Is Nikon FAILING?! "Extraordinary Losses"

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by HDFan, Mar 6, 2017.

  1. HDFan macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007
    I just listened to a long (35 minute) podcast by Tony & Chelsea Northrup about Nikon's reporting "Extraordinary Losses" (

    The consumer compact market is disappearing. They have announced Cameras which never came to market. They produced a "Go-Pro" line which has miserable ratings on Amazon. Their Camera operating system is archaic. They have no touch screen capability. Their screens are poor. They don't have as many other businesses (as compared to Canon) to fall back on. And so on.

    Curious what other people think.

    His general conclusion is that, opposed to Canon, Nikon recognizes the problem and is trying to adapt. But turing around a 100 year old titanic is going to take time. Luckily they seem to have the cash to give them some time, but there is a deadline.

    This is opposed to Canon which seems not to be making the changes necessary to adapt to a phone driven camera market.
  2. Bart Kela Suspended

    Bart Kela

    Oct 12, 2016
    The document that you linked to only briefly touches the Nikon Group's overall challenges, much of which have NOTHING to do with the consumer camera business.

    Canon is also a large corporation, but not all of their business interests overlap Nikon's. Their consumer camera group is also only a fraction of their overall business.

    You can't just look at one segment of their operations (consumer camera) and arrive at a conclusion about the viability of the overall company's potential.
  3. neutrino23 macrumors 68000

    Feb 14, 2003
    SF Bay area
    What would you have them do? At the low end, people are using their phone cameras and not buying dedicated cameras. At the high end Canon is building in WiFi and has apps for iOS and macOS to connect to their cameras. These are limited and a bit clunky, but better than nothing.

    Two things separate them from camera phones: glass and large sensors. If you don't need these features why buy a dedicated camera?

    What suggestions do you have for Canon and Nikon in the age of the iPhone?
  4. pika2000 macrumors 601

    Jun 22, 2007
    Nikon's problem is also a classic Japanese company problem. There's a reason why so many Japanese brands are being sold to Chinese companies. The Japanese style management just cannot keep up with the agility of modern technology.
  5. Moakesy macrumors regular


    Mar 1, 2013
    Having just finished a hardware installation project into sites in Tokyo, I absolutely agree with this statement. In the sister locations of Hong Kong and Singapore, the sites just got on with getting the job done. Japan was severely held up by management, and it took twice as long (six months instead of three).

    In an International market, no country can ignore competition from other markets with different ways of doing things. The lack of agility was massively frustrating.
  6. Laird Knox macrumors 68000

    Jun 18, 2010
    You forgot "what happened next will blow your mind" in the headline.
  7. macs4nw, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

    macs4nw macrumors 601


    Canon is also struggling with the same problem, but being a much larger and more diversified business entity than Nikon, they are in a better position to take risks with new products that could appeal to the somewhat shrunken, but still vibrant section of the photography market that is positioned between the pro market and the 'strictly smartphone' crowd, i.e. serious amateurs or ProSumers.

    Personally I'm curious to see if Canon will refresh their now severely dated entry-level FF DSLR, the still terrific but now languishing EOS 6D, or if they'll go Sony's route by introducing FF mirrorless cameras à la Sony a7ll, a7Rll or a7Sll, to augment their APS-C sized M5 and M6 line. Or perhaps they'll pursue both those avenues.

    Now on to Nikon..... I had recently viewed that Northrup YouTube video, and while it's sad to see this happening, some of my confidence in Nikon had eroded already since their D800 left-focussing issues, and dust and/or oil spots on the D7100 and others.

    Not sure if this is related to their manufacturing shift from Japan to Thailand, and China/Indonesia to a lesser extent, but a semi-pro FF body-only, that streets upwards of 2½ Grand (at the time) should, in my mind anyway, not have focussing issues. It also took Nikon a good while to acknowledge and remediate those issues. Not acceptable. Step one, they must improve their 'off-shore' quality control issues.

    Their Coolpix cameras have all but been wiped out by the ubiquitousness of ever-improving smartphone cameras, while their mirrorless CX-sensored Nikon1 series cameras have apparently been a big commercial disappointment. Whether their recently introduced GoPro-competing KeyMission action cams will be a success remains to be seen in light of disappointing initial sales. I actually think the latter are great, but am hesitant to buy one as there's that possibility Nikon might abandon that line too if sales don't improve.

    In the interest of competition, as they enter their second century, I hope Nikon can turn their camera business around through adaptation and diversification.
  8. v0lume4, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017

    v0lume4 macrumors 68000


    Jul 28, 2012
    I saw a headline recently where Nikon said they are going to shift their focus to mid- and high-segment DSLR's. As they should.

    The compact market is gone. The only compact camera that I feel that still serves a purpose in the market is the Canon Powershot line. Vloggers like those cameras. And mayyybe some of Sony's offerings. Other than that, the only camera market that has a chance going forward is the interchangeable lens cameras (ILC's) market. Those are the DSLR's and mirrorless cameras that you normally associate when you hear the name "Canon" or "Nikon" or (as of recently) "Sony."

    I saw a graph the other day that showed that the ICL market is the only market where sales have remained stagnant while the rest of the industry has collapsed. I really wish I could find the graph again so that I could link it but I'm currently having trouble finding it. :(

    Which leads me to my final point: If Nikon can streamline their business, cut costs, and get back on track making just a few, really good ILC cameras I believe that they have a path to profitability. But long as they spread themselves too thin trying to make a bunch of cameras that nobody is really buying, they'll continue digging a deeper hole for themselves.
    --- Post Merged, Mar 9, 2017 ---
    Absolutely agree. If Canon and Nikon aren't careful, Sony is going to sneak up and bite them in the rear. Frankly it's already happening. I see a lot of photographers that I follow on Instagram as well as videographers (emphasis on the videographers) switching to Sony's mirrorless offerings. The image quality that you can get out of Sony's sensors are INSANE! And that's with a smaller form factor to boot.

    One of the features that I find so cool with Sony's mirrorless cameras is how they handle long exposure shots. You actually can watch the photo expose right before your eyes on the screen! (edit - At least, that's what I remember hearing a while back. Am i wrong?)
  9. TheDrift- macrumors 6502a


    Mar 8, 2010
    I think what Canikon should look to do is bring in Medium format at a price range of £3000-3500, and blow the market wide open again.

    When the 5d came out full frame was £8000 (1dx) the 5d was around half that at £3k (and pretty much no one thought you could get full frame so cheap!!) it took the market by storm and arguable kept that lead(ish) for 10 years or so.....

    Fuji have GFX at 6k ish and hassy the X1d at 7k....

    The DP Review at the time....

    "....Since the advent of the digital SLR many photographers have been looking forward to the day they could (afford to) buy a body with a full frame sensor which would mark the 'complete transition' of 35 mm photography into digital.

    The EOS 5D with its sub-$4,000 price tag was introduced to a fairly rapturous reception among existing Canon owners here on dpreview as well as the two ends of the spectrum from other brand owners; everything from jealousy and incredulous dismissal. It's pretty clear that two camps have now established themselves, quite a few people have nailed their preference to the wall, being in the "Full Frame or nothing" group or the "Cropped is better" group.

    ....If you want a (new) Canon full frame digital SLR the choice now is between the $3,299 EOS 5D or the $7,999 EOS-1Ds Mark II"

    ....only history will tell if the EOS 5D is the start of a full frame revolution or simply the first of a new niche format"
  10. spacedcadet macrumors regular

    Mar 5, 2009
  11. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    Speaking from a working photographer's perspective, who uses Nikon cameras on a daily basis:

    Ditch the compact camera range - who buys them anymore if they already own a smartphone?
    Ditch the KeyMission range - Nikon arrived too late in the game.

    Produce a DX and FF mirrorless camera. I'm jealous when I see a wedding photographer using a Sony a7II because there is no mirror 'clunking' during the ceremony.
    Produce more professional DX lenses.
    Update existing, but old, lenses at a greater rate.
    Consider entering the medium format market.

    Read photography forums to see what users are saying about their existing equipment, and to read about what people are expecting/would like in future equipment.

    Improve the DSLR video capabilities (codecs, and video focussing) so they can compete with Canon in this area.

    Stop increasing prices. Nikon is facing stiff competition from Sigma and Godox for lenses and flashes respectively. These third party products are now incredibly good (and in many cases, outperforming the Nikon equivalent) and cost about half the price.

    Stop crippling cameras with weird firmware/software decisions:
    1. Why can't a Nikon camera with wi-fi built in transfer files to a Mac or PC. Why are the applications only available for iOS and Android? Many photographers want to send images to a laptop or desktop computer so they can view and edit the images immediately as part of their workflow (events, studio portrait and still life, for three quick examples).
    2. Why can't a Nikon, when tethered, display the image that has just been captured in the camera screen? The tether cable needs to be unplugged to carry out a quick image review, which is crazy! I often have a camera tethered and the computer is a fair distance away. I need to either walk over tot he computer or unplug the tether, which is maddening! I wouldn't need to still operate with a tether if Nikon allowed me to use the camera's wifi to connect to a computer (see point 1!)
    3. Unless I own the top of the range Nikon, why can't I lock the setting dials to prevent unwanted shutter speed and aperture adjustments when I am working on a job where they are fixed (eg with studio flash where the power output of the flash won't be changing for duration of the day). It is insane I need to place tape over the dials on a 2k camera to prevent them being knocked accidentally, otherwise I run the risk of taking a series of shots with the wrong exposure, and I don't notice the error because I can't review the images on the camera whilst taking them (see point 2!).
    4. Allow me to change the aperture when using live view for photos or video.
    5. Crosshair autofocus points in other regions of the view other than directly in the centre of the frame. Placing a few on the 1/3rds lines would be really bloody useful!

    As far as I know, Canon cameras allow users to do all of points 1-4.

    I use Nikon because I'm so heavily embedded into the Nikon ecosystem with their equipment or Nikon compatible 3rd party equipment (lenses, flash, wireless triggers). If it were as simple as choosing a different camera body then I'd be switching to Canon or Sony immediately...

    As a new customer without any existing equipment burden, I honestly don't know why anybody would choose Nikon right now over the competition.

    I love the image capture quality of the Nikon equipment I own. Weirdly, improving that is the last thing they need to do to prevent me from eventually changing brands - at vast expense :(
  12. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    In Hell
    The problem is that who actually needs a better camera. Who needs 40mp. Who needs better autofocus. Who needs to upgrade, when the camera you've got is producing more resolution and cleaner images than pretty much any client needs.
    The cameras we've got already do the job.
  13. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    Yup, agree. The current generation of equipment really is incredible. I can imagine the second hand market for camera bodies really coming back to life (following its decimation during the film->digital crossover).

    Touch wood, over the years I've only had a one client complain to me on one occasion - and that was down to something I got wrong rather than the quality of the camera's file output. Most images I supply to a client have been downscaled when exporting from LR. Very rarely does a client insist on the full resolution file from the camera. Unless a photographer has a very specific set of needs, the current generation of cameras will most likely be more than sufficient for nearly everyone. I will keep on using my Nikon's until they become financially unviable to repair, which may mean I don't buy another camera body for a generation or two.

    That, unfortunately for Nikon, is the business problem they face... The DSLR camera body market has matured (the massive leaps and bounds of performance gains achieved by the first 3-4 generations of camera are over it would seem - we are now into iterative tweaks and improvements), and people don't upgrade their cameras in the same yearly fashion that they do their phones.
  14. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    Agree on that. Apart from the sensor size and better images at high ISO, the differences between my D7100 and D750 are pretty minimal, especially for the stuff I do.
    Would I need to upgrade in the next 5 years? Probably not. Will I?
    Can't rule it out!
  15. ApfelKuchen macrumors 68030

    Aug 28, 2012
    Between the coasts
    If Nikon was to move into a new market, I wouldn't pick medium format - larger cameras, heavier lenses... those will only appeal to a very small subset of Nikon's current user base.

    Video/digital cinema seems to be a much better market to chase, especially since today's photojournalism demands shooting both stills and video. Sure, Nikon's already in the business, but DSLRs are simply not the right form factor for video, since the mirror and OVF are useless (well, replacing the flipping mirror with a pellicle would rescue the OVF, but as always, at a cost in diminished brightness).

    It's time for the likes of Nikon to give pros a choice of bodies - traditional DSLR, and a mirrorless with an eye-level EVF and (gasp) perhaps even a choice of mirrorless bodies offering both still camera and camcorder ergonomics.

    I've said this often, but digital photography is electronic photography. It's parent is video, not film. Pro camera makers that persist in treating motion photography as a stepchild are limiting their horizons.
  16. Fishrrman macrumors P6


    Feb 20, 2009
    Hmmm.... I could be missing something here, but...
    ... Sony, Panasonic, Olympus seem to be doing well enough merging video into their still camera form factor. Even Samsung had a pretty good one with the NX1 until they unceremoniously jettisoned their digital camera product line.

    Of course, ALL of the cameras of the above companies used electronic viewfinders, vis-a-vis Nikon which still uses moving mirrors in all their DSLR's (or did I miss something).

    What can help Nikon?
    Get a camera line out that eschews moving mirrors for an electronic viewfinder, and be snappy about it.
    Get state-of-the-art 4k (perhaps 6k) into those cameras as well, and be snappy about that, too.
    In both full-frame and APS-C sizes.
  17. HDFan thread starter macrumors 65816

    Jun 30, 2007

    There is another category which I think might have potential. Bridge cameras, such as the Sony RX10-III with a 24-600 mm (35 mm equivalent) Zeiss lens and 1" 20.1MP sensor. I got tired of lugging around all of my Canon lenses and bodies (10 flights on my last trip to Antartica) and settled on the RX10-III. It has more features than my 6D (4K video, for example), does better in non-tripod low light (merging multiple shots), and weighs pounds less. A 600 mm Canon lens costs nearly $10K. I could purchase almost 7 RX10s for that amount of money.

    With 20 megapixels I can do extensive cropping and still get a decent picture. As most of my photos are taken when traveling with groups who are not photographers, I have literally seconds to get a shot. There is no time to switch lenses in order to shoot the penguins pecking at my rain paints, and then seconds later shooting some penguins or terns feeding their chicks on a remote ridge.

    I could actually use 40-50 Megapixels zoom to improve the quality of some of my crops when even a 600 mm can't fill the frame with the image.

    The expedition leader whose specialty was birds and uses Nikon (although an old one) took some shots and compared his to mine. We really didn't see any difference in the shots made from the two cameras, other than the fact that I could zoom in closer. He thinks he's going to ditch his Nikon now for the RX10.
  18. The Mad Kiwi macrumors 6502

    Mar 15, 2006
    In Hell
    So true, who needs more heavy crap to lug around.

    By the time you've got a couple of bodies, 4 lenses, 3 lights, stands, modifiers etc. heavier bigger camera gear is needed like a hole in the head.

    There are specialist who need MF gear, but it's a tiny market. Mostly they just use MF cameras to impress the clients, it's got nothing to do with the output. Clients love big cameras.

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18 March 6, 2017