Nikon's Long Term Plans

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Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris Veteran Member • Posts: 4,468
Nikon's Long Term Plans

In the above-linked interview with Rob Harmon, Senior Commerical Planning Manager of Nikon UK, and Neil Freeman, Training Manager at Nikon School, Mr. Harmon is quite clear that Nikon's long term plans include both SLR and mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras.

Statements such as "Our strategy is to run both systems (DSLR & Mirrorless) alongside each other. There are advantages of each and there are still users who prefer using an optical viewfinder and having the longer battery life you get with a DSLR camera. A lot of people are moving to mirrorless for video functionality and the size of the product. Our strategy is to absolutely run both products alongside each other," and, "Mirrorless isn’t going to be for everybody. Not everyone likes EVF’s, a lot of people really still like using optical viewfinders. Some people very much like the feel, weight and button sizes on a DSLR. Our strategy is all about giving the best of both worlds, so if users want great DSLRs they can go down that route, or if they want great mirrorless cameras they can go down that route as well. We expect to be investing in DSLR and mirrorless for the future," leave little room for misunderstanding. If Mr. Harmon is accurately presenting Nikon's plans, we'll see DSLR and mirrorless camera bodies, F-mount and Z-mount lenses being developed, displayed and sold, side-by-side, for years to come.

I have two questions: first, is he accurately representing Nikon's plans? Second, assuming his comments are on-point, what does that look like?

To the second question, does Nikon intend to maintain dual complete lines of products? SLR and mirrorless systems (cameras and lenses) serving the full spectrum from beginning photographer to seasoned professional? Will there be segmentation with DSLRs targeting one market segment while mirrorless targets another?

Earlier this year, a Nikon executive was quoted as saying they will definitely release a sports version of a Z-mount mirrorless camera. It was yet another statement indicating Nikon has the goal of migrating as many customers as possible to their growingmirrorless ecosystem. This recent interview seems to fly in the face of that strategy.

I have to admit to finding Mr. Harmons comments about running both products side by side and investing in both SLR and mirrorless systems into the future to be a bit incredulous. Personally, I'd love to see Nikon release a D6 and a D550 next January. I'd like to see a D860 built around a 60MP sensor. I'd like lenses and other accessories developed for these excellent SLR systems. Having said that, I'm having difficulty reconciling my wants with the cold, hard facts of the numbers.

In 2012, about 20 million digital ILC bodies were shipped, worldwide. This year, total ILC digital camera (SLR and mirrorless) shipments are on track to hit 9.5-10 million. The trend is clear: ILC sales are declining rapidly with SLRs leading the fall. Where is the business model that recommends splitting a company's limited financial and human resources between a product and market that is clearly in decline and one that at least shows some potential for growth?

If Nikon invests heavily in both SLR and mirrorless, is that sustainable?

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Bill Ferris Photography
Flagstaff, AZ

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