Why I think Nikon has been brilliant so far

Started Dec 3, 2008 | Discussions thread
Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: Why I think Nikon has been brilliant so far

rhlpetrus wrote:

1) The most cited argument by those who think the price is unfair is
that the camera costs much less to produce.

While I have pointed out that it's likely the D3x costs Nikon about the same to produce as the D3, I didn't say the new price was unfair. I've simply pointed out that Nikon has dropped the D3x at the new, unexpected-by-customers price without providing explanation or any sweetener. When you read it that way, you have to conclude that Nikon wants a higher profit margin on the D3x. When a company asks for more profit from their products, I think you have to expect customers to ask what's in it for them?

2) All Canon 1Ds series have started around that price and probably
next ones will be priced similarly, just like the D4x, etc.

As I point out in another thread, this amounts to casual collusion. If the companies met and agreed on that, it would be an anti-trust issue in almost any of the developed countries. It will be interesting to see what Canon does. If Canon drops 1DsIII or 1DsIV prices, then Nikon's gambit might not hold. If Canon keeps things where they are, then Canon is saying to Nikon "yep, we like that price point too, we'll compete there with you."

3) Price will certainly drop along the way, when and by how much no
one can guess now,

How much is easy: prices can't really fall below dealer pricing. Not without incentives from Nikon. When is a little tougher: if Nikon miscalculated and demand is weak, soon. If Nikon didn't miscalculate or demand is strong, then we'll see the usual arc on pricing. It takes nine months before the demand pressure lowers price on a popular product right now.

Now they have a 5DII, next Nikon will have the D700x.

We all assume this. It's likely. The unknown is how much will Nikon charge for it? There is a US$2000 differential on body builds for the 12mp FX sensor (D700 versus D3). Even if we scale that it implies that a D700x would cost substantially more than a D700.

5) Should Nikon have launched the D700x instead of the D3x?

It all depends upon what you think the price would be. What people would have expected is a US$2999 D700x, right? Or maybe US$3499 to justify the better body build then the competitors. But look at Nikon's pricing on the D3 -> D3x change. It implies at US$3999 or much higher D700x. In other words, we could have been hearing much the same pricing whine we're currently hearing. So, no, I don't think it makes much difference which they launched other than the fact that the price-sensitive only have a Canon and Sony choice for now.

6) I don't think so, they never did that, their very successful
strategy has been to launch a sensor at the highest level intended
and bring it down sequentially.

Correct. Nikon's modus operandi for as long as I can remember is: engineer new technology, put it in the flagship and launch, then push the tech down in the lineup.

9) That has been Thom Hogan's main complaint, that Nikon doesn't show
some explicit roadmap. Well, they don't need to do it anymore, it's
open and clear to anyone who has followed them for the past 2-3 years.

I wouldn't call it my main complaint, but yes, I have suggested for some time that Nikon be more open about their basic game plan. However, remember that most of those complaints were pre-FX. The real issue that was driving the need for a roadmap (and still is) is that we're talking about two lineups: DX and FX. We had NO information on FX until the D3 launch. We now have enough subsequent releases to see that the pattern is the same as we might expect. But now the roadmap need really boils down to the dividing point between DX and FX. And how lenses fit into that.

Aug 2007 D3
July 2008 D700
Dec 2008 D3x
Aug 2009 D700x
Jan 2010 D4

You were fine until here. Unless something changes, we won't see a D4 until 2011 at the earliest. What we'll see in 2010 is the s models. Given where things are, the s might be video and Live View improvements.

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Thom Hogan
author, Complete Guides to Nikon bodies (19 and counting)

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