Thom Hogan writes more about Nikon's plans for the coming year

Started May 19, 2008 | Discussions thread
Thom Hogan
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Re: Thom Hogan writes more about Nikon's plans for the coming year
In reply to balster_neb, May 19, 2008

balster_neb wrote:

Brooks P wrote:

Thom apparently attended a news conference held by Nikon where they
outlined there plans for the coming year.

Two things:

1. I didn't attend, but know someone who did who forwarded me several different third party accounts

2. I wouldn't say they "outlined" their plans for the coming year. This conference was the annual yearly results announcement. As part of that they always give a few forward-looking numbers, specifically DSLR unit volume estimates, Imaging Division profit estimates, lens volume estimated, and a few other numbers that apply to those of us who use Nikon cameras. The DSLR unit volume estimate in particular was very low (3.3m units for 2009 versus 3.1m actually shipped in 2008 and 2.1m units actually shipped in 2007). Obviously, they were asked about why they were predicting such low growth.

It's not clear what Thom means by "upper end" cameras. Does that
refer to DSLRs in general, or only the pro-grade ones?

The statements were in Japanese, and I'm not 100% sure I'm translating them correctly. The wording was vague but seemed to imply that high-end consumer (which I read to be at a minimum D80 but more like D200/D300) and pro bodies would be the primary emphasis in their upcoming year plans. You can kind of get that from the numbers, themselves. If Nikon had a D30 (or whatever you want to call it) up their sleeves that broke new ground in either price or performance or both one would think that this by itself would sell in the millions of units. Before the D40/D40x came out, it was easy enough to see their impact in Nikon's forward estimates: there was a clear uptick in unit growth predicted just prior to their appearing.

What's interesting is that only two years ago Nikon executives were quoted as saying that a US$399 DSLR was going to be necessary at the bottom of the lineup. We've yet to see that, and Nikon's forward numbers don't see to indicate it's coming from them anytime soon.

My take on the numbers coupled with other rumors is this for the coming year:

D40/D40x sell off the remaining inventory and it's gone
D60 is new low end
D80 sell off remaining inventory and it's gone
D80 replacement coming
D300
D3
D3x coming
FX-frame D300-type camera coming

Thus, I'm predicting that by Christmas the Nikon DSLR lineup will look like this:

D60, D90, D300, D3, D3x, and possibly the D10 or whatever the lower-speced FX body is called.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (18 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

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