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“Nikon 1” sells well in USA. What should Panasonic and Olympus learn?


I am surprised. I just checked the Amazon mirrorless camera ranking (Click here) and Nikon seems to sell their new J1 and V1 very well! Four cameras made it into the top 20 and I am trying to understand why Nikon is succeeding. One thing is sure, I saw massive advertising on European newspaper, tv’s and blogs. Something I never saw before. Nikon perfectly coordinated the launch of these cameras. It is certainly something not even comparable with what Panasonic and Olympus are doing. And another thing I noticed is that the Nikon cameras are in Stock less than one month after the announcement. If you look at the Panasonic-Leica 25mm f/1.4 lens that has been announced in early June is still NOT in Stock in US stores than you can get an idea of how good Nikon’s (or how bad Panasonic’s) strategy is.

Let me know what you think:

Why is Nikon 1 selling well:

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P.S.: These are the other Amazon rankings: Uk mirrolress, DE mirrorless, FR mirrorless., JP cameras. As you can see the Nikon sales are not as good as in the US!

  • aronlia

    Nikon J and V sells well in the USA cos they’re just a bunch of consumerists.. Advertising pays dues in the USA

    • @admin
      most people in Europe do not use Amazon to buy their cameras, I bet they are probably not even in the top 5 of online camera retailers in any European country and probably outside the top 10 in the UK, do a survey of amongst your European readers about where they purchased their cameras online…

      I’ve seen Lumix cameras in the hands of wedding guests t nearly all the weddings I’ve attended this year and also Panasonic was on record saying in June or July this year that they had sold over 112,000 micro four thirds cameras in the UK

    • WT21

      Thanks for the nationalistic mud slinging.

      Actually, perhaps the site Admin, as a European, is showing his lack of business credentials (because, well, you know how Europeans are)

      “selling well” — number six, behind even the old NEX 3??? I’d say we have a case of a slow sales period.

      (by the way, the bit about Europeans is intended to be satire of stereotypes. Not my actual opinion. I do business in Europe, and have no complaints with the people I work with).

    • MikeS


      Yeah – there isn’t any advertising outside of the US, and non-Americans never buy consumer goods. Ever.

  • well that amazon ranking shows the sony 16mm lens as NUMBER ONE in sales , despite the fact that this lens has been getting very “average ” reviews to put it mildly

    Interesting also to see that in the category of compact mirorless cameras , single focal lenses clearly outsell the zooms.
    Hopefully some of the manufacturers are listening


    • Frederic Hew

      “Interesting also to see that in the category of compact mirorless cameras , single focal lenses clearly outsell the zooms.”

      This is an interesting observation. I think it has to do with the fact that those camera sell very well with 1 or 2 kit zooms. Purchasing a fast normal prime (the 20mm is a good example) as a complement makes a lot of sense.

      Another point to consider is that neither m43, nor NEX or Sony 1 have fast zooms.

    • as average as it is, its still ok lens (at f5) and is the only NEX lens worth buying, keep in mind that NEX sells as much as M43

    • Luke

      because the cameras COME with zooms included. Point and shooters never buy another lens. People that enjoy switching out lenses generally buy primes….no mystery there.

      • Nathan

        People don’t enjoy switching out lenses, they like the large aperture lenses. Those tend to be primes.

        There’s no question but that using a lens with an f1.7 aperture is more fun indoors than using an f3.5-5.6 zoom. No need for flash, exposures are shorter, and they look nicer.

        But if it were possible to buy a 14-50 f1.7-2.0, that fantasy walkabout lens would sell like it were made of Christ’s pajamas.

    • bilgy_no1

      which other lens CAN you realistically buy for a NEX camera? 18-200 too big + expensive. 24mm just too expensive. 30mm macro: mweeh

      • MikeS

        The 50mm 1.8 looks decent.

  • MP Burke

    The American prices are lower than those in the UK, where the Nikons look expensive. I can only attribute the apparent success in the US to the combination of dealer network, advertising and the name.
    I had a look at some of them today and they seem to have little to offer other than the size. The V1 is smaller than a G3 but is much more expensive and the viewfinder is small by comparison. It will be interesting to see if the 1 series does well in the UK, where there are other mirror-less cameras on display near to it in shops, most of which are significantly cheaper.

  • hiplnsdrftr

    name brand recognition + consumer ignorance = $uccess

    • Rob-L

      No advertising + no dealer network = failure

      • Yep… quite … In my country the average ‘Joe’ doesn’t know Panasonic as a camera maker… there are no advertising and Panny cameras cost 2-3 times than in US (1700€ vs 999$ on a GH1 at one time), while other brands have similar prices… not to mention that lens and other stuff are impossible to find on sale.

        Nikon, on the other hand, you ask anyone about it and they know they make good cameras, same goes with Canon… You go to your every-day-mall and there they are, a vast selection of camera bodies and lens…

      • c.d.embrey

        Sounds like Panasonic. No-0ne sells them in Southern California.

      • TheEye

        What hiplnsdrftr and you say seems appropriate.

    • Simon

      I don’t think Nikon is ignoring customers as much as Panasonic and Olympus.

  • (1) Nikon realizes that people can’t buy product if you don’t have product to sell them.

    (2) Nikon knows a dealer network is important. Their much-criticized decision to enforce minimum pricing in the US makes dealers love them, because it allows dealers to make money instead of just serving as unpaid “showrooms” for online retailers.

    (3) Nikon has read the market well on the J and V cameras. They realize that the vast majority of users are perfectly satisfied with phone-camera image quality. What those users don’t like about their phone cameras are slow response, lack of flexibility, and lack of “gadget appeal” (not fun to use.) Nikon is giving them a camera that exceeds their image-quality expectations, and gives them the speed, flexibility and fun they want, without making them carry around a bulky camera outfit. Not for serious photographers, but a bulls-eye for the casual picture-taking enthusiast.

    • Luke


    • WT21

      I agree with your first point. Uncertain on the third. But on #2, what does a “Dealer Network” have to do with AMAZON sales ratings?

    • @Ranger (
      1. perhaps Panny and Oly go where the profit is
      2 Nikon might of painted enforced minimum pricing in the US as some kind of favour to American consumers but I’m sure the reality is the opposite in that they are delibrately keeping the market segmented to keep the price of their D3’s and D4 artificially high…
      3. The new smart mobile phones with cameras been launched this week (iphone 4s, samsung note and especially the samsung nexus have near zero shutter lag and have more gadget appeal, flexibilty and relevance than the new J and V cameras ever will) have that end of the market sewn up and also you can get them free on contract, something Nikon isn’t offering!

    • Henrik

      interesting remarks.

    • c.d.embrey

      Someone who gets it!!! The Nikon 1 is made for people who like taking photos, but HATE PHOTOGRAPHY.

  • Rob-L

    Oly and Panny need to advertise more and get the product in the stores. I can’t find an Oly in any retail stores to save my life and only Fry’s seem to carry the Pannys.

    People won’t buy them if they don’t know about them!

    • Nathan

      I’m not having trouble finding the PEN cameras at Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Kurt’s Camera (local), or any other major electronics retailer in the US.

      • Really? Best Buy in my area is still trying to sell the EPL-1 w/ 14-42 for $700! Good luck with that!

        I was quite surprised to find that Ritz Camera had the EPM-1 & EPL-3 in stock locally.

  • When I tried the Nikon V1 at the “salon de la photo” in Paris a lot of people asked : “is it a big sensor like in the DSLR ? ” and the Nikon’s staff responded: “no… it’s a CX format” (wich mean nothing for non-expert people :D)
    So I think a lot of people don’t care about the technic and just buy a camera because of the reputation of the brand….
    Anyway It doesn’t mean that this Nikon is a bad camera, but….

  • I was surprised to see one of these Nikons in a recent Best Buy flyer, just weeks after reading about Nikon mirrorless cameras here on M43R. Nikon announces, then delivers, it’s also F-mount compatible with an adapter. Nikon took a major hit 20 years ago when Canon took the pro market, but Nikon knows how to recover from defeat. Now they found a new market and goin’ for it!

  • JeremyT

    I really don’t think you can gauge success by a snapshot of the Amazon sales rankings right at release. Maybe in a few months there will be more meaningful data :)

    • Gianluca


    • spam

      I agree that it’s too early to gauge success. Almost any hi profile Nikon-branded camera is going to sell on the brand name in the beginning.

      V1 (and J1) is also a really good camera with pretty advanced technology and good image quality. If the user interface was better I’d consider one myeself.

  • Nikon is much bigger, has stronger brand. They plan, develop at market products in an organised way including time-line. Pana and Oly are not playing in that league. Strange with Panasonic which as company is much bigger than Nikon. Maybe the photo division is an underground movement there :-)
    The Nikons are clumsy and expensive and have a lot smaller sensors. The later means m4/3 will always have the advantage (as APS-C has over m4/3)

  • I’d totally get an E-PL3 (when I have the $$$ of course), but my local camera shop (Calumet Photographic) doesn’t have it. This is even after an Olympus rep was there to show off the latest m43 gear. What gives?

  • Bryan Brunton

    What’s really interesting is that 2 of the top m4/3 cameras are the vaunted:


    That’s right!

    All of the technology and advertising around the latest models and two of top sellers are the 2 year old models with the ~400 dollar price tag.

    That is more interesting that the Nikon 1. It speaks to the m4/3 moving down market and potentially increasing share.

  • You can’t go by those numbers, especially given Amazon’s liberal return policies. It’ll take a couple of months to see if there is any real action on the Nikon 1 other some early samplers.

    But expect Nikon to push it heavily, as they’ll have nothing else to sell above the Coolpix line soon (floods in Thailand have completely shut down their consumer DSLR line, probably for many months).

    FWIW–hey a rumor!–word out of Japan is that a couple of photographers are tying more a more advanced model, and that some accessories Nikon hasn’t discussed are coming, as well. I’ve seen pictures of a couple of things, including an accessory that would allow use of all current i-TTL Speedlights, for instance.

    • Steve

      At a recent photo show a rep mentioned that the “real” nikon mirrorless camera is coming next year. These were just introduced to gain some marketshare.

      I would not be surprised to see a more advanced nikon body next year to coincide with the release of some fast primes.

      • WT21

        We can only hope!

  • Mediumjones

    Missing option: Because of Ashton Kutcher! —Seriously though, Nikon has good design. The mirrorless demographic wants good looking cameras above features. Why do you think the X100 did so well?

    • mclarenf3

      I was just going to say that, when I saw Ashton Kutcher selling a Nikon I knew it was going to do well. Unfortunately, that’s the way it works over here.

      • calxn

        They learned from Canon and Andre Agassi back in the 1980s or 1990s.

        • Miroslav

          Agassi is appearing with a Leica these days. Maybe he learned something as well :) ?

      • Nathan

        Yeah, and if they get Catherine Zeta Jones to shoot with a Kodak, people will buy those, too, in spite of the fact that some of the crappiest cameras currently made by any major company have the Kodak label on them.

    • calxn

      The X100 is also selling well because of excellent image quality, esp for indoor people shots. You should try one sometime. You’ll be amazed.

    • Spoo

      HUGE ad buy for the baseball World Series. Ashton K. every third commercial or so. Big appeal to the consumeridiocy that is Amerika – and I are one. They make it look so good with claims that are SUCH LIES that it reminds me of the Bush presidency.

  • Don Carot

    my local store have panasonic and olympus bodys with kit lenses, but they also have the new nikons, in all the possible colours, even pink, and ALL the lenses, all in stock an available… where are the lenses for m43, where can i buy them?? order them from overeas?? no thanks…. so nikon def. does a great job with re-tailing…

    also I handled the V1 and was positively impressed by it’s build quality and operating speed and smootheness, also the V1 is price below the E-P3, seems like it fits the ticket very well, and of course people because nikon is a brand which didn’t let their customers down several times with several lensmounts, the V1 is an innovation, if you fanboys like it or not, the nex7 is a revolution, olympus and panasonic will take 4 more years to get there…

    the company which don’t listen to the customers get the payback for their behaviour, probably oly users are fed up with beink milked 4 years in a row for the same old camera

  • Kyle

    These Amazon sales ranking are fairly useless. Not all brands/models are even available through Amazon. For example, the new “3” series Oly’s were only recently available from Amazon direct (otherwise limited quantity from 3rd party resellers).

    I *have* seen the Ashton Nikon 1 commercials here in the US and I have never seen anything from Oly or Panasonic.

  • Miroslav

    One word: availability.
    Here in Belgrade, which is middle of nowhere when photo equipment is concerned, on a (failed) technology fair Nikon showed both 1 cameras, all lenses and equipment, some two weeks after their announcement.
    What did Olympus bring? E-P3, E-PM1, E-PL3 with kit lenses.
    Panasonic? G3, 20mm and 45-200mm lenses.
    Sony, Samsung, Ricoh and Pentax didn’t show any cameras, let alone mirrorless.
    People like to buy stuff they can see and try and Nikon is in almost all electronic stores here. Olympus in most, mostly with P&S models, Panasonic in few, but in three years of m4/3, I’ve only seen GF1 once.

  • Jessy Plames

    Combination of advertising and availability. Very easy to find them everywhere and I’ve been seeing the TV ads a lot. That says something since I watch maybe 3-4 hours of TV per week tops. I imagine the general public is seeing these ads even more.

    • babbit

      Yup. I’ve seen the Nikon 1 advertised during every single show I’ve watched in the past couple of days. They’ve been running ads on all channels during all times of the day. I even hear about it on the radio. I think I even saw it sponsored during either an NFL or world series game. In basically less than a week, the Nikon 1 has become THE mirrorless camera to own, and it’s all the buzz in the non-camera social groups as the camera to get. There’s no mention on M43 or even Sony, which makes sense since they don’t really advertise outside of camera magazines.

  • The average consumer just wants to show up with a brand name at the party to take snappy pics. They do not even know what they have in their hands compared to what is out there for the same money. Nor do they care.

  • I think I remember seeing the new Nikons advertised on YouTube.

    The believe the biggest issue with Panasonic is supply especially in the US. The LX3, GH1, GF1+20mm lens combo, 20mm lens stand alone, GH2 and now the 25mm f/1.4 are going through the same process those cameras gone through when they first got released. Panasonic should hopefully fix the supply issue of the f/1.4 lens and hopefully the GX1 and the 2 fast zooms wont suffer the same fate.

  • st3v4nt

    While in Taiwan Design Expo and Conference 2011, I see many international (or Asia) participants and attendance carry m4/3 be it Lumix or PEN as much as other mirrorless like NEX and even DSLR such as Canon and Nikon and pro summer like G series. If the audience of Expo and Conference can be perceived as consumer who aware of image quality, function and design of camera system, then m4/3 internationally have well received. Regardless the fact that both Olympus and Panasonic keep focusing to the market that have fierce competition and neglect the m4/3 existence.

  • mk

    Nikon executes well. This is a stellar product strategy on their part. It is not a toy like the Pentax Q. It offers enough product differentiation to muddy the waters of the mirrorless market without cannibalizing their DSLR market. It offers enough innovation such as global shutter and phase detection AF. This is going to make serious waves in the consumer portion of the mirrorless market, especially in the US where people are sheeple.

    I think overall, this bodes well for M43 though.

    It will take focus off of APS sized sensors such as Samsung and Sony, whose lenses are too big to take advantage of the size difference between bodies with or without mirror boxes.

    It proves the point of some of the innovations of M43. For one – the pixel count race is not the game to be in. If people will buy a 10MP nikon mirrorless, then whats wrong with a 12MP or 16MP body from M43? Also the phase detection AF – Olympus hasn’t marketed it as such, but I have a feeling that the new tweaked 12MP sensor Oly is using could/should be marketed as a IR phase detection AF (and positioned as the “First” phase detection system on a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera)

    Thirdly, it puts pressure on Oly and Pan to step up their game and be more focused and strategic on not just the Euro and Japan market because American consumer market drives the world market. People are going to want evf built-in and some of the other features.

    The race right now is between Nikon and M43 for the still photo mirrorless market and between Pan GH and Sony Alpha for the interchangeable lens video market (Sony translucent mirror Alpha bodies are serious competition for video- much better than NEX, which is positioned as an upgrade from the P&S consumer oriented products).

    The sensor size of m43 is the right size. Oly and Pan still have by far the greatest system in terms of lenses. Serious photographers know this is what it’s all about. If Oly and Pan can just get out of their own way and not trip over themselves, they can still keep and in fact widen the lead. The question is, will they?

    • Boooo!

      “I have a feeling that the new tweaked 12MP sensor Oly is using could/should be marketed as a IR phase detection AF (and positioned as the “First” phase detection system on a mirrorless interchangeable lens camera)”

      That would be a serious lie, because Olympus does not use any kind of “IR AF”. It was just a patent, and it might never see the light of day.

      They also lied about using a “new” sensor. It’s the same old sensor, nothing different about it.

  • Anonymous

    Its brand

    I see Olympus ads all the time in a Belgian magazine on photography called “Shoot”. Open any other nagazine on photography and you will probably see the same. However, the problem is that it is always Nikon or Canon discussions that you see on forums. No one even considers a Panasonic or Olympus. Nikon was never strong in compact cameras, so when a strong brand for big SLRs like that suddenly makes small compact cameras as well, it is bound to sell.

    • Esa Tuunanen

      > However, the problem is that it is always Nikon or Canon discussions that you see on forums. No one even considers a Panasonic or Olympus.
      That’s because lack of diversity in bodies which are tools and not some darn fashion pieces.
      4/3 was suggestible option but M4/3 simply misses bodies to be able to compete with DSLRs as PENs aren’t even remotely there and Pana’s wannabe high end has ergonomy of some entry level Canon 1100D.
      Oly and Pana should address lack of real high end bodies with proper controls and ergonomy and if possible add Nikon like in sensor PD-AF for full compatiblity with 4/3 lenses. Then they’ll be back in the game.

  • zemes

    Nikon made a modest promise and delivered more than it promised. That is the key. Few people had high expectations of Nikon 1 when it was announced, but was pleasantly surprised when actually tried it.

    First, the camera looked ugly in photos, but really are lovely in hands due to high build quality and simplicity.

    Second, the AF performance is shockingly good. It is so good that you notice it right away. Usually, the AF performance difference is only shown much later in some special events. You simply don’t expect such AF performance in a camera like this. The AF system of Nikon 1 is the strongest indication that Nikon has something else, much more serious, to deliver in the future.

    Third, a few weeks between the announcement and the availability is just about ideal to get people to understand the camera better and just warmed up enough to make a purchase decision and find satisfaction right away. It is simply a good relationship resting upon a good character and reliability. Anything longer than that is bad. Beyond three months is shameful. Beyond six months is stupid (and many are).

  • Nikon is the only brand the US knows, pretty much.

    “Oohhh, CSI uses them to take photos of crime scenes and dead bodies. They must be scientific! And stuff!!”

  • avds

    You have to click the “Top Rated” tab instead of “Bestsellers” in this Amazon listing to see what actually matters :-)

  • BS Artiste

    Maybe the brand loyalty to Nikon is based on more than advertising. Nikon products have retained backwards compatability and continuity over long-term time horizons. That allows consumers to expect systems not to be obsoleted without an upgrade path.

    Except for a pair of binoculars, I have never bought Nikon products. However, it is a stretch to assume that Nikon’s brand loyalty is solely based on advertising and consumerism as opposed to a history of maintaining system compatability.

    • Fish

      I agree, that continuity is something that those of us m4/3 users / previous 4/3 users / previous OM users can’t help but respect.

    • hlbt

      Is this a Nikon Marketing statement? Quite the opposite is true, where long-time Nikon user often have a strong hate for the company for scrapping backwards compatibility time and again.

  • hiplnsdrftr

    “What should Panasonic and Olympus learn?”

    Nikon can get away with selling a lame camera. If Panasonic or Olympus want to succeed then they have to actually put some thought into it?

    • c.d.embrey

      The Nikon 1 wasn’t designed for Photo Enthusiasts, Fanboys or Pixelpeepers. The people these cameras were designed for DON’T Think of Photography as a HOBBY, just a way to document their lives.

      For the intended market, the camera is brilliant, not lame.

      • Bryan Brunton

        Those people don’t spend $900 dollars on a camera, or in general want to spend time bother with changing a camera lens.

        There is no market for this camera except for people who buy things with Nikon labels.

        Let the early Nikon adopter sales die down and these cameras aren’t moving off of the shelf.

  • infinity jr.

    Reasons why they’re selling well? All five! But they are Nikons, so #3 doesn’t count. No one knows if they’re good or not, but it doesn’t matter.

  • Anonymous

    my buddy @BH photo just tell me the “Street Shooter ” combo of E-P3 is coming for 1499 $: Body kit lens 14-42+12mm F/2+ EVF 3,..and 2 more item ,.i don’t know ,.I think I better check it out my self,..
    sorry guys is not related with the subject ,.thx admin

  • Chris

    ” What should Panasonic and Olympus learn?”
    they should be join with “Nikon” cause the branding effect…~

  • Fausto

    I guess the single biggest feature of the Nikon 1 line is the huge Nikon badge on the front. Completely destroys the design but probably helps sales quite a bit.

  • calxn

    You know, you guys should have noticed something was wrong in m43 land when you noticed

    1) they spent the first 2 years duplicating the 14-45mm range
    2) Oly introducing the same camera with a diffrent wrapper every 6 months
    3) Pana dumbing down their most desireable model and constantly pushing DSLR-like bodies
    4) Pana inability to improve their sensors so they keep introducing more image processing in their camera
    5) Oly asking outrageous prices for their gear, making the Fuji x100 look like a down right bargain.

    Three years of standing in place. Now the big players are coming in, and Oly and Pana can do nothing to prevent them from taking all their marketshare. It’s likely m43 will end up fighting with Samsung and Pentax for 6th place behind Nikon, Sony, Canon, Fuji, and Leica in just 3 more years. That’s hubris for ya.

  • Ahem

    Experts on the internets said that Leica S2 was DOA as well, and it’s selling like crazy. Ignore experts on the internets, as they can’t anticipate consumer whims.

  • There’s only one reason for their succeed: Clint Eastwood shoots a Nikon in The Bridges of Madison County.

  • DingieM

    Most americans are SHEEP, thats why they fall for the heavily overpriced Nikon’s.

    Nikon laughs, while the indebted Americans are deepening the debts on their credit cards.

  • As much as no one likes to admit. the nikon 1 series are good cameras. A higher model would be nice and I would conciser moving to it instead of the nex I own now. (more direct access, nikon x1)

    m43 should be last to condemn the smaller sensor and appreciate the new tech that had gone into this camera. and I am surprised that only 7% think it is a good camera.

    Think of the features on the nikon 1 that you have asked for from m43.
    -Stills wile shooting video
    -higher FPS
    -global shutter!
    -faster AF
    -Built in EVF
    -a converter for AF-s/i lens that provides truly fast AF with out light loss.
    -up to date sensor tech!

  • Cary

    Surely couldn’t have anything to do with any positive properties of the cameras.


  • Pete

    Because the J1 sells better then the V1 they learn that we don’t need a build in evf ;)

  • AL

    I don’t know how good the Nikon 1 (J1 and V1) are but there is one thing that they have done right — a short time between the announcement and its wide availability. Literally the local chain stores have them already and even the smaller ones owned have them too.

    In contrast, Olympus announced the E-PM1 back in June and even in Oct, they are still not widely available and even when they are in stock, they are mostly in black in the Canadian market which make me wonder what are they thinking.. their marketing strategies are very poor….I have waited for more than month since Sept and I had to struggle to get a different colour. Olympus Canada does not understand one important strength of their E-PM1 — more colours … and due to their compactness, women would be also be a big market for them.. only if they allow/encourage the retailers to have more E-PM1 in different colours in stock..

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  • Johan

    I just sold off all my LUMIX m43 stuff to friends. The 14 and 20mm lenses were super sharp and great value. The LUMIX image quality was very good, but it was missing something I can’t put my arms around. The Nikon 1 Series lenses have something more, when the CX sensor gets a real improvement (to the likes of the SONY 1″ RX100 sensor), watch out!!

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