So, Nikon is now teasing its user base with a new,upcoming 10.2 megapixel D-SLR offering. I use the phrase "teasing its user base" because just about the only people who read the Nikon website are serious Nikon fanboi's and gearheads. I myself have not actually met a photographer who reads the Nikon web sites with ANYTHING even remotely resembling regularity. I find their web sites, both the USA and European ones, to be very hard to navigate,and in general a real mess. Of course, it's difficult to display things on the world wide web in the same way that can be done in print media,and the web sites of the other camera makers are also very difficult to navigate,and basically of very minimal interest to me or anybody I know.
I took the liberty of stopping by a Nikon web site to watch their little Flash teaser. Basically, the tease is "More power,
More control, More versatile, More excitement, Next Nikon, New 10.2 megapixel D-SLR addition to the lineup
Integrating quality and affordability to meet the demands of passionate photo enthusiasts." http://nikonimaging.com/global/
So, what is this upcoming camera? I suspect it's a D70s, but it could be called the D80 or D75 or maybe the D50s or something. And WHY the update anyway? Well, the logical reason is that the megapixel race is still on,and consumers who are considering buying the Sony Alpha for $899 are going to think about that low Sony price and high MP count,see the excellent styling, and luxuriate in the handling of the new Sony Alpha, and are gonna' look at the $1,700 price of the Nikon D200,and think, "WOW, Sony is offering me a built-in stabilizing system, 10 megapixels, great styling, a comfortable body,and a brand I know, at a price that's about $800 LOWER than a D200 with no lens on it." In other words, Nikon is rushing a 10.2 MP d-slr to market as fast as it can...they are in fact telling the world that a new Nikon d-slr will be here in 20 days. That's kind of un-Nikon-like. Maybe Nikon has FINALLY listened to Thom Hogan's repeated criticism of their lousy marketing department, and maybe Nikon has realized that with TWO "brands" that are much larger and more powerful than they are now in the d-slr market, that to play with the big boys, Nikon marketing needs to step up to the plate and start playing by the same rules that the big electronics giants are playing by.
I went to a large electronics retail store the other day and looked at and demo'd the Samsung GX-1S,which the were selling for $599 with the Schneider-branded 18-55 kit lens. Wow....a small,light,cheap d-slr with lens for under six bills. When the closest competing camera models are priced a couple to several hundred more dollars, I can see a LOT of people electing to go with a name they know (SAMSUNG) over a name they are unfamiliar with (NIKON). And simply put, a lot of people can NOT afford a $1699 Nikon D200 body, and a LOT of people simply can not make any good use of the D200--there's a vast,untapped population out there hankering for high MP counts and low sticker prices. With PENTAX offering 6.1 MP d-slrs under its own brand and also under the SAMSUNG label, and with Nikon's consumer level D50 and D70 models stuck at 6.1 MP,and with Canon's Rebel and Rebel XT being 8.2 and 8.0 MP models respectively, the manufacturers whose products can boast of a"10 MegaPixel" sensor could potentially be perceived as superior in image qualiy. And isn't image quality the main reason people buy d-slr's?
As I see it,perception can be equated with reality,in the world of consumer goods. If people merely perceive something to be better, or a better value, then they BUY based on their perceptions more than on realities. SONY is making sensors that are being used in Pentax and Samsung camera models; Pop Photo alleges that SONY has licensed the built-in anti-shake technology it acquired from Konica-Minolta for use in the Pentax and SSamsung cameras. Sony is also making the sensors used in the Nikon models D200,D2Xs, D70s, and D50. In other words, SONY has its technology and its sensors in the cameras branded as Sony,Pentax,Samsung,and Nikon, thus making Sony a very key player in the d-slr market. The pre-announcement of the upcoming Nikon 10.2 MP d-slr model is a good start for the Nikon marketing department that Thom Hogan so often criticises on his web site and on the dPreview forums he visits from time to time. As I see it, Nikon is trying to freeze sales,right now, during vacation season and before back-to-school shopping begins in August. Back-to-school might not seem like camera buying time, but it means millions and millons of credit cards in stores,with people who have the ability to buy on the spot with plastic,all out there and looking for that impulse purhase item; those people are typified by the "passionate photo enthusiasts" Nikon's ad copy is aimed at. In less than three weeks we'll all see what's up, but I for one am glad to see Nikon taking a step toward building some market awareness and some 'buzz' before the launch of the second 10.2 MP Nikon d-slr. Nikon is now in a market that has seen Samsung and Sony jump into the fray,with things like built-in anti-shake technology and higher-than-industry-standard MegaPixel counts at MUCH lower prices than the competition. It's good to see Nikon trying to build some awareness and buzz in an effort to stave off the much more capable marketing arms of the Sony and Samsung brands.