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Nikon Historical Society -- hosted by the founding member Bob Rotoloni and members of the society. The NHS, based the US, has a worldwide membership. Our "Nikon Journal," published four times a year, concentrates on the history of Japanese photo equipment from the perspective of the Nikon Camera Company. The Nikon Journal often includes Nikon information not published anywhere else in the world. This forum provides an opportunity for conversation between collectors and users of classic film Nikons. See forum “stickies” for more information about the Society. If you are a serious Nikon Collector, you MUST be a NHS member. Join at http://www.nikonhistoricalsociety.com/!

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Severe crisis at Nikon
Old 02-13-2017   #1
HHPhoto
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Severe crisis at Nikon

Hi,

unfortunately quite bad news from Nikon. Their crisis is increasing:

http://www.photoscala.de/2017/02/13/...-in-der-krise/

Short summary:
- revenue decline in "Imaging products" by another 29%
- declining profits
- only 50% of the company's revenue is now from the imaging/camera sector
- demand for their new action cams ("KeyMission") much lower than expected
- the complete DL line is cancelled
- 1143 Nikon workers have to go (that is about 10% of the whole workforce).

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-13-2017   #2
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That's what you get when not adapting to new market realities
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Old 02-13-2017   #3
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What new reality is that? They are already a major digital camera player.
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Old 02-13-2017   #4
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What new reality is that? They are already a major digital camera player.
Mirrorless.
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Old 02-13-2017   #5
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Quote:
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- only 50% of the company's revenue is now from the imaging/camera sector
As much as 50%? Its been about 45% - 50% for some time, with the bulk of the remainder coming from photo-lithography equipment and a small percentage coming from instruments and medical.

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- 1143 Nikon workers have to go (that is about 10% of the whole workforce).
Most of those are getting cut from photo-lithography equipment sector, not the imaging/camera sector.
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Old 02-13-2017   #6
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It would be sad to see them go, or be subsumed by Sony
I've always preferred them over Canon, probably as they are more of a pure-player imaging company rather than it being 1 of many product lines.

However, the last 5-10 years have not been kind to Nikon, and it is largely their own doing.
They watched 3 of the biggest "new developments" go by, without much of a response - mirrorless, video & premium compact.
The Nikon 1 line was always priced too high for the chip size they chose. They then have left it on life support for years. The EVF, AF and responsiveness were good for its time but everyone caught up and used bigger sensors. Given the fast readout & EVF, it would have been a good line to experiment in video, instead they let it languish.

The Nikon A, fixed-28mm Ricoh GR killer turned out to be mostly a dude to many. Not much to offer over the GR, more expensive, and quickly killed off.

No attempt to attack the Sony RX100, Fuji X100, Sony RX1, Leica X, etc.
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Old 02-13-2017   #7
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No surprise. If, in 1975, I told folks 'The Great Yellow Father' (Kodak) was going to go bankrupt, they would have been skeptical I'm sure.

Disclaimer; Not that I ever said such a thing. I have no more insight into these things than the next guy.
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Old 02-13-2017   #8
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Ah, Jan is here with his favorite type of news story... the death of digital!
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Old 02-13-2017   #9
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Well, the 1143 people are early retirement volunteers.
The requirements for "early retirement" were 40 years old & 5 years of service.
All the details are here (page 11):
http://www.nikon.com/about/ir/ir_lib...hird_all_e.pdf

page 8 is also good.
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File Type: jpg Nikon002.jpg (23.0 KB, 44 views)
File Type: jpg Nikon001.jpg (32.4 KB, 49 views)
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Old 02-13-2017   #10
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Quote:
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That's what you get when not adapting to new market realities
Exactly.







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Old 02-13-2017   #11
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What new reality is that? They are already a major digital camera player.
The reality is: the market for new, non-smart phone still photography has morphed in to conglomeration of niches.

The DSLR is now simply one of these niches. Niches do not automatically translate into profits (but they can be profitable when marketed as a niche).

Nikon has operated and apparently continues to operate as if the DSLR is no monger niche. Their stock price history alone reveals this is a tragic mistake.
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Old 02-13-2017   #12
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Ah, Jan is here with his favorite type of news story... the death of digital!
I've never said that!

I am doing both film and digital. And in digital it is currently 100% Nikon, so it is not good news for me.

We all have to face the reality with the significant problems in the digital camera market. It is affecting lots of us. Some of us more more, some of us less.

It would be very naive to ignore these massive market problems. There will be much more bad news in the coming years. From several companies.

Cheers, Jan

Last edited by HHPhoto : 02-13-2017 at 06:05. Reason: typo
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Old 02-13-2017   #13
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Nikon might have predicted that action cameras and high-price compacts would cease to be a viable path for a high price brand manufacturer. But what other options would they have had? Effectively any path they go means downsizing - and downsizing into the SLR niche may indeed be the best they can do.
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Old 02-13-2017   #14
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This happened to companies that refused to get out of the box......glaring examples are Nokia, Blackberry, Blockbuster, Kodak, etc.
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Old 02-13-2017   #15
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Part of the problem is their attempts to enter different markets.
The key mission is, in my opinion, wasted time and money spent on an already shrinking market.
Just look at GoPro for how well that market is going.
And the DL is too little too late.
Sure the 18-50mm version would be nice, but the Sony RX100 series is readily available.

It seems Nikon should focus on what they do best.
Make great DSLRs and great lenses.
Or somehow create a mirrorless camera that could surpass Sony and Fuji in price and performance.
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Old 02-13-2017   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
The reality is: the market for new, non-smart phone still photography has morphed in to conglomeration of niches.

The DSLR is now simply one of these niches.
Willie, the DSLR market is not a niche.
Concerning unit sales, it is the second biggest segment behind digital compact cameras.
And concerning value/revenue, it even is by far the biggest segment.
Just look at the data:
http://www.cipa.jp/stats/dc_e.html

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-13-2017   #17
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They have the capabilities just need to be strategic......DSLRs IMO will remain to be the tools of professionals but there are more enthusiasts in the market.
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Old 02-13-2017   #18
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Digital P&S cameras are sucking pond water. Hope they put some resources on the One series.

Just a regular phase of business. They need to find some solid footing again. They will.

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Old 02-13-2017   #19
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It's fair to say that Nikon's profitability in the short-term is heavily impacted by the cost of the workforce reduction scheme. "In the field of imaging, Nikon will focus on highly profitable products." and "In the near future, Nikon will probably sharply reduce, if not completely abandon its compact camera business, especially since Nikon's market share in this segment is declining." If so, I suppose that DSLR's will then become another 'niche' market and the price of its high-end DSLR's will increase...?
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Old 02-13-2017   #20
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Gosh, not before I get to taste those Nikon Youkan.
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Old 02-13-2017   #21
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They have the capabilities just need to be strategic......DSLRs IMO will remain to be the tools of professionals but there are more enthusiasts in the market.
The importance of professionals for the camera sales has always been much much overestimated by amateurs enthusiasts.
Only 1-2 % of all DSLRs are bought by professionals. The whole rest is bought by enthusiast photographers.

Without the market of the enthusiast / amateur photographers it would have never been possible to develop professional cameras. The buying power of professionals alone has always been too weak to keep such a market alive.

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-13-2017   #22
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Half of Nikon's loss was not in the restructuring of the imaging side of the business.

"In accordance with this restructuring, the Semiconductor Lithography Group recorded an extraordinary loss of 29,790 million yen"

The digital imaging market may have peaked and reached a saturation point where folks like me don't really need this years latest camera offerings. Fingers crossed, I hope that once the market settles to a new plateau that we are not left with only the current 3 major players.

In other words, my fingers are crossed for what's left for Olympus and Ricoh/Pentax.
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Old 02-13-2017   #23
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By the way, GoPro sales have peaked and declined for 2016.
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Old 02-13-2017   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HHPhoto View Post
I've never said that!

I am doing both film and digital. And in digital it is currently 100% Nikon, so it is not good news for me.

We all have to face the reality with the significant problems in the digital camera market. It is affecting lots of us. Some of us more more, some of us less.

It would be very naive to ignore these massive market problems. There will be much more bad news in the coming years. From several companies.

Cheers, Jan
Jokes, Jan, Jokes! I put a ... I understand this is bad news.
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Old 02-13-2017   #25
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The Nikon A, fixed-28mm Ricoh GR killer turned out to be mostly a dude to many. Not much to offer over the GR, more expensive, and quickly killed off.
The Coolpix A is an interesting camera to think about regarding their troubles. It is actually a *very* good camera (I have three). The IQ is fantastic, interface is straight out of their DSLRs (including the Nikon picture controls functionality), well built and feels solid in the hand with surprising battery life.

It was obviously built to go up against the well established GR series. From a quality and feature standpoint it could compete with it. But Nikon priced it around 40% higher. The accessories were crazy priced too. That doomed it from the start. Nikon eventually ended up selling them for around $275 direct which was a steal.

A couple of tweaks and that camera could have had a very different ending. Built in Wifi, commander mode for the flash (would hook existing Nikon shooters), remember focus position for MF, be able to turn off the LCD (for the optical viewfinder) and a competitive price would have done it.

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Old 02-13-2017   #26
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I'm not sure about who was first, egg or chicken. Canon and Sony are heavily invested in professional market. No, not just DLSRs, but professional cameras for broadcast, television and movies. Canon does a lot of optics for it and Fujinon as well. While Nikon just sitting in the niche were rules of game has changed not in the favor of DSLRs.
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Old 02-13-2017   #27
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To everyone that has said Nikon needed to change with the market, what direction do you think they should have gone? Made Smartphones? That niche is filled. The truth is ALL camera companies are at risk. There is no photography market anymore, when every phone can capture perfect pictures.

Ask 10 people how they take photographs for work or pleasure, and you'll hear 10 of them say, "my cell phone". You'd have to ask about 50 before you'd find one that says, "a camera."
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Old 02-13-2017   #28
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There is no photography market anymore, when every phone can capture perfect pictures.
This might be true for the low-end market... However, phones are far from perfect in quality or are they versatile enough for most styles - for those who want / need to do photography (and not social media), they just aren't sufficient.
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Old 02-13-2017   #29
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Sooooo.... no F7?
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Old 02-13-2017   #30
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By the way, GoPro sales have peaked and declined for 2016.
Action cameras are merely a fix-focus UWA solid state video camera. The short period where pioneers of the genre could ask ten times the manufacturing price for a very basic digital compact in a ruggedised case is over...
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Old 02-13-2017   #31
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Geez. And all it would take for me to buy something new from Nikon would be the Coolpix A, with a pop up EVF a la RX100. That's it. Simple.

Nikon ain't consumer-savvy it seems.
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Old 02-13-2017   #32
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To everyone that has said Nikon needed to change with the market, what direction do you think they should have gone? Made Smartphones? That niche is filled. The truth is ALL camera companies are at risk. There is no photography market anymore, when every phone can capture perfect pictures.

Ask 10 people how they take photographs for work or pleasure, and you'll hear 10 of them say, "my cell phone". You'd have to ask about 50 before you'd find one that says, "a camera."
20-20 hindsight is much easier…

1) Should have embraced the smartphone market. Maybe a lens/sensor combo sold to OEMs with “Nikon Inside” type marketing. People upgrade their phones for better built in cameras pretty regularly. Build interest in their full cameras by putting the best cameras in phones. Maybe you don’t sell additional stand alone cameras but you sell millions of modules….

2) Earlier on make all their cameras easily integrated with smartphones (and social media) and make people aware of this. Most people still don’t realize this is a possibility. They don’t consider a ‘real’ camera as they just want to post to facebook or text pictures. IOW… make this easy for soccer moms who would be able to show off their kids better than those shooting from their phones. When I’m shooting at my sons games everyone is amazed when I text them a picture of their kid taken on my Fuji while I’m standing next to them. It is the digital ages version of a polaroid. Teach people that this exists and make it as easy as possible to use.

The Nikon 1 seemed to be aimed at soccer moms but they missed this step.

3) As good as the Nikon 1 is supposed to be the thoughts about its sensor size hurt it from the start for Nikon’s repeat DSLR customers. Imagine if 5 years ago Nikon shipped an APS/C or FF mirrorless with full support for Nikon’s creative lighting system and included a bundled adapter that allowed for all existing AF-S lenses to be used on it. Or go totally crazy and include screw drive lenses too. It wouldn’t stop the decline of digital overall but it would have certainly stemmed the flow of those leaving Nikon for mirrorless from other makers. The adapter would have also bought time while the mirrorless lens lineup was rolled out.


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Old 02-13-2017   #33
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Geez. And all it would take for me to buy something new from Nikon would be the Coolpix A, with a pop up EVF a la RX100. That's it. Simple.

Nikon ain't consumer-savvy it seems.
Yes... but... make it built in like the Panasonic GM5. The pop up EVF is a PITA to use and totally takes away from the quick spontaneous use of it. Too fragile feeling to leave it extended and it doesn't fit in a shirt pocket with it out.

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Old 02-13-2017   #34
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The Coolpix A is an interesting camera......

A couple of tweaks and that camera could have had a very different ending. Built in Wifi, commander mode for the flash (would hook existing Nikon shooters), remember focus position for MF, be able to turn off the LCD (for the optical viewfinder) and a competitive price would have done it.

Shawn
+1

They had the technology in place at the time for all those tweaks in other cameras. Yes, the integration would have been a bit of work but it wasn't anywhere near from scratch.

They churned out upgrades every few months when they were pumping out P&S Coolpix, I wish management had the guts to see if they could have tweaked the A for at least one rev.

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Old 02-13-2017   #35
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Ah, Jan is here with his favorite type of news story... the death of digital!
Well, it's a fad.
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Old 02-13-2017   #36
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Well, it's a fad.
Perhaps... but what will be next?
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Old 02-13-2017   #37
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they should have attacked Fuji and the X100/X-Pro lines. Use the manual dials from the Df, stick it in a crop frame/FF mirrorless body (optimally with a hybrid OVF/EVF), call it the Nikon Sf and drink from that sweet sweet nostalgia train. While I have a soft spot for the brand, I have no sympathy for them being reticent and arrogant about (not) understanding the market.
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Old 02-13-2017   #38
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Perhaps... but what will be next?
If I knew that I wouldn't be a lecturer in business management, I'd be a full professor.

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Old 02-13-2017   #39
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they should have attacked Fuji and the X100/X-Pro lines. Use the manual dials from the Df, stick it in a crop frame/FF mirrorless body (optimally with a hybrid OVF/EVF), call it the Nikon Sf and drink from that sweet sweet nostalgia train. While I have a soft spot for the brand, I have no sympathy for them being reticent and arrogant about (not) understanding the market.

Or the hybrid OVF/EVF in a DSLR body. Mirror down is traditional SLR OVF, lock the mirror up and you are EVF through the viewfinder. That would have been a true "Digital Fusion." Less resources to do this as you would be using existing lenses and most of the body, just a different top end.

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Old 02-13-2017   #40
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I don't get how people are saying Nikon messed up by not embracing mirrorless digital photography. That market is sucking seaweed too.
Mainstream photography, as everyone knows (but some seem to be in denial) is smartphone photography. What is left are high end photographic products.
Wonder why Sony's A6300 replacement/update - the A6500 - is almost 50% more expensive than its replacement? Cuz there is no money left in making 'cheap' cameras.
And Sony's consumer camera division is not making money - it's all propped up by their imaging sensor sales and CCTV units.
Olympus and Fuji - pure mirrorless camera mfgs - have not turned a profit with this sector in years. Fuji only makes money selling film and film cameras - the Instax series - in their consumer photo division.
Fuji, Olympus, Sony, Canon photo divisions still exist because they are just a small part of a much larger corporation.

Leica is doing ok because they are high end, and have always been.
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