Sunday, May 06, 2007

Nikon sees a resurgence in prime sales

Not surprising to me at all, but apparently this took Nikon Canada off guard.
Primes sales are growing at a great pace here in Canada. And it has Nikon a little annoyed.

I went to the Toronto Digital Imaging and Photography show (aka, the Henrys show and sale). I showed up at the show carrying an FM3a w/ MD-12 motor drive and a Nikkor 35mm f/1.4 AI mounted on it. It was the starting point of many conversations. Most notably with one of the head Nikon reps. The discussion quickly moved to primes. Or the lack there off. It turns out the popularity of primes is taking Nikon a bit off guard. Apparently they're having a hard time stocking enough 85mm f/1.4s and 50mm f/1.8s to keep up with demand! I lamented the lack of wide angle primes that were of any value and he agreed. It seems Nikon has spent a lot of time investing into making a lot of zoom lenses because that was what the populace wanted a few years ago (gee, you think?). Now the trend is swinging back to primes. (site note: notice how many people are selling off the 18-200mm VR Zoom?).

Being a Nikon rep he didn't have, or more specifically wasn't willing to offer any future product information. As to be expected.

Why not to buy the D40 or D40x

What does this mean? I'm sure the D40 is a hot seller for Nikon. It's a very good SLR in a lot of ways. Most notably it's price and comfort compared to the competition. However, I wonder how many of the people who end up buying this DSLR find themselves pissed off when they find out that the cheap and good prime lenses offered by Nikon won't auto focus? I wonder how many sales of primes Nikon is loosing because of the D40?

A lot of people point out that the D40s target market is not the type of people who would buy primes. And they're probably right for the majority of D40 owners. They get the kit lens, and maybe the 55-200 and they're happy. To those people I recommend one of the many P&S super zoom cameras that are littering the camera landscape and cost a lot less than the D40 + 18-200mm.

To all those who actually care about taking photography, I recommend a used D50/70 or a the D80. (To be fair the Pentax offerings are rather nice as well). Though I'm not one of those people who think all zooms are crap (they're not). For the average person, "good" zooms are a fortune. Inexpensive primes are a great value and really bring out ones photographic capabilities.

So if you are reading this, I assume you have some passing interest in photography. If you care enough to read a post like this, you care enough not to get the Nikon D40.


Anonymous said...

Paul, this is influx. nice blog you've here. ^_^ take care

Anonymous said...

Cant say I agree about the d40, it fills a gap (its half the price of the d80) that appeals to some people. Not everyone will want to carry around a bag of primes with them, they may be getting more popular but I hardly think that zooms are going to become the exception. I'd much rather have my D40 than a 'super zoom' with a fake viewfinder, smaller ccd and less features. But thats just me.

Paul T. said...

"t fills a gap (its half the price of the d80)"

That is fine. I agree Nikon did need something to cover their discontinuation of bridge cameras in that price range. Nothing wrong here.

"Not everyone will want to carry around a bag of primes with them"
Sure... but SLRs are all about choice. Why buy a camera that limits this choice in such a way?

"'super zoom' with a fake viewfinder, smaller ccd and less features"

You should take a look at some of the new super zoom P&S cameras.
And sure, the fake viewfinders are annoying (though some of the bridge cameras do have real ones), but so is the small, tunnel like dim viewfinder in the D40.

Anonymous said...

Personally, I think the best thing about the D40 (and the D50, for that matter) was the corresponding price drop for a used D70 (or D70s). $400 on Ebay!

As well, I'm amazed with the move on the D40s - no regular autofocus, just AFS - because it should demand AF-S lenses in regular prime apertures from Nikon, but it doesn't seem to have moved them that way.

Anonymous said...

"SLRs are all about choice. Why buy a camera that limits this choice in such a way?"
This is a valid point, but the majority of users will, as you say probably only own the kit lens and one other (the 55-200vr for example). Limited choice is still choice.
The prices of the top end bridge cameras are as close to the d40 as makes no odds, which is one of the reasons they're dying out. If someone put a nikon slr in front of you next to a DMC-FZ50 for example (which is 1/2 lb heavier) can you honestly say you'd take the Lumix? Look at their spec lists next to each other

"the fake viewfinders are annoying (though some of the bridge cameras do have real ones)"

I'm not a kit expert by any means, but can you name me a bridge camera
with a "real viewfinder" (ttl)? I personally dont have problem with the d40 viewfinder, its not the worlds best, but then I never expected it to be for 300 quid.

I DO like your blog by the way, I just disagree with writing off the d40. It has its place, just think of it as the worlds best featured bridge camera if you like.


pgoyette said...

it seems likely they will release af-s primes soon, and the whole issue about the d40 and primes will be resolved. it's amazing that people who are telling everyone else not to buy the d40 are people who would never buy it anyway, not because of the lack of af motor, but because they are interested in more full featured options. why get so agitated?

Paul T. said...

"it seems likely they will release af-s primes soon"

Really? Where did you get this idea? Every indication is that Nikon has no interest in releasing primes except for special purpose (ie. macro). Talking to Nikon Canada reps seems to lead me to beleive that Nikon doesn't see any market for general purpose primes anymore. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see some fast wide AF-S Prime. If they were to be released, they won't be cheap (more than current offerings) and they won't be small or light either.

"the whole issue about the d40 and primes will be resolved"

You missed the point. Good, fast and cheap lenses won't be available for the D40 regardless. The D40 is cheap, I'd like a cheap lens to go with it. It's possible that they may release super plastic primes alah the 18-55mm kit lens in AF-S.

"it's amazing that people who are telling everyone else not to buy the d40 are people who would never buy it anyway"

Well, yes, I would never buy that camera because it does not have an AF Drive. If it did, I would as a walk around. In fact, I would own one right now if it had an AF Drive motor. It's an amazing camera in all respects for the price. That camera with a 35mm f/2D would be an amazing walk around kit.

"why get so agitated?"

Because I hate watching other people make mistakes, especially when they're my friends. I know two people now who have bought this camera, and regretted it later. One of them in the span of just a couple of months from purchase.

Here is the catch. If you're reading this post, or are "into" photography enough to "care", the D40 is not for you. The D40 is a brilliant camera on Nikons part. It fills the bridge camera gap with an SLR. The majority of people who buy a D40, will probably either never take the kit lens off, or maybe get the 55-200 with it. Or maybe they will splurge for the 18-200mm and then really never take off their lens. These posts and comments are not for these people.

Anonymous said...

IMO, if Canon offers the same length primes, with built in USM (equiv. to AF-S), at a reasonable price (almost same price as current Nikon's AF offerings).

Then why Nikon wouldn't follow the same path and release some AF-S options? Plus, they need to update these lenses for digital and remove the aperture ring!