints.

            • Thom Hogan

              Just to be clear: Nikon management has essentially ruled out doing any product that “just breaks even.” I personally have grave reservations about the policy of only pursuing margins above a certain point across the board. I think that ultimately that does a disservice to your customers, particularly when you won’t open up the ecosystem to outsiders to fill the gaps.

              As for “consistently best cameras and lenses” I’d have to disagree with you on that. I’d put Sony in that same category, and more so than Nikon now. You seem quick to dismiss things like KeyMission, lack of high-end compacts, and more.

              As for Canon making a camera “closer to RED” I’m not at all sure what you mean. It appears that you haven’t really tried any of the high end C series.

        • Thom Hogan

          That would be a wrong assumption. Look at Kodak stock running up into the digital era and then eventually collapsing.

          In business school you “learn” that markets are always right, that they find the right price. In the real world you find that the markets are almost always either over anticipatory or don’t react fast enough to fundamental changes. In other words, stock prices tend to be too high until the really bad news hits, then they tend to go too low.

          • I don’t think the efficient market theorem says that if that is what you are referring to in business school. What it is saying is that the market is priced correctly based on the collective wisdom of the market, which may or may not be wrong. If you are predicting something different from the market and you turn out to be correct, you were not right, you were lucky.

            And with some cautions, I broadly believe that this is correct. Why? Because if you are an investor and invest as if it is correct, then you will probably do better than an investor that invests as if it is not correct.

            Now Nikon’s share price. For all we know they have a plan (don’t laugh Thom) and some insider has whispered into some outsiders ear to buy the stock. We have no way of knowing what is really going on.

            • Thom Hogan

              Oh, Nikon has a plan, and it was more than whispered into their primary shareholders’ ears. The cynic in me says that the plan was actually told to Nikon by the primary shareholders, then followed.

              “Priced correctly” is old business school think. The emergence of the quants proved that to be wrong, though in their investing they basically pushed things more towards priced correctly ;~).

              The problem with stock pricing now is that it is highly reflective of institutional investing, and at least partially based on information most of us don’t have access to. Any significant move by an institutional investor–and remember, at least half of Nikon’s stock is held by about a dozen such Tokyo-based entities–will highly distort the stock price.

              Right now, they all seem to be saying “yes” to Nikon’s dividend increase, which is higher than those institutions could get from interest bearing accounts. Plus, when they all act together, the stock price goes up, so another boost, though they can’t exactly sell to attain that price boost.

            • ZoetMB

              There’s another factor and that’s automated trading, which on at least several occasions has caused huge swings for no apparent reason.

              And there are also huge swings based on emotions rather than fundamentals and the fact that there are so many people playing the market who really have no idea what they’re doing. The market has in essence become its own currency.

              Both of those factors contribute to huge changes in stock prices on days when companies have announced nothing, there’s no major predictions of changes to their industry and no major changes to the economy. It doesn’t make sense, especially on days when no earnings are reported, that on an extreme day an index drops 5% one day and rises 7% the next.

              Take today. Markets been open for 100 minutes. Most of the U.S. indexes are off almost half a percent. Why? What changed between yesterday and today in the world? Nothing. Maybe it’s a reaction to Republicans losing some key elections and corporate fears that the Trump tax plan might not pass, but you’d think the market would have reacted to that yesterday and the indexes I believe were slightly up yesterday.

              And there are the companies with no profits who have huge stock prices and companies with great profits with terrible stock prices. And then there are companies that might pay great dividends, but they don’t make up for the drop in share price. I have arguments about that with my broker all the time.

            • Roger S

              “There’s another factor and that’s automated trading.” Yes, automated trading has nearly made traditional understandings of stock market activity and stock picking obsolete. The increase in price volatility in particular stocks has been striking.

            • RC Jenkins

              That’s the dangerous part to me: If “the plan was actually told to Nikon by the primary shareholders.”

              I also suspect this is what happened. And that’s probably not good.

    • FountainHead

      …and the financial institutions or whoever is selling the stock desperately want out.

      • Thom Hogan

        Nikon was one of the most shorted stocks in recent history in Japan. I haven’t checked lately to see whether that’s changed, but I suspect we’re seeing a lot of short positions closing.

        • RC Jenkins

          That’s not good.

      • Yes, but in the last few months we have more buyers than sellers.

        • FountainHead

          Um, define ‘more’.

          • This is how the stock price goes up – when you have more buyers than sellers, right?

            • FountainHead

              Well, no.
              It means that there was a meeting of minds between a seller and a buyer at a higher price than the previous meeting of the minds before.

            • Roger S

              The stock market is a collective activity, not a meeting of minds between individual buyers and sellers. You have a bunch of buyers and a bunch of sellers. Buyers want to pay as little as possible for a stock, sellers want to receive as much as possible. In the stock market, buyers compete with other buyers and sellers compete with other sellers to get the best possible deal. When you have more buyers than sellers, competition among buyers drives the stock price up. The buyer willing to risk the most (i.e., pay the most for a stock) will win that competition. When you have more sellers than buyers, competition among sellers drives the stock price down. The seller willing to risk the most (i.e., sell at the lowest price) will win that competition. This is all pretty basic.

              The rise in Nikon’s stock price naturally leads to the conclusion that buyers of the stock outnumber sellers.

            • Doug-e-fresh

              No, incorrect

            • Doug-e-fresh

              Yes, correct

  • Fly Moon

    Nice.

  • Eric Calabros

    I’m not expert on this, do you know why would anybody buy a negative growth company’s stock?

    • Well, maybe we don’t know anything 🙂 I don’t know, but many are in “the sky is falling mode” where I clearly don’t think this is the case.

      • Eric Calabros

        Investors don’t care about market share, they don’t care if Nikon become as small as Olympus imaging department. The question is how they concluded Nikon can survive in that small size and make nice ROI?

        • I disagree – if they think Nikon is shrinking, they will not invest in that stock. Will you? They must see something we don’t. Maybe it’s the D850 sales.

          • Eric Calabros

            Nikon is saying that they’re shrinking. Its in their report.

            • Like I said above, I don’t know – keep in mind that the entire camera market is shrinking. All I know is that the last time they reported bad news in february, the stock went down 15% – it hit 1300, now it’s at 2360.

              https://nikonrumors.com/2017/02/14/nikons-stock-almost-15-down-but-slowly-recovering.aspx/

            • Luca Motz

              As a very active investor myself I can tell you that you should stop looking at the stock price if you want to judge a company‘s health. Near to no correlation whatsoever. Nikon‘s stock price is up because they offer good returns right now. An investor couldn’t care less if the company is doing well with their products as long as the financial fundamentals are fine. Buy low cash in dividends sell high done. Nikon is a perfect example for the difference between stock price and actual market performance.
              1.We know Nikon will not go out of business any time soon > safe to buy
              2. We know Nikon has sound financial fundamentals > Shows potential for profits
              3. We know Nikon aims for high dividend yield > Cash
              Nikon might lose market share but as long as they can make the same profit the investor doesn’t care. The investor will sell as soon as people think profits will go down though.

            • Thom Hogan

              Well Peter, you’re mimicking Nikon management’s line here, and I don’t think it’s correct. The entire camera market stopped shrinking early in 2017. The 12-month trailing delta actually moved positive right at the start of the year and is still increasing. My own estimate of ILC shipments is going to be considerably lower than actual, and I was a bit more aggressive on mirrorless than CIPA’s forecasts.

              Here’s Nikon’s problem and the reason why you can’t believe their “market is shrinking” message. In the time that Nikon’s market share went from 33% to 28%, Canon’s went from 43% to 48%. That’s not market shrinkage, that’s loss of market to a competitor. Canon has maintained 48% across ILC in a year where the final numbers look like they’ll be a million units higher than last year, while Nikon has now slipped down more than another 5 percentage points. Again, not “market shrinkage,” it’s “Nikon shrinkage.”

              The problem, as I noted, is that there is currently no end in sight to this Nikon shrinkage. At some point, you start having to write down assets. Oh, wait, that’s starting with the Wuxi writeoff coming up. What’s next?

            • Ok, I will repeat that I know very little about finance – I usually buy my stocks based on the product companies offer. I have never looked into a financial statement. I own only a few stocks, including Apple and Tesla and I am very happy with my selection:) Now, to your comment – going down from 33 to 28% is not that bad considering that during that period:
              Nikon canceled product
              closed factories and offices
              started a major restructuring
              let over 1000 people go
              did not announce any major products in almost 2 years
              Still doesn’t have a mirrorless solution

              I think that 5% drop is actually directly related to the lack of a mirrorless solution. I will also say that the growth and success Canon is showing is a mystery to me. When was the last exciting product they launched? I get that Sony is basically starting from zero and is brining a lot of new tech to the market and creating a lot of buzz, but what has Canon done in the last 5 years?

            • Allan

              “I will also say that the growth and success Canon is showing is a mystery to me.”

              How is their marketing and customer relations?

            • It seems that they are pretty good. Is that the secret?

            • Allan

              Not my area of expertise.

              Thom, help us out, please.

            • Thom Hogan

              Partly. All kinds of factors are working against Nikon in the last couple of years. Nikon is also competing against themselves with gray market and “refurbished” (many of which seem to be product moved between subsidiaries), and yet the numbers still declined as bad as we’ve ever seen in a short period.

              Nikon cut staff pretty much everywhere.
              Nikon started outsourcing repairs. Repairs today now take longer than before, it appears, too.
              Nikon cut sales and marketing costs, including advertising.
              Nikon cut customer service hours.
              Nikon had QC problems with a lot of cameras.
              Nikon announced and then cancelled a line of cameras people were looking forward to.
              Nikon hasn’t had any Nikon 1 products in two years.
              Nikon is late with replacements, such as for the Coolpix P900.
              Nikon’s iterations of many products left a lot to be desired (D3400, D5600, D7500).
              Nikon hasn’t improved Live View/Video autofocus (Canon did).
              KeyMission was forced on dealers and failed big time.
              SnapBridge is worse than WMU in use.
              Lots of accessory and lens products just not in stock when you try to order them.

              I’m sure I’m missing about a dozen things that also happened in the last two years. Basically a long string of news going the wrong direction, with two high-end products (D500 and D850) running counter to that.

              Meanwhile, Sony has figured out how to have huge and positive visibility of every new thing they do (they’re spending more on marketing), is challenging Nikon right where Nikon should be strong (full frame ILC). Fujifilm is challenging serious DX, partly with all those lenses Nikon never made.

              Canon has iterated decently though not dramatically, hasn’t really screwed anything up, expanded into video, got a mirrorless set of offerings that add to their line in a positive way. Expanded CPS and offered it to all. I’m sure I’m missing a dozen other positive things.

            • Ivanku

              Canon also seems to get integration right in a way that Nikon hasn’t, and it has paid off in the adoption of Canon EF by other platforms (mainly video). Yes, Nikon has the very real benefit of backwards-compatible F mount, but third-party lenses sometimes have trouble working reliably with Nikon cameras and even Nikon accessories sometimes have compatibility issues with Nikon cameras. Needing to send lenses in for simple firmware updates? A wireless flash trigger that isn’t compatible with current cameras on release? Likely due to Canon’s domination of the market, the EF mount has now been adopted by RED and Panasonic cinema cameras, and third party manufacturers seem to sometimes release EF mount lenses sooner and in greater quantities than F mount. All of this isn’t really a pressing issue now, but it may be a glimpse of the future. What would bring third party manufacturers to jettison F mount products? With cost cutting happening at Nikon, how likely is it that they will solve their own cross-product integration issues?

            • ZoetMB

              Actually, I think it is a pressing issue now having to do with perception. Among all those people working in film, TV and web industries (which have expanded tremendously since the advent of original programming for streaming sites and people shooting directly for the web), shooting with pro video cameras, which are mostly split between EF mount and PL mount, if they’re using an EF mount at work, guess which 35mm camera brand they choose to work with at home? Unless of course, they’re shooting with Sony professional cameras. Guess which camera they’d probably choose to use?

              Nikon essentially gave up the pro industry to Sony, Canon, Panasonic and others. This always hits home when I attend the NAB show. Nikon couldn’t be there because they’d be laughed out of the room. In spite of the improvements in video on the D850, they’d be laughed out of the room.

              And Nikon doesn’t really care that 3rd party lenses don’t work well. They don’t see 3rd party lenses as expanding the desirability of the Nikon platform. They see it as cannibalization of their lens sales. And I don’t think that’s going to change although one thing they could do is to provide the “real” specs to third parties and charge them licensing fees and having those 3rd party lenses labeled “certified for Nikon-F mount”. But they won’t.

            • Ivanku

              I don’t know if a professional who uses EF mount products on the job wouldn’t choose Nikon for personal use. I think there is often a big distinction between products you use at work and what you use for personal projects. I think in some cases (perhaps many), it comes down to a tipping point in monetary investment. Now, this is just my personal opinion… But imagine this. You’re a videographer for work, have access to a lot of collectively owned gear, or are provided with gear. But you want a landscape setup for your personal projects / hobby. You really need one camera and one lens right? Nikon D850 with a Zeiss. That’s it, there’s nothing better in 35mm, and you’re set for a long time. But what if you need a fast telephoto for personal work / hobby photography? Are you more likely to spend $6,000 – $10,000 on a Nikon or a Canon? Suddenly, you might start to consider the risks of this investment, and the potential use of such a lens in other professional applications. I think Canon wins there, and that’s a problem for Nikon.

            • RC Jenkins

              Agree.

              I think Nikon’s first step is identifying themselves & their competitors.

              In this sense, I think Sony ‘feels like’ a company of technology & tools. “Let the camera capture the scene.”

              Canon feels like a company of ‘high end photography gear.’ “Use our gear & your skills to capture the image.”

              And Fuji feels fun. “Capture & share the memories.”

              I really like the direction Fuji is heading in. Their lens lineup & roadmap, body lineup, entry into video, Instax (and integration / direct printing from cameras), etc. Even though they’re small, I think they’re making very smart moves–and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them grow quite a bit.

              I think this is the type of area where Nikon should shift focus toward–how can Nikon appeal to the general public who’s interested in the social bits of photography but may want to take it a step further in the future?

            • RC Jenkins

              Sorry, Peter–but I disagree with the whole “it’s not that bad” thing.

              It is bad. You have to look at the bottom line and the fix, not the rationale or excuses behind ‘failing’. Cancelled product? Sure. But why didn’t they release a product that people would buy instead? etc.

              Nikon has lost market share in even DSLR sales to others, like Canon & Sony. Nikon doesn’t have a mirrorless solution or fix for declining market share. These are the bottom line facts. And this is bad.

              Canon has built a reputation among photographers & advisors–and that’s easy to defend when you’re #1. “All the pros shoot Canons. And my friends shoot Canon so I can borrow lenses & learn from them. And I see Canons everywhere. And they have mirrorless!”

              Sony is building a reputation on innovative specs sheets and through marketing–and they’re improving in practice. “Sony has the best sensors. And full frame mirrorless! And low light! And did you see how fast the A9 can shoot and track faces? Cutting edge!”

              Then the Panny & Olympus crowd with: “So small, inexpensive–and video and IBIS! Full frame is fake because Physics is irrelevant to micro four thirds.”

              And Fuji & Leica with “They get me. I just want to shoot JPEGs.”

              I feel as though Nikon’s reputation is something along the lines of ‘Nikon…thanks for the great DSLRs last night. But…umm…will you still be here tomorrow? Why didn’t you give me good lenses for smaller systems, like Nikon 1 & DX? Why did you release KeyMission? Why did you cut costs to where you had all these recalls? Nikon…are you afraid of commitment…?”

            • Just a few comments, I pretty much agree with the rest:

              “But why didn’t they release a product that people would buy instead?” – they did: the D850.
              “Nikon doesn’t have a mirrorless solution or fix for declining market share.” – maybe the upcoming mirrorless solution will fix that declining market share?
              “Panny & Olympus inexpensive?” You have to check the prices on the latest cameras and lenses, you will be in for a surprise.

            • RC Jenkins

              What I mean by the ‘product release’ is more along the lines of “Why did you invest the resources to design a cancelled product…repeatedly? Why didn’t you instead understand your market?” Nikon 1, DL, Keymission, lack of faster DX lenses, lack of larger-frame mirrorless, etc. are all examples of this. Yes the D850 (& many other Nikons) are great cameras. But in declining segments.

              I am also well aware of Panny & Olympus’ prices–and sizes. I was being facetious. 🙂 I’ve noticed that many Panny & Olympus users tend to think price & size is smaller for a comparable system–when it’s clearly not. Example: http://disq.us/p/1nn3hcv 🙂

            • Thom Hogan

              “People would buy”: how many people is that?

              The D850 is indeed a nice product, but what’s the total unit volume there? Is it even going to hit 200k in a year? I’m thinking not.

              Nikon WAS making over 20m cameras a year. Current estimates are 5.2m for the current year. Moreover, they’re predicting their market share holding at the 22% mark against industry numbers that are clearly going to be wrong.

              Yes, we all wonder what Nikon’s upcoming mirrorless effort will do. It’s going to be a tipping point one way or another. If people perceive it to be too little too late, game over, Nikon will continue to shrink as it just has D7500, D500, D750, and D850’s to sell. If people perceive it to be great, maybe they’ll turn a bit of a corner.

              But here’s the other problem we haven’t talked about: Nikon mirrorless cannot take away from Nikon DSLR success. Nikon needs at least the D7500 and up to continue to sell in the forecasted volumes. If all they do is replace DSLR volume with mirrorless volume, that’s not really growth.

            • ZoetMB

              They can do that if current Nikon DSLR users perceive the mirrorless as a great second camera and/or travel camera and if the mirrorless is desirable enough to get non-Nikon users or Nikon compact users to buy it. Otherwise, as you say, no growth (although it could stem further erosion).

              In a perfect world, they come out with something that is perceived to be at least as good as Sony and at a lower price. At the risk of repeating myself, IMO, it should be today’s equivalent of what the D70 was in its time.

              If they come out with a mirrorless that’s as good as the D850, but priced the same, I don’t think that’s going to help them much.

              Even though Nikon’s current strategy is margin over share, I think that with mirrorless, at least initially, they have to strive for share over margin.

            • thundrrd

              Just a thought reading your comment Thom – and all the other ones in the series – this is doom and gloom the way you are describing it.
              From what I am reading here in the comments it sounds as if the best Nikon may do with a mirrlroess offering is to stop some of their current users from leaving Nikon, but not actually bring in New users.
              Being a Nikon user for years and having a lot of Nikon lens/gear, I was thinking Nikon did good with the D850, but then the Sony A7rIII came out and to be honest, it is becoming harder and harder to stay with Nikon.
              For the first time in my life I am considering switching to another brand of camera. It will not happen right away as I really need to test other offerings out there, but it is clearly looking like doom and gloom for Nikon.

            • Thom Hogan

              Why would one switch if Nikon is making a good product for you? D500, D850, D5 owners surely don’t need to think about switching. Not at all sure what they’d gain by doing so.

              But you are correct, the implication of everything that Nikon has done in the last few years is that they have zero momentum at the bottom of the market, which eventually feeds the top-end stuff. They really need a good mirrorless system to begin reversing that, and I’m going to call it with my usual call: it all revolves around lenses.

            • Allan

              I thought the bottom of the Nikon market (D3xxx’s, D5xxx’s), buys less than 2 lenses per camera. What would this segment care if Nikon comes out with a mirrorless ILC(s) with only a few lenses?

              Do you think Nikon has given up on Coolpix-type cameras?

            • Thom Hogan

              The overall CIPA average tends to be about 1.75 lenses per body across all brands.

              But that figure is very deceiving. Let’s say that you bought a D70 and two lenses. Years later you bought a D90 and a lens. More years later you bought a D7200 and another lens. Technically, you’re 4:1 with lenses to bodies, though your “average” is 4:3, or less than the CIPA number.

              You buy into a SYSTEM. Even at the bottom end of the DSLR market the premise has always been about buying into a flexible system for the future. I’ve been trying to point out that Nikon is less flexible with “ecosystem” traits than any of the others. They just don’t share info about the mount, communications channels, etc. They think they can do everything the user needs. They think they can do that without announcing a road map for lenses.

              If it’s not about system, then just buy an RX10 ;~). Oh, wait, Nikon doesn’t make any of those.

              No, Nikon hasn’t totally given up on Coolpix. They have two basic “successful” ventures there: honking lenses on small sensors (P900, B series) and W (the former AW waterproof line).

            • Allan

              OK, I understand “4:1”.

              I will be surprised if Nikon regenerates a sufficient bottom-end market to “eventually feed the top-end stuff”. The D3400 and D5600 were feeble iterations and they killed the DL line.

            • Allan

              OK, I understand “4:1”.

              I will be surprised if Nikon regenerates a sufficient bottom-end market to “eventually feed the top-end stuff”. The D3400 and D5600 were feeble iterations and they killed the DL line.

            • Thom Hogan

              Your timing and use of statistics is misaligned to reality.

              The 33->28% decline was in ILC. There weren’t any ILC cancelled products. There were no closed factories or restructuring in that period.

              The 28%->22% decline again doesn’t involve cancelled products. A factory was announced to be closed but not yet done so nor the costs of doing so made yet. Restructuring and employee loss did occur, though. One might say that those things were partly because of the 33->28% decline, though ;~).

            • My points was that when you do all this restructuring and cost cutting, it is difficult to release new products which can lead to a drop in the market share.

            • RC Jenkins

              I think Thom’s point is that a drop in the market share can lead to restructuring & cost cutting. The root cause is unconvincing or irrelevant products / sentiment / anticipation.

              Nikon is still currently financially sound. This should preclude it from having difficulty releasing new products. Yes, it’s cutting some capabilities–but were those a bottleneck anyway–or were they excess baggage?

              So the real question is: Will Nikon’s new products appeal to customers relative to competition, at the time they release the products?

              This window is closing. The competition is growing and establishing itself. Nikon has an uphill battle ahead of itself, with the hill getting steeper as time passes by.

              Nikon needs to begin with an all-out surge to quickly establish a presence. Will they?

              Historically, no, they won’t. The danger is if they continue as is and delude themselves into thinking that they’re already established, as they were with DSLRs. They aren’t.

            • PedroS

              Shrinking doesn’t mean less value…

          • RC Jenkins

            They may invest if Nikon pays heavy dividends to incent investors.

            Of course, this is money away from investing in the core business. But if Nikon has plenty of cash on hand to operate & invest in growth, this shouldn’t be a issue. This could be the message they’re trying to convey: “we’re healthy and more profitable, so we’re increasing dividend payout.”

            But…what if…increased dividends are not a result of growth, but only a result of reducing operating costs & liquidating assets–like closing manufacturing plans, layoffs, etc.? As in, the company is shrinking but the profits are temporarily increasing…?

            • Michiel953

              What if???

              Institutonal investors don’t take investment decisions without a prior, thorough and ongoing analysis of the stock in question. So your use of the word “temporarily” might be considered frivolous, unless you’ve done a similar analysis.

            • Thom Hogan

              You’re thinking of Western financial institutions. Japanese ones operate a bit differently.

            • Michiel953

              yes, I should have added that, a lot more closely knit, more like a family with the industry they invest in. Still, they’re not stupid.

            • RC Jenkins

              What’s stupid about a positive ROI via high dividend? You can do all the analysis you want, and it often won’t show you some of these underlying issues.

              On paper, Nikon looks healthy itself and pretty healthy relative to the industry. But the industry itself is heavily changing–and not linearly.

              Many of the turning points are only starting to present themselves now–something that wouldn’t be easy to pick up on, and something that not everyone is convinced of.

              10-15 years ago, the numbers pointed to massive increases in compact point & shoot cameras. Who would have thought “cell phones will destroy this category?” How did Nikon 1 (Nikon’s mirrorless) do here also? A few years ago, analysis would have also shown that action cams were all the rage. How did Keymission do? etc. 20/20 hindsight is easy to claim.

              Some people at Nikon will say “Nikon’s market share is decreasing, but all DSLR sales are, so that market is tapped. No point in trying to grow here. We’ll survive by cutting costs because the industry won’t grow anyway. All we have to do is release any mirrorless camera, and we’ll be fine. We don’t have to rush and we don’t have to wow. Let’s see what others are doing and take a slow & steady, conservative approach. Let’s also do everything we can to preserve margins. No chances.”

              That strategy often doesn’t work in a fast-paced technology systems industry with innovative, aggressive competition who are now incumbents and who take risks to build market share.

              Nikon will be entering a new market, using only brand recognition and lens-vested, existing consumers as a stepping stone. It will still have to prove itself all over again.

              I’d bet there are plenty of people at or invested in Nikon that don’t quite get it. This is why we as consumers sometimes feel a disconnect between Nikon’s direction & products and what we’d like to see. If you’re one of the people who are saying “Where is Nikon’s mirrorless camera?” then you feel this disconnect. Analysts and institutional investors won’t.

          • animalsbybarry

            The D850 was Nikons savior
            Unfortunately a very competitive mirrorless camera cane out shortly after the D850
            Both cameras have advantages and are clearly the best two cameras available….but Nikon would be better off if this camera had not come out so soon

            • Sawyerspadre

              Just buy the Sony, Barry….

              To a many of the folks on this site, the A7riii is not really of interest. To them the D850 is exactly what they want.

              Agreed, the Sony sounds nice, if you are in the market for Mirrorless, or are so convinced by Sony marketing that Mirrorless is the future and that homo erectus is destined to use a Mirrorless camera.

              Some of us knuckle-draggers are happy with DSLRs. I don’t spend any time pining over whether or when Nikon will realease a mirrorless camera. If and when it happens, I will be glad to check it out.

              If I felt I needed to buy a mirrorless camera, today, I’d go out and buy a Sony, or a Fuji, in a heartbeat. That doesn’t make them better cameras, or worse, just more suited to a specific need.

          • Thom Hogan

            D850 sales are not nearly enough to move Nikon’s overall results bars.

            • I also think that the D850 :triggered a lot of lens sales.

            • ZoetMB

              Except that Nikon is projecting 720,000 fewer lens sales this fiscal as compared to last fiscal. That’s an 18.5% drop in one year.

            • That is a lot.

            • Sawyerspadre

              A lot of 18-xx lenses that would be going out with Low end DX bodies that aren’t moving.

          • ZoetMB

            Based on the information given, it looks like they bought because Nikon raised the dividend. If that’s the primary reason, it really has nothing to do with Nikon’s performance in the market other than the fact that they decided to reward shareholders. In a case like this, the investors don’t care that Nikon may release products slower or has dropped planned products. In fact, most investors don’t care when companies lay off workers even though that implies the company isn’t doing well. Usually, stock prices rise when companies announce layoffs because it means lower costs.

            Don’t read too much into this rise in the stock price. There are plenty of non-profitable companies who (usually temporarily) have huge stock prices. It has little to do with Nikon’s success or lack of. If you want to know how Nikon is doing, analyze the financials, not the stock price. And as I posted in my analysis on Tuesday and Wednesday and Thom posted in his on his site, Nikon is continuing to lose market share and that’s a big problem. And based on their forecast, there’s no other new camera of consequence coming this fiscal year. That means no mirrorless until at least April.

            People here defending Nikon keep on talking about the contraction in the market, but that’s irrelevant. The FACT is that they’re losing SHARE which means in spite of a number of great products, they’re still failing to compete effectively. Now maybe the forecasts are phony in that they want to surprise the market and once the D850 ships in quantity, we’ll see share increases in the 3rd and 4th quarters, but if we believe Nikon’s forecasts, either they don’t expect to ship all that many D850’s by the end of March or they’re not selling as well as we’re all perceiving, in spite of the shortages.

        • RC Jenkins

          Long-term investors do care about market share, but this isn’t directly correlated to share price.

          In this case there are probably 2 things driving investor decisions:

          1) Dividends. Nikon may choose to offer higher dividends to please & incent shareholders.
          This is one way investors get ROI in a shrinking company–the company pays out dividends instead of using that money for company growth. This is sometimes a show of confidence by the company, but it could be reactionary as well.
          http://www.nikon.com/about/ir/stock_info/dividend/index.htm
          You’ll note that Nikon has been increasing dividends.

          2) Futures. Investors may have confidence that Nikon shrinking has reached a low point, and Nikon will turn around and begin to grow again in terms of revenue & market cap. Sometimes the best time to buy stock is when everyone else loses confidence and the price drops.

          I personally suspect that this is being heavily influenced by #1 above. Ironically, it’s possible that board members and major investors are pressuring for a return specifically because they see the company shrinking. If this is the case, I would think that this would be followed by at least a partial drop near the end of Nikon’s FY in March of 2018. But if it’s being driven by futures, there’s probably confidence in Nikon’s strategy and mirrorless offerings for the next few years.

    • Michiel953

      Dividend, confidence in the future of the company.

    • Sandy Bartlett

      Because Nikon makes profits. Every year. last loss was a because of a special write off. They make more money selling cameras than any other company but Canon. They make more money than Fuji, Oly, Pany and Ricoh combined. And not by a small amount. They also have large amounts of cash. While shrinking, they are fundamentally sound. Do they need to step up their game? You bet. And quickly. But they still make great cameras and lens. Lets see how there long over due to mirrorless goes before we write them off.
      But the armchair financial advisors here and other forums that have them going under anytime soon are misinformed at best.

      • Eric Calabros

        “They make more money than Fuji, Oly, Pany and Ricoh combined. And not by a small amount.”
        Can you prove this with numbers?

        • Thom Hogan

          Kind of hard to do because two of those companies mask their profit numbers for this segment. But I believe it to be correct. Note that these companies together don’t have the market share that Nikon does. And each separately has to have higher costs than someone with big market share.

          • Eric Calabros

            Excuse me, Canon is around %50, Nikon %22-24. The rest should be more than #2, isn’t it?

            • Sandy Bartlett

              You forgot Sony. They are probably around 15%. That leaves around 10% for the rest.

            • Thom Hogan

              No. Read Reis and Trout, for one. Profitability declines with market share. Indeed, R&T claimed that you really need to be #1 or #2 to have good, maintainable profitability.

              Ricoh is unprofitable. Olympus is breakeven, basically. Panasonic is unknown as their results are now mixed in with other products in a way that disguises profitability, but a couple of years ago their CEO said they were well below the 5% ROI bar, which means, not very profitable. Fujifilm also disguises the profitability of the DSCs, though they’re starting to expose more numbers as they have continued success.

            • “Ricoh is unprofitable. Olympus is breakeven, Panasonic is unknown, Fujifilm also disguises the profitability of the DSC”
              And then we think that Nikon is in a bad position? I know, those companies have other businesses and Canon is doing very good, but still – I will repeat what I’ve said many times before: there will be a few other companies that will go down (in terms of their camera business) before Nikon does. There were already rumors that Ricoh (Pentax) and Panasonic may leave the camera business.

            • Thom Hogan

              2013, which would have been Nikon Imaging’s peak, 750b yen in sales and 60b in profit. 2017, 383b yen in sales and 17b in profit.

              Now, at first glance, that looks very good. They managed to sustain profitability (though not the ratio of it) when half their market disappeared.

              But the problem is this is a trailing indicator, not a leading indicator. And again, as you slide out of the strong top two positions in a market, your underlying cost fundamentals start to shift. They’ve shifted enough already that Nikon is taking write-downs. If they don’t reverse the sales slide, they’ll be taking more.

              Are they in a bad position? Not necessarily yet. But their position has weakened fast, and they can’t afford to have that continue.

        • Eamon Hickey

          Even limiting the discussion to the most recent year, there’s no doubt he’s correct. In fact, the total for those four companies is probably a negative number — i.e. a loss, in aggregate. Over a longer term — let’s say the last 5 years — he’s overwhelmingly correct, and those four companies have made a huge aggregate loss in cameras.

          Both Panasonic and Ricoh, as of today, are losing lots of money in cameras and weighing whether to continue in the market; that fact has been the subject of recent (last 6 months) articles in the Japanese business press.

          Last year, Olympus declared its first profit in the camera business in 7 or 8 years. But it was tiny (500m yen). Nikon’s camera business made 56X as much money (28b yen) as Olympus’s camera division last year.

          Fuji’s camera business regained profitability two years ago after several years of losses. We don’t know how much they made last year in cameras (they lump cameras in with several other products, including printing services, in their financial reports), but no observer in their right mind thinks it could be enough to bring the four companies together to a higher figure than Nikon.

          My own guess is that you could even add Sony to the pile and all five together still wouldn’t add up to as much as Nikon made last year.

          Again, however, current camera profits is not really the big issue for Nikon. It’s the trend, and the lack of a credible growth plan.

        • Eamon Hickey

          On another tangent, Sony and Panasonic both lost about $15b dollars (not yen) in the 2012-2015 period. Both have badly damaged balance sheets, in much worse shape than Nikon’s (which is reasonably sound).

          There is strong reason to believe that Panasonic’s camera business is at serious risk. Not Sony’s, but Sony, despite its huge size, is still under financial pressure due to its shaky balance sheet, and therefore its ability to invest in marginal businesses is limited. They’ve had some success in high-end mirrorless recently, but that success needs to be expanded and consistently maintained to keep Sony’s bean counters interested. They don’t have the luxury of floating marginal businesses like they once might have.

      • Thom Hogan

        I would add one thing to this, though. Japanese financials have this strange way of turning out to be fiction when pressed to the wall. We’ve seen far too many cases of that, where the bad news was some how hidden in what looked like good numbers.

        I don’t think that’s the case with Nikon, as I don’t see volatility or unexplained changes in their cash and debt positions.

      • Shutterbug

        Get out of here with your facts, they have no place in the NR comments where everyone is an armchair expert only coming here most of the time to complain about Nikon.

        • Allan

          lol

          I like to think of it as constructive criticism. 🙂

      • ZoetMB

        No one claims Nikon is “going under”, at least no one with any sense (although people said the same thing about Kodak). But ‘not going under’ is not the same thing as success and neither is just ‘being profitable’. Nikon is a public company and public companies have to grow. But worse than that is that Nikon Imaging is losing market share across the board as has been pointed out several times by myself, Thom and others. And they’re losing share in spite of having some very good products, but most of those products are at the top of the line. So even if you want to excuse their performance due to market contraction (although as Thom points out, most of the DSLR contraction is Nikon), they are failing to compete effectively against the other players who are playing in the exact same market.

        The biggest issue for me is that no one at Nikon seems to know why or is doing much about it other than cutting costs. In spite of some truly great products, Nikon has had customer service issues, product issues, inventory issues, etc. And it just might be that in today’s market, too many of Nikon’s products are simply too expensive for too many people.

        That was fine in the days when there were far more successful pros and newspapers and other publications had many photographers and paid for their equipment, but those days are largely over.

        As great as the D850 is and even though it seems there are these big waiting lists, if Nikon’s forecasts are real, the D850 will have virtually no impact this fiscal year which means the demand is a mirage created by Nikon’s inability to ship a decent number of units. Nikon is forecasting to sell 500,000 fewer(!) DSLR’s this year than last fiscal and that’s WITH the D850. Imagine if there was no D850. Nikon is only selling about 7000 DSLRs a day throughout the world. They’ve got 14 models. If they each sold evenly (which they obviously don’t), that’s now 500 of each model a day worldwide. Consider just Europe, Asia and the U.S. (ignoring the rest of the world as if it didn’t exist) and that’s 167 units per day, per model, for each major market.

    • FountainHead

      Potentially, sure.

      It’s a little theoretical, but there are only two reasons to buy a stock:
      –Hope of future dividends/return of capital
      –Hope of finding a Greater Fool to buy it higher
      That’s it. You may think you’ve found other reasons for buying a stock, but it comes down to one or the other (or both) of the above.

      Given the negative sentiment swirling around, the Greater Fool theory is likely out.

      So buyers are betting on future dividends and return of capital.

      • Roger S

        I think that you conclusions are generally correct, but I would put your original points a little differently. Classic strategies in buying stock:
        1) Growth strategy = same as your first point
        2) Value strategy = basically, hope of finding someone selling the stock for less than it is “actually” worth

        Negative sentiment should provide opportunities for buying based on value (e.g., given current profits and cash on hand), but the best hope for Nikon IMO is to attract investors based on expectations of future growth. As many have noted, however, the Japanese stock market is somewhat of a mystery to many outsiders, myself included, so I’m not really sure what is going on.

    • Thom Hogan

      Well, I don’t ;~). I’m a long-term investor, so I pretty much need to see and understand the growth potential before investing in something.

    • ZoetMB

      Because people don’t necessarily buy on the fundamentals. If they did, stocks with low price/earnings ratios would see the highest growth. Also, many people short stocks where they make money when the price drops. One of the problems in today’s world is that short sellers will go on the web and badmouth a company because they want to see the stock price drop. There’s also this concept (I forget what it’s called) where you essentially loan out your stocks and someone takes an option on those stocks where they have some period, say 30 days, to exercise the option. If the stock price goes up, they exercise the option because the price you put it out to sell out is lower. If the stock price goes down, they let the option go because they can buy it cheaper in the market, BUT, you get a fee for the option, usually 1.5% per month. So this affects prices as well and there’s all kinds of stock manipulation going on far beyond my comprehension.

    • ITN

      If Nikon is moving from mass volume low profit consumer products more towards high end, expensive, high margin products it means the profitability goes up and investors earn more money. I could never understand the point of making masses of cheap, relatively poor quality cameras for people who do not care about photography. The world is polluted by the masses of consumer products which were bought only because it was the cool toy at the time.

      • Just like Leica – they are doing pretty good and I think this will be the future of the camera industry – the volume will keep going down as cell phone cameras keep getting better.

    • Piotr Kosewski

      Price of a stock is not directly based on expected future growth (whatever it means).
      Price of a stock depends on future cashflow, i.e. the dividend (or other benefits to the investor). And the simple fact is: Nikon makes quite a lot of money, while most rivals make less or nothing.

      As Nikon is shedding unprofitable parts of the company, they are lowering future revenue, but they are improving future financial result. So the stock price goes up, not down.

  • Nakayamahanzaemon

    Nikon’s stock price picked up 29.3% this year, while Nikkei 225, Japan’s S&P500, gained 19.6%. Nikon is beating the overall stock market.

    • Eamon Hickey

      This is due to Nikon’s decision to finally tackle its semiconductor lithography problems.

      Nikon’s stock price was unusually depressed for several years based on the poor performance of that business unit, and Nikon’s refusal to address that problem seriously. Last year, Nikon finally amputated that rotting limb, which the investing community views positively.

      It’s understandable that photographers don’t care much about Nikon’s other businesses, but the impact of the semiconductor lithography group’s troubles over the last 10 years, and the decision to finally address them, has been by far the biggest issue for Nikon’s business health in recent years.

      Basically the market is saying, ‘okay, Nikon finally excised their biggest tumor, so their death is not imminent.’ I would not read this as ‘looks like a strong growth company’. It’s not that. (Also, sorry to mix my medical metaphors — i.e. cancer and gangrene. Only on my first cup of coffee …)

      • Nakayamahanzaemon

        The rise of Nikon’s stock price is somewhat as expected because Chinese companies are now expanding capacity for big screen TVs which shores up Nikon’s FPD equipment business. In spite of that, Nikon’s stock has been priced too low.

        But the problem is “how long does it go?” People say that the capacity building boom in China will continue till around 2019. So Nikon has to find a new cash cow until then. That’s why Mr. Oka, Vice President of Nikon, recently suggested a new business of 10 billion yen profits within the next 5 years. M&A is an option.

        At this point, camera is not a main target for Nikon or any other makers. Nobody expects the market to bounce back to its heyday in around 2010. That doesn’t mean camera is all dead, but it’s going to be a fewer models ahead.

        • Eamon Hickey

          Yes, Nikon certainly needs at least one more solidly profitable business unit of a decent size, especially since, as you say, they are forecasting a somewhat tougher environment in FPD steppers starting a year or two from now.

          They’ve been talking about medical imaging for 5 years now, but don’t seem to be getting any traction there.

          I can’t help thinking that the looming explosion of artificial intelligence — i.e. autonomous machines — should be a big opportunity for a precision optics manufacturer, since many of those machines will need vision. For example, Nikon already makes LIDAR systems in its metrology unit, and LIDAR is the core sensing technology used in self-driving cars. So I’ve been wondering about that broad field — i.e. vision for intelligent machines. I think both Canon and Sony have recently announced development in those directions. Any thoughts on that?

          • Nakayamahanzaemon

            Nikon is selling LIDAR products with a US company Trimble, but those products are only for aerial survey, not for self-driving. I’m not sure Nikon is getting into the self-driving business.

            In terms of car-related field, Nikon is bringing a CT scanning machine to Indonesia where car manufacturing is booming. That machine is useful to find defects in an industrial object like a car. The reason why Nikon shut down its own camera store in Indonesia is that they want to focus on more lucrative products like CT scanning machines.

            Mr. Oka didn’t specify what kind of new business they are getting into, but suggested that it’s not far from the current business field. A medical equipment company to sell microscope or CT scanning technology might be one of the targets if they do M&A. Nikon’s president has often mentioned health care, but the problem is that Nikon’s current medical division is not yet profitable.

            If a new business brings 10 billion yen profits. it will be as big as the precision division with profit margins at 5%. Nikon’s sales may expand around 30%. It’s a huge risk, but the current management may think that it’s worth taking it.

  • RodneyKilo

    This can’t be right.

    As all us experts here on the camera industry and technology and marketing and consumer behavior and product management have repeatedly pointed out, Nikon is rather stupid, their products don’t make sense, they have ignored switching to an alternative no- or slow- growth already mature tv viewing system, they are stuck in a last century time warp, and very likely lost the plot and went out of business years ago.

  • Spock

    Nikon couldn’t have chosen a better time to release the D850. People are enamored with the economy and they’re buying all kinds of stock. Companies like Nikon who were going through a rough time, are now a great buy because it’s making the effort to improve its gear and the bottom line. The stock will only go up.

  • Luca Motz

    I will post this again just so everybody can read this:
    As a very active investor myself I can tell you that you should stop looking at the stock price if you want to judge a company‘s health. Near to no correlation whatsoever. Nikon‘s stock price is up because they offer good returns right now. An investor couldn’t care less if the company is doing well with their products as long as the financial fundamentals are fine. Buy low cash in dividends sell high done. Nikon is a perfect example for the difference between stock price and actual market performance.
    1.We know Nikon will not go out of business any time soon > safe to buy
    2. We know Nikon has sound financial fundamentals > Shows potential for profits
    3. We know Nikon aims for high dividend yield > Cash
    Nikon might lose market share but as long as they can make the same profit the investor doesn’t care. The investor will sell as soon as people think profits will go down though.

    • Thom Hogan

      Yes, and you also have to take into account some differences in Tokyo-based investment versus Western-style investment. Almost half of Nikon’s stock is held by local banks/insurance/financials, where the dividend Nikon pays is greater than interest rates paid. As long as Nikon seems to be financially sound (#1, #2) these folks love #3. The stock price increase is a nice bonus.

  • Originaru

    I think those graphs represent, nothing but “guesswork”.
    I have no attachements for any brand, btw.
    Would be far more interesting to put those graphs alongside of the other companies.
    And about the Featured comment. Nikon should sell more cameras than Pany, Fuji, Oly and Ricoh, because almost all of them have a much broader spectrum to cover, so their business is not 100% dependable on cameras stuff.
    Nikon camera business is their main income if the business fail is probably the end of Nikon as a company.
    Everybody knows that Nikon is shrinking, the attempt to give another perspective thru a microscope is just wrong.
    D850 one of the best dslrs ever made, at least in sense that it gives every basic function we would have hoped for a camera when it launched at that price point.
    But they need to get in to the Mirrorless market today.
    If everybody is growing, but you are growing less, it means that you will be gone soon.

    • ToastyFlake

      The graphs are actual historical stock prices. How can that be “guesswork”?

  • animalsbybarry

    Here is what I see as a problem for Nikon

    Nikon needs to continue to innovate bold new products, including mirrorless , in order to compete withe everyone else

    What is happening however is sales are dropping and Nikon is aggressively cutting costs

    This willl (if it has not already) hamper thier ability to develope the bold new products they need to compete

    The D850 is probably the best DSLR ever made, but it is not a bold new product, it is a refinement /improvement/evolution on the D810

    As the mirrorless cameras available get better and better they will eventually (I believe sooner rather than later) displace DSLR, and Nikon has (in my opinion) waited far too long to build a high end mirrorless camera
    It is quite possible (probable) that the window of opportunity has passed Nikon by and they will not succeed in catching up in mirrorless

    Thier big advantage was thier superior lens collection, but Sony is rapidly catching up and will soon fill out the long lens gap

    Lastly there is Canon….they are increasing sales while Nikon is losing sales

    Nikon’s current strategy has (for now) made the stockholders happy because Nikon is making a profit….but I do not believe this is sustainable

    The crises is likely to come when consumers begin to doubt the future of Nikon and decide not to spend thier camera dollars with a company that may not be around in the future

    • Originaru

      If Nikon next move is mirrorless, they are good to go, while all other companies invested heavily on the development of the mirrorless system to become competitive on the pro spectrum, Nikon did not wasted resources on that, and will start from a good enough technology point, obviously using tech from another brands, but Nikon did not had the money to invest in the deep tech inovation to begin with, Sony played well with their beta cameras and media manipulation for a good amount of the time, only now Sony cameras are really maturing to the point of it being relevant on the PRO market. So Nikon shrunk for the high profit products directed to the PROs basically. Seem that all companies are going for the same line. Market is saturated of mainstream products, and to differentiate themselfs they say that they are putting the “future” in your hands for an extra hefty price and the possibility of having some problems since those are beta products. LOL

      • I agree, the expectation from Nikon for their mirrorless cameras is now very high. They cannot afford the mistakes other companies did.

        • HD10

          The Sony A9 and A7R III as well as the Panasonic G9 have raised the bar for a top end Nikon mirrorless cameras in terms of features and capabilities.

          But NIkon should also release an entry to mid-end level mirrorless camera in both APS-C and 35mm “FF” sensor size.

          What is not clear to me is whether the mirrorless camera will be using a new lens mount. I surmise that Nikon will consider adopting a new lens mount only if it can make an adapter that will enable full F-mount lens functionality.

          • RC Jenkins

            The Sony A9, A7RIII, and G9 have also raised the price. Nikon doesn’t need to compete at this top end yet.

            Over the past year, I think Nikon should have competed in the “below $2000” mark–but now, maybe Nikon needs to also (or alternatively) shift downward.

            And these cameras wouldn’t compete with that list.

            I also don’t believe Nikon needs “full” F-mount lens functionality. There’s only a single Nikon DSLR that has this: The Df.

            Instead, I think that 80% of users will be perfectly happy with AI & AF-S & later compatibility, skipping AF/AF-D or offering an alternate adapter. I believe AF/AF-D is the most expensive & complex component, worst performing results, and lowest level of appeal for photographers. So have the mount, aperture arm, and electronic components. Skip the autofocus motor.

            • MB

              I am not sure about performance because many AF lenses outperform many AF-S lenses and focus faster …
              Also AI aperture coupling is pretty complex too …
              The thing is Nikon doesn’t have enough E diaphragm lenses to ignore everything else … we will see but if Nikon manages to produce usable F mount adapter it will be an electro mechanical marvel…

            • RC Jenkins

              Any AF lenses that outperform AF-S can be due to the motor in the body or less expected precision. They also tend to focus less consistently–they weren’t designed for the precision we demand today. I have a few myself.

              But the question is: what proportion of mirrorless users will primarily (primarily) depend on the ability to AF these lenses? I’d guess a small proportion–like 1 in 5.

              The AI tab isn’t absolutely necessary on mirrorless cameras–they don’t have to stay open for a bright viewfinder as they do on SLRs. Mirrorless users will stop them down and get a live preview of the image. This AI tab solved a DSLR problem that is not a problem on mirrorless.

              The aperture coupling (different than the AI tab) is relatively (though less complex than the AF motor), but Nikon’s easily done it before with the FT-1. Sony did the same, with the LA-EA3. Sony also offered a second adapter with an AF module & motor (LA-EA2)–that cost twice as much.

              In other words, I think most people who want to adapt lenses on mirrorless cameras will either:
              ::Have mainly AF-S & later lenses
              ::Use fully manual lenses

              with a few people requiring the AF/AF-D lenses of the late 80’s / early 90’s.

            • MB

              It is absolutely necessary to focus with aperture wide open because otherwise MF would be impossible but also with contrast AF if you aim for best possible precision, and even more so with PDAF and with aperture above F/8 there is no other way at current technology level…
              I agree that AF is not obligatory , it may be faster but it isn’t as accurate as you say, but only single center AF point as with FT-1 also isn’t perfect …
              Also adapter must be made with lowest tolerance possible especially with current high resolution sensors…
              Let’s hope Nikon will do something extraordinarily here…

            • RC Jenkins

              Oh…did Nikon somehow retroactively add autofocus to AI lenses?

              You’re confusing the AI tab with the aperture lever.

            • ZoetMB

              They don’t need AI-S compatibility in a below-$2000 body with the exception of a Df replacement, if there ever is one. People buying a new body in that price range aren’t using manual focus lenses, except for some aging baby boomers who grew up using film and aren’t going to buy those new bodies anyway. And all current AF lenses are D lenses except for the 70-300 4.0-5.6G, which has already been discontinued almost everywhere except the U.S.

              But one could argue the opposite: That while bodies without the AF motor are less expensive, it makes the AF-S lenses more expensive, so Nikon should return to putting the drive in all bodies and produce new lenses without the motor to keep lens prices down, which have been increasing far beyond the inflation rate.

              Nikon has already killed universal compatibility. Most of the lower-end bodies require AF-S lenses and the AF-P lenses only are fully compatible with the D7500, D5600, D5500, D5300, D3400, D3300, D500 and later and there are a bunch of other exceptions for each body as well.

            • RC Jenkins

              I agree that Nikon doesn’t need AI-S compatibility in a below-$2000 body–but this is almost embedded naturally in the mount. For example, AI-S lenses can be easily mounted on a base Nikon D3xxx or the D7500 (which removed the AI-tab).

              A quick note: I grew up using film, and I would (and have) buy a sub-$2000 body–they manually focus much better than DSLRs due to far superior focusing aids. I recognize that I’m a minority in this segment though.

              To throw this out there: mirrorless cameras tend to work best with stepping motors, not screw-drive motors. There are also variable limits to speeds, depending on lens designs, including focal lengths, distance & weights of element travel, etc. This ‘in-body universal motor’ is incidentally how Canon rose to prominence among pro sports photographers in the 90s.

              I totally agree Nikon killed total compatibility, and I don’t think they need universal compatibility with the most common adapter they choose to release. They should target AF-S & after, which also will mean AI lenses can be mounted and work just fine.

    • Thom Hogan

      “will hamper their ability to develop”: No. Nikon has plenty of resources available to develop whatever they need to develop. They are not cash poor, resource poor, or even idea poor.

      “Nikon has waited too long to build a high-end mirrorless camera”: Also no, but for a different reason. Canon didn’t build a high-end mirrorless camera, they correctly positioned mirrorless as an extension of their line. Nikon IS last to get to a reasonable mirrorless platform, despite being one of the first to mirrorless. That speaks volumes.

      • Eric Bowles

        It’s not as though Nikon is completely neglecting mirrorless ideas. The D850 has several mirrorless features – high speed frame rate, silent shutter, focus peaking, touch screen operation, focus shift, and Live View. Meanwhile they have pushed the bar much higher with major AF system improvements in the D5, D500, and D850, continued advances in conventional frame rate, bigger buffers, implementation of better battery life, and faster write speeds with XQD cards.

        • HD10

          To that list I will add electronic first curtain. Now let’s see what Nikon has up it’s sleeves when it releases cameras with quad-pixel AF during live view.

    • Eamon Hickey

      @ “It is quite possible (probable) that the window of opportunity has passed Nikon by and they will not succeed in catching up in mirrorless”

      It’s not too late. It’s only too late if Nikon can’t execute a mirrorless strategy well.

      This is one of the great benefits of strong brand equity — you don’t have to be a first-mover. You can wait, see how the market develops, then use your brand strength to make up ground quickly. This is exactly how Canon has played the mirrorless game. It’s how they played the digital transition.

      Now, you still have to execute well. If you don’t, your brand can’t save you all by itself. There are many examples of that. But there are also thousands of examples of companies with a strong brand position entering a market late but still eventually dominating it, if they execute well.

      Now, Nikon has squandered a sizable chunk of its camera market brand equity in the last 5 years. And this is one reason why that is so damaging — and, in fact, might be Nikon’s biggest camera business failure of recent years. With a weaker brand, you have less flexibility, less ability to recover from mistakes, and less time to get your execution right.

      That said, Nikon still has fairly good camera market brand strength, good engineering, plenty of good technologies, and more than enough money to invest in product lines. So they have the ingredients to do well; the trick will be combining them into a soup that tastes good.

  • MB

    Despite everything Nikon managed to not only remain profitable but to increase the profits… hence increased share value…
    Of course Nikon must not remain content with this situation but obviously Japanese investors do believe that Nikon will perform…

    • RC Jenkins

      What’s the formula to convert between ‘profits’ and ‘share value’ again…?

      • MB

        What is the formula not to? Or you believe that people will invest in company without a profit and a future?

        • RC Jenkins

          I don’t see a formula between ‘profits’ and ‘share values’ there. You just added ‘future’ in this post–this wasn’t there earlier, so you’re changing your argument.

          People invest in companies without a profit all the time. For example, recently, have you ever heard of a company called “Tesla?”

          • MB

            Have you seen Tesla stock value lately, anyway we shall see how they manage to stay in business in a year or two…
            So what is your point? That there are bunch of stupid people that are willing to throw away their money just to piss you off?

  • this just in:

    “Canon, Nikon and other imaging-heavy precision instrument makers are poised to capture higher operating profit in fiscal 2017 as camera demand rebounds. But companies focused on office equipment sales are seen struggling as that market continues to slump.”

    https://asia.nikkei.com/Business/Companies/Japan-s-precision-instrument-makers-forecast-profit-growth

  • RC Jenkins

    I do what?

    This is the AI tab:
    https://d1ro734fq21xhf.cloudfront.net/attachments/00ZvpH-437105584.jpg

    It has absolutely nothing to do with autofocusing. It is used to communicate the aperture of non-CPU AI lenses.

    This is the aperture arm:
    http://bradengunem.com/Blog/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/Leatherman-tool-repairs-a-bent-nikon-aperture-arm-in-the-field2.jpg

    These two are not the same thing. You’re confusing different concepts.

    AF-S lenses use the CPU contacts to communicate the aperture, not the AI tab.

    • MB

      Well i never said anything about AF and Ai …
      But you did say that Ai pin has something to do with lens staying wide open so I naturally assumed you are confusing it with aperture lever, or I misunderstood you?

      • RC Jenkins

        You did say something about AF & AI when you confused them, whether you knew or not.

        In your first response above, you referred to “AI aperture coupling.” This is the Auto-Indexing (“AI”) tab, which relates the lens’ aperture to the metering. This is different than the aperture lever, which opens & closes the aperture on non-E lenses.

        AI is because DSLRs keep their lenses open until the shot so that the viewfinder is bright enough. But keeping the lens wide open provides an incorrect metering value, so the AI relates the two through a mechanical coupling. This is only for AI lenses–non-AI lenses don’t work this way.

        So when you say that autofocus lenses have to AF wide open (which is not true–they can AF fine stopped down to a point), that’s not an issue anyway (at all) for non-AI lenses. They can open up to focus and immediately stop back down for the shot.

        And again, non-issue for mirrorless cameras with an AF-S adapter. If it’s AF-S, it will mount AI lenses just fine, and the Auto-Indexing is an irrelevant feature for mirrorless cameras. The only exception where AI is relevant is in the case of some PDAF autofocus with non-AFS AF lenses, where the lens needs to have a minimum size aperture for PDAF to work. Which is out of scope for the AF-S adapter.

        Maybe try learning instead of arguing.

        • MB

          You sad something about AF and Ai too … so what?
          Why are you inventing all this stuff?

          • RC Jenkins

            I didn’t invent anything. The “something” I said is very clear. This isn’t a live conversation–it’s written above. I can’t help that you don’t have the technical skills or knowledge to follow it.

            Here:
            https://www.dpreview.com/articles/6287665194/understanding-old-nikon-lenses-ai-ai-s-af-and-af-s

            And so…(again)…if Nikon releases an AF-S adapter, it will work fine with all AF-S (and later) and AI lenses. The AF/AF-D lenses will be in manual focus mode.

            I feel like I’m responding doing all the explaining (probably because you are clueless), but you’re not. So why do you?

            Explain what you meant by this (single run-on) sentence:
            “It is absolutely necessary to focus with aperture wide open because otherwise MF would be impossible but also with contrast AF if you aim for best possible precision, and even more so with PDAF and with aperture above F/8 there is no other way at current technology level…”

            So, you’re saying that manual focus is impossible with the lens stopped down? Strange, because I can manually focus with my full manual Nikon lenses stopped down fine now on a Fuji mirrorless. And on my Nikon DSLR bodies.

            And you’re also saying that the lens always has to be completely wide open for AF to work. So if I stop a lens down to F/2 or F/2.8, it won’t work? So the AF system dynamically samples rays from further out depending on the lens?

            (no, you’re completely wrong again).

            • MB

              But you do invent things …
              When did I say that AF and Ai is the same thing … or that aperture indexing is the same thing as aperture lever … find that in the conversation above …
              AF-S adapter will not just work with Ai lenses, at least metering would not, unless there is an AI tab … so it seems that you still haven’t learned about what Ai tab is for …
              Good for you that you can use MF stopped down to F/16 (although I really doubt it) … for the rest of us seems to me as wide aperture as possible is preferred and for me it would be impossible otherwise …
              I was saying that AF will not work with current technology if lens is stooped bellow F/8 not at F/2.8, but even if the technology does improve it seems to me that AF performance would be better at wider apertures and you obviously do not know how PDAF works because it does sample the rays from further out depending on the lens …
              And you really should not be so pathetically patronizing with so little knowledge …

            • RC Jenkins

              No, I don’t make things up. I really don’t–I challenge you to point to a single example where I did. There are so many issues that you’re either trolling, limited in your ability to communicate, or extremely unintelligent. That’s an inclusive ‘or.’

              1) I never once claimed that you said AF & Ai is the same thing. Please quote me where I did. I said that you confused the AI tab with the aperture lever, which is clear from the conversation. I even included your exact quote above. AF, AI, & Aperture are 3 different concepts. You’re getting more confused now, because there are now 3 concepts, when you seem unable to concurrently process beyond 1.

              2) This is your first reference to metering (but not mine); and I never once said that AI metering works with an AF-S adapter. Please quote me where I did.

              3) You’ve obviously never heard of focus shift. It’s a common issue found to to different degrees on almost all lenses. Yes, I can MF just fine at F/16, though I never claimed that I do. Your phrase “the rest of [you]” includes only you and other incompetent photographers.
              So here’s another one you should read:
              https://photographylife.com/what-is-focus-shift

              4) Your “what [I] was saying” is not at all what you said. See your quote in my last post. And again, you obviously don’t know how focus shift works.

  • danceprotog

    Smartphones are not a complete cannibal of the camera market. I know a few photographers that got into pro/semi-pro cameras after delving in photography with smartphones at first. In a way, smartphones are getting people into photography that weren’t so serious about it before.

  • jimh

    I switched to Sony Mirrorless 3 years ago, but I still check in here, because when Nikon finally (!) produces a mirrorless, I want to see it. Nikon knows how to make a camera that feels right in the hands. Sony is clueless on that. Let’s just hope that Nikon doesn’t just try to copy Sony’s formula, but stays true to their history.

    • that is everybody’s hope, Nikon has to get it right and they have to come up with a full frame mirrorless – all the Sony buzz is about their a7 series, nobody cares about their APS-C line anymore

      • Allan

        Peter,

        What’s your opinion about the future of APS-C from any manufacturer? If it continues to exist, wouldn’t Sony want a piece of that pie?

        • they already have the a6300 – I just do t see much going on in this segment by Sony, Fuji on the other side release a new camera every 6 months

        • TurtleCat

          There is a lot of blindness from the manufacturers because they are after margins. Right now only Fuji seems to be targeting the APS size sensor market seriously. The others make some bodies but allow the lens line to suffer. APS outsells 35mm so I don’t really get why they don’t see that.

      • jimh

        Except people like me who use APS-C, and don’t care one bit about FF.

    • Allan

      You read a lot of complaining about the ergonomics of Sony cameras? What do people think about about the ergonomics of Fuji APS-C mirrorless cameras?

      • TurtleCat

        They aren’t terrible but they are clearly designed for small/light lenses. I had difficulty with longer and heavier lenses with the X-T2 even with the grip. It just isn’t as comfortable as the D500. The button placement is good and bad. Some of it is well thought out and some isn’t. The hardware UI (things like how the aperture rings work, dials, etc.) is a bit of a mess with all the overloaded functions and inconsistencies within their lens line and the camera bodies.

        All in all I found Fuji to be really good but ergonomic and good hardware UI within a narrower range of uses.

        I think part of the problem is that you really need a good, deep grip to add stability and none of the mirrorless makers really want to do that since it adds weight and bulk. But eventually I think we’ll find that to be the case. Right now it reminds me of some of the less expensive manual focus cameras of the 1980s with a shallow grip on a small box.

      • I had the X-Pro1 with 3 lenses when it first came out years ago and sold it a few months later. There were many things I did not like but Fuji has made a lot of improvements since. If you don’t need full frame, I would say they have the best mirrorless offering right now. Of course you can forget about any “real” tele lenses with that system.

  • See… look what happens when you design and build a camera body that people want to BUY. 🙂 Now get crackin’ on that D5s and maybe lay off the Keymission and most of the Coolpix models.

  • Jeff Curtner

    There is an old saying of stock price going up when there is a layoff or plant closure. Investors care more about increase of profit or reduction of loss than revenue.

  • AnnoyingOrange

    Nikon, please make your mirrorless awesome with some phase detect AF. I’m sure your future DSLRs will benefit from it too. Spare no expense (in terms of tech/features) like the D850. I hope I can switch back to a reliable Nikon from Fujifilm.

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