Nikon are a hallmark of engineering prowess. In terms of IQ they have been beating the competition for the last half decade, or so.
There are 9 Nikon cameras in the DXO top-20 and Nikkor lenses typically get raging reviews.
So, why the company has been scrambling around new product strategies, recently, and why have the shares dropped off so dramatically?
The answer is as simple as complicated.
The Japanese adagio says that the importance of the project shines through in the details, and it’s in the details where Nikon are failing.
Nikon is engineering over customer experience, perfection over usability.
So rather than wondering why compact sales are dropping off, why the Nikon One is not the success they envisioned it to be, or why the market is concentrating elsewhere, they ought to ask themselves why the customer experience is not as expected.
It’s just plain, silly details
The D600 puking oil blobs all over the sensor is not exactly helpful, however, it’s Nikon’s response to the issue – or rather – the lack thereof, that has customers infuriated.
Even more so, now that rumors suggest they may launch a second gen camera – the D610 – that supposedly resolves the prob.
It's the D5200 beating the D7100 in image quality according to DXO.
And then there is the EN-EL3e false low battery warning (FLBW), which has customers scrambling all over the Web trying to figure out what is happening to them.
More than four years after the issue stuck its ugly head up, Nikon still have to formally respond to – let alone solve – a problem that is as actual today as it was four years ago.
|The Accessory Terminal, inverted...|
Still, it’s the details of details that are the most tale-telling.
For example: they changed the position and/or inverted the orientation of the Accessory Terminal of the D90 on some of the posterior cameras – like the D7100, for example – meaning that the plugs of some third party accessories do not quite fit (photo).
They also introduce artificial limitations for non-Nikon devices, like GPS’s, for example, causing the gps-icon not to appear on the top LCD panel of the D600 and D7100.
Changing something that worked flawlessly ever since the D1X and hampers the customer experience for no obvious reason, is not just plain silly but also extremely annoying.
They introduced a "budget" $ 2.100 full-frame camera (D600) that is amateur in every possible way, even if only because it forgoes compatibility with 10-pin accessories and lacks a flash sync terminal, items that are included on the 500 dollar cheaper and five year older D300S.
Other examples are making a $ 800 camera like the D5200 incompatible with manual focus lenses and not including commander mode (wireless CLS flash control) or high speed FP sync on their entry-level cameras.
Let’s face it.
That’s not a matter of expensive including, but rather the result of plain stupid, marketing-driven excluding.
True: 90% of D3200 or D5200 customers may never ever want to mount a MF lens or wirelessly shoot an external flash, but those of us who look for an economical back-up camera might actually acquire one if only they included those very few relevant features that Nikon marketing has excluded from the price bracket.
Pros or amas?
Nikon recently posted a video, claiming they can service a pro camera in less than 25 minutes.
Good for them.
However, what moves the bottom line are not the pros but us simple house fathers who face daunting service terms, weeks of waiting to get our cameras back and absurd servicing fees.
Not even considering that Nikon stopped selling spare parts to non-Nikon service centers – even in the middle of nowhere – two years ago...
Company reputation today is not built on servicing the select few, but on properly servicing the masses and, frankly, Nikon suck at that.
They do not respond timely to customer issues, ignore failures and keep reconfiguring shit they ought not to reconfigure for any objective reason except thwart competition in areas that do not contribute to the bottom line to begin with.
In short. Why are Nikon’s numbers falling?
Not because they fail to make appealing products. They do.
It’s because they fail to pay attention to the details: customer experience and opportunely recognizing and solving customer issues that are there, at plain sight.
It's that simple (and that complicated).
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