Speculating about what a camera manufacturer may do is always fun…but also a ‘shot in the dark’…kind of thing to do. A little over a month ago an interview done by Nikon executives in Japan received a lot of camera media coverage with the (translated from Japanese) statement “bringing in multiple mirrorless cameras at an early stage”. This was interpreted by many folks to mean that Nikon would be launching some larger sensor mirrorless cameras in the very near term. Perhaps a lot of wishful thinking is wrapped up in that interpretation. There could be another, simple way to interpret that translated statement.
Nikon executives have recently stated a number of times that the company intends on staying the course with its current DSLR product line-up of full frame and APS-C cameras, and with the Nikon 1 system. Nikon executives have confirmed that the company is interested in the mirrorless market, specifically monitoring larger sensor mirrorless camera models. To me this sounds that Nikon is still quite tentative about larger sensor mirrorless cameras, rather than signalling that the company is preparing to aggressively invest a ton of capital in this market this year.
With the cancellation of the DL camera line Nikon’s action signalled that it is looking for product profitability, not simply revenue growth at any cost. Since R&D investments in Nikon 1 lenses have already been done some time ago, there is no need for Nikon to put a bunch of scarce cash into the development of more Nikon 1 lenses…at least not in the short term.
The company could expand the market appeal of the Nikon 1 system by introducing a couple of improved CX sensor Nikon 1 bodies, then leverage its existing line-up of Nikon 1 lenses. If Nikon wanted to send a message to the market about it being committed to the Nikon 1 system it would need to take a ‘go big or go home’ marketing approach. A dual Nikon 1 new model launch would do that for them.
This leads me to think that we may see a joint launch of a J6 and a V4 (or perhaps a V5 model if the ‘4’ is skipped over) perhaps as early as 2017. Nikon has gotten a bit of a bloody nose from the V3’s rather convoluted design, but the J5 has been met with very positive reviews. Also, according to comments made by some Nikon executives the sales of J5 cameras have been good.
Whether Nikon is committed to the Nikon 1 system in the long term is anyone’s guess. In the near term we do know that the interchangeable lens camera market has been far more stable in terms of industry volumes than has the fixed lens camera market. Plus the current line-up of Nikon 1 lenses does represent an opportunity for Nikon to generate some cross-selling revenue if it can improve the market acceptance of the system with updated J-Series and V-Series bodies.
I’m not a betting man but I do think it is a safer bet that we’ll see the concurrent launch of two CX sensor Nikon 1 mirrorless cameras, rather than Nikon announcing any full frame or APS-C mirrorless bodies in the near term. That’s my Canadian 2 cents worth.
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