Survey Says

In less than 12 hours we had over 2000 responses to the Nikon 1 survey and can already start to see if I was right about Nikon having the wrong take on the Nikon 1 (see Wrong!). Let's look at some of the responses and see what we find.

  • 8.9% already have a Nikon 1. That's not overly surprising, as my roots as a Nikon user and documenter have built a following that has a lot of Nikon users in it.
  • 82.2% bought the Nikon V1, 3.4% bought both. Again, not overly surprising given what I know about my site visitors from other surveys: my readers tend to be more thoughtful, serious photographers, and the V1 is the more serious of the two cameras.
  • 52.9% of the survey takers have a Nikon FX DSLR, another 3.4% have a competitor's full frame DSLR. Well, here we go. The FX bodies are professional cameras, and Nikon's contention was that they don't need a "pro Nikon 1 model." We're about to find out if that's correct.
  • Improved V1 was more likely to bought than current V1. And there's the crux of the argument. Let's just look at the Extremely Likely and Very Likely responses. "If an improved Nikon 1 as you asked for were available today, how likely would you be to buy it?" got 63.1% in those two categories. "If we don't improve the Nikon 1 beyond the current V1, how likely would you be to buy it?" got 8% in those two categories. More telling: Not At All Likely got 7.1% to the first question, 49.2% to the second. In other words, the market wants a higher specified Nikon 1 than the V1 (I'll get to what that is in a minute). 
  • Satisfied with competing products currently available got a whopping 41.1% response. That's as opposed to "do not need or want such a product" which garnered only 22.7%. That's a danger signal to me, as it implies that users will pick an alternative over the Nikon mount for a mirrorless camera. On the other hand, this was one of the questions I allowed people to skip, and it was the most skipped question, so it's not as reliable an answer as I'd like. On yet another hand (I seem to have more than two today) there were a lot of "Other" responses. My quick and dirty analysis says that most of those have to do with price, with a lot pointing out price/performance ratio as the primary complaint.

I've yet to go in and analyze based upon Nikon 1 owners versus non-owners. I'll let the survey run its course for awhile before I try to do that. I suspect that a few things will be even more clear when I do that.

Now, as to what's wrong with the Nikon 1. A lot, apparently. 12 of the 20 possible improvements I listed got more than a third of the respondents to chime in, with one getting almost two-thirds. Let's look at the top 6:

  • 60.6% want the Feature (F) button to be customizable.
  • 54.3% want an RGB histogram during review.
  • 52.6% want a Mode dial that doesn't move
  • 50.6% want shutter speed limits with Auto ISO
  • 50.4% want a Highlights indicator during review.
  • 48.8% want manual focus peaking or other help.

What I find interesting about this is that all but one of those things could be done with firmware changes to the current V1 model. The Mode dial change could be a simple design change with a new part. 

Now go back and consider how much those basic changes in turn change the "how likely to buy" response from negative to positive. On the other other other hand (how many hands did I grow overnight?) there were "Other" responses totaling almost 20% of the respondents, so we need to look at those, too. Three things showed up constantly: bigger sensor, more manual control (pro controls), and lenses. Here's the visual "tag type" analysis out of the "Other" category (top 24 words):


At some point I'm going to have to re-run this survey with all the possible options that came up in the "Other" responses added in: first we'll run that survey with purchasers of my Nikon 1 book, which we'll call the "well-informed user," and then with the general public, which we'll subsection so that we can find a group we can call the "potential user."  My hypothesis is that we'd still see about the same response overall, though.

My casual read of the various surveys I have done that intersect with the Nikon 1 says this:

  • There's absolutely a market for the "right" Nikon 1. A large potential market.
  • More control and feedback are two very highly desirable attributes to any new model.
  • Lens selection needs to be addressed quickly. 
  • Within the group that hasn't used it, there's doubt about the sensor (size and high ISO capability).
  • The price is wrong (too high). 

Overall, the market wants a better Nikon 1 than the existing V1. And that's the consensus amongst existing Nikon users, both "amateur" (DX) and "pro" (FX), too. Thus, my headline in the previous article of "Wrong!" is indeed right. 

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