I received a nice e-mail from Steve Sanders over at Steve’s Digicams. I have been reading through the material on Steve’s site for a number of years. It is definitely one of the first places I go to read reviews on digital cameras and accessories. If you haven’t been to the site, you’ll find a smorgasbord of information about cameras, scanners, batteries, flashes and more — all examined to the finest detail.
In his, e-mail, Steve alerted to me to the fact that Nikon has just posted a teaser on an all new, inexpensive 10MP dSLR on their website. Much like Sony did with the A100, Nikon is using a Flash presentation that hides most of the details about the new camera. There is a countdown timer in the window that indicates how many days are left until the new camera is introduced. Steve uses the term inexpensive — the Nikon presentation uses the term affordable. While I don’t have a list price for the new Nikon entry, I have to believe it will be under a grand — just to compete head-up with Sony.
A few posts back, I speculated that the A100 might be Sony’s low-end dSLR — with future models offering more features. I said then that Nikon’s replacement for the D50 would either have to have more features or have a much lower price than the A100.
So Nikon is now set to introduce an affordable 10MP model. How will this affect the Sony A100 sales and pricing? At this point in time, point, Sony offers a 10MP camera with a lower list price than either Nikon or Canon’s 6 and 8 MP models. Of course seller discounts allowed users to buy those same cameras at much lower costs than the Alpha — but once the Sony pipeline is full of product, most observers expect to see deep discounts on the A100 as well.
So Sony had the advantage of having a camera priced lower than the major competitors models, but offering better features and mega pixels. If Nikon introduces it’s new model with a lower list price, Sony’s advantage goes out the window. Even if Nikon simply matches Sony’s $999.00 list price for camera with lens package, Sony may still be a disadvantage because the Nikon brand carries so much weight in the still camera arena.
This could force Sony to lower the list price of the A100. Not immediately — just as users have had to wait for production Alphas to arrive at the market, it is doubtful that the new Nikon will suddenly be readily available. Still the threat is there . If the new Nikon steals too much thunder from the Alpha, and Sony will have to move to counteract it — either with an overall price reduction, a dealer price reduction that allows resellers to discount the A100 even further or through rebates.
Of course there is another factor to consider here. Canon — the 300 pound gorilla in the camera wars — isn’t likely to sit back and allow Nikon and Sony to eat into Canon’s market share. Canon has already announced the Digital Rebel is soon to be replaced with a new model. What do you want to bet it’s price and feature set will be designed to compete directly against the Alpha and the new Nikon offering?
Isn’t this a great time to be a digital SLR user! I can’t wait to see what the next six months will bring.
Until next time, stay focused! — Tom
Link to the Nikon countdown preview: