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Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...
  
 
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #1 · p.1 #1 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


It's the vision.

From the D1... through the D3... things were clear and reasonably predictable ... but in the last few years, Nikon seems to be using the shotgun approach.

Disclaimer: I think the D300, D700 and D800 are lower-end pro bodies, but still pro bodies but for the sack of easy conversation and categorization, I'll call them "Prosumer"

High Res Pro Body
D1x / D2x / D3x / no D4x

Speed Pro Body
D1h / D2h / D3 / D4 okay, some consistency here

"Prosumer" Body DX body
D100 / D200 / D300 / no D400

And of course with the advent of FX

"Prosumer" FX speed body
NA / NA / D700 / no D800h

"Prosumer" FX High Res Body
NA / NA / not offered / D800

Consumer FX body
NA / NA / NA / D600

One might say that the D800 is the D400 and the D700 updates, but is that what customers want? FX is a new format, and while it may work great for pros and prosumers with $, abandoning pro DX hurts a lot of customers. And even if DX is now consumer only, why not follow the high/low slow/fast of the pro bodies. In other words,

D700 / D700x followed up by D800h / D800

And then where does the DF fit in? It seems to me if you are going retro to bring in legacy glass, then go retro in features too ... something simple and new and not in the midst of all the rest of the confusion.

From the D1... series to the D3... series, there was a clear progression ... since then, Nikon has been sending lots of mixed messages. It would have been smarter to follow the successes of the past up with updates and then add new ideas later. For instance

D300 ==> D400 and D700 ==> D800h and D3x ==> D4x first ... show consistency and give customers direction

Then, rock their worlds with new ideas like

D800 high res Prosumer, D600 consumer FX, DF retro --- but make it a true retro.

But instead Nikon has given us the new ideas and left the faithful without there updates. I just don't get it.



(edit to fix typos)

Edited on Nov 07, 2013 at 12:45 PM · View previous versions



Nov 06, 2013 at 05:47 PM
Rodluvan
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p.1 #2 · p.1 #2 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


Andre Labonte wrote:
It's the vision.

but in the last few years, Nikon seems to be using the shotgun approach.



I couldn't agree more, and I've posted about exactly that in FM, yesterday or so. shotgun approach is the PERFECT description.



Nov 06, 2013 at 05:50 PM
mshi
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p.1 #3 · p.1 #3 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


Nikon has been managed by a bean counter since 2007. As a result, you've seen lots of malpractice for increasing the imaginary wealth via tried and true dogma.


Nov 06, 2013 at 05:53 PM
NsBenitez
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p.1 #4 · p.1 #4 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


Exactly.


Nov 06, 2013 at 06:01 PM
Stdon
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p.1 #5 · p.1 #5 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


"FX the new format"? One can sure tell the age group. We used to call them BH and AH for Before Honda and After Honda. I guess we need another division. BD and AD. Before Digital and After Digital.


Nov 06, 2013 at 06:01 PM
HauntedHat
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p.1 #6 · p.1 #6 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


I mean, what did you expect? People will always complain. See Canon? they're predictable with their releases, keeping pretty much the same product lines on the market with very little changes, and people call them boring, or say they're lagging behind.

Companies need to move forward, instead of living off past glories, and they need to realize that in order to adapt they need to change. Some of those products might not be for you as a target demographic, that's why you don't get them, but get others. It really is as simple as that.

APS-C was there because there was no way they could make FF sensors for a reasonable price back then, but then again, people needed equivalent lenses for the new field of view, that's why they don't just throw everything away and start making everything FF, because then people would be complaining on how cheated they feel, etc.

TL;DR - People will always complain.

BTW, I understand your point, and I'm not trying to be mean, but that's just my opinion on the subject as a Product designer.



Nov 06, 2013 at 06:02 PM
Pavel
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p.1 #7 · p.1 #7 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


Nikons problem? Where once there were photographers, dominated by the creative and right brained, now chock full of left brain engineers, needing an outlet from the walled world. But they are still engineers. A marketers favorite fodder.

Witness the ever same style, perfect and perfectly hyper-real, perfectly over-saturated, photos that are the darlings on this forum. Sublime and subtle as a Big Mac with extra sauce. Extra, extra sauce.

I don't get, that so many don't get. But its only rock'n roll, and ...

Edited on Nov 06, 2013 at 06:20 PM · View previous versions



Nov 06, 2013 at 06:10 PM
jhinkey
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p.1 #8 · p.1 #8 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


I have no idea what Pavel is talking about . . .

But, to Andre's point - there are gaping holes and inconsistencies in Nikon's lineup.
To me it's due to being reactionary and behind the competition curve.
Nikon needs to take some cues from Apple (believe me I'm no fan of Apple, but they do many things quite well) to have a highly integrated, well thought out set of cameras (from small sensor to FX), particularly with the demise of their compact camera cash cow.
Perhaps it's lack of resources, perhaps it's lack of leadership, but they have not been on the leading edge of innovation lately (except perhaps in the sensor area).



Nov 06, 2013 at 06:20 PM
Pavel
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p.1 #9 · p.1 #9 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


jhinkey wrote:
I have no idea what Pavel is talking about . . .
.


I know. ... but half the time I don't know what I'm talking'bout neither!




Nov 06, 2013 at 06:22 PM
williamkazak
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p.1 #10 · p.1 #10 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


Why are people so unhappy?


Nov 06, 2013 at 06:37 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



MazeRunner
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p.1 #11 · p.1 #11 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


williamkazak wrote:
Why are people so unhappy?


Too much time.



Nov 06, 2013 at 06:48 PM
Amrit
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p.1 #12 · p.1 #12 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...




jhinkey wrote:
I have no idea what Pavel is talking
.....


I think I do, reminded me off Anton 'God I hate digital photography' Corbijn.
:-)



Nov 06, 2013 at 07:33 PM
mshi
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p.1 #13 · p.1 #13 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


williamkazak wrote:
Why are people so unhappy?


take a good look at Edward Hopper's paintings, people were even more unhappy then.



Nov 06, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Avi B
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p.1 #14 · p.1 #14 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


williamkazak wrote:
Why are people so unhappy?


Here, watch this and you will understand.



Nov 06, 2013 at 07:54 PM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #15 · p.1 #15 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


Stdon wrote:
"FX the new format"? One can sure tell the age group. We used to call them BH and AH for Before Honda and After Honda. I guess we need another division. BD and AD. Before Digital and After Digital.



I used to shoot 35mm film in MANUAL so I'm not that young ... but I'm limiting the conversation to the digital age ... in that respect, FX is the new formate relative to DX.



Nov 06, 2013 at 08:07 PM
Andre Labonte
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p.1 #16 · p.1 #16 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


jhinkey wrote:
I have no idea what Pavel is talking about . . .

But, to Andre's point - there are gaping holes and inconsistencies in Nikon's lineup.
To me it's due to being reactionary and behind the competition curve.
Nikon needs to take some cues from Apple (believe me I'm no fan of Apple, but they do many things quite well) to have a highly integrated, well thought out set of cameras (from small sensor to FX), particularly with the demise of their compact camera cash cow.
Perhaps it's lack of resources, perhaps it's lack of leadership, but they have not been on the
...Show more

****************

John, you said it much more succinctly than I did. But after reading your post, I have reformulated my point.


Once Nikon projects a direction and has great success, they should follow up that success and flesh out the line-up before forging off into new ground. That said, the D400, D800h and D4x all should have come out before the D600, D800 and DF. But Nikon did just the opposite.

The right way: Solidify the base products people love and throw innovation on top to beat their expectations.

The wrong way: Throw innovation at people and make them happy, but fail to provide consistency or follow up past successes.


You see Nikon behaving in the opposite exteme with the DX lens line-up. Give people too much basic choice (anyone for an 18-XX variable aperature zoom?) while failing to provide pro options. Same thing they are doing with the CX format. So between camera body confusion and lens line-up holes, it makes it hard to people to put together a complete system. And for someone like myself with 5 (soon to be 6) children and a limited budget, that's a huge problem.



Nov 06, 2013 at 08:21 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #17 · p.1 #17 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


Steve Jobs made Apple successful during his second incarnation in part by simplifying the product line, then offering some distinctive products that were marketed with great ingenuity. I'm afraid the world of photography is changing so radically at the moment that Nikon and its competitors are scrambling to find a niche in a world unlike any we've seen before… cell phones have become the preferred method for taking both photos and videos. I recall when my friend George who is a professional photographer showed me two landscape shots he'd taken earlier in the day, one with his D700 and one with his iPhone. I was pretty amazed at how well the iPhone did. George bought a D800 and continues to ramble through wilderness areas with his Gitzo tripod and 14-24 lens but not many folks want to spend that kind of money to pursue that kind of photography.

Those of us hanging out on this board love our DSLR and film cameras and fully expect the companies that produce them will continue to service our needs. But lets face it, we're a dying breed and companies that rely on us are dying companies. Nikon may be wandering about in its product development but my guess is those bean counters have a better idea of what will keep the company afloat than will the unhappy folks posting on this thread. Unlike Canon who has multiple profit centers on its balance sheet, Nikon is quite limited in what it offers. And they're competing with Sony who is a huge company with the resources both technically and financially to venture into new territory. The sensor Nikon is using in its D600, D800 come from Sony. Sony is using them in mirror less cameras at a much reduced price. Does taking a step back into yesteryear help them, whether with release of the Df or the D400 Andre is championing solve their problems? I doubt it. We're in the midst of growing pains and for those of us committed to legacy approaches to photography, the experience is not particularly enjoyable. I hope Nikon finds a way. Apple did, but it didn't come from new computers, but rather from a music box and telephone. Perhaps Nikon needs to fine a new line of work…



Nov 06, 2013 at 09:24 PM
ScottSchupbach
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p.1 #18 · p.1 #18 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


CGrindahl wrote:
Steve Jobs made Apple successful during his second incarnation in part by simplifying the product line, then offering some distinctive products that were marketed with great ingenuity. I'm afraid the world of photography is changing so radically at the moment that Nikon and its competitors are scrambling to find a niche in a world unlike any we've seen before… cell phones have become the preferred method for taking both photos and videos. I recall when my friend George who is a professional photographer showed me two landscape shots he'd taken earlier in the day, one with his D700 and one
...Show more

Well said Curtis, I think you hit the nail on the head.



Nov 06, 2013 at 09:36 PM
CGrindahl
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p.1 #19 · p.1 #19 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


I came across this excellent article with the title…

Has the bubble burst? Is that why camera sales in N. America are down by 43%

It says it all.



Nov 06, 2013 at 10:16 PM
Todd Warnke
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p.1 #20 · p.1 #20 · Nikon's Problem Isn't the Cameras ...


+100 CJ.

I had a snarky reply all set to post and saw your eloquent comments and deleted mine.

Truth is Nikon's problem is neither the cameras nor the lenses. It's the market.

Will there always be a market for serious DSLRs? Yes. Can Nikon survive on that market? No. Nor can survive on that market plus licensing to cell phone makers either. They need to make bodies and lenses that sell. And from market data they seem to be doing that better than anyone else right now, but they know that the current plan is not sustainable. Give them time to figure out the future. As for the Df, it may buy them profits to work on the plan. Or at least I bet that's what Nikon is thinking.

As for DX, I'd bet it's gone. I think Nikon believes the same - I'd point to the lack of serious lenses as proof of that. Why is it gone? Because FX costs have dropped to the point that if you want the best quality you can go FX for not much more and if portability matters M4/3 is 95% as good at lower cost and lighter lenses.

FX will live on for quite some time - a decade at least. The D620 or what ever the real successor to the D600 will be called will come in for $1450 and there will be a D400 that is a cheap FX sometime soon. It will be $950-1150. The D810 will be good as well, but only incremental. The next big step won't come for at least 2-4 years and will be a modest bump in resolution with a bigger step in DR and ISO performance. Why? Because those are chip based enhancements and so will naturally get better with time. The D5 will be a big bang, but still real expensive.

Is CX the answer? Nope - too small to compete with DX on both resolution and quality and not enough of a size advantage over M4/3 to be worth the reduced image quality. Mirrorless? Nope - that's just a packaging thing and doesn't solve the price and size of lenses hanging off it (this is why the new Sonys are sorta dumb - NEX size body and a 70-200/2.8 is not a real manageable package). Does anyone know what the answer is? Nope. But I bet Nikon gets there better than any one else.

Peace,

Todd



Nov 06, 2013 at 10:36 PM
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