Paranoia Followup

At this point, my article last week about the few things I've heard about an upcoming Nikon Z camera (likely to be called the Z8), has generated many thousands of comments on fora across the Internet (plus some emails to me ;~). News-scraping Web sites have picked what they wanted to read from that article and put their own spin on it, and I note with amusement that at least one such scraping site scraped another scraping site ;~). 

Amazingly, I haven't even hinted at the most explosive things I've heard that might be happening at Nikon Imaging, and now I find myself in the middle of going viral. (For those that have their Troll accreditation cards, I couldn't care less whether I go viral or not. While I run a business, I don't run it to make as much money as I can, and never have. Just look at how many ads I've removed from the sites recently.)

Just to be clear on a few things:

  1. I wrote the article for my own Web site (this one) simply to address all the emails I had been getting, lately. Many of those seem to think that Nikon won't have any response to recent competition and that the Z7 II is "it". Wrong. As I pointed out, though, Nikon's upcoming response isn't particularly a direct response to the Sony A1, but rather an attempt to get to a fast-shooting, pro bodied, many-pixeled, 8K video-capable, high-end product. Many are now claiming I wrote that Nikon would "match" Sony. Nope. There will be differences. Whether those would be important to you are not is another story for another day (and after we have cameras in hand to test).
  2. I did not write articles on Nikon Rumors as some (trolls) have attested (I don't even comment on Nikon Rumors articles, though I sometimes upvote something). I did not seek out having Petapixel reprint my article; they approached me asking to reprint it and I responded "sure, why not?" because they asked nicely. The many other sites that are now "quoting me"—and I put that in quotes because they seem to be cherry-picking words to back up some world view they have—did so for their own reasons. For a long time now, people have underestimated how much influence things I write have in the industry. Pretty much every competing site reads mine. I'm flattered, but personally, I'm more interested in doing what I've been doing for over 25 years: supporting Nikon users (and now other camera brands) on the Internet. I wrote my article because of customer comments I'd received. 
  3. I'm trying to protect sources, like any news organization should. I have information beyond what I wrote from three different sources, one of which is proven and I trust, two of which are new but are saying basically similar things. I'm not going to print specifics. I was serious with the headline: some Nikon users are getting paranoia again. That happened when Canon moved into full frame early in the DSLR era and Nikon didn't appear to respond (but look at their eventual response, the seminal D3). That same paranoia happened when the D400 never appeared as expected (but look at Nikon's eventual response, the seminal D500). We've been down this paranoia road many times before, but Nikon R&D just chugged along at the pace they set for themselves and produced gems. Many gems. If you have to buy a camera today and it has to have 8K, well, you have two choices, the Canon R5 and (in March) the Sony A1. That's it. If you'd just chill and let things run their natural course, I'm sure others will appear, including from Nikon. 

I'm concerned about the messaging that's gotten traction on the Internet about Nikon these days, partly because Nikon is inept at managing messaging. That's one reason why I wrote my article. Here's a company who last time I looked had billions in cash and the ability to borrow more who many people are claiming "doesn't have the resources to do the necessary R&D." Actually, Nikon's R&D expenditures for imaging are right up there with Canon and Sony, and both those companies are spending some of their R&D money on video products. 

Disinformation on the Web that is used to promote a particular viewpoint, particularly one of "winning", is something that's turned out to be a real drawback of the Internet. It's okay to have opinions, but it's better to have opinions that are backed up with factual information, historical perspective, and financial acumen.

I've written it before and I don't think anything has changed: Nikon is a really good engineering company. Maybe one of if not the best in terms of optics and hardware. But they're managed by engineers, they're as good at marketing and messaging as engineers are (which is to say "not"), and they run their organization and its product development like engineers. Quite literally, they work at their own pace with their own goals, and every now and then we get the benefits of that. 

The funny thing is this: if I'm to believe all the things I've been told by my more trusted rumor sources, Nikon's engineering teams are working up a storm at the moment. So much so that I don't believe that they have the ability to actually launch all those upcoming products that have been mentioned to me. At least not in the near time frame. Supply chain limitations and implementing manufacturing changes are holding them back from the quicker pace I think they'd like.

Here's what I expect: from time to time we'll get seminal products from Nikon, coupled with other products that fill in gaps. I believe we'll get another seminal product or two in the next 12 months, and both are in the Z System. That's an opinion, based upon what I believe to factual information, as well as historical analysis. And yes, Nikon has the resources to do what I predict.

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