Business Week

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by kent_staubus, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. This is all because Nikon hasn't released a d400, you know ;-)
    http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-02-06/nikon-plunges-most-since-1985-after-forecast-cut-tokyo-mover
    Kent in SD
     
  2. Kent: More troubling than the financial news, is, of course, the political news. Reports in the NYT and Washington Post quoting young Chinese as saying they "can't wait for a chance to kill some Japanese" are very worrisome. Markets swing this way and that, but politics can be far more troublesome ... events from more than 60 YEARS AGO are being brought to the forefront again. Everything old is 'new again'. Always easy to "heat up"... quite difficult and problematic to "cool down". Note also, a significant amount of Nikon PRODUCTION is based in China. Availability of those China based products could change, literally, overnight. Hopefully business will trump politics. Or, perhaps some production will move to Greece!
     
  3. I wonder if this is a sign of things to come: average photography amateur not getting a DSLR camera and lenses anymore, and getting a compact of some sorts or even using only camera in smartphone.
     
  4. No surprise. None of the major camera manufacturers, including Nikon with the Coolpix and 1 Series, is doing enough to differentiate their compact cameras from cell phones to demonstrate the distinct advantages. Those *were* the customers for entry level dSLRs, but that demographic has been gone for awhile now. ("Awhile" being "longer than a couple of fiscal quarters" in this economy.)
    Millions of people already know the advantages of a cell phone camera - it's always with you. Pretty simple. And pretty good results for quick edits, sharing online and small prints (or large prints in expert hands).
    Nikcansonoltax need to figure out how to show potential customers, in 60 seconds or less, why a good pocket sized camera is sometimes the better choice. *And* why an entry level dSLR is sometimes a better choice than either a cell phone camera or pocket sized P&S.
     
  5. Reports in the NYT and Washington Post quoting young Chinese as saying they "can't wait for a chance to kill some Japanese" are very worrisome.​
    You can always find some young person talking rubbish. If not, you can make it up. That's what young people and old newspapers do.
     
  6. HP Having served in a war with about 60,000 USA casualities, and having been an ACTIVE student of history for more than 50 years, I note that that ALL start with much bravado, bands playing, and grins allround. They end just the opposite, ... with much sadness and dismay, and huge losses on ALL sides. Add to this mix the weirdo from NK in the area, nukes, and two of the world's largest economies, and you've got a real witch's brew stirring. This all belongs in a diff forum, but young people and old newspapers, and WE should be doing more than blowing off and holding our collective breath. As Nixon's Haldeman said so many years ago on another matter, once the toothpaste is out of the tube, it is quite another matter to push it back in. I won't comment further... ripped a WHOLE GENERATION apart, and I lost too many friends ... some of them, IMHO, the best photographers on the planet. Sorry to all, I get quite worked up about this.... :-(
     
  7. I have several digital cameras, from FX DSLR to an iPhone 5, some compact P&S and a bridge in the middle. Well, the -only- ones I use are the D700 and the iPhone... personally, I know I can save on size and weight on either side, but at the end, the most practical solutions are the ones that actually survive.
    And for my photography, the digital boredom is killing me. I`m currently in a second honeymoon with my film cameras. Don`t ask me why.
    Anyway, Nikon has the very same problems as every company around here... a 20% drop is absolutely normal, the financial crisis is really hard in my surroundings.
     
  8. Jose: I have a co-worker in the same situation (digi/film). Wife and I buillt a home about 15 yrs ago with a designed-in darkroom that never went on line...it has since become s 'secure room' for other 'stuff'. I gave him by beloved Simmons Adjustable Easel, my Wen Magnetic Mixer (for solutions), and a small raft of other goodies. When I go out ('bout twice a week) I HAVE to have all the Nikon gear aboard (7000/600, ten Nikon lenses, two Sigma lenses (soon to be three), and the flashes, because we never know what will be needed, and coming back to get anything is quite problematic. Looking for a bridge, I have taken up, as of few weeks ago, the Sony Nex6. Won't go into details about the specs, but I have not used my phone for anything but calls, since. Also, I am trying, as a one-man-show, to do everyting I can to boost the Japanese economy, and the USA's as well... China too! :)
     
  9. It's mostly a matter of Nikon deciding which business(es) it's in. I'm partial to Thom Hogan's recent decoding of Nikon's financials.
    Bruce, ultranationalistic outbursts in China are usually orchestrated distractions by a CCP intent on squelching popular upset over corruption, censorship. environmental degradation, and economic inequality. No one's fooled.
     
  10. CW: Thanks for that, and you are right. I have calmed down. Thing is Adolph and this other weirdo in Iran .... well. These little electronic devices we have, 'old newspapers' ... the reporters (and photographers) that risk their lives for the information age ... so that the truth can be known, are truely, the Salvation for the World. Oh, that all will be able to see, and know. Understand that the SE Asian conflict 40 years ago came to an end, not because of bullets and explosives, but because the photographers and their images, still, and mo-pic, made the World ... SEE, and bring the GD thing to an end. :) :)
     
  11. Jose - funny you should mention the second honeymoon with film. I started carrying my Mamiya C330f about 2 weeks ago, instead of my D300. I stopped in at the Starbucks in the local Kroger grocery store last week and set the C330f down on the counter while I ordered my coffee. The girl behind the counter asked: what is that..pointing to the camera. I said it's a camera. The customer prior to me added: it's a film camera. The girl said: I was born in 1992...I think I've heard of a film camera.
    I think cell phones are going to do to dSLR's what dSLR's did to film cameras. My cell phone is a Nokia Lumia 822 with Verizon. Nokia fans are making a huge deal about the low-light capability of the Nokia 920 (with AT&T). Looking at the YouTube postings reinforces their capabilities. There's talk of the next generation Nokia, with even better camera abilities.
    Kind of scary if you're Nikon or Canon. Who want's a point and shoot, let alone a dSLR if your phone has such tremendous photography abilities?
    Mark
     
  12. Just to illustrate my point, check below the whole image and a 100% crop of an image taken with an iPhone 5 (8Mp). I`d say the scene is not an "easy" one... it is an straigh pic, no levels adjustments.
    For that fast documentary shots, it works. If I want a better pic, I just take the best I have, a DSLR. A compact or bridge camera is certainly better, but...
    00bKih-518933684.jpg
     
  13. I think cell phones are going to do to dSLR's what dSLR's did to film cameras.
    All cell phones have a non-interchangeable fixed focal length lens, and because the lens has to be extremely thin to make the phone pocketable, the sensor is very small. Cell phone cameras are incapable of shallow depth of field and there is no way to zoom in or access but one focal length. You can crop into the picture to a limited extent, but the more you crop the noisier and less sharp the image becomes (printed or viewed in the same size as the full image). It's fine as a camera to take a portrait or show a location and send it over e-mail, but it's a little difficult to imagine that it would be suitable for subjects as diverse as DSLRs are.
     
  14. Agree. So I think I want both extremes, which are more practical. Middle points are limited, they always are the third choice.
    Check a 100% crop from the pic above:
    00bKin-518935784.jpg
     
  15. "All cell phones have a non-interchangeable fixed focal length lens, and because the lens has to be extremely thin to make the phone pocketable, the sensor is very small."
    Apart from a firm grasp of the obvious, you're missing Jose's point. Who totes a DSLR around all the time? The iPhone simply provides another option--and not a half bad one at that. Phone cams. steadily improving MILCs and pricey FF cameras like the Sony RX1 all point to a future where DSLRs--without a major rethink/redesign--might be shoved to the margins.
     
  16. Ilkka - I agree that dSLR's have much better capabilities. But, Canon, Nikon, et al, can't survive selling to the 79 of us holdouts that want the abilities of the dSLR.
    Look at Lex, for health reasons he's switched to mirrorless. A gazillion other folks are now using their cell phones for cameras because they already/always have a cell phone with them.
    How about Brad who has used his iPhone and a Sony RX100 for his web site. Some pretty awesome pics.
    There are some medium format photographers who still believe them new-fangled 35mm cameras are just a fad.
     
  17. I'm thinking Nikon's results are due to a combination of things. Europe seems to continue to slide economically, and I think we've passed the point of no return for bankruptcy in the U.S. as well. We survive now on borrowed money and there's no political will to control it. SO, I too have really cut back on what I spend as far as camera gear due to such uncertainty. It's obvious cell phones have had a huge impact on the photography market in general. The images they produce are good enough for most people, and they are only getting better every year. Since the 1880s the fact has been that a smaller camera eventually trumps a larger one every time. Nikon is being caught up by the trends.
    There does seem to be a small rekindling in interest of film cameras. I have myself for two reasons. First, it's a sort of "rebellion" against going along with the crowd. I've always been one to make my own path. Remember the reaction to the Industrial Age? It spawned the Arts & Crafts movement around 1900. Second thing I like is the sense of connection I get to the past. The cameras and lenses (my oldest was made in 1847,) make me wonder who the first owner was and what photos it took down through the decades (and centuries.) I just don't get that from my Nikon D5100. Finally, since I don't shoot much professionally, it's hard for me to justify tying up a lot of money in an expensive digital camera that will certainly lose about 90% of it's value in ten years. OTOH, my 1858 Derogy Objectif à foyers multiples lens (a Petzval) will most likely hold it's value quite well over the coming decades. And, it's fun to shoot with!
    Kent in SD
     
  18. Most younger people, (and other age groups) have become mesmerized by the latest craze, "the smart phone." Unfortunately, it seems to have the opposite effect upon the average user.

    It almost seems a shame to see someone becoming so dependent on such a silly, meaningless piece of technology. From a photographic standpoint, I tend to get the gist, "Wow, The heck with pictures, now I can just chimp all day." The playgrounds and ball fields are empty, however there is always room in the app store. "Why, I don't even use this do-dad to talk, anymore."

    Personally, I enjoy the foreplay, fiddle & fooling, effort for reward, involved in making or taking photographs. For anyone reading these last couple of sentences, just think of how many wonderful "tweets and google searches" that could have been achieved.

    Yes, the aftermath is mentioned above. However I don't need to be noise free at ISO 3200 and film is still "Pretty darn cool.".
     
  19. I think it is combination of factors;
    First, world economy is crashing, printing money by central banks only inflating stocks, with no effect on real grows. Corporations cutting labor force, but workers laid off in Europe and North America, were major buyers of goods manufactured in China and East Asia, by the very same corporations. Governments measuring inflation by very convenient way; excluding shelter, utility, gas prices and food from calculations and voilà, we have no inflation, digital cameras and big screen LCD TV getting so cheap, Best Buy and Nikon loosing money. When I forced to choose between new camera and food, I personally, will take camera, but I can't convince my wife, that it is necessary sacrifice.
    Second, those obsolete D300s and D700s still take satisfactory pictures in broad day light, with nice autofocus and practically pro-level frame rates. D800 is nice and price is not that bad, but to take advantage of those megapixels one have to upgrade all lens collection, to latest overpriced line, and drop frame rate to view camera level.
    Third, I would call it "PC syndrome", after huge spike from 1996 to 2008, how many of you guys fill need to upgrade their systems every time something new coming up, if you old system does what you want from it.
     
  20. Gup

    Gup Gup

    I'm probably shooting 5 or 6 times more with my cellphone right now than my DSLRs. Before that it was with the tiny Canon Elph I bought my wife. None of those shots have any worth to me other than an immediate record of where I am or what I'm doing but it is SO convenient to take them and move along. I think we who pursue photography with an eye to excellence are very few in the scheme of things. I shot 200 images walking around London with the little Elph just to show my family where I'd been, but unleashed all the big guns when I got to Stonehenge. I've shot three images with my phone since I started reading this thread! My daughter in New Orleans was concerned about reports of snowstorms here (Ontario) so I popped outside and took a shot of our dog basking in the sun in the driveway and immediately texted it to her. Then I took one of the newspaper headlines regarding an incident in a hockey game last night and mass-texted it to the rabid-Maple Leaf fans in my life. Convenience and novelty. Very cool. But that will never replace serious equipment for those of us who appreciate the difference (I know there are people squeezing wonderful images from cellphones and smaller formats).
    Perhaps Nikon should hurry up and get in the cellphone game before it's too late!
     
  21. Few of the 'gazillion' people carrying cell phone cameras, I'm guessing, switched from carrying dedicated cameras,
    especially large ones. They now have cameras all the time by happenstance. It seems more likely that small camera sales
    will take the hit over DSLRs which are purchased by people who are gung ho on photography more in general. I don't see
    phones as the threat to DSLRs.
     
  22. Ilkka - I agree that dSLR's have much better capabilities. But, Canon, Nikon, et al, can't survive selling to the 79 of us holdouts that want the abilities of the dSLR.
    Today Nikon sells about 10 times as many DSLRs per year than they ever sold film SLRs during the best of times in the film era. I can't possibly see how these millions suddenly turn into "79". How much growth there should be? 10x in 20 years? I think that's an unreasonable assumption. Failing to meet ridiculous growth estimates can hardly mean the end of a company.
    A lot of people want the capabilities of interchangeable lenses but in my opinion Nikon has too large a gap between what is offered at the entry level and what is offered at the high end for FX cameras. There should be many more intermediate level products, especially lenses, so that people can gradually grow into the system without feeling the steps to go up too expensive. As of now, people may buy a D5200 and 18-105 VR, maybe a 35/1.8 and that's it. The rest are too expensive in the minds of many beginners, and a lot are disappointed with the results from the zoom. Yet they do want the results they see from the higher end gear. Another thing is that in my opinion the DSLR concept, to be reasonable, relies on a high quality optical viewfinder and that's not provided in the D3200 or D5200. This is a major failing in my opinion. Now, Nikon is making the D600 as entry level FX and is actually providing very good lens options for this camera at reasonable prices (relative to the price of the camera itself, at least) but the majority of people who buy cameras to document their families and their lives consider it too expensive; the D7000 is often seen as the absolute limit of spending. So something should be offered that is better than D3200+18-105VR but less expensive than a D600, and lots of lenses for it around $500 price level. Several mirrorless manufacturers (notably Panasonic, Olympus and Fuji) are precisely targeting intermediate level users and their lens needs, and I think as a result they have good prospects of growth as the products they offer serve the needs of the growing photographer.
    I think a lot of people have seen the rapid evolution of digital cameras and are expecting this development in image quality and reduced cost and size to continue indefinitely. This is not a realistic assumption; physics limits the development of sensors and lenses and the size of human hands also stays about the same as it is. I believe if Nikon offered a more comprehensive lens lineup at the intermediate level, for DX also, a lot more people would brave the jump towards better quality lenses. Nikon has been very slow to introduce e.g. the f/4 zoom lineup and slower primes; now they're doing that but there are still lots of intermediate level lenses missing, especially for DX.
    I think what people need to understand is that the rapid development phase of digital cameras is not going to continue indefinitely and that we should expect slower growth in the future. However, I think Nikon can grow by focusing more in making the transition from beginning photographer to advanced more smooth.
     
  23. "I think what people need to understand is that the rapid development phase of digital cameras is not going to continue indefinitely and that we should expect slower growth in the future. However, I think Nikon can grow by focusing more in making the transition from beginning photographer to advanced more smooth."
    Problems here. First, who's able to predict the speed and direction of innovation? You? Doubtful. Second, Nikon lives by selling DX DSLRs, lots of them, most of them low-end, which is where most customers happily stay. FX is overshadowed by DX sales. Nikon isn't selling enough cameras. Go read Thom Hogan to understand why.
     
  24. who's able to predict the speed and direction of innovation? You? Doubtful
    Physics is not subject to innovation; it is always the same. The first generations of digital cameras saw rapidly improving image quality because of the development of sensor technology afforded by the mass market needs for digital cameras (previously the market had been highly specialized and small). Modern sensors are able to detect a most of the incoming photons and record the signal with less noise. There is very little room for improvement left in either area (if we consider e.g. the D5200 and D800 as references of current sensor technology) thus in a given sensor size the image quality we have is close to as good as it will ever get. Many of the FX lenses in Nikon's lineup have also been revised to new levels of performance, and at the same time their cost has increased substantially. There are a handful of affordable high performance lenses such as the three new f/1.8 primes and the 70-200/4, again they're all FX. I doubt that we will see such a revision of mainstream lenses again in 10-20 years. There will be new products of course but it is unlikely that we will see a dramatic improvement in image quality again in our lifetimes, such as has been seen in the transition from 35mm film to digital SLRs in the period 1999-2012. Some people claim that smaller sensors and even mobile phones will continue to improve until they reach or exceed today's DSLRs, but this is physically impossible - the information simply isn't there to be recorded by the tiny sensor and lens. Some people think camera development is like the development of microprocessors, but this is only partly the case; optics and photon noise dictate the ultimate limits to image quality that can be achieved, and we're very close to that already, especially from the sensor point of view. And the lens improvements that we've seen mostly have come at a cost in lens size: e.g. lenses like the 14-24/2.8 are becoming more common as increased levels of performance is expected by users of high pixel count cameras.
    Second, Nikon lives by selling DX DSLRs, lots of them, most of them low-end, which is where most customers happily stay.
    My issue with Nikon's lens lineup is precisely with the (lack of intermediate level) DX lenses, not so much FX.
    No, the customers are not happy with the DX offerings. Many are fleeing to FX and the mirrorless cameras. I know quite many people who are starting their families and buying a camera to document their lives, children, friends, and travel. The ones who buy DSLR end up using the 35/1.8 as the only lens (not liking the slow speed, softness and large size of the slow kit zooms such as 18-105) or not using the camera at all. With the zoom it's too large to travel with (when also carrying a bunch of supplies for kids) and the prime isn't versatile enough outdoors. The flash implementation in the low end Nikon DSLRs is appalling; the TTL preflashes are timed so that they cause an extremely high incidence of partial eye closures in the subjects (this doesn't happen with the D7000 or higher) and manual flash isn't something they're willing to learn nor is it that practical to work with in single flash fill work. By contrast, the ones who buy a mirrorless camera such as Panasonic GX1+14-42 PZ seem to be extremely happy. And the ones who are determined to grow their DSLR system go FX as soon as they possibly can muster it. That's my experience with camera use among my acquantainces - I'm not saying it's universal in any way, just a data point among others.
    Go read Thom Hogan to understand why.
    Hogan seems to think like I do - DX needs to be supported by a comprehensive system of lenses and Nikon isn't providing it. Nikon have a system which is set up to make people constantly crave for the next higher level cameras and lenses - not because they necessarily need or want very expensive high level gear, but because the lower levels have large omissions in the lens lineup that make it impossible to stay.
    A typical high end camera user buys a lot of lenses and frequently upgrades their camera bodies and lenses. Someone who buys one or two slow zooms with an entry level camera isn't going to upgrade (because many of the next logical steps up are missing in the lineup and what does exist is too expensive). Thus the high end cameras, while small in numbers of sold units, generate a lot more money to Nikon per unit as the customers who buy these high end cameras also buy lenses, bodies, flashes, lots of stuff, and they're often in the lookout for more. Someone who buys a D3200+18-105VR+35/1.8 might never buy anything else. Thus by looking at the number of DSLRs sold in each category could make one think the entry level stuff is the most important for Nikon - it is not as important as the number of units would suggest since these are very low priced items and there is little brand loyalty tied to them. These products are also the most vulnerable to competition from other manufacturers (since no significant lens investment does not lock in the user to a system) and mirrorless cameras since at this level DSLRs offer mostly only a larger size and upgrade potential to FX whereas mirrorless cameras offer a much smaller size, and lens options suitable to a beginning and intermediate user's budget, which DX is lacking. As soon as you start buying FX lenses you will soon start wanting the full image quality from your investment in lenses, that can be only had with an FX camera. Also, the optical viewfinder of entry level D3200/D5200 models makes one really have to squint to be able to see the subject and focus clearly. The viewfinder of an FX camera makes seeing the subject's expression and focus much easier and makes the whole concept of DSLR much more appealing. This is why I think DX DSLRs will probably be run over by mirrorless cameras of Micro Four Thirds and APS-C size sensors in the next five years - the lack of lens support from Nikon, and lack of a viewfinder good enough to make it worth staying with (in the low end models - D7000 viewfinder is fine, but the users in this price category expect better lens support). Third party manufacturers do provide more DX lens options, somewhat at least, and Nikon is losing a lot of money from these customers who prefer the third party lens offerings for DX rather than the outdated Nikon lenses which serve mostly to push people towards FX.
     
  25. Ilkka: Thank you for that ... I think you are right. Note in the automotive world GM/Chevrolet is showing the new Corvette at the Chicago Auto Show with much improved mpg ... not necessarily thru techno break-thru, but by the use of more lightweight materials (none 'new') and by shutting off 4 of the 8 cylinders while you are on the hiway ... touch the accelator, and they seamlessly re-engage without the driver being able to detect it.(I think Chrysler did something similiar with their guzzling RAM a few years back, but not like GM has done with the 'Vettte.) Physical things as they are have limits, period. Perhaps JPL (and USA's) Mars Curiosity,will bring back some new, unknown materials, and the photo industry can start over. :)
     
  26. I'm hoping DSLR doesn't go away anytime
    soon, as mirrorless etc. would be so much
    less satisfying on many levels. Heck, having
    the feel in hand of a balanced camera and
    glass, and solid heft is almost reason enough
    alone!

    But I'm reminded of a true story regarding the
    manufacturers mindset... For golf balls!
    Golfers loved the wound balls for lots of good
    reasons, but they cost more to make than
    cast/extruded solid balls, so the hype began,
    the ad campaigns bombarded us, and
    proof,wound balls went extinct. Now golfers
    pay more for cheaply made, less dynamic golf
    balls! (Me included.)

    With all the parts necessary to make a great
    DSLR, it would seem that eventually the
    camera manufacturers would love to pull off
    the same trick as Acushnet, etc.
     

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