Industry News: Nikon to end camera production in Japan

Canon Rumors Guy

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It looks like Nikon is making some major decisions during their restructuring. After more than 70 years, Nikon will end camera manufacturing in Japan and will move all production to Thailand by the end of 2021.
From Asahi (Google Translated)
At last, Nikon will end the domestic production of camera bodies that has continued for more than 70 years. Until now, body manufacturing has been carried out at “Sendai Nikon” in Miyagi Prefecture and “Nikon Thailand (NTC)” in Thailand, but in order to reduce costs, it will be concentrated at the Thai factory.
Production of the mirrorless cameras Z 7 and Z 6 was completed at the end of September, and preparations for the transfer of production to Thailand have begun in October. Production of the D6 digital SLR will also be transferred to Thailand by the end of 2021. (translated)
I do wonder how this will affect the used market, will a Japan-made Nikon D6 retain value better than a...

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dolina

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Camera industry has been in decline for nearly a decade. Coincidentally the iPhone came out followed by Android smartphones.

Unlike Canon and Nikon, Sony saw the writings on the wall and put their efforts into being the image sensor of the top 50% of all smartphones sold. That's why their mirrorless cameras have superior tech as compared to Canon or Nikon.

What Canon and Nikon had were a very robust lens and accessories lineup and after sales support.

COVID-19 did not help in terms of supply chain or professionals needing a camera to cover events as almost all events were cancelled.

I expect Canon, Sony and other brands to relocate their production lines to South East Asia. Hopefully to the Philippines like Pentax in Cebu.
 
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Codebunny

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It makes a lot of sense to produce outside of Japan and Nikon have with Z been moving to a almost just in time production. And the Nikon build quality has been really high with the Made in Thailand editions, all the Z glass is really top form.
 
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privatebydesign

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While at times it may feel satisfying to see Canon dominating just to balance out the '******* trolls', this sounds like bad news for customers and the industry as a whole. It is not a good thing for anybody to see competitors struggle.
Not really, for decades the bulk camera market was dominated by two companies, Canon and Nikon, with a variety of others taking much smaller market share. Moving forwards the bulk market will be dominated by Canon and Sony with Nikon moving to being one of the others but with a larger sales share.

We will have moved from two dominance’s and bit players, to two and a half dominants with bit players.
 
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Bert63

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I’m probably wrong (usually am) but if Japan is willing to go to this extreme Nikon might be in worse financial trouble than I imagined.

For Japan to send jobs and manufacturing offshore has got to be a hit to national pride.

Not like the US where we’d sell our little brother to save a buck or two.
 

privatebydesign

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Camera industry has been in decline for nearly a decade. Coincidentally the iPhone came out followed by Android smartphones.

Unlike Canon and Nikon, Sony saw the writings on the wall and put their efforts into being the image sensor of the top 50% of all smartphones sold. That's why their mirrorless cameras have superior tech as compared to Canon or Nikon.

What Canon and Nikon had were a very robust lens and accessories lineup and after sales support.

COVID-19 did not help in terms of supply chain or professionals needing a camera to cover events as almost all events were cancelled.

I expect Canon, Sony and other brands to relocate their production lines to South East Asia. Hopefully to the Philippines like Pentax in Cebu.
That is such a distorted view of the market.

Yes it has been in decline for a decade, but it underwent unprecedented growth before that. In reality the market is returning to historical norms.

Canon have diversified very successfully. Sony sensor division was spun off years ago and has nothing to do with their camera division.

Corporations moving production to leverage cheaper facilities and labor is a time tested tradition, nothing particular startling or surprising in the announcement at all. Nikon are only talking about consolidating production in Thailand where the bulk of their manufacture ring was already done anyway.
 

Codebunny

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I’m probably wrong (usually am) but if Japan is willing to go to this extreme Nikon might be in worse financial trouble than I imagined.

For Japan to send jobs and manufacturing offshore has got to be a hit to national pride.

Not like the US where we’d sell our little brother to save a buck or two.

They were making the highly successful D850, D500, and the not so successful Z cameras in Thailand already. And all the Z lenses are in Nikon factories in Thailand and China and these are excellent lenses with almost no sample variation.
Nikon seems to have caught on fast that producing everything in Japan is a bad idea, if I am not mistaken one of the big factories there was hit by a tsunami.
The build quality in my Z lenses feels way better than the F lenses. The jobs that mater to Japan will still be the lens design. And now they are diversified if something buggers up in Thailand or China.
 

bellorusso

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The company was kinda in trouble when Nikon decided to use Sony sensors. Sony would never sell things to competitors to hurt its own business. That decision made Nikon fans wonder if they should switch to Sony, which undoubtedly saved better sensors for its own cameras. In that moment Nikon instantly jump down below Canon and Sony as a camera manufacture and from there Nikon could only fall down further.
 

tmroper

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Unlike Canon and Nikon, Sony saw the writings on the wall and put their efforts into being the image sensor of the top 50% of all smartphones sold. That's why their mirrorless cameras have superior tech as compared to Canon or Nikon.

Senors in digital cameras are commodity silicon products and are in no way "superior tech." But since you mentioned Apple, their new M1 SOC is very much superior tech, and innovation like that is why they take the lion's share of the margins on their products. Sony's just another contract supplier.
 
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Sporgon

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Then the running ten year "they've discontinued it - no they haven't" debate on the F6 production is probably coming to an end; the latest rumour that Nikon aren't building anymore new ones is probably true.

I doubt that moving all production to Thailand and closing the factory in Japan has anything to do with struggling anymore now than before; the company clearly needs to make more margin.

Personally, and I know this has no rational reasoning behind it, but I like the fact that my 5DSs are made in Japan.
 

Codebunny

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The company was kinda in trouble when Nikon decided to use Sony sensors. Sony would never sell things to competitors to hurt its own business. That decision made Nikon fans wonder if they should switch to Sony, which undoubtedly saved better sensors for its own cameras. In that moment Nikon instantly jump down below Canon and Sony as a camera manufacture and from there Nikon could only fall down further.

Sony sensors are used in the low end bodies like the Z6. The D850, D5, D6, Z7, and Z7ii all use Nikon designed sensors that Sony manufacture but have no say on. It is akin to saying the M1, Geforce 3090, and a whole bunch of products at TSMC chips. The Nikon designed sensors could be produced by someone else. The Sony off the shelf sensors in the low end models makes it it a good deal for Sony, they can compete with Canon much better as a duo.
 

David - Sydney

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Different countries are on different learning curves for manufacturing quality. Depends also on product type. There was a time when German and Japanese manufacturing was very poor quality but cheap post WWII. That changed over time to be high labour price and high quality. China, Korea and Taiwan went through the same process and now other countries with lower labour rates have manufacturing being moved there. The rag trade is notorious to chase the cheapest labour rates with Bangladesh and Vietnam being 2 of the current options. Car manufacturing is a little distorted due to country requirements and subsidies but it is clear how quality has improved over time vs price per country.
 

Codebunny

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I'm sure this is a cost-saving measure. They will probably save quite a bit on labor costs.

They aren't closing the Japanese factory and already produce some of their biggest hits our of the Thailand one. Also this isn't like they are outsourcing; they own the factory in Thailand. It likely has better connections for parts too as they'll be hundred factories around it. Rather than needing to wait a month for screws to come into Japan from China.
 
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