Maybe Nikon wasn't so stupid after all in their product planning?

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ralittle2
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Maybe Nikon wasn't so stupid after all in their product planning?
1 month ago

OK, a lot of folks, including me (not that that matters) have criticized Nikon for their product roll-outs (not what the DP faithful wanted, quality control issues, etc.) over the past couple of years as well as not introducing some products we thought made sense (D750 & D400).  However, maybe Nikon wasn't nearly as dumb as we thought.  First, let's admit that the natural disasters in Japan and Thailand had a major impact, so what was Nikon to do?

We wanted a traditional revamp of existing products: D400, D750, D4 and so on.  And Nikon responded with the D600, D800, D7100, Df, and yes the D4.  They couldn't mess with their crown jewel.  So why did they do this? Probably for several reasons.

*  The flooding and earthquake really did muck up their plans. So let's go through the line-up.

1.  D600 - not discounting the qc issues, the D600 really was and is a good camera.  The traditional dslr market is shrinking or certainly not expanding greatly.  This was a way to introduce a product that doesn't have to compete in the point and shoot area where Nikon and every other camera maker is getting killed.  Disasters aside, certain planning had taken place, certainly in the sensor area, so this was a great way to expand the FF dslr market.  The dust & oil issues really blunted Nikon's attempt to shine.

2.  D800 - on one hand folks would've preferred a D700 replacement, but by introducing a 36mp camera, Nikon put a clear distance between Canon's 5D MkIII.  Instead of fighting it out in the weeds over small differences in this vs. that, Nikon had a clear marketing advantage with something that approached larger sensor camera quality.

3.  D7100 - sure folks wanted a D300 replacement, but I'm not so sure the tech was quite there to have a 24mp body that could shoot 8fps, so they put out a stop-gap measure in hopes of capturing some revenue knowing that not that far down the road they could introduce a D400/D9300.  We'll see if that comes to fruition within six months.  The extremely small buffer of the D7100 was done for a reason.  What that was we don't know, but it absolutely leaves room for something with a few more bells and whistles and a higher price tag.

4.  Df- OK, you got me on this one.  Even the Nikon marketing geniuses had to know this market was finite.  I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the camera, but they would never sell large quantities of the Df.  However, they had a catchy marketing campaign and folks talked about it, so Nikon was in the news again.

5.  D4 - nothing new here.  Same robust performance and build.  If Nikon had muffed this one up, then even the die-hard faithful might have moved to Canon.

That brings us to today.  Nikon has fixed the D600 with the D610.  The D810 is much improved over an already great D800, and the D4s is better as well.  And during that time there were some technological improvements which helped with AF and speed, so Nikon may finally be able to address some of the other holes in their line-up.

6.  D750 - Not having a sports/action camera that costs less than 6k is ceding that market to someone else.  Luckily no one has really stepped up to the plate so no loss there.  I think the market potential for a D750 is larger than a D800/810.  It will be a little quicker and a little less expensive plus some folks just didn't want to deal with the large file sizes.  The will make the D700 lovers happy for the most part so life is good.

7.  D400/9300 - ok, there hasn't been a peep about this camera in months.  Perhaps that by design.  It wasn't that long ago (4 months) that folks were certain that Nikon was finally getting their act together since Canon was going to introduce a 7D MkII.  Canon introduces the 7D MkII in a few weeks, BUT Nikon comes out with a FF camera that does all that and more (a lot of folks will be happy with the crop modes) and so steals the limelight from Canon.  And then at the same time or shortly after Photokina the rumors of the D400/9300 start to come out.  Suddenly, all the disgruntled Nikon 300s shooters (count me in) who were thinking of jumping ship (not me) are frozen in place.

*What about quality DX lenses?  It is my belief that Nikon thinks that a large portion of the serious photographers buy FF lenses anyway.  I realize that DX outsells FF by a large margin, but most of those folks are more of the soccer moms and dads who are happy with an all-in-one zoom.  And the quality of those zooms, by most reports, has improved greatly.

So, maybe Nikon just did the best they could (qc issues aside) with what they had at the time.  If Nikon does indeed introduce a D750 and shortly down the road a replacement for the D300 then we'll just have to find something else to argue about.  Maybe it will be pictures?  Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Bring it on Nikon, the money is waiting for you.

 ralittle2's gear list:ralittle2's gear list
Nikon D300S Nikon D750 Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II Sigma 150-500mm F5-6.3 DG OS HSM Nikon AF-S Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G +1 more
Canon EOS 5D Nikon D4 Nikon D4s Nikon D600 Nikon D610 Nikon D700 Nikon D7100 Nikon D800 Nikon D810 Nikon Df
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