Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: Cornfield on September 19, 2016, 01:39:22 PM

Title: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Cornfield on September 19, 2016, 01:39:22 PM
The Nikon press announcement at Photokina today was a very disappointing product launch with just three video action cameras in an attempt to challenge GoPro.  No news of new bodies or lenses.

I was speaking to a very well informed trade journalist who says there are major problems between Nikon and Sony regarding the supply of new sensor technology.  Sony are cutting back on supplies and support to third-party manufacturers and effectively increasing market share.  There are also rumours Nikon is a take-over target for Sony.

I'll be at Photokina again for the next two days and probably start looking for an alternative system after using Nikon for forty years.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rob C on September 19, 2016, 02:01:48 PM
If you have been happy with them for forty years, then I'd suggest hang on in there and wait for reality, not rumour.

Rob C
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 19, 2016, 05:33:56 PM
While the first half of your post may contain some facts, the second half about take over isn't credible at all.

What would Sony do with Nikon assets? Their product lines are impossible to integrate,...

Back on Kina, the lack of announcement may be disapointing, but Nikon's line up remains very strong for still photographers with the best sports camera (D5), the best DX camera (D500) and a 2 years old D810 that remains very competitive.

Honnestly, btw a me too a la 5DmkIV product announced now and a future proof D900 announced in 6 months my preference easily goes for the latter. Now we could also get a mo too D900 in 6 months and that would be disapointing.

In the mean time I am having a great time with the new 105mm f1.4, that may be the best portrait lens on the market, whatever the format...

I am open to any alternative who would help me to take better pictures but as of now Nikon remains IMHO the top dog when considering overall attainable image quality enveloppe (considering the D810 for low ISO and the D5 for high ISO,...), lens line up, AF performance,.. The only reason for opting out of Nikon now would be a concern about resell value. As a photographer who is more concerned about the images I take, I don't see value in applying an investment strategy to my photographic equipment.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: rdonson on September 19, 2016, 10:27:28 PM
Wasn't the Sony sensor facility shut down, at least for a while, after the Kumamoto earthquake in Japan?  That might explain why Nikon has a tough time getting sensors.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 19, 2016, 11:55:53 PM
I'd say there's simply no room for 3 at the top. Profit margins are getting squeezed.
Nikon is competing with its own supplier exactly like Apple is competing with Samsung.

Edmund
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: David Anderson on September 20, 2016, 03:59:26 AM
I'm not surprised there's no big Nikon announcement at Photokina after the release of the D500, D5 and several new lenses in the last 12 months.
I imagine that Nikon were also waiting to see what the new 5DIV would have (or not have) before working out what to do next with the D810.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 20, 2016, 05:12:51 AM
Sony would gain a lot by taking over Nikon's camera division.

No, they wouldn't have much to gain from the existing products. But what they would gain is manufacturing capability (particularly with regards to lenses) and technology. Nikon has state-of-the-art AF technology. Much of this is based around dedicated AF processors. How much would it take to adapt that technology to use on-sensor PDAF data rather than a separe, low-resolution AF sensor? And how much would it take to modify Nikon's supertelephoto lens designs (and some other ones, like the new 105mm prime) to work with Sony hardware, to give the E-mount system capability it previously lacked? Probably not a great deal. Not to mention the invaluable human capital they'd gain in the design and engineering teams.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BrianVS on September 20, 2016, 07:25:47 AM
Nikon brought out the D500 and D5 within the last year. I hope to see a DF-2 using the D5 sensor, and a DF-M using a monochrome version of the same sensor, or the sensor in the full-frame microscope camera. The latter was an "almost" released product, but did not come out.

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/4/3906/15197717566_4b06382b06_o.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/p9YgXd)Nikkor 5cm F1.5 and 13.5cm F4 (https://flic.kr/p/p9YgXd) by fiftyonepointsix (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

Tough Digital market? Nikon could always go back to their roots- making lenses for Canon and Leica.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Paul2660 on September 20, 2016, 07:40:02 AM
I thought the 19mm tilt shift was supposed to announced. But so far I have not seen anything on it.

Paul C
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 20, 2016, 08:25:42 AM
I thought the 19mm tilt shift was supposed to announced. But so far I have not seen anything on it.

Who knows... It's a lens that would become an instant mega seller whatever it's price, so it may not interest Nikon engineers. They have been known for preferring to work on the lenses that nobody knew they needed. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: E.J. Peiker on September 20, 2016, 10:16:55 AM
They are definitely taking a black eye due to their lackluster Photokina:
http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/nikon-swimming-wrong-direct.html
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Paul2660 on September 20, 2016, 10:26:19 AM
Who knows... It's a lens that would become an instant mega seller whatever it's price, so it may not interest Nikon engineers. They have been known for preferring to work on the lenses that nobody knew they needed. ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

It would have sure made my list, and still will.

Paul C
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Bo_Dez on September 20, 2016, 11:34:42 AM
Who knows. Their Photokina showing was diabolically and shamefully bad. at least they have some room to move on the D810 successor, but it seems they are at the mercy of Sony on the sensor side, not a good place to be.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 20, 2016, 09:05:36 PM
Who knows. Their Photokina showing was diabolically and shamefully bad. at least they have some room to move on the D810 successor, but it seems they are at the mercy of Sony on the sensor side, not a good place to be.

It's not only the sensor itself, the EVF cameras are becoming  fully integrated systems.

Edmund
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 21, 2016, 01:41:05 AM
Who knows. Their Photokina showing was diabolically and shamefully bad. at least they have some room to move on the D810 successor, but it seems they are at the mercy of Sony on the sensor side, not a good place to be.

They've been there for a while, for anything other than the action/sports bodies.

Without the Exmor, the D800/D800e/D810 would have been mediocre nothing-bodies rather than the legendary bodies they've become (up there with the 5D2 in digital camera history). The D750, D610 and many of the crop bodies likewise. Even the D7200, with its Toshiba sensor, is still based on Exmor technology - and Sony now owns Toshiba's imaging division.

Given that Nikon derives so much of its income from camera sales, Sony could cripple Nikon very quickly by cutting off its supply. But it wouldn't be in Sony's interests to do so - selling sensors to Nikon is lucrative, Nikon would probably negotiate a new supply of sensors from Samsung (strengthening one of Sony's biggest competitors), and, in the longer term, a stronger Nikon is a more attractive takeover target for Sony (which could easily buy out Nikon) than a crippled company which has lost all its best and brightest engineers.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 21, 2016, 02:19:19 AM
They've been there for a while, for anything other than the action/sports bodies.

Without the Exmor, the D800/D800e/D810 would have been mediocre nothing-bodies rather than the legendary bodies they've become (up there with the 5D2 in digital camera history). The D750, D610 and many of the crop bodies likewise. Even the D7200, with its Toshiba sensor, is still based on Exmor technology - and Sony now owns Toshiba's imaging division.

Probably... but then again Exmor wouldn't exist in the first place if there hadn't been Nikon to fund its development by committing a huge amount of business. At that time Sony bodies were selling at least 5 times less than their Nikon counterpart.

Besides, reducing a D810 to its sensor is an over simplification. It was also the best DSLR on the market in this segment even leaving its sensor aside.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 21, 2016, 02:40:09 AM
Probably... but then again Exmor wouldn't exist in the first place if there hadn't been Nikon to fund its development by committing a huge amount of business. At that time Sony bodies were selling at least 5 times less than their Nikon counterpart.

Hardly. Sony's biggest money-spinner is its media division. What Sony earns from films, music, games, etc. dwarfs all of Nikon. Sony would have developed Exmor anyway, once they decided to make the move into the still camera market. That Nikon bought their sensor was just icing on the cake.

Quote
Besides, reducing a D810 to its sensor is an over simplification. It was also the best DSLR on the market in this segment even leaving its sensor aside.

Cheers,
Bernard

Really?

A D800 with the Canon 5D3 sensor would have been a slow, clumsy body with limited lens selection, poor live view, a slow frame rate, a weaker AF system than the 5D3 and no immense IQ advantage over the competition. It was the Exmor which got the D800 off the ground, prior to the D810's refinements. Without it, it would have gotten nowhere. Bear in mind that, in 2012, Canon practically owned the high-resolution/low ISO crowd, since the 5D2 had such a huge resolution advantage over the D700 (which was, in every other way, a better stills camera). It's really a testament to the strength of the Exmor - and Canon's stagnation - that the D800/D810 were able to get so many people to ditch their Canon setup and move to the Nikon system.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 21, 2016, 02:49:44 AM
Sorry, no time to engage in a discussion today.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Zorki5 on September 21, 2016, 04:26:00 AM
The only reason for opting out of Nikon now would be a concern about resell value.

So we're are talking about concerns about Nikon's resell value already... And Thom H announced he would start covering Canon along with Nikon (tried to downplay that later; yeah, of course). And now near-absence from Photokina. Little bits and pieces here and there. Nothing of significance, but somehow overall picture looks worse and worse for them.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Bo_Dez on September 21, 2016, 04:57:32 AM
Nikon has had the best few years for a very long time, maybe ever. There are so, so many choosing the Nikon D810 over medium format now. The 810 successor was never due at Photokina, and they chose to launch the D5 ahead of Photokina.

It has been, apart from a few exceptions, a very dull and disappointing Photokina all round. I wondered if these brands knew about the Fuji and either launched early, or later, so as not to be over shadowed.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Manoli on September 21, 2016, 06:03:30 AM
Nikon has had the best few years for a very long time, maybe ever. There are so, so many choosing the Nikon D810 over medium format now.

Well, you can't both be correct!
From memory Thom Hogan recently published an article on the disappointing Nikon financials.

Sales down 20%, Income down 30%, disastrous Coolpix, Nikon1 performance and non-existent DL cams all paint a dismal picture, and with no mirrorless or video/motion presence worth speaking of, an even worse outlook. The only area that made up for the loss in imaging was the successful Precision semiconductor group.

Bottom line is the balance sheet doesn't lie.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: AreBee on September 21, 2016, 07:24:42 AM
Manoli,

Quote
Bottom line is the balance sheet doesn't lie.

But the individuals that prepare it are... economical with the truth.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Manoli on September 21, 2016, 07:54:00 AM
Rob,

But the individuals that prepare it are... economical with the truth.

Creative accounting aside, declining cash and declining receivables tell their own story. If accurate.
In an audited balance sheet, I'd assume they would be.
I haven't seen the financials and only go on what Hogan said.

http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/nikon-first-quarter-results.html

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: TomFrerichs on September 21, 2016, 06:58:57 PM
A further link for Thom Hogan about Nikon and Photokina. And perhaps a suggestion to take a deep breath?

http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/feelings-nothing-more-than.html

tom
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 21, 2016, 08:34:46 PM
A further link for Thom Hogan about Nikon and Photokina. And perhaps a suggestion to take a deep breath?

http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/feelings-nothing-more-than.html

One of the best articles by Thom recently.

Nikon is nowhere near bankrupt and the company has proven time and again in the past its ability to come up with their best products when they are against the wall. The D3 took the world by storm when many people were 100% certain that Nikon was years ahead in full frame technology and was basically already buried.

Anybody taking actions images owe himself to test a D5 and that will show plenty that Nikon currently has the best AF technology on the market, period. This is the key issues most DSLR users have had with bright lenses, now I get 95% tack sharp images at f1.4 with the 105mm f1.4. I am about to sell my great Otus 85mm f1.4 because I get so many keepers with the Nikon that is nearly as good wide open (meaning very sharp in the corners at f1.4) and has IMHO more pleasing bokeh.

I get the concern some may have about sensor sourcing, but I don't share this concern. We will soon get a D900 combining a great sensor with this same AF technology and that will most probably be my walk around camera for years to come when I don't want to carry the soon to be bought higher end beast.

And by the way, even if they don't make it, who cares really. Most of the viewers of this forum could afford to maintain 5 systems in parallel without making a dent in their bank account. We'll soon enough get great converters to mount the tens of millions of Nikkor lenses out there in the field on an A9 if ever the D900 comes short of expectations. There are a lot more pressing issues to lose sleep on.

As far as I am concerned, I am more excited by my new Profoto softbox than by any of the Kina announcements, perhaps short of the Fuji "MF" system.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on September 22, 2016, 06:49:43 AM
Same here...

Best regards
Erik



Are you sure?

I certainly couldn't, but there again I've only ever been an image maker.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 22, 2016, 04:23:29 PM
Are you sure?

I certainly couldn't, but there again I've only ever been an image maker.

Which works too, the Nikon system has never been this good to make wonderful images!

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Cornfield on September 22, 2016, 06:31:53 PM
Who knows. Their Photokina showing was diabolically and shamefully bad. at least they have some room to move on the D810 successor, but it seems they are at the mercy of Sony on the sensor side, not a good place to be.

Absolutely spot on.  Nikon are in a very difficult place and don't seem to know how to move forward.  Thom Hogan relays my thoughts using different words.

I have this evening returned from Cologne and after spending time with people on the inside at Nikon they are concerned.  The d810 is still the best dslr available but a fully functioning, positive Nikon should have produced a killer d820 but they can't because Sony won't cooperate.  I wish I was wrong but I like to say it as I see it.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on September 22, 2016, 10:13:10 PM
If you have been happy with them for forty years, then I'd suggest hang on in there and wait for reality, not rumour.

Rob C

I agree. Not sure what this fellow wants from Nikon.

Nikon came out with the D5 and the D500, both class leaders. The D810 still class leader. Every super telephoto lens they make, 200 - 800mm, class leader.

Photokina is a single show, not year summary. This year, Nikon created benchmarks with D500 and D5. Their D810 has remained benchmark more than 2 years.

The new 105 f/1.4 is new benchmark.

Sony has no benchmark. Canon still behind in its camera.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on September 22, 2016, 11:00:56 PM
Nikon are in a very difficult place and don't seem to know how to move forward.

The d810 is still the best dslr available but a fully functioning, positive Nikon should have produced a killer d820 but they can't because Sony won't cooperate.

I don't think you're seeing true perspective. Nikon is class leader in more areas than Sony or Canon.

Not sure what you mean by fully functioning. Nikon just introduce 2 of the most functioning cameras, D5 and D500, elevate AF beyond other vendors, buffer byon other vendor, ISO beyond other vendors.

Nikon's flagship camera the D5 all Nikon technology. D500 same. D810 Sony sensor but not so D5 or D500.

Sony only leads in one category of sensor, behind others in fully capable cameras. Sony behind in lenses, especially at long end.

Nikon leads in action prime lenses, lead in action AF cameras, and for these they use Nikon action sensors, buffers, all class lead.
Came out with benchmark 105 f/1.4 also, all this year.

Nikon full functional quality better than Sony in most area but 1 kind of sensor on a slow non action camera. Quite possibly Nikon is working on changing to own sensors for D810 replacement. Should Nikon make own sensor, may prove better than Sony. They already make better lenses, action sensors, and cameras than Sony.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 22, 2016, 11:16:44 PM
Considering that even Canon managed to reach 13+ stops DR, it seems pretty clear today that sensors are becoming a commodity with very little differentiation in terms of image quality. The valable IP today with real impact of imaging is in AF technology and lenses look and these are the 2 areas where the Nikon system is IMHO ahead of everybody else.

For sensors the challenge remains read out speed everything else being equal.

Nikon's issues aren't related to technology, it is more about poor product planning and misguided strategic investments. They would be florishing with the exact same available technology had they invested in an ambitious APS-C mirrorless system instead of the 1 series 5 years ago. Their issue is their upper mgt, not their technology.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Mike D. B. on September 23, 2016, 12:06:47 AM
Their issue is their upper mgt, not their technology.

Cheers,
Bernard
I agree, Bernhard.  And not only at Nikon but with so many other companies, be they car manufacturers, or other of products and services.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 23, 2016, 01:14:02 AM
Releasing top-class products doesn't mean you're in a good position from a product development or competitive standpoint. It's merely a prerequisite for even being in the game - if a company can't produce a class-leading product (be it a body, lens or sensor) for at least one major photographic application, they're not even considered. That's why no-one mentions Olympus, Fujifilm or Samsung - without a full-frame camera system, they're not in the game.

Sensor quality matters a lot - Canon lost a lot of market share over the issue. So far, only Sony has released a high-resolution (for its time), high-DR sensor. Nikon and Pentax both use the older, 36MP version. They also make the 50MP and 100MP medium-format sensors used by a number of manufacturers. At high ISO, the A7R2's sensor also demonstrates great image quality at high ISO, competitive with the 1Dx2 and D5. Not to mention the A7S sensor, if you don't need the resolution - ample proof that Sony leads the pack, or is tied in front, no matter the DR, resolution or ISO requirement. Canon, so far, hasn't made a high-resolution sensor in the same league - the 50MP 5Ds sensor falls far short DR-wise, and performs poorly at high ISO. Nikon hasn't designed or made a high-resolution sensor at all - they're almost totally reliant on Sony for their better sensors. That's an ace in Sony's hands.

Nikon has the advantage in SLR AF systems. But how much of that can be translated to mirrorless systems? Sony leads the way in mirrorless AF technology, with Canon not far behind and Nikon not even in third place. To remain competitive for the next decade, they'll have to move in that direction, or risk becoming the next Nokia, stuck with old technology while everyone else moves ahead. After gaining a foothold with non-action shooters and Canonites frustrated with poor sensors, Sony is close to having a mirrorless camera capable of replacing an SLR for wedding, event and other general photography - indeed, for anything other than sports or fast action - and the D810 and A99 Mk 2 are likely more vulnerable than the 5D4 or D750. They're probably not too far off having a sports-capable system either - almost certainly, they'll be aiming to have one in the stands (likely als 8k-capable) in time for the 2020 Olympics, and the fact that they're in Tokyo will only make it a more important goal for them.

Nikon designs and makes its own lenses (some of which are great, some of which - particularly the zooms, which are the bread-and-butter of many photographers - aren't up to the standard of the latest Canon and Sony zooms), which is probably its greatest strength. But Sony has somewhat neutralised this by teaming up with Zeiss, at no cost to itself - being an optics company which doesn't make cameras and relies on other people's cameras to sell lenses, Zeiss' relationship with Sony is entirely symbiotic, rather than competitive or parasitic.

Yes, at the moment, Nikon is still ahead. But the momentum is in Sony's favour, and Sony also holds a better hand - there's nothing Nikon can do to slow down Sony other than developing and releasing better products, but far more that Sony can do to pile the hurt on Nikon should it find it in their advantage to do so.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on September 23, 2016, 01:23:48 AM
That's why no-one mentions Olympus, Fujifilm or Samsung - without a full-frame camera system, they're not in the game.

and was Nikon not in the game w/o FF dSLR back then (when Canon had it already) ? or was it ?
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on September 23, 2016, 01:26:24 AM
Nikon has the advantage in SLR AF systems.
Nikon 1 had a very good AF system being dSLM
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on September 23, 2016, 01:32:58 AM
but not so D5 or D500.
where one can see that D500 is not Sony designed & made btw ? the graph @ http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Nikon%20D500  very much shows Sony's Aptina-patent-based dual gain sensor tech
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 23, 2016, 02:26:15 AM
and was Nikon not in the game w/o FF dSLR back then (when Canon had it already) ? or was it ?

Full-frame wasn't the norm then - only Canon had it. Even then, Nikon was desperately playing catch-up for a while. Canon could have had them down for the count had they put a good AF system into the 5D2 (as Nikon did with the D700) instead of trying to protect their precious market segmentation. Which would also be a timely warning to Canon/Nikon today - if you don't cannibalise your own lineup when technology allows you to, then someone else will do it for you.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 23, 2016, 03:58:48 AM
where one can see that D500 is not Sony designed & made btw ? the graph @ http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Nikon%20D500  very much shows Sony's Aptina-patent-based dual gain sensor tech
interesting remark.
could you give a ref to the tech please and save me some time?
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 23, 2016, 04:06:09 AM
Everything you say is very true provided Sony really wants to be in the camera business and not the component business; but I suspect they really want to turn themselves into the ARM of sensors - and remember Acorn and Olivetti exited computers quite early ...

In other words, I think Sony knows cameras will be commoditized, but sensor/optic combos will be everywhere. They stick it out until everybody else is their customer, or until they own a piece of everyone else except Canon, and they're happy.

On a related note, I'm surprised Canon isn't pouring money into sensor research, seeing the market for phones, cars etc.

Nikon and photography generally look to be a footnote of a much larger move to electronic imaging systems in which ultimately commoditisation will prevail.

Edmund

Releasing top-class products doesn't mean you're in a good position from a product development or competitive standpoint. It's merely a prerequisite for even being in the game - if a company can't produce a class-leading product (be it a body, lens or sensor) for at least one major photographic application, they're not even considered. That's why no-one mentions Olympus, Fujifilm or Samsung - without a full-frame camera system, they're not in the game.

Sensor quality matters a lot - Canon lost a lot of market share over the issue. So far, only Sony has released a high-resolution (for its time), high-DR sensor. Nikon and Pentax both use the older, 36MP version. They also make the 50MP and 100MP medium-format sensors used by a number of manufacturers. At high ISO, the A7R2's sensor also demonstrates great image quality at high ISO, competitive with the 1Dx2 and D5. Not to mention the A7S sensor, if you don't need the resolution - ample proof that Sony leads the pack, or is tied in front, no matter the DR, resolution or ISO requirement. Canon, so far, hasn't made a high-resolution sensor in the same league - the 50MP 5Ds sensor falls far short DR-wise, and performs poorly at high ISO. Nikon hasn't designed or made a high-resolution sensor at all - they're almost totally reliant on Sony for their better sensors. That's an ace in Sony's hands.

Nikon has the advantage in SLR AF systems. But how much of that can be translated to mirrorless systems? Sony leads the way in mirrorless AF technology, with Canon not far behind and Nikon not even in third place. To remain competitive for the next decade, they'll have to move in that direction, or risk becoming the next Nokia, stuck with old technology while everyone else moves ahead. After gaining a foothold with non-action shooters and Canonites frustrated with poor sensors, Sony is close to having a mirrorless camera capable of replacing an SLR for wedding, event and other general photography - indeed, for anything other than sports or fast action - and the D810 and A99 Mk 2 are likely more vulnerable than the 5D4 or D750. They're probably not too far off having a sports-capable system either - almost certainly, they'll be aiming to have one in the stands (likely als 8k-capable) in time for the 2020 Olympics, and the fact that they're in Tokyo will only make it a more important goal for them.

Nikon designs and makes its own lenses (some of which are great, some of which - particularly the zooms, which are the bread-and-butter of many photographers - aren't up to the standard of the latest Canon and Sony zooms), which is probably its greatest strength. But Sony has somewhat neutralised this by teaming up with Zeiss, at no cost to itself - being an optics company which doesn't make cameras and relies on other people's cameras to sell lenses, Zeiss' relationship with Sony is entirely symbiotic, rather than competitive or parasitic.

Yes, at the moment, Nikon is still ahead. But the momentum is in Sony's favour, and Sony also holds a better hand - there's nothing Nikon can do to slow down Sony other than developing and releasing better products, but far more that Sony can do to pile the hurt on Nikon should it find it in their advantage to do so.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on September 23, 2016, 08:35:25 AM
Nikon's issues aren't related to technology, it is more about poor product planning and misguided strategic investments. They would be florishing with the exact same available technology had they invested in an ambitious APS-C mirrorless system instead of the 1 series 5 years ago. Their issue is their upper mgt, not their technology.

Please forgive, I thought issue was gentleman considering brand change due to his disappointment of Photokina show. Tried to explain Photokina is one show, not year summary. This year has been quite exciting with respect to Nikon cameras (D5 and D500), all class lead, plus new lenses 600 FL and 104 f/1.4, also class leading. Year is not over also. Full perspective of Nikon development year compared to other brands is good.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rob C on September 23, 2016, 08:43:09 AM
1    Everything you say is very true provided Sony really wants to be in the camera business and not the component business; but I suspect they really want to turn themselves into the ARM of sensors - and remember Acorn and Olivetti exited computers quite early ...

In other words, I think Sony knows cameras will be commoditized, but sensor/optic combos will be everywhere. They stick it out until everybody else is their customer, or until they own a piece of everyone else except Canon, and they're happy.

On a related note, I'm surprised Canon isn't pouring money into sensor research, seeing the market for phones, cars etc.

2   Nikon and photography generally look to be a footnote of a much larger move to electronic imaging systems in which ultimately commoditisation will prevail.

Edmund

Edmund,

1. I still have an Olivetti Lettera 32 in its case; were if not for the ribbons I'd still be able to use it. Will my descendents be able to access my photo files, should the silly idea strike them in a few years?

2. I think you have it spot on. Photography, even in film days, was driven by the vast amateur market rather than the tiny pro one. Advances were made as time went by, and on the whole, they were more about refinements in mainly similar body types and lens quality. There was always the rich amateur and the pro with the turnover and taxable income better spent by him than by his wasteful government, so new cameras were being bought, even if only new ones of the same model.

I can't remember reading any news about Nikon etc. being in trouble back then; only after digital came in and the 'need' for constant upgrades was accepted as an industry norm, do we see these sales figures giving rise for doubts for the future health of camera companies.

Every camera maker makes too many models. There's no real need for it; it just strikes me as a desperate ploy by which to knock out the competition and hog the market. That's simply a case of assured mutual destruction. Leica got it right, and making class products for those who can afford them is a clever and simple idea. Just like Rolex and the rest of them in Geneva, they know the rich will always be with us, and if not, all is lost anyhow - for all of us.

Too much supply will kill off manufacturers as surely as it has many, many photographers' businesses, mine included. A fight to the bottom is hopeless - get out while you can with what dignity you can muster.

Rob
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on September 23, 2016, 09:59:21 AM
Releasing top-class products doesn't mean you're in a good position from a product development or competitive standpoint. It's merely a prerequisite for even being in the game - if a company can't produce a class-leading product (be it a body, lens or sensor) for at least one major photographic application, they're not even considered. That's why no-one mentions Olympus, Fujifilm or Samsung - without a full-frame camera system, they're not in the game.

Sensor quality matters a lot - Canon lost a lot of market share over the issue. So far, only Sony has released a high-resolution (for its time), high-DR sensor. Nikon and Pentax both use the older, 36MP version. They also make the 50MP and 100MP medium-format sensors used by a number of manufacturers. At high ISO, the A7R2's sensor also demonstrates great image quality at high ISO, competitive with the 1Dx2 and D5. Not to mention the A7S sensor, if you don't need the resolution - ample proof that Sony leads the pack, or is tied in front, no matter the DR, resolution or ISO requirement. Canon, so far, hasn't made a high-resolution sensor in the same league - the 50MP 5Ds sensor falls far short DR-wise, and performs poorly at high ISO. Nikon hasn't designed or made a high-resolution sensor at all - they're almost totally reliant on Sony for their better sensors. That's an ace in Sony's hands.

Nikon has the advantage in SLR AF systems. But how much of that can be translated to mirrorless systems? Sony leads the way in mirrorless AF technology, with Canon not far behind and Nikon not even in third place. To remain competitive for the next decade, they'll have to move in that direction, or risk becoming the next Nokia, stuck with old technology while everyone else moves ahead. After gaining a foothold with non-action shooters and Canonites frustrated with poor sensors, Sony is close to having a mirrorless camera capable of replacing an SLR for wedding, event and other general photography - indeed, for anything other than sports or fast action - and the D810 and A99 Mk 2 are likely more vulnerable than the 5D4 or D750. They're probably not too far off having a sports-capable system either - almost certainly, they'll be aiming to have one in the stands (likely als 8k-capable) in time for the 2020 Olympics, and the fact that they're in Tokyo will only make it a more important goal for them.

Nikon designs and makes its own lenses (some of which are great, some of which - particularly the zooms, which are the bread-and-butter of many photographers - aren't up to the standard of the latest Canon and Sony zooms), which is probably its greatest strength. But Sony has somewhat neutralised this by teaming up with Zeiss, at no cost to itself - being an optics company which doesn't make cameras and relies on other people's cameras to sell lenses, Zeiss' relationship with Sony is entirely symbiotic, rather than competitive or parasitic.

Yes, at the moment, Nikon is still ahead. But the momentum is in Sony's favour, and Sony also holds a better hand - there's nothing Nikon can do to slow down Sony other than developing and releasing better products, but far more that Sony can do to pile the hurt on Nikon should it find it in their advantage to do so.


Interesting and complex picture. Sony is a huge company, has great advantage in sensor market share, in top leveraged position for capital. Will always be bigger company than Nikon and Canon.

Nikon is smaller, more specialized. As you admit, Nikon is already ahead in technology which means releasing better products. Cameras with full function, not limited. More capable AF system and professional cameras as well as full spectrum of lenses.

With respect to sensor, not sure you realize many of Sony's purchased imaging sensor foundries are based on Nikon precision semiconductor equipment. Nikon's Precision Equipment division is lead manufacturer of semiconductor used in imaging sensor production. Should Nikon change its model to invest in their own manufacture, would not need Sony. Nikon already ahead in other camera and lens technology. Sony is the bigger overall company, buys sensor factories to increase market share, but it is actually Nikon at forefront of more specific camera of the technology already. Best move for Nikon would be to manufacture their own complete sensors.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 23, 2016, 10:38:18 AM
Nikon is smaller, more specialized. As you admit, Nikon is already ahead in technology which means releasing better products. Cameras with full function, not limited. More capable AF system and professional cameras as well as full spectrum of lenses.

With respect to sensor, not sure you realize many of Sony's purchased imaging sensor foundries are based on Nikon precision semiconductor equipment. Nikon's Precision Equipment division is lead manufacturer of semiconductor used in imaging sensor production. Should Nikon change its model to invest in their own manufacture, would not need Sony. Nikon already ahead in other camera and lens technology. Sony is the bigger overall company, buys sensor factories to increase market share, but it is actually Nikon at forefront of more specific camera of the technology already. Best move for Nikon would be to manufacture their own complete sensors.

Ahead in AF technology for SLRs, not camera technology in general. As for lenses, Sony has Zeiss for that. Nikon's zooms are relatively weak, and zooms are the bread-and-butter of most photographers out there.

Doesn't matter what Sony uses to manufacture their chips. It's what they make that counts. Sony has Exmor. Nikon doesn't, and has to buy it off Sony. Nikon's own efforts at sensor design fall far short - if it didn't, they wouldn't have to buy Sony-designed sensors for so many of their cameras. The sensor is the weakest element of the D5.

Nikon's technology put them in good stead for the last 5 years, but there's not much beyond that. Unlike what Canon and Sony have done, most of what Nikon has done just isn't applicable outside of an SLR design. Sony's technological direction and investment in R&D will pay off greatly over the next 10 to 20 years. And Canon should do well too, with what they've achieved using their dual pixel design, now that their sensors are starting to catch up again; if anything holds them back, it won't be technology, but their obsession with market segmentation.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on September 23, 2016, 10:49:31 AM
interesting remark.
could you give a ref to the tech please and save me some time?

you are not seriously saying you did not read (as it was discussed here and elsewhere many times) that Aptina patent (DR-Pix) where they switch off some /not needed when you intend to use some higher gain|"ISO"/ capacitance to reduce the readout related noise ?

http://www.photonstophotos.net/Aptina/DR-Pix_WhitePaper.pdf
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 23, 2016, 11:02:58 AM
Nikon's own efforts at sensor design fall far short - if it didn't, they wouldn't have to buy Sony-designed sensors for so many of their cameras. The sensor is the weakest element of the D5.

The D5 sensor is outstanding for it what designed for. Color and DR at high ISO are best in class. Performance at lower ISO clearly isn't as good, but is still decent.

Nikon's technology put them in good stead for the last 5 years, but there's not much beyond that. Unlike what Canon and Sony have done, most of what Nikon has done just isn't applicable outside of an SLR design.

You have never used a Nikon 1 have you? They still have the best mirrorless AF.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on September 23, 2016, 12:18:53 PM
Ahead in AF technology for SLRs, not camera technology in general. As for lenses, Sony has Zeiss for that. Nikon's zooms are relatively weak, and zooms are the bread-and-butter of most photographers out there.

Yes Nikon ahead for camera technology in general. Zeiss lenses specialized in MF only, no sophisticated AF which is what most want. Sony Zeiss have no long lenses (elder Minolta design for Sony not competitive with Nikon). As for zooms, Canon is ahead in some respect but Nikon compares well. Sony is empty in most zooms and zooms more for enthusiasts than professional. Nikon specializes in AF primes, particularly long and portrait.

Doesn't matter what Sony uses to manufacture their chips. It's what they make that counts. Sony has Exmor. Nikon doesn't, and has to buy it off Sony. Nikon's own efforts at sensor design fall far short - if it didn't, they wouldn't have to buy Sony-designed sensors for so many of their cameras. The sensor is the weakest element of the D5.

D5 sensor class lead for its purpose. d5 was not designed for landscape, but for action. Color sensitivity and reproduction outstanding right out of camera, vital for professional with deadline and no time for post.

Nikon's technology put them in good stead for the last 5 years, but there's not much beyond that. Unlike what Canon and Sony have done, most of what Nikon has done just isn't applicable outside of an SLR design. Sony's technological direction and investment in R&D will pay off greatly over the next 10 to 20 years. And Canon should do well too, with what they've achieved using their dual pixel design, now that their sensors are starting to catch up again; if anything holds them back, it won't be technology, but their obsession with market segmentation.

Canon current DSLR technology still not yet what Nikon was years ago. Nikon specialization at DSLR means they excel at what they do which is the current subject. Seems you confuse overall size and diversity of company with quality of its DSLRs and lenses. Sony is expanding in this area but still long way to go.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Guillermo Luijk on September 23, 2016, 01:37:36 PM
Nikon specialization at DSLR means they excel at what they do which is the current subject. Seems you confuse overall size and diversity of company with quality of its DSLRs and lenses.

What if DSLR's were not what mainstream IL system market users really demand/need, and only the inertia deliberately impossed by Canon and Nikon so far prevented a quicker DSLR/mirrosless crossover?. DSLR vs CSC sales:

(http://www.guillermoluijk.com/misc/cipa.png)

What if Canon finally enters mirrosless seriously with the M5, a developed EFM lens lineup, and a FF mirrorless body?. What would then Nikon's strategy be, resist as an only DSLR company? or being the last to expand from scratch to a serious mirrorless system?.

Regards
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on September 23, 2016, 01:41:06 PM
The D5 sensor is outstanding for it what designed for. Color and DR at high ISO are best in class.
what you actually mean is = conversion implemented in camera's firmware to make OOC JPG from high iso RAWs is best in class...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: AreBee on September 23, 2016, 01:46:42 PM
Yashika,

Quote
Nikon came out with the D5 and the D500, both class leaders. The D810 still class leader. Every super telephoto lens they make, 200 - 800mm, class leader.

Most Nikon photographers use none of the above noted equipment.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on September 23, 2016, 01:55:15 PM
Yashika,

Most Nikon photographers use none of the above noted equipment.

doesn't matter - invent a class and call yourself a leader in that class  ;D ...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Peter_DL on September 23, 2016, 04:42:25 PM
... What would then Nikon's strategy be, resist as an only DSLR company? or being the last to expand from scratch to a serious mirrorless system?.

Let’s compare both cameras as shown below.

What would be the key differences ?

Size ? OVF vs EVF ? … probably not.

Peter
--
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 23, 2016, 04:48:17 PM
what you actually mean is = conversion implemented in camera's firmware to make OOC JPG from high iso RAWs is best in class...

No, this is not what I mean. I have shot more than 20,000 images with my D5 since March and not a single one in jpg.

Go check DxO DR curves btwn ISO1600 and 25,600.

Btw even that won't tell you much about the ability of the camera to produce pleasing colors in terrible WB at those ISO, which is s pity because this is precisely where the D5 shines brighest.

If you are truly interested, I suggest to rent one and use it in the applications for which this specialized tool was designed. You won't be disappointed.

I don't know whether my poor skills are a suitable testimony to the abilities of the D5, but you'll find some images captured with it after this link (https://www.flickr.com/photos/bernardlanguillier/albums/72157666820175492).

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 23, 2016, 04:56:03 PM
What if Canon finally enters mirrosless seriously with the M5, a developed EFM lens lineup, and a FF mirrorless body?. What would then Nikon's strategy be, resist as an only DSLR company? or being the last to expand from scratch to a serious mirrorless system?.

Nikon should have entered the APS-C mirrorless market years ago, no doubt.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 23, 2016, 05:01:08 PM
Let’s compare both cameras as shown below.

What would be the key differences ?

Size ? OVF vs EVF ? … probably not.

Peter,

I believe that the answer for photographers is the quality of the lenses. Because not only did Nikon not enter the APS-C mirrorless market early enough, they also didn't provide their APS-C DSLR customers the high end DX lenses they would have needed.

Now, to be fair, yes your comparison shows a mirrorless as large or larger than a DX Nikon body but it doesn't tell the full story since the X-T2 is much better featured. It is also 3 times more expensive. It takes a d7200/d500 to beat the Fuji and they are larger than the D3400.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 23, 2016, 06:41:13 PM
you are not seriously saying you did not read (as it was discussed here and elsewhere many times) that Aptina patent (DR-Pix) where they switch off some /not needed when you intend to use some higher gain|"ISO"/ capacitance to reduce the readout related noise ?

http://www.photonstophotos.net/Aptina/DR-Pix_WhitePaper.pdf

Dementia doubtless explains my lack of reading, and schadenfreude my belief that my mental issues are less significant than those affecting Mrs. Clinton.

Thx for the reference and the nutshell summary.

Edmund
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 23, 2016, 08:25:47 PM
Most Nikon photographers use none of the above noted equipment.

Your point is probably that FX shooters are a minority and you are totally correct.

Now, how is Canon in a better position that Nikon for APS-C shooters?

Which of their Kina annoucements did improve on that?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 23, 2016, 10:42:21 PM
Your point is probably that FX shooters are a minority and you are totally correct.

Now, how is Canon in a better position that Nikon for APS-C shooters?

Which of their Kina annoucements did improve on that?

Cheers,
Bernard

FX shooters are a minority in terms of numbers. But FX shooters buying multiple bodies, multiple high-end lenses and regularly updating their equipment probably account for more revenue than DX shooters buying low-end bodies and kit lenses. It's like business class vs economy class on planes - there are more economy seats, but business class accounts for more revenue.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BJL on September 23, 2016, 10:53:52 PM
I get the sense that Nikon is doing well in the high end sector of 35mm format SLRs – which I am sure is a good source of profits – but not so well in any other area: smaller format SLRs or mirrorless ILCs or fixed lens compact cameras.  So I won't try to judge how well it is doing overall.  The fact that even Canon is now taking mirrorless system a bit more seriously suggests that MILC will be one important part of any mainstream camera maker's future, so the failure of the Nikon One system (despite some very nice attributes) is something that Nikon needs to address.  So I expect another attempt at mirrorless from Nikon, probably with a DX size sensor and so better backward compatibility with existing DX lenses.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 23, 2016, 11:18:50 PM
Your point is probably that FX shooters are a minority and you are totally correct.

Now, how is Canon in a better position that Nikon for APS-C shooters?

Which of their Kina annoucements did improve on that?

Cheers,
Bernard

Canon have double-pixel tech in their sensor, which basically solves the focus issues for any future camera, and also allow  video AF in various forms.

Edmund
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: AreBee on September 24, 2016, 04:19:28 AM
shadowblade,

Quote
FX shooters are a minority in terms of numbers. But FX shooters buying multiple bodies, multiple high-end lenses and regularly updating their equipment probably account for more revenue than DX shooters buying low-end bodies and kit lenses.

Food for thought:

Sales of FX versus DX bodies (http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/how-do-fx-and-dx-sales.html).
Sales of FX versus DX lenses (http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/cipa-stress.html).


Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Peter_DL on September 24, 2016, 04:28:32 AM
Peter,

I believe that the answer for photographers is the quality of the lenses. Because not only did Nikon not enter the APS-C mirrorless market early enough, they also didn't provide their APS-C DSLR customers the high end DX lenses they would have needed.

Now, to be fair, yes your comparison shows a mirrorless as large or larger than a DX Nikon body but it doesn't tell the full story since the X-T2 is much better featured. It is also 3 times more expensive. It takes a d7200/d500 to beat the Fuji and they are larger than the D3400.

Fully agree, Bernard.

I think Nikon is leaving out some "long hanging fruits" by not offering premium versions of their smaller cameras (and lenses). There's a relevant (or even key) market which is not price driven; see Fuji, Sony.

Nikon’s apparent strategy is that you always have to buy the bigger camera if you want a better one – which, fwiw, strongly conflicts with my philosophy.

I would be of no help if Nikon comes out with mirrorless cameras which are down-specified again, or crippled by the choice of gold ring lenses, based on the idea to protect their FX market.

Peter
--
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 24, 2016, 05:08:07 AM
Canon have double-pixel tech in their sensor, which basically solves the focus issues for any future camera, and also allow  video AF in various forms.

Both Canon and Nikon have a great on sensor AF tech.

Both companies have chosen not to deploy this tech in their consumer DSLRs. Using a 80D in live view all the time is a terrible usage experience.

So again, Canon is just the same as Nikon today, perhaps a tiny bit more advanced with the M5 although I feel ten times more tempted by a Fuji X-T2.

So to my eyes, Nikon and Canon are pretty much in the same tough spot. Canon has played 2 more cards (5Dmkiv and M5) while Nikon is still staying put and this reminds me of the saying "quiet prople at least leave hope that they may have something smart to say". ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Guillermo Luijk on September 24, 2016, 11:00:34 AM
So to my eyes, Nikon and Canon are pretty much in the same tough spot. Canon has played 2 more cards (5Dmkiv and M5) while Nikon is still staying

But the M5 isn't just a camera body, it's a whole high IQ mirrorless system which puts Canon quite ahead of Nikon at the moment. I wonder if the M mount can fit a FF sensor, and if Canon plans to do it. That would be a serious move from Canon.

Regards

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Manoli on September 24, 2016, 11:35:44 AM
Bernard - by the way, those that

could afford to maintain 5 systems in parallel without making a dent in their bank
account.

are more likely to be playing with the new iPhone7,  rather than a Nikon!
and those with a bit of grey matter to boot, moved into Sony A7's ages ago...

[/just-pulling-your-leg :)]
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 24, 2016, 02:02:51 PM
Canon's 80D *will* be used in liveview mode in video use, and if you put an EVF in it and shortened the lenssmount you would have a good mirrorless camera.

Edmund

Both Canon and Nikon have a great on sensor AF tech.

Both companies have chosen not to deploy this tech in their consumer DSLRs. Using a 80D in live view all the time is a terrible usage experience.

So again, Canon is just the same as Nikon today, perhaps a tiny bit more advanced with the M5 although I feel ten times more tempted by a Fuji X-T2.

So to my eyes, Nikon and Canon are pretty much in the same tough spot. Canon has played 2 more cards (5Dmkiv and M5) while Nikon is still staying put and this reminds me of the saying "quiet prople at least leave hope that they may have something smart to say". ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 24, 2016, 06:10:44 PM
Canon's 80D *will* be used in liveview mode in video use, and if you put an EVF in it and shortened the lenssmount you would have a good mirrorless camera.

Which is what the M5 is supposed to be, right? It is a decent camera, but it doesn't have the lenses to get me excited. Granted, those that are there are ok, but they don't come close to the Fuji offering and they are far from revealing a deep investement from Canon in mirrorless, this is still lukewarm toe tipping.

So as far as I can tell, there are little facts to back up the trendy belief that Canon is significantly less screwed that Nikon in the grand scheme of things... Where will Sony be by the time the 36 mp 5D mkV is announced after the Tokyo Olympics? ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 24, 2016, 06:37:37 PM
Which is what the M5 is supposed to be, right? It is a decent camera, but it doesn't have the lenses to get me excited. Granted, those that are there are ok, but they don't come close to the Fuji offering and they are far from revealing a deep investement from Canon in mirrorless, this is still lukewarm toe tipping.

Canon's regular lenses also work with the system.

At a moment's notice, they could release a full-frame or APS-C, full-sized mirrorless camera, with a ready-to-use lens lineup and a functional AF system. Not as advanced as Sony's (eye focus makes a huge difference, and more than a few wedding photographers who shoot Sony tell me it's made all the difference in usability for that role), but functional, and the dual-pixel based system gets better with each iteration.

No, they don't have a miniature camera lineup, but mirrorless doesn't necessarily mean small, especially when you need performance. Going by the size of recent lens releases, Sony has also realised this.

Quote
So as far as I can tell, there are little facts to back up the trendy belief that Canon is significantly less screwed that Nikon in the grand scheme of things... Where will Sony be by the time the 36 mp 5D mkV is announced after the Tokyo Olympics? ;)

Cheers,
Bernard

No doubt Sony will be aiming for an action mirrorless camera for Tokyo 2020, as well as an 8k camera. They may even be the same body (although they will also have dedicated 8k cameras there).
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 24, 2016, 06:52:15 PM
They could do many things and so could Nikon.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on September 24, 2016, 07:25:58 PM
FX shooters are a minority in terms of numbers. But FX shooters buying multiple bodies, multiple high-end lenses and regularly updating their equipment probably account for more revenue than DX shooters buying low-end bodies and kit lenses. It's like business class vs economy class on planes - there are more economy seats, but business class accounts for more revenue.

Oh boy...that's a tough call. I've always heard that the low end cameras with kit lenses pay for the R&D of the big Pro level cameras. Now that this low end has been eroded by the cellphone cameras...the likes of Nikon revenues are hurting big time. I don't believe Nikon can survive as a company if it wasn't for the consumer level sales.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 24, 2016, 08:02:33 PM
One thing we shouldn't forget is our irrelevance.

What we think in the US and Europe is of secondary importance in the consumer segment. Canon and Nikon shoot for the BRIC countries where showing is being.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on September 24, 2016, 08:31:00 PM
I don't believe Nikon can survive as a company if it wasn't for the consumer level sales.

Can not agree. If what you say is true, how does Leica survive as a company?

Again, there seems to be confusion of biggest most diverse company and best class dslr product.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 24, 2016, 09:11:05 PM
Can not agree. If what you say is true, how does Leica survive as a company?

Again, there seems to be confusion of biggest most diverse company and best class dslr product.

I would suggest to give up like I will. The downfall of Nikon is a dogma. That it doesn't make sense or that there are plenty of evidence to doubt the dogma isn't relevant because it is a dogma as in "prescribed doctrine proclaimed as unquestionably true by a particular group".

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 24, 2016, 11:50:58 PM
Oh boy...that's a tough call. I've always heard that the low end cameras with kit lenses pay for the R&D of the big Pro level cameras. Now that this low end has been eroded by the cellphone cameras...the likes of Nikon revenues are hurting big time. I don't believe Nikon can survive as a company if it wasn't for the consumer level sales.

Nikon sells around four crop cameras for every FF camera. The vast majority of them are consumer bodies with low-cost kit lenses. In contrast, many, if not most, full-frame shooters own multiple, non-kit lenses, and full-frame lenses also cost more. A single D810 or D5 with 14-24/24-70/70-200 plus a flash unit sells for about as much as 20 entry-level kits.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on September 25, 2016, 12:01:53 AM
Can not agree. If what you say is true, how does Leica survive as a company?

Again, there seems to be confusion of biggest most diverse company and best class dslr product.

Betamax was the better system. VHS survived.

Besides, Nikon has the better camera body, not the better system. Their lens lineup is somewhat weaker than Canon's. They have good superteles, but the 200-400 is badly outdated. Their 'standard' zoom trio is weaker than Canon's or Sony's. Their lineup of non-supertele primes is less extensive, with many outdated models. They also lose out on video.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 25, 2016, 12:16:13 AM
Besides, Nikon has the better camera body, not the better system. Their lens lineup is somewhat weaker than Canon's. They have good superteles, but the 200-400 is badly outdated. Their 'standard' zoom trio is weaker than Canon's or Sony's. Their lineup of non-supertele primes is less extensive, with many outdated models. They also lose out on video.

The 24-70mm is excellent and offers VR which puts it in a different category than the Canon. This is far more important for the targeted market that some very minor differences in image quality. Besides, having shot a lot with the 24-70, its most remarquable quality is its AF suitable for fast action imaging on the D5. I don't remember the AF of the Canon being as good, but I didn't have the chance to do a 1:1 comparison.

The 14-24 and 70-200 and still excellent in absolute terms but are both due for an update in the coming months. It would be logical to expect their successors to be best in class. Rumors point to a 70-200 in Nov together with the 19mm T/S.

So is the 200-400 f4 for which Canon didn't have any answer for 7-8 years. The successor will be part of the E FL series and considering what Nikon has achieved with the 200-500 f5.6 I do personnally expect a 200-500 f4 E FL, but this is pure speculation.

Those are simply regular oscillations and the brand releasing the latest lens is typically slightly on top. Any of these lenses is good enough for 100% of the professional applications thrown at them, only pixel seekers see differences.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Colorado David on September 25, 2016, 01:18:17 AM
Betamax was the better system. VHS survived.

Betamax was the forerunner of BetaCam and BetaCam SP which was THE standard of the industry for video acquisition up until the advent of HD.  VHS was the forerunner of the professional video format, M2, which as far as I could tell, no one wanted. No one ever called asking to book an M2 crew for a shoot, but everyone called asking for BetaCam SP.

Nikon has a pretty robust sport optics business.  They make binoculars, spotting scopes, laser range finders, and rifle scopes. Leica also makes sport optics.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on September 25, 2016, 01:33:43 AM
Besides, Nikon has the better camera body, not the better system.

Depends on what you like shoot. Every Canon body weaker in most area to comparable Nikon body.

Their lens lineup is somewhat weaker than Canon's.

I believe you invent this general statement.

Their lens lineup is somewhat weaker than Canon's. They have good superteles, but the 200-400 is badly outdated.

You understate Nikon superiority, and overstate Canon/Sony.

Nikon 85, 105, 200, 300, 400, 500, 600, 800 primes all superior to Canon. Vast superior to Sony, except new 85 only exception for Sony, and by little bit.

Canon D5, D500, D810 all superior to Canon. Sony a7r2 does a little bit better than D810, only after iso 800. Still not so good all round.

As for zoom, Nikon 200-400 VR II is good as Canon, just no extendor. 1/2 the price. Sony nothing compare. Old Nikon 14-24 still edge Canon (https://www.dxomark.com/Lenses/Compare/Side-by-side/Canon-EF-11-24mm-F4L-USM-versus-Nikon-AF-S-NIKKOR-14-24mm-F28G-ED__1496_0_813_0). Canon has a few good zooms, most else behind. Most Sony lenses old Minolta, way behind. No sense argue further, have to agree.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rhossydd on September 25, 2016, 04:13:29 AM
Most of the viewers of this forum could afford to maintain 5 systems in parallel without making a dent in their bank account.
I very much doubt it.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rob C on September 25, 2016, 06:25:31 AM
I very much doubt it.


I'm trying my best to imagine myself in that position. Earlier this morning, with dirty soapy water running down my hands and into my sleeves as I scrubbed some high shutters preparatory to varnishing, I had a very tough time entertaining that particular scenario of fiscal comfort in my mind. I'm absolutely certain that the local painter would be delighted if I could, whereupon he'd trade my wet-arm discomfort in return for a major contribution to his professional team of craftsmen.

But hey, who needs reality? Were I to consider that, should I survive, exactly the same task awaits me next year...

;-)

Rob C
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 25, 2016, 07:04:42 AM
I very much doubt it.

The 5 system comment was of course not needed, irrelevant and plain wrong... but it may in fact be true for a majority of people in these forums if they prioritized spending on cameras instead of spending money otherwise. Now I have spent a fair amount of brain power all these years to avoid doing that and so far I only use one main system. So I am far from encouraging parallelization, but I think that, worse comes the worse, many Nikon users would be able to continue to use their current equipment successfully while investing in a Sony a7r4 if they really need to.

Back on the money part. Just think about how much people spend on cars vs what they would really need to spend to cover their strict mobility needs. I bought my first car second hand when I turned 43, think about the tens of thousands of Euros I have saved doing that instead of buying the cars I wanted to buy during the earlier 20 years of my life. Just think about the amount of money I would have litterally given to banks in interest rates to pay the loans of these cars. And yes, I am of course painfully aware about the fact that there are many people who do not buy cars either, I just don't have the feeling this represents an important population at LL. I could be wrong of course.

Anyway, this is far out of scope and this comment was really not key in the message I was trying to convey, so consider it withdrawn.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Manoli on September 25, 2016, 07:55:44 AM
... but I think that, worse comes the worse, many Nikon users would be able to continue to use their current equipment successfully while investing in a Sony a7r4 if they really need to.

Applies to just about every camera out there today, not limited to just Nikon.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 25, 2016, 08:15:52 AM
Applies to just about every camera out there today, not limited to just Nikon.

Indeed. So no need to worry too much.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on September 25, 2016, 09:27:04 AM
Can not agree. If what you say is true, how does Leica survive as a company?

Again, there seems to be confusion of biggest most diverse company and best class dslr product.

Leica survives because it's a niche product priced very high. Nikon as a company is not that. It's a consumer driven company  when the consumers start going away...the revenues start dropping...like is happening today.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: eronald on September 25, 2016, 04:02:16 PM
Leica survives because it's a niche product priced very high. Nikon as a company is not that. It's a consumer driven company  when the consumers start going away...the revenues start dropping...like is happening today.

niche product priced very high is a good description of Nikon's enthusiast and pro products. And Canon's actually.

Edmund
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rhossydd on September 25, 2016, 04:42:30 PM
The 5 system comment was of course not needed, irrelevant and plain wrong...
Indeed.
Quote
but it may in fact be true for a majority of people in these forums if they prioritized spending on cameras instead of spending money otherwise
Then you go and loose your credibility further.

Probably best not to make any further comment now.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on September 25, 2016, 06:29:36 PM
niche product priced very high is a good description of Nikon's enthusiast and pro products. And Canon's actually.

Edmund

Yes, but Canon and Nikon are much larger companies and require much greater revenue than what can be achieved by a niche product.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on September 30, 2016, 09:47:48 AM
Nikon is dead  ;)

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on September 30, 2016, 10:16:21 AM
Yes, but Canon and Nikon are much larger companies and require much greater revenue than what can be achieved by a niche product.

While true, their niche is still quite large compared to others ...

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Zorki5 on September 30, 2016, 01:57:27 PM
While true, their niche is still quite large compare to others ...

Speaking of niche products, Nikon and Leica are actually like...

Heck, Slobodan just showed up! So I'll have to refrain from comparisons with automotive industry.  ;)

Oh and BTW, Leica's Andreas Kaufmann already thinks Nikon has one foot in the grave (http://www.mirrorlessrumors.com/andreas-kaufmann-believes-photographic-companies-foot-grave/):

Quote
Some have already withdrawn, like Samsung, others already have a foot in the grave. (Silence) I really do not want this to happen that way, because as a historical actor we do not want to see a long-time companion pass away, even if it’s a rival. But if they do not move fast enough, I greatly fear for their future. What is certain is that Leica will never enter the action cam market.

Emphasis' mine (an indirect reference specifically to Nikon; or, if I may, as direct as we can expect from Leica's boss).
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 30, 2016, 05:38:54 PM
Speaking of niche products, Nikon and Leica are actually like...

Heck, Slobodan just showed up! So I'll have to refrain from comparisons with automotive industry.  ;)

Oh and BTW, Leica's Andreas Kaufmann already thinks Nikon has one foot in the grave (http://www.mirrorlessrumors.com/andreas-kaufmann-believes-photographic-companies-foot-grave/):

Emphasis' mine (an indirect reference specifically to Nikon; or, if I may, as direct as we can expect from Leica's boss).

At the same time they made the X-U... ;)

Leica was, not that long ago, in a far worse business, technology and product line up situation that Nikon currently is. The only think they had left was pretty much a brand. Nikon does have that as well.

Btw, is Leica in such a great position today?
- The S is caught in a very competitive market with much cheaper, lighter, compact MF mirrorless cameras, high end DSLRs with similar image quality (much better AF, more lenses options,...) and real MF cameras with larger sensors that end up not being much more expensive after a few lenses are added to the mix. The S income has been critical for Leica and its future is IMHO clearly at risk. It is really incoherent to call the Canon and Nikon DSLR dead but the Leica S alive with its bulkier looks and outdated sensor. Is someone going to follow if Leica releases a new set of lenses for an hypothetical mirrorless S? I don't think so, the system is just too new,
- few people still believe a new M body would bring anything since the current one already can't be focused reliably anywhere near its resolution potential,
- the SL is pretty much the only Leica with a future, but they manage to make the body huge and native lenses larger than DSLR one costing twice less and just as good optically,
- the Q is great but doesn't generate system revenue

So is Leica really in such a great position?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Manoli on October 01, 2016, 04:57:23 AM
- The S is caught in a very competitive market with much cheaper, lighter, compact MF mirrorless cameras, ...

And of course you forget to mention that one can mount, and auto-focus, just about any MF lens in existence on it.

It is really incoherent to call the Canon and Nikon DSLR dead but the Leica S alive with its bulkier looks and outdated sensor.

The Leica exhibition at Photokina said enough .. and who/what makes you think that when they're ready the S won't morph into a mirrorless version ( though I agree that currently doing so will eat into the SL market - something that they're keen to avoid)

- few people still believe a new M body would bring anything since the current one already can't be focused reliably anywhere near its resolution potential,

As though Leica couldn't transform the M into a pure mirrorless cam, simply by dropping the rangefinder and upping the EVF/LCD ...


- the SL is pretty much the only Leica with a future, but they manage to make the body huge and native lenses larger than DSLR one costing twice less and just as good optically,

Yes, and thanks to Novoflex, there are now AF adapters for both Canon and Nikon lenses - all of a sudden the choices just got a whole lot bigger. Add in 4K motion, the best EVF out there, your make-or-break dual SD slots, all in a robust package and the SL has become a whole lot more versatile than it was at launch.

So is Leica really in such a great position?

Depends on their next steps, as it does with Nikon, but it does seem as though they're a step ahead.

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on October 01, 2016, 08:53:08 AM
While true, their niche is still quite large compared to others ...

Cheers,
Bart

Sure...but their overhead is much much larger than a smaller structured niche company. I don't believe either Nikon or Canon want to shrink down in size to enable survival on niche revenues.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BartvanderWolf on October 01, 2016, 11:58:08 AM
Sure...but their overhead is much much larger than a smaller structured niche company.

Not so sure about that. As a percentage of total operating cost (or of revenue), they may even have lower overhead for similar activities (economy of scale benefits).

Cheers,
Bart
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on October 04, 2016, 08:18:58 AM
The 14-24 and 70-200 and still excellent in absolute terms but are both due for an update in the coming months. It would be logical to expect their successors to be best in class. Rumors point to a 70-200 in Nov together with the 19mm T/S.

Coming soon is seems: http://nikonrumors.com/2016/10/03/two-new-nikon-lenses-to-be-announced-soon-nikkor-pc-19mm-f4e-ed-and-70-200mm-f2-8e-fl-ed-vr.aspx/

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: pluton on October 05, 2016, 01:10:43 AM
Betamax was the forerunner of BetaCam and BetaCam SP which was THE standard of the industry for video acquisition up until the advent of HD.  VHS was the forerunner of the professional video format, M2, which as far as I could tell, no one wanted. No one ever called asking to book an M2 crew for a shoot, but everyone called asking for BetaCam SP.

Didn't NBC buy M2, and stick with it for eight or ten years?
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on October 18, 2016, 08:50:22 PM
Coming real soon it seems.

http://nikonrumors.com/2016/10/18/nikon-announcement-tonight-us-pricing-and-availability-for-the-two-new-nikkor-lenses.aspx/

Prices are, as expected, high. Comments from Japan are that the 19mm has corner image quality when shifted that is un-heard of with T/S lenses.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: alan_b on October 19, 2016, 12:13:09 AM
Coming real soon it seems.

http://nikonrumors.com/2016/10/18/nikon-announcement-tonight-us-pricing-and-availability-for-the-two-new-nikkor-lenses.aspx/

Prices are, as expected, high. Comments from Japan are that the 19mm has corner image quality when shifted that is un-heard of with T/S lenses.

Cheers,
Bernard

Looks like they finally decoupled tilt/shift orientation too!
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on October 19, 2016, 03:30:49 AM
Looks like they finally decoupled tilt/shift orientation too!

Yep.

https://www.dpreview.com/news/3325753199/nikon-announces-ultra-wide-pc-nikkor-19mm-f4e-ed-tilt-shift-lens
https://www.dpreview.com/news/6274771226/redesigned-nikon-70-200-f2-8-arrives-with-improved-optics-and-electromagnetic-diaphragm

These look like pretty decent lenses for a company that is dying. I'll probably get both instead of a Hassy lens... ;)

In Tokyo the 19mm will be available in 9 days while the 70-200 will be available by 11-Nov. I am planning to put my 70-200 f4 for sales. It is great optically but a bit slow AF wise.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Zorki5 on October 19, 2016, 10:58:46 AM
These look like pretty decent lenses for a company that is dying.

Well, the lenses do seem to be pretty good, and yet whether or not Nikon is dying does not have to correlate with the quality of their lenses in any way.

One of Parkinson's Laws (I wish it would be known better / by more people...) states that:

Quote
Perfection of planned layout is only achieved by institutions on the point of collapse.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: kers on October 19, 2016, 12:11:23 PM
Yep.

https://www.dpreview.com/news/3325753199/nikon-announces-ultra-wide-pc-nikkor-19mm-f4e-ed-tilt-shift-lens
https://www.dpreview.com/news/6274771226/redesigned-nikon-70-200-f2-8-arrives-with-improved-optics-and-electromagnetic-diaphragm

These look like pretty decent lenses for a company that is dying. I'll probably get both instead of a Hassy lens... ;)

In Tokyo the 19mm will be available in 9 days while the 70-200 will be available by 11-Nov. I am planning to put my 70-200 f4 for sales. It is great optically but a bit slow AF wise.

Cheers,
Bernard

Two very expensive lenses! - i am looking forward to see the test results and try to get my hands on them.
For me the 70-200 is good enough as it is. The 19mm could be interesting if it lives up to its price.

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on October 19, 2016, 06:46:27 PM
Well, the lenses do seem to be pretty good, and yet whether or not Nikon is dying does not have to correlate with the quality of their lenses in any way.

Well, I do agree, but you've got to read up the entire thread to understand that sentence.

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Zorki5 on October 19, 2016, 09:10:33 PM
Well, I do agree, but you've got to read up the entire thread to understand that sentence.

Bernard, I surely did; my first post in this thread is on its page 1. There is no misunderstanding.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Cornfield on November 07, 2016, 05:58:46 AM
Nikon is a takeover target for Sony and this story will develop soon.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Zorki5 on November 07, 2016, 08:29:00 AM
Nikon is a takeover target for Sony and this story will develop soon.

Oh please...

This one had been debunked very shortly after it appeared; details here:

http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/rumor-versus-speculation.html
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Zorki5 on November 07, 2016, 11:00:31 PM
Another rumor:

https://www.dpreview.com/news/4455533041/nikon-reportedly-eliminating-1000-jobs-in-japan

And another denial:

http://nikonrumors.com/2016/11/07/oops-nkon-denies-any-layofs.aspx/#more-108612

One thing is for sure: they do have an image of a company in [deep] trouble these days...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 07, 2016, 11:58:03 PM
One thing is for sure: they do have an image of a company in [deep] trouble these days...

I find this crazy when you look at facts. Their product line has never looked as good compared to Canon's. Most of the gaps have been closed lenswise, most of their recent lenses are superior, they have better high end bodies in APS and action class, the D810 remains the best all round body 2 years after its release,...

Yet, few people seem to consider that Canon is in trouble.

Go figure.

If Nikon is in difficulty, Canon is IMHO in even more difficulty. The truth being that they both are but not quite as much as those "rumors" are telling us.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 08, 2016, 12:32:31 AM
I find this crazy when you look at facts. Their product line has never looked as good compared to Canon's. Most of the gaps have been closed lenswise, most of their recent lenses are superior, they have better high end bodies in APS and action class, the D810 remains the best all round body 2 years after its release,...

Yet, few people seem to consider that Canon is in trouble.

Go figure.

If Nikon is in difficulty, Canon is IMHO in even more difficulty. The truth being that they both are but not quite as much as those "rumors" are telling us.

Cheers,
Bernard

Look at their financials and their in-house capabilities. Product lineup doesn't matter - look at Sony's lineup just five years ago.

Canon produces a lot more than just cameras. They can also design and manufacture their own electronics, including sensors. So can Sony - and they also happen to oplead the field in sensor technology.

Nikon is largely reliant on camera sales for its income. Not only that, but it can't even manfacture its own sensors. It can design some of them, but its best ones are all designed and made by Sony and Sony-owned subsidiaries. Yes, Nikon makes good products. But it has no other significant source of revenue, and its ability to continue developing and making good products is largely at the mercy of other companies. What would happen if they suddenly lost supply of Exmor and Toshiba sensors? Nikon-designed sensors (made by someone else) might hold up at the high-ISO, low-resolution end, but they'd lose the D7200 and D810 sensors that have worked so well for them, with no indication that anything they can design can match their performance.

Their product line might be good, but their very narrow focus and reliance on direct competitors for supply of critical pars puts them in a very weak position competition-wise. Basically, they live or die at Sony's behest. Cutting off supply of Exmor sensors might hurt Sony a bit (although most of their income isn't from cameras anyway) but it would deal a major, possibly lethal blow to Nikon - perhaps making their lens and non-sensor electronics manufacturing capabilities, and their library of patents, onto the market, for acquisition by a Sony eager to expand.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 08, 2016, 12:46:01 AM
Sensors are fast becoming a commodity. Pretty much everyone does the same thing nowadays and the gap of performance has decreased a lot, from Sony to Canon, CMOSIS, Samsung,... Not having in-house design/manufacturing has never been this irrelevant.

Besides, I am not sure that the talks about the demise of Nikon are based on their strategic risks from a sensor supply standpoint, they are based on a very mistaken understanding of their product line up, hence my incredulity.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Zorki5 on November 08, 2016, 09:14:38 AM
And another denial:

http://nikonrumors.com/2016/11/07/oops-nkon-denies-any-layofs.aspx/#more-108612

Well, that one was short-lived; the Board has decided they will go ahead with the cuts:

Notice of Restructuring (http://nikon.com/news/2016/20161108_1_e.pdf)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on November 08, 2016, 09:48:19 AM
I find this crazy when you look at facts. Their product line has never looked as good compared to Canon's. Most of the gaps have been closed lenswise, most of their recent lenses are superior, they have better high end bodies in APS and action class, the D810 remains the best all round body 2 years after its release,...

Yet, few people seem to consider that Canon is in trouble.

Go figure.

If Nikon is in difficulty, Canon is IMHO in even more difficulty. The truth being that they both are but not quite as much as those "rumors" are telling us.

Cheers,
Bernard

It's not their lineup...it's their sales that is hurting.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on November 08, 2016, 09:54:13 AM
Well, that one was short-lived; the Board has decided they will go ahead with the cuts:

Notice of Restructuring (http://nikon.com/news/2016/20161108_1_e.pdf)

Definitely a sign of problems.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Paulo Bizarro on November 08, 2016, 10:00:03 AM
Well, that one was short-lived; the Board has decided they will go ahead with the cuts:

Notice of Restructuring (http://nikon.com/news/2016/20161108_1_e.pdf)

Maybe there is a difference between "lay off" and "voluntary retirement"? Joking aside, this is bad news for the industry as a whole. I noticed that the strategy moving forward, in various divisions, is focusing on "value adding" and increasing profits. This is what Sony have been doing, focusing in higher profit margin products, like 3000 Euros cameras and lenses.

The bottom tier and mid tier segments of the market are flooded, competition is fierce, so no profit to be made there. Notice also how Sigma have embarked in the Art series of lenses, higher quality, higher price, higher profit segment.

The thing is, it will be a short lived bubble, as the higher cost segment is crowded already, or close to being so.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on November 08, 2016, 10:21:54 AM
Maybe there is a difference between "lay off" and "voluntary retirement"? Joking aside, this is bad news for the industry as a whole. I noticed that the strategy moving forward, in various divisions, is focusing on "value adding" and increasing profits. This is what Sony have been doing, focusing in higher profit margin products, like 3000 Euros cameras and lenses.

The bottom tier and mid tier segments of the market are flooded, competition is fierce, so no profit to be made there. Notice also how Sigma have embarked in the Art series of lenses, higher quality, higher price, higher profit segment.

The thing is, it will be a short lived bubble, as the higher cost segment is crowded already, or close to being so.

Yes, it was the lower priced market that drove revenues and since that market has disappeared, we'll soon be seeing a shakeup in this industry. The high end cannot sustain all the camera manufactures we have today.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 08, 2016, 03:07:26 PM
Yes it can - just not in stills cameras alone. And the low end is hardly dead - just low-end stills cameras at a premium price.

The money's in the sensor business, not the dedicated stills camera business. At the high end, robots need eyes. Everything from intelligent security systems, to medical equipment, to driverless cars and drones. Many things need multiple sensors. More demanding applications  need higher resolution, greater sensitivity and higher frame rates - features in common with high-end sensors. Intelligent recognition systems have a great deal in common with camera features such as eye focus and facial recognition. Making dedicated cameras is a part of that larger business.

At the lower end, almost every device these days has some sort of camera in it. Sony's selling more phone and computer camera sensors than Canon or Nikon ever did with dedicated low-end cameras.

Canon and Sony have nothing to fear, and everything to gain, from the decline of the dedicated industry and the integration of photography equipment into the wider electronics market. It's only Nikon that has everything to lose, being a company that does little other than make cameras (and some non-digitally-integrated optical equipment) using other people's sensors. Leica can probably hang on as a niche maker of a luxury, almost fashion-like product (a bit like Gucci or Rolex), but theirs is a much smaller and less competitive turf to defend.

Nikon's best bet is probably to return to its roots as an optics company and concentrate on providing lenses for all sorts of camera and other optical systems, as a competitor to Carl-Zeiss. Like the sensor business, that's a large, and expanding, area, and one in which Nikon has expertise and manufacturing  capability. An expanded and dedicated lens and optics company, supplying products to many manufacturers and compatible with many product lines, has a much better chance of surviving independently than a Nikon which does a bit of everything and only makes lenses for its own equipment.

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: kers on November 17, 2016, 07:17:00 AM
'restructuring' will also shake up their plans for the future.

I think and hope we will see some 'new' type of camera from them - hopefully a Sony AR kind of camera with a very nice EVF.
But maybe Sony and Nikon have a deal about Sony making sensors for Nikon and then Nikon not making a kind of AR...
I cannot understand otherwise why they still did not make such a thing.

I think Nikon makes and always has made fantastic cameras- solid performers day in day out.
My d810 is such a device. Never needed a backup camera. And if i need one they lend me one.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 21, 2016, 02:39:26 AM
The new 70-200 f2.8 E FL is an impressive lens too. I am still learning how to tap in its potential but I have sold my 70-200 f4.

There is a crazy thread at Fred Miranda with a photographer sending his 70-200 f2.8E back because it is too good... not enough flare.

Cheers,
Bernard

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 22, 2016, 05:36:18 AM
https://www.lensrentals.com/blog/2016/11/nikon-70-200mm-f2-8e-fl-ed-af-s-vr-mtf-tests/

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 25, 2016, 05:15:07 PM
I had the chance to start using the new 70-200 f2.8 E, very impressed.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Bo_Dez on November 26, 2016, 11:19:18 AM
Just hurry up and release the D810 successor already!  ::)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 26, 2016, 07:16:09 PM
The quality of one or two products has very little bearing on the health of a company as a whole.

Structurally and in terms of industry position, Nikon is in a precarious situation. All it takes is one or two things to not go their way, or their competitors to make moves against them, and they'd be in big trouble.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Cornfield on November 27, 2016, 05:21:57 AM
The options available to Nikon for a d810 successor sensor is/has been a major problem for Nikon.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on November 27, 2016, 05:30:24 AM
The options available to Nikon for a d810 successor sensor is/has been a major problem for Nikon.

Why? Sony has a 42 megapixels sensor, I'm sure Nikon is able to do the same like they did to the 36 megapixels one and extract more dynamic range from it than Sony... Or they can talk to them to create a new customize one...


Enviado desde mi iPad utilizando Tapatalk
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 27, 2016, 07:07:52 AM
The quality of one or two products has very little bearing on the health of a company as a whole.

Structurally and in terms of industry position, Nikon is in a precarious situation. All it takes is one or two things to not go their way, or their competitors to make moves against them, and they'd be in big trouble.

The only area where they are potentially more exposed than Canon today is sensor, correct? Would we agree that, if a D820/D900 is releases within a few months with best in class sensor, then they will emerge overall as being less in trouble than Canon?

If not, what else would it take?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Bo_Dez on November 27, 2016, 07:18:38 AM
I've almost bought an 810 but am holding off buying (well any camera at the moment) to see what Nikon does with the its successor and it is quite possible I am going to switch to Nikon, at least in part.

I'm interested in a few different options at the moment but the Nikon 810 and/or its successor is very tempting.

Sensor wise, it's possible it will use the next generation Sony unit with the much rumoured Sony a9, perhaps being somewhere in the vicinity of 70-80MP.

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 27, 2016, 09:32:34 AM
The only area where they are potentially more exposed than Canon today is sensor, correct? Would we agree that, if a D820/D900 is releases within a few months with best in class sensor, then they will emerge overall as being less in trouble than Canon?

If not, what else would it take?

Cheers,
Bernard

Not at all.

Even an exceptional sensor wouldn't particularly help. Having a good sensor doesn't give you an advantage in the game - it's merely a prerequisite to being in the game at all (which is why Canon was never really in the high-resolution, high-IQ game after Exmor raised the bar). Only if the new sensor is so much better than Sony's next-generation sensor that they're not even on the same playing field would it make a difference. The problem isn't the quality of the sensor - it's the supply chain. Nikon is extraordinary vulnerable here. Other companies can make low-resolution, high-ISO sensors, but all the sensors out there which combine high resolution, high DR and high ISO capability in the one sensor are made by Sony or Sony-controlled companies. Nikon has no capacity to make sensors itself - it can only design them for others to make, and, thus far, hasn't come up with a design to match Exmor for high-resolution bodies. And I doubt they have the capacity to suddenly open up a production line and gain the technical expertise needed to build sensors in the volume required for commercial sales. It's an extraordinarily vulnerable lifeline that they're reliant upon.

As for the 42MP Sony sensor, that's not a significant improvement over the 36MP. The A7r2 was a huge improvement over the original A7r, but the sensor wasn't the reason. A Nikon D820 with the Sony 42MP sensor would be barely better than the D810, since the D810 is already competent in terms of AF and other features; even if they added the D5's AF system and other features from the D5 and D500, it would only make a big difference to a small number of users. Those who current use the D810 aren't using it to shoot fast action. If they used the rumoured, next-generation 70-80MP sensor, that would be a major upgrade for its primary purpose, but I doubt Sony would sell it to them until they got first use out of it in their new body.

In a lot of ways, Sigma is in a much better strategic position than Nikon at the moment. So is Carl-Zeiss. And they barely even make cameras.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 27, 2016, 09:36:32 AM
There is far too much emphasis here on the quality of individual cameras or lenses, as if that were the main determinant of a company's strategic position. Producing a good product at a competitive price point (or an average product but dramatically undercutting everyone else) is merely a prerequisite for being in the running at all. But other factors - supply chains, production capability, cash reserves, patents, R&D capacity and the like - are far more relevant in determining the strength of a company's position.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on November 27, 2016, 02:38:52 PM
As for the 42MP Sony sensor, that's not a significant improvement over the 36MP. The A7r2 was a huge improvement over the original A7r, but the sensor wasn't the reason. A Nikon D820 with the Sony 42MP sensor would be barely better than the D810, since the D810 is already competent in terms of AF and other features; even if they added the D5's AF system and other features from the D5 and D500, it would only make a big difference to a small number of users. Those who current use the D810 aren't using it to shoot fast action. If they used the rumoured, next-generation 70-80MP sensor, that would be a major upgrade for its primary purpose, but I doubt Sony would sell it to them until they got first use out of it in their new body.

Considering that the part is Sony that makes the sensor and the part that builds the camera at Sony are two different subcompanies from Sony I wouldn't be surprise if Nikon has access to the sensor earlier... The 36mpx sensor was released in a Nikon body before a Sony body...  Like Phase ONE having access to the 100MPx sensor months before any other company... It will depend on what Nikon is willing to pay...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on November 27, 2016, 02:43:58 PM
In a lot of ways, Sigma is in a much better strategic position than Nikon at the moment. So is Carl-Zeiss. And they barely even make cameras.

Zeiss isn't really making a lot of money in their lenses, their main business is industrial and medical equipment... They already said in some interviews if it was for money probably the best way will be to close that very low profitable lens division... They say they do it because it is in their DNA... Not sure if the t was just marketing, but probably if the division enter into losses it may be closed... Anyway, I read they are doing well with their loxia and batis lines...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Telecaster on November 27, 2016, 05:03:14 PM
Zeiss has viewed their commercial lens offerings as mainly marketing and prestige for a long time now, since the end of the '70s at least. Though some of the R&D may feed back into their medical/industrial lineups too.

-Dave-
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 27, 2016, 05:04:41 PM
Considering that the part is Sony that makes the sensor and the part that builds the camera at Sony are two different subcompanies from Sony I wouldn't be surprise if Nikon has access to the sensor earlier... The 36mpx sensor was released in a Nikon body before a Sony body...  Like Phase ONE having access to the 100MPx sensor months before any other company... It will depend on what Nikon is willing to pay...

Yes, they're two separate companies, but that doesn't mean they don't cooperate on strategy. The Sony bosses would never let that happen.

The 36MP sensor was released in a Nikon body first because Sony wasn't ready to launch a competitor in 2012. They had a sensor, no way to effectively use it themselves, but a willing customer. Even at the end of 2013, it was barely ready with the A7r (which was pretty much a great sensor stuck to a rudimentary body). The situation is completely different now - Sony is a big player in non-action camera bodies, has every reason to use the sensor themselves and keep all their best non-medium format sensors for their own use and can make Nikon pay through the nose for it, since they can't get the sensor from anyone else. Nikon would have to do Sony's bidding and pay whatever Sony wants for it, since they have no other options. Which means that Sony can allow them to live for a few more years, or shut them out of a large chunk of the camera business if they feel the A9 or A7r3 is ready to compete directly with Nikon.

Same thing with the 100MP sensor. Sony is in no position to use it themselves (having no MF lenses available) but there was a willing customer out there, who sell products that aren't particularly price-conscious, so they can charge whatever they like for it.

Zeiss isn't really making a lot of money in their lenses, their main business is industrial and medical equipment... They already said in some interviews if it was for money probably the best way will be to close that very low profitable lens division... They say they do it because it is in their DNA... Not sure if the t was just marketing, but probably if the division enter into losses it may be closed... Anyway, I read they are doing well with their loxia and batis lines...

Their industrial and medical equipment requires a lot of precision-ground lenses. So, yes, they're making a lot of money out of lenses. Just not necessarily from interchangeable camera lenses.

When you're already in the business of producing precision optical equipment for other purposes, having a side-business of developing camera gear costs very little resource-wise and gives them a name-brand recognition that's hard to get from scientific and commercial equipment alone. And that name recognition drives sales in other areas, e.g. optics for camera phones.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on November 27, 2016, 05:28:18 PM
Yes, they're two separate companies, but that doesn't mean they don't cooperate on strategy. The Sony bosses would never let that happen.

The 36MP sensor was released in a Nikon body first because Sony wasn't ready to launch a competitor in 2012. They had a sensor, no way to effectively use it themselves, but a willing customer. Even at the end of 2013, it was barely ready with the A7r (which was pretty much a great sensor stuck to a rudimentary body). The situation is completely different now - Sony is a big player in non-action camera bodies, has every reason to use the sensor themselves and keep all their best non-medium format sensors for their own use and can make Nikon pay through the nose for it, since they can't get the sensor from anyone else. Nikon would have to do Sony's bidding and pay whatever Sony wants for it, since they have no other options. Which means that Sony can allow them to live for a few more years, or shut them out of a large chunk of the camera business if they feel the A9 or A7r3 is ready to compete directly with Nikon.

Same thing with the 100MP sensor. Sony is in no position to use it themselves (having no MF lenses available) but there was a willing customer out there, who sell products that aren't particularly price-conscious, so they can charge whatever they like for it.

Maybe I'm wrong... But the actual 24 megapixels chip being used in the majority of asp-c cameras released this year wasn't released first on the Fuji x-pro 2 camera before the a6300?

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 27, 2016, 05:52:23 PM
Maybe I'm wrong... But the actual 24 megapixels chip being used in the majority of asp-c cameras released this year wasn't released first on the Fuji x-pro 2 camera before the a6300?

Both came out in March.

Regardless, the APS-C 24MP sensor is hardly Sony's flagship sensor (not counting MF sensors, which exist in a completely different realm) and the turnover rate for APS-C  models is high. Sony probably doesn't  particularly care who gets first go with those sensors, since there's little advantage to being first with those models. Basically, APS-C sensors are a continuous income stream, not part of the greater strategic contest between Sony, Canon and Nikon.

Not so with flagship FF sensors, which have a 3- to 4-year product cycle and go into bodies designed to be the veat of the best in what they do. Given that Sony, Nikon and Pentax are the only game in town with regards to high-resolution, high-IQ, high-DR full-frame bodies, and all of them are reliant on Sony sensors, Sony would be stupid to let Nikon get their hands on the sensor before they had the chance to release it first and gain market share. Or, even better, cooperate with Metabones to bring out a top-tier, Nikon-compatible adapter, or release a Nikon-lens-compatible version of the A9 themselves. Basically, let Nikon's camera division wither at the vine while Sony grabs its market share, leaving their valuable lens and optics division ripe for a cheap takeover when Nikon becomes weak from sales losses.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: bassman51 on November 27, 2016, 07:41:14 PM
In the fiscal year ending March 2016, Sony made $776m in the business unit that makes sensors, and $456m in the camera division.  So the sensor business, today, is more important to Sony than the camera business. 

In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 27, 2016, 08:58:45 PM
I cannot help but feel a huge disconnect btwn this discussion and what photography and cameras are about... which I think remains to make the best possible images.

To me cameras with the best sensor, the best AF, the best lenses, the best ergonomics,... helps photographers more than cameras with lesser sensors/AF/lenses/ergonomics... and still help put a company producing the better performing equipment in a strong competitive situation, whatever rethorics you wrap your arguments with.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Martin Kristiansen on November 28, 2016, 12:56:23 AM
In the fiscal year ending March 2016, Sony made $776m in the business unit that makes sensors, and $456m in the camera division.  So the sensor business, today, is more important to Sony than the camera business. 

In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.

I would be curious to see what percentage of the tidy profit generated by the sensor division came from Nikon. I would be surprised if it was that significant.

Be sad to see Nikon fail, that's for sure. I have used Nikon on and off over many years. I don't currently own any Nikon gear and have no plans to buy any but competition helps us all.

Sony is looking very strong at the moment. I just sold off every scrap of Canon gear I had and bought a second hand A6000 and now an A6300. I make all my money from photography. Have done since I turned 14. Products mostly. Catalogue work. Some architecture. I shoot landscape and street photography for fun. My clients don't care what I shoot on as long as they get the image they need. The little Sonys are great and are way better for the day to day grunt work of shooting thousands of products than the DSLR's ever were. I think these mirrorles cameras are the most disruptive thing I have seen since I went digital in 19996.  If Canon and Nikon don't get with the program I think they will die.

Having said that I'm not about to get rid of my Cambo with the 80MP back. I like shooting on that but make no money from it anymore. A bit overkill for Instagram I would say
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 28, 2016, 01:01:45 AM
In the fiscal year ending March 2016, Sony made $776m in the business unit that makes sensors, and $456m in the camera division.  So the sensor business, today, is more important to Sony than the camera business. 

In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.

Not 'declined to sell to Nikon'. Just 'declined to sell their best sensor'. Keep the best one, then sell the second-best or previous-generation model to others.

The decision is strategic, not financial. Every company does this. Make a bit more money that year but continue to prop up a competitor, or make a bit less but seriously weaken a rival and possibly make them ripe for a takeover?

For Sony, there's also a third option, which falls halfway in between.

The second best sensor is still better than anything Nikon can get elsewhere. They'd still have to buy it if that was all that was on offer. It would be competitive against anything but the latest Sony sensor. End result? Sony keeps gaining market share over Nikon, while continuing to sell them second-line sensors.

At any point in time, there will be a fixed number of people in the market for a high-resolution, high-DR full-frame camera. The three choices out there are Nikon, Sony or Pentax. If they don't buy one, they're likely to buy the other, not just buy nothing. Most sales lost by Nikon and Pentax for no longer having access to the best sensor will go to Sony. There's a barrier to changing systems, but not an insurmountable one, as seen with Canon shooters and Metabones adapters. So, one lost sensor sale to Nikon will likely mean one gained camera (including sensor) sale by Sony. But a lot of this will depend on the non-sensor performance of the A9. If Sony thinks they can fall into the same ballpark as the D810 successor, they'd  be silly to supply the new sensor to Nikon instead of coming out with a body that beats Nikon sensorwise and equals them in all other areas. The latter would earn them far more converts and allow them to gain market share.

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on November 28, 2016, 02:40:03 AM
In the companies that I've worked for, the camera business would have to demonstrate that they can make more money than the sensor business would loose if they declined to sell to Nikon.  Further, the camera business would have to demonstrate that by agreeing to pay the sensor business at least some of the profits that the latter would loose by declining to sell to Nikon.  So while I think Nikon is indeed in a lousy competitive and strategic position for many reasons, I'd be surprised if Sony just cut them off.  The sensor business is obviously better positioned if they have many customers over the long term - Nikon and Sony included - that if the Sony camera business becomes more important to them.  After all, Nikon still sells more cameras than Sony, and might just continue to maintain that market share.


Sony is making the majority of their money in sensors from mobile phones ( http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com.es/2016/06/sony-reduces-image-sensor-sales-and.html ) than cameras... They will be more worried if Samsung or Apple stop buying their sensors than Nikon...

Saying that... For me the sensor division has to be careful not to angry any costumer... There was already rumors that Canon may be starting selling their sensors to third parties... And I think it was the company that releases the sensors Leica... They just releases to the market a full frame sensor of 48 megapixels with global shutter... Probably more thinking in RED or Alexa video cameras but maybe attract the attention of other camera markets...


http://dgpfotografia.com
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 28, 2016, 03:36:32 AM
I cannot help but feel a huge disconnect btwn this discussion and what photography and cameras are about... which I think remains to make the best possible images.

To me cameras with the best sensor, the best AF, the best lenses, the best ergonomics,... helps photographers more than cameras with lesser sensors/AF/lenses/ergonomics... and still help put a company producing the better performing equipment in a strong competitive situation, whatever rethorics you wrap your arguments with.

Cheers,
Bernard

The topic isn't whether Nikom makes good cameras, or even how many of those cameras it can sell. The topic was whether Nikon, as a company, is in difficulty, or in an otherwise precarious position. That has very little to do with the quality of its cameras, compared with issues regarding finances, supply chain and other factors.

Quality of cameras, while interesting, has little bearing on this (as long as they're up to a certain, evolving standard).
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 28, 2016, 04:56:49 AM
The topic isn't whether Nikom makes good cameras, or even how many of those cameras it can sell. The topic was whether Nikon, as a company, is in difficulty, or in an otherwise precarious position. That has very little to do with the quality of its cameras, compared with issues regarding finances, supply chain and other factors.

Quality of cameras, while interesting, has little bearing on this (as long as they're up to a certain, evolving standard).

Well, I disagree. Nikon's problems have everything to do with the quality of the cameras and lenses they did or did not produce 5, 3 and 1 year ago.

Quality defined as their ability to various needs of photographers. Sorry, no more time today on this.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 28, 2016, 06:27:45 AM
Well, I disagree. Nikon's problems have everything to do with the quality of the cameras and lenses they did or did not produce 5, 3 and 1 year ago.

Quality defined as their ability to various needs of photographers. Sorry, no more time today on this.

Cheers,
Bernard

So, let's just say Nikon had the best camera at the best price point in the market 5, 3 and 1 year ago, with everything else remaining the same.

They'd still be in the same situation. They still wouldn't be able to produce a sensor on their own. They'd still be completely reliant on Sony and Sony subsidiaries for their high-resolution/high DR sensors - Sony could still just turn off the tap and they'd be in a world of trouble. The would still be competing for market share in a shrinking market, unable to supply anything to anyone other than non-smartphone photographers - they have no sensors to sell to phone manufacturers, don't make lenses for anyone other than Nikon cameras and other Nikon products and don't produce much of anything apart from stills cameras (whose market is shrinking) and a bit of technical equipment.

Meanwhile, look at Sony, who, ten years ago, didn't even have a real stills cameras business to speak of (point-and-shoots notwithstanding). What they did have was cash reserves, other income streams and control over their supply chains (i.e. they could develop and produce it themselves). Now they've taken over several other companies' camera/imaging divisions and have several others (Nikon, Pentax, Phase One, etc.) essentially beholden to them, as well as a booming business making sensors for the non-photographic technical and smartphone markets.

Dedicated still-photography cameras are a shrinking market. If you can't offer a product that works for other things and ties into your camera business (e.g. Sony's sensors and their use in phones, video and other gear, or Zeiss' optics), you're either going to become a niche player (like Leica) or die. And, in the consumer electronics sector, niche players are really only a small step above dead, since they lack the scale to innovate at the level of the big players.

Nikon is too big and has too much overhead to become a niche player. Their best bet is to expand on their optics capabilities, produce high-end lenses for every other mount out there (as well as for phones, security equipment and everything else which needs a lens) and generally act as a rival to Zeiss. They do a bit of that already, making medical lenses, rifle scopes, binoculars and the like. But their camera business is so vulnerable to competitors' moves at many different points of development and production that to rely on that as their core business is to bet the company on the goodwill of their competitors.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: mecrox on November 28, 2016, 07:33:34 AM
So, let's just say Nikon had the best camera at the best price point in the market 5, 3 and 1 year ago, with everything else remaining the same.

They'd still be in the same situation. They still wouldn't be able to produce a sensor on their own. They'd still be completely reliant on Sony and Sony subsidiaries for their high-resolution/high DR sensors - Sony could still just turn off the tap and they'd be in a world of trouble. The would still be competing for market share in a shrinking market, unable to supply anything to anyone other than non-smartphone photographers - they have no sensors to sell to phone manufacturers, don't make lenses for anyone other than Nikon cameras and other Nikon products and don't produce much of anything apart from stills cameras (whose market is shrinking) and a bit of technical equipment.

Meanwhile, look at Sony, who, ten years ago, didn't even have a real stills cameras business to speak of (point-and-shoots notwithstanding). What they did have was cash reserves, other income streams and control over their supply chains (i.e. they could develop and produce it themselves). Now they've taken over several other companies' camera/imaging divisions and have several others (Nikon, Pentax, Phase One, etc.) essentially beholden to them, as well as a booming business making sensors for the non-photographic technical and smartphone markets.

We don't know what agreements Nikon may have with Sony (or any other sensor-maker, design team or fab). Quite a lot rests on that since really solid, long-term agreements would offer stockholders a fair degree of comfort that plugs would not and could not be pulled or key components deliberately degraded by competitors refusing to make their best efforts available. But without that information, much of the rest is guesswork. It's certainly fair to say that any company which cannot manage to diversify in an industry whose sales are plunging would be in some trouble because no other revenue streams can be accessed. So, in a nutshell, it looks like shrink down to something very modest, diversify successfully or, er, die as an independent perhaps to live on as a brand in someone's else's portfolio. I realize that Nikon do have their "stepper" business but so far this doesn't look to be diversity enough or very successfully done either.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 28, 2016, 08:46:51 AM
We don't know what agreements Nikon may have with Sony (or any other sensor-maker, design team or fab). Quite a lot rests on that since really solid, long-term agreements would offer stockholders a fair degree of comfort that plugs would not and could not be pulled or key components deliberately degraded by competitors refusing to make their best efforts available. But without that information, much of the rest is guesswork. It's certainly fair to say that any company which cannot manage to diversify in an industry whose sales are plunging would be in some trouble because no other revenue streams can be accessed. So, in a nutshell, it looks like shrink down to something very modest, diversify successfully or, er, die as an independent perhaps to live on as a brand in someone's else's portfolio. I realize that Nikon do have their "stepper" business but so far this doesn't look to be diversity enough or very successfully done either.

I doubt there's any sort of a long-term agreement - any such agreements tend to be on a product-by-product basis (e.g. 'we'll keep making the 36MP D810 sensor for the next 4 years'), rather than a 'we'll keep on selling you our best-available sensor for ever and ever and won't ever jack up the price'-type agreement.

But the diversification point is very relevant. Every other major company in the camera equipment also develops and makes things that are used outside of their own line of dedicated stills cameras, while using the same technology that goes into cameras. Exmor sensors go into everything. Canon has a booming video business. Tamron and Sigma make glass for everyone. Zeiss glass goes into everything, and the software, manufacturing plants and engineers who design camera lenses can just as easily design and build lenses for anything else. Nikon doesn't do much other than make camera bodies (using sensors produced by others) and make lenses for their own cameras. In a shrinking market, that's a good way to die.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: bjanes on November 28, 2016, 12:03:39 PM
Nikon doesn't do much other than make camera bodies (using sensors produced by others) and make lenses for their own cameras. In a shrinking market, that's a good way to die.

That is not correct. Nikon is a leader in microscopes (most hospitals and labs use either Nikon or Olympus). They also produce rifle telescopic sights, range finders, binoculars, and spotting scopes. They also have a semiconductor lithography business and industrial  metrology business. See their annual report for details.

http://www.nikon.com/about/ir/ir_library/ar/pdf/nr2015/15nikonreport_e.pdf

Regards,

Bill

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Manoli on November 28, 2016, 12:36:31 PM
That is not correct. Nikon is a leader in microscopes (most hospitals and labs use either Nikon or Olympus). They also produce rifle telescopic sights, range finders, binoculars, and spotting scopes. They also have a semiconductor lithography business and industrial  metrology business. See their annual report for details.

You missed out on the Operating Income data just below it.
ALL the other units combined barely add up to that of The Imaging Products Business, and though the 2015 data still shows a minimal profit, 2016 figures I suspect will show a loss.

Even Nikon, in the report state that

 ' Furthermore, I hear questions regarding reviews of the production bases of the Imaging Products Business, the market for which is shrinking, but these reviews will be conducted in accordance with changes in the business environment. We are working on optimisation ...'
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: bjanes on November 28, 2016, 05:31:01 PM
You missed out on the Operating Income data just below it.
ALL the other units combined barely add up to that of The Imaging Products Business, and though the 2015 data still shows a minimal profit, 2016 figures I suspect will show a loss.

No, I didn't miss the income data, but didn't cite it since income is not a measure of production. Shadowblade stated erroneously that Nikon doesn't do much more than make cameras and lenses for the cameras. I wouldn't think that nearly half of their business amounts to next to nothing. Diversification can allow a company to withstand a temporary downturn in one segment of their business, but in the long run unprofitable units tend to be closed down or spun off. However, a company would hesitate to shut down more than half their business, but rather would strive to revive it.

Bill
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 28, 2016, 10:20:07 PM
No, I didn't miss the income data, but didn't cite it since income is not a measure of production. Shadowblade stated erroneously that Nikon doesn't do much more than make cameras and lenses for the cameras. I wouldn't think that nearly half of their business amounts to next to nothing. Diversification can allow a company to withstand a temporary downturn in one segment of their business, but in the long run unprofitable units tend to be closed down or spun off. However, a company would hesitate to shut down more than half their business, but rather would strive to revive it.

Bill

All the other stuff is low-volume. Nikon would sell thousands of cameras for every microscope they sell.

Sometimes shutting down or selling an unprofitable business, taking the money and investing it in something else is the best thing to do. Better than pouring good money into a sinking ship. Other companies could make much better use of Nikon's facilities than Nikon can themselves, since they can combine them with the rest of the supply chain. Sell the camera business and production plants and become a dedicated optics company, making glass for every other device out there.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 29, 2016, 12:34:58 AM
Better than pouring good money into a sinking ship. Other companies could make much better use of Nikon's facilities than Nikon can themselves, since they can combine them with the rest of the supply chain. Sell the camera business and production plants and become a dedicated optics company, making glass for every other device out there.

This is becoming ridiculous... really.

Cheers,
Bernard


Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 29, 2016, 01:34:08 AM
This is becoming ridiculous... really.

Cheers,
Bernard

It's the slowly boiling frog analogy. It's not there yet. But you can see it coming. The dedicated stills  camera market isn't getting any bigger - it's shrinking every year and the market is becoming more high-end, as those who may previously have bought low-end cameras gravitate towards  phone cameras, GoPros and the like. Nikon is bottom  of the pack in mirrorless, bottom of the pack in video - both vital technologies for future, increasingly multipurpose and interconnected devices - and can't actually make a sensor themselves. If they want the beat sensor on the market for their camera, they'll have to pay whatever the seller wants, or go with a lesser option, to the detriment of their product. They're also too small to easily catch up to Sony, Canon and others in either manufacturing capability or technology  - they just don't have the capital or the caahflow of the larger companies.

Sure, they could pour all their money into trying to turn the ship around. But the market is shrinking and they're outgunned both financially - they would be able to keep it up for a while (an Exmor equivalent made by a non-Sony-owned company would help them a lot, until the next big leap came along), but, eventually, must fall behind technologically, because they simply can't spend as much on R&D as the big companies. They're barely making a profit as it is - pretty soon, they'd start posting losses and have to find more and more sources of capital to make up for it.

Or they could sell out of the camera business (their plants, infrastructure and human capital would be worth a huge amount to anyone able to make their own sensors), take the billions of dollars from the asset sale and invest it in something much more likely to generate profit and growth in the medium to long term. Maybe optics, maybe something else entirely (e.g. property, finance).

Certainly, as a photographer, it would be nice for Nikon to stay in the game and continue to come up with good products. But, as an investor interested in profit, there are far better things Nikon could do with their resources than continue to compete in the camera game. And, ultimately, Nikon's purpose as a company is to make money, not cameras - making cameras is just one of the many ways to make money, and, given their current strategic position, not a very good one in the long term.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 29, 2016, 03:32:44 AM
And, ultimately, Nikon's purpose as a company is to make money, not cameras - making cameras is just one of the many ways to make money, and, given their current strategic position, not a very good one in the long term.

With all due respect, your lack of understanding of how companies work is rather puzzling.

I am out of this thread.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 29, 2016, 05:36:30 AM
All this sounds like the hopeful thinking of a camera enthusiast who likes what Nikon has done with the D810 and D5, or the head-in-the-sand thinking of a small business owner who sees only one solution to a problem (build better cameras) because he only knows how to do one thing (build cameras), rather than the dispassionate thinking of an investor or corporate strategist with a clear goal (maximising company profit).

Your argument essentially consists of, 'They make good gear, so they'll be fine', without any justification as to why this would be the case, or whether the company would be more profitable taking a different direction altogether.

Companies change direction all the time. IBM uses to make commercial scales. Sony's biggest money-spinners are films/music and financial products. Ten years ago, Sony barely made a camera. And companies divest themselves of unprofitable divisions all the time, or even profitable arms which aren't as profitable as they could be - it frees up capital which can then be invested elsewhere with greater return.

Don't  believe me? Look at the share price history of Nikon vs Canon and Sony over the last five years. It's not a pretty picture - evidently, other investors are thinking along the same lines.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 29, 2016, 05:49:53 AM
At best, continuing along the same path and making most of their money from a shrinking market will put Nikon into the same category as a corner store owner or an antique shop. They may continue to generate a cashflow and turn a small profit if they do well, but are hardly likely to experience massive profit growth or expansion. It's not a growth strategy. Meanwhile, the corner shop owner doesn't realise he's actually sitting on a huge mountain of valuable assets (in his case, the land that the store sits on, which has appreciated at well above CPI since he bought it 40 years ago) that, if sold, would make him a fortune, that could be invested elsewhere and bring him far more income than the store ever did. Instead, he continues to go in to work every day, making a small income, because he's been selling groceries all his life and doesn't know how to do anything else... even while the supermarket up the street gradually steals most of his customers because it can undercut him on price and variety, due to economies of scale.

Leica's camera division is essentially in the same boat. But they never really pretended to be anything but a niche producer after the development of the SLR
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: mecrox on November 29, 2016, 06:56:12 AM
All this sounds like the hopeful thinking of a camera enthusiast who likes what Nikon has done with the D810 and D5, or the head-in-the-sand thinking of a small business owner who sees only one solution to a problem (build better cameras) because he only knows how to do one thing (build cameras), rather than the dispassionate thinking of an investor or corporate strategist with a clear goal (maximising company profit).

Your argument essentially consists of, 'They make good gear, so they'll be fine', without any justification as to why this would be the case, or whether the company would be more profitable taking a different direction altogether.

Companies change direction all the time. IBM uses to make commercial scales. Sony's biggest money-spinners are films/music and financial products. Ten years ago, Sony barely made a camera. And companies divest themselves of unprofitable divisions all the time, or even profitable arms which aren't as profitable as they could be - it frees up capital which can then be invested elsewhere with greater return.

Don't  believe me? Look at the share price history of Nikon vs Canon and Sony over the last five years. It's not a pretty picture - evidently, other investors are thinking along the same lines.

A little over-egged, I think. Nikon's entire value as a brand comes from their expertise and reputation in optics, photography and imaging generally. That isn't going to change any time soon. No one is suddenly going to buy a pair of socks, a kettle or a financial product just because it has "Nikon" branded over it. Diversifying into new businesses doesn't mean branding them with Nikon at all, in fact that may be counterproductive unless they are optical/imaging ones.

I don't see a rosy future at all for most camera companies, Nikon included, without very substantial change. However, the idea that Nikon will suddenly stop making cameras, sell up and invest the money in an underpants factory or whatever instead is a little wide of the mark I suspect :) What these companies may need is new management and an end to thinking like the Nokia of old that it's all about the hardware in a world where it's more often all about the software. In the bigger picture Nikon is a hugely valuable brand (for now, anyway) but the weight of opinion might well be that as a brand it needs plugging into a much bigger corporate outfit whose expertise and muscle in retail, distribution, finance, etc. is far superior. In other words, the days of going it alone when this increasingly makes no sense are numbered. Who knows, of course. None of us, for sure.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 29, 2016, 07:25:39 AM
A little over-egged, I think. Nikon's entire value as a brand comes from their expertise and reputation in optics, photography and imaging generally. That isn't going to change any time soon. No one is suddenly going to buy a pair of socks, a kettle or a financial product just because it has "Nikon" branded over it. Diversifying into new businesses doesn't mean branding them with Nikon at all, in fact that may be counterproductive unless they are optical/imaging ones.

I don't see a rosy future at all for most camera companies, Nikon included, without very substantial change. However, the idea that Nikon will suddenly stop making cameras, sell up and invest the money in an underpants factory or whatever instead is a little wide of the mark I suspect :) What these companies may need is new management and an end to thinking like the Nokia of old that it's all about the hardware in a world where it's more often all about the software. In the bigger picture Nikon is a hugely valuable brand (for now, anyway) but the weight of opinion might well be that as a brand it needs plugging into a much bigger corporate outfit whose expertise and muscle in retail, distribution, finance, etc. is far superior. In other words, the days of going it alone when this increasingly makes no sense are numbered. Who knows, of course. None of us, for sure.

I don't mean bringing out Nikon-branded underwear.

What I mean is selling off the barely-profitable camera-making division (which would probably be worth a lot more to Sony or even Canon than it is to Nikon). The sold-off division may or may not keep the Nikon name - after all, Toshiba's imaging division is owned by Sony, but still makes sensors under the Toshiba name. Then take the billions of dollars generated in the sale and invest it in something that can generate a far higher rate of return - property or other companies (like an institutional investor), or their own optics business (expanded to make lenses for all sorts of systems, from security systems to photocopiers to Canon cameras). They don't necessarily need to manufacture or sell anything to make a lot of money. What do you think Warren Buffett makes or sells? Not much - he just invests his billions into other companies and turns a tidy profit.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: mecrox on November 29, 2016, 07:44:37 AM
I don't mean bringing out Nikon-branded underwear.

What I mean is selling off the barely-profitable camera-making division (which would probably be worth a lot more to Sony or even Canon than it is to Nikon). The sold-off division may or may not keep the Nikon name - after all, Toshiba's imaging division is owned by Sony, but still makes sensors under the Toshiba name. Then take the billions of dollars generated in the sale and invest it in something that can generate a far higher rate of return - property or other companies (like an institutional investor), or their own optics business (expanded to make lenses for all sorts of systems, from security systems to photocopiers to Canon cameras). They don't necessarily need to manufacture or sell anything to make a lot of money. What do you think Warren Buffett makes or sells? Not much - he just invests his billions into other companies and turns a tidy profit.

You're missing out a crucial thing: Nikon's expertise is in optics and imaging. They know no more than the next guy about anything else. So when "they" have sold off the camera division, what are "they" left with? Not much more than a board of managers and the office cleaners, with all the know-how, staff, patents etc. gone for good and a couple of rump businesses now too small to survive on their own. More likely, I would think, is a break-up sale with current Nikon investors remunerated (if they are) with shares in the acquiring companies and a dollop of cash to top up pension funds and bribe sorry compensate the directors or whatever. Anyway, who knows. My own hope is that this happens before value is destroyed and employees lose their jobs because the management is too obtuse to realize what is happening to their industry. Anyway, last post from me.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 29, 2016, 08:03:25 AM
You're missing out a crucial thing: Nikon's expertise is in optics and imaging. They know no more than the next guy about anything else. So when "they" have sold off the camera division, what are "they" left with? Not much more than a board of managers and the office cleaners, with all the know-how, staff, patents etc. gone for good and a couple of rump business now too small to survive on their own. More likely, I would think, is a break-up sale with current Nikon investors remunerated (if they are) with shares in the acquiring companies and a dollop of cash to top up pension funds and bribe sorry compensate the directors or whatever. Anyway, who knows. My own hope is that this happens before value is destroyed and employees lose their jobs because the management is too obtuse to realize what is happening to their industry. Anyway, last post from me.

Their expertise is optics. Not digital imaging or the electronics that go with it.

If they sold their camera (not optics) division now, they'd have a large chunk of cash. Probably considerably smaller if they sold it in 10 years' time instead. But, either way, still a chunk of cash. They could dispose of that cash in several ways. Firstly, they could wind up most of the company and return a huge chunk of cash to their shareholders. That's actually not a bad option - instead of Nikon investing the money as a company, individual shareholders would take their one-off dividend and invest it themselves. Secondly, they could take the money and invest it in other assets - bonds, shares, property and the like - in a similar manner to a trust fund, with shareholders as beneficiaries. No, they're not experts in it now, but they can easily afford to hire them. A company, even a bank, has no inherent expertise in investments - it's the people they hire who have the expertise. On average, a large company doing that as an institutional investor on behalf of shareholders is going to get a better return than people investing as individuals, due to the centralisation and greater availability of resources, reduced transaction costs, better access to international exchanges and better access to loans. Thirdly, they could focus on the optics side of their business, which is potentially far more profitable than their cameras, given their ability to do things in-house and the expanding nature of that sector. Finally, they could do a bit of each - return some cash to shareholders, invest some and expand their optics business.

Optics go in everything, not just interchangeable-lens cameras. Look at what Zeiss does with it. Their lenses go in everything from phones, to microscopes, to satellites. That's what Nikon needs to concentrate on if they are to survive as a company that actually makes something. Forget about proprietary mounts and their own camera system and start making optics for everyone and anyone out there, compatible with all sorts of different imaging systems. That's a far larger market than Nikon-branded stills cameras, is an expanding rather than a shrinking market, and utilises what Nikon is best at (optics) and much less of what it's not so good at (electronics).
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on November 29, 2016, 08:23:27 AM
Here is an idea: a hedge fund buys them, starts playing with it as if a business school project, hires a bunch of Italian designers and locks them up for months in an undisclosed location. Finally, a new product is born: somebody else's camera, with a big, exotic-wood handle and a huge initial of its name slapped on it ("N") - with a tenfold price tag. You see, bling is a much better market than cameras. Oh, wait, haven't somebody else tried that already? An "H" company or something ;)

P.S. Shadowblade, not mocking your line of thoughts, I actually find it interesting, but just couldn't resist injecting some levity
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: NancyP on November 29, 2016, 11:07:51 AM
Nikon makes damn good microscopes, and pretty much splits the clinical and research laboratory market with Olympus. Zeiss may still dominate in opthalmologic optical equipment (slit lamp microscopes, refraction stations) and intra-operative microscopes for colposcopy and microsurgery. Olympus and Pentax make the majority of endoscopes of all kinds.

 I have no idea who has the material sciences market.

Nikon may be the dominant player in mid-priced binoculars ($100.00 to $1,000.00). Hunting stores are full of them.

Gosh - I think that some people might actually go for the Nikon branded underwear - the same people using those fake-lens coffee cups?
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BJL on November 29, 2016, 09:49:19 PM
I will not wade into the general debate about Nikon's prospects, but I will record my skepticism that Sony Sensor will start limiting Nikon's access to its sensors for ILC's, meaning ones in DX [24x18mm] and FX [36x24mm] formats.

Why?

- Firstly, I am fairly sure that for these sensor sizes, Nikon is Sony Sensor's main customer — bigger than Sony Imaging, Pentax, and Fujifilm combined.

- Secondly, if Sony could hamper Nikon enough to cause significant switching away from Nikon DSLRs, the main destination would be Canon, causing a loss of sales for Sony sensor, and making Canon and even more powerful competitor. I expect the revenue and profit losses there would outweigh the gains of body and lens sales from those switching from Nikon to Sony's (non-DSLR) ILC offerings and less extensive lens system.

- Thirdly, this has been predicted almost constantly ever since Sony bought the Konica-Minolta SLR business, with still no sign of it happening, so it has long since come to sound like "crying wolf".
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on November 30, 2016, 12:54:19 AM
I will not wade into the general debate about Nikon's prospects, but I will record my skepticism that Sony Sensor will start limiting Nikon's access to its sensors for ILC's, meaning ones in DX [24x18mm] and FX [36x24mm] formats.

Why?

- Firstly, I am fairly sure that for these sensor sizes, Nikon is Sony Sensor's main customer — bigger than Sony Imaging, Pentax, and Fujifilm combined.

- Secondly, if Sony could hamper Nikon enough to cause significant switching away from Nikon DSLRs, the main destination would be Canon, causing a loss of sales for Sony sensor, and making Canon and even more powerful competitor. I expect the revenue and profit losses there would outweigh the gains of body and lens sales from those switching from Nikon to Sony's (non-DSLR) ILC offerings and less extensive lens system.

- Thirdly, this has been predicted almost constantly ever since Sony bought the Konica-Minolta SLR business, with still no sign of it happening, so it has long since come to sound like "crying wolf".

Finally, sensible post.

Want the best sports camera? Nikon makes it.
Want the best APSc camera? Nikon makes it.
Want the best landscape camera, at base iso? Nikon makes it.

Want best high end prime telephoto lenses, from 200mm, 300mm, on up to 800mm? Nikon makes them.

How bout best 105mm, as good as Otus, but with AF? Nikon makes it.

BUT!

If you want a substandard camera, from a "bigger company"--buy Canon or Sony.

While you miss shots and take lesser photos, can brag that your camera company "bigger"

At least with Sony, can buy Nikon glass. But still have to deal with limited camera.

Buy Canon, own limited camera, with limited sensor, and settle for substandard prime lenses. But the company is "bigger" :D
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 30, 2016, 03:56:22 AM
Finally, sensible post.

Want the best sports camera? Nikon makes it.
Want the best APSc camera? Nikon makes it.
Want the best landscape camera, at base iso? Nikon makes it.

Want best high end prime telephoto lenses, from 200mm, 300mm, on up to 800mm? Nikon makes them.

How bout best 105mm, as good as Otus, but with AF? Nikon makes it.

BUT!

If you want a substandard camera, from a "bigger company"--buy Canon or Sony.

While you miss shots and take lesser photos, can brag that your camera company "bigger"

At least with Sony, can buy Nikon glass. But still have to deal with limited camera.

Buy Canon, own limited camera, with limited sensor, and settle for substandard prime lenses. But the company is "bigger" :D

All of this is as true as it is meaningless.

Look at the situation from a corporate strategy point of view rather than as a photography enthusiast. Nikon has no control over its supply chain for critical components, needs to buy from a company which has a monopoly over the best sensor,  is far too reliant on sales within a single, shrinking market (dedicated stills cameras) and lacks the capacity to develop the in-house capability to overcome these problems.

Plenty of companies have gone broke, or lost a lot of money, while making the best product in their market. In most of those cases, the market was either shrinking or being undercut by low-cost producers. Having the best product is no insurance against financial difficulties - quality of the product is only relevant at the bottom end, as you need a competent product to be in the game at all.

It's quite telling that the only place where people think Nikon are doing OK is on photography forums. People there are all about the gear - if the gear's good, the company must be OK, or so goes the thinking. It's a completely different story on investment and shareholder forums (online or otherwise). Nikon is pretty much on the nose, for all the reasons I mentioned.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rob C on November 30, 2016, 04:27:12 AM
Amazing how much wishful thinking plays a rôle in Internet life.

Rob
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: pegelli on November 30, 2016, 04:59:47 AM
Finally, sensible post.

Want the best sports camera? Nikon makes it.
Want the best APSc camera? Nikon makes it.
Want the best landscape camera, at base iso? Nikon makes it.

Want best high end prime telephoto lenses, from 200mm, 300mm, on up to 800mm? Nikon makes them.

How bout best 105mm, as good as Otus, but with AF? Nikon makes it.

BUT!

If you want a substandard camera, from a "bigger company"--buy Canon or Sony.

While you miss shots and take lesser photos, can brag that your camera company "bigger"

At least with Sony, can buy Nikon glass. But still have to deal with limited camera.

Buy Canon, own limited camera, with limited sensor, and settle for substandard prime lenses. But the company is "bigger" :D

I think John Koerner and you will get along fine  ;D
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 30, 2016, 05:04:30 AM
All of this is as true as it is meaningless.

Look at the situation from a corporate strategy point of view rather than as a photography enthusiast. Nikon has no control over its supply chain for critical components, needs to buy from a company which has a monopoly over the best sensor,  is far too reliant on sales within a single, shrinking market (dedicated stills cameras) and lacks the capacity to develop the in-house capability to overcome these problems.

The problem Nikon has with sensor sourcing is vastly exagerated for the following reasons:
- Sensors have mostly become a commodity and the lead Sony used to have 3-4 years ago has reduced a lot. Even a tiny Belgian company called CMOSIS is designing sensors very close to Sony's, Leica fans would say superior,
- Nikon clearly has expertize in sensor design. They have focused so far on the niche applications such as the D5 sensor for which nobody else was willing/able to do as well as them for the niche target application (best in class DR at high ISO), but I would not read into this that they are unable to design sensors with higher resolution/higher low ISO DR. They have just not had to do it until now,
- Canon has managed to maintain its marketshare with vastly inferior sensors for years, mostly on the strength of its lens line up and existing user base... and Nikon is current catching up fast and IMHO probably ahead as we speak. They have the only pro spec 24-70 f2.8 that is stabilized, newly the best 70-200 f2.8 on the market, the best portait lens with the 105mm f1.4, IMHO the best T/S wide lens, the best super teles short of the 200-400,... every single lens release they made recently has been ground breaking,
- It is really unlikely that a recovering Sony would close the door on Nikon considering how important a customer they have been for the past 10 years, but even if that happened this wouldn't be that big an issue for Nikon.

Overall, good products meeting their target customer needs remains the strongest asset of a company. Warren Buffet made a ton of money betting on such companies, and he has been right on the long term.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BrianVS on November 30, 2016, 05:13:10 AM
Anyone that believes that Nikon does not understand the electronics that go into the making of a digital camera has absolutely no understanding of how a digital camera works. The sensor is an important part of the camera, getting an image to record to the memory card without being corrupted by noise is non-trivial. Try designing the data acquisition system for a 16MPixel imaging sensor that can be used at ISO 12800 and not have the image swamped by noise.

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7402/13984573622_bf23006639_o.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/niLAwj)Luray Caverns (https://flic.kr/p/niLAwj) by fiftyonepointsix (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

I've had several Canon DSLR users, two in the last week, come up and ask about the Df. Explained the F-Mount allows use of lenses going back to 1959 without using an adapter. That means something to some people. Nikon embraces their past, Canon never looks behind.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 30, 2016, 07:25:25 AM
Anyone that believes that Nikon does not understand the electronics that go into the making of a digital camera has absolutely no understanding of how a digital camera works. The sensor is an important part of the camera, getting an image to record to the memory card without being corrupted by noise is non-trivial. Try designing the data acquisition system for a 16MPixel imaging sensor that can be used at ISO 12800 and not have the image swamped by noise.

(https://c7.staticflickr.com/8/7402/13984573622_bf23006639_o.jpg) (https://flic.kr/p/niLAwj)Luray Caverns (https://flic.kr/p/niLAwj) by fiftyonepointsix (https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/), on Flickr

I've had several Canon DSLR users, two in the last week, come up and ask about the Df. Explained the F-Mount allows use of lenses going back to 1959 without using an adapter. That means something to some people. Nikon embraces their past, Canon never looks behind.

All of which is nice to know, but none of which is actually relevant to Nikon's future (or lack thereof) as a profitable business.

Again, you're thinking with the 'ooh, nice gear' photographer's mentality, rather than the 'does it make a profit' and 'can I get a better return on investment elsewhere' business mentality.

Knowhow is cheap to buy. Every part of the camera other than the lens and sensor is relatively cheap to make and doesn't require a multi-billion dollar fab plant. Profiency in the non-sensor side of things isn't unique to Nikon, and won't get them over the line. At best, they'll end up a niche player like Leica, making great products with principal components designed and made by someone else, but unable to expand beyond their existing markets.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 30, 2016, 08:00:52 AM
The problem Nikon has with sensor sourcing is vastly exagerated for the following reasons:
- Sensors have mostly become a commodity and the lead Sony used to have 3-4 years ago has reduced a lot. Even a tiny Belgian company called CMOSIS is designing sensors very close to Sony's, Leica fans would say superior,
- Nikon clearly has expertize in sensor design. They have focused so far on the niche applications such as the D5 sensor for which nobody else was willing/able to do as well as them for the niche target application (best in class DR at high ISO), but I would not read into this that they are unable to design sensors with higher resolution/higher low ISO DR. They have just not had to do it until now,

I'll believe it when I see it.

So far, the only company which has managed to produce a sensor approaching the Exmor's performance in both resolution and DR, at both low and high ISO at the same time, is Toshiba with its D7200 sensor - and Sony now also owns them. Cmosis holds up at low ISO, but they have yet to produce a high-resolution sensor with the same performance.

Besides, Sony is hardly sitting still with its own design. The A7r2's Exmor is vastly different to the Exmor of the D3x or A900.

Quote
- Canon has managed to maintain its marketshare with vastly inferior sensors for years, mostly on the strength of its lens line up and existing user base... and Nikon is current catching up fast and IMHO probably ahead as we speak. They have the only pro spec 24-70 f2.8 that is stabilized, newly the best 70-200 f2.8 on the market, the best portait lens with the 105mm f1.4, IMHO the best T/S wide lens, the best super teles short of the 200-400,... every single lens release they made recently has been ground breaking,

So has almost every recent high-end lens release from Canon, Sigma and the Sony GM range. The current crop of high-end lenses from all manufacturers - zooms especially - are so much better than those of 8 years ago that the lens gap has never been smaller, except if you need a certain special-purpose lens and that need trumps all other requirements.

Quote
- It is really unlikely that a recovering Sony would close the door on Nikon considering how important a customer they have been for the past 10 years, but even if that happened this wouldn't be that big an issue for Nikon.

It makes sense for them to keep supplying Nikon only as long as their own mirrorless line cannot keep up with rhe D810 in non-sensor performance. While that remains the case, keeping up the supply doesn't keep Nikon users from switching over to Sony, as, even if Nikon had to use a different, inferior sensor, many users would stay with Nikon for non-sensor aspects of performance anyway.

The dynamics change as soon as Sony can produce a mirrorless body which matches the non-sensor performance of the D810 or its successor. At that stage, every sale to Nikon becomes a potential lost Sony convert, since, if Sony could release a body with a better sensor and equal performance in other areas, switching brands becomes much more viable. The barrier to switching is high, due to lens collections, but not insurmountable, and the wheels can be greased with Metabones-type adapters containing electronics aimed at creating a Nikon-to-Sony interface with no loss of performance. The smart thing for Sony to do then would be to stop selling to Nikon, collaberate on an adapter and release a camera that matches Nikon's performance in every other area, but beats it significantly in sensor performance.

Given the leaps and bounds Sony has made in mirrorless performance, that day isn't far off.

Quote
Overall, good products meeting their target customer needs remains the strongest asset of a company. Warren Buffet made a ton of money betting on such companies, and he has been right on the long term.

Cheers,
Bernard

Only if their target customer is a growing market. If the markey isn't growing, the best you can achieve is a steady cashflow with little growth. If it's shrinking, your profits shrink with it and you start to lose the economy of scale.

Dedicated stills cameras are a fast-shrinking market, yet one which Nikon is largely reliant on. Sensors are a fast-growing market, yet Nikon can't make them. Optics are also a growing market, yet Nikon only makes them for its own products, rather than supplying optics to other equipment manufacturers. The former they can't help - setting up a state-of-the-art fab plant costs billions, which Nikon lacks. But the latter is certainly something they can work on and excel in, given what they've managed to bring out lately. Whether they have the will to do so, or cling blindly to their self-image as a 'camera company' rather than a profit-generating engine, is another matter entirely.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scooby70 on November 30, 2016, 08:22:39 AM

If you want a substandard camera, from a "bigger company"--buy Canon or Sony.

While you miss shots and take lesser photos, can brag that your camera company "bigger"


oh dear.

Can I just say that I'm very happy with my Sony A7 and the fact that it's made by Sony just doesn't matter to me. In no way do I see it as a substandard camera. Indeed it's the best camera I've ever owned and with a 35mm f2.8 fitted it's extremely compact, in fact it's 35mm SLR sized and this simple fact means I'm much more likely to have it with me than a big fat bloated and attention grabbing DSLR which on many occasions I'd just leave at home.

But that's just me.

Generally though I do wish that people would drop the whole fan boy thing. So, Nikon rules and everything else is dross bought by fan boys bragging that they've bought a product from a big company is it? My My... Does it really matter who makes the kit? To me it doesn't and if Nikon had made an A7 like camera I'd have bought it but Sony made it so that's what I bought and it really does irritate me that apparently intelligent people can post like you.

That's 5 minutes of my life I wont get back  >:(
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: NancyP on November 30, 2016, 10:13:04 AM
Drop the fanboy schtick? What would people do on these fora?  ::)
We are deluged by all sorts of fine cameras. Nikon, Canon, Sony, Pentax, Olympus, various high-end MF cameras, surprisingly functional phone cameras (scoff, but I have a 6 year old iPhone 4 with a 1.2 MP camera, and I am flabbergasted by the improved images from the iPhone 7 12 MP camera - I am phone shopping in preparation for the old one reaching end-of-life).
Lenses? The modern batch of lenses are extremely sharp but pretty clinical in rendition. Some are incredible values, eg. the Canon 40mm f/2.8, at $150.00 list.  Sometimes it is fun to haul out the better old film era lenses - AIS Nikkors 50 f/1.2 and 105 f/2.5 in my bag (with adapter) - for a different look.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BrianVS on November 30, 2016, 04:02:26 PM


Knowhow is cheap to buy.

Knowhow is quite expensive.

When's the last time that you hired an engineer able to design an imaging system? Or designed one yourself?

Many companies buy components. Integrating them into a working camera should not be underestimated.


Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: NancyP on November 30, 2016, 05:07:45 PM
Sigma is the perfect example of a company trying to do it all and coming short in the user experience. Foveon is a nice if specialized sensor. The lenses on the DP2M 30mm and 50mm cameras are spectacular. Ergonomics - nope.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 30, 2016, 07:21:10 PM
The dynamics change as soon as Sony can produce a mirrorless body which matches the non-sensor performance of the D810 or its successor. At that stage, every sale to Nikon becomes a potential lost Sony convert, since, if Sony could release a body with a better sensor and equal performance in other areas, switching brands becomes much more viable. The barrier to switching is high, due to lens collections, but not insurmountable, and the wheels can be greased with Metabones-type adapters containing electronics aimed at creating a Nikon-to-Sony interface with no loss of performance. The smart thing for Sony to do then would be to stop selling to Nikon, collaberate on an adapter and release a camera that matches Nikon's performance in every other area, but beats it significantly in sensor performance.

Given the leaps and bounds Sony has made in mirrorless performance, that day isn't far off.

Sony has been progressing a lot and I like many of their products and own more than a few.

But today I feel very limited appeal in their FF offering for the various types of shooting I do. I will believe in a possible demise of Nikon when I'll be convinced that Sony helps my photography more than what I currently own. Today it's not even close.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 30, 2016, 09:04:18 PM
Knowhow is quite expensive.

When's the last time that you hired an engineer able to design an imaging system? Or designed one yourself?

Knowhow costs millions to tens of millions. Many companies can afford that.

The ability to actually build high-end sensors on a commercial scale costs multiple billions. Few companies can afford that, and Nikon isn't one of them.

Quote
Many companies buy components. Integrating them into a working camera should not be underestimated.

Dedicated stills cameras are a shrinking market. The bottom end is collapsing due to phones and GoPros. High-end action bodies are soon to be under attack by 8k-capable video cameras, and will likely be gone within 10-15 years. Aside from optics, Nikon is good at doing something which is becoming less and less required. That's not a winning strategy.

Furthermore, Nikon's biggest saving grace is that they're using the best sensor on the market. Imagine the D800/D810 with the 5D3 sensor (which came out at the same time). It wouldn't have been competitive at all. But basing yourself on using the best-available sensor, which you can't build yourself, leaves you beholden to the manufacturer of that sensor. Who just happens to also make cameras and other imaging products and is expanding aggressively in your direction.

Canon's and Sony's R&D and manufacturing capabilities all tie into expanding markets. Both design and make sensors - although the camera market is shrinking, the sensor market is expanding rapidly. Their work in mirrorless technology is also applicable to video, security systems, AI and many areas other than stills cameras. In contrast, Nikon's capabilities (other than optics, which is restricted because it only makes components for Nikon products) are all tied to SLR cameras. Outside of an SLR, their developments in AF and other supporting components in a camera (i.e. everything but the lens and sensor) are essentially useless, with little commercial application. Aside from optics, they can't produce or sell anything that is of use outside an SLR camera - a market that's slowly dying.

Sigma is the perfect example of a company trying to do it all and coming short in the user experience. Foveon is a nice if specialized sensor. The lenses on the DP2M 30mm and 50mm cameras are spectacular. Ergonomics - nope.

Sigma is in a much stronger position than Nikon. Although it doesn't have to be that way, if Nikon would just unleash their optics division to make lenses and other optical components for everyone and everything, rather than just Nikon-branded equipment.

They hardly pretend that Foveon and their camera business is anything other than an interesting side-activity. Their main business is optics, and they know it.

They design and make lenses for everything and everyone - cameras, medical equipment, anything that requires a lens. They don't seem to care if it carries the Sigma name or not. Sigma (and Zeiss, and Tamron) are to lenses what Sony are to sensors - a supplier in a market that, overall (including all uses of lenses, not just dedicated stills cameras) is expanding.

The poor ergonomics and lack of support in their cameras matters little to their bottom line. The only people it bothers is the photographers who use them, which is a tiny market that Sigma doesn't seem to bother trying to expand, or even keep, because it's not their core business and is a shrinking segment.

Sony has been progressing a lot and I like many of their products and own more than a few.

But today I feel very limited appeal in their FF offering for the various types of shooting I do. I will believe in a possible demise of Nikon when I'll be convinced that Sony helps my photography more than what I currently own. Today it's not even close.

Sony - and Canon, and others - doesn't care what type of shooting you do. Sony, Canon and others are there to make money. It just so happens that the technology they're developing helps with photography. That's all well and good for photographers, but advancing photography is not the fundamental reason they're developing it, and the technology has many applications far outside photography. Sony, especially, appears to be trying to dominate the sensor market and make inroads into the non-photographic camera market (everything from security, to video, to medical, to telecommunications applications), and its photography developments are a useful marketing tool to showcase all their developments. It's the same reason Ferrari or MacLaren participate in Formula 1 racing - not because making race cars is profitable, but because it lifts the status of their brand.

Given the advances made between the A7r and the A7r2, the A9 (or whatever their likely 2017 high-end release is called) is likely to have a much more sophisticated AF system and other non-sensor components, and may well match the capabilities of non-action-specialised SLRs, either in this generation or the next. But Sony isn't developing this technology to displace SLRs. It's developing this technology because it's applicable in many different, expanding fields that rely heavily on imaging sensors (think driverless cars and other 'intelligent' robotic systems), of which still photography is just a small, but highly-visible one. Just look at 'eye focus' AF. It's a small tool for a photographer, and hardly makes or breaks a camera. Yet it costs millions of dollars to develop. The return on investment, if it were just for stills cameras, would be abysmal. But look at it another way - it's a rudimentary form of subject recognition and AI. Something that will be invaluable for smart security systems, automation and future, non-photographic applications, whose capabilities will improve as processing power and battery power/efficiency improve. Today, it's press a button to focus on the human's eye. Tomorrow, it's 'track that leopard's head'. In five years' time, you might tell it (verbally) 'Take the drone, fly it six metres into the air and take an aerial group shot. And focus on the dog'. In ten years' time, it might be a driverless car that can read and follow street signs (in twenty different languages). And in fifteen years time, you might tell a network of cameras (both static and drone-mounted), all hooked up to a computer, to 'find this guy somewhere in the city, track him with a drone, keep me updated on his location and send off an alert if he pulls out a weapon, starts speaking in French or mentions the word 'bomb''. It's all the same, expanding technology, with applications far beyond photography, all of which tie into having high-resolution, high-dynamic-range sensors and an intelligent AI system which can interpret the data generated by the sensor - sensors which Sony can make, and an AI system which Sony is developing. Mirrorless cameras for still photography are just a small part of it - a valuable showcase, and, unlike driverless cars or crimefighting drones, something which can be demonstrated now, even at this rudimentary stage of AI development.

Canon has also demonstrated capability in mirrorless cameras, although, thus far, they haven't made them in anything but consumer-level, budget models. But the technology and manufacturing capability are there, and it doesn't take much to apply them to a higher-end model, or to non-photographic applications (which Canon has already done).
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 30, 2016, 09:35:22 PM
Sony - and Canon, and others - doesn't care what type of shooting you do. Sony, Canon and others are there to make money. It just so happens that the technology they're developing helps with photography. That's all well and good for photographers, but advancing photography is not the fundamental reason they're developing it, and the technology has many applications far outside photography.

Again, I am sorry, but you have a very theoretical knowledge of how companies work which is simply not aligned at all with reality.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on November 30, 2016, 10:17:16 PM
Again, I am sorry, but you have a very theoretical knowledge of how companies work which is simply not aligned at all with reality.

Cheers,
Bernard

Care to elaborate?

Yours is a very middle-to-upper-management, operational-strategy-level, 'this is what the company does, and this is how we can do it best' way of looking at things. Not the top-down, grand strategy level thinking of owners and major stakeholders, whose questions, 'Why are we even doing this at all?', 'How does what we are currently doing help us achieve our actual goals?' and 'Is there a better way to use our existing resources?'

Military example - taking a hill.
The mid-level officer thinks, 'I need to take that hill. How can I do it as quickly as possible, with as few casualties as possible?'
The higher-level officer thinks, 'Do I need to take that hill? What's the overall objective here? It will take a lot of resources to take the hill, and there may be better ways to achieve our objective without taking it.' 
The high-level strategist (whether military or civilian) thinks, 'Why are we even fighting in this theatre? Are there any crucial goals there? How does winning here actually help us win the war? Could the personnel and resources we're spending there be more usefully deployed elsewhere?'

In the case of corporate strategy:
Mid-level - 'Our company makes cameras. That's how we make money. What do our clients need? How do we make the best cameras possible for them?'
High-level - 'We're here to make money for our shareholders. We currently do so by making cameras. It's not making very much money. Why are we even doing it? Is there a way we can deliver more value to our shareholders? And, if there is, how do we get there? Do we have the resources to do it?'
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on November 30, 2016, 10:43:11 PM
Again, I am sorry, but you have a very theoretical knowledge of how companies work which is simply not aligned at all with reality.

Cheers,
Bernard

I'd love to hear your view of how large corporations function. It's easy to say that's not how it works...but unless you back it up with your insightful view of today's corporate cultures and their functions...it's just hot steam.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on November 30, 2016, 11:34:27 PM
I'd love to hear your view of how large corporations function. It's easy to say that's not how it works...but unless you back it up with your insightful view of today's corporate cultures and their functions...it's just hot steam.

Yes, I sure could... especially in a Japanese context, but I am afraid I won't have time in the coming days.

Sorry about that.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on December 01, 2016, 02:44:00 AM

So far, the only company which has managed to produce a sensor approaching the Exmor's performance in both resolution and DR, at both low and high ISO at the same time, is Toshiba with its D7200 sensor - and Sony now also owns them. Cmosis holds up at low ISO, but they have yet to produce a high-resolution sensor with the same performance.

Not exactly... Sony bought several sensor/chip factories from Toshiba and they are using them to produce sensors. But Toshiba still keeps their intellectual property about sensors as independent company from Sony. They just patented several designs of curved sensors...

CMOSIS just announced a 48 megapixels sensor with global shutter - http://www.cmosis.com/news/press_releases/industrys_first_global_shutter_48mpixel_cmos_image_sensor_from_cmosis_supports_8k_image_resolution , if what they say it it truth... And we see it in a camera soon, it will be one of the most interesting sensors for video, 8k video with global shutter...



http://dgpfotografia.com
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 01, 2016, 03:45:54 AM
Not exactly... Sony bought several sensor/chip factories from Toshiba and they are using them to produce sensors. But Toshiba still keeps their intellectual property about sensors as independent company from Sony. They just patented several designs of curved sensors...

CMOSIS just announced a 48 megapixels sensor with global shutter - http://www.cmosis.com/news/press_releases/industrys_first_global_shutter_48mpixel_cmos_image_sensor_from_cmosis_supports_8k_image_resolution , if what they say it it truth... And we see it in a camera soon, it will be one of the most interesting sensors for video, 8k video with global shutter...



http://dgpfotografia.com

The D7200 sensors come from Sony-owned elements, though.  Naturally, Toshiba continues to develop their own things.

The global shutter is much more interesting than the 48MP. Sony's supposed to have something in the 70-80MP range for the next generation anyway, and there's no word on what CMOSIS have managed to do with regards with regards to DR or ISO. There's also the economy of scale - Sony or Canon would almost certainly be able to produce a similar sensor for less than CMOSIS. Which is where the problem for small makers lies - if a large company can make a comparable product, they can easily undercut them. A small company needs a decisive technological or other performance advantage for at least one major application to compete.

Not that this new development really helps Nikon - it's more likely to benefit a company such as RED.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on December 02, 2016, 10:31:34 PM
All of this is as true as it is meaningless.

Meaningless to what, whom? Your attack on Nikon won't make your Sony perform at the good level. Only under ideal condition. Even then, have to buy Nikon or Zeiss glass to have good result. Buy adapter too, waste of money.

If best photo mean something to you, and best system of capture quickly, then you need Nikon camera + Nikon glass.



Look at the situation from a corporate strategy point of view rather than as a photography enthusiast. Nikon has no control over its supply chain for critical components, needs to buy from a company which has a monopoly over the best sensor,  is far too reliant on sales within a single, shrinking market (dedicated stills cameras) and lacks the capacity to develop the in-house capability to overcome these problems.

No, I disagree. You have exactly backward. Corporate strategy will not make your camera/lens better.

Nikon does not have to be biggest company to have best products.


Plenty of companies have gone broke, or lost a lot of money, while making the best product in their market. In most of those cases, the market was either shrinking or being undercut by low-cost producers. Having the best product is no insurance against financial difficulties - quality of the product is only relevant at the bottom end, as you need a competent product to be in the game at all.

Everything you say, hypothetical, speculation.

Nikon not in game? How can you say when they are biggest camera company of all, behind only Canon in size. Far ahead of Canon in quality.

Like compare size of Toyota company to quality of Porsche product.



It's quite telling that the only place where people think Nikon are doing OK is on photography forums. People there are all about the gear - if the gear's good, the company must be OK, or so goes the thinking. It's a completely different story on investment and shareholder forums (online or otherwise). Nikon is pretty much on the nose, for all the reasons I mentioned.

You on nose, nose of speculation.

If I invest in stock, okay maybe invest in Sony.

If I want to buy the best camera/lens combo for wildlife, sport, landscape I purchase Nikon products.

Enjoy good debate, but to me you have funny logic!
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on December 02, 2016, 10:38:24 PM
Again, you're thinking with the 'ooh, nice gear' photographer's mentality, rather than the 'does it make a profit' and 'can I get a better return on investment elsewhere' business mentality.

Yes, exactly. Which is requisite to take best image possible.

You confuse Warren Buffett for Ansel Adam :)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 02, 2016, 10:50:54 PM
Yes, exactly. Which is requisite to take best image possible.

You confuse Warren Buffett for Ansel Adam :)

That's not the question.

The question this thread is addressing is, 'Is Nikon in difficulty?' Not 'Does Nikon make the best gear?'

Two very different things.

As a photographer, I like Nikon gear a lot. The 14-24 was my mainstay lens for a long time, first on the 5D2, then on the A7r. I'd have gone for the D800e if they actually had a competent 24mm tilt-shift lens (i.e. one that didn't show up a lot of horrible CA when shifted to the extremes).

As an investor, the company is a disaster waiting to happen.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on December 02, 2016, 11:07:50 PM
Oh, boy! (Or should I say "Oh, fanboy"?)

Looks like fanboys over at DP Review got bored and decided to come here instead  ;)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: john beardsworth on December 04, 2016, 04:35:30 AM
Yes, exactly. Which is requisite to take best image possible.

You confuse Warren Buffett for Ansel Adam :)

And don't you confuse the thread you'd like to read with this "Nikon in difficulty"?
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: bcooter on December 04, 2016, 05:19:43 PM
Though this forum doesn't seem to have much interest in motion imagery, regardless Nikon's response to digital cinema surprises me, especially if your trying to grow your market share.

They are the only major camera company that had no territory to protect.  No high end, limited at the medium,  not much on the low end, so unlike Canon on Sony, they didn't have to worry about making a whiz bang combination camera that would do high quality stills and motion at almost any price point and canalbilize other cameras in their line.

Also considering that prior to Canon, everyone in the cinema/motion biz used Nikon Lenses  if they used still camera lenses.   You could (still can) go to Century and get a Nikon mounted on any film camera, from 16mm Beaulieu  to Panavision, because in the film days, everybody knew that most Nikon lenses were matched in contrast and color, in a very specific way.  So they had a foothold in the industry.

Unless your on the management side of any of these companies, I doubt we know the whole story.

I'm just guessing, but I have this feeling that when Sony sells sensors, they might write in a restriction that says, yea you can make a video cam, but it can't have  ______ fill in the blanks.

Could be wrong, but with Nikon their omission of medium to high in motion capture doesn't seem to make sense, given their historic name and ability to make excellent cameras.



IMO

BC
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 04, 2016, 08:55:35 PM
Could be wrong, but with Nikon their omission of medium to high in motion capture doesn't seem to make sense, given their historic name and ability to make excellent cameras.

This is a very valid point and one that I find puzzling also.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Osprey on December 04, 2016, 11:25:41 PM
Probably for the same reason they never made motion cameras in the first place.  They don't seem that interested.

Though this forum doesn't seem to have much interest in motion imagery, regardless Nikon's response to digital cinema surprises me, especially if your trying to grow your market share.

They are the only major camera company that had no territory to protect.  No high end, limited at the medium,  not much on the low end, so unlike Canon on Sony, they didn't have to worry about making a whiz bang combination camera that would do high quality stills and motion at almost any price point and canalbilize other cameras in their line.

Also considering that prior to Canon, everyone in the cinema/motion biz used Nikon Lenses  if they used still camera lenses.   You could (still can) go to Century and get a Nikon mounted on any film camera, from 16mm Beaulieu  to Panavision, because in the film days, everybody knew that most Nikon lenses were matched in contrast and color, in a very specific way.  So they had a foothold in the industry.

Unless your on the management side of any of these companies, I doubt we know the whole story.

I'm just guessing, but I have this feeling that when Sony sells sensors, they might write in a restriction that says, yea you can make a video cam, but it can't have  ______ fill in the blanks.

Could be wrong, but with Nikon their omission of medium to high in motion capture doesn't seem to make sense, given their historic name and ability to make excellent cameras.



IMO

BC
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 06, 2016, 01:31:00 AM
Nikon has no background in digital video and their supporting hardware is likely quite underdeveloped compared to Sony or Canon in catering to video. This is quite evident in their still cameras, which underperform video-wise compared to Canon, Sony or even Panasonic still cameras. Doing so would also carry the same risk as their current offering - the complete lack of control over their sensor supply - while not really diversifying their market.

Digital video is a game for electronics companies (Sony and Canon), not companies whose main strength is optics and who outsource their electronics. Nikon's best bet is just to build lenses for everyone else's video cameras, not to make them themselves.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: NancyP on December 06, 2016, 01:43:22 PM
Speaking of which, I had been interested in the Nikon DL compact mirrorless cameras (24 - 85 mm equiv), which were supposed to arrive last June, but which suffered some technical melt-down....still unclear if these cameras will see the light of day. The 18-50mm camera is an interesting landscape pocket camera.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: armand on December 06, 2016, 07:56:05 PM
With a decent lens I would have bought the 18-50 several times by now. With one year delayed release I wonder if they will upgrade any specs.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BrownBear on December 08, 2016, 06:39:12 AM
The 18-50mm camera is an interesting landscape pocket camera.

No kidding.

I've been putting the Sony RX100V through it's paced over the last few weeks, and I'm sincerely impressed with one exception. I really pine for a few more silly millimeters at the short end of its 24-70 lens. I'd happily lose some at the long end in exchange for more at the bottom. An 18-50 would be perfect for me.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: HSakols on December 08, 2016, 12:48:07 PM
I thought a landscape lens had to be at least 200mm??  ;D
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 10, 2016, 04:37:45 AM
Hi BC,

I sort of think I agree with your analysis.

What I see is that the cameras are good enough for stills, and have really been that for a long time. That applies to both Nikon and Canon. So, that means there is little need to upgrade.

I would say that there has been and will be some progress in resolution, but most photographers can do just fine with the around 20 MP that most cameras have. Canons used to have a disadvantage in DR at low ISO, but I don't know how much that matters. The few raw files I have seen from Canon I didn't feel that was an issue.

So, if you don't print very large and under extreme lighting conditions you don't need to upgrade. So market is a bit saturated.

As you point out, motion is important and there is a lot of room for improvement in that area. So motion features may be a good factor.

On the other hand, motion is different from stills. It needs a different skills set.

Sports photographers obviously need very fast AF and high frame rates. So improvements in those areas are important competitive factors.

But, my guess is that camera manufacturers need to adjust to falling sales, the boom is over.

Best regards
Erik

Though this forum doesn't seem to have much interest in motion imagery, regardless Nikon's response to digital cinema surprises me, especially if your trying to grow your market share.

They are the only major camera company that had no territory to protect.  No high end, limited at the medium,  not much on the low end, so unlike Canon on Sony, they didn't have to worry about making a whiz bang combination camera that would do high quality stills and motion at almost any price point and canalbilize other cameras in their line.

Also considering that prior to Canon, everyone in the cinema/motion biz used Nikon Lenses  if they used still camera lenses.   You could (still can) go to Century and get a Nikon mounted on any film camera, from 16mm Beaulieu  to Panavision, because in the film days, everybody knew that most Nikon lenses were matched in contrast and color, in a very specific way.  So they had a foothold in the industry.

Unless your on the management side of any of these companies, I doubt we know the whole story.

I'm just guessing, but I have this feeling that when Sony sells sensors, they might write in a restriction that says, yea you can make a video cam, but it can't have  ______ fill in the blanks.

Could be wrong, but with Nikon their omission of medium to high in motion capture doesn't seem to make sense, given their historic name and ability to make excellent cameras.



IMO

BC
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BrownBear on December 10, 2016, 07:49:30 AM
So, if you don't print very large and under extreme lighting conditions you don't need to upgrade. So market is a bit saturated.

But, my guess is that camera manufacturers need to adjust to falling sales, the boom is over.


I agree that the boom is over for dSLR's but I reach further back, as in about 30 years, for the roots of the boom and the fairly quick onset of its demise.

Back then (the good old days?) anyone with sufficient limits on their credit cards could buy gear the manufacturers assured them was pro quality, and that they could make their fortune selling "nature" to magazines, stock houses, etc. Every Tom, Dick, George and MaryAnne was buying film cameras to get in on the rush, and with the rapid emergence of digital, of course they had to upgrade to keep pace with the market.

Trouble was, very few could manage to sell anything at market rates, so they started discounting, and ultimately giving away their photos "for exposure and market presence." Meanwhile magazines were dropping their rates, as were any other businesses who could get away with it. With the explosion of the internet and the ease of uploading digital images, enterprising businesses (ad companies, publishers, small businesses, etc) could find free photos and folks happy to give up their rights for that magic market exposure.

I bet something north of 95% of those same happy hopeful nature snappers have now switched to a pocket camera, or more likely a smart phone. They're taking photos for their own pleasure and especially for "sharing with online friends" rather than sales dreams. With the younger generation (emerging market?) in particular, it's all about the ever-present smart phone. Why spend money on a dSLR when they have a great camera at all times in their hand or hip pocket? For evidence, visit any national park and keep tabs on the cameras actually in use. Back about the time dSLR's were really catching on, you were NO ONE if you didn't have something big and black hanging around your neck and a monster bag at your side. Today in the same venues I'm surprised, even startled, to see ANYONE with a pro-grade dSLR. It's mostly smart phones, a few tablets, and even fewer pocket cameras.

In spite of what we think of ourselves as cutting-edge artists and even pros, we in fact constitute a very small and shrinking market segment. Manufacturers need to sell to the biggest markets and they'll put their innovation and marketing efforts into competing for a segment of that market.  I've never seen a number and Nikon certainly won't share (nor would any other manufacturer), but I really wonder how many pocket cameras they sell for every dSLR.  I bet it's thousands. 

As we strive for the very best gear for large photos in challenging light, we constitute a very small percentage of their sales. Are they going to continue dumping huge R&D $'s into keeping up with our needs, or are they going to divert the R&D $'s to products for the highly competitive non-dSLR market? I wish I had asked for a card or could remember the guy's name who I talked to at the Nikon booth in a recent show. He was succinct, if also smilingly curt: "In today's market pixel peeping is so much navel gazing."
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 10, 2016, 08:13:40 AM
Hi,

Personally, I print at decent size. My normal size is A2 and I sometimes print 1m wide. A few weeks ago we populated some corridors with photographs, mostly mine. The prints were mostly like 90cm x 60cm on canvas but also two panos on glossy paper at sizes 300 cm x 90 cm and 400 cm x 90 cm. half of the images were from 24 MP cameras and the other half from 42 MP Sony A7rII or 39 MP Phase One P45+.

But, most images we see are on screen. Also, the typical "f/8 and be there" shots are probably coming from cell phone cameras. Because, they are there, when things happen.

Best regards
Erik
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Tony Jay on December 10, 2016, 05:57:31 PM
I have been watching this thread for some time without commenting.

Some of the reasoning in the last few posts I believe is flawed and so I offer a few thoughts for consideration.

Firstly, I agree that the DSLR market as a whole is in decline. However this does not sum up the situation in its entirety. The DSLR market has always been a stratified market. Analysing different market segments leads one to draw very different conclusions. The advent of the Smartphone has almost completely killed off the entry-level DSLR and has made inroads even into the mid-level DSLR market. The reason is simple: the Smartphone gives "good enough" results for those folks who were only ever incidental photographers. Obviously, the same applies to the dynamics behind the demise of the point and shoot cameras as well.

The situation at the upper end of the DSLR market is not much changed compared to several years ago. In general, folks who buy these cameras are in search of camera features that, especially in the digital era, are just not found in lower and mid-range DSLR's. I am thinking in terms of autofocus, shutter speed, DOF preview, large megapixel counts. These individuals are also likely likely to own the speciality lenses that allow them to produce images different from the pack, such as super telephoto lenses, tilt-shift lenses, telephoto macro lenses, and the like.

Going forward, I do see some issues. In the past there has always been a natural path for those are really interested in photography. I foresee a situation not too far in the future where this path is broken in several ways. First off, the Smartphone experience of photography is about as different from shooting with a DSLR (I also include mirrorless interchangeable lens cameras in this) as it is possible to get. Current DLSR's are clunky, generally with very poor menu systems, touch screen functionality is almost unheard of, wireless communication difficult or the solution is very expensive, and the list goes on!
The next major issue is cost: a Smartphone on a plan seems a much better financial alternative to an expensive enthusiast or pro-level DSLR! Add in a few good lenses and it starts to look like a mortgage!

So, the challenge for camera manufacturers is manifold:
Money-spinners of the past such as the point-and-shoot and the entry-level DSLR (in its current form) seem to have gone the way of the Dodo.
The high-end market is intact - for now. However, natural attrition will steadily erode this market unless a path of natural progression is provided into the top end of the market.
I believe that currently no camera manufacturer has put in place a strategic plan to move the enthusiastic Smartphone photographer into their DLSR offerings. I further believe that this challenge will define the market in the medium to long-term and that several manufacturers will see their demise in their failure to successfully meet this challenge.

Whether companies such as Nikon, and others, can even fight their way through their current woes to address this medium to long-term challenge to their viability also remains to be seen.

My $0.02 worth

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rob C on December 11, 2016, 04:57:34 AM
Hi Tony,

That's a lot of beans for two cents; almost an entire hill of 'em!

I think I might add another single cent to your heap: I see the problem only partly as due to smartphones etc. making better cameras a bit redundant. I think what's happening (happened?) is that the people who were once interested in photography by seeing interesting/exciting/novel images in a magazine or in an advert, are now totally immune. We pretty much all suffer from total visual overkill. You can see whichever sort of pic you want amost immediately on the Internet. The thrill has gone.

What were once deemed interesting pictures that one might want to make too are no longer able to excite, let along push one to go spend magabucks in pursuit of doing the same.

I suspect that photographers, as in keen, will die out altogether in a few years. There is no longer a cachet.

From the cultural equivalent of a rock-star in the sixties, we are nothing, even at the top. All the point has gone. That ground has already been carpet-bombed. After Columbus, it no longer mattered, unless you drift into another thread here.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Tony Jay on December 11, 2016, 05:33:21 AM
Hi Rob - nice to hear from you!

I actually think that interest in photography has probably never been higher!
The killer for all camera manufacturers (apart from Sony who make nearly all the sensors for Smartphones) is that the new devotees are almost exclusively Smartphone users - neither right nor wrong, but merely a fact!

I also know Pro's who use their Smartphones a lot. Yes, the 1DX mark II and the 500mm f4.0 comes out for cricket and rugby, but in fact a lot of the shooting that these guys do they post on Instagram and other sites. Nearly all of this output is done with a Smartphone. Even Pro's still doing press photography capture an enormous amount, either stills or video, with their Smartphones.

A lot of the attraction that Smartphones do have for photography is the convenience and ease of the whole process. An image can be uploaded on Instagram, or sent to one's press agency, seconds after it is shot. There are also a legion of apps that allow one to make very quick and funky edits to those images according to one's tastes.

Like you, I do not believe that Smartphones are completely responsible for the current woes of camera manufacturers (some are self-inflicted) but I do think, as stated before, that every manufacturer is currently clueless when it comes to a strategy to deal with graduating Smartphone photographers onto more substantial cameras.

The industry as a whole (manufacturers, retailers,photographers, studios, agencies, printers and publishers) is still undergoing a massive shakedown that is not over yet, not by a long shot. The Smartphone revolution has shown, again(!), how tenuous is the grip that all industry players have in predicting and planning for the future.

Tony Jay
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Chris Livsey on December 11, 2016, 05:41:13 AM
How bad is  it?  http://www.dslrbodies.com/newsviews/how-bad-is-it.html

DSLRs fell to half their previous sales level in just four years. CIPA for ALL makers

Nikon Imaging group (all cameras/lenses)

2012 — 751 billion yen
2016 — 415b  (Nikon forecast)


Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Paul2660 on December 11, 2016, 07:07:55 AM
Hi Rob - nice to hear from you!

I actually think that interest in photography has probably never been higher!
The killer for all camera manufacturers (apart from Sony who make nearly all the sensors for Smartphones) is that the new devotees are almost exclusively Smartphone users - neither right nor wrong, but merely a fact!

I also know Pro's who use their Smartphones a lot. Yes, the 1DX mark II and the 500mm f4.0 comes out for cricket and rugby, but in fact a lot of the shooting that these guys do they post on Instagram and other sites. Nearly all of this output is done with a Smartphone. Even Pro's still doing press photography capture an enormous amount, either stills or video, with their Smartphones.

A lot of the attraction that Smartphones do have for photography is the convenience and ease of the whole process. An image can be uploaded on Instagram, or sent to one's press agency, seconds after it is shot. There are also a legion of apps that allow one to make very quick and funky edits to those images according to one's tastes.

Like you, I do not believe that Smartphones are completely responsible for the current woes of camera manufacturers (some are self-inflicted) but I do think, as stated before, that every manufacturer is currently clueless when it comes to a strategy to deal with graduating Smartphone photographers onto more substantial cameras.

The industry as a whole (manufacturers, retailers,photographers, studios, agencies, printers and publishers) is still undergoing a massive shakedown that is not over yet, not by a long shot. The Smartphone revolution has shown, again(!), how tenuous is the grip that all industry players have in predicting and planning for the future.

Tony Jay

Smartphones are part of it, the other part is the "instant me" generation, where everything goes online, is seen for a day, and forgotten in 2.  Ask any of said users what their definition of a photograph is, and they will point to the image on their screen.  Long forgotten is that a photograph and photography consists of much more.  Most of or none of these same users have any understanding or want to understand what a "print" is. 

It's all instagram/facebook for "prints" and youtube for video. 

And I believe it's a direct correlation to the drop in sales, it's a total generational shift that more than likely will never return. 

So for that fact alone, Nikon may be in a bit of trouble as they still rely quite a bit on sales of products that an entire generation do not use, understand, or plan to use.  Canon, at least has their fingers in other products and can continue as a company. 

Just go stand at Inspiration Point in Yosemite, and look through  number of people.  I can assure you that of 100 people, 90 will be taking "selfies" and only 2 or so will be actually trying to take a photograph that might be printed at a later date. 

Is this wrong? no it's a natural process of selection and gravitation to newer technology which has had a huge impact on the average person's perception of what a photograph is and what it takes to create an image. 

Paul Caldwell
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: dreed on December 11, 2016, 08:42:03 AM
It was interesting to read some of these comments ... but one of the more interesting referred back to the dares of yore with film.

My recollection is that in 2001, a top of the line EOS (1V) camera was under $2000. That same top of the line camera today costs $4500 (lets use round numbers for the sake of discussion.)

I could go on more but ... digital photography has made dedicated (digital) cameras expensive.

But "total cost of ownership." Doesn't solve the initial sticker price problem.

Today $1000 buys an iPhone 7 plus (that "everyone" wants) that can take selfies and insta-photos very easily. What does $1000 get you with digital cameras? Does it get you one that "everyone wants"?

Not to forget that AT&Twill "sell" me an iPhone 7 for $30/month. At $30/month, who doesn't want one? :) How much did Canikony want me to buy a thing that only takes photos for?
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: hogloff on December 11, 2016, 10:16:45 AM
Hi Tony,

That's a lot of beans for two cents; almost an entire hill of 'em!

I think I might add another single cent to your heap: I see the problem only partly as due to smartphones etc. making better cameras a bit redundant. I think what's happening (happened?) is that the people who were once interested in photography by seeing interesting/exciting/novel images in a magazine or in an advert, are now totally immune. We pretty much all suffer from total visual overkill. You can see whichever sort of pic you want amost immediately on the Internet. The thrill has gone.

What were once deemed interesting pictures that one might want to make too are no longer able to excite, let along push one to go spend magabucks in pursuit of doing the same.

I suspect that photographers, as in keen, will die out altogether in a few years. There is no longer a cachet.

From the cultural equivalent of a rock-star in the sixties, we are nothing, even at the top. All the point has gone. That ground has already been carpet-bombed. After Columbus, it no longer mattered, unless you drift into another thread here.

There is at least a magnitude more images being taken today than the hey day in the film era...so your theory people are getting board of photography does not hold water.

It's just a natural progression with new technology. The Internet along with services like Facebook etc... Have come in and replaced the physical printed photo. The convenience and portability of cell phones with cameras and the instant post to the Internet is what is hurting traditional camera makers.

Why the likes of Canon or Sony don't merge instant Internet access into their cameras is head scratching to me. Surely this would not add much to the cost of a camera and these cameras are basically computers now so it would not be a stretch. I'm sure it's coming and I look towards Sony to lead the way with Canikon being dragged in like what is happening with mirrorless.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 11, 2016, 07:21:15 PM
Why the likes of Canon or Sony don't merge instant Internet access into their cameras is head scratching to me. Surely this would not add much to the cost of a camera and these cameras are basically computers now so it would not be a stretch. I'm sure it's coming and I look towards Sony to lead the way with Canikon being dragged in like what is happening with mirrorless.

Probably the (I would think mistaken) belief that most people are not willing to pay another 50 US$ monthly for one more 4G subscription dedicated to a camera with a UI worse than that of the smartphone they already own?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Ray on December 11, 2016, 10:45:07 PM
The impression that I've received over many years of travelling with a camera and talking to other travellers I've met who have been carrying a DSLR of some type, is that most people expect the camera do all the processing of the images they take. In other words, they shoot in jpeg mode.

It's a minority who shoot in RAW mode and who desire complete control over the processing of the images they take and the appearance of the final results in print or on a display screen.

In the days of film, most people who owned a film camera didn't have their own darkroom. They took their exposed film to a shop that developed the film and produced postcard-size prints. If they wanted an enlarged print, they'd get the shop to produce it. That's what I also used to do years ago, most of the time. I never owned my own darkroom, although my father did, and I have childhood memories of producing prints in my father's darkroom.

When computer technology developed to a certain level and the Photoshop program appeared, the chemical 'Darkroom' was converted to the clean and less messy 'Lightroom', with very much enhanced features. That was a vast technological improvement.

However, the fact is that serious photographers have always been in the minority, just as painters of art have always been in the minority.
Those who would have shot in jpeg mode with their DSLRs, are the sorts people who would be most attracted to the simplicity of using an iPhone or iPad.

When I take a photo, I want the maximum amount of detail and color that technology allows, across the whole dynamic range of the scene,  (within reasonable constraints of weight and cost of equipment). This allows for extended opportunities in cropping and processing, even years later. This is what appeals to me. I'm not much interested in sharing iPhone images of the food I ate at a particular restaurant, unless the food contains some interesting detail of small insects nibbling away, in which case I would need better equipment than an iPhone to reveal the detail of such insects.  ;D
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on December 12, 2016, 09:07:06 PM
...When I take a photo, I want the maximum amount of detail and color that technology allows, across the whole dynamic range of the scene,  (within reasonable constraints of weight and cost of equipment). This allows for extended opportunities in cropping and processing, even years later. This is what appeals to me. I'm not much interested in sharing iPhone images of the food I ate at a particular restaurant, unless the food contains some interesting detail of small insects nibbling away, in which case I would need better equipment than an iPhone to reveal the detail of such insects.  ;D

8)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Yashika on December 12, 2016, 09:11:34 PM
The question this thread is addressing is, 'Is Nikon in difficulty?' Not 'Does Nikon make the best gear?'


In thoughtful consideration, you are right.

If reader wants to talk about biggest company overall, best revenue potential, Sony is in good position with Canon closely behind.

If reader wants to talk about best prime lenses, matched with best cameras, for best images possible today in DSLR format--best to start a new Nikon products thread.

Thank you.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 12, 2016, 09:15:22 PM

That's  pretty much what I've been saying. No-one's going to survive as anything more than a niche player if all they do is assemble dedicated stills cameras. That's a shrinking market, which has been shrinking for a while now, and will soon pretty much be restricted to high-end use by advanced enthusiasts and professionals alone. The best they can hope for is to end up somewhat like Leica - a small, niche player, which releases high-quality products and survives off its reputation, but which does not release any ground-breaking  products or technologies and has little hope of future growth or expansion.

On the other hand, the demand for sensors has never been higher. Almost every device has some sort of imaging sensor on board. And these sensors are increasing in size and capability, as costs come down. Everyone wants better low-light performance, higher resolution, higher DR and higher frame rate - and, as these improve, more applications open up. Anyone who designs and makes high-end sensors on a commercial scale has a bright future.

Same goes for optics and processors. Every optical system needs these - optics to produce an image and processors to convert sensor data into an image and interpret its contents. Nikon produces good optics, but fails to leverage this capability in the wider market - all they make is lenses for Nikon-branded products, when they're capable of so much more. Nikon can design processors and does a good job with sensor data conversion, but are far behind everyone else when it comes to actually interpreting image contents (the AI side of things). This is likely related to their reluctance to produce mirrorless cameras or otherwise move beyond SLR technology. Intelligent image acquisition systems require a through-the-sensor approach to work, but have far more potential than current 'dumb' systems. Sony's eye focus is just the start of it. The more advanced and capable the AI becomes, the more Nikon's weakness in this area will be exposed.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Ray on December 13, 2016, 08:39:41 AM
That's  pretty much what I've been saying. No-one's going to survive as anything more than a niche player if all they do is assemble dedicated stills cameras. That's a shrinking market, which has been shrinking for a while now, and will soon pretty much be restricted to high-end use by advanced enthusiasts and professionals alone. The best they can hope for is to end up somewhat like Leica - a small, niche player, which releases high-quality products and survives off its reputation, but which does not release any ground-breaking  products or technologies and has little hope of future growth or expansion.

All I want is a Nikon FX DSLR composed of D7200 pixels, with a few additional features such as UHD video capability of professional quality. That'll satisfy my requirements for many years. I'd be prepared to pay a premium for such a camera.  ;)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 13, 2016, 08:43:47 AM
On the other hand, the demand for sensors has never been higher. Almost every device has some sort of imaging sensor on board. And these sensors are increasing in size and capability, as costs come down. Everyone wants better low-light performance, higher resolution, higher DR and higher frame rate - and, as these improve, more applications open up. Anyone who designs and makes high-end sensors on a commercial scale has a bright future.

Where does that leave Sony imaging that doesn't even have the skills to design sensors? ;)

Btw, have you read this great piece of news with LG TVs being mad at LG's panel division for selling their best OLED panels to Sony?

We live in a complex world, don't we?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 13, 2016, 08:58:20 AM
Where does that leave Sony imaging that doesn't even have the skills to design sensors? ;)

Btw, have you read this great piece of news with LG TVs being mad at LG's panel division for selling their best OLED panels to Sony?

We live in a complex world, don't we?

Cheers,
Bernard

Sony makes and designs sensors. No-one really considers the different divisions of Sony - or any other large corporation - to be separate companies running independently anyway. That they're technically separate companies is mostly just an organisational, legal and nomenclature issue, in the same way as the Air Force, Marines, Navy and Army are technically different entities. In reality, they all work together for a common goal under the same overall leadership.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: pegelli on December 13, 2016, 09:18:55 AM
If reader wants to talk about best prime lenses, matched with best cameras, for best images possible today in DSLR format--best to start a new Nikon products thread.
Pls. don't start any more threads on that, plenty fanboy pissing contests can be found on LL using the search function. Some are more useless then others  ;)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 13, 2016, 09:28:06 AM
Sony makes and designs sensors. No-one really considers the different divisions of Sony - or any other large corporation - to be separate companies running independently anyway. That they're technically separate companies is mostly just an organisational, legal and nomenclature issue,...

You don't. There is plenty of evidence that creating different business units has a very real impact on the way companies operate.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 13, 2016, 09:32:45 AM
You don't. There is plenty of evidence that creating different business units has a very real impact on the way companies operate.

Cheers,
Bernard

Yep, but not in the sense that they move in completely different directions, stop collaborating with each other and start hindering each other. Not when the top levels of management - the directors and main stakeholders, not the CEOs of the individual subsidiary companies - are largely the same between the various branches.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Rory on December 13, 2016, 12:31:52 PM
Yep, but not in the sense that they move in completely different directions, stop collaborating with each other and start hindering each other. Not when the top levels of management - the directors and main stakeholders, not the CEOs of the individual subsidiary companies - are largely the same between the various branches.

Hmmm.  I think microsoft's past behavior makes a strong case against your assertion.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Manoli on December 13, 2016, 12:50:34 PM
Hmmm.  I think microsoft's past behavior makes a strong case against your assertion.

Last time I looked, Microsoft wasn't a Japanese company.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 13, 2016, 05:59:20 PM
Yep, but not in the sense that they move in completely different directions, stop collaborating with each other and start hindering each other. Not when the top levels of management - the directors and main stakeholders, not the CEOs of the individual subsidiary companies - are largely the same between the various branches.

Sony is a great company for which I have a huge admiration. For many reasons I won't describe here.

It is also a company that has taken very clear decisions in terms of autonomy, responsibility and profitability of their different business units. They know they can't have it both ways.

In a world where imaging sensors are quickly becoming a commodity, volumes and cash flow are more than ever important to generate the revenue needed to stay ahead considering the huge cost of R&D and manufacturing units.

So breaking the relationship with your largest customer in the high end sensors segment wouldn't make much sense at all, would it?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 13, 2016, 08:30:49 PM
Sony is a great company for which I have a huge admiration. For many reasons I won't describe here.

It is also a company that has taken very clear decisions in terms of autonomy, responsibility and profitability of their different business units. They know they can't have it both ways.

In a world where imaging sensors are quickly becoming a commodity, volumes and cash flow are more than ever important to generate the revenue needed to stay ahead considering the huge cost of R&D and manufacturing units.

So breaking the relationship with your largest customer in the high end sensors segment wouldn't make much sense at all, would it?

Cheers,
Bernard

Depends what level the move is planned at.

It's no different to planning at any other large organisation - a government or a military force, for example.

Some things are planned and executed at low level - the level of a single branch of a government department, or at company or battalion level, or at the level of a single store or local office of a corporation. These will be in pursuit of overall goals from above, but will not be directed or planned from above (often being local and opportunistic), although they may obtain support from above if the higher levels see it worthwhile to invest in it. This may be anything from hiring new staff in order to open a new ward at a single hospital, planning an attack to capture a bunker in a sector allocated to the battalion or organising a local promotion or sale at one store to take advantage of a local festival. Support from above may be financial (giving the hospital more funds to pursue its goal), logistical (allocating more fuel and ammunition to the battalion, or diverting more stock to the store) or direct (allocating temporary staff to the hospital or store to support the move, or providing support from divisional- or corps-level artillery for the attack). Or it may not be present at all and be a purely local effort. In either case, the planning and execution of the operation take place entirely at that level, without explicit orders from higher up. These operations may advance the organisation as a whole, or they may just make life easier for the local or low-level branch.

Some things are planned and executed at a higher level - a government department, at division, corps or army level in a military force or at the level of a single company within a multinational conglomerate. A transport department may decide to prioritise rail instead of road, hurting the subsidiary freeways department but fulfilling their goal of moving more people. A hard-pressed division may leave a battalion to hold the line while it retreats - the battalion is all but certain to be wiped out, but its sacrifice allows the division, and others, to survive. A company may decide to close down a store, or even a chain of stores selling one range of its products, which is either no longer profitable or whose resources could be better allocated elsewhere - it may hurt the store, but help the company as a whole.

And some things are planned and executed at the very highest levels - an entire government, a theatre of battle or even an entire military force (which may consist of multiple allied forces) or at the level of an entire multinational corporation. This may be something like slashing the education budget to pay for further investment elsewhere, withholding resources (both personnel and fuel/ammunition) to a particular theatre in order to attack harder, or blunt an enemy attack, in another, or getting your sensor division to stop selling sensors to the rival you're trying to take over, now that your camera division has a product that's competitive with your rival's products and could use those sensors (and the rival's lack of said sensors) to take the rival down a peg and potentially leave them vulnerable to a takeover. Each of these moves will hurt some of their subsidiaries - the education department which has had its budget slashed, the army group which has to give up offensive operations, or even withdraw from a sector, the division which is certain to suffer heavy casualties in the initial attack or the subsidiary company which has to give up some of its sales - but, ultimately, serves the purpose of the organisation as a whole.

And there are many more levels between these. All of them involve doing things that hurt certain subsidiaries, but, ultimately, advance the goals of the organisation as a whole. Just like sacrificial pawns in chess. Constantly attacking everywhere, with little coordination between individual elements and no overall strategy, is no way to win.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 13, 2016, 08:46:01 PM
In a world where imaging sensors are quickly becoming a commodity,

They're not a commodity when you need the best one and your sales rely largely on having the best sensor in the market. For high-resolution sensors, there's no current competitor for Sony. No-one else other than Canon has made one in full-frame size, and Canon's 50MP sensor is way behind performance-wise (although the next generation is likely to be much better). The D810 with any other, non-Sony sensor currently on the market would be a painful joke, either lacking the resolution or the DR to make the impact it has. Sony has a monopoly on this, and they have every reason to abuse it while they can.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 13, 2016, 10:26:20 PM
They're not a commodity when you need the best one and your sales rely largely on having the best sensor in the market. For high-resolution sensors, there's no current competitor for Sony. No-one else other than Canon has made one in full-frame size, and Canon's 50MP sensor is way behind performance-wise (although the next generation is likely to be much better). The D810 with any other, non-Sony sensor currently on the market would be a painful joke, either lacking the resolution or the DR to make the impact it has. Sony has a monopoly on this, and they have every reason to abuse it while they can.

No, the D810 with the current generation of Canon, CMOIS or Samsung sensors would be very close to what it is today. You probably have never shot with one, there is a lot more to the D810 than its sensor.

Yes, its ISO64 DR is outstanding, mostly thanks to Nikon's image processing technology more than thanks to the base Sony sensor (that is excellent but not that much better anymore than the best competitors).

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 14, 2016, 09:09:49 PM
No, the D810 with the current generation of Canon, CMOIS or Samsung sensors would be very close to what it is today. You probably have never shot with one, there is a lot more to the D810 than its sensor.

Yes, its ISO64 DR is outstanding, mostly thanks to Nikon's image processing technology more than thanks to the base Sony sensor (that is excellent but not that much better anymore than the best competitors).

Cheers,
Bernard

You keep on maintaining that the Sony sensor is 'not much better than anything else out there' and that 'sensors are a commodity'. List some examples.

Everything else is either of much lower resolution (24MP as opposed to Sony's 42MP) or seriously lacking in DR and high-ISO performance (Canon 5Ds). There's nothing else out there with the combination of high resolition, high DR and high ISO capability.

Would the D800 and D810 have been so successful with a 24MP sensor? No way. It would be nothing more than a D610 with a slightly better AF system, or a worse version of the D750

And, yes, I have shot with the D810. Wildlife, not landscapes (I need my tilt-shifts), since the sensor provides good cropability combined with decent AF. I don't see anything in it apart from the sensor that every other SLR in its price range doesn't also offer. Without the sensor, there would be no reason to choose the D810 over any of the other 24MP, decent-but-not-sports-focussed-AF full-frame bodies out there.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 15, 2016, 01:26:46 AM
Hi,

Check on this link:
http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Canon%20EOS%201DX%20Mark%20II,Canon%20EOS%205D%20Mark%20IV,Canon%20EOS%205DS%20R,Leica%20M%20Typ%20240,Nikon%20D810,Sony%20ILCE-7RII

or this one, that is simpler:
http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Canon%20EOS%205D%20Mark%20IV,Leica%20M%20Typ%20240,Nikon%20D810,Sony%20ILCE-7RII

I would suggest that Nikon makes a bit better job on extracting DR than Sony. Both companies play tricks.

But, the Canon and CMOSIS designed for Leica sensors are way behind.

The comparison on the MFD side may be interesting to:
http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Leica%20S%20Typ%20006,Leica%20S%20Typ%20007,Pentax%20645Z,Phase%20One%20IQ260

Keep in mind the IQ260 has a much larger sensor than the others…

Best regards
Erik

You keep on maintaining that the Sony sensor is 'not much better than anything else out there' and that 'sensors are a commodity'. List some examples.

Everything else is either of much lower resolution (24MP as opposed to Sony's 42MP) or seriously lacking in DR and high-ISO performance (Canon 5Ds). There's nothing else out there with the combination of high resolition, high DR and high ISO capability.

Would the D800 and D810 have been so successful with a 24MP sensor? No way. It would be nothing more than a D610 with a slightly better AF system, or a worse version of the D750

And, yes, I have shot with the D810. Wildlife, not landscapes (I need my tilt-shifts), since the sensor provides good cropability combined with decent AF. I don't see anything in it apart from the sensor that every other SLR in its price range doesn't also offer. Without the sensor, there would be no reason to choose the D810 over any of the other 24MP, decent-but-not-sports-focussed-AF full-frame bodies out there.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on December 15, 2016, 03:15:20 AM
Hi,

Check on this link:
http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Canon%20EOS%201DX%20Mark%20II,Canon%20EOS%205D%20Mark%20IV,Canon%20EOS%205DS%20R,Leica%20M%20Typ%20240,Nikon%20D810,Sony%20ILCE-7RII

or this one, that is simpler:
http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Canon%20EOS%205D%20Mark%20IV,Leica%20M%20Typ%20240,Nikon%20D810,Sony%20ILCE-7RII

I would suggest that Nikon makes a bit better job on extracting DR than Sony. Both companies play tricks.

But, the Canon and CMOSIS designed for Leica sensors are way behind.

The comparison on the MFD side may be interesting to:
http://photonstophotos.net/Charts/PDR.htm#Leica%20S%20Typ%20006,Leica%20S%20Typ%20007,Pentax%20645Z,Phase%20One%20IQ260

Keep in mind the IQ260 has a much larger sensor than the others…

Best regards
Erik

Those comparisons don't show a non-Sony sensor that matches the Sony as a high-resolution, high-DR sensor.

The D810 and A7r2 both use Sony sensors. All the other full-frame sensors either don't hold up DR-wise, are way behind in resolution, or both. The MF sensors also lose their DR advantage once you correct for sensor area.

If Nikon were to lose access to Sony sensors (say, if Sony came up with an A9 that could match the D810 AF- and performance-wise and decided they'd rather have the high-detail, non-action market for themselves) they'd be hard-pressed to find an alternative for the D810's successor. Doubly so if Sony pulls through with the 70-80MP sensor for their next-generation high-resolution camera; even if the continued to supply Nikon with 42MP sensors (which are still better than anything else available on the market), Nikon would still lose market share to Sony, wile remaining dependent on them. And if Canon comes out with a 60MP sensor for the 5Ds2, with the same DR-improving technology that has gone into their most recent sensors...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on December 16, 2016, 04:47:27 PM
The bottom line Nikon adjusted ( lowered ) its expectations for camera sales next year...that is a lower adjustment for an already lowered adjustment they made earlier this year...so from me as an investor in the company...I'd be pulling my money out. Is Nikon in trouble...maybe not...is Nikon in difficulty...you bet your ass.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: E.J. Peiker on December 16, 2016, 06:31:24 PM
The bottom line Nikon adjusted ( lowered ) its expectations for camera sales next year...that is a lower adjustment for an already lowered adjustment they made earlier this year...so from me as an investor in the company...I'd be pulling my money out. Is Nikon in trouble...maybe not...is Nikon in difficulty...you bet your ass.
And most analysts still think that even the newly lowered targets are optimistic and not likely.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 16, 2016, 07:51:39 PM
And most analysts still think that even the newly lowered targets are optimistic and not likely.

The exact same thing can be said of Canon.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: chez on December 16, 2016, 08:49:49 PM
The exact same thing can be said of Canon.

Cheers,
Bernard

Sure, the entire industry is being retooled...that is why companies that are invested more broadly and don't fully rely on other companies for their survival are better off. This is what has been discussed here...that Nikon relies on others to suggest supply the key component in today's cameras, the sensor. Not the best positions to be in.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 17, 2016, 12:06:55 AM
Sure, the entire industry is being retooled...that is why companies that are invested more broadly and don't fully rely on other companies for their survival are better off. This is what has been discussed here...that Nikon relies on others to suggest supply the key component in today's cameras, the sensor. Not the best positions to be in.

Nikon being more dependant on the success of their cameras is their single strongest asset IMHO. They have no choice but to over-perform. Each time they have been described as dead they have come up with better solutions than their competitors. That's a company that has proven time and again that they are best with their back against the wall.

They are now fully over the deeply rooted issues that resulted from the earthquake in Japan and floodings in Thailand. Their excecution has been flawless these past 2 years with very successful products that have been selling well in the high end where they are most probably very profitable.

The main issue of Nikon is in the low end. In my view a contraction of their revenue is unavoidable, but that doesn't mean at all that they cannot be profitable nor continue to release leading products in the highend 35mm segment.

From a sensor sourcing standpoint, this strategic choice they made has worked very well for them till date.

They have both the ability to design top level sensors internally for applications where no off the shelf parts of sufficient performance are available (D5 sensor), without the urge to rely only on internal technology for their full line up (a la Canon).

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: ErikKaffehr on December 17, 2016, 12:54:34 AM
Hi,

I would guess that everyone needs to adjust to a shrinking market while develop new and attractive replacement products.

I would not see Nikon using third party sensors a liability. On the contrary, they can use the best available technology.

Regarding Sony, the sensor maker, is a different company from Sony, the camera maker. One company is selling sensors to everyone willing to buy.

That said, it may be that the sensor used in the A7rII has been developed for Sony and it may not be available to customers. Some sensors are probably designed for say Nikon.

Canon and Nikon are the big two in the Camera making business and that has not changed a lot. Nikon is more dependent on the camera business than Canon is. I don't see Nikon loosing market to Canon, but I see the photo market going downhill without much chance of recovery. Once we have 8K television and 85" screens in each household things will change.

Best regards
Erik

Nikon being more dependant on the success of their cameras is their single strongest asset IMHO. They have no choice but to over-perform. Each time they have been described as dead they have come up with better solutions than their competitors. That's a company that has proven time and again that they are best with their back against the wall.

They are now fully over the deeply rooted issues that resulted from the earthquake in Japan and floodings in Thailand. Their excecution has been flawless these past 2 years with very successful products that have been selling well in the high end where they are most probably very profitable.

The main issue of Nikon is in the low end. In my view a contraction of their revenue is unavoidable, but that doesn't mean at all that they cannot be profitable nor continue to release leading products in the highend 35mm segment.

From a sensor sourcing standpoint, this strategic choice they made has worked very well for them till date.

They have both the ability to design top level sensors internally for applications where no off the shelf parts of sufficient performance are available (D5 sensor), without the urge to rely only on internal technology for their full line up (a la Canon).

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on December 17, 2016, 05:49:24 AM
That said, it may be that the sensor used in the A7rII has been developed for Sony and it may not be available to customers. Some sensors are probably designed for say Nikon.

Hi,

I don't remember exactly in which interview... But someone for Sony camera division said that the sensor of 42 megapixels was going to be exclusively used for a time by Sony cameras...

Maybe by now that sensor is being offered to other companies... But unless you are into video... For stills... The advantage is little compared to the 36 megapixel one... And the 36 must be quite "cheap" by now... Look at the price of the Pentax K1...

Anyway... Next year will be interesting... We will see if those "infamous" 70/60 megapixels sensor become a reality and if an hypothetical Nikon D820 mounts them... (Maybe by them I can afford a A7r II second hand )

Regards

David


Enviado desde mi iPad utilizando Tapatalk
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Paul2660 on December 17, 2016, 12:13:54 PM
As I stated earlier, all of this is lost on the average consumer. And these are folks that driving the market.  Just look at the news, look out your window, it's all phone photography anymore.   All they want it now, on instagram, facebook etc, then it's forgotten.  And these are masses, across the world, not just in the US.  The thought of a print is never, will never be there ever.  So to this user base, if it looks good on the phone, then it's ready, no concerns whatsoever.  Try to teach a class to this generation, mention anything about possibly slowing down the ability to get the image to the web instantly, you have lost. 

So sure the market that Nikon was in 2, 3 years ago, has vastly shrunk to probably less than 15% of where is was.  So any company that can't adapt to the Digital now, me market will be cast aside and sooner than later.

Even Go Pro has felt some pain, due to the latest craze, drone photography since they had to recall their models.

Not sure also why this post continues to pick at Nikon.  Canon is feeling it also, but as we all know they are a more diversified company, so they can run with it longer if they want to.  The market place dollar where it's being spent will determine what the next steps will be, it's pretty much always been this way.  Some companies get it sooner than others. 

However on the chip side, Sony needs Nikon just as much as Nikon needs them.  Sony's market share has grown, but I don't see them overtaking Nikon or Canon, and so far they have mainly stayed in the Mirrorless market Nikon has not.  What a camera is in 3 to 5 years from now will be dramatically different than what we see today.  There will still be photographers using the 35mm format, lenses, bodies, etc. but I really don't see that these will be the mainstream anymore as the generation that would be purchasing them has long ago forsaken such technology for other devices.

Paul Caldwell


Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: E.J. Peiker on December 17, 2016, 02:02:00 PM
GoPro has felt some pain?  Their stock is worth 15% of what it was...  I'd say that's armageddon level pain and the fact that nobody has taken them out yet speaks volumes about that market...

As for camera manufacturers like Nikon succumbing to phones, much of what you say is true BUT if Nikon et al embraced instant sharing to whatever service and if it were as simple as a cell phone, at least some of their market would come back.  I know lots of young people that love the pictures they can make on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras but they don't use them most of the time because they can't share it to Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, etc in a few gestures that take a few seconds...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: hogloff on December 17, 2016, 02:18:18 PM
GoPro has felt some pain?  Their stock is worth 15% of what it was...  I'd say that's armageddon level pain and the fact that nobody has taken them out yet speaks volumes about that market...

As for camera manufacturers like Nikon succumbing to phones, much of what you say is true BUT if Nikon et al embraced instant sharing to whatever service and if it were as simple as a cell phone, at least some of their market would come back.  I know lots of young people that love the pictures they can make on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras but they don't use them most of the time because they can't share it to Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, etc in a few gestures that take a few seconds...

EJ, that's the part that has me scratching my head...why the likes of Canon or Nikon not integrated Internet access into their lower level cameras...or the very least a very quick and simple way to access the images on the camera via a phone.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 17, 2016, 06:14:46 PM
GoPro has felt some pain?  Their stock is worth 15% of what it was...  I'd say that's armageddon level pain and the fact that nobody has taken them out yet speaks volumes about that market...

As for camera manufacturers like Nikon succumbing to phones, much of what you say is true BUT if Nikon et al embraced instant sharing to whatever service and if it were as simple as a cell phone, at least some of their market would come back.  I know lots of young people that love the pictures they can make on DSLRs and mirrorless cameras but they don't use them most of the time because they can't share it to Instagram, SnapChat, Facebook, etc in a few gestures that take a few seconds...

The only thing Nikon added to the latest version of their 2 lower end bodies released this year is precisely that. The implementation is not prefect, but it is reasonnably close.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: E.J. Peiker on December 17, 2016, 06:57:27 PM
The only thing Nikon added to the latest version of their 2 lower end bodies released this year is precisely that. The implementation is not prefect, but it is reasonnably close.

Cheers,
Bernard
Not even close if you are referring to Snapbridge.  What these types of consumers want is a camera that they can take a picture with, hit an upload arrow on the screen and have it show up on social media.  Not a cumbersome go between like Snapbridge that forces it to go through their phone and then requires action on the phone.  It's slow, takes too many steps and is unreliable.  You need to have the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, SnapChat, etc app on the camera like a Smartphone does and it connects directly.  It is FAR from perfect and nowhere near close to what would be required to get a new generation of users!  Talk to millennials, please don't use your own personal bias of what's "reasonably close" - that's the fundamental problem here - camera and software designers doing things in a vacuum or listening to old photographers and not understanding the young end users needs.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scooby70 on December 17, 2016, 07:35:22 PM
Talk to millennials, please don't use your own personal bias of what's "reasonably close" - that's the fundamental problem here - camera and software designers doing things in a vacuum or listening to old photographers and not understanding the young end users needs.

Two family members have just bought new phones as the cameras on them are much better (as they're xx mp but I forget how many as I'm not remotely interested in phones.) They didn't even consider buying a camera and one of them is a former DSLR user. There's still some recognition amongst the young that a dedicated camera might be better and a 14yo has just asked for a camera. I bet she'll be a bit phased by the lack of connectivity though and it does seem that the makers are missing a trick here.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on December 17, 2016, 07:40:42 PM
Yes, indeed.

But compared to my other cameras, at least it is possible to share images in the field to social networks. It is clearly not as easy as it should be though... but the marketing is aligned with the need. Which is already tremendous progress for Nikon and seems to indicate a shift since they have clearly been years behind in marketing compared to Canon and Sony.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on March 19, 2017, 12:02:34 AM
http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-interview-ir-best-sony-sensors-will-remain-house-not-outsourced-nikon/ (http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-interview-ir-best-sony-sensors-will-remain-house-not-outsourced-nikon/)

What was I saying about Sony withholding their top-tier sensors from competitors?

The real battle will be A9r/A7r3 vs 5Ds2 in the 50+ MP range, as well as how much Sony's new bodies can encroach on the 5D4's and 1Dx2's turf. Nikon will likely be stuck with the previous-generation 42MP sensor - still very good, but unlikely to be competitive with a new sensor. I'm hoping Canon deliver here, on the DR front, to put pressure on Sony, both feature- (especially AF and 16-bit RAW) and price-wise.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on March 19, 2017, 01:19:08 AM
http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-interview-ir-best-sony-sensors-will-remain-house-not-outsourced-nikon/ (http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-interview-ir-best-sony-sensors-will-remain-house-not-outsourced-nikon/)

What was I saying about Sony withholding their top-tier sensors from competitors?


hmmm.... 1) IR removed interview and 2) the only 2 sensors that nobody used outside Sony so far are 12mp FF and 42mp FF ... and the only customers outside Sony for this will be Nikon (we do not count Ricoh for obvious reason)... Nikon clearly does not need 12mp sensor and so the only proof for withholding is that Nikon does not make 42mp camera  ;D ?
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on March 19, 2017, 01:39:42 AM
hmmm.... 1) IR removed interview and 2) the only 2 sensors that nobody used outside Sony so far are 12mp FF and 42mp FF ... and the only customers outside Sony for this will be Nikon (we do not count Ricoh for obvious reason)... Nikon clearly does not need 12mp sensor and so the only proof for withholding is that Nikon does not make 42mp camera  ;D ?

Pentax is also using the 36MP sensor. And given that Sony people themselves said it...

I would expect that this is a fairly new (last 2 years) strategy. Clearly, the 36MP sensor was top-of-the-line when Nikon first got it. As was the 24MP Exmor before that. But, at that stage, Sony was in no position to compete on camera bodies. May as well sell it if you can't use it yourself. The situation is different now - Sony can compete on bodies and has an active interest in converting people to E-mount. And that doesn't involve Nikon having access to the top-of-the-line full-frame sensor.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 19, 2017, 04:39:09 AM
What options would that leave Nikon with?
- use the 42mp Sony sensor, probably get more DR out of it and more actual details thanks to better focusing,
- buy from somebody else
- design their own.

Considering the time it is taking them to release the D850, #1 is pretty much ruled out IMHO, which leaves #2 and #3. My vote goes for #3.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on March 19, 2017, 05:57:48 AM
What options would that leave Nikon with?
- use the 42mp Sony sensor, probably get more DR out of it and more actual details thanks to better focusing,
- buy from somebody else
- design their own.

Considering the time it is taking them to release the D850, #1 is pretty much ruled out IMHO, which leaves #2 and #3. My vote goes for #3.

Cheers,
Bernard

I'm not sure of their ability to design a suitable sensor.

All the Nikon-designed sensors have a significant plateauing of DR at lower ISOs, i.e. a significant read noise component limiting DR. This is similar to what Canon had for years. Canon has largely overcome that in recent designs - I'd expect the 5Ds2 to have 14+ stops of DR - but Nikon hasn't. That's not a problem for action cameras, but becomes a problem when you're designing a high-resolution, low-ISO body made for image quality.

Buying from someone else might be an option, but who? Certainly not Sony or Canon, or the companies bought up by them.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on March 19, 2017, 06:00:52 AM
http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-interview-ir-best-sony-sensors-will-remain-house-not-outsourced-nikon/ (http://www.sonyalpharumors.com/sony-interview-ir-best-sony-sensors-will-remain-house-not-outsourced-nikon/)

What was I saying about Sony withholding their top-tier sensors from competitors?


Yes, I remembered this conversation when I read the Image Resource interview yesterday. I didn't read the whole topic again, but I think I have to recognize that some of my informations were wrong.

If Nikon does not enter in mirrorless or video business (that maybe it is an error for them, but that it is another story), I don't see this as critical. For sure they will lose a bit of DR to whatever Sony releases next, probably less fps, and lower resolution. AF on chip not needed for Nikon unless they want to enter on video seriously...

What I'm seeing more it is that maybe Nikon needs to pay for custom designs of chips for them... Not sure if Sony is willing to do so... They did it with Phase ONE first, and later other medium format players, but they are not competing there... They are also making two variants for m43 20 megapixels chip, one for Olympus with phase AF on chip and other for Panasonic without it... (Although this last part is just don when they add the microlenses layer over the chip).

I think the main error here is for nearly everybody but Canon to go to Sony for sensors... This allowed Sony to develop faster their sensor technology (well, mobile phone market played more important role here)... Now probably they have a high dependency on Sony for their own taste...


Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on March 19, 2017, 06:10:29 AM

Buying from someone else might be an option, but who? Certainly not Sony or Canon, or the companies bought up by them.

They are other CMOS sensor players one the market... Canon it is not even one of the most relevant ones:
http://www.yole.fr/iso_album/illus_cis_playersranking_yole_june2016.jpg

Most of them are doing sensor not for cameras but for mobile phones (much bigger market than cameras and from where Sony is bringing most of its technology to their cameras: BSI, DRAM buffer...), also, nowadays everybody is trying to sell their sensors to car manufactures...

So, they are other players willing to get money for developing sensors... Samsung had a good one some years ago...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on March 19, 2017, 07:04:07 AM
They are other CMOS sensor players one the market... Canon it is not even one of the most relevant ones:
http://www.yole.fr/iso_album/illus_cis_playersranking_yole_june2016.jpg

Most of them are doing sensor not for cameras but for mobile phones (much bigger market than cameras and from where Sony is bringing most of its technology to their cameras: BSI, DRAM buffer...), also, nowadays everybody is trying to sell their sensors to car manufactures...

So, they are other players willing to get money for developing sensors... Samsung had a good one some years ago...

Making a phone sensor is quite different from a camera sensor. It mostly comes down to size - the camera sensor is much larger. A fab plant capable of making a camera sensor can make a phone sensor (provided it can make the circuitry small enough for the required specifications - newer technology is often introduced in phones/small sensors first, because it's cheaper than introducing it in a large-sensor plant) but a fab plant built for making small sensors can't possibly make a larger sensor. Fab plants making large sensors are few and far between.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on March 19, 2017, 07:42:03 AM
Making a phone sensor is quite different from a camera sensor. It mostly comes down to size - the camera sensor is much larger. A fab plant capable of making a camera sensor can make a phone sensor (provided it can make the circuitry small enough for the required specifications - newer technology is often introduced in phones/small sensors first, because it's cheaper than introducing it in a large-sensor plant) but a fab plant built for making small sensors can't possibly make a larger sensor. Fab plants making large sensors are few and far between.

No, it is the same sensor plant. This is CMOS technology after all, it is the same base technology to build microchips, like processors and so on. So, basically this works like this:


Here is where physical size of the sensor plays a big role. So, if they Si wafer has an impurity in any of the parts of the sensor, that sensor is not going to work. If any of the transistors, sensors, circuits does not work, that sensor needs to be discarded.

So, if you are making like 10000 sensors per wafer (invented number... I didn't do the math of the area of a mobile phone chip vs the area of the wafer), you are getting a high ratio of good sensors, even if you have some impurities or errors in the manufacturing, you still getting high number of good sensors per wafer that you can sell.

If you are making like 100 sensors per wafer (for example, full frame), you are probably getting worst ratio between good vs bad sensors. This is one of the main reasons bigger chips are more expensive. Apart that you are getting less good chips, the rest of the process to build the chips over the wafer is the same, so you have to divide the total costs between all the sensors coming out of the wafer, if you are getting more sensors, less they will have to pay.

Trying new technologies, like for example BSI, it is better to do this first in smaller ones. Because the technology is new and needs a tuning in the manufacturing process, the firsts wafers will have a very low yield, manufactures try to build first smaller sensors since it is easy for then to still get a good number of sensors that work (or the most simply ones, for example, memory chips are typically the ones used by Intel when then try a new physical/chemical process, they are the simplest chips they build, so easy to see how to fine tune the process). When that process is fine tune, you can take the risk of building bigger sensors with it and still get a good yield performance, so you are not risking too much money in the process.

So, big or small, all sensors are made in the same buildings. Take a look at the earthquakes that affected the manufacturing plants of Sony, all sensors lines were affected. Probably smartphone ones were the first one to recover because of what I said before, after rebuilding everything, having to calibrate again all machinery, doing it with the sensor size that has the highest probability of getting highest rate of good sensors make more sense. After those lines were starting to get good yield rates, Sony started to getting back to building bigger sensors.

Here: http://blog.teledynedalsa.com/2012/02/the-art-of-making-large-image-sensors-or-quilting-with-silicon/ and here: http://www.siliconimaging.com/cmos_fundamentals.htm you have images of wafers before being cut. Here you have a nice schema about how many full-frame sensors, APS-C sensors and 1" sensors are built per wafer: http://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/53826/why-does-increasing-sensor-size-necessarily-lead-to-lower-silicon-wafer-utilizat

Regards,

David
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on March 19, 2017, 08:02:47 AM
No, it is the same sensor plant. This is CMOS technology after all, it is the same base technology to build microchips, like processors and so on. So, basically this works like this:

  • They have this big rods of pure Si - Silicon that are cut into thing wafers, typical sizes now a days are 300 mm in diameter. Purity of the Si is very important, as we will see later.
  • Over each one of these buffers, in really clean rooms, they start to apply several chemical and physical process. This is basically growing the different transistors, circuits, and sensor parts. In each one of this wafers they build several sensor chips. If they are little ones for smartphones, they can make more, if they are bigger ones for medium format they can make less.
  • After everything is finish, they wafer are cut into the sensors and testing starts.

Here is where physical size of the sensor plays a big role. So, if they Si wafer has an impurity in any of the parts of the sensor, that sensor is not going to work. If any of the transistors, sensors, circuits does not work, that sensor needs to be discarded.

So, if you are making like 10000 sensors per wafer (invented number... I didn't do the math of the area of a mobile phone chip vs the area of the wafer), you are getting a high ratio of good sensors, even if you have some impurities or errors in the manufacturing, you still getting high number of good sensors per wafer that you can sell.

If you are making like 100 sensors per wafer (for example, full frame), you are probably getting worst ratio between good vs bad sensors. This is one of the main reasons bigger chips are more expensive. Apart that you are getting less good chips, the rest of the process to build the chips over the wafer is the same, so you have to divide the total costs between all the sensors coming out of the wafer, if you are getting more sensors, less they will have to pay.

Trying new technologies, like for example BSI, it is better to do this first in smaller ones. Because the technology is new and needs a tuning in the manufacturing process, the firsts wafers will have a very low yield, manufactures try to build first smaller sensors since it is easy for then to still get a good number of sensors that work (or the most simply ones, for example, memory chips are typically the ones used by Intel when then try a new physical/chemical process, they are the simplest chips they build, so easy to see how to fine tune the process). When that process is fine tune, you can take the risk of building bigger sensors with it and still get a good yield performance, so you are not risking too much money in the process.

So, big or small, all sensors are made in the same buildings. Take a look at the earthquakes that affected the manufacturing plants of Sony, all sensors lines were affected. Probably smartphone ones were the first one to recover because of what I said before, after rebuilding everything, having to calibrate again all machinery, doing it with the sensor size that has the highest probability of getting highest rate of good sensors make more sense. After those lines were starting to get good yield rates, Sony started to getting back to building bigger sensors.

Here: http://blog.teledynedalsa.com/2012/02/the-art-of-making-large-image-sensors-or-quilting-with-silicon/ and here: http://www.siliconimaging.com/cmos_fundamentals.htm you have images of wafers before being cut. Here you have a nice schema about how many full-frame sensors, APS-C sensors and 1" sensors are built per wafer: http://photo.stackexchange.com/questions/53826/why-does-increasing-sensor-size-necessarily-lead-to-lower-silicon-wafer-utilizat

Regards,

David

Maybe for the big, multi-billion-dollar plants. The little ones, owned by small companies making specialised sensors for non-camera applications? No way they can deal with a 36x24mm sensor.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on March 19, 2017, 08:40:32 AM
Maybe for the big, multi-billion-dollar plants. The little ones, owned by small companies making specialised sensors for non-camera applications? No way they can deal with a 36x24mm sensor.

Not 100% sure here, since for work motives, I'm following more microprocessors things that image sensors. But typically, very few companies have CMOS manufacturing plants: Intel, GlobalFoundries, TSMC, Samsung, Sony, etc... Intel with very few exceptions is doing chips for their own. But for example, GlobalFoundries (they are building AMD chips among others), TSMC (Apple and image sensors chips), Samsung (Apple, Qualcomm, memory, image sensor, own designs... ) are building chips for other companies. What I want to say, you don't need to have a fab foundry to do a big chip, you can hire a third party and specially TSMC and Samsung have top end technology and they let other use it... so, if you get a good design, if you have money, other will build it. Take for example Red or Arry video cameras, they are building big CMOS chips, full-frame area equivalents with no problem. CMOSIS is building sensors for Leica, they don't have a foundry (I think) and they hire other company to build the chips.

Probably, right now Sony is the leader of sensor technology. Look at the mobile phone market, even Samsung is using Sony sensors on their phones even though they have their own sensor designs in house (Samsung is strange case, they also use Qualcomn ARM chips in their phones even they have a similar performance ARM chip in-house). That does not mean that in few years other player could build a better design, specially an small one. There are lot of companies doing research nowadays in image sensor technology, not for photography camera applications, that market stopped growing, but for mobile phones (now high end models are mounting three chips, two in the back (iPhone 7 Plus, Huawei P9, ...)) and specially the automative and manufacturing industries, now they are automating everything, they need image sensors to process the information... video consoles with those sensor bars also include camera sensors... Panasonic already announced they are coming back to building image sensors...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on March 19, 2017, 10:07:10 AM
They are also making two variants for m43 20 megapixels chip, one for Olympus with phase AF on chip and other for Panasonic without it... (Although this last part is just don when they add the microlenses layer over the chip).
it is the same chip - the difference is only in CFA layer, which is on top of the chip (unless you are Canon and have PDAF implemented _in_ sensor with "dual" sensels)... microlenses go on top of CFA and present always in modern designs... unless some people wash off that + CFA to make monochrome sensor DIY way
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: armand on March 19, 2017, 10:09:09 AM
The Samsung APS-C sensor from few years ago is still competitive. There were rumors that didn't go through for some alliance between Nikon and Samsung. Getting access to that sensor or even better, a newer version, and to production facilities might improve Nikon's chance in a mirrorless market.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: scyth on March 19, 2017, 10:13:47 AM
Pentax is also using the 36MP sensor.

Ricoh is using it to simply save money because with their situation they have to watch the bottom line + their intended audience was simply dying for FF dSLR so 36mp or 42mp did not matter (36mp sensor is still quite good if implemented properly by a buyer as all Nikon cameras with variations of it show... certainly not on order of magnitude worse that 42mp)

And given that Sony people themselves said it...

again IR interview was withdrawn... so did Sony say it or IR screwed the translation/interpretation (from/of Japanese) is unknown

Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: davidgp on March 19, 2017, 10:54:57 AM
again IR interview was withdrawn... so did Sony say it or IR screwed the translation/interpretation (from/of Japanese) is unknown

Apart that the interview is down now, for me the most interest part was when they were talking about what Sony is doing in software, like Eye AF autofocus. They were talking about image recognition to improve the follow focus performance of their system. I think it is in things like that were mirrorless manufactures need to improve, it is the main advantage that a mirrorless system has in front of an reflex one. The reflex one can not use the image information... that could become interesting in the following years, when the image processors inside the camera improve in performance.

Just thinking aloud...
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: razrblck on March 19, 2017, 12:28:43 PM
Apart that the interview is down now, for me the most interest part was when they were talking about what Sony is doing in software, like Eye AF autofocus. They were talking about image recognition to improve the follow focus performance of their system. I think it is in things like that were mirrorless manufactures need to improve, it is the main advantage that a mirrorless system has in front of an reflex one. The reflex one can not use the image information... that could become interesting in the following years, when the image processors inside the camera improve in performance.

Just thinking aloud...

They need to move quickly. AF/Metering sensors in modern DSLR bodies are already capable of recognizing faces and tracking them. As soon as they get even more pixels, they will be able to recognize eyes too.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on March 19, 2017, 04:20:17 PM
Apart that the interview is down now, for me the most interest part was when they were talking about what Sony is doing in software, like Eye AF autofocus. They were talking about image recognition to improve the follow focus performance of their system. I think it is in things like that were mirrorless manufactures need to improve, it is the main advantage that a mirrorless system has in front of an reflex one. The reflex one can not use the image information... that could become interesting in the following years, when the image processors inside the camera improve in performance.

Just thinking aloud...

What they said about AI-driven, image recognition-based AF is what I've been saying here for years - eye focus and face recognition is just the start of it. Improved processing and greater resolution potentially allow for such things as, 'track the eyes of the cheetah and shoot as it leaps on its prey' or 'track the striker (in soccer) and shoot as the ball is kicked'. Couple it with electronically-controlled lenses and tripod heads and you could even say, 'get a close-up of the face, thn zoom out for a whole-body action shot while the ball is being kicked, with the head in the upper right quadrant'. Or, even, 'track this animal while I set up and shoot a landscape on the other camera'.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty? Outsourcing 36x24 sensor fab is probably doable
Post by: BJL on March 20, 2017, 07:21:26 PM
Maybe for the big, multi-billion-dollar plants. The little ones, owned by small companies making specialised sensors for non-camera applications? No way they can deal with a 36x24mm sensor.
I think there is no big problem outsourcing the fab of a 36x26mm sensor (except the familiar significant cost penalty compared to APS-C and smaller sensors.)

Firstly, consider how Leica gets a custom 45x30mm CMOS sensor for the S. It is designed by CMOSIS, which is fabless, so the actual manufacturing is outsourced, probably to TowerJazz (http://towerjazz.com).  (See this article at businesswire (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130611005664/en/TowerJazz-CMOSIS-Announce-Ramp-Volume-Production-CMOSIS’) for some details of the connection.)
So Nikon's larger volume order for a smaller sensor seems doable.

Secondly, the dominant maker of chip fab equipment, ASML, now offers the on-wafer stitching (as needed to produce sensors large than the 33x26mm field size) as a standard feature on some of it step-and-scan sensor fab equipment. So, although it is probably still significantly slower and more expensive to make these big sensors compared to ones smaller than about 33x26mm, it is probably doable on machines already owned by outsourcing fabs like TowerJazz.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty? Outsourcing 36x24 sensor fab is probably doable
Post by: BernardLanguillier on March 20, 2017, 10:05:38 PM
Firstly, consider how Leica gets a custom 45x30mm CMOS sensor for the S. It is designed by CMOSIS, which is fabless, so the actual manufacturing is outsourced, probably to TowerJazz (http://towerjazz.com).  (See this article at businesswire (http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20130611005664/en/TowerJazz-CMOSIS-Announce-Ramp-Volume-Production-CMOSIS’) for some details of the connection.)

I was under the impression that Leica sensors were manufactured by ST Micro-electronics?

Cheers,
Bernard


Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty? Outsourcing 36x24 sensor fab is probably doable
Post by: BJL on March 20, 2017, 10:25:48 PM
I was under the impression that Leica sensors were manufactured by ST Micro-electronics?

Cheers,
Bernard
Could be; I only know that Tower is one fab used by CMOSIS, and was the one used by the predecessor of CMOSIS to fab the 36x24mm sensors for the Kodak DSLRs. Either way, there are "fabs  for hire" out here that Nikon could use, once they have a decent sensor design.

P. S. You are right about the M, so likely for the S also: http://image-sensors-world.blogspot.com/2012/09/cmosis-sensor-in-leica-m-rangefinder.html?m=1
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on June 17, 2017, 12:58:19 AM
I know that equipment quality is mostly irrelevant in this debate, but for what it's worth, Lloyd calls the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 E FL the only zoom he would be willing to use.

https://diglloyd.com/blog/2017/20170611_2240-Nikon70_200f2_8E-aseries-70mm-TailingsPiles.html

This matches my experience.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on June 17, 2017, 02:59:38 AM
I know that equipment quality is mostly irrelevant in this debate, but for what it's worth, Lloyd calls the Nikon 70-200 f2.8 E FL the only zoom he would be willing to use.

https://diglloyd.com/blog/2017/20170611_2240-Nikon70_200f2_8E-aseries-70mm-TailingsPiles.html

This matches my experience.

Cheers,
Bernard

Then he probably hasn't tried the Canon 200-400 or 11-24. The latter is sharper than most of the primes within its focal length range.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on June 17, 2017, 07:22:32 AM
Then he probably hasn't tried the Canon 200-400 or 11-24. The latter is sharper than most of the primes within its focal length range.

The 200-400 is probably even better (haven't used it), but what I have seen from the 11-24 tells me it is the best wide zoom available, and a very good wide lens for sure, but not in the same category.

The 70-200 Nikon renders like an Otus.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on June 17, 2017, 08:01:00 AM
The 200-400 is probably even better (haven't used it), but what I have seen from the 11-24 tells me it is the best wide zoom available, and a very good wide lens for sure, but not in the same category.

The 70-200 Nikon renders like an Otus.

Cheers,
Bernard

The point is, the 11-24 is sharper than any other lens - prime or zoom - in the 18mm-or-wider focal length category. A crown it took from another zoom - the Nikon 14-24.

Also, he clearly doesn't shoot landscapes either. 'Foot zooming' isn't an option there, and performance at f/5.6 or narrower, quality of sunstars, etc. tend to matter a lot more than things like bokeh or wide-open performance. It takes a lot of primes to replace a single zoom, and still leaves a lot of gaps where you're left cropping.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: JKoerner007 on June 17, 2017, 08:29:55 AM
The point is, the 11-24 is sharper than any other lens - prime or zoom - in the 18mm-or-wider focal length category. A crown it took from another zoom - the Nikon 14-24.

You're comparing a Canon lens that was launched in 2015 with a Nikkor that was launched in 2007 ::)

For 8 years, the Nikkor 14-24 was the standard to which all other zooms aspired ... and I am quite sure that Nikon will be updating this to an FL ED version in the very near future.

So Canon will once again take a back seat, as every FL ED Nikkor lens that has ever come out has set a benchmark in its class.

This will likely include a 200-400, which hasn't been refreshed since 2010.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on June 17, 2017, 09:16:02 AM
Not comparing Nikon vs Canon here. I'm comparing primes vs zooms.

The point is, the top-tier UWA lens is a zoom - beating out all the primes - and the previous one was also a zoom (the 14-24 is still my choice for night landscapes containing stars, given its f/2.8 aperture and near-complete lack of coma). So the guy saying the Nikon 70-200 is the only zoom he'd use must either never use UWAs or is irrationally prejudiced against zooms in spite of actual performance.

(Incidentally, the Canon 70-200 is also about due for an update - improved CA and a seven- or nine-bladed aperture would be the most obvious upgrades)
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: JKoerner007 on June 17, 2017, 12:55:50 PM
Sharpness-wise, I agree with you.

However, there is a certain "rendering" that primes accomplish (a 3D look) that zooms don't usually seem to be able to duplicate. I think that's what the author means.

Also, the Canon 11-24 does not beat out "all" the UWA primes: the Zeiss 15mm Distagon T* (and, now, Milvus) beat it handily.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: shadowblade on June 17, 2017, 03:53:12 PM
The Nikon 14-24 has better edge sharpness than the Distagon 15. Slightly more CA and distortion, though, but less coma for starscapes.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: JKoerner007 on June 17, 2017, 04:26:19 PM
The Zeiss has a front-filter thread, without the same bulbous front-end element of ether the Canon or the Nikkor.
(Which is a double-edged sword. While allowing for filters, using them created very bad vignetting in all but the thinnest, highest-quality filters.)

Further, the rendering (contrast and color) of the Zeiss handily out-performs the Nikkor (or Canon) as does its resistance to flare.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on June 17, 2017, 05:13:18 PM
Not comparing Nikon vs Canon here. I'm comparing primes vs zooms.

Got your point.

I would tend to agree for wides.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: Paul2660 on June 17, 2017, 05:32:22 PM
Filters on the 14-24 and vignetting?? 

With the right filters you should not see any vignetting. Lee or NISI 150 x 150.

I use the NISI and hitech glass 150 x 150 with the Lee sw150 no problems with vignetting. 2 filters.

Actually I now prefer the larger glass sheet as they are much easier to handle than larger screw ins.

The 15mm distagon is a great lens but massive and has very poor coma correction wide open. I also feel the 14-24 has a better hyperfocal range than the Zeiss.

BTW. Welcome back John.

Paul Caldwell
 
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: JKoerner007 on June 17, 2017, 11:39:41 PM
Thanks Paul.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: hogloff on June 18, 2017, 07:59:08 AM
Really guys...we are bringing out the lumber and comparing who's is bigger? Surely we can all make great photos from any of the professional level lenses no matter what manufacturer. This is not what has Nikon in financial trouble. Better high end gear is not what will rescue Nikon.
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: BernardLanguillier on June 18, 2017, 08:00:43 AM
Really guys...we are bringing out the lumber and comparing who's is bigger? Surely we can all make great photos from any of the professional level lenses no matter what manufacturer. This is not what has Nikon in financial trouble.

What exactly has compared to Canon?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: Nikon in difficulty?
Post by: hogloff on June 18, 2017, 09:15:43 AM
What exactly has compared to Canon?

Cheers,
Bernard

Don't understand what you wrote.