Maybe Nikon's waiting for the Z9 hype to die down before sending DSLRs out with a bang

Started 6 months ago | Discussions thread
Bill Ferris
Bill Ferris Veteran Member • Posts: 8,042
Re: Why Would Nikon Want...

mainoo wrote:

Bill Ferris wrote:

Any way we slice it, Nikon benefits from priming the customer enthusiasm pump and announcing downmarket products build around Z9 features & functionality as soon as possible. That only results in more people being excited about what's coming from Nikon.

No, not as soon as possible. Nikon's nest bet is to thoroughly soak up the Z9 market before releasing anything further. I predict the following timeline

Dec 2021. Nikon Z9 - if the demand stories are true, it'll take a year for everyone who wants one to get one. More people will jump on board if the camera lives up to the hype.

Dec 2022 Nikon Z8 - slimmed down version of Z9 (same form factor) with key features in place but priced at USD 3K+.

Dec 2023. Nikon Z6/7 III - same form factor - AF finally fixed and some features from Z9 (if they are smart, they'll keep the LCD) and priced same as now.

Dec 2024 Nikon ZX - they'll be working on this now to ensure that they retain the advantage they have over the rest of the field. Then rinse and repeat.

Flagship market size is much smaller than the market size for downmarket products.

  • D3: minimum 96,500 bodies sold ( )
  • D700: min. 540,000 sold
  • D300: min. 591,000 sold
  • D4: min. 76,000 sold
  • D810: min. 200,000 sold
  • D750: min. 570,000 sold
  • D5: min. 39,000 sold
  • D850: min. 245,000 sold
  • D500: min. 176,000 sold

Flagships are also a niche product. Their price, physical form, build quality, and functionality are designed to appeal to professionals and those who want the best of the best. Downmarket products don't compete so much as augment. In other words, a professional may own multiple copies of the same model and may augment that collection with downmarket bodies that are compatible with other shooting the professional does.

In short, I just don't buy that downmarket products cannibalize sales of flagships. If anything, a lower-priced downmarket product that shares enough of the functionality and user interface of the flagship may be added to a professional's kit. In any event, if a professional or enthusiast doesn't have room in the budget for a 6 kilobuck flagship, they're going to be looking downmarket anyway. That's a sale the flagship would never have had.

The timing of Nikon's announcements about downmarket products can certainly be debated. And given Nikon's history, a rational assessment may be that we won't see a Z8 announced until this time next year. Still, I'm convinced the best thing Nikon could do to leverage the positive response to the introduction of the Z9 is to let current Nikon shooters know as soon as possible that downmarket products are in the works. Even a development announcement of a Z8 or Z900 by the end of 2021 or early 2022 would be enough to stop the hemorrhaging of customers Nikon has experienced in the last few years.

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Bill Ferris Photography
Flagstaff, AZ

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