Once a bright spot, Nikon lowers profit target due to weak demand for mirrorless cams

Nikon 1 J3 front right angle

The compact system camera (CSC) sector has been talked about as one of the few bright spots in the camera industry where manufacturers still have a fighting chance against smartphones, but recent news concerning Nikon’s less than stellar performance may require a new review of this analysis.

Reuters reports that Nikon Corp. has cut its profit forecast for the year because of disappointing demand for mirrorless CSCs, like the Nikon 1 J3 shown above. The company is cutting its forecast from 85 billion yen to 65 billion through March 2014. Camera makers have been relying on higher-end cameras like CSCs – which are more compact than their DSLR cousins but offer enhanced shooting features and interchangeable lenses – to make up for huge losses at the bottom, where basic point-and-shoot cameras have been walloped by smartphone cameras that have been getting progressively more advanced with each new model. CSCs have been viewed as a growth sector for camera makers.

According to Nikon execs, the disappointing sales were worse in Europe and the U.S., but CSC sales have been stronger in Japan. “In Europe and the U.S. the ratio of mirrorless to SLRs hasn’t grown at all, unlike in Asia, where it’s quite popular with women because it’s light. We had higher expectations for other regions,” Yasuyuki Okamoto, Nikon’s president, told Reuters. “But people who like cameras tend to just go for SLRs, even though they’re very heavy.”

The only good news seems to be from Nikon’s DSLR segment, which Okamoto says remains strong. Nikon says it plans to launch more “entry-class” DSLRs as part of its future strategy. And despite the reduced forecast, it’s still a 27-percent rise from a year ago, according to Reuters.

But it’s not just the U.S. and European markets that are hurting sales. China, which has been a consistently reliable market, is experiencing slower growth, although Nikon’s Okamoto is hoping for a recovery in the Chinese market.

The company is also cutting forecast for its multi-million dollar semiconductor products. And, Nikon isn’t alone: Olympus Corp. announced that sales of its CSC, the PEN, had fallen 12 percent in the first quarter. Canon Inc. also recently lowered its full-year earnings projection, citing worse-than-expected economies in China and Europe and a drop in sales for its DSLRs. (Canon and Nikon are the number one and two camera makers in the world, respectively, and both are powerhouses in the DSLR sectors.) The bad news come at a time when camera makers are struggling against advanced smartphone cameras and still trying to recover from a weak currency back home, the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan, and floods in Thailand. 

With the disappointing results, is the CSC market coming to a premature end? Although it’s a cause for concern, it’s too soon to make any such predictions, Ed Lee of InfoTrends told us. “Q4 and holiday sales are the make or break time period,” he said.


The Canon EOS Rebel T6 DSLR camera gets a steep price cut at Walmart

Modern smartphones can snap pretty impressive pics, but if you want pro-quality photos, you need a dedicated digital camera. The Canon EOS Rebel T6 is one of the best entry-level DSLR cameras on the market, and it’s on sale right now for…

These point-and-shoot cameras make your smartphone pics look like cave paintings

If your smartphone camera isn't giving you the results you want, maybe it's time to step up your game. The latest and greatest point-and-shoot cameras offer large sensors, tough bodies, and long lenses -- something no phone can touch.

Capture life in every direction with the best 360 cameras

While 360 cameras are still a new technology, that doesn't mean there's not a few that are worth a look. Whether you want to shoot from the middle or just need a simple, affordable option, here are the best 360 cameras on the market.

Earn more likes on your photos with the best cameras for Instagram

Looking to snap better Instagrams? Instagram doesn't demand high-resolution files, but upgrading your camera can deliver better bokeh and low-light quality. Here our the best cameras for Instagram.

Light on price but rich on features, these are the best cameras for students

Need pro-level features on a budget? The best cameras for students mix advanced features with a more palatable price point. From $2K entry level full frame cameras to $600 budget picks, here are five of the best cameras for students.

Nikon Z 7 vs. Sony A7R III: High-res mirrorless cameras compared

The Nikon Z 7 and Sony A7R III both have over 40 megapixels, but which one comes out on top? With similar image quality, the answer comes down to speed, autofocus, battery life, and design.

Sweet 16: Wacom’s Cintiq 16 pen display makes retouching photos a breeze

Wacom’s Cintiq pen displays are usually reserved for the pros (or wealthy enthusiasts), but the new Cintiq 16 brings screen and stylus editing to an approachable price. Does it cut too much to get there?

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Nikon Z 7: When megapixels matter, which do you choose?

The 47-megapixels Lumix S1R and 46-megapixel Nikon Z 7 are the two highest-resolution, full-frame mirrorless cameras on the market. The S1R features a high-resolution mode that can take 187MP images, but the Nikon is lighter and cheaper.

China bans selfies at gigantic Aperture Spherical Telescope

You can't take a selfie with the world's largest single-dish radio telescope anymore, as the Chinese government has banned everything from smartphones to digital cameras in the surrounding 5-kilometer area.

After controversial video, China bans ‘Leica’ on social media

A video that referenced Tiananmen Square got the name of the camera company Leica banned from the social media platform Weibo. Leica says the video wasn't an officially sanctioned promotion.

Photography News: Instagram’s disappearing likes, the best photos of the year

In this week's Photography News, see why Instagram is testing a version that excludes the number of likes a post gets. Also, see the impressive winners from two photography contests and the latest features coming to the Fujifilm X-T3.

Panasonic Lumix S1R vs. Sony A7R III: Which pixel-shift powerhouse is better?

The Lumix S1R and Sony A7R III are different in design, but similar in performance, and both offer pixel-shift high resolution modes which pull even more detail out of their already high-resolution sensors. Here's how they compare.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!

These are the best action cameras money can buy, from GoPro to Garmin and more

Action cameras are great tools for capturing videos of your everyday activities, whether it's a birthday party or the steepest slope you've ever descended on your snowboard. These are the best money can buy.