Brutal quarter for Nikon

Started Feb 7, 2013 | Discussions thread
Cy Cheze Senior Member • Posts: 2,028
Prices: then and now

A Nikon F sold for $359 in 1959.  Since then, the consumer price index has risen roughly by a multiple of 10X.  Obviously, an equivalent consumer DSLR camera does not sell today for $3,590, but a lot less.  Until recently, a D5100 with two lenses sold for around $900 at some US stores.  A 5100 does a heckuva lot that an F never could.  However, a mere smart phone does a heckuva lot that the nice D5100 can't and which the D5200 can't either, and which it would foolish to try to match in the D5300 or any other successor.

Camera buyers get quite a deal, true, but the manufacturers are sure in a bad rut.

The industry tried 3D, which flopped.

Addition of WiFi and GPS contributed little, really.

People have stopped counting megapixels, maybe, but the impulse is to upgrade a phone, without ever thinking to get another (seldom used) camera.

Video is a tricky thing to upgrade, since most casual video looks pretty bad, regardless of the camera, and hardly 5% of the market ever edits video or cares for anything more than occasional capture of a party or funny incident.  A few clips, posted to Facebook, are enough.

4k video may fall flat, or worse, once people discover they'd need $50k in equipment to work with the stuff, and learn that wedding video and commercial clients won't pay for the added cost and would be unable to use it anyway.

Mirrorless cameras address a niche, but partly at the expense of cannibalizing DLSR or P&S sales.  The 2009-2012 increase in market share may flatten, and if low prices make the products unprofitable, all is for naught.

The inevitable solution will be to reduce the numbers of models and competitors.  The surviving market will be small, but pay plenty.  A D5300 priced at $3,590 might not find buyers.  A D900 priced at $30,000 probably will: a few pros who hang on in a tooth and claw Darwinian business, with help of a spouse with a "real job," and a few wealthy folks who like "retro" stuff.

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