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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/!

View Poll Results: Who will Rescue Nikon?
Government Loan 8 7.21%
Sony 7 6.31%
Panasonic 4 3.60%
Fuji 0 0%
Canon 0 0%
Olympus 0 0%
Ricoh 3 2.70%
Blackstone (they invested in Leica) or Leica 2 1.80%
Zeiss 0 0%
Chinese camera or lens maker 15 13.51%
Investment Bank 8 7.21%
Other Investors - please explain 6 5.41%
Nikon will pull out of this on its own 58 52.25%
Voters: 111. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 02-15-2017   #41
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Originally Posted by Spanik View Post
I don't think you can compare cars with cameras in this case. All those brands were nothing more than brands, selling the same thing with some cosmetic changes and different marketing. So far in camera land this isn't happening. (Ok, if you leave out the rebranded sony/hasselblads) Nikon doesn't sell the same camera under different brands.
I'm not comparing cars to digital cameras specifically. My point is a brand name doesn't mean very much any more. Nikon is not going to get whole again just because of the brand name. The only people who are loyal to Nikon as a brand are mostly older folks who used Nikon's film cameras when Nikon was the system of choice with professionals. Many professionals abandoned film cameras over ten years ago.

As for digital cameras specifically, across brand names they do share major components such as sensors. The major differences now are in software and in interface ergonomics. Further, software and digital post processing have diminished the differences in lens performance across brand names.

But the bottom line is smartphone cameras are obliterating the consumer level camera business and will continue to do so. In the next few years, there will be a significant shift in the number of major players making cameras. Brand names will not determine who survives as much as how well run and managed these companies are. Nikon is declining faster than the market in interchangeable lens cameras, their primary brand driver. This points to poor management.
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Old 02-15-2017   #42
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.......My point is a brand name doesn't mean very much any more. Nikon is not going to get whole again just because of the brand name.......
Don’t agree. That’s like saying the brand name "Apple" doesn’t mean anything, or "Toyota," or "Kellogg’s." Brand names mean a lot, people will buy items based on their name and reputation. The Nikon name is well-known and respected, even by those who really don’t know much about cameras.

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Old 02-15-2017   #43
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Mackinaw, if the Nikon name means so much, how is it they are in the state they're in?

Apple has a lot more brand loyalty than Nikon or any other organization for that matter. Today, Apple is the exception rather than the rule. By in large, brands just don't mean very much anymore. The cameras business is changing rapidly, primarily brought about by the emergence of the smartphone camera. The Nikon name will not save Nikon. Better management might save them.

No brand is immune. In 1997 Microsoft rescued one-time and future nemesis Apple with a $150 million investment that breathed new life into what was a struggling Silicon Valley icon. Apple has now left Microsoft in the dust. Apple adapted to changes in the marketplace far better than Microsoft did. Today, Apple is worth more than Microsoft or Google.

The only constant in life is change. Nikon has not adapted very well to a changing marketplace. It will mean a restructuring of Nikon or the end of Nikon as we know it.

Still think brand names matter? Read this.
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Old 02-15-2017   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nasmformyzombie View Post
My point is a brand name doesn't mean very much any more. Nikon is not going to get whole again just because of the brand name. The only people who are loyal to Nikon as a brand are mostly older folks who used Nikon's film cameras when Nikon was the system of choice with professionals. Many professionals abandoned film cameras over ten years ago.
In the US, I would think this is clearly not true. If anyone here knows of a camera brand, they know Nikon. DSLRs are still considered THE professional camera by anyone not in the know. After smartphones, DSLRs by Nikon or Canon seem to be the cameras I see the most here in the US and I'm into Photography.
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Old 02-15-2017   #45
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In the US, I would think this is clearly not true. If anyone here knows of a camera brand, they know Nikon. DSLRs are still considered THE professional camera by anyone not in the know. After smartphones, DSLRs by Nikon or Canon seem to be the cameras I see the most here in the US and I'm into Photography.
Same in where I go in europe: I see Canon, Nikon, from time to time a Fuji, maybe a Sony and very rarely any other brand. You have more chance to see an old film camera or Polaroid than a Sony. I have seen at least 1 view camera, more than a Samsung dslr in the wild!

Likewise I see more compacts than bridge cameras. And tablets are going out compared to 3-5 years ago. Phones, yes, but more for snapshots, not someone who wants a photo to "endure". I mean more than just a selfie or photo of their meal/drink. Like a typical family holiday snap that you will look at or print in a book when you get home, those are more likely to be taken by dslr than a phone.
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Old 02-15-2017   #46
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Mackinaw, if the Nikon name means so much, how is it they are in the state they're in?.......
I don’t disagree that Nikon has made some poor management decisions, I disagree with your assertion that brand names are meaningless. People walk into a car dealership, big-box store, whatever, and buy a product based on its brand name and reputation. They don’t know or care how well a company is being managed.

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Old 02-15-2017   #47
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You are all missing the point about brand names. If a business doesn't properly adapt in a rapidly changing marketplace it will either lose significant market share or it will fail.

Again, for some perspective, read this.
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Old 02-15-2017   #48
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You are all missing the point about brand names........
I’m not missing the point. You’ve done a poor job of explaining yourself. Reread some of your previous posts. They’re confusing.

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Old 02-15-2017   #49
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its astounding to me that Nikon does not have a good competitor to the FujiX and Sony 7 series, ideally one that shoots Nikon AF lenses via adapter

I don't see how Nikon management did not develop a quality mirrorless.
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Old 02-15-2017   #50
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Brand name not important anymore? Tell that to Cosina (Voigtlander), Leica, Zeiss, Rollei etc. The make great products, but the brand name is a great issue there. I mean, but would you seriously pay $5,000 for a Konost camera? Brand gives a degree of trust. Yeah, they could lose their name due to bad products but if you have good products and service, the brand could keep its value over time.

Related to Nikon, I dont think they need external help, but good management decisions.

Regard.

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Old 02-15-2017   #51
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I am not a fan but I do hope Nikon makes it through this tough time. They are a historic company and have produced some magnificent products over the years. But, like the stock market, past performance is no guaranty of future profits.
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Old 02-15-2017   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nasmformyzombie View Post
You are all missing the point about brand names. If a business doesn't properly adapt in a rapidly changing marketplace it will either lose significant market share or it will fail.

Again, for some perspective, read this.
You have posted that list twice.
Even Altria Group still has a market cap of $140.44 Billion USD, and they are selling tobacco!
WMT - $213.87B
AT&T - $252.44B
GE - $268.49B
MSFT - $498.66B
XOM - $344.95B
AAPL - $710.96B

How do you see any of these S&P stocks failing currently? Someday maybe, but not right now.

Nikon is like the corner mom and pop drug store compared to these behemoths, at only a $5.68B market cap. Canon much larger at $40.4 Billion market cap, Sony about the same. Panasonic $22.9 Billion.
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Old 02-15-2017   #53
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its astounding to me that Nikon does not have a good competitor to the FujiX and Sony 7 series, ideally one that shoots Nikon AF lenses via adapter

I don't see how Nikon management did not develop a quality mirrorless.
This is my point. Brand name alone does not guarantee sustained success when marketplace conditions change. Nikon has done a poor job of adapting to a changing marketplace. You Nikon fans are not facing reality (NOT you Stephen), you think the brand name is going to solve their problems. The name means virtually nothing if management is doing a poor job.

Adaptation to a changing market is much more important to success than brand name recognition. Brand name matters more when conditions are not changing than when they are changing.
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Old 02-15-2017   #54
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Nikon is one of 'those' brand names ... iconic and a big part of our popular culture.

Scooter = Vespa

Film = Kodak

Camera = the first name to flash into many minds would be Nikon.

But ... they have obviously been asleep at the wheel for some time and as has been pointed out ^ they have pretty well ignored the mirrorless market. I do hope they survive on their own and trade their way out of this but if not I would tend to favour a buy out from the Chinese which seems to be the popular choice in the poll.
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Old 02-15-2017   #55
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You have posted that list twice, did you read the article? Even Altria Group still has a market cap of $140.44 Billion USD, and they are selling tobacco!
WMT - $213.87B
AT&T - $252.44B
GE - $268.49B
MSFT - $498.66B
XOM - $344.95B
AAPL - $710.96B

How do you see any of these S&P stocks failing currently? Someday maybe, but not right now.

Nikon is like the corner mom and pop drug store compared to these behemoths, at only a $5.68B market cap. Canon much larger at $40.4 Billion market cap, Sony about the same. Panasonic $22.9 Billion.
Missing the point. The point of the article is companies grow and contract based on quality of adaptation to changing market conditions. Nikon exists today facing a declining market in cameras. But to make matters worse, in interchangeable lens cameras Nikon is under performing the market. Nikon is not adapting well to changing market conditions. This points to poor management, which places Nikon in an even more precarious position than some of its rivals.

For example, if you told someone in 1997 when Microsoft invested in its primary competitor Apple (which was in a precarious position at the time), that Apple would someday be worth much more than Microsoft you would have been laughed out of the room. How did it happen? Apple adapted to a changing market more effectively than Microsoft.

As for the tobacco company reference, in 1992 the Philip Morris company was the LARGEST company in the world. Changing attitudes about smoking as well as litigation against the tobacco industry changed the dynamic. While the now renamed Altria Group is still a viable company, it's nowhere near the largest company in the world. Altria Group's market cap is but 20% the size of the largest company today, Apple.
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Old 02-15-2017   #56
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This is really a better read on Nikon than camera sites.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...-gear-business
Personally if I had to guess, there is no future in converting analog cameras and lenses into digital, so even mirrorless has no future.

Check back in 10 years?

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Originally Posted by nasmformyzombie View Post
Another Nikon fan who is missing the point. The point of the article is companies grow and contract based on quality of adaptation to changing market conditions.

For example, if you told someone in 1997 when Microsoft invested in its primary competitor Apple, that Apple would someday be worth much more than Microsoft you would have been laughed out of the room. How did it happen? Apple adapted to a changing market more effectively than Microsoft.
Not the point of the article you linked to, it is purely about market cap -- IMO. None of those companies have really contracted, only bigger ones like Apple have appeared. Market Share should not be confused with Market Cap. It's like confusing weather with climate change.

You aren't actually Michael Dell are you?
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Old 02-15-2017   #57
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My guess is a China-based company will buy out Nikon camera & lens division.
+1.

A big Chinese company with a strong presence on the smartphone market, like Xiaomi for example, could be interested. Let's not forget that most of the cameras sold today come attached to a smartphone.

Or maybe Apple will be willing to sacrify a small part of its US$ 230 billion bounty sleeping in Irish coffers to be able to offer Nikon optics on the iPhone 8...

Cheers!

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Old 02-15-2017   #58
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Old 02-15-2017   #59
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Wasn't Nikon worse off around 2009? I seem to remember another crisis that the company ended up rebounding from. How is this different?
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Old 02-15-2017   #60
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They should take note of the film resurgence and be proactive in making an affordable alternative student camera that is as reliable as the fleet of ageing Pentax K1000 and similar. Sign a deal with Kodak Alaris to promote and supply said camera and Kodak film to educational facilities at a reasonable realistic price. Who'd of thunk that Fuji would corner the market in instant photography ? Even Kodak have done a U turn on things analog and actually are re-issuing deleted products.
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Everyone is missing the point it appears
Old 02-15-2017   #61
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Everyone is missing the point it appears

Quote:
Originally Posted by nasmformyzombie View Post
You are all missing the point about brand names. If a business doesn't properly adapt in a rapidly changing marketplace it will either lose significant market share or it will fail.

Again, for some perspective, read this.
Having 100 percent market share means nothing when the market is in deep decline.

I realize that this is a message board full of photographers, and as such we have deep passions about our hobby, and in many cases our passion, and even livelihood.

But that doesn't matter one whit when people aren't buying the products we fancy and no amount of hand wringing will change that.

Now if only Nikon would parlay their imaging technology with a video game console. They'd be walking in tall cotton.

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Old 02-15-2017   #62
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But that doesn't matter one whit when people aren't buying the products we fancy and no amount of hand wringing will change that.
Really all we are talking about are current tech creation fetishes. There will always be imaging.
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Old 02-15-2017   #63
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They should take note of the film resurgence and be proactive in making an affordable alternative student camera that is as reliable as the fleet of ageing Pentax K1000 and similar. Sign a deal with Kodak Alaris to promote and supply said camera and Kodak film to educational facilities at a reasonable realistic price. Who'd of thunk that Fuji would corner the market in instant photography ? Even Kodak have done a U turn on things analog and actually are re-issuing deleted products.
They already make one (well I believe Cosina actually makes it) http://www.nikonusa.com/en/nikon-pro...eras/fm10.html

But really, how many cameras would you expect them to sell to educational facilities? And then how many the second year? Hardly any. The problem is that although the K1000 (and similar) are aging, they are as you say reliable, so the number of new items required to "top up" the supply is tiny.

A new film camera isn't going to make money for anyone who sells them at a "reasonable" price. How much would you pay for an F2 reissue? Used they're about $200, a reissue would be over $2000 I'd think, and to make money, closer to $3000. No one is going to buy that apart from a few hardened Nikon fans. At $1000 I'd think about it, but Nikon would lose a lot of money. I'd bet they'd sell far less of them than Leica sells M-As, as a "new" F2 would have to either be limited to AI-S lenses, or include so much electronics to use all the modern lenses that it would no longer be an F2, but an F7. The M-A has the same lens compatibility as the M10, as modern as it gets and can be shot alongside an M10 with no real handling/compatibility issues.

Back on topic. I believe Nikon has to save itself. Thom Hogan has a recent article where he outlines his strategy, which I agree with more or less:
-Keep Full Frame digital trucking along.
-Fill out the DX lenses - I'd probably still be shooting with one if they made a semi compact 24/1.8 DX lens to get an equivalent 35mm lens on DX. Add in 18mm and 16mm DX primes and we're there.
-Actually ship some version of the DLs. Add in a waterproof one - I'd get a waterproof/underwater 18-50 DL, it would be great.
-Kill everything else
-Make smartphone lenses to replace Coolpix.

Mirrorless alone isn't going to save them, it's just another late entry to a contracting market. It worked great with the KeyMission... They need to shore up their core business - advanced amateur photographers. The company would be smaller, but would survive.

Anyway, I doubt I'm adding anything new, and I don't have any real interest apart form that it would be a bit sad if such a historic company went under.
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Really, nothing is ever obsolete?
Old 02-15-2017   #64
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Really, nothing is ever obsolete?

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Really all we are talking about are current tech creation fetishes. There will always be imaging.
So said XEROX

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Old 02-15-2017   #65
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Other Japanese camera makers seem to be profitable (Sony, Fuji, perhaps Ricoh)

so it would seem with the right products via the right management decisions

Nikon could be profitable once again too.

I wonder how it will take Nikon to get a competitive high end mirrorless camera as well as other profitable new products to market.

but then again, all it would take is substantial sale discounts to generate needed cash on existing products.
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Old 02-15-2017   #66
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Thanks, Stephen, for adding that last category.

My other thought is they could always redesign the Df by removing most of the buttons, and reducing the rear LCD into nothing more than a control panel.

And I'll agree that they should expand the prime choices in DX lenses. Was looking for a 50mm, and couldn't find one, except a seriously mislabeled auction item from Bulgaria.

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Old 02-15-2017   #67
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Other Japanese camera makers seem to be profitable (Sony, Fuji, perhaps Ricoh)
Are their camera divisions profitable?
I doubt it.
Sony makes money from sensors, most of which don't go into consumer cameras. (I remember an article several years ago in Bloomberg where the outgoing COE of Sony said the only profitable part of the business was the employees life insurance - they were essentially a life insurance company that lost money selling TVs).
Fuji makes money from its chemical division, perhaps the instant film makes a little money, but I'm not sure it would be enough to offset the other camera areas.
Ricoh? Highly unlikely.
I don't think any camera company makes money from consumer goods except Leica and maybe Canon, and historically Nikon. For all the rest, making cameras is a hobby that is allowed to continue either because the company sees some benefit to other divisions (through either brand recognition or R&D overlap) or they are trying to save face and not admit they've failed. There just isn't the volume anymore to sustain the immense amount of development and infrastructure that making a digital camera requires. Soon the only manufactures left will be small niche players. Recently Leica has been the only small niche manufacture, but very soon the pro (and prosumer) DSLR will also be a niche product, and consumer DSLRs (D3000 series) won't exist. Smartphones will take every advantage they had and turn it into software within the next 10 years. The only advantage a dedicated camera will have is direct physical tactile buttons (shutter) and dials (zoom, manual focus, and aperture).
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Old 02-15-2017   #68
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......Still think brand names matter? Read this.
Yes, they do matter. As the turbulence of life continues to accelerate nothing is immune to changes, brand name too. Market Cap is a wonderful measure. Can you please explain the correlation between that and Brand Names? I'd like to understand.

Nikon didn't exit stage right as some markets start to collapse. Lots of companies do it, hanging on too long too deep is very easy to do. It feels safe, it reaffirms your right decision to get to where you are.

Canon has tentacles in markets, far more diverse than Nikon (e.g. copiers), so it's hard to make an informed decision without diving into both side a bit deeper.

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Old 02-15-2017   #69
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......I wonder how it will take Nikon to get a competitive high end mirrorless camera as well as other profitable new products to market.
....

They have most of the parts already done.

They have a stable of great glass in production and years of wonderful F mount lenses that could be leveraged.

There's a bit of UI that needs to be developed with respect to EVFs. This is where the camera will either be a wild success or massive failure. They need to focus on speed of use for manual controls, simplicity for the basics, get the damn cameras linked to an iPhone app to set controls. Have settings saved in the iPhone that are quick to call up.

They have such a strong stable of flash technology and such that would be built into EVERY camera. Imagine the Coolpix A that could control a flash setup the same way as a D5 can? Again, use an iPhone to control this sort of thing. What a wonderful way to lock users into the Nikon family better.

Figure out a somewhat different design to leverage the depth of the F mount. Don't just stick the lens way out there on a tube by itself, looks matter. Is there a reason we need to keep the left side of the camera sticking out as there is no more 35mm cassette to put in there?

Perhaps make a set of lenses that paint the way the old glass from the 1950's did and sell them as Artistic.

Anyone else have any ideas?

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Old 02-15-2017   #70
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Michael, while Fuji's chemical, aka film and Instax divisions do i deed make more momey than the digital cameras, the Fuji X system is profitable.
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Old 02-15-2017   #71
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Michael, while Fuji's chemical, aka film and Instax divisions do i deed make more momey than the digital cameras, the Fuji X system is profitable.
Thanks for the info!
I will add that their chemical business extends far beyond film. So much so that I believe they are not reliant on photography at all to be profitable.
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Old 02-16-2017   #72
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Hi,

there has been data published by Fuji Europe some months ago:

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Michael, while Fuji's chemical, aka film and Instax divisions do i deed make more momey than the digital cameras, the Fuji X system is profitable.
Fujifilm is producing standard films, instant films, instant cameras, archival films, RA-4 silver-halide photo paper, BW photo paper, photo chemistry, lab equipment, photo books. And they are running several huge industrial-scale mass volume photo labs in several countries.
They are making more than 2 billion $ (!) with that business.
And that business is increasing.

With their digital segment (cameras) they are making less than 900 million $, and that business is decreasing (mainly due to the collapse of the compact camera sales).

Cheers, Jan
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Old 02-16-2017   #73
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Really all we are talking about are current tech creation fetishes. There will always be imaging.
Exactly... I can't believe people think that because digital cameras are not selling like they used to, they are going to disappear. Computers are still sold even though they aren't selling like they used to.
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Old 02-16-2017   #74
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Fujifilm is producing standard films, instant films, instant cameras, archival films, RA-4 silver-halide photo paper, BW photo paper, photo chemistry, lab equipment, photo books. And they are running several huge industrial-scale mass volume photo labs in several countries.
They are making more than 2 billion $ (!) with that business.
And that business is increasing.
How much of that is due to Instax? I bet a lot. You keep trying to make an argument for the film business as a whole by riding on Instax's coattails. That's not fair.
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Old 02-16-2017   #75
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Nikon will slowly down-size until they find the proper resource balance for their marketing strategy (FX DSLR is King). Nikon makes well-engineered products. The extant F-mount lenses alone will make FX DSLRs attractive to many.

It will survive but it I believe it will be a very different company in terms of size and product diversity.
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Old 02-16-2017   #76
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Nikon does have face significant financial challenges. This is different because they did not recovered from 2009. They have steadily lost market share in practically all still-camera market segments.

Since 2009 the market changed. Nikon did not.
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Old 02-16-2017   #77
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Nikon built its reputation with two cameras in the line--the Nikon F and Nikkormat. How many models does it make today, including compacts? It costs a lot of money to try to manufacture products that appeal to all people.
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Old 02-16-2017   #78
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How much of that is due to Instax? I bet a lot. You keep trying to make an argument for the film business as a whole by riding on Instax's coattails. That's not fair.
You're wrong.
In the published data it was clear that Instax is less than 1/3 of that whole silver halide business.

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Old 02-16-2017   #79
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So said XEROX

Regards,

Tim Murphy
They still have a larger market cap than Nikon. And we still make copies, and store data, and XEROX gave us the personal computer as we know it today.

Imaging persists, and always will. My guess is some artist will conjure up film for a project 1000 years from now.

But interchangeable lens cameras full of dust, that vibrate when they turn on, not so much. Personally I hate 'em.
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Old 02-17-2017   #80
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+1.

A big Chinese company with a strong presence on the smartphone market, like Xiaomi for example, could be interested. Let's not forget that most of the cameras sold today come attached to a smartphone.

Or maybe Apple will be willing to sacrify a small part of its US$ 230 billion bounty sleeping in Irish coffers to be able to offer Nikon optics on the iPhone 8...

Cheers!

Abbazz
I do believe that in the longer term Nikon must be absorbed by a larger and more diversified company to survive. Xiaomi or Apple are certainly possibilities. The question is would Xiaomi or Apple be interested?
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