Nikon Sales of High-End Cameras Slipping

Nikon Sales of High-End Cameras Slipping

Nikon has always been the silver medal holder in the High End Digital Camera race behind Canon, but always remained proud with their numbers boasting well above Sony, Fuji or Olympus. With their recent quarterly statements however, Nikon seems to be struggling even more than they had thought, and posted slipping numbers for the third quarter of the year.

Released just the other day, Nikon has shown a 41% drop in operating profit to $222 million for the last six months leading up to November. Stating that depressed demands for Professional Level DSLRs in oversea markets the reason for the flux of numbers, Nikon plans to cut its sales projections from 6.55 million units to 6.20 million - the second cut they've made this year.

While numbers are dropping considerably for Nikon, 48.2% drop in operating profit this year so far; people still have high hopes for Nikon. Many of the features made within Nikon cameras are outsourced, which will often cut into profits (but would require higher operating costs as well). Sensors are often made by Sony, and other parts come from various electronic suppliers. Is this downturn in the Pro level DSLR market a symptom of no new gear, or is it a transition to the iPhoneography and growing mirrorless market that we have come to expect?

[via Rueters]

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Zach Sutton's picture

I think this has a lot to do with Nikon not quite imbracing video yet. Sure, there cameras have them, but they don't work nearly as nice as Canon's do. Pair that up with Magic Lantern on Canon, and you can have a pretty amazing RAW video camera for an incredibly affordable price.

I personally know 3 or 4 photographers who have jumped ship to Canon for their video advancements.

Seriously?? Because they don't produce such good videos???

Let's be honest, I'm a Nikon fan. I own the D700 and I love it but what would someone buy out of the current lineup if he wanted a camera like the D700? Or in other words, what camera would someone buy who wanted to jump ship from Canon to Nikon who has a 5DMKIII? A D800? Hmmm?!? Nope. A D610? No thank you. That only leaves a used D3 or D700 and it isn't quite as good as the 5DMKIII. And yes, THAT camera as no video.

Up till the D610 Nikons line-up is okay. And the D4 is also okay. The 1DX is better though. It is also more pricey

No really, video is a big deal for many who both photos and video. One of my good buddies was a D700 shooter and loved it, but had to move to a 5D Mark II because she needed video. You're in Denial. It's ok, I used to be a Nikon fan too.

Jaron Schneider's picture

The D600 is heinously annoying to shoot video on. Inability to change camera settings, like aperture, while in live view video mode is horrible.

If the lighting conditions don't change, it takes really good video actually but as soon as it becomes brighter, it's amateur hour with having to stop shooting or raising the shutter speed (which changes the look). The ISO settings come in handy when it's dark.

Sorry that you don't know what AIS is, you're really an embarassment to the photographer community, with your lack of basic knowledge of the cameras you like to ignorantly beetch about so very often.

Also, it's HEINOUSLY hilarious how you compare a $2 nikon camera to $3 ones from canon. Talk about being clueless AND IGNORANT.

@Blabla...... Do you mean me?? Your comment is neither helpful nor well articulated.

@Mansgame Which part of my comment was about denial? I know full well that Canon has the better lineup at the moment. Still I don't think that there are millions of people switching from Nikon to Canon simply because Canon does better Video. Are there some? Sure. But I also know of some that switched from Canon to Nikon because they like the handling, haptic and the image quality.

And shooting video comes down to way more than just the camera. If you want to shoot quality video you need to have a steadycam, a slider........
My D700 can't shoot video and I don't need the video capability but if I would need it, I would go for a GoPro. It is easy to use, rugged, small, I can put it onto my camera, I don't need to switch a whole camera system....
But that's just me.

james moro's picture

actually, nikon has better video (ignoring canon's video-only DSLRs). the 5d3 doesn't have uncompressed RAW data. the D800 does.

Is this true? I've never heard of such thing... I've been shooting video with Nikon for over a year now (I own 2 d7000), and image look very clean, even at hi iso's.

james moro's picture

it's all canon-fanboy bs. the d800 has superior video quality. think about it: 36MP massive dynamic range sensor vs the ancient 5d2 sensor. not to mention the 5d2/3 cameras do not offer uncompressed RAW video. compression = lower quality. this is a fact. compression of a low dynamic range sensor recording video = lower quality video.

None of this is accurate. Having a higher resolution sensor when you're downsizing to 1080p will not a better image make. Once you go beyond what you need to get a full resolution debayer, they have to start selectively throwing away resolution in a technique called line skipping. Not to mention that resolution is only one area of video quality. The 5d3 is better in low light, doesn't exhibit fixed pattern noise and rolling shutter is under control.

Without a hack, none of these cameras do raw video (uncompressed or otherwise); You need to go to a blackmagic cinema camera for that. What you're referring to is uncompressed video over the camera's hdmi output. The 5d3 also offers uncompressed over hdmi (added in a firmware update).

The d800 is a decent camera for video and I've seen good work produced with it, but Canon and Panasonic are leading the charge in terms of video quality in dslrs.

I have never been a Canon fanboy. If anything I was Nikon fanboy until the D600 opened up my dust filled eyes. Every video test I've seen shows the canon outperforming Nikon. Try panning and you'll see the difference. Try the live autofocus and you'll see the difference. compressed vs. uncompressed doesn't matter if your shot looks like jello.

Actually it's the other way around, Canon has uncompressed RAW video for the mark 3 when using the Magic lantern hack.
Nikon has uncompressed via HDMI but not RAW.

Agreed. They fcked up the lineup with no D300 successor, no true D700 successor, no D700s, so many small problems that are adding up over the entirety of their lineup compared to Canon, sadly.

Nick Viton's picture

Here's an idea for Nikon; Make the cameras we want.

And you know, not have dust.

Yeah and since we all want the same thing it will be even easier than you said.

Jared Monkman's picture

I actually agree with this. Everyone has slightly different needs and wants!

Nick Viton's picture

you're being literal and missing the point.

Nikon's problem is partially self inflicted and has been predicted for a while. The company's current policy is driving consumers away. First, they are way too aggressive in trying to turn their service centers into profit centers. They refuse to sell parts to third party service centers then claim "impact damage" (for any tiny scratch) to refuse warranty service. Second, despite their denials their QC debacle is soiling their name. More important is how they deal with. Changing a model name from D600 to D610 allows them to escape a recall but screws over thousands of loyal D600 customers. Sure, the market is shrinking but Nikon's management is making the company sink faster.

Forgot about the service and how expensive it is given they're the only game in town.

The D4 isnt new anymore
The D800 isnt new anymore, many people are just buying over-zealous people's used d800 or refurb.
The D600 had dust/oil issues so people were shy to buy it.
There is no true D300s replacement yet.
Lower end cameras have been getting lukewarm reception.

I would also assume the global economy being pretty poor isnt helping things. People are much more likely to buy used now more than ever.

This is quite the menagerie of hearsay and ignorants.

Nikon, much like Apple has always had the attitude that "Nikon knows best" and "we will not apologize". Maybe it's a cultural thing, I don't know. Dealing with Nikon has been like dealing with an old college professor with liver spots on his bald head , but I digress. Some companies like Apple can get away with (at least so far) with giving customers what they THINK the customer wants, but Nikon is #2 and they aren't considered cool. They can't get away with it.

That's why before the D3/D700/D300 lineup came out, Canon was just absolutely killing Nikon. Every wedding or sporting event I went to before that had Canon Photogs. At that point, Nikon did right by photographers by giving them a solid pro lineup without compromise. The D700 blew the doors off anything Canon had and caused Canon to answer with offering video. D300 was a solid pro DX camera. Even the entry and mid-range cameras were better than most anything Canon had. The D40 was better than the XT. D80 was better than the XTi. Later the D90 was a darling of mid-range users as it was the perfect price point and functionality. Pros embraced these cameras.

Then Nikon got greedy. They started spitting out entry level cameras and created a sub-catagory between entry and mid-range with the ridiculous D5000 that nobody wanted. People wanted more FX choices but for 4 years the D700 at $3000 was the only choice. It was $3000 for the entire time too. People wanted better video and had to settle for the absolutely horrible video of the D90 and the D7000.

FINALLY, Nikon decided to come out with the new FX lineups. The D4, loved by many and it was no surprise. But then the D800 came out. What? 36MP sensor? Who asked for that? Mostly studio shooters and landscape guys. Great camera but not what the people wanted - a Baby D4. D800 is not ideal for sports nor weddings given the massive file sizes. And some had left focus issues, but eventually the camera got off the ground and has a solid following. Not as solid as the D700 however.

Then the D600 came out. Don't get me started on the D600. (ok fine, I'll start). People wanted a $1600 entry level FX camera but instead got a $2100 entry level FX camera. At that price point, the camera better have had its act together and offer a solid spec sheet. It did not.

The flash sync was 1/200, max shutter speed was 1/4000, the AF system was exactly the same as the D7000 cameras which on an FX viewfinder were centered to the center, video didn't allow for changing the aperture while in movie mode, no gps, no wifi, no swivel screen, no fully metal body, etc.

The saving grace was that the 24 MP sensor while too big for most, was a great sensor. Much like an arranged marriage, people learned to love it until wait for it... wait for it...people started noticing spots in their pictures. Surely this was user error they were told on here, flickr, Nikonians, and other websites. Nikon wouldn't put out a camera without QCing it!

Soon a few dozen people turned into a few hundred people and Nikon admitted nothing was wrong. It got to the point where if you even typed Nikon D600 on google, google would suggest "dust" . At first all the Nikon fanboys were attacking D600 owners telling them to stop whining and all cameras have dust, but they had no idea how much dust and oil the D600 shutter was spraying.

It got to the point that even Nikon offered a Nopology saying "maybe there is dust". They never offered an explanation of what was wrong and how they were going to fix it. They'd just get the cameras, wipe them off and send them back only for the dust to return after a dozen shutter clicks.

The D600 went from $2100 to $1600 in 3 months. Surely Nikon would keep on supporting the D600 and come up with a solution. They did. They called the D610 and told the D600 to eff off with their worthless dusty cameras.

So Nikon, are you surprised? Really? REAAAALLLLLY? You screwed the pooch. You're untrustworthy.

Zach Sutton's picture

Well said.

very well said indeed!

Tony Guillaro's picture

I love Nikon...But you are spot on sir

Well written!!! Thanks Mansgame, I feel the same way!

Not to mention the green screen nonsense that was supposedly more accurate. I owned many Nikon cameras over the years and they lost me completely after they sold me a lemon of a d800 with poor autofocus (not just the left points) and an off color LCD! Canon's 5D III's sensor isn't as good, but it auto focuses all the time! It's what the D800 should have been.