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08-16-2014, 03:28 PM   #1
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Sky is falling

Nikon released very worrying 1st quarter financial results:
Nikon | Investor Relations | Financial Results and Presentation Materials

Basically huge drop in sales and operating income. And the imaging business is actually the best performing, the other two division are losing money.

They really need to consider changing their strategy - clearly their core market is disappearing fast.

---------- Post added 08-17-2014 at 08:37 AM ----------

Canon not much better either
http://www.canon.com/ir/results/2014/rslt2014q2e.pdf

But at least Canon is more diversified, and according to them whilst sales tanked in Japan the 70D was quite successful overseas.

Sony also reporting sales drop of 9% in their imaging division (due to collapse in compact camera market) but actually reported increase in operating income (their sensor business is doing well):
http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/financial/fr/14q1_sonypre.pdf

08-16-2014, 03:42 PM   #2
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Now check out the Ricoh stats:
Financial Results / Investor Relations / About Ricoh | Ricoh Global

QuoteQuote:
P11 Other
- Sales and operating profit in this field both decreased slightly y-o-y.
- The main factors for in decrease-in-profit were costs for new business, and decrease
of profit in the financial business.
- Sales in the digital camera business decreased, but operating profit increased y-o-y.
- The new medium format SLR, 645Z has received strong accept from the market, and
is expected to contribute to profits from 2Q and beyond onward.
645Z, huh? Who'dathunk?
08-16-2014, 04:35 PM   #3
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Wow that is really interesting hard to know what drives the industry especially in these times. While Sony makes some awesome stuff I think the moment you get something they have thrown that idea and moved onto something totally different they are definately the modern moving force.
Canon amazes me that they continue to move not that their quality isn't good but their indecisiveness with their mounts must have left a very unsure feeling amongst their loyalists.
Nikon always had a good name and consistent with mounts etc maybe their loss is overpricing of lens etc I know a lot of people that have Nikon prefer tamaron lens so maybe the lens are letting them down.
I will have to go check Olympus out and see where they are going a very interesting game player.
Those of us that have the Pentax know that we get bang for buck in comparison with some of the other companies.
Hard to know what drives the market. My thoughts anyhow I could be wrong not impossible 😜
08-16-2014, 04:55 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
Now check out the Ricoh stats:
Financial Results / Investor Relations / About Ricoh | Ricoh Global

645Z, huh? Who'dathunk?
That little aside about a decrease in profit in Ricoh's financial business is interesting. That's the area that is reported to have kept Sony alive recently, but it seems to be a contributor to many other large companies, too. I've nothing against it, from a business philosophy perspective, but I remember the ideological mantras being driven through the 1980s and 1990s about firms sticking to "core business", which I've always taken to mean anything you can do well and profitably, but which others took a much harder line to, and hived off otherwise profitable sidelines. My understanding of it all is that most of that was personality driven, and more about short-termism and executive bonuses than long-term vision. Japanese businesses seem to have ignored that Anglo-American ideology, to their benefit it seems.

08-16-2014, 04:58 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by panoguy Quote
645Z, huh? Who'dathunk?
Ricoh apparently did.
Considering that not all that long ago the price of a 645z would buy you a new car, that much ka ching has to add up kinda quickly.

You know, we keep hearing how stodgy and conservative Ricoh is. That they are not innovative and just resting on old technology.

Yet, every time they release a new product everyone says "What the heck, where did that come from...." They seem to be mastering the art of zigging when everyone else is zagging. Finding an unfulfilled niche and putting a product there.

  1. Who expected the Q?
  2. Who expected a professional level APS-C camera (k-3), when everyone was moaning they needed a FF?
  3. Who expected the HD 20-40?
  4. Who expected a big push into medium format, both body and lenses?
  5. Who expected the Theta?
  6. Who expected the DA Limiteds to be re-done with new coatings?
Which way are they going to zig next?


The camera industry seems to have a lot of problems right now. But Ricoh is the only one whose problem is insufficient production capacity.
08-16-2014, 05:40 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
I've nothing against it, from a business philosophy perspective, but I remember the ideological mantras being driven through the 1980s and 1990s about firms sticking to "core business", which I've always taken to mean anything you can do well and profitably, but which others took a much harder line to, and hived off otherwise profitable sidelines. My understanding of it all is that most of that was personality driven, and more about short-termism and executive bonuses than long-term vision. Japanese businesses seem to have ignored that Anglo-American ideology, to their benefit it seems.
Take my thoughts with a huge grain of salt (disclaimer: if you look up my LinkedIn profile, I am a "strategy consultant" - my job is advise companies on their strategy) but ...

"core business" is whatever you are good at that makes you money. Doesn't mean it remains the same forever. Apple is a good case study of a company that nearly went down sticking to their "core business" (Macs) but then they got sidetracked into making iPods and now iPhones are their "core business" - but they know that won't last and they have to find the next big thing.

I don't have any great advice to give Nikon (if I did, I'll give them a ring rather than posting it on a forum where someone else could steal my idea) but they do need to reconsider what they are currently doing because it aint working.

Canon too - next door to where I am currently working is the Canon HQ. They have closed an entire floor of their building and Canon Research Labs was closed several years ago. All rather sad. Sony is two blocks down the road - I thought they were going to close that building but it's still there. I walked to the shopping centre for lunch the other day and bumped into the Sony Alpha product specialist and said hi to him.
08-16-2014, 08:15 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by RobA_Oz Quote
That little aside about a decrease in profit in Ricoh's financial business is interesting. That's the area that is reported to have kept Sony alive recently, but it seems to be a contributor to many other large companies, too. I've nothing against it, from a business philosophy perspective, but I remember the ideological mantras being driven through the 1980s and 1990s about firms sticking to "core business", which I've always taken to mean anything you can do well and profitably, but which others took a much harder line to, and hived off otherwise profitable sidelines. My understanding of it all is that most of that was personality driven, and more about short-termism and executive bonuses than long-term vision. Japanese businesses seem to have ignored that Anglo-American ideology, to their benefit it seems.
The Economist ran some very interesting articles a couple of years ago, contrasting Fujifilm and Kodak's fortunes. I mention this because the articles touch on the topic of long-term planning and diversification. I don't think it's fair to hold up these companies as typical of the national business culture - that's a generalisation too far. But I do think it shows how diversification can make a company more resilient and shows the type of innovation that Japanese companies tend to be good at - seeing opportunities to adapt their technology to seemingly unrelated businesses.

This one was published first and focuses more on the sad story of Kodak's problems.
Technological change: The last Kodak moment? | The Economist

And this one a few days later and focuses more on Fujifilm's successes.
How Fujifilm survived: Sharper focus | The Economist

08-17-2014, 04:02 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christine Tham Quote
their core market is disappearing
Who/what/where is the "core market" (demand) for personal imaging devices?

I ask because I've been, more or less seriously, into still photography since the mid 1950s and I believe there has been a radical shift in the way people think of what "photography" means and is. But I won't get into that in detail for now just - who constitutes this "core market" and what drives the demand for, say, the typical DSLR?

Last edited by wildman; 08-17-2014 at 04:24 AM.
08-17-2014, 04:22 AM   #9
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And yet Leica just built a new corporate HQ and expanded production facility back it Wetzlar Germany, Of course, Leica has accepted that they are a niche player, and already had reduced their business size drastically. Canon, Nikon, Pentax and such all started as small businesses that expanded with the market, and now that market is shrinking fast. Shrinking size to match the market is not appealing to stockholders, so we'll see who survives. There will still be demand for good cameras, but the old names may not be the ones who provide them.
08-17-2014, 04:47 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by Christine Tham Quote
I don't have any great advice to give Nikon (if I did, I'll give them a ring rather than posting it on a forum where someone else could steal my idea) but they do need to reconsider what they are currently doing because it aint working.
especially with all the crap they got from the D800 AF issues and the D600 dust/oil stain fiasco...but then again fools and their money will soon be parted.

QuoteOriginally posted by TomB_tx Quote
Leica has accepted that they are a niche player, and already had reduced their business size drastically.
And released the Leica T (TYP107) - which is a camera I admittedly confused about. I'm a huge fan of Leica but, Why is Leica making an entirely new system now? I would focus more on Lenses for the S and improve the the M camera body line.
08-17-2014, 05:29 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by Digitalis Quote
And released the Leica T (TYP107) - which is a camera I admittedly confused about. I'm a huge fan of Leica but, Why is Leica making an entirely new system now? I would focus more on Lenses for the S and improve the the M camera body line.
They probably don't get much income from P&S anymore, so they need another "low price" product to milk money from.
08-17-2014, 05:37 AM   #12
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Leica doesn't even make P&S cameras, they leave that job to Panasonic. Though the lenses they design for Panasonic are pretty good, the sensors let them down though.
08-17-2014, 12:49 PM   #13
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how much of these financial losses can be attributed to the obsolete mirror/ovf form factors that canikon sells?
08-17-2014, 01:20 PM   #14
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I think the problem is that cameras got extremely good around 2011, so there isn't as much of a need to upgrade every year. The K-5, D7000, and similar are pretty much good enough for most people. So most people don't need to upgrade.

IMO, before this you saw big improvements in low light sensitivity and other areas that made a compelling case for upgrading every other year.

In the case of Canon, they gave up sometime around 2010 so there really wasn't a need to upgrade since then, either.
08-17-2014, 02:34 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Aegon Quote
cameras got extremely good around 2011, so there isn't as much of a need to upgrade every year.
Yep - economically one of the worst things for a manufacturer, in the long run, is a satisfied customer.;
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