Nikon - where art thou?

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Andreas Berglund
In My (not so humble I admit) Opinon, The two biggest competitors to Nikon right now are Nikon themselves and the Nikon cameras we already have. I know this is a bit of a tirade, but something has to give. Don't get me wrong I love my Nikon's and would so very much want them to succeed, but if you look at the competitive landscape right now, to quote George Thorogood: Looking bad!
  • Excuse me Nikon but I would like to know what your cohesive long term strategy is, before I buy into it (more then I already am). Many of the competitors do have a clear long term strategy, Canon, Fuji, Olympus, Panasonic, but maybe not Sony’s everything and the kitchen sink but not lenses. And they are pretty far ahead by now in some areas. How long do you think we are willing to wait? I’m not - I’m going to buy a little 1 inch camera soon, Sony, Panasonic and Canon have lots of options. Nikon has the J5 (?)
  • The Nikon 1 (and DL) debacle clearly shows you don’t know your customers (what I wanted was a larger than 1 inch sensor enthusiast camera with direct control and familiarity with larger cameras UI, not a one button plastic camera with multiple color options) A lot of the technology in the Nikon 1 was great, AF speed, FPS etc, but then we had the minor issue of a lack of a complete set of quality lenses of for Nikon 1. If one looks at the 32mm F1.2 one can clearly see that with the right optics, the Nikon 1 could have been a dandy. And then the DL introduction, came with what looked like really good 1 inch cameras but was botched and delayed forever. No I didn’t preorder, who would with all the uncertainty? I was waiting to Nikon to tell me when it would finally ship. But I was waiting for them - I didn’t buy a Sony in between.

  • What I would like to get to see is Nikon covering
    • Small cameras, medium cameras and big cameras, with the same approach. Similar full control UI so it is easy to move between cameras (like you can now between D3400 to D5) , focusing on enthusiasts and pros.
    • A larger sensor size enthusiast oriented reasonably light and small mirror less camera series, I would prefer APC that can use my F mount lenses natively. I don’t care that it is bulkier, F mount rules! And BTW we need a few really great DX small size wide angle primes (16mm F2.8 a 24mm FX equivalent, maybe a 11mm (16mm equivalent) as well. Nikon should check out the Canon M5, small enough, same UI, same sensor but lacking in features compared to Olympus.
    • A lot more software features and built in connectivity in the cameras. Look at the features in the Olympus E-M1 II! Auto Af Stacking mode, Half press shutter and it is pre-recording 14 RAW’s so I won’t miss that bird takeoff!
    • Top of the line pro cameras with all bells and whistles. D500 and D5, and D810 are great cameras, give us the option of more software features and connectivity that works in a pro environment. 16 bit Dynamic Range would be very compelling to me.
    • Why not a Hybrid D900 both mirror less and mirror, so we can see a (true RAW) histogram superimposed on a optical viewfinder, Focus peaking and zebras etc. Should be possible to do.
    • Lenses are actually a pretty good story, sure there are some holes in it, DX primes, 135mm, more VR in lenses etc. but overall pretty good, The 200-500 was a great introduction to help a new generation get into Telephoto birding and sports at a great price
    • Notice I didn’t say Video, because I don’t care, but you know 4k is minimum requirement now, pretty much everyone else has it.
  • Have you and how are you addressing the quality issues of the last couple of years. Just ignoring them didn't work. We all live in the internet age and you know we talk among each other. D800/D800e Left AF issue, D600 spots on sensor, 200-500 AF issue in first batch to name a few. Then Nikon could spend less on customers repair so that they actually could provide good customer care. Nikon has closed customer service facilities here in Canada so we now have to, at our own expense, send the gear all the way to the vicinity of Toronto, Ontario. I live on the west coast on Vancouver Island, and it is EXPENSIVE and time consuming sending insured expensive cameras and lenses all across a whole continent. And then we have the service itself. Nikon has the most stone age online system ever devised for us to try to figure out:
    • What the status is of my repair?
    • When it will be ready?
    • What will it cost?
    • What repairs and adjustments did you actually do, what parts where used etc. Test protocoll etc.
    • And unfortunately, why didn't you do the job properly, why do I now have to pay to send it back and wait for another 3 weeks waiting for it to be fixed and sent back. (It has happened several times for me in the last 4 years)
    • And above all why can't you pick up the phone and call me when something is unclear? I asked for it and left a phoen number. I have never had a call from Nikon repair. I recall sending in a 70-300 3 times and it came back with the same very obvious problem (Oscillated when AF approaching infinity focus and not by a little margin) I had to call and escalate to a manager to get it done properly.
    • BTW I can compare since I shoot Canon now for the telephoto part of my photography, Canon has great service and has a good web app that one uses BEFORE one sends the equipment in and can easily track the repair. And Canon has a simpler form of CPS for people like me with a lot of very expensive gear. And they have called me several times to make sure I'm happy. And I am.

End rant…..
 
Joined
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Newcastle, Washington
Wow, now that's saying like it is. Not sure I can add anything to this excellent summary, it certainly speaks to how I feel and I'm sure many others as well. Hopefully someone of significance at or near Nikon will read this and carry the message forward.
 
Joined
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Nashua, NH
You certainly cover a lot, probably everything. I don't care about several items, but everything you say about repair and CPS is important to me.
 
Joined
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New Mexico
Odd man out here...completely thrilled with my 7 bodys and 14 lenses.
NEVER needed service in my 9 yrs w/ Nikon (switched from 35 yrs w/Canon)
Nikon makes me $$ hand over fist...with nary a complaint. I need nothing, thx. :D

Oh, it's "where art thou" ;)
 
Joined
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Los Angeles, USA
I used to have an all Nikon kit, but from the moment mirrorless came, I expanded to other systems. In fact I'm using 3 systems right now! Nikon is still my core system, because they have the most mature lens line-up and in my opinion the best image processing and high ISO performance. The problem with Nikon is that DSLRs have lost a lot of their flexibility. That's where the other systems fill-in the niches. I actually like Sony's strategy with an FF and APS-C mirrorless system sharing the same mount. The problem with that is that Sony is just reinventing the wheel and their native offerings and lens sizes don't offer any advantages. Where Sony does excel is in adapting other lenses. I'm currently adapting all my lenses on a Sony A7 II rig. Luckily I can AF anything (using adapters) from old MF lenses to my current Nikon AF glass. I'm also shooting M43 Olympus used for street/travel shooting and the body to lens size ratio is perfect. Paired with 5 axis IBIS I can shoot crazy low light subjects better than anything FF. My only issue with M43 is that there is no upward large sensor solution. Despite punching above it's weight, M43 does have certain limitations due to the smaller sensor mainly in portraiture and landscape.

Nikon can just start simple. Release a fix lens FF mirrorless camera, with all the Nikon 1 mirrorless tech, make it Speedlight compatible, shares batteries with current Nikon DSLRs and please keep it simple and stick to SD memory cards! It doesn't have to be fancy or complex, all we want is companion to our DSLRs! After that, just play it by ear!

Nikon image processing is top dog:
33214167281_f0cd2acab8_b.jpg
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170307_STERN_FRIOLO__MODEL_131 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

Sony lets me auto focus anything, even obscure Russian glass like the Helios 44:
33301541456_d784e53343_b.jpg
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170307_STERN_FRIOLO__MODEL_061 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

Olympus lets me shoot at f/13, 1 second shutter and at base ISO, all handheld! M43 rewrites the rules of photography:
31436737634_34cf5edfa6_b.jpg
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170112_FRIOLO_EX01_MOTION_02 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
 
Joined
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In the old days when we shot film we likely bought fewer bodies, once we had AF. Maybe less glass too. The interesting innovation for me was in film. How was Nikon profitable when we bought less stuff? There were many more film camera makers back then, and medium and large film formats.
 
Joined
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Sandpoint, Idaho
I'm very happy with Nikon; shot Nikon for over 20 years, switched to Canon for about 15 and then back to Nikon. I currently have 4 bodies and 16 lenses, my only contact with Nikon service was to get my my D800 batteries replaced and they took care of this for me. I've read both bad and good reports on their service. There are things I'd really like to see them make, a digital Nikonos has topped my list for quite awhile but I'm guessing the market share just isn't there for a niche camera like that. I saw a rumor post from Glenn recently that mentioned the 810 & 7200 followup bodies (820 & 7300) and 5 new lenses this year. I doubt I'll be able to afford any of them, but given the direction of camera sales that's a pretty good product mix assuming they can deliver. All I hope for is these new bodies/lenses push down the 810 price so I can pick one up.
 

kilofoxtrott

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I'm shooting Nikon since 1988. Analog with the F801 (N8008). I had only 3 lenses and the world was perfect until a friend of mine (and professional photographer) loaned me his F4s for a weekend.
It was a hard fight but I didn't buy one.
Then the technology changed to digital. I got a Coolpix with 3.4 MPix. Upgrading to a DSLR I bought a Canon 350D. A good camera but we didn't become friends. In 2010 the Nikon D700 arrived at home.
The D800 and D810 are serious competitors but I'll stay with the D700. Perhaps I'll add a D3s or a D4 to my equipment. Let's see...

Regards
Klaus
 
Joined
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Andreas Berglund
I'm glad you are having a good experience like it should be, and with much of my Nikon gear, I am to. As you saw my service experience has not been great, and I know I'm not alone.

However my main concern is that Nikon is seemingly rudderless right now. The pro gear is humming along with good iterative products but little real innovation. My point is that there have been several failed introductions with gear target towards the wrong audience, and Nikon are paying for it now. The competition is not sitting around waiting for Nikon.

Sub compacts: Sony, Panasonic and even Canon have some quite impressive lines if cameras here. Check out Canon G5 x, when it goes into mark II it could just be a dandy little camera, with lots of manual control and a EVF viewfinder. The DL Line would have been a pretty good competitor here, even-though it was very late

Mirrorless: Olympus, Panasonic latest bodies looks very impressive, and the lens catalogue of M4/3rds is impressive. Fuji XT-2 has been very well received, and they have a great prime lens lineup. Canon has made a pretty strong entry it seems but are lacking native M lenses, but with a canon adapter you can use pretty much any Canon lens. Sony has a lot here too from FF to AP-C, and the lens catalog is filling up slowly. Nikon silch.

AP-C Both Nikon and Canon are getting real competition from Fuji, Sony, Olympus and Panasonic, they have on average a great lens set for enthusiast and pro caliber shooters. Both Nikon and Canon desperately need to fill out their DX wide angle primes with at least a 24mm equivalent prime lens.At least the D500 finally came 3-4 years late, but a great entry it is.

Full Frame and Pro. This is where Nikon's shines of course, the D750 and D810 are very good products with class leading DR and great resolution, but even though I don't care much the Video part is lacking, and it is lacking across many of the the product lines, Nikon doesn't seem to have taken that seriously. My inbox is full of ads from my dealers about Video stuff that I have no idea what it is really for but there must be a reason why they are sending it, it seems to be a fast growing segment. Of course the D5 is a great camera, wish I could afford one :)

Finally a note about my telephoto experience: As some of you know I now shoot Canon for my birding stuff. It was a combination of my badly hurting feet and the grueling weight from my 600mm VR and my 400m F2.8 II and seeing that on the other side of the fence the 7DMKII with 10 fps and great AF for tracking birds and the Canon much lighter lenses with FL already out there. And the fact that Nikon had not released the D500 and the new FL telephoto lenses at the time. Then Nikon released the new 600mm FL at over $3000 more (!) than the similar specd. Canon 600mm IS II. I realized that I simply couldn't afford buying the new Nikon FL lenses/ body I wanted. So I jumped with open eyes. Experience has been very good. AF and sharpness is excellent. And as mentioned Canons service is very good, for $100 one can be a Gold CPS member and it has good benefits making it worth it (loaner gear, lower service cost faster turnaround etc. The only thing I wish for is a 7DMKIII with a better sensor with higher DR for better shadow recovery, but in due slow Canon time it will arrive probably next year. And the Canon 400mm DO II (Fresnel equivalent lens) is an amazing hand holdable 640mm equivalent lens on my 7DMKII, and at F4 it does well with a Tele extender 1.4 for 900mm equivalent hand holdable reach. This is a superlight and short lens and pretty much any birder that tries is drooling. The 300m PF is just not in the same league..... a 600mm DO II is coming maybe this fall. With the price difference now at about at least $1000 more for the Nikon FL lenses, Nikon better watch it here too. The D500 seems to be a little better spced. than the 7DMKII but not by that much.

What I am saying is that Nikon needs to innovate and show us that they are viable, its a tough competitive world out here, and as an airline used to say, we know you have a choice and appreciate your flying with us.... I would like to fly Nikon for many years no Nikon please help me justify it.





Odd man out here...completely thrilled with my 7 bodys and 14 lenses.
NEVER needed service in my 9 yrs w/ Nikon (switched from 35 yrs w/Canon)
Nikon makes me $$ hand over fist...with nary a complaint. I need nothing, thx. :D

Oh, it's "where art thou" ;)
 
Joined
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Jonathan it is interesting to hear your pro level experience, the shot with the Olympus is unreal, their E-M1-II seemingly can get over 6 stops of image stabilization with their pro lenses, unbelievable! That's the kind of innovations we need

I used to have an all Nikon kit, but from the moment mirrorless came, I expanded to other systems. In fact I'm using 3 systems right now! Nikon is still my core system, because they have the most mature lens line-up and in my opinion the best image processing and high ISO performance. The problem with Nikon is that DSLRs have lost a lot of their flexibility. That's where the other systems fill-in the niches. I actually like Sony's strategy with an FF and APS-C mirrorless system sharing the same mount. The problem with that is that Sony is just reinventing the wheel and their native offerings and lens sizes don't offer any advantages. Where Sony does excel is in adapting other lenses. I'm currently adapting all my lenses on a Sony A7 II rig. Luckily I can AF anything (using adapters) from old MF lenses to my current Nikon AF glass. I'm also shooting M43 Olympus used for street/travel shooting and the body to lens size ratio is perfect. Paired with 5 axis IBIS I can shoot crazy low light subjects better than anything FF. My only issue with M43 is that there is no upward large sensor solution. Despite punching above it's weight, M43 does have certain limitations due to the smaller sensor mainly in portraiture and landscape.

Nikon can just start simple. Release a fix lens FF mirrorless camera, with all the Nikon 1 mirrorless tech, make it Speedlight compatible, shares batteries with current Nikon DSLRs and please keep it simple and stick to SD memory cards! It doesn't have to be fancy or complex, all we want is companion to our DSLRs! After that, just play it by ear!

Nikon image processing is top dog:
33214167281_f0cd2acab8_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

170307_STERN_FRIOLO__MODEL_131 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

Sony lets me auto focus anything, even obscure Russian glass like the Helios 44:
33301541456_d784e53343_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

170307_STERN_FRIOLO__MODEL_061 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr

Olympus lets me shoot at f/13, 1 second shutter and at base ISO, all handheld! M43 rewrites the rules of photography:
31436737634_34cf5edfa6_b.jpg
Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

170112_FRIOLO_EX01_MOTION_02 by Jonathan Friolo, on Flickr
 
Joined
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In my opinion Nikon is starting to price themselves out of the market. Not that I really care as I have more lenses than any one person really needs. Only down to two bodies, the D810 and D800. Only lens I thought about buying is the 105/1.4, but I am not over;y excited about it that I would mindlessly shell out the asking price. No problems with Nikon quality or their repair service, both are above board.
 
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Clearwater, Florida
I think technology is just moving too fast for most of these companies to keep up. Plus their core business is threatened by previously unforeseen competitors. Did anyone predict that phone cameras would get so good so quickly? They have effectively eliminated the compact camera market. Could anyone have guessed that a Chinese upstart drone maker like DJI would buy the venerable Hassleblad corporation? Shocking!

I think Nikon is taking a deep breath and surveying the landscape. They were right to nix the Nikon 1 line if they felt there was no market for that body. They now need to figure out what niche they can fill to survive. In my mind, their only option is the high end DSLR market with quality bodies and pro-level lenses. As Andreas pointed out, this will also necessitate an improvement in their customer service.
 
Joined
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USA
If anyone is still watching this thread, with the invention of the Sony A9 that this will be the future of cameras and Nikon is not even playing as of August of 2017. The A9 has surpassed almost every limitation that mirrorless had problems with and added more features to boot. There are numerous youtube videos on the A9 that show this. Backlit scenes are now conquered, lowlight focus beats DSLR's as the video I've included shows, silent shutter, speeds over 20fps, 5 axis stabilization that can work with lens stablilized as well as lenses that are not. Seems Sony is leading the way right now. Oh, I don't own a Sony and just bought a Canon M5 to get into the mirrorless system.
Here is the video that shows the A9 out focusing the D5 in about -3EV conditions (if you just want to watch the low light focus, fast forward to the 19 minute mark). The name of the video is "
A9 vs D5 Real World Comparison - The Sony Shocked us!
 
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Joined
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For me, if I am carrying fast glass or long glass it makes no difference if the body is a DSLR or mirrorless. The glass is what makes the package big/heavy.
 
Joined
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Marysville, WA
In a lot of ways I agree with Andreas. Over the years I have almost made a Canon switch several times, the last time when the 7D series started showing up and I was shooting D300's. Over time I have had to make tough decisions, how much was I willing to pay to save a couple of pounds of weight, what I have found is that those differences were less important to me than what I gained from Nikon. For reference, I am a 67 year old white guy who is not is superb physical condition ;), but still is dumb enough to cart around 2 D500's, 600mm f4, tripod, Jobu gimbal, 300mm PF, 3 TC's and a protein bar for lunch. I just go slower at times.

I always enjoy these threads/debates/rants. Over the years one thing I have come to learn, the grass is not always greener over there, but it certainly is different. We all have our reasons for doing what we do, accept yours for what they are. I have spent a lot of time chasing other peoples, and have come to regret it every time that mattered.

Nikon can just start simple. Release a fix lens FF mirrorless camera, with all the Nikon 1 mirrorless tech, make it Speedlight compatible, shares batteries with current Nikon DSLRs and please keep it simple and stick to SD memory cards! It doesn't have to be fancy or complex, all we want is companion to our DSLRs! After that, just play it by ear!

Jonathan, as always, great stuff and I like your candid comments. I just had a very pleasant Nikon surprise. My wife, Nancy, has been using a Nikon 1 V3 for the past several years, but has always complained a bit about EVF in general, especially tracking moving subjects. I posted a thread a bit ago about getting her a D5600 for her birthday. This little sucker is lighter, and the only dimension that is appreciably larger is the "front to back", makes sense for the mirror. As far as quality goes, frankly I am rather amazed. I certainly prefer an OVF, although the EVF does give "real time" exposure. Now, if Nikon REALLY wanted to play nice, just make the danged batteries the same between ANY bodies!!!!
 
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Joined
May 11, 2006
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Odd man out here...completely thrilled with my 7 bodys and 14 lenses.
NEVER needed service in my 9 yrs w/ Nikon (switched from 35 yrs w/Canon)
Nikon makes me $$ hand over fist...with nary a complaint. I need nothing, thx. :D

Oh, it's "where art thou" ;)
That makes 2 old men

1 repair in 12 years and it was my fault

D500 wow
500e dbl wow
200-500 wow
.
.
,
 

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