Nikon feels the squeeze

Taranaki Daily News - - Technology & Science - BLAYNE SLABBERT

One of the most com­mon posts found on cam­era web­sites is sto­ries about ‘‘why I left Canon/ Nikon’’.

They out­line how a once pas­sion­ate pho­tog­ra­pher be­came dis­grun­tled and switched to one of the smaller, more in­no­va­tive cam­era mak­ers.

It’s one ex­am­ple of how the dom­i­nance of Canon and Nikon is wan­ing, de­spite still be­ing the topselling man­u­fac­tur­ers around the world

This is es­pe­cially the case with Nikon, which has had a rough year. First, its sales were down 26 per cent last fi­nan­cial year and it made a sig­nif­i­cant loss. They are also los­ing mar­ket share in ev­ery cam­era cat­e­gory.

Next, it an­nounced it was clos­ing a cam­era fac­tory in China. That was fol­lowed by the com­pany say­ing it was to stop sell­ing cam­eras and lenses in Brazil.

Then came news that Nikon dropped one place in the full frame cam­era mar­ket in the United States with Sony tak­ing its spot. Canon is still No.1.

They are the sort of re­sults that makes you com­pare Nikon to Ko­dak, which failed to tran­si­tion from film to dig­i­tal and even­tu­ally filed for bank­ruptcy.

Nikon, which still makes ex­cel­lent cam­eras, is not go­ing to dis­ap­pear any­time soon, but it does need to do two things: innovate and try harder to win over cam­era fans.

Com­pa­nies like Sony, Fu­ji­film, Olym­pus and Pana­sonic are more in­no­va­tive and will­ing to take risks. They have all been ag­gres­sively re­leas­ing mir­ror­less cam­eras that are be­com­ing more pop­u­lar as the tech be­comes com­pa­ra­ble with tra­di­tional DSLRs.

And while Canon and Nikon still have hard­core fans, more peo­ple are flock­ing to on­line com­mu­ni­ties cre­ated by the smaller man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Win­ning the hearts of fans is key in an in­dus­try that’s dom­i­nated by so­cial me­dia. Nikon can’t sur­vive by just re­ly­ing on its fa­mous name to sell cam­eras.

All cam­era mak­ers face tough times. Smart­phones have eaten away at their sales and profits and the good times are long gone.

What’s left is an all-out fight for sur­vival.

Nikon is show­ing signs of a fight back. A few months ago it re­vealed it was re­leas­ing a new high-end mir­ror­less cam­era but it’ll need more than a new model to stop it from the same fate as Ko­dak.

All cam­era mak­ers face tough times.

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