How to Lose Customers

Okay, I've been honking this horn for a dozen years now (buzz, buzz). But now the security alarm has gone off, too. 

Normally, this news would be on the sansmirror site: Fringer has announced the NF-FX "smart autofocus adapter" that allows Nikon F-mount lenses to be used on Fujifilm XF mount mirrorless cameras. With autofocus, exposure, EXIF, lens correction (!), and other support. 

bythom fringer nf-fx

While this adapter really works best with only five recent Fujifilm bodies (X-T3, X-T4, X-T30, X-S10, and X-Pro3), it appears to work quite well on them, enough so that it should help a smooth transition for a Nikon DX DSLR user to Fujifilm mirrorless. Perhaps smoother than to Nikon Z DX ;~). 

Note: version 1.10 of the firmware for the adapter is now available, which added support for a number of Nikkor exotic and other long telephoto lenses.

Meanwhile, Fujifilm has over the course of the last eight years built out a really good set of APS-C (DX size) prime lenses. Lenses that Nikon DX users have long coveted but never received from Nikon. At least under the 100mm equivalent focal length. The Fringer adapter now gives Nikon DX users an "out." They could pick up an X-T4 and a Fringer adapter, and still use their Nikkor telephoto lenses—the Fringer works with the 70-200mms, the 80-400mm, the 200-500mm, and the 300mm f/4 PF—but now have access to a load of "DX" primes. 

Buzz, Buzz just went Bang, Bang. (For those new to site, "buzz, buzz" is my shorthand irritating reminder to Nikon corporate that they failed to build out the DX lens set; it's like I'm a fly or gnat flying around their head reminding them that their situation stinks.)

Thing is, Nikon doesn't think DSLRs are dead yet. They'd like to continue selling them for the foreseeable future. But by their own inaction (on DX lenses) they've now enabled a competitor to come in and pick up any DX customers thinking about upgrading. Remember, DX is the bulk of Nikon's existing DSLR customer base. By "bulk" I mean 90% or more. True, those folk are not upgrading their cameras at anywhere near the pace they used to, but that also means that you can't afford to let a competitor siphon any of them off.

Nikon is supposedly readying two DSLRs for 2021. Nikon faithful hope that one of those is a D500 update. Or at least a D7500 update ala what was done with the D780 (incorporate the mirrorless bits into Live View). But if either appear, that still leaves the situation as it was: buzz, buzz, where are the DX lenses?

The problem in Tokyo is that they wish to dictate to customers what they should buy. Nikon wanted customers to spend more money by purchasing FX when they upgraded their DX cameras, and this has been the corporate focus since 2009. Not all customers wanted (or want today) to do that. So you shouldn't be surprised when your sales to those DX-type customers plummet, Nikon. Now that better alternatives for those DX-type customers exist, you shouldn't be surprised when they abandon the brand.

I've been writing about this for over a decade. I saw the problem clearly. Management in Tokyo either didn't see the problem or didn't care. Either way, the result is fewer sales than was possible, and now fewer sales than are possible. That's no way to run a business.

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