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Author Topic: Nikon in trouble?  (Read 23606 times)

eronald

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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2016, 11:32:28 pm »

Nikon may be in a challenging spot, but I don't see how they could pull out of pro video since they never entered this market in the first place.

Anyway, with the D500 and D5 out they appear to be in less trouble than they were a few months ago, and only Sony may be in a better position aming their direct competitors.

I expect this to be even more clear after the Kina.

Cheers,
Bernard

Zorki5

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2016, 03:59:46 am »

It's been on Thom Hogan's site since mid-May:

Grim Nikon Financials

More on Where Nikon Is

Looks like Sony is not that far away from their stated goal of becoming #2 camera manufacturer.
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Rob C

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2016, 05:45:28 am »

I'm a Nikon user, from the F onwards, and hope the Jeremiahs are mistaken. Having said that, if it happens to Nikon, that they sink, I don't see that as any long-term solution for the wider camera business.

There are simply too many working cameras out there, and people eventually do get pissed off spending money - often a lot of it - and later wondering why they'd bothered. Photography, to a vast majority, isn't essential; it's neither hobby nor work-related, but just another thing on which to blow some money - through which to buy some short-lived feel-good. Perhaps Leica turns out to be the only one to have understood the world.

As evidenced here in LuLa, there's a sizeable group of pixie-fans, but I don't think that they are plentiful enough to support something that's not a lot more than tiny incrementalist technical advances. From a practical perspective, I really don't need anything further developed than my first digi camera, the D200. My later D700 is hardly ever used anymore, and I see no reason why, now an amateur, I would buy anything more sophisticated (read expensive). It just doesn't matter, it doesn't make me a better or worse photographer and I've been around long enough to know that. All the more advanced camera does is increase my concerns about getting mugged. Imaginary projections of how huge a print I could make mean nothing to me when I have absolutely no desire to go beyond A3+, and even that has now been killed off courtesy HP and its relationship with the B9180.

If I were to think of buying another camera, about the only feature Nikon could offer to tempt me into it would be the provision of a split-image screen, something that allows non-af lenses, and even af lenses, to be used comfortably. No, live view is not a solution unless you are a person who lives on a tripod.

I'm afraid the era of the permanent sucker is drawing to a close, for pretty much all of these companies except probably one.

Rob

eronald

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #4 on: May 29, 2016, 08:10:46 am »

I'm a Nikon user, from the F onwards, and hope the Jeremiahs are mistaken. Having said that, if it happens to Nikon, that they sink, I don't see that as any long-term solution for the wider camera business.

There are simply too many working cameras out there, and people eventually do get pissed off spending money - often a lot of it - and later wondering why they'd bothered. Photography, to a vast majority, isn't essential; it's neither hobby nor work-related, but just another thing on which to blow some money - through which to buy some short-lived feel-good. Perhaps Leica turns out to be the only one to have understood the world.

As evidenced here in LuLa, there's a sizeable group of pixie-fans, but I don't think that they are plentiful enough to support something that's not a lot more than tiny incrementalist technical advances. From a practical perspective, I really don't need anything further developed than my first digi camera, the D200. My later D700 is hardly ever used anymore, and I see no reason why, now an amateur, I would buy anything more sophisticated (read expensive). It just doesn't matter, it doesn't make me a better or worse photographer and I've been around long enough to know that. All the more advanced camera does is increase my concerns about getting mugged. Imaginary projections of how huge a print I could make mean nothing to me when I have absolutely no desire to go beyond A3+, and even that has now been killed off courtesy HP and its relationship with the B9180.

If I were to think of buying another camera, about the only feature Nikon could offer to tempt me into it would be the provision of a split-image screen, something that allows non-af lenses, and even af lenses, to be used comfortably. No, live view is not a solution unless you are a person who lives on a tripod.

I'm afraid the era of the permanent sucker is drawing to a close, for pretty much all of these companies except probably one.

Rob

Rob, just go and buy an old Leica R9 and DMR with the right screen and you will be as close to heaven as you can get without dying ...If your eyes are really good enough to still do MF. You could even go and get one of those old F5 Frankencameras ie Kodak 760 or Kodak 770.

I thought the old Powerbooks I used as a journalist were better for writing. SO I went and restored an 80s PB180, using my skills as an engineer, and you know what - it really was as good as I remembered.

Edmund
« Last Edit: May 29, 2016, 08:14:04 am by eronald »
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Rob C

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #5 on: May 29, 2016, 08:53:23 am »

Rob, just go and buy an old Leica R9 and DMR with the right screen and you will be as close to heaven as you can get without dying ...If your eyes are really good enough to still do MF. You could even go and get one of those old F5 Frankencameras ie Kodak 760 or Kodak 770.

I thought the old Powerbooks I used as a journalist were better for writing. SO I went and restored an 80s PB180, using my skills as an engineer, and you know what - it really was as good as I remembered.

Edmund


Edmund,

I still have an almost unused Nikon F3. I bought it after I bought an F4s because even back then I realised that newer and dearer does not inevitably equate with better. If there is one thing where digital is far better, IMO, it's in Nikon's Matrix metering, which really works. But then, so did the Invercone. My eyes suck now, but a recent, nostalgic peek through the F3 showed me that with a split-image, I'm back where I started before the ravages of age cut in.

Trouble is, as agreed (the only thing agreed) on another thread, film is now pretty much a lost cause due to the competition with digital ease and the end of the need to buy film, which has led to the difficulties surrounding it. Of course, we now need to keep buying bloody computers and eventually rent 'services' forever just to keep access open to our past files... instead, my two Dursts would have lasted all of my life, as would my enlarger lenses.

Actually, I liked the R6 and might have gone that way but for the viewfinder not doing 100%, which in those years, was very important to me. I toyed with a used one as companion to the Nikon outfit, but it didn't make sense.

Rob

John Koerner

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2016, 12:38:53 pm »

Well, hopefully, Nikon will stop trying to "be a part of everything," and instead concentrate on doing just a few things really well.

I like their new Point-N-Shoot Camera models, not the CoolPix, but the DL Series.

Rather than make cheap, crap P&Ss it is best to leave that to the cell phone market, and I like the idea of making high-end Point-n-Shoots.

It might ultimately be a healthy shot in the arm for Nikon to stop trying to be "bigger" than Sony & Canon gadgetry and instead simply be better within Nikon's own micro-market.

Let's not forget:

The Nikon D810 still produces the best low-ISO images of any DSLR, even though it's 2 years old.
The Nikon D500 is now the finest ASP-C;
The Nikon D7100 still out-performs the brand new Canon 80D

Another interesting fact is of The Top 10 uber-prime lenses, made (specs-wise), Nikon makes 4 of them, with Canon, Leica, and Zeiss only making 2 apiece.

Yet, of the bottom 20, worst primes, Canon lenses comprise 9 of them, Sony 7, Zeiss 3, while Nikon only makes 1 of the lowest-end primes.

I guess what I am saying is Toyota and GM may vie for the #1 and #2 "total sales" position globally, and although Porsche may never be in the running, volume-sales-wise, Porsche still make better automobiles than either one.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2016, 01:20:15 pm by John Koerner »
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2016, 12:47:39 pm »

... Toyota and GM may vie for the #1 and #2 "total sales" position globally, and although Porsche may never be in the running, volume-sales-wise, Porsche still make better automobiles than either one.

Which matters only if Porsche (Nikon) is profitable. Otherwise, economic history is littered with unprofitable superior products or companies.

John Koerner

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2016, 01:10:48 pm »

Which matters only if Porsche (Nikon) is profitable. Otherwise, economic history is littered with unprofitable superior products or companies.

True, which is why I hope they stick to what they're good at.

If you read the provided articles, the important takeaway was this:

  • "But before everyone panics, let me say this: what we’re seeing now is a replay of what’s happened before. Nikon doesn’t seem to know how to not repeat its own history. Some of this is institutional. It’s traditional, for instance, to transition the upper management from one group to another as the business mix changes. Which, of course, forces the business mix to change.

    ...

    "That said, Ushida-san (current CEO, from Precision) has had a couple of years to build his team and get them aligned to the tasks at hand. Any further issues in keeping the company running well are definitely going to accrue to his tenure now. It’s no longer possible for him to say that he inherited the problems. They’re his, and his to fix.

    "Here’s what I expect to happen next: within a month or two we’re going to hear about adjustments in the upper management team. Those will be re-assignments that telegraph to the rest of Nikon’s employees subtle messages about who was deemed responsible for the problems, and who is charged with fixing them.

    ...

    "2016 was supposed to be a 'renewal' year for the Imaging business. The year that Nikon abandoned the losers and sought to refresh and extend the winners in the lineup. So far, the results on that are lots of ink, very little action (I disagree, the D500 is a big deal). So Photokina is going to be key for Nikon: it’s their last chance to make 2016 even remotely like they thought it would be.

    "People have asked me what I expect at Photokina, so here it is:

    "The DL relaunch
    The KeyMission relaunch
    The SnapBridge relaunch
    A D810 replacement
    A new mirrorless camera, probably DX to replace the D3300
    Two new lenses
    "
So the forecast is to trim the surplus gadgetry in favor of revitalizing their high-end strengths. They already came out with the D5 and the D500, and I really do like their DL high-end P&S concept a lot.

My guess is that, to these significant upgrades, we will soon see a D900.

I suppose we will have to see.
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eronald

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2016, 01:39:32 pm »

Nikon is stuck with a single real product, the dSLR, mostly built around Sony sensor tech. Sony is eating their lunch in luxury compacts RX100, all-in-ones RX10, Olympus and Panasonic in small sensor mirrorless, and Sony in large-sensor mirroless.

Canon at least have a pro and prosumer video positioning with C100 and C300 and the 5D3. And it's their own tech.

I'm not writing Nikon off completely, but they really haven't kept up with the times. A management failure.

Edmund
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Rob C

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #10 on: May 29, 2016, 01:49:00 pm »

Which matters only if Porsche (Nikon) is profitable. Otherwise, economic history is littered with unprofitable superior products or companies.


That's why standards are falling down all over the place: good costs money, and money is getting tight unless, of course, you're one of those who has cornered the market on money.

In a deeply introspective moment a couple of days ago, I came to the conclusion that there is absolutely no justification for anyone to be paid more than a million bucks in any one year. Yes, of course, they can certainly earn it, but then those earnings should automatically be ploughed right back into the business and said business made even more productive, careful and devoted to quality. Wages/salaries would also be increased, and that would create more people able to purchase whatever takes their fancy.

Why stop at a million bucks, you ask? Well, nobody really needs more than that to live a very comfortable life; you want a yacht? Fine; instead of buying it and the other toys all in one year, pace yourself out, get more anticipation into your system and thus enjoy the desired thing longer even before you have it; everybody knows that every yacht is almost immediately back on the market. The more it costs, the more you can afford, the higher the ambition for the next one just to bloody the nose of the guy in the adjacent berth. (Heaven, of course, is being too big to be able get into a berth.) So, in reality, easy come cuts value.

I could map out a wonderful strategy, but really, the stress...

;-)

Rob C

kers

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #11 on: May 29, 2016, 01:52:56 pm »

Maybe there is an understanding that Sony delivers sensors and Nikon does not make FF cameras like the Sony7 before the year...

Fot that is what is missing in the lineup of Nikon ( and Canon) at the moment..
Maybe the D5 is the last dinosaur they produce ... I have a J5 and it has many good qualities DSLR's do not .

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John Koerner

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #12 on: May 29, 2016, 02:04:09 pm »

Nikon is stuck with a single real product, the dSLR, mostly built around Sony sensor tech.

"Mostly built" around Sony sensor tech?

What makes the D810 better than even Sony's own cameras at low ISO is Nikon technology.

What makes the Nikon D5 and the Nikon D500 have far superior AF for action is Nikon technology.
  • "Autofocus and performance
    Autofocus is the D500's great strength: along with the D5 it's the best we've ever used. Just as mirrorless cameras appear to be closing the gap when it comes to following simple subjects, the D500 comes and blows them (and its DSLR rivals) all out of the water. It's not just a question of the mirrorless-esque across-the-frame AF coverage or of the number of cross-type focus points, it's this plus some of the best subject tracking we've seen and the fine-grained customization that allows the behavior to be tailored to shoot a wide range of different sports."


Sony is eating their lunch in luxury compacts RX100, all-in-ones RX10, Olympus and Panasonic in small sensor mirrorless, and Sony in large-sensor mirroless.
Canon at least have a pro and prosumer video positioning with C100 and C300 and the 5D3. And it's their own tech.

Sony is bigger than Nikon and Canon put together. That Canon is bigger than Nikon, again, is meaningless.

When it comes to the best overall cameras, and best overall lenses, Nikon produces the finest quality.

Again, it is Nikon's own tech which makes its D810 a better overall camera than the A7rII and 5DSr, and makes the D500 a better overall camera than the 7D II and the A6300.




I'm not writing Nikon off completely, but they really haven't kept up with the times. A management failure.
Edmund

Nikon's only "failure" (IMO) is to try to be a huge giant, and dabble in "everything," rather than just sticking to what they do best: making the best DSLR cameras, and finest DSLR lenses, in the industry.

Even Zeiss' Otus line only occupies 2 of the top 10 slots, quality-wise, while Nikon's super-telephotos occupy 4 slots.

Nikon also makes the best entry DSLR, mid-level DSLR, landscape DSLR, and pro DSLR.

Though Sony's A7r II might be better at higher ISOs, it is crushed at base ISO by the D810.
Though the new Canon 1Dx2 has better video, it is beaten in high ISO capability, and crushed in AF speed + accuracy by the D5.

This isn't any kind of a "failure," it is Nikon owning the "DSLR excellence" department.

If Nikon sticks to their core competencies, and stops trying to do "everything" gadget-related, they will always have customers.

I renew the Porsche-Toyota analogy ... Toyota may have more market share, but that doesn't make their cars more desirable to drive than a Porsche.
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Gandalf

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #13 on: May 29, 2016, 02:04:19 pm »

Without reading the article, this is why Sony made the move to the A7 and ditched the A900 platform -- building an electronic camera is a lot less expensive than a mechanical camera, and Sony was losing money on the mechanicals of the A900. The Canon 5D is $400 more than the A7rII, and I doubt that is pure profit. I'm guessing Nikon is in that position now, where they can't meet the sales volumes necessary to sell at the price point the market requires. Since Nikon can't sell the camera at a profitable price point (guessing the initial msrp of $3,300 is where they needed to be), the only alternative is to cheapen the camera, as Sony did, or to own more of the production process, as Canon does. I hope Nikon can recover, because the overall D810 camera and lenses just feel right. It is the first digital camera I used that felt like a good camera, not just a good digital camera.
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Slobodan Blagojevic

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #14 on: May 29, 2016, 02:57:43 pm »

... Nikon's only "failure" (IMO) is to try to be a huge giant, and dabble in "everything," rather than just sticking to what they do best: making the best DSLR cameras, and finest DSLR lenses, in the industry...

With the DSLR market in decline, however...

Putting all eggs in one basket comes to mind.

John Koerner

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #15 on: May 29, 2016, 03:23:37 pm »

With the DSLR market in decline, however...
Putting all eggs in one basket comes to mind.

DSLRs are here to stay, IMO.

Modern cell phone technology makes Point-and-shoots obsolete, IMO (and low-end DSLRs obsolete as well), but not high-end DSLRs.

This is why I think Nikon is going in the right direction with their DL Series of high-end P&Ss. No cell phone will be able to do what these P&Ss do.

Nikon already totally dominates the DSLR market, in quality, if not in sales.

The only "outside interest" Nikon should pursue, IMO, is video capability as bcooter suggests.

Manufacturing a bunch of cheap, meaningless P&Ss is a waste of time ... P&S sales will continue to decline as cell phone cameras continue to improve.

Manufacturing industry-leading DSLRs, in the entry-, mid-, landscape-, and professional-capability departments is what Nikon does best, and if they bring their video capability up to speed, they will dominate this sector.

They already do in every way, except video.

They don't have to be the biggest, just the best, to be profitable.

They should stop wasting efforts on anything but their core competencies IMO
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Rob C

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #16 on: May 29, 2016, 03:58:14 pm »

Maybe Nikon's reflecting some photographers: do all of them have an interest in motion, and if so, is it now possible that stills shooters can be as competent with motion as were/are specialised film people? Can stills people even actually ever be as interested in motion?

Yes, motion seems to be a requirement today, but don't forget that stills people like Bailey, Donovan and Stern also directed a lot of commercials above and beyond their stills work, decades ago. I suppose they just didn't hold the actual cameras much. Must the same brain do both?

Rob C

eronald

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #17 on: May 29, 2016, 04:10:09 pm »

We seem to think alike here.

The kids all seem to be doing video these days, and not only with the old style tools but also with drones, Gopros, you name it.. In fact I'm just now looking at a feature film which is not too bad, "Hardcore Henry", and a lot of it looks like it has been shot with a gopro to achieve the "1st person shooter" effect, with chases and Parcours..

Edmund

I usually don't care about conjecture, but for a long time I thought something was strange with Nikon's offerings.

It's been obvious since the 5d2 that video is a sales offering for professionals and amateurs, whether they use it or not..

But Nikon, unlike Canon, Sony, Panasonic, doesn't  have a higher end video/cinema camera market to protect.

Nikon could have added any feature, in fact made the killer combo cam, but they didn't which is kind of strange considering the D90 was the first video capable dslr.

Also Nikon lenses have been used by indie and serious film production forever.  I can get a Nikon mount or adapter for almost any cinema camera.

I'm just guessing, but I think this is the problem of having one company (sony)  be the digital film for nearly every camera, except Canon, Leica sometimes Panasonic.

Once again, a guess, but Sony has kept their pdaf on sensor focusing for themselves, so maybe there is more than tech or marketing involved, maybe holding the good stuff back will allow Sony to become #2.

I mean why would Nikon offer their d5 with only 3 minutes of motion capture?   Nobody can shoot motion footage seriously at 3 minutes and ok, the Nikon does offer pdaf, but nobody talks about the video focusing and the crop is 1.5 which is fairly severe.

I thought I read somewhere that Nikon has a hook up with Samsung, so things could change, but not being at NAB was not a good thing for any camera maker because without a video/cinema/still offering a company is limiting themselves.

I''m basically brand agnostic and I know Canon doesn't get much love on these tech centric forums, but Canon has been pushing a full line up of 4k cameras for a while and though it seems they do the electronic sales thing of limiting features to bump you up a notch Canon seems to be covering as much territory as possible, with the exception of Sony, who seems to be playing with a larger deck of cards than the rest and Canon seems to keep on with their own sensors, though a little slow on the draw when it comes to upgrades.

I just get the feeling that most of this smells of contracts and not technical ability, but hey this is just a guess.

http://www.eoshd.com/2016/01/nikon-d5-versus-canon-1d-c-cinematic-4k-video-wins/


IMO

BC


P.S.   I was at a still camera rental house this week and they were loading up with new equipment.  I asked what and was told, "everything has to offer video and very little flash, a lot of continuous light", so maybe that tells us a little bit about the market.

Just a guess.
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BJL

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Re: Nikon in trouble? Adding options like enthusiast grade mirrorless
« Reply #18 on: May 29, 2016, 07:13:36 pm »

With the DSLR market in decline, however...
DSLRs are here to stay, IMO.
You're both right, I think: SLRs are not going away, but they are destined for an ever smaller share of the overall non-phone camera market, losing share to a mix of mirrorless system and high end compacts.  So I agree that
Putting all eggs in one basket comes to mind.
Does anyone know recent sales figures for Nikon One system?  Do they back Thom Hogan's pessimism about that product line? Because if they do, I agree with him that Nikon needs to drop that in favor of a mirrorless system in DX format marketed as good enough for many enthusiastic photographers. DX (24x16mm) format, not 1" or 4/3", so that it can offer the attraction of full compatibility (via adaptors!) with the vast number of Nikon SLR lenses that people already own, and the prestige of being usable with Nikon F-mount lenses even for customers who do not yet own any.  Maybe also full 36x24mm FX format mirrorless, but I do not think that is where the biggest revenue growth potential is.

Still, for overall revenue, all traditional camera makers have to downsize in adaption to the reality that the family snap-shot camera market will never again be as big for them as it was before 2007, and it's too late for them to become successful smart-phones makers – even Sony has mostly failed there.
« Last Edit: May 29, 2016, 07:17:08 pm by BJL »
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Zorki5

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Re: Nikon in trouble?
« Reply #19 on: May 29, 2016, 07:28:44 pm »

Let's not forget:

The Nikon D810 still produces the best low-ISO images of any DSLR, even though it's 2 years old.
The Nikon D500 is now the finest ASP-C;
The Nikon D7100 still out-performs the brand new Canon 80D

Another interesting fact is of The Top 10 uber-prime lenses, made (specs-wise), Nikon makes 4 of them, with Canon, Leica, and Zeiss only making 2 apiece.

Yet, of the bottom 20, worst primes, Canon lenses comprise 9 of them, Sony 7, Zeiss 3, while Nikon only makes 1 of the lowest-end primes.

Yeah, all true. BUT now go to the bottom of the table of zoom lenses and see who's the "champion" there.

Among 10 worst zooms: 3 Nikkors, 2 Canons, 2 Sonys, 2 Tamrons, and 1 Sigma. They fail miserably at what's important for the mass market.

They still pretty much own high-end DSLR and primes segments (quality-wise), but what is the volume of those? And BTW whatever is the volume, these are exactly the segments that probably shrink faster than anything else (with the exception of low-end compacts, or course).

Their mirrorless offering is the absolute worst among big players. Yes, Canon's line of EOS-M cameras is as boring as it gets, but at least they have a future-proof mount already, and some lenses with surprisingly good performance/cost ratio for it.

Since early DSRL days, Nikon failed in pretty much every really new venue they tried. Their DL line of fixed-lens compacts is quite promising, but so was Coolpix-A that they eventually had to kill.

The "retro" segment? When I first saw Nikon Df, I couldn't stop laughing -- it instantly reminded me of heavy tanks of the 1930th, with half a dozen battlements... (see attached images) That's not "retro", that's "antique!" They couldn't even capitalize on their great past properly.

So, the way things are going, Nikon looks like almost set to become a niche player, unfortunately. Do hope that history will prove me wrong, though.
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