The future of Nikon 1

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
ForumParentFirstPreviousNextNext unread
Flat view
IVN
IVN
Senior MemberPosts: 1,594Gear list
Like?
The future of Nikon 1
9 months ago

It has been fifteen months since Nikon released its lukewarm update to the V-series, the Nikon 1 V2. Although the form factor and lack of controls have been addressed, Nikon still failed to up the image quality, which was one of the most criticized aspects of the whole Nikon 1 system. In fact, soon after release DxOMark tested the camera and found out that the new 14MP sensor was in fact even worse, in regards to color depth and noise performance, than the old 10MP sensor in the V1. Nikon added some features, like the new processor for even faster burst rate and AF, better controls and a more ergonomic body/grip, but also took some away, like the battery compatible with the V1 and D7x00, D6x0 and D800 series cameras and intervalometer. Although at that time almost every other camera in the same price class offered features like focus-peaking and bracketing, Nikon decided not to include those in a €1000 camera. To this day Nikon has failed to add those features to the V2 via firmware update, just like it has failed to remove mandatory image review on the V1. Zero product development, Nikon is forcing you to buy a much more expensive camera, should you want a software feature, that is artificially withheld (the hardware can do it, but Nikon doesn’t want you to have that feature at that price point) from the cheaper model. Sadly, no one at Nikon speaks Japanese, that’s why they, unlike Fujifilm, don’t know what Kaizen means.

As you can see Nikon did not only fail to improve on a camera across the board, which was perceived as underspec’d and overpriced at release, and had to be discounted heavily to clear inventory, but also decided to take away some more features, while stubbornly insisting on a steep price. Add to that the lack of native lenses, like macro and super-telephoto and additional fast primes, and the redundant slow zooms, like 10-100 of which there are two, and 10-30 and 11-27.5, and the incompatibility with Nikon’s flash system, and you can imagine why enthusiasts (and a camera at €1000 is targeted at those) might not want to buy into the Nikon 1 system.

Some of us Nikon V1 fans were hoping that Nikon would come to its senses, that it would stop withholding features, crippling and making cameras incompatible for no technical reason and that it would release a much improved V3 camera either at CES in January or at CP+ which is taking place in Japan as I’m writing this article. No luck. There is no V3, even though Nikon has stated to be “reconsidering” the Nikon 1 system as a result of poor sales many months ago. As you can imagine, it is not smart to imply to your customers that you might be dropping or fundamentally changing the product, without giving them some info on future direction you plan to take. No wonder that customers are holding of making further investments into the N1 system, before they see what Nikon plans on doing with the system and whether or not they will like it.

Unfortunately, and believe me as a long-time Nikon user and fan I’m very disappointed that I have to write this, Nikon has not learned a single thing from its failure in developing and marketing the Nikon 1 system. Instead of a massively improved successor to the lacklustre V2, Nikon officials are giving interviews at CP+, showing that they still don’t get it. Read for example the following excerpt.

"Compared to other players, mirrorless is different for us in terms of concept. Although the Nikon 1 is the same mirrorless structure, the intent of launching Nikon 1 is that it’s a total system for the current way that people popularly use the camera, which is to -- in a very convenient way -- carry the camera out with them, take beautiful photos in a casual and convenient way, and share it with other people through social media, like smart phones or smart devices."

Does that sound like a description of current Nikon 1 cameras to you? Nikon 1 cameras neither have touchscreens nor WiFi connectivity, so how come Nikon thinks that they are especially suited as an upgrade for users of smartphones and tablets? I could see Samsung saying this, since they are ahead of other MILC manufacturers in regards to WiFi connectivity and social media integration, but not Nikon. In fact, I would say that Nikon, as a traditional camera maker who is not known for its excellence in regards to software, is the furthest away from this consumer group.

Anyhow, the fact that Nikon sees the Nikon 1 this way, in spite of its lack of rudimentary features (WiFi, touchscreen, social media apps…) to address this consumer group, says to me that Nikon will from now on try to target this group, and most likely fail in the process.

As an old-school photographer who is not interested in these features, I’m less concerned with touchscreens and WiFi, than I am with EVFs, manual control and much needed lenses. The way I interpret this interview, there will be no awesome V3 with better high ISO performance, better EVF, peaking, exposure bracketing, standard flash hot-shoe and other features, enthusiasts like myself would love to have. Instead it looks like as if Nikon tried to make the strategy of offering crippled and partly incompatible cameras at a premium work, failed, and concluded that there is no market demand for an enthusiast MILC.

Well, there is, but the feature set has to be in line with the high price tag. You can’t charge more than the competition does, withhold features for no reason, make the cameras incompatible (battery, flash system, etc.), and expect the customers to be yelling “shut up and take my money!”.

Nikon 1 V1 Nikon 1 V2 Nikon D800
If you believe there are incorrect tags, please send us this post using our feedback form.
ForumParentFirstPreviousNextNext unread
Flat view
Post (hide subjects)Posted by
ForumParentFirstPreviousNextNext unread
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark post MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow