D700 Marketing Discussion

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by joe_a|2, Jul 1, 2008.

  1. I find the marketing process itself to be kinda interesting, so I started this thread. No technical discussions in here
    except when they relate to a point you're making.

    Shun and I had a brief dialogue in another thread about the release of the D700 and how it may or may not steal
    sales from the D300 and/or D3. That is one of my areas of thought. Is the market really moving along that quickly
    now? 8-9 months from first-ever FX body to first pro-sumer FX body? It seems Nikon is almost releasing too fast,
    and they could "get more" out of the D3 and D300.

    Another thing I'm thinking about is how many "haven't made the switch to digital yet" photographers the D700 will
    convert. Do you think there's a lot of film Nikon shooters out there who have been standing by for full frame? And is
    the D700 the one to bring them out, or will it be a slightly cheaper version coming down the road? (cheaper because
    of technology more than anything)

    From a marketing standpoint it will be interesting to see how Canon responds. All I've ever heard mention is a 5D
    Mk II, but perhaps Canon has a better built 40D-type full frame body up it's sleeve. Maybe Nikon's spies found out!
    Intrigue and high tech in the Land of the Rising Sun....

    And crikey....release some Nikkors already. And not limited-market perspective lenses. I've heard people ask 80-
    400 AF-S, 70-200 2.8 VR-II, 70-200 f/4, AF-S primes. Nikon's turning into a camera body company, not the optics
    king we know and love! But back to marketing (although it's not D700, per se): Is there really no demand for these
    lenses we hear people dream of and ask for?

    Just some things to think about. An FX sensor really doesn't tempt me at the time, but I still find it all interesting.
    Would be neat to shoot my old AI/AIS glass on FX, but not $3000 neat. :)
     
  2. What is a pro-sumer? Nikon defines the D700 (and the D300) as a professional body. I make a living from photography, and I travel a lot. D3 is too big for me. So my camera of choice will be the D700. That makes it a professional body to me as well.

    Was the D700 a necessary step for Nikon? Of course it was. It arrives three years after the Canon 5D, but it will be a strong contender in that market segment. The fact that it's launched less than a year after the D3 doesn't mean a thing. It doesn't mean that the D3 will become obsolete. If I needed a camera with a vertical grip, I would buy the D3, which is actually smaller than the D700 with a grip. Horses for courses.

    The D700 will obviously steal sales from the D3 as well as the D300, but for Nikon, what matters is how many customers they can attract in total, and how much profit they can make from those customers. If they hadn't launched the D700, their customers may have bought products with less economical significance from Nikon, or even worse: moved to Canon or Sony.

    I'm reasonably sure that the Nikon management knows what will be Canon's (and Sony's) next launches, but I'm also reasonably sure that it's more important for Nikon to find and define their own market niches rather than launch direct competitors to whatever the competition comes up with.

    Has Nikon become a camera body supplier more than a lens supplier? At the moment, partly yes, but probably mainly because they had some catching up to do. After the launch of the D90 (or whatever) and the 24MP Dsomething, Nikon will have a line-up that is hard to match for anyone. That is particularly true for Canon, who has renewed their entire range except the 5D during the last 12 months, without coming up with anything that excels particularly compared to the available Nikons.
     
  3. I shoot with a D200. I also love shooting film because of the FF viewfinder! The D700 is only ~95% covererage but then, my F100 is only 96%, so I'm not gonna complain!

    My problem with the D700 is that with the grip (which I would get) makes the camera taller than the D3 and almost the same price. Would the sensor cleaning and the thumb-pad on the grip sway me towards the D700 over the D3? Don't know. Either way, both are out of my budget.

    DSLR FF market: What was the release price of the Canon 5D? Was it compariable to the D700?

    Nikkors: Yes, We need more new non-PC lenses!

    Sorry if this is kinda off topic.
     
  4. "Nikon's turning into a camera body company, not the optics king we know and love! "

    Regarding that comment, Herbert Keppler once noted that digital has flip-flopped the roles of bodies and lenses. Whereas a person would once keep a body for years and build a stable of lenses, now a person can have 3-4 lenses and move through bodies.

    Everybody knows that no one can live with just 3-4 lenses, though....
     
  5. Three new bodies in, what is it, 6 months? This rate of new body "inflation" seems to me to be very likely to keep
    non-digital photographers waiting. Why buy now when a better, cheaper, one will be along in another 6 months?

    I have to say I suspect many D300 owners may feel a tinge of irritation at the appearance of the D700.
     
  6. "DSLR FF market: What was the release price of the Canon 5D? Was it compariable to the D700?"

    I believe the 5D started out at US$3,000.
     
  7. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    What surprises me is that Nikon does not introduce the so called "D3X" 20+MP pro model before the D700, but that should also be coming soon.

    The $3000 initial price is exactly what I expected, and that should drop to $2500 or so by mid 2009. However, the D700 has more features than I thought. Having 8 frames/sec with the MB-D10, Multi-CAM 3500, etc., the D700 is quite close to the D3 in a lot of ways. The D700 should also be an excellent sports camera that will work very well during the Olympics. At the same time, there should be more downward price pressure on the D3, somewhat blurring the difference between the two.

    I have pointed out several times that there are reasons the Canon 5D is selling around $1800 or even $1700. Essentially Canon has to deeply discount an old model in order to move remaining stock.
    But I don't at all expect Canon to sit still. Expect new product announcements from Canon before the Olympics and certainly before Photokina in September. The 5D replacement is clearly way overdue.
     
  8. "I have to say I suspect many D300 owners may feel a tinge of irritation at the appearance of the D700."

    I don't think many buyers will be too upset due to the large price difference.
    D300: $1799 (initial)
    D700: $2999
    $1200 difference. Would most people pay that much more if they had the choice?

    Yeah, I know the D3 was $3200 more than the D300 so the D300 or D3 choice is a big difference.
     
  9. Marc,

    Yes, actually maybe it will be the D3 owners who will be even more annoyed!
     
  10. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As a D300 owner myself, I'll be happy to use both the D300 and D700, for different purposes. Even the D3 cannot match the higher pixel density for using long lenses. Additionally, the fact that the 51 AF points cover a large portion of the frame is a big advantage. On both the D3 and D700, those 51 AF points are too concentrated in the center.

    Canon originally announced the 5D in August 2005 and priced it at $3299, but they stared providing rebates after merely a few months:
    http://www.dpreview.com/news/0508/05082209canoneos5d.asp

    At this point, the 5D (especially new 5D) is mainly for bottom fishers.
     
  11. I think it's obvious that Nikon is going after Canon as hard as possible. Nikon has been seriously trying to regain the #1 spot for the past two years. The 700D is obviously an attempt to head off the 5D replacement and steal the show before it got released. Same with the lenses--Nikon has to have them to compete with Canon. I assume that anyone questioning the need for tilt/shift lenses has never used a view camera! I'd take a 24mm PCE over a new 28/35/50/whatever mm f1.4 lens in a heartbeat!

    I dont' think there are all that many out there shooting film, and if they didn't go for the D3 I have doubts the D700 would do it either. This is now a small market and I really think Nikon was thinking more about the Canon 5D market here.

    As for stealing sales from other Nikon bodies, probably. Yes, it will take some sales from the D3 but it doesn't matter. Nikon has to have something to compete with the 5D line. It probably won't take many sales from the D300 but obviously some. And if it does, that's great! The D700 costs a lot more, after all. Now let me throw this one out. I hate tying up big $$ in cameras. I've been patiently waiting for the release of the "D90." Instead, the D700 comes out. I think there will certainly be a fair number of people selling virtually new D300 bodies on eBay in the near future. It might well make more sense for me to pick up one of those if cheap enough rather than a D90. I have noticed a strong increase in the number of Nikon 17-55mm f2.8 lenses on eBay the past 10 days. So far it hasn't pushed the prices down much, but I have my hopes that soon it will! I've been looking.


    Kent in SD
     
  12. Shun--

    I think one reason Nikon went with the D700 first was that as a lower price point camera, there's a lot more potential customers. That translates into more lens & etc. sales. Clearly, they are after Canon & the #1 spot. Nikon is hammering Canon's profitable mid-price points with the D300, D700, and soon D90. The D60 has received good reviews too. Nikon has decided it's not going to fade away!


    Kent in SD
     
  13. >What surprises me is that Nikon does not introduce the so called "D3X" 20+MP pro model before the D700, but that should also be coming soon.

    I suspect that fireworks should appear brightly in the winter skies in time for Christmas (just like last year).

    For the prosumer or the pro-- (minus-minus) war, Canon better work faster or we might have to ask the last person to turn off the light when they leave the room? :)
     
  14. "I have pointed out several times that there are reasons the Canon 5D is selling around $1800 or even $1700. Essentially Canon has to deeply discount an old model in order to move remaining stock."

    Right on! Only Canon knows if Canon has made a profit on the 5D, but I doubt it. That camera was built from the bottom, mostly with unique parts, and they may well be in the same situation that Olympus was in with the E-1: they are hesitant launching a new model until they get rid of old stock. In the end, they have to, and sell what is left for rock bottom prices. Her in Bangkok, a 5D is priced at the same level as a D300 or lower.

    Nikon seems to have learned their lesson already, and the D700 is apparently to a large extent built by elements from the parts bin. Still, it's a very individual camera, and much more advanced than the 5D, also considering the three years that have passed.

    So Canon's choice is very simple: either, they have to build a 5DII that is as advanced as the D700, or they have to sell for a lower price. It's the D300/40D situation all over again, and I doubt that Canon likes to end up as runner-up on each and every occasion.
     
  15. Frankly, unless you are a pro (making a living out of photography), it seems we should all be "bottom fishers", a term that seems to imply the superiority of those who are not. But of course many just like spending a lot of money very frequently - it's what keeps the companies in business.
     
  16. "What surprises me is that Nikon does not introduce the so called "D3X" 20+MP pro model before the D700, but that should also be coming soon. "

    I think they are looking very carefully at how Canon is doing with 1Ds Mark 3 sales and pricing. a 24mp class camera really is a specialty item.

    "Shun and I had a brief dialogue in another thread about the release of the D700 and how it may or may not steal sales from the D300 and/or D3."

    Unelkss Canopn also gets the successor to the 5D out - not jsut announced but to the market -- swiftly. D700 sales will likely hurt Canon. Same thing with Sony. I have my suspicions that Nikon would ahve liked toi waited awhile longer for deeper market penetration with the D3 but I think they were really trying to beat both Canon and Sony with a pre-emptive strike. Unlike the D3 I don't have numbers on D700 production but I think it must be substantial already if they are to meet their announced goal of having D700 bodies for sale in stores "by late July 2008". I would not be surprised to find out that D700 bodies have been in production and warehoused for several months.

    I had a brief dialog wit ha major dealer this morning. yesthere will be people who buy a D700 instead of a D3 -- but there will also be a lot of people who ifthey don't already have a D3 will buy a D3 + D700 for backup. A D700 doesn't do everything a D3 does but it is smaller.

    Will D700 sales "hurt" D300 sales? A lot of people , believe or not, like the APS-C (Nikon DX) size format of the D300 and many more people will look at the price difference between the D30 0and D700 and go with a D300.

    In all the excitement we tend to forget that these things are small crests on a much larger wave.
     
  17. Yes, I guess the D700 may take sales from the D3 but if many of the D700 parts are in common with the D3 (and
    those that aren't may be in common with the D300) then that will mean more volume for those parts and may
    increase the margins on the D3.

    Hey - Bjorn R. says the 24 mm f/2.8 AIS is great on the D3. I could buy one of these D700 things to go with mine.
    Just like the man who found a button and had a suit made to fit ;-)
     
  18. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Robin, in these days I upgrade my DSLR bodies fairly frequently because I think I am a good enough photographer so that I can exploit the advantage of each generation of cameras. Back in 2005, the D2X beat 35mm film and my D100 easily. By the end of last year, the D300 beat the D2X easily. Today, either a D3 or D700 adds the dimension of FX format and the convenience of wide angles ....

    In my view, each generation of camera is indeed superior. There is no way I can stand 3 frames/sec and the slow AF on the Canon 5D with technology from 3 years ago. I already had my share of 3 frames/sec with the D100 back in 2002.

    On the other hand, I still use the 500mm/f4 AF-S and 300mm/f2.8 AF-S I bought back in 1998. I almost always switch VR off on the 200-400mm/f4. I don't see much advantage in the new teles. That is why I don't bother to upgrade them.
     
  19. it would be nice if nikon could make a 24-120mm F/4
     
  20. "In all the excitement we tend to forget that these things are small crests on a much larger wave."

    Words of wisdom, Ellis.

    "A lot of people , believe or not, like the APS-C (Nikon DX) size format of the D300 and many more people will look at the price difference between the D30 0and D700 and go with a D300."

    I'm one of these. I love the DX format. I love the fast long focal lengths and DOF. The first thing I think about when returning to FF is "how do I get 300/f2.8?"

    "Shun and I had a brief dialogue in another thread about the release of the D700 and how it may or may not steal sales from the D300 and/or D3."

    I could see the D700 robbing sales from the D3. The wedding photographer market in particular would lean towards the D700 providing of course it has the same high iso results of the D3.
     
  21. >> "Will D700 sales "hurt" D300 sales? A lot of people , believe or not, like the APS-C (Nikon DX) size format of the
    D300 and many more people will look at the price difference between the D30 0and D700 and go with a D300."

    I wouldn't necessarily say that I 'like' APS-C sensors, but cameras based around these are cheaper and for me that's a
    big factor. Photography is my hobby and leisure interest; I am not a semi-pro or anything like it, I am just a keen
    amateur with no ambitions to be anything else. I have no argument based around 'using this camera will enable me to
    maximise my income so it will be worth buying it!' And while following this particular hobby I also have to keep on top of
    other household/family expenditure areas.

    Having seen the specs of the D700 I can appreciate its quality, but having also seen its price I know it's definitely not
    the camera for me. Today has been a bit of a reality-check, in fact: I now know for certain that I am not a D700
    customer. If anything I am now looking even more keenly at the D300, or even (given that I currently shoot with a D80)
    the "D90", if/when it appears.
     
  22. 'The wedding photographer market in particular would lean towards the D700 providing of course it has the same high iso results of the D3."

    Withthe caveats that the hypothetical wedding photographer doesn't think he or she needs some of the big advantages of the D3:

    dual CompactFlash media slots.

    100% wysiwyg viewfinder

    built in vertical grip (you need to add the MB-10D to the D700 for this).

    higher fps rate (again you get close to this with the MB-10D and two batteries )

    greater battery capacity (again you get close to this with the MB-10D and two batteries )

    I can also see someone with a D300 getting a D700 as their prime camera and the D300 becoming the back up or second body.
     
  23. >> The wedding photographer market in particular would lean towards the D700...

    As there is not a huge difference in price between a D700 and a discounted D3, I think pros will stick with the D3 - the 2nd card slot is worth it.

    While the 5D may be basically a 'featureless' camera, its one best attribute, image quality, is still difficult to beat.

    >>D700 .... there's a lot more potential customers.

    Except for a select few, I can't see the average photographer (non-pro) paying $3000+ for a body, especially when there are numerous significantly less expensive options that give similar image quality.
     
  24. Richard, if the 24mm AF-D that we tested is representative of the optics in the Ai-S version, the performance at wide apertures is pretty lousy on the D3. At f/8 acceptable, but the 24-70, 25mm ZF, and 24mm PC-E beat it by a substantial margin. I don't know what kind of conditions Bjorn uses his 24mm but I would shy away from it unless you specifically intend to shoot with it at small apertures.
     
  25. I too am waiting to see what the D90 brings.

    With my D70, if I bump the ISO up over 640 or so, I get noise that I'm just not happy with. Note, I do reduce noise in Lightroom (yes, probably not the best choice - but it is what I have). My technique could likely use some improvement too, but that is another matter. At any rate, if Nikon releases a body in the ~$1k range that can shoot cleanly up through ISO 1600, I would just have to fit it into my budget somehow. Really though, apart from a bunch of noise at high ISO and some viewfinder issues, the D70 does everything I need.

    I'm also waiting for a new wide, fast prime from Nikon. I really like my new 50mm f/1.8, but there are times when I want to go wider.

    Ah well, I will just have to be patient.
     
  26. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Ellis, I think the D700 is a bit too close to the D3 for comfort. In fact, I am kind of debating about which one to get. With competition from the D700, I expect the price for the D3 to come down even more, further blurring the difference.

    Actually you get more battery power with the D700 because you can put an EN-EL3e inside the camera and an EN-EL4e inside the MB-D10. Just keep in mind that unless you already have them, the EN-EL4a and charger are very expensive.

    But for wedding photographers, the comfort of having two CF cards can trump a lot of things.

    I would like to see some high-ISO, head to head comparisons between the D700 and D3. Given that the D700 is another year newer, it could be even better in that department, although the two cameras share the same sensor.
     
  27. I'm the person Nikon is after with this camera, a quality, affordable full-frame camera that will bring my 14mm back to life without too many bells and whistles.

    I've owned the D100, D200 and D2x because I had to for my job. This is the first digital camera I'm actually excited about. I've been waiting for this pitch for a long time, and here it is.

    The sensor size is perfect for me, I don't need to go beyond roughly 14x19 inches at 300 dpi for publication. A 24MP camera wouldn't interest me, I'd keep shooting medium format and drum scan, or just finally buy a digital back for my Hasselblad system finally as it probably wouldn't be that much more expensive.

    I still shoot a lot of film, but I can't wait to get my hands on this digital camera. Hopefully it'll be released bug-free. Slow and steady wins the race. Love live the yellow logo :D
     
  28. Some thoughts:

    1. It`s funny to see that Nikon assured D300 sales releasing it together with the D3. Most high end users (rich amateurs, pros and others) use their funds to buy them as the only best choice from Nikon. Many users feel disappoited without an affordable FF camera. They were "forced" to buy a D300.

    2. Few months later, once all the D3 fish has been sold, and with lots of recent D300 owners, the long awaited "affordable" FF camera appears.

    3. I think this movement has been carefully taken into account. Many D300 users will buy D700. It means double income for Nikon in a very short period. They really know how to sell cameras.

    4. Second hand market can be busy during next months... probably there will be a high end camera movement... D200, D300...

    5. Don`t underestimate Canon... I`m pretty sure their 5D replacement will be surprising. They also know how to do it.

    6. I need to apply this Nikon selling knowledge to my own business... I want to make $$$ like them!
     
  29. Pretty astute, Jose :) And yes, would anyone like to buy a gently used D200, body only?
     
  30. "But for wedding photographers, the comfort of having two CF cards can trump a lot of things."

    But not just for wedding photog's. I'd love to just run a second back-up 16 gig card while I swapped out 4 gig
    cards through my assignments.

    Ellis & Elliot,

    Another D3 advantage over D700 to wedding photog's and others is the 5:4 crop ability doesn't appear to be
    available on the
    D700?

    With the few features of the D3 over the D700, I can see a lot of wedding photog's that "settled" for the D300
    while yearning for the D3. The D700 wont be as much of a stretch, dollar wise, to them and others. The D700 will
    sell like hot-cakes. I imagine there are many fence sitters on the D3 as well that were waiting for the D3x, and
    have just had their decision made for them?
     
  31. I need to apply this Nikon selling knowledge to my own business... I want to make $$$ like them!
    And produce more unnecessary e-waste to be dumped into Africa. Is this really how you want to do business?
    Personally I think you should buy what you need at the time of the purchase. The D300 still has advantages in tele and macro work.
     
  32. I think many users have been waiting for a camera this type since the F5. It will be great to use wide angles again with a bit lower conscience pricking feel than with a D3...

    Ilkka, I`m afraid Africa will not notice any change on my business.
     
  33. Ikka,

    Oh dear - my remark about the D700 and f/2.8 AIS was not meant to be taken seriously! I just happen to have one.
    Be that as it may it was Bjorn's f/2.8 photo of the tramcar in his D3 review that I liked. See his comments too.
     
  34. "My problem with the D700 is that with the grip (which I would get) makes the camera taller than the D3 and almost
    the same price. "

    D3 = $4999
    D700 = $2999
    MB-D10 = $250

    doesnt seem like much of a problem to me, since the d700+grip is $1750 lower than the d3. not even close to being
    almost the same price. given the feature set, this seems like a case where market competition benefits the
    consumer more than anyone else.

    i'd agree with shun that the D700 is very close to comfort to the D3. $2000 is a lot to pay for essentially one extra
    memory card slot and 100% viewfinder. none of the other differences seem especially notable. and the option to
    remove the grip and have a smaller camera or get 8fps with the grip makes the D700 much more versatile than its big
    brother.

    shun's probably right too that this is a preemptive strike against canon and sony--nikon's only real competitors--and
    they probably figured the D3 had kind of tapered after its initial excitement (partially because the D300 was better
    than iexpected and did so well at that price point). so from a marketing standpoint, it makes perfect sense, although
    perhaps not to the guy who just bought a D3 last week.

    i'm not sure if this will steal D300 sales--if it does, nikon wont be mad at someone paying $1200 more for a body--but
    i cant see it not cutting into D3/5D and whatever Sony's got on deck.

    the D3 was just a stopgap anyway, until the 24mp (?) D3X arrives. as nikon's first foray into FX, it had guinea pig
    written all over it, most notably in the DX crop function. 5.1 mp, while more than the D2H, seemed like it was a bit
    low. more MP for the D3X means a higher-rez crop, which sports shooters and birders will appreciate. anyway, that's
    getting ahead of ourselves.

    as a D300 owner, the D700 is a lot more tempting than the D3, since both bodies not only share the same chassis
    and layout (for the most part), but also the same battery and grip. i could see a lot of D300 owners who wouldnt have
    bothered with the D3 using the D700 for W/A and the D300 for telephoto. the only real hangup is now you need FF
    lenses (look for a lot of folks to dump the 17-55), but the $2K difference between D700 and D3 buys a lot of glass,
    right?

    the big question now is, how far will D3 prices fall? we saw what happened to the D2X and D200 when the D300
    came out.
     
  35. Thanks Guys. Lots of great stuff up there.

    Any thoughts on the D80? I am beginning to wonder if the D70-D80 "grade" of camera is to be no more. Perhaps Nikon has noticed that consumers drop down to the D40/D60 family, and enthusiasts move up to the D200/D300 build-quality bodies.
     
  36. Well, they won me back. I've already sold my 5D, and all of my Canon lenses are in the classifieds.
    <p>
    I especially like that it has the built-in flash. This is a great option for multiple flash set ups, and just for some quick daytime fill.
    <p>
    I can finally go back to my 20, 35 & 105 lens trio.
     
  37. Joe--

    I highly doubt Nikon will skip the "D90." It nicely brackets the Canon products, and they need something in the ~$1,000 price point. A D90 will likely have the same sensor as the D300 and will likely be very clean at ISO 1600. This is the camera I've been waiting for since I put my money into glass and lighting system. As I mentioned above, if a lot of D300 owners begin dumping cameras on eBay and drive the price down to ~$1,200, I would likely snap one up at that price. We'll see.


    Kent in SD
     
  38. Joe,

    No - I'm sure they want all bases covered including the advanced amateur type D80. We'll surely see the D90 with some of the D300 in it.

    I almost bought a D80 but would have liked metering with manual focus. In the end I bought a D40 and thought perhaps a used D200 later. I'm so pleased with the D40 and find it so easy to carry that now I'm not sure.

    I suspect they'll drop the D200 when the D90 comes out. They'll have to do that since the D90 will outperform the D200 IQ-wise and cost less.
     
  39. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    To Joe A.: I have said this several times already: wait for Photokina. It begins on September 28. That is not even 3 months away and the pre-show announcements are well ahead of it. The Olympics ends on August 24. There is essentially a one-month window in between.
     
  40. Since the OP was about D700 Marketing Analysis, let me go ahead and give you a Marketing Analysis framework (basic business school stuff) so you can better see how the D700 fits in:

    Marketing Analysis is comprised of the following:

    1) Situational Analysis - where your products are in the market. Tools include SWOT and 5C analysis.

    2) Marketing Strategy - market segmentation, target market, positioning, value proposition

    3) Product development and product mix/spread

    4) Market launch / roll out & Metrics & Control analysis (i.e., a post-mortem)

    Since I'm sure Nikon has a lot of MBA's who went to top-notch b-schools, they would have gone through an in-depth study using some form of the above framework. Just looking at the above, it is actually pretty easy to see where the D700 fits in.

    Keith
    (yes, I did go to b school)
     
  41. Will the D700 steal customers to both D300 and D3 ?

    For the D3 I sincerly doubt it, at least to a significant level. D3 is probably a camera which is already limited in its potential customer panel more from its price than any other reason. IMHO its potential market as a "technical object" far exceeds the number of people who can actually buy it. Only some pros who can justify to afford the D3 but consider it too heavy and (or) voluminous will buy the D700 instead. Few will be rezady to afford a second one (but they'll buy the D700 as a second body).

    On the contrary, the D700 can and probably will steal a sizeable number of potential D300 buyers. I'm certainly part of them. The main problem I had with the D300 was its DX format. and the kind of lenses I considered necessary to afford to keep them once a more affordable format FX camera will be issued and I will have to exchange the D300 for it represented a considerable increase in the total amount I had to spend.

    Many "old" manual lenses which will be far more appropriate on FX format are available either because they were kept by Nikon users or easily available cheap on the second hand market. Wide angle primes up to 28mm being the more appropriate choice. I have not yet calculated exactly the cost of a second hand kit of a 20mm, a 24mm and a 28mm Ai'ed, Ai or Ais lenses second hand but it will hardly reach the summit of the combination 14-24 + 24-70 zoom lenses. This economy is certainly important enough to cover a large part of the difference between a D300 body and a D700 body.

    Primes of the AF variety will also be available (new or second hand) at their nominal FOV. And this might also means economy without sacrificing IQ. And they are fast primes... A mean to increase further the High ISO performance of the body.

    What will probably stay as customers of choice for the D300 (except the victims of budget limitation) will be those having a large collection of DX lenses and those who are interested in using their body preferentially with long tele-lenses.

    My guess is Nikon is preparing for the next generation of bodies (within 3 to 4 years perhaps) the market to a total abandonment of DX format in the Expert and Pro ranges. I think the DX lens range will come to a standstill in development while the FX format lesn range is bound to be entirely upagraded to the latest technologies. Then they may extend FX format to the whole range of DSLR but progressively as technology will allow lower prices for a full format sensor. At this point they will probaly discard DX lenses from their catalogue.

    Will there be a D3x ? Personally I don't think so. Present technology doesn't seem to allow minimum high ISO performance on a body in the 20mpx plus range (see Canon EOS 1Ds) while even at lower ISO the definition is still behind the threshold of digital MF backs. Performance/price ratio of such cameras seems to be too low for the present time to seriously trouble the MF digital back market. Most potential customers of MF backs have already the relevant body and, more important, the bunch of lenses which goes with it. They'll probably hesitate to throw a such important mass of money on a small format camera with remarkable performance (for a small format) but however not enough to really compete with their MF's.

    I think Nikon's strategy is to become the "ichiban" where they used to be : small format SLR's... For which 12.1mpx is the present right balance between definition and available light performance. They will probably gradually improve definition as technology on noise resistance and dynamic range will improve (and it has become a slower process nowadays than it used to be and eventually slower than the decrease in cost of producing full format sensors) but at minimum R&D costs and without being obliged to decrease high ISO capabilities.

    Perhaps the next generation (D4?) will reach or trespass the 16mpx mark which, allaegedly, will allow a digital small format to produce the definition of a film camera loaded with very slow film on a tripod. But I think this will not appear with the present generation.

    FPW
     
  42. Nikon can't abandon the DX format in the high-end without introducing a 24 MP or equivalent FX body at the very least, and even then it's unlikely. There are lots of people who need the high pixel density of the D300. The D700 is not a successor to it, but a "sister product".
     
  43. Nikon is not seeking parity with Canon. It is seeking dominance in the digital realm. Having more than one FF body (and, yes, I am going to refer to FX as FF, since .1mm on one dimension is trivially different) makes it clear that Nikon has established itself as committed to top of the line DSLRs. At the same time, it is not abandoning those who have gone the DX route: they are being given every reason to buy into FX and regular lenses.

    Will these marketing moves succeed? If Canon's much anticipated 5D II (or whatever they choose to call it) winds up failing to offer extremely high ISO capabilities (as do both the D3 and the D700) as well as the choice to use both types of lenses on the same body, then Canon could lay an egg and get trounced. I do not expect that, but it could happen.

    --Lannie
     
  44. It's not about Nikon fighting Nikon. It's about Nikon fighting Canon. Canon was nimbly stepping around them - coupled to
    an emerging strong position in printer technology that was taking on Epson fairly well.
    <p>
    I for one (having switched from Nikon D1x to Canon 1Ds when I gave up on Nikon's ability to execute to a technology
    agenda including full frame) had counted Nikon out in the long term. (By the way, my opinion doesn't matter - but my
    money was flowing to Canon).
    <p>
    Nikon has made an impressive set of announcements and steps that have me reconsidering them as a solution - and I
    never did get rid of my Nikon lenses:) The high ISO performance of Nikon's new cameras is very impressive.
     
  45. "......... as well as the choice to use both types of lenses on the same body, then Canon could lay an egg and
    get trounced........"

    That's not possible is it? AFAIK Canon chose a different approach and their small sensor lenses
    project too far into the body to be usable on a full frame camera; they would collide with the big mirror.

    It can be argued it was a good decision since the reduced back focus may make it easier to design wide angle
    lenses for the small sensor.
     
  46. "Will the D700 steal customers to both D300 and D3 ?"

    Well, yes, in my case. I did recently purchase a D80 for a very low price, but I could not see paying, at that time, $1,799 for a D300
    camera. Not today, but perhaps a year from now, I can very definitely see a D700 in my future, after prices stabilize. It's actually an
    economical purchase seeing that I have drawers full of primes and zooms, both AIS & AF, that somehow I could never adjust to the
    change in field of view on the DX sensors. No new lenses to purchase! Point in case, my two favorite zooms for film were 28-105 and 75-
    150, but they haven't seen much use on the DX bodies; I can't wait to use them at their original effective focal length. It's going to take
    some time, but I'm starting the saving program now.
     
  47. I was a film shooter waiting for FF, but I finally caved in January and picked up a used D200. I haven't had so much fun with photography in years. With the arrival of the D700, I look forward to soon picking up a used D300 for $1K.
     
  48. Ilkka

    >> Nikon can't abandon the DX format in the high-end without introducing a 24 MP or equivalent FX body at the very least, and even then it's unlikely. There are lots of people who need the high pixel density of the D300. The D700 is not a successor to it, but a "sister product". <<

    High pixel density without an increase of global pixel number is irrelevant to any known purpose. As you said in another message, to equal the quality of an FX format camera with the same number of pixels, you should have better lenses. Which is not the case with the present DX lenses when compared to FX lenses.

    DX lens range has NEVER been treated in a professional way except - perhaps - one or two lenses. There are very few primes and they are specialized ones (a fisheye and a macro lens). This said, this range is largely sufficient to satisfy most amateur needs and consequently doens't need to be extended or improved.

    As long as the price of FX format sensors won't allow their use on the lower part of Nikon DSLR range, DX format will live on. But I would be very surprised if Nikon still invest any more in R&D on the DX lenses.

    When the FX sensors will become cheap enough to more or less maintain the price of DX body range, be sure the DX foramt and these lenses will be totally discontinued. It would be a sheer non-sense to maintain two competing lens ranges in production. The problem is not the absolute price of a body but its affrodability for the targeted share of market. But this won't be anytime soon.

    But I'm convinced the DX format will disappear from both the Expert and Pro range from the next generation on. The D300 will be the best, though the last of its species. May be some of its performance will be transferred to the high end of amateur's range.

    With a high end (D3) flagship and a now a more affordable FX format camera (D700), Nikon will certainly push on the revamp of their FX format compatible lens range.

    And look at the name of the new body: it is a three digit name as id the D300 not a new designation, They just skip the 400,500 and 600 range. Three digits designations from their appearance ever indicated a semi-pro body. Nikon will hardly continue for long to issue two of them in two different formats.

    I would be very astonished if we see any DX format semi-pro body anymore after the D300.

    As for the 24mpx body, it will certainly appear, when the corresponding pixel density will allow the same high ISO performance the D3-D700 can offer. And when this pixel density on an FX sensor will be compatible with a camera not exceeding the present price of the D3. Meanwhile, for about the same price you can anticipate for a 24mpx body you can buy an MF digital back with even more pixels available and better high ISO performance (see the Canon EOS 1Ds performance)... Just because nobody knows (outside the laboratory perhaps) how to handle 24mpx on an FF sensor of a small format DSLR without sacrificing its high ISO performance to an unacceptable point and even less how to cram 39mpx (like an MF back) and obtain something useable even at medium ISO range on a so small surface...

    Some years will be necessary to obtain small format FX DSLR's which can rival with present MF backs for an attracting price... And you must admit as a pre-requisite the MF won't go full format too and beneficiate of the same improvements and price lowering.

    I don't think Nikon has any such intentions for the immediate future.

    FPW
     
  49. I reckon they released the D700 first is because they would get more sales of the D700 as a backup body. Picture these two scenarios:

    Scenario 1:
    D700 is released first. Pros buy D700 as backup bodies to their D3. Rich consumers buy D700 as well. D3x is released, pros buy D3x and retire their D3 or keep all 3 bodies.

    Scenario 2:
    D3x is released first. Pros buy the D3x and make their D3 serve as backup bodies. Rich consumers who can't afford the D3 can't afford the D3x as well. D700 is then released. Consumers buy D700, pros don't because they already have their D3x and D3 setup, unless they need a smaller and lighter body.

    Nikon would sell more cameras using scenario 1, the downside is that the D3 will become the unwanted child, like what the D2h became....
     
  50. Aaron,

    I bet Nikon will never release anything like a D3x high pixel density full format camera like they did with the D2x vs D2h ...

    Images realized using the D3 are perfect for magazine use but perhaps for art or fashion publications. People working for these publications already use medium format camera gear. A digital back for this gear will be just a tad more expensive than the 24mpx camera the alleged D3x will be able to produce and will require them to buy a set of Nikon pro-lenses to become useable. They won't be tempted by a Nikon "D3x" which will not have any of the specific capabilities of the D3 in low light due to the present state of the art in small pixels resistance to noise at high ISO settings and limited dynamic range. The 22mpx Canon EOS 1Ds produces noticeable noise above ISO 640 !, it cost タ 8000 and a 39mpx MF digital back タ 10000... One Canon pro lens to be bought will almost make for the difference ! and the final output will have less pixels and smaller pixels than any pro MF digital back... Nikon won't do the same mistake Canon did.

    They'll quietly wait for the technology to progress enough to obtain the same (or about the same) high ISO performance on a 24mpx sensor as they obtained from the D3... Then they'll issue a D4 (or 5 or 6...).

    I'm sure they are aiming to reconquer their leading position in small format camera, not to try to tackle the MF market before technology will allow for substantial advantages over an MF camera.

    They've issued the D700 because they know they have a relatively large market for an FX format camera of affordable price, Either as a pro second body or even as a Pro and advanced amateur body and they know they have a large number of old faithful customers having a large range of older Nikon lenses who are eager to use them again at their nominal FOV.

    Small format cameras had never been universal in use and probably will never totally be. Though further progress in digital technology will certainly improve their versatility as to extend their coverage to many outdoor MF uses in a near future... But not with this generation. This generation is the first to overhelm almost completely the film (except a very slow one on a tripod) and to go even farther than it in the quality available light photography. These bodies are made for quality *action* photography with a quality at least equal and many times far superior to the one you were able to obtain with film camera, while using full format, they are just the true successors of the famed F, F2, F3, F4, F5 and F6 film bodies which made Nikon reputation... King of small format SLR's.

    FPW
     
  51. High pixel density without an increase of global pixel number is irrelevant to any known purpose.
    Pixel density is extremely relevant to bird photography.
    a 39mpx MF digital back タ 10000.
    I would happily pay that for a 39MP back. Only I suspect that I'd have to double the price and add taxes to get anywhere in the purchase.
     
  52. Illka:

    >> Pixel density is extremely relevant to bird photography. <<

    Why ?

    What will be the diffrence between a pic made with a 12mpx Dx format with 200mm and a pic made with 12mpx FX
    format with a 300mm in terms of pixel density ON THE PRINT ?

    In area, an FX format is 2.25 times the surface of a DX format, if you consider secondary enlargement to obtain
    say an A4 format, your pixels will need to be enlarged 2.25 times less in area for the same enlargement.

    IMHO increasing pixel density is only relevant when you appreciate this increase on a similar format or take into
    account the area coefficient on different format. If you wnat the same pixel density on an FX format you'll need
    12x2.25 = 27mpx... No samll format camera offers this value for the time being, But the difference in actual
    definition between a 12mpx DX and a 12mpx FX is in fact limited to 25% less for the FX format. Is this really
    sensible in practical use, knowing excellent birding photographies were already made by 8.2 and 10mpx cropped
    sensors ?

    >> I would happily pay that for a 39MP back. Only I suspect that I'd have to double the price and add taxes to
    get anywhere in the purchase. <<

    Here is the Hasselblad special offer of a kit H3DII 31 (31mpx) including the back, the camera and a 80mm lens up
    to August 30th at "Le Moyen Format" shop in Paris Euros 11995 tax excluded... I suppose the back only won't be
    sold more than Euro 10000 ! (http://www.lemoyenformat.com).

    I think you just remember prices applicable two to three years ago...

    FPW
     

Share This Page