Now Nikon is on the ropes?

Mike Wingate

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Just one more time: Olympus has not been a camera company for half a century. They are in medical/scientific (optical) business and only 8% of revenue came from their consumer product unit before they finally decided to stop throwing good money after bad and dumped it to JIP. Cameras were nothing more than a very expensive hobby which Olympus kept way too long just for the old times sake. Note also that Olympus/JIP has never ever mentioned the word "sale" in any official communication which indicates that if money changed hands in the transaction, it did not go from JIP to Olympus.

Nikon is currently the only real "camera company" left because some 40% of their revenue comes from cameras and desperate measures are needed if that unit sinks deep into red because the whole company will end belly up pretty quickly. Even at Canon over 80% of revenue comes from something else than cameras so they have the same option as Olympus if business goes pear-shaped.
1936. Semi-Olympus 1 folding camera with Zuiko lens.
1959. Olympus Pen half frame camera.
1972. OM1 camera.
 

BDR-529

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I'm not surprise. Nikon Z system so late entering the blood bath war (FF Mirrorless)and the other main flaw is their S lenses's price compare to the competitors. But after Nikon who's next? i thinks Panasonic suffer huge lost too in that market. I don't see the effectiveness of the alliance between Pana, Leica and Sigma.
In the article they even named the real culprit of this story.

" Toyo Keizai says that Nikon’s fear of conflicting with its DSLR camera sales made the company reluctant to produce a mirrorless camera. By the time it entered the market, Sony had long since entrenched itself. In 2019, Sony produced 1.65 million units, while Nikon had only produced 280,000. "

Case Nikon will be taught in business scools for years to come because this is the classical case of trying to milk your cash cow (DSLR ecosystem) for way too long. If you are afraid or unwilling to cannibalize your own product lines, someone else will come and do it for you. In this case, everyone else because Nikon was the last to jump into mirrorless bandwagon.

And here comes another interesting discovery because it explains why on earth did photoghraphers switch from DSLR to mirrorless despite both systems producing same IQ and even weight/size savings are questionable because the bulk will come from lenses which are FF size anyway.

"Canon similarly waited to enter the market but has fared much better with strong sales of the EOS R5 capping a couple of years of what is proving to be a better mirrorless strategy."

So why is R5 a success story even when native lenses are almost as few and far between as for Z-mount? Well, just have a look at marketing material. Canon makes a song and dance about new features in this order:

1) 8k Video! Yes Uncropped 8k Video!!!! Did I already say 8k? I did? Well, let's say it again: 8k Video!!!
2) 4k Video and 120fps slo mo!! Unbelievable
3) Excellent continous autofocus for video shooting
4) Great handheld video thanks to new IBIS!!
..
..
..
N+1) Still images? ...well, I suppose you can take those too (Watanabe-san, is there a still image option in this body? There is? Good!)

Panasonic on the other hand has gone all in to professional video in both MFT and FF worlds. Up to the point where they throw everything and the kitchen sink at even three year old models via continuous FW updates - for Free. In MFT this has already proven to be the right move compared to Olympus who tried to create the best still image cameras without making any compromizes towards video features. Panasonic has cornered a very solid niche in videocentric market but whether that is large enough is to be seen. Sony is the 500 pound gorilla thanks to their near 100% control for the camera sensor market.
 
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NCV

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Here is what Tom Hogan is saying

What prompts today’s comment was YARE (yet another repeating email): "Would you buy the Nikon D6 from a company (Nikon) that is in dire financial straights (i.e. would you be worried about quality control issues)?” Well, (1) Nikon is not in dire financial trouble, and (2) I’m not aware of any change for the worse in Nikon’s quality control. Maybe the opposite. But this emailer was triggered by their reading article after article, post after post, seeing YouTube after YouTube video, all asserting that Nikon was going to fail.

The “Nikon is going to die” posts continue all over the Internet, which simply tells me that a lot of people can’t read financial statements. Or that there are too many folk that have some nefarious interest in bad-mouthing Nikon. Also that Nikon doesn’t know how to do PR ;~).

So, let me state it boldly: Nikon will keep making cameras and lenses, probably for as long as anyone is making cameras and lenses. Nikon has 20% of the camera market, and they’re not going to let that go without a fight. They’re preparing to keep or increase that share even if the camera market drops by half again. Yes, there’s substantial financial stress on them due to the contracting camera market (and now the virus’s impact on the overall economy), but it’s not currently at a level that is division threatening, let alone corporate threatening.

But no, Nikon is not going away, they’re just slowly backing up.
 

Hypilein

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Here is what Tom Hogan is saying

What prompts today’s comment was YARE (yet another repeating email): "Would you buy the Nikon D6 from a company (Nikon) that is in dire financial straights (i.e. would you be worried about quality control issues)?” Well, (1) Nikon is not in dire financial trouble, and (2) I’m not aware of any change for the worse in Nikon’s quality control. Maybe the opposite. But this emailer was triggered by their reading article after article, post after post, seeing YouTube after YouTube video, all asserting that Nikon was going to fail.

The “Nikon is going to die” posts continue all over the Internet, which simply tells me that a lot of people can’t read financial statements. Or that there are too many folk that have some nefarious interest in bad-mouthing Nikon. Also that Nikon doesn’t know how to do PR ;~).

So, let me state it boldly: Nikon will keep making cameras and lenses, probably for as long as anyone is making cameras and lenses. Nikon has 20% of the camera market, and they’re not going to let that go without a fight. They’re preparing to keep or increase that share even if the camera market drops by half again. Yes, there’s substantial financial stress on them due to the contracting camera market (and now the virus’s impact on the overall economy), but it’s not currently at a level that is division threatening, let alone corporate threatening.

But no, Nikon is not going away, they’re just slowly backing up.
You're of course right, but Olympus selling rumours have eventually killed of Olympus. There is a dangerous trend these days that rumours can sometimes (not always) create facts. We will see how it goes. I wouldn't want to own stock in any camera company right now. I think by far the most likely to stay is Sony, even though I don't like their cameras.
 

Mike Wingate

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Well. They must have taken a hit some years back with the N1. They seem to be rushing out new mirrorless models every couple of months, producing mk.II models as soon as the mk.I is available. I cannot remember adverse comments from 10 years ago about. The development of mirrorless cameras, but I am sure that there were loads of warnings and negativity.
 

BDR-529

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You're of course right, but Olympus selling rumours have eventually killed of Olympus. There is a dangerous trend these days that rumours can sometimes (not always) create facts.
I general this is true but as far as Olympus is concerned, these rumours only started when it was already obvious to everyone (except perhaps hardcore Olympus customers) that their market share has dropped permanently below a sustainable level and it's only a question of time when Olympus can't afford to cover camera unit lossed from profits they get from other BUs.

What killed Olympus cameras was way more simpler: they stayed too long in a niche that just isn't there anymore: premium, compact, mirrorless, stills-oriented cameras which justify high price point with innovative features competitors can't offer (like IBIS, full weather sealing, pixel shifting hi-res, etc). In 2020 there isn't a single feature left that competitors wouldn't have in their bodies too.

Today the key selling points in ILC market are clearly FF IQ and pro video. Even the latest "MFT camera" i.e. Panasonic BGH1 cine box has received surprisingly positive reviews despite being just a stripped down GH5S with additional connectivity and a hefty 2300€ price tag compared to 1600€ for the ILC bodied version. It's also nearly impossible to find GH5S on sale unlike G9 or GH5.

Nobody is whining about BGH1 not having FF IQ, not having IBIS, not having FF low light performance or MFT being an obsolete mount and reviews don't even complain about the price tag. On the contrary, everyone says that it's half the price when you compare it with anything that can deliver equal video quality and this damn thing is just a nearly three year old 4k mft cine camera in a different housing.

My takeaway from all this is that MFT has established itself as a standard in videography and is not going to disappear per se. Unfortunately I would not bet that we will ever see new MFT stills oriented cameras or even hybrid ones.
 
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Biro

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I still contend that the Nikon 1 system was priced to fail because Nikon did not want to cannibalize entry level DSLR sales.
This has been Nikon's problem for a long time. No matter how good a job Nikon's engineers did, management and marketing protected the company's line of big, heavy, full-frame DSLRs.

It's not just the Nikon 1. They never really had their heart in APS-C, either. Every Nikon line of cameras was crippled in some way. If you wanted all the top line features in a Nikon, you always had to go to their full-frame DSLR's.

Nikon was forced to finally acknowledge their mistake when they started losing money big time a few years ago. Their Z line of cameras is quite good but I'm afraid it may have come too late. Perhaps the Nikon brand will survive, but it may not remain an independent company.
 

John M Flores

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In the article they even named the real culprit of this story.

" Toyo Keizai says that Nikon’s fear of conflicting with its DSLR camera sales made the company reluctant to produce a mirrorless camera. By the time it entered the market, Sony had long since entrenched itself. In 2019, Sony produced 1.65 million units, while Nikon had only produced 280,000. "

Case Nikon will be taught in business scools for years to come because this is the classical case of trying to milk your cash cow (DSLR ecosystem) for way too long. If you are afraid or unwilling to cannibalize your own product lines, someone else will come and do it for you. In this case, everyone else because Nikon was the last to jump into mirrorless bandwagon."
Yes, but this is not a new story - this is the classic tech adoption curve, whereby a disruptive technology championed by upstarts and new competitors upends a market and established market leaders are late to adapt because they are protecting the intellectual property and organization that made them a market leader in the first place. This is how IBM missed the personal computer revolution, Microsoft missed the Internet revolution, and traditional automakers are playing catch up to Tesla.

The wrinkle in this case is that the disruptive technology was not mirrorless cameras (vs. DSLRs) but rather the humble smartphone. Mirrorless is a secondary character, allowing smaller market share players (Sony, Fuji, M43) to grab tenuous pieces of the shrinking pie. But phones are the catalyst for all of this market turmoil; they are why the pie is shrinking in the first place.
 

Biro

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The wrinkle in this case is that the disruptive technology was not mirrorless cameras (vs. DSLRs) but rather the humble smartphone. Mirrorless is a secondary character, allowing smaller market share players (Sony, Fuji, M43) to grab tenuous pieces of the shrinking pie. But phones are the catalyst for all of this market turmoil; they are why the pie is shrinking in the first place.
Agreed. The only problem is, phone cameras are joyless to use. But that's becoming true of more and more things with each passing year, isn't it? The general public seems to be motivated only by price and convenience for everything. And, except for the very rich, everyone else must eventually follow.
 

Brownie

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Agreed. The only problem is, phone cameras are joyless to use.
But they're perfect to use for the general masses who "just wanna' take pitchers"...

My wife still has a flip phone because she cares about nothing more than making and receiving calls. She has been threatening for over a year to used my ZS-70 to take photos of the grandkids. Yesterday she came to the realization that she should just give in and get a smart phone for photos. In her case, I couldn't agree more.
 

BDR-529

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It's not just the Nikon 1. They never really had their heart in APS-C, either. Every Nikon line of cameras was crippled in some way. If you wanted all the top line features in a Nikon, you always had to go to their full-frame DSLR's.
Nikon was bad but Canon has always gone full berserk with their cripple hammer. Every single product just has to be so crippled that it can't cannibalize a single sale from any Canon model that is positioned above in product portfolio.

Enter new players like Sony and MFT alliance who instead squeezed every technically possible feature into entry level products as well. They were able to create offerings with all those features Canon and Nikon had reserved for their most expensive models because technology had alreay reached a point where these didn't actually cost anything anymore. Established players had just secured their profits by making lesser models way inferior than they should have been at that price level.

And there is one very essential technical difference between SLR and mirrorless world: in SLR world there was no need to develop AF technology that is suitable for professional video even when the sensor itself would have been capable of it. Especially Sony and MFT bandwagon had a huge head start when they were just forced to come up with an AF that is on par with SLR but works just as well for the video once it's up and running.

Even my old 2011 Canon 60D SLR which I still use for adapted lenses, can shoot amazingly high quality full-HD video (which is in reality still 90% of what everyone uses despite all the 4k and 8k hype) but AF was totally useless and I couldn't afford to hire a focus puller for the job so I ended up buying a camcorder which had clearly inferior IQ but at least it was in focus all the time.
 
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Mike Wingate

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When I bought my humble GX80, the definative Push was getting a reading and re-reading the GX80 brochure. Panasonic knew they must have been on to a good thing. They had hired PhotoJoseph to do the shots in the brochure. It seemed to me that the camera was absolutely packed full with technology. It had everything and more, in such a compact package, plus all the lenses.
 
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Yes, but this is not a new story - this is the classic tech adoption curve, whereby a disruptive technology championed by upstarts and new competitors upends a market and established market leaders are late to adapt because they are protecting the intellectual property and organization that made them a market leader in the first place. This is how IBM missed the personal computer revolution, Microsoft missed the Internet revolution, and traditional automakers are playing catch up to Tesla.

The wrinkle in this case is that the disruptive technology was not mirrorless cameras (vs. DSLRs) but rather the humble smartphone. Mirrorless is a secondary character, allowing smaller market share players (Sony, Fuji, M43) to grab tenuous pieces of the shrinking pie. But phones are the catalyst for all of this market turmoil; they are why the pie is shrinking in the first place.
"humble smartphones"

Is that intended irony?

Most Japanese public issue manufacturers are encountering activist investors who insist—in a very low interest rate environment worldwide—on positive, tangible returns from all departments of a company. Eyes were on Olympus for its scandals and for its dominant medical 'scope position, and long-term pressure forced the Imaging divestment. Same for Panasonic and its sensors, and Panasonic is still under criticism.

It's a combination of disruptive tech and investment eyes on performance; 2 disruptions. Olympus has 1/10th market share of even a diminished Nikon.
 

stevedo

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If I was a camera manufacturer I would be worried about a Chinese firm entering the market. I don't mean a cheap product but something mid to high end at a very competitive price. You just need to see what they have done to the smartphone market. However, there is probably not a large enough market out there to justify the R&D for them to be profitable.
No need to spend loads of money on R&D. Just copy/reverse engineer what others have already done, change it slightly and call it a new product. The Chinese have a track record in this.
 

Pluttis

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Here is what Tom Hogan is saying

What prompts today’s comment was YARE (yet another repeating email): "Would you buy the Nikon D6 from a company (Nikon) that is in dire financial straights (i.e. would you be worried about quality control issues)?” Well, (1) Nikon is not in dire financial trouble, and (2) I’m not aware of any change for the worse in Nikon’s quality control. Maybe the opposite. But this emailer was triggered by their reading article after article, post after post, seeing YouTube after YouTube video, all asserting that Nikon was going to fail.

The “Nikon is going to die” posts continue all over the Internet, which simply tells me that a lot of people can’t read financial statements. Or that there are too many folk that have some nefarious interest in bad-mouthing Nikon. Also that Nikon doesn’t know how to do PR ;~).

So, let me state it boldly: Nikon will keep making cameras and lenses, probably for as long as anyone is making cameras and lenses. Nikon has 20% of the camera market, and they’re not going to let that go without a fight. They’re preparing to keep or increase that share even if the camera market drops by half again. Yes, there’s substantial financial stress on them due to the contracting camera market (and now the virus’s impact on the overall economy), but it’s not currently at a level that is division threatening, let alone corporate threatening.

But no, Nikon is not going away, they’re just slowly backing up.
I hope they survive, would be a loss if they droped out of the camera business

Well i would say you are in a bit of trouble when you have lost 439 million US dollars in a few months, and it can get even worse very quickly.

They dont hold 20% of the camera market, they actually dropped 1.6% to 18.6% market share.
Sales in the in the video business, which includes cameras are expected to decrease by 40% from the previous term.
healthcare business is down 98% from the previous year.

They now only have 7% of the market for chipmaking machines, a market they once where one of the market leaders in.
 
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NCV

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You're of course right, but Olympus selling rumours have eventually killed of Olympus. There is a dangerous trend these days that rumours can sometimes (not always) create facts. We will see how it goes. I wouldn't want to own stock in any camera company right now. I think by far the most likely to stay is Sony, even though I don't like their cameras.
The "Olympus is dead" meme has been running for several years. Quite frankly I just ignored the internet "chatter" and bought and used Olympus M43 gear without worrying about it, just like I ignored the idiocy of the "equivalence clowns".

In the end, it was the fact that when my six year old EM5 was getting a bit long in the tooth I saw that the Nikon Z7 better suited my needs, and a certain synergy with the F mount gear I ran alongside M43, enabled me to have the number of lenses I own.

Olympus had a revolutionary camera with the EM5, they failed to exploit the lead they had, and also made the mistake in my opinion of trying to compete with FF rather than offering something very different as an alternative.
 

RS86

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Olympus had a revolutionary camera with the EM5, they failed to exploit the lead they had, and also made the mistake in my opinion of trying to compete with FF rather than offering something very different as an alternative.
What do you mean mistake of trying to compete with FF? You think they would have succeeded better if they would have kept releasing only similar small lenses (which were already in their arsenal), and not make Pro-lenses? While everyone currently seems to focus on enthusiast & professional markets in camera industry to make a profit.
 

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