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Nikon Announces Extraordinary Losses - What Does This Mean?

Published: 17/02/2017
By: larry

On Feb 13, Nikon issued a "Notice of Recognition of Extraordinary Loss"; canceled 3 new cameras they announced over a year ago, and announced an expected staff reduction.

Tony Northrup's video does an in-depth analysis of what this means for photographers and for Nikon as a camera company. He also gives his opinion of what Nikon needs to do to rescue their camera business.

As Tony explains, this isn't a disaster for Nikon, they've just been making some bad technology decisions. Older camera companies like Nikon and Canon need to be paying close attention to what's going on in the SmartPhone industry because SmartPhones are driving people's expectations of the way user interfaces and software should work.

8 comments on “Nikon Announces Extraordinary Losses - What Does This Mean?”

  1. I would think most of the camera companies are struggling due to the fact that most people now use their phones to take pictures. Most of the phones now have pretty good resolution and the convenience of easily carrying them around.

  2. Jerry asked where Sony fits in. Well Sony has a bit less problem as a company than Nikon or Cannon. Nikon is basically an optics company. Cannon is the same but with a few ventures into the printer area.

    Sony is a large technology / entertainment company. They manufacture the sensors for most of Nikons top cameras. They are the number one in pro video cameras. They have entertainment segments. They have consumer electronics segments. They are more like GE or Samsung than like Nikon or Cannon. Sony has 40% plus of the image sensor market. Apple uses their sensors in iPhones. Sony is number one in the mirrorless camera market. Sony is a distant but number two in the action cam market.

    Bottom line in the story is that Cannon and Nikon are deep into pro DLSR market Sony is not but they are there none the less. When that happens, deep into one market segment, then the fate of your company hangs on that market alone. The pro market has been eroding along with print media.

    I'd rather be Sony. It's just business not "who makes the best" Owning a declining market (pro photography) is not the best place to be.

  3. Sad news indeed. My first pro cameras were Nikon FTNs. I used them and the subsequent FE2's from 1969 through 2006 when I had to do a shoot that required a digital camera that was up to the job. Nikon did not have one but Canon had just introduced their first Rebel so I had to go with Canon and with the investment have stayed with them despite my love of Nikon. Those FTNs and FE2's still work well and are built like tanks. They have all fallen onto cement and still work; they have no problem shooting in sub freezing temperatures and humidity. I just can't shoot film professionally anymore or I would still be using them. Those FE2's even had Polaroid backs. I hope Nikon can survive with their long history. But the high quality level of consumer products, not just cell phones, these days, they will have to reassess their market.

  4. Nikon is a large company. Apparently, most of the losses were from their lithography division. They only canceled three new point and shoot cameras that were of dubious value to consumers. They are a fine quality optics company among other things, Sony is not. Nikon will have to specialize because the prosumer end of the market has weakened due to the uneducated public that thinks that their phone will be a safe haven for all their precious family ephemera and, at the same time, qualifies them to be "pro" photographers.

  5. @Peter : I loved reading your post : likewise, my first SLR camera as a teenager was a beaten up FTN followed by an FE: wonderful bits of kit both and I shot on Nikon for all my 35mm film work. Many years later, when I went over to digital (2006), I switched over to Canon for one reason only: they had a decent 24mm tilt shift lens on offer, whereas we had to wait until 2010 I think for Nikon's digital equivalent. If they had been quicker to develop pro tilt/ shift optics for the digital age I would have stuck with them. It was a case of history repeating itself when Canon came out with the astounding ultrawide 17mm tilt shift lens: nothing wider than 24mm from Nikon for years until their very recently released (and I have no doubt excellent) 19mm tilt shift offering. What clearly happened was that a huge amount of costly R&D went into "courting" the amateur/ prosumer market who, as we know, are now realising what a 5MP camera phone with decent optic can achieve. Just before you think this is sounding like a eulogy to Canon, let me say that they too are recently guilty of the very same mistake: having created an amazing camera in the form of the 50MP 5DSR the sensor has managed to exceed the resolving power of their oldish 45mm tilt shift lens (a wonderful lens in itself for exteriors). I keep going to Canon Rumours sites as they keep promising to release an update to the 45mm TSE: the latest seems to hint at no replacement at all but just a new 90mm TSE. The probable reason? Such specialised bits of equipment are becoming sidelined again as R&D is increasingly channelled into amateur-targeted "user-friendly" APS DSLRs (set camera to "Shoot Great Picture" Mode etc!) . I feel that both Canon and Nikon need to consider their heritage as go-to names for the professional market and re-assess their marketing focus. I also feel that Nikon's news underlines what difficult times we are operating in as photographers: buying into a camera system is a huge investment and one wants to feel that there is some longterm vision/ stability to that system. Very interesting to consider Sony's unique position meanwhile. I don't own a Sony but I could envisage the day when we pros who need tilt shift functionality for architectural and/ or product work will simply buy a Sony mirrorless camera and use it on a third party view camera "chassis" like the Cambo Actus (google it please!) which can bring tilt and shift abilities to any quality lens with decent coverage. Strange times indeed.

  6. I own a D90, and stuck to this. Yes, i also had an FM10 in the beginning. Even if i had succeeding series of different coolpix, i find them problematic in one way or another. I am sorry i sound i am giving a negative review when in fact i still keep buying Nikon. Does this mean that the shift of photography is by using camera fones, and with easy to decipher menus and especially the wifii transfer speed. There are a lot more to choose from i think, than a monopoly.. my 2 cents.

  7. One more thought... What it means is Nikon along with others must reinvent they way they do business. The consumer grade DLSR along with consumer cameras are dying the death of the buggy whip. Pros will be around for some time but that is a limited market. Pros in the RE market typically don't spend a lot on their equipment. You can't build and rely on Pros to support current the business model of Nikon and the others are going away and driving those new horseless carriages.

    Now don't shoot me for that statement but look at what you need for your pro job vs what a wedding photographer needs or a pro sports photographer needs and you see the difference. We could get along with one body and one zoom lens. They could not.

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