Even Leica Beats DX Lens Availability

I just have to end the year with another jab at Nikon and their totally misguided DX strategy. 

A reader recently pointed me at the much overlooked Leica TL. Hmm, 18mm f/2.8, 23mm f/2, 35mm f/1.4, 60mm f/2.8 Macro. 

I'd argue that Leica is missing the most important prime of all (16mm), but still, as of today, Leica not only equals Nikon in crop sensor primes, they have an arguably more useful selection. And they equaled Nikon's count in one ninth the time ;~). (Nikon's DX primes are the 10.5mm fisheye, 35mm f/1.8, 40mm f/2.8 and 85mm f/3.5 macros.)

Meanwhile, over in Tokyo I'm still hearing about huge internal fights at Nikon over whether to introduce DX or FX mirrorless first, and that neither would be really coming with much in the way of initial lenses. It seems that some at Nikon have just now recognized that they have at least a three year process ahead of them to get any sort of lens parity in mirrorless, and that's impacting the fight. Ah, the joys of being last and not getting it.

May I suggest to those at Nikon still arguing over this that they've got it all wrong? 

Of course, one of the things that they've got wrong is that they don't know how to market two things at once. Nikon has long had issues in launching multiple products at once. The best they do with this is when they have two similar products (e.g. D300 and D3, D500 and D5). Even then they struggle. So launching two mirrorless systems is going to be a complete struggle for them, especially when they have to explain the difference between mirrorless and DSLR. Why, I have no idea.

I've written for years that Nikon basically sucks at Product Line Marketing Management. Sucks, as in does a job that would net them an F in the marketing management classes I took at the Kelley School of Business. That should now be completely obvious to the world. Just look at how powerful the well considered Coolpix, Nikon 1, KeyMission, and DL brands are these days, and how easy they are to explain to the remaining customers for cameras. Oops.

Adding mirrorless to their offerings is so complicated, it appears, that they can't even figure out how to describe that to themselves, let alone customers. Nor will they be able to explain why they are cancelling their previous mirrorless product when they announce a new one. 

I've written it for years and anyone that understands photography can tell you why: any new ILC system needs a bare minimum of lenses to support it. A minimum of three or four well chosen primes, two convenience zooms, two or more pro zooms. Call it 24mm, 35mm, 50mm, 85mm, 24-70mm, 70-200mm, 24-105mm, 100-300mm. Change those numbers at your own risk, but at least be close. If you can't ship all eight of those on day one, provide a roadmap that says when you will. Then start adding new ones that aren't in that list (such as a wide angle zoom). 

Note that Nikon didn't do that with DX (over 18 years). Didn't do it with Nikon 1 (over six years). Likely isn't going to do it for any new mirrorless system. In other words, Nikon is repeating their dysfunction and not recognizing it. And yet Nikon management in Tokyo is apparently finally recognizing that Fujifilm stole many of their customers and is getting all up in arms about that and paranoid that they need to launch mirrorless ASAP. Hmm. Did Fujifilm provide those lenses? And a roadmap? Yes, and for much more than the eight lenses I mentioned. Might lenses be a reason that Fujifilm X is stealing Nikon DX  customers? You bet it is.

Heck, did Sony provide those lenses (and a roadmap)? Yes. Did Olympus? Yes. Did Panasonic? Yes. Did Leica? Yes. 

Did Nikon? No. 

Oh dear lord it doesn't have to be this difficult. It isn't rocket science (and if it was, Nikon would be exploding on the launch pad). 

Simple: match Canon with a DX mirrorless system ASAP, but do them one better by providing all eight lenses (or a roadmap to them quickly). Tease the FX system as you do, then beat Canon to an FX mirrorless system, and again make sure the lens set is completely visible. Oh, and make a few more DX lenses for the DSLRs while you're at it. 

Yes, it's that simple: let the buyer choose Nikon. Doesn't matter which one. Nikon mirrorless. Nikon DSLR. Nikon DX. Nikon FX. No matter what they choose they're covered with a full lens set (now or soon), and that lens set has a great deal of cross platform capability (FX lenses on DX, DSLR lenses on mirrorless with adapter). That's how you do product line management. Each to its own, each with its place, each complementing the others. 

Now, can I interest you in a compact camera line, too?  ;~)



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