Which Camera Manufacturers Might Not Survive?

The last few years have not been kind to the photography industry. With smartphone manufacturers flooding the market with easily accessible and relatively good quality cameras, the camera industry has struggled. Now, with COVID-19 hitting the mix, the tough times have become far worse. 

In a recent video, Tony Northrup discusses some of the signs to watch out for in order to determine if a company is struggling. The common practice for most companies is to declare that nothing is wrong and that they are continuing as normal. Even if a company is planning on discontinuing a whole division of cameras, it's not often that they release an announcement to confirm that.

The Sony A mount is a good example of this. As far as what has been disclosed by Sony, this line of cameras will continue to receive support, and there is no reason to assume that it will be discontinued. The sentiment in the market, however, doesn't seem to agree. 

The most worrying points for me are those that Northrup made about Nikon. As a company, they have been struggling, and a lot of the signs described in the video seem to fit what Nikon has been doing recently. Of course, I'm hoping that Nikon does recover, because as a company, they produce some of the best products on the market. 

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39 Comments

The Photographer's picture

I like nikon but have no sentiments to the company. They just sell gear I use to shoot weddings. If they go, I could stay with that system for years still. Biy used gear if I need. I have all I need with gear. I think the govt or a buyout would happen though and they would continue. I believe they are the smallest of the mfr im the market.

I think june and july will be even harder than what was now, in terms of sales for all mfr

Matt Williams's picture

Nikon smallest manufacturer in the market? They're like third, behind Canon and Sony.

Edit: third in the CAMERA market. Other companies have other divisions obviously, Olympus makes a lot of medical imaging equip, Sony makes other electronics, Canon makes printers, etc etc. Nikon does make a lot of medical equipment (X-Ray, CT, microscopes), and a lot of lenses, measuring equipment, lithography machines, etc etc for industrial use. And I'm sure a not more.

Yeah, they're smaller than Canon and Sony and Fuji and Panasonic overall, but I don't think they're going anywhere anytime soon. If anyone, Ricoh will close their camera division and MAYBE Olympus, though I hope not. Ricoh would be a shame too but I've kinda accepted it at this point.

super steel_'s picture

dont look at popularity. look at equity. money in the bank. nikon is small

Fra Kresch's picture

Perhaps if you compare their photography business. But as a company, Fujifilm is larger, Panasonic is, even Ricoh. That's the reason many people believe Nikon is vulnerable.

super steel_'s picture

their capital is far less then others. by a good margin. the others have some cash to sit on.

Matt Williams's picture

They said "in the market" - one would assume that means "photography market"

Ludwig Heinrich's picture

But its parent company is Mitsubishi which is a rather large corporation.

Deleted Account's picture

I do not own a camera company, nor do I own shares in a camera company. The question fails on its face.

However, any business which fails to adapt and then fails, deserves to fail.

Matt Williams's picture

What about smaller businesses that have adapted but don't make the same revenue as the giants and are now affected by COVID-19? Do they deserve it?

A lot of the speculation and uncertainty right now about these companies is largely due to COVID.

Charles J's picture

I didn't read it as including smaller businesses potentially failing because of COVID-19 social/political/economic ramifications. Small businesses are flexible and well adapted to their markets. Businesses are technically "open" when a state lifts safe-at-home. This makes them at default for mortgages if they cannot make the revenue to cover operational costs and loans. (Many businesses also do not open - or choose not as far as states are concerned - due to employee and community safety.) Banks have automatic mechanisms for penalties and legal action when this happens.

This type of "failure" is very different than consumers finding another company with better widgets and services.

Matt Williams's picture

1) TONS of small businesses have permanently closed because of COVID. Dury's in Nashville - the only camera store in the state of Tennessee aside from f/32 in Knoxville, closed their doors for good last week or the week prior specifically because of COVID. And Tennessee had very lax lockdown rules.

Which leads me to:

2) the issue is NOT places being open. Maybe for small businesses that's one issue. But Nikon or Canon or Sony haven't been losing tons of money during COVID because of lockdown. It's because unemployment is at an almost 100 year high. People don't have the money. And photographers can't work right now.

You're super simplifying something that is incredibly more complicated. Though, some of it, like what I've described, is very simple. No consumers having money = no sales. Closed doors or not.

Deleted Account's picture

As a person who ran a small business which failed to adapt and then made a considered decision to close down, I do not have any sympathy to your appeal to emotion.

Business principles are not subject to emotion.

The Photographer's picture

Im sorry you lost your business. I hope in due time in the future you may once again have one. Stay safe

Deleted Account's picture

I didn't lose my business; I made a very careful and deliberate decision, predicated upon well-established risk principles.

I have no regrets. One moves forward.

Matt Williams's picture

Cool thanks for your terrible opinion.

The idea that you don't care about the failure of small businesses in general is awful, but especially small business camera stores. Pretty pathetic.

And they did not "fail to adapt."

WE HAD A DAMN EPIDEMIC SWEEP THE COUNTRY

It still is.

How do you adapt to that? Seriously, tell me. And then tell all the people out of work and businesses closing that it's their fault.

What a joke.

Deleted Account's picture

I do not care. Risk management is not predicated upon emotional biases.

A failure to adapt is the same as an inability to adapt.

Matt Williams's picture

adaptation has nothing to do with a damn global pandemic

sorry you failed to adapt but that ain't the reason all businesses fail, just so you know. And COVID closures have nothing to do with small businesses folding b/c they didn't adapt. That's like blaming a person for being unemployment right now after they lost their job due to the virus.

Deleted Account's picture

It's almost as though you don't comprehend at all and your responses are driven by emotion.

See my previous response and stop wasting my time.

Deleted Account's picture

Just so you know, capital position and liquidity are pertinent to business interruption, and therefore to the corresponding risk calculus.

Deleted Account's picture

Just an FYI, the dominant factor in my personal risk calculus wasn't a failure of adaption; it was unmitigatable risk, driven by dominant clients.

But well done assuming.

Andrew Banks's picture

I just joined stoppers, hoping for some intelligent discussion about photography. Seems it is more to do with juveniles trying to get the last word. Where is the photo discussion? That’s it for me with fstoppers.

Deleted Account's picture

It's not an airport, you are don't have to announce your departure.

Bye Felicia.

Tiger Lily's picture

Oh, Usman, didn’t you write a review of the D6 just to add at the end you’ve never held one in your hands or actually used a Nikon body in your life? Yeah...

Usman Dawood's picture

I have shot with most of the full-frame Nikon cameras released over the last few years. The only one I haven't shot with is the D6.

Also, I've never written a review for any Nikon camera so far.

J R's picture

There is an adaptor for Nikon F Mounts to Sony or other "quality" mirrorless body, isn't there? If so, my care factor is significantly less than it would have been 10 years ago. I still love my D850 & D500 combo though - they are pretty damn awesome cameras, and a few years left in them for my purposes anyway.

Mr. T's picture

I worked my way from a Voigtänder Bessamatic (which I still own, btw) via Minolta (I loved the XM) and Nikon to Fujifilm X-series. It seems I may have the knack of being slightly ahead of the death spiral.

It is sad to see a well-liked company go the way of the dodo; but let's face it, it is the way of life.

Jeroen F's picture

Just another useless opinion from an so called influencer. Don't click on the click bait. Don't support these kind of people with views.

Erpillar Bendy's picture

I totally agree.

The Photographer's picture

Who the 30yo guy with the 60yo wig?
Thats wig guys think. He likes to poke and and pin mfr vs mfr for controversy.
He tries to reason and bring tiny irrelevant nonsense into this subject. Bottom line
Prices are too high, people lost jobs, no rent, no money, no sales. And this will last for at least the next 3 months (being optimistic) but for at least 6 months most likely.
June and July will be VERY hard months. More so than march April may.

nitinchandra's picture

Breaking out of the current level of technology is going to take quite a few years. Even if a company goes down, the gear does not.

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