To All You "Masters of Photography" Who Called Me an Idiot... Locked

Started 9 months ago | Discussions thread
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Steve Bingham
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Re: To All You "Masters of Photography" Who Called Me an Idiot...
In reply to kevinlee, 9 months ago

kevinlee wrote:

So Thom has spoken...and everyone is falling over themselves to heil the messiah.

On all things photography, Thom clearly knows his stuff. No arguments there. What's more, he can back up his professional opinion with sound argument based on meaningful, relevant expertise. Rarely does he say anything just for the sake of promoting his own personal brand. I admire the way he goes about his business and I respect his views.

But I remain unconvinced about his marketing prowess in this instance.

Thom says that with minimal separation between models and features, pricing tiers that make no sense and models that come and go in the blink of an eye; Nikon's product range is confusing.

He's right...it is confusing.

But I'm not sure that its right to think that Nikon has somehow designed this situation and is calling the game.

A point Thom fails to acknowledge in his editorial, is the fact that with Canon's market presence nudging 50 cameras, Nikon is not alone with it's tsunami of product.

Going on previous history, Nikon has rarely been first past the post in its race with Canon. Canon delivered the Rebel DSLR well before Nikon's D70 ever made it onto the retail shelf. And with a couple of notable exceptions, this pretty much set the scene for what was to follow in terms DSLR. Things were not really any different in the point and shoot segment, either, as canon trumped Nikon over and over.

Does this mean Canon was a better product? Absolutely not. In fact there are countless examples of where Nikon was superior, to the point of embarrassment for Canon - and others.

What this did mean, though, is that Canon set the terms of engagement in its quest to win consumer favour. It's strategy was clear...be first, cover all angles of the market and refresh interest in the brand at every opportunity. Suddenly cameras took on fashion icon status as new models were rolled out with breathtaking frequency to ensure even the smallest gap was well and truly plugged. Such is the ferocity of the market-share battle, Nikon has had little option but to go head to head with Canon almost on a model for model basis. Nikon simply could not afford to leave any holes in its product mix where Canon (or another major competitor) might get a foothold. Fail to update or plug a gap and the market reaction was volcanic as social media and interest sites lit up with vitriolic criticism. Witness the ongoing torrent of irritation and open criticism of Nikon at not producing a D400 or a D700S.

If you have any doubts about just how cut-throat this game has become, just take a look at where you can buy a DSLR these days (in fact any camera). It wasn't that long ago we bought cameras only from camera shops. Why? Because we valued the expertise and professional advice that a specialised retail outlet offered. Other retail identities may have dabbled in cameras...but SLR was considered strictly for the expertise of a cameras store.

But no more, it seems. Now, we can get cameras and associated equipment almost anywhere there's a cash register or computer terminal... Stationery and Office supplies retailers, whites goods and department stores: I've even seen digital cameras for sale in large hardware stores.

Twenty years ago Casio and Yamaha went down the path of blitzing supply channels and selling electronic musical keyboards equipment to any retail operation that would take them. The days of musical instruments being sold just in music stores was over. Now camera equipment is well down the same track.

So while I might agree with Thom's view that Nikon's product choice and prices are ridiculously overblown, I think it's really important he analyses more closely the root cause. Nikon didn't pick the fight, but it may be interesting to see what would happen to the photography segment if it chose to leave the ring and establish its own terms.

What? Am I missing something? How did Thom get into this?????? Funny.

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Steve Bingham
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