veejaycee

japan asks Fuji to step in to help Nikon

7 posts in this topic

5 hours ago, veejaycee said:

Much as I think Nikon are the master of their own fate (lack of innovation, entering markets when they are in decline, lots of problems with quality control on several cameras) I think their financial position is grossly mis-reported on the internet (that it's worse than it is).  If you read and understand their market statement, what it is actually saying is that revenues will be below forecast (i.e. a profits warning).  I know Japanese companies often hold shares in each other as a way of spreading their financial risk (if they have a bad year, maybe one of their competitors has a good year), but I'm confused what it has to do with the Japanese government or why they would feel the need to intervene.  Although Fuji are relatively sound financially, thanks to some painful restructuring a few years ago, very little of their revenue and profit comes from cameras and lenses - chemicals and polymers that were offshoots of their film business now generate significant income, for example.  Having had a painful process of restructuring and redundancies - something unusual and still slightly taboo in Japanese business - I can't imagine why they would want to involve themselves in another company having similar issues, especially when it may not be a particularly good fit for their core business.

Edit: I should have said that it's not unheard of in Japanese business.  When Olympus had their financial scandal, Sony purchased a significant minority shareholding in them, and since then Sony supplies sensors for m43rds cameras and there are rumours about other technology being shared between them.  Obviously, Ricoh purchased Pentax a few years ago, and about a decade ago Sony purchased the Minolta camera business.  My only uncertainty is why would the Japanese government ask Fuji (a minor player in the camera business, though a financially sound company overall), and would Fuji be interested and/or have the resources?  Time will tell.

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I would hope that this information is not entirely dire as the blog makes it sound. A world without Nikons ! who'd have thunk :) They have a lot of industrial and commercial products outside of retail imaging and we can hope that these can pull them through. I'd prefer competition, it constantly drives innovation. Otherwise we will get things like American cars from the 80s. 

Of course, on a related note, larger cameras are probably a dying proposition as people move towards 'smart' phones. Though, I would hope that purists would be able to keep the market alive, thereby allowing companies to create better tools that a smart phone can never match with software. (Recently I saw a google Pixel phone photo that can simulate shallow DoF quite accurately to most eyes). 

Interesting days ahead !

 

 

 

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The Nikon camera business is a relatively small albeit signifificant part of the overall Nikon business. Fuji are already a supplier of camera components to Nikon anyway due to the way the whole industrial system in Japan works with many companies actually being dependent on direct rivals for componentry. In Japanese terms a Govt engineered acquisition or merger or investment by Fuji in Nikon would not even raise eyebrows. It's only fanboy sites in the west that are likely to give it more than a brief mention. 

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11 hours ago, raagamuffin said:

I would hope that this information is not entirely dire as the blog makes it sound. A world without Nikons ! who'd have thunk :) They have a lot of industrial and commercial products outside of retail imaging and we can hope that these can pull them through. I'd prefer competition, it constantly drives innovation. Otherwise we will get things like American cars from the 80s. 

Of course, on a related note, larger cameras are probably a dying proposition as people move towards 'smart' phones. Though, I would hope that purists would be able to keep the market alive, thereby allowing companies to create better tools that a smart phone can never match with software. (Recently I saw a google Pixel phone photo that can simulate shallow DoF quite accurately to most eyes). 

Interesting days ahead !

 

 

 

The consumer camera market is mostly dead, at least in the west.  It's why smart manufacturers have moved to premium enthusiast compact models with high prices and margins.  That Nikon is using a decline in compact camera sales even now to explain it's current problems surprises me as frankly that ship sailed several years ago.  They announced some.enthusiast high end compacts a year ago, then this year said they wouldn't make them as they wouldn't be profitable (so why so Sony and Panasonic enjoy such great sales in that sector?).  Nikon produce some mediocre action cameras just as Go-Pros share price collapses and all the evidence is that the market is in decline.  It just seems lile they identify a market but then take 3 times too long to introduce something so that they are late to market and behind the curve.

having said all that they have issued a warning on revenues against forecasts. That doesn't mean they are going bankrupt, but the internet is full of sensationalism and people who can't understand basic facts, so everything needs to be taken with a grain of salt (with caution).

regarding DOF simulations, they can't look real as they blur an entire background uniformly, rather than create a fall off from.focus to out of focus. There is some discussion about companies looking at using distance information to create a more realistic fall off from focus, but that's some time.away. However as most consumers can't tell the difference and think apps to air brush skin so they look plastic, make their eyes wider, change their skin colour etc are good then said consumers will buy anything because on a 5" screen the pictures conform to their view of "desirable". Someone recently said to me that frustration at me taking a few days to select and develop portraits (including air brushing, retouching, colour adjustment etc) was because they could get "professional" results on their phones. I didn't bother to argue.

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artuk, 

Its interesting you mention consumer perception. All that over sharpening and smoothing to look plasticky has an appeal, partly because photogs have been using those techniques, albeit in measured amounts, to make portraits look nicer. Of course, layers of foundation are also used by many individuals (in real life) to cover up imperfections, akin to 'smoothing'. So culturally, 'smoothing' has crept into our daily life, and the apps are just facilitating this. 

Personally, I like to keep things as organic as possible, and so I find even the oversharpened quality of HD video (at least demo videos at the stores, I don't have any HD panels) that is shown these days to be artificial. Technology in the future, visually, may no longer be trying to show us a representation of the actual reality, but rather an enhanced (artistic? cartoonish?) view, one that loosely conforms to reality. 

And that is perhaps why consumers want ultra smoothing algorithms, over sharp images, and next generation apps that can deliver this without intervening photogs like yourself getting in the way. :) 

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6 minutes ago, raagamuffin said:

artuk, 

Its interesting you mention consumer perception. All that over sharpening and smoothing to look plasticky has an appeal, partly because photogs have been using those techniques, albeit in measured amounts, to make portraits look nicer. Of course, layers of foundation are also used by many individuals (in real life) to cover up imperfections, akin to 'smoothing'. So culturally, 'smoothing' has crept into our daily life, and the apps are just facilitating this. 

Personally, I like to keep things as organic as possible, and so I find even the oversharpened quality of HD video (at least demo videos at the stores, I don't have any HD panels) that is shown these days to be artificial. Technology in the future, visually, may no longer be trying to show us a representation of the actual reality, but rather an enhanced (artistic? cartoonish?) view, one that loosely conforms to reality. 

And that is perhaps why consumers want ultra smoothing algorithms, over sharp images, and next generation apps that can deliver this without intervening photogs like yourself getting in the way. :) 

Most modern flat screen televisions have highlight unrealistic pictures, due to their over saturation, over contrasty and over sharpened pictures.  Samsung, the market leader, is one of the worst, and on a friends TV there is a distinct lack of reality as even the motion is processed and no longer looks natural.

Photographers, and particularly professionals, have to use their equipment to produce results that camera phones cannot.  However, most camera phone portraits once they have been tone mapped, filtered, HDR'd, skin smoothed etc etc bear almost no relationship to reality - but that conforms to most consumers social media presence, where the entire lifestyle they like to portray is fake. 

Personally, I don't think "serious" photography should be driven by the social media and consumer market - unless the customer is paying in which case I guess they can have whatever they want or deserve.  If they are not paying, then they get the photographers artistic vision or talent.  My physique sports portraits are processed to flatter, as one has to process to display the model as they think they look, and airbrush bad skin and re-touch spots and acne, but it is in my interests to do so as it makes the results look more "professional".  The yardstick for much portrait, fashion and physique photography is what people see in magazines, which often bears little relationship to reality but mostly has been done to such a professional standard that it's not obvious - unlike camera phone apps and filters, which tend to be very obvious and therefore "unprofessional".

If there is one thing guaranteed to annoy me it's someone copying a photo I have carefully processed on a calibrated screen and running through a camera photo app to "improve" it - if for no other reason that if it bears my name then it makes my work look bad.

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