Nikon Looking to Change the Concept of Cameras

Nikon Looking to Change the Concept of Cameras

We're embarking on some frightful times for camera manufactures everywhere. With stats showing that the Apple iPhone being the most popular camera used today, and Canon/Nikon/Sony producing virtually none of the camera phones components, they must come up with new ideas to win back the industry from Apple and Samsung. Nikon is looking to recapture the market, and plans for some exciting news in the future.

Flickr has gone through some trying times over the last couple years (despite its recent new design/business model), but they do have one great tool available. The Camera Finder tool shows the camera used for each upload onto flickr. A quick glance at this is scary, showing that despite Flickr still tailoring to semi-pro/pro photographers, the iPhone reigns king on even their website.


These stats have not gone unnoticed by Nikon president Makoto Kimura either. In a recent interview with Bloomberg, Kimura stated “Rapid expansion of mobile devices is a change in business environment given to us... Our task going forward is to find an answer to that change.” He went on to say “We want to create a product that will change the concept of cameras. It could be a non-camera consumer product."

Nikon, despite slow to innovate in some areas, has put out some truly interesting concepts that were left with mixed results. One of those being their Coolpix S800c, which was the first Android based camera available from a major camera manufacturer. So we want to hear from you; what would you like the future of cameras to hold in them? What do you think Nikon/Canon/Sony can do to push the DSLR and professional photography forward, and really separate it from the world of Insta-iPhoneography? Put your ideas and thoughts in the comments below.


[via Bloomberg/Verge]

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Zach Sutton's picture

Will our smart phones in 2 years have a bunch of decals on the backs of them?

"Beats By Dre"
"Lens By Nikon"
"Sensor by Sony"
"Red Accents on Lens by Canon USA"

I have an employee with some sort of (ugh) Windows Phone that advertises Carl Zeiss optics, so I think we're already there.

My 5 or 6 (Cant remember) years old nokia N95 says Carl Zeiss, and I'm sure older nokia phones have it too. This is not news.

About the article, Sony hasn't make a DSLR for 2 years. They did DSLTs and now they will be DSL(?). Canon is working a lot on focusing on sensors for videos, and their cameras are great for video too, merging different functions on their cameras. Other manufacturers are trying different types of sensors (Foveon, fujiX) and types of cameras (mirrorless , and yes, I know, nikon has a mirrorless line, but it looks more as a reaction than innovation), or functionality (olympus IBIS, VFSs, etc)

Seriously, Nikon has to be the less innovative company in photography right now. All the other manufacturers are adding something. That doesn't mean it is a bad thing. They do excellent cameras and optics, but considering an innovative company? I dont think so.

I'd love a CSC that could connect to my cellphone to upload my photos. That would be quite enough for me.
And no, I dont want a crappy camera with android in it...

Eye-Fi cards will do that just fine - assuming you are not using a CF card.

eye fi is still slow :(

Presumably not as slow as waiting to get home before you can upload shots?

had completely forgot about those, because all my cameras so far had CF cards.

I had great use out of mine when I worked mostly strait out of camera JPG's, and would push to an Android tablet, do slight tweaks in photoshop touch, then upload for web viewing. Now that I'm heavily invested into the RAW/Lighroom workflow, it has been less of an advantage. A good loupe does wonders for checking finer details while shooting.

I do not want Wi-Fi/cellular in my camera until it is available everywhere and is FREE. It's faster for me to remove the SD card and dump a bunch of photos than it is to transfer a single RAW 25MP image via Wi-Fi or worse cellular.

I also do not care if the code on my camera is open or close. I bought it to take photos. Not to boast about rooting skills. I'd rather spend the time out with my wife.

From a consumer perspective that might or might not work for the pros... put the brains of the camera in a phone/pc app and configure it all from an app there (still leaving the camera able to operate on its own after the config is uploaded, but still allowing mobile phone/pc control). Maybe introduce some kind of modular upgrade options so you start out with a box and a couple of controls and upgrade with swivel screens, extra dials, gps module etc.... and if we go mirrorless, then maybe it would become feasible to upgrade the sensor?? People who buy a 'camera' will be less likely to sit on that for the next decade, they'll be adding inexpensive upgrades adding revenue to Nikon's bottom line.

It may sound kind of far fetched, but RED is doing it, so bring it to the consumer.

Digital images always appear 2-dimensional. Meanwhile, a good film image looks 3-D even when scanned and viewed on a monitor. Basically, the difference between film and digital is the appearance of depth. So, people that are concerned with I-phone imaging should think seriously about switching to film and working in 3D instead of 2D. Then you'll have nothing to fear from the I-phone picture taking wannabes and losers.

Nick Viton's picture

Here's an idea, for Nikon at least: ASK US WHAT WE WANT!

Seems so simple. Yet they release cameras like the slow D800 or the dusty, plastic D600...

You're obviously missing the point of the D800 if you're saying it wasn't what 'we' wanted. Want a fast camera? Go for a D4 or a D3s or even a D3. They listen, they just aren't innovating.

I have both a D4 and D800. I use them both depending on the shoot. For example, sports? D4 all the way. Family photo shoot? D800. 4fps doesn't matter when you can offer the client a 20x30 NATIVE from camera. Likewise 16.1MP @ 11fps is perfect for capturing the pitcher and action, and you can switch over to the 800 for crowd/beauty shots of the stadium.

Plus look at the data rates. The D800 RAW is 2.2 times the file size of the D4 RAW. Even at 4fps the 800 can cycle almost 50 RAW before writing to the card. That's almost 2GB of data. That is impressive and innovative.

I want a non-gripped 6fps weather-sealed magnesium alloy body with 24 MP and 1080p video with 51 AF points. Aka, a journalists camera for traveling. So essentially, I want a 5d mk III, but I can't afford to just jump ship to Canon.

But you want 51 AF points that actually work, right? Better stick with Nikon!

hahah, kidding - mostly.

Look at Sony Fuji for innovation in the camera market. It sucks but i do not see Nikon or Canon doing anything extraordinary anytime soon.

Its time to dump OVF and embrace EVF, its time to get rid of the Mirror and go mirrorless. We need more organic Sensors with better DR. Time to invest some R&D money and time in coming up with groundbreaking Sensor tech.

But instead we get Cameras with small gimmicky upgrades and more of the same.

Fritz John Asuro's picture

EVF - No.
Mirrorless - yes maybe if they can make a full frame or maybe simillar to sony's translucent tech.
Sensor - As far as I can see, even my old Nikon D700 still performs well. It's just I use my cameras to what they are must used for but not to compare with other tech.

Just keep shooting.

Right? If Nikon isn't careful at some point in the future fstoppers will be running the article "When cameras stopped being cameras and became tablets".

I don't understand where you see having an EVF or better sensor tech = tablet. Im not asking for Android or IOS in a camera. there is a reason why you don't want such things in a camera (Fast boot time etc). What i am asking for is a camera release that is not just another minimal increase in upgrade just to satisfy their financial reports.

1) Nokia has the best camera on smartphones right now on the Market. Even if they only have the minority.
2) I won't EVER buy a Nikon DSLR with Android running it.
3) iPhone photos are what keeps us pro photographers in business.

Interesting third statement!

If everyone (as in consummer) moves away from DSLRs and to their phones, I guess it could create a void in quality imagery services...

All hypothetical but still, I'm interested to find out!

I should qualify my second statement with "I love Nikon, but... "

Idk, just because flickr users are mostly using their iPhones, it doesn't mean that no one is using cameras anymore...

In fact the camera without exif data, the film camera itself.

It better to create few great pictures. Not a million just random pics! :p

Andre Goulet's picture

There is still plenty of room for them to feature creep up and down their lines, so they are not likely to innovate too much. Full-frame sensors could be put into their prosumer line and that would generate sales for a few years. Mirrorless could be brought up, into their prosumer line and that would generate sales for years... my point is, don't expect any real innovation in the DSLR space anytime soon when it's relatively easy money to just move checkboxes around on your marketing material.

The most innovation will continue to happen in the pure consumer space, where you can sell many millions of something.

Well ladies and gentlemen, I am a Nikon lover in the high end DSLR's. But the old guard (s) are dying a slow death. When Sony, Nikon, and Canon change direction, They are like huge ships and must turn in 2% increments. The technology changes have democratized the Photographer's world and in a large sense is a dying art form. Read any noted futurist about the camera makers and us humans who shoot for a being populated at a rate so fast, by would be photographers. The old guard, Me, and the old crowd, nikon and the likes too.....are going away in a large way, not all, but most. There business models will not work in the next 15 years. Just look at IBM, print publishing house, etc, news print. Now we have 3-D printers about to change the world in production values. All this is positive in my view.

I do not like it, But I am not going to keep my horse and buggy for a new car. Look at GM, FORD, etc. The most classic is Sony (does anyone remember) Sony headphone and cassette players. Sony did not see it coming. Nor would I.

For me at my age of 66, adapt and change.

My thoughts for the day
Ken in KY

IBM still makes boat loads of cash... at selling services. Not so much the hardware anymore.

Just as long as they don't go fully LCD-oriented. If cameras stop having viewfinders you can put to your eye in the near future, I'm going to be very, very pissed. And I'm only thirty and I've only been taking photos for ten years, I don't know what older people might have to say about this.