Nikon's PMA DSLR announcement

Started Mar 1, 2007 | Discussions
André BARELIER Veteran Member • Posts: 9,449
Re: Nikon's PMA DSLR announcement

Hi Darell,

I'm afraid that won't happen. I think Nikon is going to release more AFS lenses, instead of putting a motor drive in its future consumer cameras bodies.

I don't think a D40 + in body motor will come out. I'd bet a D60 (sort of D40, with 10MP, but without in body motor).

I think that would make sense, since a 10 MP camera with in body motor would be too close to the D80.
And a D40 with in body motor would kill the D40 sales.

BTW, as an A2 owner, are you happy with the D40 ? Have you got any additional lenses ? What makes me hesitate is the loss of Anti-shake. Even if the high iso performance of the D40 is excellent, I know I'll miss AS in some cirmconstances, like indoors low light shots : churches, museums.

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David Chin Forum Pro • Posts: 11,670
Jeff, have you ever wondered ...

... why camera sales don't seem to tie with related website stats? For example, if I recall correctly, the Nikon D50 is at Flickr is #1 in terms of photos submitted. The Canon 5D seems to have really taken off at Pbase, and has the most # of image views per day - this happened recently. And we all know which DSLR is #1 in terms of clicks at DPReview. That's why I was quite surprised by the market share and trend figures.

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Regards, David Chin
(D.7.0. & C.P.


André BARELIER Veteran Member • Posts: 9,449
Re: It's funny how things work out in Japan ...

Hi Jeff,

I think there are lot of people (like me), interested in a very small and light camera, but not a point and shot.

I still have an old Nikon film SLR camera, wich gave great results during the film days. But the package, with only 2 lenses, was about 2kgs.

Now, I'm 57, and I want a DSLR to decide myself what kind of picture I want (specially, I want to control DOF, wich is almost impossible with a prosumer, given the small sensor size), but I want to carry it everywhere when I'm travelling. I have a KM A2, 640g, great camera, but noisy, slow when it comes to AF, and excessive DOF, due to the small sensor.

That's why a D40 (or similar camera), with a good allround lens (like the 18-135) is very interesting for people like me.

Not pro stuff, but very good one : that's enough. A lot of people here think that this kind of combo is for newbies. That's a mistake : I'm not a newbie, but size and weight are a concern. And I'm sure there are many people in the same boat. Now, if I had to return to countries like South Africa, I'd add a 70-300 VR, and that would be perfect.

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justahack Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: Nikon's PMA DSLR announcement

Read my lips... B U L L S H I T

justahack Senior Member • Posts: 1,130
Re: It's funny how things work out in Japan ...

.. and the FF implemented on the 5D sucks. Even with most expensive L series glass the edges are soft!

Kpatel Contributing Member • Posts: 937
Re: Nikon's PMA DSLR announcement


I think you will be wrong.
Everybody including Thom Hogan says Nikon will announce D3H/D3 this time at PMA.

D40 just came out, revision atleast one year away.

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Lets Keep Art of Phtography civilized.


Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: It's funny how things work out in Japan ...

jeff-c wrote:

What confuses me, and probably even Nikon themselves is why the
small size and low price D50 didn't sell well whereas the D40
becomes an instant sales champion 18 months later. It's even a
lower spec'ed model than the D50 it replaces.

I'm not confused. It's called marketing. Marketing has both intentional and accidentally aspects to it. Nikon tends to get the intentional stuff completely wrong, but sometimes benefits from the accidental.

Let's see if I can at least partially explain what I mean. The D50 was introduced at the same time as the D70s. That was a mistake, I believe. What most people saw was "I can get a better specified camera for a little more money." Worse still, the D50 was initially sold as kit only, while the D70s could be obtained as body only. This made the price issue even more fuzzy, as someone with some existing Nikon lenses would be tempted by the "better specified body" and fore-go a new (and cheap) lens. But anyone that's used a D50 and a D70s knows that the D50 produces better ISO 1600 JPEGs out of the camera than the D70s. Where's Nikon's marketing about that? Oops! You can't say the cheaper camera is better than the more expensive one, can you? Even if only in a limited way. Or else you really mess with people's minds and get the marketing messages really wrong.

Fast forward to Christmas 2006. You can buy the more expensive 10mp bodies or you have a choice of two old, about to be retired 6mp bodies or one new 6mp body that you trumpet as being the lowest priced DSLR, that has significant size/weight advantage over the rest of your line, that has a completely rethought (and well thought out) user interface targeted at the entry user, and that has even better JPEG hi ISO noise characteristics than the D50. Hmm. Buy a D50, D70s, or D40? No brainer, in my mind, despite Nikon's continued ineffectual marketing. Indeed, the lack of messages about the D50 and D70s other than the perceived "on end-of-life sale" messages pretty much doomed both during that period. You know, if you're trying to unload your inventory of a product, it might help to actually tell people why they'd want it. That's even more true in consumer high tech, where people know that they'll be a new iteration every 18 months or so. Nikon missed SO MANY opportunities to end-of-life market the D50 and D70s that it just plain amazes me that they don't see it.

Still, at no point during the D50's history has Nikon had a particularly clear explanation of why you'd want it. AT NO POINT. That's even rougher than it at first seems because Nikon isn't exactly a company that historically has had more than tangential success at the lowest, consumer end of the SLR/DSLR market. Nikon's strengths come in the serious shooter market.

Thus, the other aspect of the D40's success comes in another weird way: it was relatively unique in the time frame you're talking about. Everyone was focused on selling more expensive 10mp bodies, making the D40 pretty much stand alone as a NEW, low cost entry into the DSLR market. Let's see now, buy the new, low cost 6mp DSLR or buy the old, about-to-be-retired low cost 6mp DSLR? Again, no brainer. And that success is not because of any brilliance in Nikon's marketing--it's simply a form of good timing.

Now I'll give Nikon full credit for that. If there is a D40x about to pop (and people ought to note I haven't announced a D40 Guide yet ; ), Nikon probably saw an opportunity to sneak in the D40 as a "timing play." If so, kudos. Well done. But marketing could have made that a touchdown instead of a field goal. And such trick plays don't tend to work over and over.

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Thom Hogan
editor, Nikon DSLR Report
author, Complete Guides: D50, D70s, D80, D100, D200, D1 series, D2 series

Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: Nikon's PMA DSLR announcement

Kpatel wrote:

Everybody including Thom Hogan says Nikon will announce D3H/D3 this
time at PMA.

Really? I'm not aware I said that. What I HAVE said is that the time frame for the next pro Nikon announcement is from PMA through summer. And you'll note that I have predicted a consumer "tweener" camera in this same time frame. Nikon's naming system seems to be "number of the week." I've heard everything from D40x to D65, with several numbers in between.

So here's another thing for everyone to consider: cameras are bought by both consumers and pros at certain times:

Consumers: father's day, graduation, Christmas are the big three; summer vacation is a strong fourth.

Pros: just prior to June Weddings, just prior to sports seasons, just prior to be big events (presidential races, Olympics, Super Bowl, etc.), just prior to end-of-fiscal year.

PMA is timed to introduce stores to products for father's day, graduation, and summer vacation. Those are consumer buying dates.

Note Canon's 1DIII announcement. The camera will become available in time for weddings and baseball season. And hey, I'll bet the camera will find a large following with both. So now ask yourself this: will Nikon announce now and ship later? The announce-in-March-ship-in-October predictions I keep seeing people post don't make any sense to me. THAT WOULD BE A HUGE MISTAKE on Nikon's part, IMHO. Essentially, it means that wedding, baseball, and football photographers looking to update will probably all opt for Canon. Moreover, since Canon has more announcements coming this year, it would also give them a chance to tailor their marketing of those announcements to deflate the Nikon announcement even more.

1. Nikon needs to ship a pro body no later than August.

2. Nikon shouldn't announce specifics more than two or three months out from shipping.

3. While megapixels are important (at least to achieve parity), noise and DR are the domains where the pros are going to be truly won over or lost in the next round.

Of course, something that really made a Nikon pro body stand out from the Canons (e.g. instant-anywhere-focus, easily controlled) might mitigate those three things. But the days of huge breakthroughs that the others can't easily duplicate are closing rapidly, I think.

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Thom Hogan
editor, Nikon DSLR Report
author, Complete Guides: D50, D70s, D80, D100, D200, D1 series, D2 series

OP jeff-c Senior Member • Posts: 2,096
Re: It's funny how things work out in Japan ...


Thank you for the marketing analysis. I agree that there was not clear marketing message about the D50 other than "low price entry level". The D40, on the other hand, is marketed as a "family DSLR", or at least in the Nikon's Japanese webpage with multiple pages of showing what a typical family with young kids could have fun with this camera.

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pjv Senior Member • Posts: 1,319
Re: Why keep 5 year old chip?

miancu wrote:

Pete, what PC conf do you have ?

It's a mac mini (older G4 version with 1GB RAM), which is why the performance is a significant factor for me. My Pentax 6MP images can be edited easily (with PSE4/Lightroom), but the 10MP and 12MP RAW files I've tried were awful -- having to wait for several seconds for the image to update while altering WB and exposure settings makes it virtually unusable.

I'm sure any new-bought/built system will cope just fine, but if I had a laptop type system or was RAM-limited I'd seriously considering trying to edit some samples beforehand (or factor the potential cost of an upgrade in).


Matt Sergeant Regular Member • Posts: 471
Re: It's funny how things work out in Japan ...

Thom Hogan wrote:

Everyone who follows the DSLR sales is also trying to figure out
why the growth didn't taper as fast as predicted.

I think because the predictors have missed something about this new market for DSLRs - they are being bought by a lot of geeks who wouldn't have wanted a film SLR, and they live and die by having the latest equipment.

Everyone in my office was absolutely drooling over the 1D3, and we're not "photographers" in any professional sense (we're software developers), but I can bet there'll be a few sales of it there. There's no way they would have bought into the film SLR market at that level, but digital totally changes the game.

pjv Senior Member • Posts: 1,319
Re: Why keep 5 year old chip?

imbsysop wrote:

pjv wrote:

You're actually expecting specs from manufacturers on this? Just
take a look at any review site (including this one)! Make sure
to either look at RAW samples, or to check for detail smearing from
excessive noise reduction.

Yeah sure .. the easy way out as I expected .. ever heard of Sony
CX News for example ? Guess not .. rather make "it is generally
accepted that .. " claims

Detailed testing from every professional review I've seen published so far is NOT the same as 'it is generally accepted that'. If you think so, then we really have nothing to discuss here.

Oh well .. having a sensor spec sheet and understanding it are 2
unrelated things ..

Do you have one then? Do we even know exactly which sensor make/model is used in these cameras? I doubt it, so testing is probably the only option. If I'm wrong and you do have one, please show me the datasheet and I'll happily point out the applicable section for you (should it contain the relevant information, of course).

Not that it really bothers me what you believe -- I'm just relating
my own experiences here. Take from it whatever you want.

Of course .. and actually I do not care about this sort of
non-information that is backed up by absolutely nothing ..

As opposed to your 'ICT' experience-based opinion? LOL.

I'm hardly advocating that people just go out and upgrade their systems before buying a 10MP camera here, only that they should be aware of the potential performance differences (especially with older hardware). Since I have personally seen such a difference with hardware less than two years old, I hardly think it's an issue that can just be ignored for most people.


greentoe Veteran Member • Posts: 4,490
The intentional and the incidental

One thing I've perceived is the more clearly marked Nikon floor presence in some stores.... very bold and dominant yellow coverings on the tables with really big "Nikon" printed on them... positioned strongly for the walking traffic. Perhaps there is really a strategy purely from a marketing perspective and having less to do with technology.

Also, the smaller size of the D40 really does help here. Small is good here. I've thought that is one reason the A100 has struggled here to maintain a good sales figure despite discounting - it is larger than the other maker's entry level cameras. Sony has marketed the A100 and Alpha system extensively in both ads and in store positioning.

Even if Nikon transitions out the D40 (instead of running it parallel to an "x" version) it made lots of sense for Nikon to bring it to the Japanese market for Chistmas/NY holiday time. Supposedly half of the annual camera volume happens in the last quarter of the year.

So the D40 has had much working for it here: among the lowest priced and smallest, with just a bit of high-tech flashiness (in the LCD menu option).

As for the why the DSLR camera volume growth has not slowed as much as had been anticipated (when projections were made just two years ago)... good question. Certainly there has been mention here of an attempt by the makers to return to a Million Unit year for the SLR, as sort of a national goal.

Worldwide - good question again. Perhaps the extent of the changes that have been wrought in China, which affects not only Chinese but many nations that support that growth through trade, have brought more prosperity to more people, and those people being prominently technology oriented consumers at that. Then again, perhaps more Americans are just going on buying sprees with their credit cards...


speedlever Contributing Member • Posts: 714
Re: It's funny how things work out in Japan ...

I still come back to the same thing, though: what happens when the DSLR sales growth drops to 10% annually (or worse)?

So just how reliable are these DSLRs anyway? My first one is on the way, replacing a G3 that died rather early, imo. I bought the G3 in 11/2002 so it lasted barely 4 years. It started giving signs of trouble late in 2006. But I was busy with other stuff and didn't check it out as soon as I should have.

I know of at least one other G3 that died within it's first year and was replaced by another P&S (Sony).

So if these things have a rather short service life, sales may continue to be rather robust. Sorta lilke planned obsolescence like the 60's automobiles.

But I'm hoping that they live longer than I have experienced thus far.

Sulis2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,121
Re: Small is beautiful

Small size is definitely a factor in my thinking about a D40. I already have a D2Hs and a D70, but would far rather sell the D70 (for peanuts) and get the D40 as a second body. All the times when I'd normally leave the D2Hs behind (it's a big brute) the D40 would feel like a compact...

I'm not sure about the rationale for sticking a 10MP in it. The people moving to DSLRs from compacts/bridge cameras will find that 10MP is far less forgiving as far as focus/camera movement is concerned. It's also unlikely to have such good high ISO quality. Why not just drop the price of the D80 a tad?

As I've said before, Nikon could even weld an 18-200VR to a d40 and make it even smaller/lighter - and have the best bridge camera on the planet. I bet even a few pros would start carrying that around... Ken Rockwell, anyway...

Tim La Marca Regular Member • Posts: 109
Re: Nikon's PMA DSLR announcement

Why not a D50x or D70x? Just wait for the announcement and we will all see. No need to tick off new D40 owners with rumors.

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BG5700 Senior Member • Posts: 1,233
How about a D50x then?

A step up in megapixels and it then slots nicely between the D40 and D80.

Right now, if there is no D50 or D70 replacement, there is a huge gap in the lineup. I have a D50 and think it was a bit overspecced to be an entry level.
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Thom Hogan Forum Pro • Posts: 13,659
Re: The intentional and the incidental

greentoe wrote:

One thing I've perceived is the more clearly marked Nikon floor
presence in some stores.... very bold and dominant yellow coverings
on the tables with really big "Nikon" printed on them... positioned
strongly for the walking traffic. Perhaps there is really a
strategy purely from a marketing perspective and having less to do
with technology.

Don't mistake spending on presence and visibility as "marketing." Nikon most decidedly has done a better job at shelf space positioning and has certainly increased their visible advertising. But marketing is also about "message," and that's typically where Nikon falls flat. The best they've done in this respect recently has been the D80 Flickr shooter ads. Those show both some subtle and obvious messages for a change, and are reasonably well executed.

But none of the camera companies have yet come up with a clear marketing message that is executed in the products (or vice versa) and that runs across their lineup. Some day someone will figure it out and get a clear advantage. Look at the Apple I'm-a-Mac-I'm-a-PC ads an example of something that stands out. Note that those ads don't even speak to a specific product (iMac, Mac Pro, MacBook, etc.)! Yet they are still very powerful in the message they convey. What does "Sony" mean in imaging? What does "Nikon" mean? And do the digicams execute it the same way the DSLRs do? The answer to those questions are: I don't know, and no, respectively. Any marketing guy will tell you those aren't good answers.

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Thom Hogan
editor, Nikon DSLR Report
author, Complete Guides: D50, D70s, D80, D100, D200, D1 series, D2 series

daytontp Veteran Member • Posts: 3,738
Real reason why it is an X and not an S

No S model DSLR upgrades have seen a sensor change.

The new sensor is 10mp, and the Roman numeral for 10 is X.

It runs Mac OSX.

Oh, just joking on teh OSX thingy.

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Dayton in SC USA

Sulis2 Senior Member • Posts: 1,121
Re: Nikon marketing

Very true. I destroyed most of my brain cells in advertising, and all the DSLR marketing betrays the cameras' far eastern, engineering-based roots.

Just the naming strategies are a waste of opportunity: Canon EOS 1D Mark II N, for heavens' sake. Pentax got sold a pup with the *ist concept (what do you ask for when you go into a camera shop?), and their new line name is instantly forgettable, as is Olympus. Nikon's is relatively straightforward, but still dull and unexciting.

Nikon has an invaluable heritage in photography, and should be leveraging that like mad. They can't compete head on with Canon's expertise in technology, so they should be emphasising that their experience translates into making cameras for photographers, not for spec sheets...

Sadly, Nikon have blurred their brand image with a lot of ill-thought-out decisions. Their compact camera line is uninspiring and looks just like everyone else's – so it doesn't look as though they have a passion for creating great images. They should be doing everything they can to lead people away from the bland images you get from a POS towards the images that you'll keep forever with a DSLR.

Their final problem is that they just have no idea about communicating with their customers. They're not alone in this, but somehow they feel the most aloof and 'we know what's best for you'. The Mac/PC example is a good one - Steve Jobs famously ignores focus groups and punishes any advance leaks of Apple products, but Macs still feel like they've been designed by people who love what they're doing. Apple puts human touches throughout their products, and this gives people a feeling of empathy with them (OK, I love my Mac).

If people feel connected with the products you make, they will forgive you if they're not necessarily the technical best. If you communicate that you understand what drives your customers, and exceed their expectations, they will stick with you and be ambassadors for your brand.

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