Best selling mirrorless cameras in Japan for 2012

Started Dec 29, 2012 | Discussions thread
peripheralfocus Veteran Member • Posts: 4,333
no inflated prediction

MichaelKJ wrote:

Thanks for providing a link to your source. Of course, if Nikon had been able to capture even 1/4 of the mirrorless market by now, I think most people would have considered it a success (regardless of failing to meet an overinflated prediction).

Michael, I know you strive to be civil on these forums, which I admire, but I think you're bending over backwards here. I know most of this is not news to you, so please forgive that I'm attaching this rant to your post.

Nikon may have made an overly optimistic sales projection for the 1 series, but if they did, we will never know about it. Because Nikon the company emphatically did not make any public statements about projected 1-series sales volume, and they won't.

Thom Hogan made what he himself characterized as a loose estimate ("If I'm reading Nikon's forecasts correctly ... it appears as if), based on Nikon's public forecasts of total ILC sales. There was no inside information; no briefing from Nikon, nada.

He made his guess based on taking Nikon's ILC unit sales forecasts (which include all DSLR models and 1-series models lumped together) and subtracting out his own guesses of DSLR sales volume, and without knowing what unannounced cameras Nikon might be including in their forecasts. He is quite clear about how he does his back-of-the-envelope calculations, and that's why he was careful to qualify his statement with the "ifs" and the "appears". His figures are not useless, but they are loose, and they aren't even remotely equivalent to "Nikon says".

Furthermore, he said as many units as "Olympus or Panasonic". Note the "or". It's one or the other, not both combined. And he's also guessing about Olympus and Panasonic sales volume because they don't publicize those numbers either. But roughly speaking, his guess would amount to a market share projection more like 20-25%, at the time Thom wrote that comment.

And then as an aside, the claim was transparently nonsense from the beginning. If Nikon had predicted gaining 50% share in six months in a market they had just entered, it would be roughly equivalent to me claiming I can high jump over a 30 foot bar. Does anybody believe that a $10 billion company that has been a leading camera maker for more than 60 years would actually say, or think, something that stupid? It's ridiculous. Nikon has never had 50% market share in any broad camera category, ever. (Well, maybe underwater cameras, with the old Nikonos, but I'm even skeptical of that.)

Bottom line: we don't know what Nikon's predictions for the 1-series are, or were. They don't tell those secrets. Never have, probably never will. The only thing we do know is that in their annual reports and other financial statements, for which they theoretically bear fiduciary responsibility and potential legal liability, they have characterized 1-series sales as strong. (I don't remember the exact word they used, but it can be found in Nikon's last annual report.) That's pretty loose, too, but at least it's an official statement, and Nikon could theoretically be sued for lying in those statements.

However, I agree that they will likely fail, or become a small niche product, but I also think that a failure of the 1 will force Nikon to bring out a different mirrorless camera.

Two things:

1) I'd be amazed if Nikon doesn't already have plans for other (i.e. additional) mirrorless systems (and, I guess, since I am often provided with advanced NDA information from camera companies, I should state for the record that that statement is based purely on my guess; I have no inside information from Nikon on that question.)

2) The vast majority of the camera market is made up of non-enthusiasts -- people who use cameras to make memories, not serious images. In the mid 1990s, when the total U.S. market for 35mm cameras was in the neighborhood of 25 million units per year, Kodak alone sold 70-80 million plastic, single-use cameras for $9.95 every year.

By far the single most popular consumer digital camera in the world today is the iPhone.

If you are in the business of trying to make and sell cameras, you have to understand what those facts, and others like them, tell you about the spectrum of camera customers. The 1-series is not designed for people on these forums.

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