Nikon Quiet at CP+

As expected, Nikon used CP+ mostly to promote the new video capabilities of the Z6 II (4K/60P and Blackmagic RAW support) and to promote the Z System in general. No new product was announced, and the only talk about such was a vague "we plan to release many new products this year." There was the side announcement of the stacked sensor development (1" targeted mostly at industrial use), but that was more a magician's move so that you're watching the wrong hand. 

While it's possible that some new Z thing might launch between now and May, I don't really expect that. Perhaps a lens or two might sneak out, but as I've noted before, I think Nikon wants to save significant new product announcements for the period right around their year-end financial results meeting (typically second week of May). Given the supply chain issues everyone is facing at the moment, that would also give them a little time to deal with those, too.

I've already stated why I think Nikon will wait until May for product introductions, but let me repeat it. The current fiscal year financials are going to look bad due to large write downs of assets and pandemic-reduced sales activity. Nikon is also doing almost nothing to juice last quarter sales in their current fiscal year, so they're essentially low-balling the current fiscal year. I'm pretty sure that what they want to do is show "growth" in the next fiscal year estimates, both in terms of sales volume and in terms of units. To do that, they don't want to ship anything new that might have high volume until at least April, and preferably not even divulge those products until May when they're talking to all the business press. Given the Tokyo Olympics in July, I suspect the May to July period is going to be Nikon's main launch target this year.

We still have nine lenses on the Road Map that should be released in 2021, and two additional ones (the 400mm and 600mm) that will probably be more of a development announcement with prototypes in use at the Tokyo Olympics. I'm pretty sure that the 24-105mm is slated to be launched with the Z8-type body later this year and the 18-140mm DX will be launched with the next DX camera announcement. Other than that, it's anyone's guess as to how Nikon has prioritized the lenses. I would hope that we see the 28mm and 40mm compact lenses, one of the macro lenses, and the 100-400mm zoom earlier rather than later in the year, but we're running out of "earlier." I have heard of four additional lenses that aren't on the Road Map that are moving from development to production, and I expect at least one of those to make it to market in 2021 (the wide angle DX zoom). 

I still expect at least two bodies, one DX, on FX, which will extend the lineup at each end. But that still leaves a lot of missing pieces to Nikon's mirrorless puzzle. Some things, like missing accessories, seem to be in progress but with no real indication of priority. I'm pretty sure, for instance, we'll get the battery dummy for the Z50 that allows for AC power at some point, for example, but when?

I know Nikon wants to move fast—indeed their executives have said that out loud in interviews—but they're not. They're moving at a steady pace, but it does not look "fast" to me. Z System users will just have to remain patient. The development is happening, but the production and delivery is lagging at the moment. 

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