How is a moderately priced high MP, HD video, FX Nikon even possible?

Started Jan 1, 2010 | Discussions thread
Thom Hogan
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Re: How is a moderately priced high MP, HD video, FX Nikon even possible?
In reply to ScottMac, Jan 3, 2010

ScottMac wrote:

I know what people here have said but it doesn't seem possible to me. What does seem possible is a 5k to 6k 18 MP with HD video, or nothing new at all with 18 or 21 or 24 MP from Nikon this year.

Let me ask you this question: what is in a D700-type body that costs Nikon US$3000 more than what's in a Canon 5DII body? Sensor is going to cost each of them about the same. DIGIC = EXPEED. ARM = SPARC. So just what parts are in a D700-type body that aren't in a 5DII?

I suspect that you're going to say "R&D," but Canon probably had the same level of R&D to do the 5DII, I'm pretty sure. Yes, a new 18mp sensor from Nikon would be new R&D, but depending upon its genesis, maybe not as much as you think. If it's scaled D3 tech, all bets are off on R&D cost.

So, what you're saying is that Nikon would be greedy (US$5000 to US$6000) or cede the entire market to Canon and Sony. Hmm. As I've said all along, if there's a high mp FX body coming with video, it's going to be in the US$3500 to US$4000 range would be my guess. Nikon likes to set high prices and only drop them if they need to. Indeed, that's usually a better long-term strategy than Sony's on the A850 (set artificially low price to try to gain market share and hope you have some way to make more profit in the future).

We understand that you don't get this. You've repeated variants of this several times ;~).

Take the Canon 1DM4 for example, it's 16.1 MP, 1080 HD 24P video and very high iso ability and 10 fps; it's $5,000. So tell me, how is Nikon going to release an 18 MP (or more) with 1080 or even 720 HD video, high iso ability and 10 fps for less than that?

Depends upon what Nikon thinks they're competing with. Since the 5DII outsold the D700 and the 1DIII (1DIV predecssor) was easily outsold by the D3, I wonder which one Nikon would worry about more? Beyond that, the 1DIV is a "speed" camera and fully pro-ized (built-in vertical grip, big battery, fast fps, and better weathersealed) than what we would expect a D700x/D800/D900/whatever to be. Different class of camera. Indeed, somewhere between a 5DII and a 1DIV, which is likely where the price would be.

Can Nikon put a D3X sensor in a D700 body with no video and no other improvements, just a D3X sensor in a D700 body and call it a D700X and sell it for a moderate price, something under $4,000?

Yes, they can. But in the case of that combination, they might shorten the life of the D3x in doing so. That's because the D3x isn't exactly a high-speed camera. The number of differences between what you describe and a D3x boils down to: integrated vertical grip + larger battery + 2 card slots - flash = US$4000.

Thing is, as you move up any product line, you price in more product margin. You almost have to, because if you don't, you don't make it back in volume. It's a tricky equation, and I can guarantee you there are bean counters at Nikon who spend most of their year trying to figure out the maximal pricing equation. I used to have to this for my product lines, and it took weeks to survey and calculate out. If you goof at this, you either leave dollars on the table, or you impact sales volume.

I don't know, would you want that, no video and no high iso ability of the D3s?

What, D700x, no video? Sure. If you want a D3x, you'd want a D700x since by definition it would be less expensive and not give up a lot. Smaller body is a better landscape camera, anyway.

Would anyone buy a D3X ever again if a D700X was half the price?

Well, that's an issue. A D3x doesn't differ enough from a D700x than a D3s differs from a D700, unless, of course, they crippled the D700x in some way (even slower frame rates?). But this is actually one of the reasons why the 18mp camera seems possible: it solves part of that problem.

I doubt it. I have to say, at this late date, sticking a D3X sensor in a D700 without video I think would turn people off to Nikon, I think it would be a step backwards.

Personally, I don't get it. I know you want a high megapixel camera with high end video in it. But most of us who want really high megapixel count cameras don't seem to much care about video. I don't recall Ansel Adams asking for a 16mm motion picture option in his 8x10" back. You've got a slightly different take because you see the same client have a video crew on the still set, I suppose. But I don't meet many videographers that want to be Ansel Adams or vice versa.

So, here's the question, how does Nikon make a moderately priced high MP camera with HD video now?

With the workers in the Sendai plant. Sorry, couldn't resist.

In my mind the answer is that they can't make a moderately priced higher MP with HD video, but they can make a $6,000 one and that's likely what they'll do, eventually. I hate to think that they would lower the price of the D3X to $6,000 and then put 1080 HD video in a new D3X and sell it for $8,000, I don't even want to go there.

Then don't. Take some more of those pills by your bedside and relax (or maybe you should stop taking them as they're causing your dreams to be nightmares ;~). The answer is near. Six weeks away.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (21 and counting)
http://www.bythom.com

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