Yesterday I had a poll on my main site asking you what you thought the next camera would be that Nikon updates. This was a crude form of crowd sourcing: sometimes a large group of relatively knowledgable folk can make accurate predictions about an area they’re familiar with.
So what did you say was next? (I arbitrarily cut the poll off at 2000 responses, which happened in about 12 hours.)
- D810 — 38%
- D3300 — 15%
- D610 —10%
- Df — 10%
- D7200 — 8%
- D700/D750 — 7% each
Personally, my vote was for the D3300.
In terms of your votes, I was surprised at a number of things:
- No, a D7200 isn’t next. This particular model line is one of the most predictable Nikon has produced (dating back to the D70 that spawned it). Two year lifecycle spans, and the D7200 is barely a year old. If a D7200 comes next, then something major changed within Nikon engineering and marketing.
- The D5500 didn’t get any love (2%). Technically, this is a more important model to Nikon than the D3300, as it has a high profit margin on excellent sales. It’s relatively easy to do an up sell to the D5500 from the D3300, too. But like the D7200, the D5500 really shouldn’t be up for replacement so fast. It’s likely on a two-year update cycle, too, which implies 2017.
- I was surprised that the D810 so clearly got the win. I do believe we’ll get an update for that model in 2016, but I personally don’t expect it to be next. Why? Because Nikon has its hands full with trying to market two new pro cameras simultaneously. They’ve not been prone to introducing three in a row, and in a short period.
- But look at the remaining votes in the group I listed above (total 34%). That’s where I think the crowd sourcing may be onto something. Somewhere in the lower end FX realm we’re going to see an update, and relatively soon. Technically, “lower” only got 27% of the votes, but I’ll extend “lower" right up to the D810 point for the moment to include a D700 update. The question is which model will we get updated?
That last sentence is one of the reasons why I ran this quick poll. Note that I just put up an article about why Nikon really needs a D700 replacement. I was curious to see how much the crowd that wants that camera thinks it is coming soon (if at all). And sure enough, there’s as many of you who think that it is still coming as a D750 update is.
I truly think that Nikon is underestimating and underserving its loyal enthusiast-to-pro user base, and low-balling them a bit in FX (e.g. D610, D750). These are the users that put Nikon where they are today. The user base that bought N8008, N90s, N80, F100, D100 to D300, D70 to D7200, and now the FX models. The user base that buys the most Nikkors, Speedlights, and accessories.
My message to Nikon is this: defend the core. Make the core for which your reputation was built one that can’t be beat by competitors. That requires a D700 and D3x followup, I think. From the D7200 to the D5 the line must be solid and complete.
This is not to say that Nikon shouldn’t continue to try to expand its core loyalist base by putting out consumer models that will get people into the Nikon system. But if you don’t make the top of the system absolutely drop-dead desirable, then any consumer buying at the low end (e.g. D3300 or even Nikon 1), is probably just a one-time catch. That person isn’t buying on “some day I’ll have one of those fantastic higher-end Nikons” premise, they’re probably buying price, mostly. As I’ve outlined before, buying on price leads companies in a race to the bottom, and that’s a race that’s not won by anyone.