Canon News

First up, and probably of most importance to this site's readers, Canon has produced a 148 page PDF file AF Setting Guidebook for the 1Dx Mark II. Nikon doesn't have the same level of instruction and detail in a single document, though you can get something useful if the camera in question has a Technical Guide (e.g. see the D5 download page). 

Personally, I find both the Canon Guidebooks and the Nikon Technical Guides required reading. That's because careful reading often reveals subtle changes to the way the focus system works in the new cameras.

Meanwhile, Canon reported their full 2016 Fiscal Year results today. The news won't be happy news for anyone except Canon users. 

For the year, Canon sold 2% more interchangeable lens cameras than it did in 2015, which is entirely counter the trend. Overall, the industry was down 9% to 11.5m units, so Canon's 5.7m units represented almost exactly 50% of all ILC sales in 2016. Now some of this may have to do with the fact that Canon wasn't hampered by sensor availability while its competitors were, but still, keeping their ILC sales volume level is quite a feat. Of course compact cameras continued to slide, down 38% on a unit volume basis year to year (and that would have been impacted by sensor availability). 

All isn't rosy, though. Operating profit was down 15.9% for the fourth quarter year-to-year, and total camera sales were down 14.8% for the entire year compared to 2015. Basically, Canon has flat ILC unit volume, declining compact camera volume, and declining overall sales and profitability. "Declining profitability" still has them making a 13.5% gross profit margin, which is fine. 

For the current year (2017) Canon projects a 7% decline in ILC camera volume and only a 13% decline in compact camera volume. They project the industry-wide ILC sales to be 11m units for 2017, and Tanaka-san specifically indicated that he believes that ILC sales levels are hitting a "bottom". Canon expects overall sales to remain flat, but profit margin up slightly (6.6%) for 2017. One worry for Nikon: ""Using mirrorless cameras as a driver, we will work to acquire a new user base." If that works for Canon, Nikon will have trouble if they don't duplicate the action.

Cameras are important to Canon, representing about 33% of their total sales. Nikon is the most exposed to cameras in their overall business, but Canon is probably the second-most exposed. 

Note that Canon predicts that the yen will weaken against the dollar (see what I wrote about macroeconomics and cameras). The question is how much? The comments that Tanaka-san made at the Tokyo press conference announcing Canon's results seem to indicate that there's more guessing in play this year than certainty (there's never full certainty, obviously). 

Nikon reports their 3rd quarter fiscal year results on February 13th (they're on a different fiscal year). 

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