Nikon's 5 year plan...

Started Oct 23, 2013 | Discussions thread
jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,444
Re: Get going on the D400 and the 7DII

sportyaccordy wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

sportyaccordy wrote:

Again, this is a small part of the market. Most of CaNikon's revenue over the last decade was from general consumers- not folks doing super specialized photography like action or concerts or whatever. And even if you consider just that market, it's the same issue. Many of the new cameras are not better enough to warrant the purchases. And even if they were, that's nowhere near the volume these companies need to keep going.

The average consumer is gone right now. Done. They are either happy with a cell phone camera or they already have a dSLR. Trying to sell d3200 dSLRs to this lot of folks is simply not working and not going to work going forward. The question for Nikon is what to do next.

They can try to create something compelling enough that it will entice the cell phone shooter to buy something else that they can use in addition to their cell phone camera. So far, they've failed. The Nikon 1 was probably their main shot at that and it seems to have failed.

What could they make? A small sensor camera won't outshoot their cameraphone, and a large sensor camera will be a burden. Hell, I rarely bring out my C3 and that is a pretty small high IQ camera.

If I were Nikon, I'd so some research aimed at finding a set of customers who are camera phone users, but are finding it too limiting for everything they want to do and I'd find out what the most common set of pain points are.  Then, I'd brainstorm with my engineers on what the best way to solve those problems might be.  Some of them could probably be solved with a better/different camera module built into the camera, combined with some better software. Some of them might be solved with a companion product that works with the smartphone (perhaps add-on lenses).  Some of them might be solved with companion products that communicate with the smartphone using the smartphone for internet connectivity.

Take one example (which I have no idea where it ranks in the overall list since I haven't done the market research).  Smartphones suck at taking pictures of kids sporting events (baseball, softball, soccer, football, volleyball, etc...), yet this is something that pretty much every parent wants to do.  Being able to capture your kids sporting events at a satisfactory level is not a small market. But smartphones are generally too slow, not telephoto enough, screen not all that visible in bright sun, etc...

If I were Nikon, I'd take an example like this and try to figure out the most appealing product that could work with a smartphone, yet meet this need for parents of young kids.  Packaged right and marketed right, there's definitely a segment of the market that will spend on a device to help them get better pictures of Susie playing soccer and volleyball than their smartphone can give them.  We're not talking pro-level requirements here, we're talking about a passable picture of an Susie taking a shot on the soccer goal that grandparents would love that would be great on the holiday card, that would make nice keepsakes.  And (this is an area where Nikon has done nothing), I think whatever solution should work with your smartphone for connectivity so you could take a picture with this other device and immediately share it with friends/family.

There are lots of things that Nikon could do to enhance their DX line (see Sony and Fuji and Olympus for many examples). Nikon should be at least doing things like that. But why wouldn't they also at least cater to the diehard dSLR user who knows they need a dSLR and is willing to pay for a good one?

I don't think they should get out of the DSLR game if they can keep making money at it, but the fact is the DSLR is not the future of mainstream photography, and if Nikon stakes their future on DSLRs they won't be a part of that future.

So, we're not so in disagreement here.  I'm just saying that there's a segment of the existing dSLR market that wants to buy something from Nikon and it's not even a whole lot of original engineering required as they already have the pieces lying around to make it, but Nikon isn't making anything this segment wants to buy.  That seems like a missed opportunity.   dSLR sales are declining, but Nikon is ignoring one of the dSLR segments that actually wants to buy a dSLR and knows that lesser options won't work.

If you're getting killed in the mainstream consumer market and you aren't even catering to the one of the higher-end segments of the market that already want your technology (action shooters), then what are you succeeding at? Pretty much nothing. My point was why do they ignore one segment of the market that wants their technology as is willing to pay for it? An $1800 D400 could be a pretty high margin product for them and could easily be best in class among all dSLR makers (as was the D300). It wouldn't single-handedly rescue the company, but it could easily be one successful tactic in the war.

This is a very niche market. Very, very niche. The volume on the lower end helps subsidize the stuff on top, and that low end volume is disappearing.

It's one way you keep selling as many dSLRs as you can.  If you're not willing to serve even the people who want to buy a dSLR, then death is coming quickly.  All you have to go is go to the sidelines of baseball, football, soccer, lacrosse, volleyball, basketball, field hockey games around the country (particularly in wealthier areas) and you see parents all over the place trying to get good pictures of their kids.   This is not very, very, very niche.  It's not mass consumer, but it's a reasonable market.  And, there are also many hobbyists who shoot other kinds of action that want something like this too.

FYI, the same argument goes for the missing D750 (the action shooter's upgrade to the D700). If Nikon has a D400 and a D750, I probably would have bought both. Instead, I've bought nothing from Nikon in 6 years and currently have a freeze on buying new lenses too because I'm not sure that Nikon intends to serve my segment of the market any more. Actually, because Nikon has nothing compelling in the smaller, lighter, but high IQ category, I actually bought a Fuji X-E1. Very nice camera. It should have been a Nikon.

I rather doubt that either of those actions very good for Nikon (no new camera purchase in 6 years or buying a Fuji). But, it's a direct result of Nikon failing to serve needs in the marketplace.

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People are still buying D600s and D800s. I think you are overestimating the market for $2000 action bodies. The future of photographic volume is definitely in camera phones, at least for the next decade

And your suggestion is that Nikon start making phones?  Sorry, but that's silly.  Nikon doesn't know the first thing about being a successful manufacturer or marketer of phones and it's a viciously competitive business with some of the largest tech companies in the world facing off against each other.

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