Nikon's 5 year plan...

Started Oct 23, 2013 | Discussions
jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,326
Re: Get going on the D400 and the 7DII

sportyaccordy wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

But, there are some types of photography that the dSLR has a major technical advantage and simply can't be shot well with less capable cameras such as shooting action.

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For the average consumer, this type of photography is nearly non-existent. ~5-8 years ago, for general photography, the gulf between cameraphones and DSLRs was huge. However, now with the significant downsampling of the main avenues people look at pictures through, as well as the IQ leaps of cameraphones, that gulf has been pretty much bridged. Most people's monitors are 1080p at most and their photo sharing services downsize and compress heavily. So for them, a cameraphone is generally more than enough.

I think we've already established that the average consumer is using their cell phone for most of their photography. What we're talking about here is the level of consumer that wants something better than that because cell phones suck at some types of photography and there are some consumers that understand that and want better.

Action photography is one such discipline that camera phones are terrible at. So, those people who want to do action photography are generally looking for something better than cell phones. I'm saying that I'm surprised that Nikon hasn't (in the last 5 years) built a camera that is optimized for that since it is one of the things that dSLRs indisputably do better than camera phones.

In a competitive market, if your lunch is getting eaten by some competing technology, one tactic is to look for a segment of the market that your products/technology has unique strengths for where you can kill the competition and you make products that leverage those strengths. Nikon is doing that in their FF line - they are not doing that very well in their DX line - that's my point.

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photohp Regular Member • Posts: 387
Re: For years the Canon/Nikon stranglehold has been recognised
4

sportyaccordy wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

Nikon actually did some pretty amazing innovation and engineering with their Nikon 1 line, but it was improperly packaged, positioned and priced and, in most parts of the world, it had little impact on the market or on their profitability. If they could aim that level of innovation where most of their customers are (the APS-C product line), they could probably do some pretty amazing things.

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I'll say it again- the Nikon 1 line would have, and potentially still can be, a huge success if Nikon gives it cell phone capabilities. But Nikon hast to be willing to take that kind of risk.

My belief is quite the opposite. Nikon has no reason to get into the mobile business madness.

Had Nikon given it a bigger sensor, Nikon 1 would be huge now. But they were afraid that it would cannibalize their low end DSLRs. And by not doing it, they let the door open to somebody else to do it.

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jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,326
Re: For years the Canon/Nikon stranglehold has been recognised
1

photohp wrote:

sportyaccordy wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

Nikon actually did some pretty amazing innovation and engineering with their Nikon 1 line, but it was improperly packaged, positioned and priced and, in most parts of the world, it had little impact on the market or on their profitability. If they could aim that level of innovation where most of their customers are (the APS-C product line), they could probably do some pretty amazing things.

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I'll say it again- the Nikon 1 line would have, and potentially still can be, a huge success if Nikon gives it cell phone capabilities. But Nikon hast to be willing to take that kind of risk.

My belief is quite the opposite. Nikon has no reason to get into the mobile business madness.

Had Nikon given it a bigger sensor, Nikon 1 would be huge now. But they were afraid that it would cannibalize their low end DSLRs. And by not doing it, they let the door open to somebody else to do it.

Yep, if you act in fear of cannibalizing your own products, you will soon find them cannibalized by a competitor who deployed your idea in a direct attack on those very products.  Companies who best survive technology transitions realize that it's better to cannibalize your own products rather than let someone else do it to you.

Nikon really blew it.  Imagine if when developing the Nikon 1 technology, they had built it around an APS-C sensor and given it the features that camera enthusiasts want.  Nikon would have some really, really compelling APS-C offerings (bodies and lenses) right now (in fact, they'd probably have many of the customers that ultimately bought the Fuji X series and many of the m43 cameras).

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OP stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,349
Re: Nikon's 5 year plan...

sportyaccordy wrote:

stevo23 wrote:

sportyaccordy wrote:

I agree 100% with this article. Nikon still has a chance though. They can re-engineer their mirrorless platform as phones, which with backlit 1" sensors would elevate the IQ and still give the connectivity people want.

Phones for what carrier? That's a battle I wouldn't want to fight.

Make the phones unlocked and do both GSM & CDMA. Let the people decide.

But you don't understand that business. The people don't decide, carriers have to. What's more, do you see any Sony phones any more? Think about it - Nikon have never made phones. Would they be any good at it in the time frame needed? Doubtful at best. They would be required to knock off the big three in a short time for it to have been worth it.

Now there is one thing - they can get into that industry from the side by making add-ons and acting as a third party provider of in-phone cameras etc. Can you imagine Motorola marketing a phone with a "nikon camera" inside?

The main customers for DSLRs were people who didn't have them. Now I think pretty much everyone who wants a DSLR has one, and there is zero reason for them to upgrade. The few folks who upgrade faithfully are not enough to support the business. Nikon definitely needs a new strategy.

Nikon also sells lenses...

Lenses face the same problem as the cameras. ~7 years ago the only way to take decent digital photos was with a DSLR. Now a cell phone is good enough. Who's gonna buy a DSLR, let alone upgraded lenses???

There are a lot of DSLR owners out there with just one lens that came with their camera. The DSLR cycle includes lenses which effectively extends the life cycles of the products for several more cycles than if the core product were monolithic as in compact cameras. They don't have to go after new DSLR sales or compete with cell phones to sell lenses.

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OP stevo23 Forum Pro • Posts: 14,349
Re: Nikon's 5 year plan...

sportyaccordy wrote:

Cyrille Berger wrote:

The problem with analysts is that they are more often wrong than rights.

This is just not true and believe me I am no fan of analysts.

However, even if the quality of smartphone camera improves, you will allways get better results with larger sensor and larger lenses, meaning that the DSLR/high end photograhy market is not going away anytime soon.

This matters to a decreasingly small amount of people. Smartphones are far from matching DSLRs in all situations, but for basic photography they are more than good enough. Plus pretty much anyone who wants a DSLR has one.

Overall, the biggest threat to Nikon could come from the raise of cheap Chinese manufacturers, they could come and eat up the low end DSLR market, and that would significatively reduce the ability of Nikon to keep operating its pro line, there is more synergy between D3x00 and D4, than between the coolpix and DSLR. It is what has basically hapened in the telescope market, until 20 years ago, the biggest manufacturers were in the US and Japan, now most of the production is in China, and the chinese companies have even bought the older brands. Nowdays, all the affordable telescopes are Chinese made, and only the more specialized, custom made stuff is left in Japan, US and Europe. And this could very well hapen to DSLR.

Sensors are too hard for Chinese manufacturers to duplicate successfully. Plus they would have a whole bunch of useless proprietary mounts. It would never work.

Also don't forget the used DSLR market is tremendous, further pushing prices out of profitability. And manufacturers have kind of killed themselves with all these releases. There have been 4 D5xxx bodies to come out in the last 5 years for example. D5100 was worth the upgrade over the D5000. D5200 and D5300, it's very debatable and probably not worth it to someone who has a D5100.

IMO Nikon's best move will be to focus on their higher end and serious photographers. Market saturation and smartphones have killed the low end of the market.

But is it killing the DSLR? I'm on the fence with that one. Even in my own daily life, I rarely grab the iphone for a photo. But when I do, it's there. Most of what people shoot doesn't demand or suggest a DSLR. It never really has, but now we have more choices.

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perhort
perhort Regular Member • Posts: 133
Re: Get going on the D400 and the 7DII

peevee1 wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

But, there are some types of photography that the dSLR has a major technical advantage and simply can't be shot well with less capable cameras such as shooting action. Doesn't it seem odd that Nikon is not making cameras that leverage one of the biggest advantages of dSLRs (speed of focus and action tracking at high fps in bad light conditions)?

It was a temporary advantage which existed before development of good OSPDAF. OSPDAF (in mirrorless camera) has many principal advantages over DSLR-style separate PDAF, including ability to work with more light (no need to share light with viewfinder and separate metering sensors), precision (what you have on the main sensor is what you are going to get in the image), reliability (no misalignments ever, less parts to break...), cost (no precision assembly, just a chip - the same one for image taking), size, weight, working in video, no need to flip mirror for high-speed shooting (and no associated noise, vibrations, reliability problems), and what has not been realized yet (except in video) but can be - continuous tracking DURING exposure. Olympus E-M1 has already better PDAF than their own top DSLR (E-5), Canon 70D in OSPDAF mode has better AF than in mirrored mode with its top-of-the line APS-C AF system taken straight from 7D (read reviews). TODAY.

And EVFs today have bigger, brighter views than even FF OVFs, with very adequate 240Hz refresh rate and negligible 25ms delay, with many unique advantages OVFs can never have - WYSIWYG (white balance, crop - with enlargement, ISO noise etc), working in video, brightness boost in dark conditions, tilting (in some cases), live histograms, focus distance, DoF scales and many other shooting information types, overexposure/underexposure preview (blinkies and/or zebra), many focusing aids - enlargements in various steps, focus peaking display and/or "electronic rangefinder" display, instant view of a photo taken without switching to the screen (which might not be visible in bright sun and simply takes more time) and back to VF, preview of IBIS (which itself can correct what OIS cannot and removes the need to have OIS in every lens), safety to shoot with sun in the frame (you are not going blind with EVF)... People denying all those advantages are simply deluding themselves. The only REAL advantage OVF has is battery life (but not as much as some people think comparing DSLRs with mirrorless - DSLRs in most cases simply have bigger batteries.

True in every way. And then I go to a store and I pick up a Sony NEX-7 and look through the view finder and I say: thanks, but no thanks. What I think is underestimated is that it is simply more pleasurable to look through an OVF. The AF/metering technology of DSLRs are clearly good enough. All this real time shooting aid/information is largely redundant. Modern meters are so good that I never worry about the exposure. If there is a problem it can easily be fixed in post. There is no time to look at a histogram et c. when shooting. So for 80 percent of the time, I would want to use the OVF. For critical work, however, I would want to have the advantages that EVF/on sensor technology can bring. This is why I think it necessary for Nikon to develop a hybrid view finder. A camera that accommodates the advantages of both the OVF and the EVF will be tough to beat.

Maybe cameras are like watches. Digital watches are clearly superior to mechanical ones. They can measure time in one hundredth of a second, have timer and alarm, stopwatch with double lap times, calculators, they cost a fraction of mechanical ones. Yet people still buy those expensive Swiss watches because they measure time well enough and are much more pleasurable to use.

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sportyaccordy Veteran Member • Posts: 8,460
Re: Get going on the D400 and the 7DII

jfriend00 wrote:

sportyaccordy wrote:

jfriend00 wrote:

But, there are some types of photography that the dSLR has a major technical advantage and simply can't be shot well with less capable cameras such as shooting action.

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For the average consumer, this type of photography is nearly non-existent. ~5-8 years ago, for general photography, the gulf between cameraphones and DSLRs was huge. However, now with the significant downsampling of the main avenues people look at pictures through, as well as the IQ leaps of cameraphones, that gulf has been pretty much bridged. Most people's monitors are 1080p at most and their photo sharing services downsize and compress heavily. So for them, a cameraphone is generally more than enough.

I think we've already established that the average consumer is using their cell phone for most of their photography. What we're talking about here is the level of consumer that wants something better than that because cell phones suck at some types of photography and there are some consumers that understand that and want better.

Action photography is one such discipline that camera phones are terrible at. So, those people who want to do action photography are generally looking for something better than cell phones. I'm saying that I'm surprised that Nikon hasn't (in the last 5 years) built a camera that is optimized for that since it is one of the things that dSLRs indisputably do better than camera phones.

In a competitive market, if your lunch is getting eaten by some competing technology, one tactic is to look for a segment of the market that your products/technology has unique strengths for where you can kill the competition and you make products that leverage those strengths. Nikon is doing that in their FF line - they are not doing that very well in their DX line - that's my point.

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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.

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sportyaccordy Veteran Member • Posts: 8,460
Re: Nikon's 5 year plan...

stevo23 wrote:

But you don't understand that business. The people don't decide, carriers have to. What's more, do you see any Sony phones any more? Think about it - Nikon have never made phones. Would they be any good at it in the time frame needed? Doubtful at best. They would be required to knock off the big three in a short time for it to have been worth it.

Now there is one thing - they can get into that industry from the side by making add-ons and acting as a third party provider of in-phone cameras etc. Can you imagine Motorola marketing a phone with a "nikon camera" inside?

Plenty of people buy unlocked/carrier-less phones. Plus why wouldn't a carrier jump behind having phones by a well known company like Nikon? The Android platform is good enough IMO that as long as the hardware was competitive it would be fine. There's not much to it.

Partnering up with a manfacturer is risky. Many manufacturers have come and gone. Better to strike out on your own and collect all the profits.

There are a lot of DSLR owners out there with just one lens that came with their camera. The DSLR cycle includes lenses which effectively extends the life cycles of the products for several more cycles than if the core product were monolithic as in compact cameras. They don't have to go after new DSLR sales or compete with cell phones to sell lenses.

I still argue that the lens market is not much less, if at all, saturated than the body market. Especially now with these high resolution sensors. And again, CaNikon can't survive on lenses or semi-pro upgrades alone.

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sportyaccordy Veteran Member • Posts: 8,460
Re: Nikon's 5 year plan...

stevo23 wrote:

But is it killing the DSLR? I'm on the fence with that one. Even in my own daily life, I rarely grab the iphone for a photo. But when I do, it's there. Most of what people shoot doesn't demand or suggest a DSLR. It never really has, but now we have more choices.

That's you though. Most people don't leave the house with their cameras, but they always have their cell phones on them. The best camera is the one you have for the shot. So to move volume, I think camera companies really need to move to the new medium (phones).

IMO this is no different than the transition from film to digital. There are people who still shoot film, but would you say Nikon could have survived on those folks alone? No way.

More choice is definitely good... Nikon should be looking to offer as much choice as possible, IMO.

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jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,326
Re: Get going on the D400 and the 7DII

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.

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?

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.

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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ePan Contributing Member • Posts: 527
Re: Nikon's 5 year plan...

The bad news for camera manufacturers like Nikon and Canon is that companies like Apple and Google also happen to have 5 year plans--and the necessary cash to follow through with those plans. When digital camera IQ reached a logical extreme it became comparable to the film camera IQ limits, which digital had earlier exploited. Film cameras didn't go away because photographers were unsatisfied with the quality of Kodachrome film or the ISO sensitivity of Tri-X. They went away because digital cameras eventually offered similar quality with far greater convenience. Film quality had hit a plateau and sensor quality eventually caught up. The first film cameras to go were the point and shoots, then the serious amateur cameras, and the last folks to give up their rolls of film were the SLR users. Exact same thing is happening to digital cameras in the fight against smartphones. Take a sample image from a full frame DSLR in 2007 and compare it to an image from the latest full frame camera today. You'll have to admit the improvements (to the naked eye) are minimal. Now look at a sample image from the original iPhone in 2007 and compare it to images from the iPhone 5s. Multiply those improvements exponentially for another 5 years and you'll have to agree that the article isn't just doom and gloom, but cold hard reality.

Today's images are purely software, and as such can be manipulated to any look the software designer can imagine, and the underlying processors can produce. I'm sure somewhere in Cupertino there's an Apple engineer hard at work right now perfecting the algorithm for the Leica bokeh look. Ultimately, if the fight over the next 5 years is going to be between cash strapped hardware manufacturers like Nikon and Canon vs. cash rich software experts like Apple and Google, then the fight may not be a pretty one to watch for those of us who can't imagine a world without our beloved camera names.

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Justaguy93
Justaguy93 Regular Member • Posts: 254
Re: For years the Canon/Nikon stranglehold has been recognised
1

"Imagine if when developing the Nikon 1 technology, they had built it around an APS-C sensor"

If they had I would still be a loyal customer.
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jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,326
Re: For years the Canon/Nikon stranglehold has been recognised
1

Justaguy93 wrote:

"Imagine if when developing the Nikon 1 technology, they had built it around an APS-C sensor"

If they had I would still be a loyal customer.

Yeah, and I would own one instead of my Fuji X-E1.  Counting lenses, Nikon would have $1500 more from me.

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David314 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,790
If you can't beat'em join'em & bigger is better

You can already see where nikon is going and how they will 'pivot'

first they will try to become the supplier of choice for the camera, processor, lens for cell phones

and also it is bigger is better, thus you see nikon Germany emphasizing ff seniors

since nikon seems t contract out the manufacture of small sensor cameras they can relatively easily shift out of those cameras

Probably the minimum sensor size will become 1"

nikon definitely misjudged the nikon 1 market  and I expect we will see offeerings more geared to the enthusiast with external controls and even a dslr like larger body

The d3xxx will go mirror less and remain f mount and if the nikon 1 isn't priced wisely it will die

nikon will ride the f mount until it dies but they may add things like power zoom

because the will push hard for video

and 8 fps at a reasonable price is coming, likely the next big push will be speed for the entire lineup

it will be 15 fps with on sensor pdaf across the mid tier

sportyaccordy Veteran Member • Posts: 8,460
Re: Get going on the D400 and the 7DII

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.

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.

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.

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

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jfriend00 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,326
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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