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So what does everyone think of Nikon\'s New Price Structure?
Old 11-02-2005, 08:32 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Hi all. I haven't posted here for a while, but rest assured I am alive and well.

Anyhow, I had a question and I wanted to pose it here since GG has such a serious group of photographers. I am sure most of you know that Nikon announced the D200 yesterday. DPreview (as well as Nikon themself) are billing it as a lower end professional camera rather than a high end prosumer camera. The relationship is analagous to the F100. Nikon offered the high end F5/F6 film camera but then had the F100 for the pro that needs a professional grade camera but not necessarily all the features.

It is quite obvious that the D200 is their F100 for digital. The features and construction are clearly targeted for the professional. Indeed, DPreview opined that it will be sufficient for the needs of most professionals. However, that is not my question nor what I wanted to debate. The camera will stand on its feet or not after people get their hands on it.

My question is if anyone has noticed what Nikon has done? To me it is quite obvious. They have brought professional and amateur DSLR cameras on par, in terms of cost, with their equivilant film counterparts. When compared with Canon, I think it is quite a statement on their part.

The D2X is roughly the same price as the F5. The Canon 1DS MKII is several thousands more.

The D200, at $1,699 is roughly the same price as an F100. The Canon D5 and 1D are almost double. The D5 is also a prosumer camera, although the 1D is professional.

The D70 is close in price to the N85. The Canon 20D (which is slightly more camera) is about $500 more.

The D50 is about the price of a N65. Canon has no exact equivilant but the Rebel and the XLT are a little more expensive.

I am not suggesting which cameras are better quality or better features. I am not saying whether the Canons are worth or not worth the extra money. What I am saying is that it took Nikon a while, but their strategy is now out in the sun for us all to see.

They have been developing a full line of competant, digital cameras that are on par, in terms of cost, with their film counterparts.

Who knows, Canon may ultimately change their pricing, they may not. The price point of their cameras may have been driven by the R&D cost of bringing out new models so quickly and developing a full-frame sensor. Put another way, they had high devopment costs, maybe they have to pass it through to the purchaser.

On the other hand, the price may be artificial since they were first to the market. They might have been charging what they could get. I am also not suggesting they are wrong.

What we do have is two major players with two decidedly different strategies. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out over the next couple of years. The playing field has just changed dramatically, but I cannot predict the result.

I'm just curious how others see this in their crystal balls.
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Re: So what does everyone think of Nikon\'s New Price Structure?
Old 11-02-2005, 09:45 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I think the reason you see Canon's quite a bit higher is because the quality is quite a bit higher. The same cannot be said for the Nikon line. I was a Nikon user until 2001 and switched to Canon because I didn't like what Nikon was doing in the digital realm. As a previous owner of the F100, I love it and have yet to see a Nikon digital that would compare to it, especially in the way they're built.

Check out some of dpreview's tests on noise between Canon and Nikon. Even the low end Rebel had better image quality (less noise) than the high end Nikon's.
 
 
Re: So what does everyone think of Nikon\'s New Price Structure?
Old 11-02-2005, 09:51 AM   #3 (permalink)
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I just opened the box with my new D2X. I'll let you know if it's worth the money. I suspect it is.
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Re: So what does everyone think of Nikon\'s New Price Structure?
Old 11-02-2005, 10:09 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Nikon's strategy might work...

Having used Nikon cameras for years, it seems the only advances they have really made are in TTL flash metering and autofocus--two features that I never use. I would have liked to seen more effort on a full frame sensor and better color rendition, which are some reasons I have seriously considered switching to Canon.

With the new price structure, Nikon will probably increase sales, get a larger market share, and perhaps develop more features and better cameras so they don't lose that market back to Canon. Hopefully, one of those features will be a full frame sensor, although it doesn't appear likely. The bad news is that the haughty people out there might think Canon is a superior camera simply because it costs more--but we all know how well a higher priced camera such as Leica sells. On a sentimental note, it looks like the price of a Nikon film body is being inflated so much that it is one more proverbial nail in the coffin of 35mm film.
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The problem is that was then and this is now!
Old 11-02-2005, 10:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Marc:

I am not suggesting that you are right or wrong. I am not trying to compare the relative quality of the cameras. If we look historically, though, it has passed back and forth.

Nikon came out with the D1 then Canon the D30. The D1 was a professional camera, the D30 was prosumer priced. Nikon came out with the D1H and D1X which were the professional's choice until Canon released the 1D series. The 1D clipped, but didn't take the total wind out of the sails of the D1X. The 1DS MKII, however, shifted professionals to a much greater degree. It has gone back and forth. Canon has been sucessful in upgrading technology more quickly than Nikon. Also, quite frankly, the D100 was not a stellar camera.

However, Nikon started shifting the momentum in the mid to lower end prosumer markets with the D70, which outsold the Digital Rebel. The D50 has done very well also.

When you get to noise on the high end, the reveiws are all mixed. Generally speaking, most of the reviewer find that that the D2X will out perform the 1DS MKII at ISO 100 and the 1DS MKII will outperform the D2X at ISO 200 and above. The D2X is selling well and I have clients in my rental studio that have sold their 1DS MKII's to switch back to the D2X (although in fairness, I also had clients sell their D1X's to buy the 1DX MKII).

Canon just released the 5D, but Nikon came out with a professional quality camera, the D200 at roughly the price of a 20D. Reviews from the past don't mean a lot. We have to compare the current offerings by both companies because that is all that matters.

The price differences are staggering and if there are any gaps in their respecitve lines, they are now much more subjective than emperical. Once again though, I am not picking one camera over the other.

The question is, what do people think the disparity in pricing will do to the market over time? Canon may well cement themselves in the lead. There are a lot of people that swear by them. However, they are now assuming the role that Nikon used to have. Nikon used to be more expensive than Canon now the roles have reversed. Moreover, the offerings are much more equal now with each manufacturer having the better camera in one segment or another.

So will Canon be able to maintain their price structure or will Nikon's new pricing bring the price of all digital cameras down? Now that there are competant alternatives, at all segments of the market, where will we be pricewise, 2 or 3 years from now?

That is what I am curious about.
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The World Turned Upside Down!
Old 11-02-2005, 10:15 AM   #6 (permalink)
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<CENTER>
Akilah Pearson, South Beach</CENTER>

Well, there are some factual errors in your opening statement. The price of the Nikon D2X ($4,995.00, B&amp;H) isn't in the same price universe as the Nikon F6 ($1,995.00, B&amp;H), and the D200 (which won't be available for months) is at least twice the price of the Nikon F100. But the basic premise is correct, Canon was getting an obscene premium for their professional digital cameras in part because they offered unique features (full frame sensors, higher pixel counts), and in part because up until quite recently they were the only game in town for serious professionals considering a digital alternative to high end film cameras (if you shot sports professionally you had an EOS 1D Mark I or II, if you shot serious fashion you shot with a EOS 1Ds or the 1Ds Mark II. We can all count the white lenses.)

<CENTER>
Find Waldo with his Nikon</CENTER>

It's amazing to me, I remember the day when Canon was the price alternative to the Nikon juggernaut. Probably 90% of serious professionals shot with Nikon prior to 1990. Things have certainly changed over the last 15 years, and the most disturbing to me (a Canon user) is the fact that now I have to pay ridiculous prices for pro equipment. The good news is that after abandoning the field for basically the last three years, Nikon has come back into the game with the D2X and now the D200 (assuming the images match the camera, and I do think they will). And (surprise, surprise!) Nikon has come on as the price alternative! Huzzah! Finally some pressure on Canon to reduce their prices (I was told privately the 5D would hit the street with a price of $2,500 initially, because there was simply no comparable camera from Nikon it came in at $3,300).

The good new for everyone in the business is that pro digital has clearly arrived. Basically every camera on the Canon side from the (soon to be replaced) 20D on up to the 5D, 1D and 1Ds Mark II's, and from the Nikon D200 up to the Nikon D2X are capable of taking better pictures than 99.5% of the photographers using them. And now with two real competitors clearly in the market place, prices will become even more attractive. I'll save the discussion of where these two companies are going with lens development (with Nikon clearly wedded to the APS sensor and Canon seemingly committed to full frame) for a later day, but make no mistake about it, Nikon and Canon are both producing amazing digital cameras today and that is good news for all of us.

John
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Re: So what does everyone think of Nikon\'s New Price Structure?
Old 11-02-2005, 10:25 AM   #7 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]


I would have liked to seen more effort on a full frame sensor and better color rendition, which are some reasons I have seriously considered switching to Canon.



[/ QUOTE ]

This is the one issue that I remain the most curious about, the "Full Framed Sensor." A lot of people like them because they make their lenses on par with a 35mm camera. However, the jury is out on that.

I don't think Nikon was slow in developing a full framed sensor. They have decided that they simply aren't going to do it. They instead developed the DX lens series which are optimized for the smaller sensor size.

For a lot of technical reasons, the smaller sensor has the advantage in terms of image clarity. It also has some technical challenges. The smaller pixel size results in less light sensitivity. That is, aparently why the D2X has less noise than the 1DS MK II at ISO 100 and at that speed, produces a better image but by ISO 200 they are equal and the Canon does better faster than that.

Nikoon aparently feels that, as technology improves, the improved image quality of a smaller sensor will justify the "re-education" people will have to go through because they have to re-learn focal lengths.

On the other hand, it can be assume that full framed sensors will improve over time as well, but that won't change the physics of the smaller sensor having the advantage in terms of clarity.

But then again, we are not going to be able to pack many more pixels onto a 2/3rds sensor without some improvements in technology, so if people want more megapixels, the full-frame has the advantage of more real estate.

But then again, Kodak, the inventor of the DSLR and the first to release a full-framed sensor has abandoned it.

There are too many questions that remain unanswered. The market will dictate it. In the end though, the jury is out on the full-framed sensor. I have no idea if Nikon will be proven right or wrong, but they have intentionally distinguished themselves from Canon by sticking with the 2/3rds sensor.
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argument nobody can win
Old 11-02-2005, 10:37 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Once the photography discussions turn to the camera used instead of the person using it, there is no winner.

You take amazing images on a Canon, and thousands of other shooters take amazing images on Nikons and Olympus and Minolta and point and shoots and whatever.

I did a shoot recently where one of the big name shooters in the world was also there observing, and he used a point and shoot little Canon (those 250 dollars ones) and his images blew mine away.

So much for camera quality meaning much for the final image quality.

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Re: So what does everyone think of Nikon\'s New Price Structure?
Old 11-02-2005, 11:12 AM   #9 (permalink)
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As a die hard Nikon user, I'm hoping that Nikon is just trying to get some money together for a big advance technologically. Either that or they are about to die. I hope they aren't about to die, Cannon just dosn't appeal to me with features and their plastic cameras. Don't get me wrong, they do make a great camera, up there with Nikon, but I hope they ain't dying.

Isaiah Birnk
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Canon - Nikon Debate
Old 11-02-2005, 11:13 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Personally, I hope that Canon and nikon stay head to head in the camera wars because that is good for all of us as the consumer. Whenever one is appreciably more advanced a premium will have to be paid. But if they are neck and neck, they have to compete on price and that is good for us as the consumer as long as they do not have to compete to the point that one of them can't keep up and goes out of business and I doubt that will happen.
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