COMMENT: Canon, who is already facing pricing and online trading problems in Australia, is facing a new threat after arch rival Nikon burst into the mirrorless camera market yesterday with their new Nikon 1 offering which they claim is faster than a lot of the pro cameras on the market.
Up until now the two big Japanese camera brand’s Nikon and Canon have refused to recognise the mirrorless camera market despite the fact in in some markets like Japan it has already captured 40% market share of the digital camera market.
Now Nikon is a serious threat to not only Canon but mirrorless camera vendors, Olympus, Sony, Samsung and Panasonic.
Canon is now being forced to compete with a range of compact camera that are struggling to deliver profits and their highly successful digital SLR range which competes head on with Nikon’s range of Pro digital cameras.
Nikon now has all three offerings, compact camera’s including a highly credible waterproof camera, their new mirrorless range and their pro and semi pro digital SLR camera range. This gives retailers a lot of choice as Sony, Olympus and Panasonic do not have the high end digital camera offerings that Nikon is able to deliver.
At Nikon’s launch yesterday the Japanese Company was keen to push the pro shooting elements of their new Nikon 1. They even had on hand Hollywood celebrity photographers who claimed the new cameras who “fast” and as “good to use as a top end pro camera”.
The days when you could tell ‘pro’ photographers from amateurs by the size of their cameras might soon be over which is a problem for Canon as there is the real threat that mirrorless could now grab a significant share of the Australian camera market due to the face that brands like Nikon, Sony, Panasonic and Olympus are expert marketers who are now spending millions marketing a mirrorless offering to consumers in the all-important trading period running up to Xmas.
Nikon’s new 1 V1 is the smallest, camera with swappable lenses and is set to be promoted with ‘giant hands’ bursting through the ground in several cities around the world including Sydney.
‘The quality, design build, and sensor size now means we can have the quality from a compact that we could only dream about years ago,’ James Murray, Nikon Australia General Manager Sales & Marketing said at yesterday’s launch.
The 1 V1 is the smallest camera ever made with swappable lenses – which come colour-coordinated to the shade of the camera (This is just in case you were worried about your zoom causing a fashion faux pas).
The new camera’s also includes hi-tech features such as a ‘burst shoot’ mode which snaps 20 to 60 images at once, and auto-selects the best five based on facial expressions, composition and focus. It then displays the ‘best’ on the LCD viewfinder.
The tiny camera has swappable lenses, like an SLR – and produces results that impress even the pros. It’s expected to retail for around $900.
Nikon’s move in creating a new camera range raises serious doubts over the future of DSLR cameras,’ says Stuart Miles, editor of leading UK gadget site Pocket Lint.
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‘People believe that their camera phone is good enough for most situations – but their thirst for professional-style pictures continues and this will only catapult that even further.’
‘The launch of Nikon 1 is our most significant announcement since we introduced our first digital camera 14 years ago,’ said Murray yesterday.
The camera’s processor is far faster than the ones found in many full-sized DSLR cameras.
Other features include ‘Motion Snapshot’ – which takes a still image and a mini-video at the same time, and combines the two to create a ‘moving’ image, similar to the paintings in Hogwarts in the Harry Potter films, if a little less ghostly.
The two new models called the J1 and V1 use a new CX-format, 2.7X crop factor 10.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and mirrorless interchangeable lens system.
They are also the first cameras with the dual-core Expeed 3 processor and are key to getting a fast 73-point phase-based autofocusing system that Nikon claims is even faster than the Olympus PEN cameras which were launched in Australia recently.
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Both cameras can ramp up to 10 frames per second in full resolution, even with autofocus; if autofocus is locked, it can record at an unprecedented 60 frames per second.
Video tops out at 1080p at 30 frames per second, but photographers can still capture still images in mid-movie and get noise reduction while they shoot. Footage, shot in H.264 (AVCHD), always comes with stereo audio recording and can kick into slow-motion 60, 400, and 1,200 frames per second modes, albeit at lower resolutions.
The differences between the J1 and V1 are dictated by their audiences. The J1 is the baseline and intended as a crossover camera for newcomers, with only the three-inch LCD available for previews and a slew of colours that include red and bright pink.
The V1 only comes in black and is intended for more serious photographers with a built-in 1.4-megapixel electronic viewfinder, a mechanical shutter instead of just the electronic on the J1, and a proprietary port for a new SB-N5 Speedlight flash or a GP-N100 GPS add-on for geo tagging shots. A stereo microphone input helps with sound capture.
Both stores will be in stores shortly however Nikon Australia has not announced local pricing unlike Europe and the USA who have both announced pricing.