MonthJanuary 2016

Nikons product lineup after the D5/D500 launch

Sometimes it is fun to travel back in time. Apparently, Nikon did the same and re-visited the success formula of 2007. A FX flagship accompanied by a DX equivalent of the same resolution and almost the same speed in a smaller body.

Let’s hope that Nikon finally found back to the success formula of 2007-2011. So, what will be the product mix for the next few years, especially if the D500 sells in sufficient quantities? Let’s see first, what we have today:

  • D5 – top of the line build, speed, ISO in FX. Midterm refresh in 2018 possible.
  • D810 – pro build FX body, slower, landscape camera. The affordable pro-body for most professionals and serious hobbyists. Refresh in 2017 possible.
  • D500 – pro build, speed and best ISO for DX. Pro-style body for the masses. Future refresh cycle unclear. I could imagine a longer cycle before any refresh or replacement happens.
  • D750 – Highend consumer body FX. Compromise in speed, ISO, AF. Direct successor unclear (see below).
  • D610 – midrange consumer body FX for most price sensitive hobbyists. Replacement in 2016 already rumored.
  • D7200 and future replacements – serious amateur standard DX. Entry class for cameras with built in AF motor and metering for manual lenses. Refresh in 2017 likely.
  • D5500 and below – camera for hobby travelers interested in DSLR, but not necessarily amateur photographers. Eye-catching features to get attention on the store shelf like swiveling LCDs or connection options.

That’s a pretty crowded product stack. But still, something is missing. Depending on whom to ask, different cameras might be seen as missing:

  • A lower FX resolution alternative to the D810 in a pro body.
  • A high resolution D5x alternative.

I do not see a D5x coming. It has to be even more expensive than the D5. The price would be too much of a stretch, as it was before with the D3x.

The first could happen. But not as additional product. As I have written before, the theory that D700 took away sales from the D3 is nonsense. The original D3 still has the most highest serial numbers known of any pro-style single digit body.

But where should the speed FX in the small pro body sit within this product family? Looking closely at the different models, the D750 seems a bit out of place. It is not a pro body (round viewfinder, 10 pin terminal), but is stretching towards the big cameras based on feature set.

Changing the body style of the D750 to a pro body does not work at this price point, as it would kill the D500 immediately. Still, a lower resolution alternative for the possible D810 successor would sell well.

How about this:

  • D5 – the same as today – 7000 €
  • D810 successor – still the MP king, as today in a pro body FX – 3300 €
  • D750 successor – Speed, pro body FX – 2800 €
  • D500 – the same as today. Pro body DX – 2300 €
  • D610 successor – consumer body FX – 1600 €
  • D7200 successor – consumer body DX. 1100 €
  • D5500 and below – mass market up to 700 €

The D750 would be upgraded to a pro body, together with a fitting price increase. The schematics of numbering would make more sense than today and everybody would be able to find the camera fitting to the needs. Except the D5x.

Let’s see what happens in Nikon’s roadmap.

What a day for Nikon enthusiasts! D5 and D500 announced.

The D5 was already pre-announced and leaks during the last few weeks provided enough information already. Therefore the actual specification do not come as a big surprise.

The D500 will hit many people as a very big surprise. Most of us had given up hope for a pro-DX body long time ago. I published an editorial complaining about the lack of a D300s successor in 2013, latest in 2014  I also had given up hope.

The D500 comes in a “real” body (at least that is what press pictures indicate), provides an AF-ON button, offers 10 fps frame rate without completely breaking the bank for the first time in years, provides a moderate resolution at 20 MP and even comes with a rounded eyepiece! To provide one XQD slot is – in my opinion – also a very wise decision.

I was all set to drool over the D5 tonight, but the D500 steals the show absolutely. Today many people waiting for a D300/s replacement will be very, very happy.

D5 at Nikon.com

D500 at Nikon.com

© 2017 Dennis Saßmannshausen Photography

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