Black Friday? More Like Lack Friday

NikonUSA just sent out an email labelled "Black Friday Special Preview." Supposedly, this "sale" "starts today." 

I'll save you the details: the same discounts on the Z50 and Z5 that have been running for awhile. 

Overall, Nikon's mirrorless products are at the lower end of the pricing spectrum than their competitive products, and have been for awhile now. But these are not special discounts in any way shape or form, and not likely to pull in any buying that isn't already occurring. Nikon's problem has been and continues to be that they're not converting established Nikon F-mount users to the Z-mount as fast as they could be. 

The "easy pickings" in terms of Nikon user upgrade sales have already been obtained via the Z6 and Z7, and to some degree, the Z50. It's the lingering D7200/D500 or D610/D750 type of user that's not budging because the mirrorless cameras don't really seem to offer as much of an upgrade as these folk would want. The D610/D750 users are hung up on dynamic range for some reason, and not seeing the feature and other benefits of the mirrorless cameras—as usual, partly due to Nikon's terrible marketing—while the DX users continue to see Fujifilm as making the camera and lenses (buzz, buzz) that they really want. Nikon likes to think that a Z5 will attract the D7200 user as a possible upgrade. The problem with that is that those users will go backwards on some things just to gain the FX sensor, and most of their lenses would have to be replaced.  

Nikon needed a better DX solution to move the masses from DSLR to mirrorless: a Z DX body better than a D7500, and some lenses that would attract those users. So, a Z70 with sensor-VR, a 16-50mm f/2.8, a 10-20mm f/4.5-5.6, and a compact 35mm f/2 at a minimum. Priced correctly, those would sell like hotcakes. (Wait. Do hotcakes still sell? The local House of Pancakes is now a nail salon. ;~)

This is a tricky holiday season for everyone, partly due to the continued market contraction and especially due to the pandemic. Nikon has the added problem that half their mirrorless lineup is essentially "new models" and the other half isn't exactly aged. Thus they don't want to discount those too heavily, and we therefore see these modest discounts. 

What NikonUSA really needed this holiday was more bundled discounting. As in "US$100 of the camera by itself, US$100 more if bought with a lens, US$100 more for the second lens, and US$50 more for each additional lens bought at the same time." Couple that with a discount for trading in a Nikon DSLR, and things start to change for that on-the-fence buyer. Note what I said about getting that DX user to switch to FX: when they have to start replacing lenses, too, they find reasons not to justify the switch and thus don't pull the trigger. 

I hope NikonUSA has something else up their sleeve for the holidays. The current "Black Friday" promotion isn't going to move boxes.

text and images © 2020 Thom Hogan — All Rights Reserved
Follow us on Twitter: @bythom, hashtags #bythom, #zsystemuser
other related sites:,,,