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Nikon...? PAH........!!!

Discussion in 'Everything Film' started by Blad_the_paler, Oct 8, 2006.

  1. Blad_the_paler

    Blad_the_paler Well-Known Member

    I'd just like to add...

    For two years I worked in a supermarket photographic centre, responsible for all sorts of dodgy imaging, the one thing I remember with great disgust was the new found digital camera ands its profit margins. We sold a Vivitar digital thing that retailed for around seventy pounds. It's cost to the supermarket...? Three pounds fifty...!!! As displayed by the Telxon gun on the shopfloor.

    This can only reinforce my view that Nikon have bowed out to mass market corporate consumerism at it's worse. If they can they will, and they can. At the present moment no one should bad mouth Canon. They have a very healthy range of film products and a stunning range of lenses. I have, however, always preferred Nikon. As I have said though, I think it's time to ditch Nikon like they have ditched myself and many others. As well as an FM3A and a whole host of lenses I have and love the F5. It's a shame that it has come to this but I have standards and morals. What of Nikon...???
  2. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Well I'm Canon through-and-through (well, and a few other manufacturers!) and Nikon is the one manufacturer whose products I have never really got on with, but I think you're being very unfair. If there's no cost-effective market for a certain range of products, they can't afford to supply them. They do still make the F6, so they haven't totally abandoned film, unlike most other 35mm manufacturers. Yes, Canon remains an exception, a mass-market manufacturer offering a range of film cameras, but I don't know for sure if they're actually still being made or if they're simply selling existing stock. But the market for most of them must be very small - if you look at the second-hand market for Canon's current film cameras, the prices are very, very low which surely means that there's more supply than demand - so who buys an EOS 1v at £1200 new when a s/h one is less than £400? Not many people, I suspect...
    Nikon have the advantage that the F6 is fairly new and there aren't actually that many of them out there, so if anybody specifically wants one they more or less have to buy it new.
    On the lens front, well Canon simply abandoned not only production of manual focus lenses, but the mount itself. I have always thought that was the correct decision, but many FD users were outraged, understandably so. Nikon are still making some AIS lenses, I believe, so you can't actually fault their commitment, I think. And compare it to Kyocera, who simply pulled the plug on Contax, much to the utter disgust of Contax owners. That's the kind of world it is, and I think Nikon have been entirely honourable in their behaviour - probably too much so for their own good.
  3. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    I'm sure we all agree there can be no future in developing or manufacturing unprofitable product lines.

    The claimed 68% fall in sales of film cameras (if true) also looks fairly terminal, especially if viewed year on year.

    However, the question I think many of us are asking is; would the sales of film cameras be declining anywhere near as rapidly if both film and digital equipment were sold openly, honestly and equally alongside one another (as they should be)?

    I for one think not.


  4. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    I'm sorry, this is cloud cuckoo land stuff. There isn't a market for film compacts any more because the end results that Joe Public gets are better with digital - you can thank the D&P industry for that, because time and time again I hear people saying how much better their prints are with digital. Of course we all know that a half-decent film compact can whip almost any digicam into the ground, but most of the time with normal high street D&P the digicam wins. And that's without throwing in the running costs argument - people are quite happy to fork out for the camera, yet don't much like paying for film and D&P.

    Move to the other extreme, the pro market - running costs simply make digital massively more sensible for many if not most, and again for the most part, their markets are demanding digital.

    That leaves the enthusiast market - well, there are two populations in there now. Those of us who have been around for a while, and started with film - we've mostly already got decent film cameras, and many have taken advantage of other people's dash to digital to snap up bargain cameras that we've always wanted. We're not conditioned to pay new price any more - case in point, I today received a new film SLR - used for one film only by the previous owner. I paid substantially under half the new price, and that despite the fact that it's still current. No way would I have even thought about paying the full whack. I doubt if I will ever buy a brand new film camera again*, but I've not stopped buying film cameras or film!
    The other type of enthusiast is the recent convert who started with digital - a lot of these are taking to film, but again with bargains - run-out F80s or ebay specials. Would they pay full whack? Maybe, but I doubt it.

    Now, open, honestly and equally? What do you mean? That for every digital camera on display there has to be a film camera? That every other customer who comes in for a digital camera is told they MUST have a film camera? Like it or not (and I don't, personally, very much), the market simply doesn't want new film cameras, and most retailers aren't going to take the risk of having capital tied up in stock that won't shift. The specialists will continue to have a profitable niche, though, and long may that continue.

    * If I could afford a Leica MP, that would be different!
  5. AJUK

    AJUK Well-Known Member

    I don't get bad results from my lab!

    This has been done to death I think.

    Remember, for a short while Leica stoped making M cameras!
  6. Roy5051

    Roy5051 Well-Known Member

    However, the question I think many of us are asking is; would the sales of film cameras be declining anywhere near as rapidly if both film and digital equipment were sold openly, honestly and equally alongside one another (as they should be)?

    I for one think not.


    Hear, hear, that's more or less what I have been saying for a long time.


  7. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Precisely! You know WHY they stopped, don't you? Because they were producing cameras the market just didn't want, and they nearly went bust as a result of it.
    Nikon have learned from that lesson, hence their decision to discontinue most of their film cameras. Leica have learned from it, too, which explains the M8 - what Leica customers wanted was a digital M, and that's what they've delivered. They also want film Ms, and Leica continue to deliver on that.
  8. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    No Nick; I think you are misunderstanding me.

    What I am saying is that prospective buyers should be given accurate, honest and unbiased advice with which to make a buying decision, and not flogged whatever happens to attract the best sales commission of the week.

    I would not for one minute suggest that stores should sell equal numbers of digital and film cameras, or that (heaven forbid) sales should be equal across all genders and ethnic minorities!

    However, I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect a few rolls of fresh film, or even a film camera or two from the UK's biggest high street photographic stores.

    I fully agree with most of what you say, but I do feel very strongly that the photographic industry is guilty of manipulating the market against the interests of photographers, and especially of film users.

    On that note I think I will hang up my anorak on this subject cos its getting boring now, and I have a few rolls of Velvia to develop.

    Best regards.


  9. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    If there were a real demand for film cameras the prices paid for used film bodies would be sky high simply due to the lack of product. They aren't though are they? Used film cameras sell for silly money because the demand just isn't there. We shouldn't confuse the popularity of low priced, used, film SLRs with the demand for film cameras. Most of these sales are at prices that wouldn't be worth the manufacturers efforts.

    Many enthusiasts will buy that top of the range SLR if they can have it for a fraction of the new price but I doubt these sales equate to new users, more to upgrades. I also suspect these enthusiasts will be keeping their "old" bodies because the trade in is so low.
  10. TimF

    TimF With as stony a stare as ever Lord Reith could hav

    Not quite. Its certainly the case that demand for rangefinders was adversely affected by the rise of the SLR, but in 1971, when the M4 was briefly withdrawn from production, Leica had also begun production of the M5 and were putting a lot of effort into the Leicaflex SLR cameras. If anything nearly tipped the company over the edge that time it was the failure of the M5.

    The M4 was brought back into production because of demand from professional users. Leica definitely miscalculated the decline of the M camera amongst amateur users, but that isn't the same as saying that nobody wanted the cameras any more.
  11. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Precisely! The M5 was that unwanted camera. I wasn't saying nobody wanted a rangefinder, but that Leica had misjudged the market and were producing the wrong camera. Cameras, if you count the CL. What the Leica market wanted at that time was more of the same, not radically different.
  12. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Nigel, my apologies. But I think the public are actually willing to be manipulated on this one.
    The decline predates digital - I can't recall the last time I bought film in a shop - sky-high prices and poor storage conditions meant that I've bought online or mail order for years. Retailers have got further and further from the good old camera shop to be like any other retailers, which I deeply regret but am probably partly resposible for because I've not been buying film from them - it's a real chicken and egg scenario. I want to keep using (some) film for, well, ever - but I've come to accept that means s/h cameras, or buying from a few specialists (like Robert White), and getting film online. I think there will be a halt to the slide in film sales, and maybe even a slight resurgence - I'm convinced film will become "trendy" to some extent - and I think that in the 35mm world, Cosina will win by providing good, solid manual SLRs at sensible prices once the s/h glut is exhausted. But you won't find them in every high streer. That's what I see in my crystal ball, anyway!
  13. Blad_the_paler

    Blad_the_paler Well-Known Member


    I'm not sorry i started all this because it's been good for a discussion, but...

    I do understand that Nikon have to produce what will sell. Ultimately every business has to and I'm in business, but... I do not agree to a corporate giant selling out to mass market consumerism just because they want to keep their shareholders happy and I suspect that Nikon have done just that.

    I DON'T LIKE CANON but I now admire them considerably for continuing to produce a very healthy and impressive range of gorgeous film cameras. I don't even like their lenses, all flat and boring when compared to Nikon but... I could now be persuaded by them.

    I think that ultimately I'll stay with the Blad and the three lenses I have. OK, so one inevitably crops all of the images to a rectangle thus losing the advantage of medium format but my lenses are as sharp as they can be and they have LEAD in them...!!! I shall continue to use Fuji Acros because I've found nothing to compare and, ultimately I'll be happy to plod on with Foma and D163, why, because I know that digital workers can't get anywhere near...!!! That makes me very happy, for the time being.
  14. Benchmark

    Benchmark Well-Known Member

    Hello again Nick and all,
    Well I've just finished developing nine rolls (three batches) of 120 Velvia following our recent holiday on the Isle of Man. There's some great rugged coastline there is anyone who is interested.

    We also developed four rolls of 35 mm Provia from my sons Pentax MX, so that is more enough for one night.

    Maybe we are a niche market, or even trendy, but whatever, we certainly enjoy it, and hope your crystal ball is right.

    Anyhow, thanks again to everyone for the interesting debate.

    Best regards,

  15. davidh

    davidh Well-Known Member

    Whilst a Canon user myself, I rather suspect their entry level range of film SLRs are living on borrowed time - the AF mechanism that they previously shared with the 350D has more likely than not ceased production with the 400D sharing the same AF as the 30D and its ilk, and I think that their film SLR production would only make sense if the main components were shared with their digital bretheren.
  16. Benchista

    Benchista Which Tyler

    Shaun, I like the square format - and that really IS trendy at the moment! But there's not a lot I like more than shooting square on one of my Rolleis, or even the Pentacon 6 (great lenses, lousy camera). When square works, it's just so eye-catching. Don't get me wrong, I like 645 - I also use an ancient Mamiya M645, which is very easy to cart about, produces pretty good results and no need to crop, and going the other way, a Pentax 67, which is awesome and a swine to carry to finish off my MF options. And I thank digital and ebay for allowing me to gather together a lot of this kit!
  17. El_Sid

    El_Sid Well-Known Member

    But it's the "mass market consumerism" that pays the bills... If you want a camera made by an elite maker then buy a Leica. Their M and R series cameras have never been about selling to the ordinary man in the street which clearly shows in the price. And please note that even Leica have learnt that they need a presence in the digital market if they are to continue as a going concern.

    Judging from the some of the comments posted on many forums about Nikon supply problems I would suspect that at least part of the reason for their withdrawal from the film market was that they needed the manufacturing capacity...

    Nor did I once but personally I found their AF cameras pleasant to use. As far as their range of film cameras well like Nick (I think it was Nick) I wonder whether they are actually still making them or just selling existing stock... Canon are a much bigger maker than Nikon these days and can possibly support the manufacture of film kit, even at marginal profit and maybe losses, rather more effectively.

    As I see it digital has taken over from film as the medium of choice because of the widespread availability of PCs and image editing software.

    The average happy snapper - who probably made up most of the sales of film and film kit - has never bothered with his own developing preferring to leave it to the D&P house of his choice, equally many top photographers rarely printed their own work and used professional printers such as Gene Nocon to do their printing. This leaves the amateur enthusiast as the bedrock of the home darkroom yet not all of them had either the room for or interest in the darkroom (mucking around in the dark with some rather iffy chemicals is not for everybody) which gave rise to the popularity of slides.

    Into this traditional mix was thrown the PC and the software.... All of a sudden all you needed was a computer, a scanner and a printer and a desk in the corner of an ordinary room and you could make prints, even colour ones, without spending a long time in a dark room to produce 1 decent print and numerous duff ones. Now you could do it in daylight with a minimum of mess and trouble. Even the happy snapper could produce his own prints with relative ease. Then along came a manufacturer with a digibox and said "hey with this camera you don't even need film and a scanner; you can download dozens of pictures in a fraction of the time it takes to scan one tranny or neg". For some strange reason all this appealed to that plethora of happy snappers, enthusiasts and pros who never really had the hair-shirt dedication that the masochism of home printing seems to require.

    And thus we have the current state of play...

  18. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    Never though of my self in the "Hair Shirt" brigade Nigel but you do have a point. Who would want to spend hours in the dark room, usually a cramped space with hardly room to move, in my case anway, when you can produce a sparkling colour print in around ten minutes with a computer. I include editing in that time, top quality work takes much longer but it is usually worth it and you can have a cup of tea while you work, not recommended in the darkroom!
  19. John_K

    John_K Well-Known Member

    Like the originator of this thread, I am a Nikon user and have no plans to change. 3 Nikon bodies, F4, F100, F90. 3 Nikon lenses (17/35, 28/105, & a 70/300 and a Tamron 28/300 for when I am out riding my motorcycle.

    I have tried Digital with a D100 and gave it up as there was too much work to be done to correct the limited latitude of the digital image.

    I still have a Nikon Scanner which at 4000 dpi max (That is approx 24million pixels) will give me a file size of approx 58MB miles above even a full frame Digital SLR. and always in 'RAW' mode so nothing is lost. Nor do I suffer from dust on the sensor because for every shot it has a new 'sensor' to record the image!

    Film will be with us for ages yet, and will probably see me out, and when I make a print that comes in the top 3 at club competitions I feel that my darkroom work has achieved something above those inkjet mortals.
  20. Learning

    Learning Ethelred the Ill-Named

    I think it reasonable to discontinue products that are uneconomic to make and sell. There is no reason for AF lenses to be inferior to the manual equivalents and in my experience the AF and AFD lenses are fine on a FMN2. The very light focus action allows focussing with one finger.
    My main concern is the removal of the aperture ring on G series lenses whch are designed to cover the full frame format. I still regard my FMN2 as my backup camera; it even works outdoors in cold weather.

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