D800 to Cause Nikon’s Stock Price to Drop?

Nikon executives have been pacing the floor today as they expect a huge drop – perhaps as much as 20-35% – in the company’s share price at the market’s opening bell. Over the weekend, Nikon frantically attempted to reassure some of its largest investors and retail partners there was no reason to panic. What happened? By all respects, Nikon has been on a roll with the D800 and D4 model introductions. Most experts have attributed Nikon with hitting it out of the park. The issue uncovered this weekend, however, is that the D800 is actually much better than originally thought or reported thus far. Surprise, surprise… the D800 is actually capable of an effective resolution of 108MP!

Conveniently left out of the original product marketing material and technical details, was the fact that the D800’s sensor has a substrate capable of capturing additional detail. When combined with sophisticated interpolation software (also not revealed to the public), it is able to triple the camera’s resolution. No doubt this newly discovered feature will lead to increased D800 sales. But the more troubling concern is the potential impact on the sales of Nikon lenses. When a photographer can take pictures with a 24-70mm f/2.8 lens, and is able to obtain high resolution crops similar to what a 105mm macro, 300mm, or 200-400mm lens can produce, why purchase additional lenses?

Turbo Mode

This capability, affectionately known within the Nikon Engineering ranks, as “turbo mode”, was apparently going to be introduced in approximately six to nine months. D800 owners would have been able to activate it after paying an additional $750. This would have marked the first time a camera manufacturer charged a fee for activating a feature after the camera had been shipped from the factory. Nikon customers would have been required to purchase a software key unique to their camera to enable this feature, so as to prevent people from sharing the code. But one of the Nikon engineers accidently stumbled upon a menu and button sequence that enabled this capability, thus bypassing the need for an activation code. In the software industry, such capabilities are often purposely inserted into the code. They are known as “Easter eggs”, since they require a bit of hunting to find. Most of the time, they are rather innocuous and simply result in a humorous message flashing onto the user’s screen. In computer games, Easter eggs may reveal some additional options not available in the menu. Nikon’s Easter egg, however, unlocks a significant capability – one that it was counting on for additional revenue. As with most modern day secrets, once the menu and button sequence was discovered, it went viral on the internet. Although we have yet to see the substrate and interpolation software engineering specifications, we can say that the initial test results are nothing short of jaw-dropping!

Flowers - Wide Angle Shot From D800

D800 Turbo Mode

Implications

Nikon has pulled off what may be the most significant photography-related engineering feat of the last 50 years. It will undoubtedly garner extremely positive press as more details regarding turbo mode emerge. But Nikon’s Easter egg, in the form of the button sequence unlocking this feature, will likely result in a significant hit to Nikon revenues. Nikon was seeking to lay the groundwork for a new type of product – one that could be upgraded in the field by unlocking capabilities already present in the device. It was also seeking to fundamentally change the structure of DSLR pricing. While software companies have enabled customers to upgrade their software via encryption keys (for a fee), few hardware companies provided similar capabilities – at least not without some additional equipment such as CPUs, RAM, or other hardware. Should Nikon continue to pursue this strategy, it will no doubt be much more careful in the future!

How will turbo mode impact affect Nikon lens sales? This is a huge source of profits for both Nikon and its retail partners. DSLRs often have a relatively small mark-up, but lenses, particularly the higher end models, carry a hefty margin. The high resolution capabilities have some concerned that the D800 may enable someone to get by with one or two lenses. The unbelievable detail captured would allow them to crop to ridiculous levels and still have stunningly sharp images. Some are concerned that the D800′s turbo mode may fundamentally change people’s perceptions regarding the number and types of lenses they need, particularly if they don’t print images beyond twenty four inches.

Nikon will likely see the stock price recover over time, as people revise their original calculations of lost revenue from the discovery of the turbo mode Easter egg. It may, however, take some additional time for the market to understand the impact of turbo mode on lens sales. For now, Nikon and its investors can count on a roller coaster ride as the stock price ebbs and flows with the uncertainty of the moment.

Happy April Fools’ Day!


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Avatar of Bob Vishneski About Bob Vishneski

Bob Vishneski works in the media software industry and is an avid photographer. He has held management and technical positions during his career in such areas as computer manufacturing, imaging software and document management systems, enterprise systems development, and consulting. Bob rediscovered his love for photography in 2007, after picking up a Pentax K10D and realized that his background in the computer industry could prove useful in the age of digital photography. When he is not focusing on the challenges of the software development industry, he spends time traveling with his wife, Tanya, and family, golfing, and honing his photography and Photoshop skills. He is a member of the Pittsburgh chapter of the American Society of Media Photographers. Bob and his family reside in the Pittsburgh area. His work can be found at 500px.

Comments

  1. 1
    ) David B

    And Happy April 1st Day to you too :-)

  2. 2
    ) Gibran Ali

    How come such a news comes on 2nd April?? A delayed April fool’s day prank??

  3. 3
    ) Mike Butler

    I could have sworn I just saw a pig fly past my window!

  4. 4
    ) Josh M

    I’ve set my sights on getting a new D700 in the near future and this definitely caught my attention. Then I realised it’s April the 1st (technically it’s the 2nd here in Australia but the point still stands)

    April Fools! ;-)

  5. 5
    ) Srini

    All fools day Bob! nice try….

  6. 6
    ) Steven Parks

    Having recently found a similar facility on my D700 I wholeheartedly believe that this is indeed the case. Upon hearing the news, I heard that Canon executives had decided that they could no longer effectively compete in this market and decided to close this business unit.
    Nikon has assumed its rightful place as the #1 digital manufacturer.
    We can only hope that the rest of April is as eventful as its first day.

  7. 7
    ) Ajay

    Can’t believe I actually fell for it! Nice one Bob :)

    • 12
      ) Wilfred

      I fell for it too…and d@mn….i even post and tagged my friends >.<
      and remove it as soon as i read about comments here… LOL

    • 25
      ) Ed K.

      He got me as well. F***er! LOL.

  8. 8
    ) Florin

    Hahaha, super-cool April’s fool…
    Very nice one Bob, I almost got caught in it when it struck me…..:D

  9. I don’t think that that this is an April fool’s trick as when one uses the Nikon v1/ft1 mount with a 300mm lens you get an amazing amount of magnification that often makes the exotic lenses obselete. The advan ce in processor technology will kill the golden goose! Peter

  10. Man! I fell for it x( x( x(

  11. 11
    ) Dean

    You can clearly tell that the bee should be facing the opposite direction. LOL

  12. 13
    ) Haruo Chikamori

    Hey, you think that’s bad. I Googled for the damned button sequence. TOTALLY fell for it. Thanks, Bob! Now I feel like a real sucker. Happy April Fool’s Day to you too. :P

  13. 14
    ) Hamish

    Got me…..I am in Australia and it is the second here…..
    Ha Ha Ha – I even googled turbo mode….

  14. 15
    ) Abhinav

    Belated April Fool day !~

  15. 16
    ) -Hasse Denmark

    greeaat joke:-))

    good job again

  16. 17
    ) Chris

    You got me!
    I was going to do google search but I kinda believed it.

  17. 18
    ) akti

    mine came in after 2 am pacific time, April 2. pretty lame to have a fool’s joke on the 2nd.

    • 48
      ) Kragom

      It is only lame if you fall for it… I had a look at the posters date, the only time that matters. ;)

  18. Nikon is a private Company fools. :))

    • 27
      ) Rohan

      Nope :) 7731.TO.

    • 57
      ) SK

      It is part of the Mitsibushi group of Companies and is a public company. Pretty big company as well.

  19. 20
    ) AJ

    definitely fell for it.

  20. 21
    ) Anthony

    NICE!!!! I event sent an email to a friend who uses a Canon boasting all over the place :-)))))))))

  21. 22
    ) Che Ibarra

    I read the article TWICE before I went to the comments and read “April Fools”. My jaw dropped when I read. You got me bad!! LOL…I was like dammit I just recently bout the Nikon 105 Micro!! LOL Good one.

  22. 23
    ) Steven Poulton

    hahahahahahahaha had me going there lol If only spy satellite technology as available to the masses :-)

  23. 24
    ) Moshe ben-Shahar

    Leaving aside for a moment the question of whether it’s true or not, I have two comments to make.

    1) If the basic D800 raises the problem of whether your a) lenses and b) your photographic techniques are up to the requirements of the very detailed sensor as required by the camera, how much more difficult would it be with a linear resolution almost double that required by the 36 mp camera?

    2) I find it hard to believe that it would cause a DROP in Nikon’s revenues – very much the contrary. It would send the the camera’s sales soaring to levels that Nikon would find it difficult in the extreme to produce the number of units that would fulfill the demand for a camera that would basically be able to replace most if not all medium and large format cameras currently available…

  24. 26
    ) Anthony

    I thought it was a nice April fools joke :-) I actually fell for it! Sent a message to a friend baosting only to call him to laugh over it ….. all in the name of fun.

    Bob, all thumbs up to you! :-)

    • Thanks, Anthony! Always enjoy causing a few laughs as well as a bit of controversy along the way!
      Bob

      • If I may wander off topic, what is that horrible noise all about in the background of the Bee? It looks like someone shot T-Max 400 at ISO 3200 and left it in Accufine at too hot of a temperature. That noise turned into GRAIN.

  25. 28
    ) Richard Brown

    The bee photo that you enlarged from the flower under the sign that says “Welcome to Hartwood” in your “D800 to cause Nikon’s stock to drop” article is actually a syrphid fly from the family Syrphidae in the insect order Diptera. This is not an April fool’s joke, but the enlargement has to bee!

    Love your site! I have an old Micro-NIKKOR-P Auto 1:3.5 55 mm lens that stops down to f32. Bought it 6 July 1973 with my Nikon FTN and I have loved its sharpness. I have used it on my D70 in manual mode with great success. Does anyone know if I can use my Micro lens on the new Nikon D800? Not that I have to if the syrphid fly enlargement is true!!!

    • 60
      ) Ron Sprunger

      I have one too, and it’s a beaut. I sent it off to John White for AI conversion, which is what you have to do for a D700/D800/D4, etc. The Nikon top end cameras all have the aperture indexing tab on the body, and if you put a non-AI lens on, you could damage that tab.

  26. 29
    ) Martin

    Great contribution,nice narrating, well imagined, congratulations for the best blog seen lately

  27. 30
    ) Geary

    Now that was funny….. maybe one of the best April 1st pranks ever.

  28. 31
    ) DeepC

    Awesome. You are a master of disguise. Would you like to act in our next movie?

  29. 32
    ) tomas haran

    Great joke! I was about to sell a couple of my lenses!

  30. 33
    ) B!

    I totally fell for it. Started thinking if the same will apply to a D4

  31. 34
    ) Robby

    Fantastic! Well done!

    Had me all the way to the end!

    Boy was I regretting not getting my D800 order in quick believing the price was just set to go through the roof with this fab feature!

    Loved it! Thanks for the smiles!

  32. 35
    ) Michel

    This is incredible, I believed the post, knowing that the Mansurovs’ site is a serious one, I never thought that this could be a joke ! Well done Nasim !

  33. 36
    ) Will

    Very well done — LOL!!!!!

    (The 100 megaton explosions you heard were Canon discussion forums.)

  34. 37
    ) jason

    BOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!! I woke my dad up to see this! SHAME!!!!!!! ;)

  35. 38
    ) Vijayakumar

    Got carried away with the article. Thought of getting D800 at the earliest, before Nikon jacked up the price. Smart April Fool present. But later thought, how can the physical pixels be multiplied to 108.

  36. 39
    ) Mahesh

    easter eggs … good job. i was just about to return my d700. :-)

  37. 40
    ) vdeeb

    Kinda silly, because Nikon would just follow technology tradition and disable the features (and charge more), bit like the D800E.

  38. 41
    ) Don White

    I’m thinking litigation here Bob, considering the amount of adrenaline I wasted this morning when I read your article. Then I read your comment and nearly flat-lined. I’ve never been so high and then so low in a matter of minutes in my entire life. I can only hope the remainder of April goes better. But watch out for Friday April 13th. I love your articles – REALLY!!!

  39. Thanks for all the kind and supportive comments (well, most of them!), everyone . I suspect the reason some thought this article seemed plausible was for the simple reason that the notion of enabling features on a subscription model has been in place for years in the software business. You can buy the “standard” versions of many software packages and then “enable” higher end features by paying an upgrade fee and getting an additional license key.

    The other aspect involving Easter eggs has been a reality ever since PCs first came onto the scene. Many people are familiar with programs that, either by design, or by accident, can operate differently than originally intended. Anyone in the software business knows this one!

    So it was not beyond belief that Nikon might have introduced a value-added feature that carried an additional fee, or that there might be some method of enabling the feature beyond installing an encryption key, which the manufacturer didn’t intend to provide.

    On a more serious note, I, and many others, would like to see camera manufacturers adopt more of this model in the future. It would be nice to think we could upgrade our cameras without having to sell them and buy new models someday. As more of a DSLR’s intelligence and capabilities shift from the mechanical area to software, this will likely become a reality. Someday, we may look back at this post and try to understand why someone would NOT take some parts of it seriously!

    And I would indeed appreciate not being sued by some of you that got taken in by this piece! ;)

    Bob

    • 43
      ) Srini

      Hmm….it is a well thoughtout article Bob. You might have probably planted a seed of thought on Nikon’s mind. It might become a reality one day! Well done.

      • Srini,
        I am sure Nikon and others are already planning this – at least by reviewing the early beta copies of the D400 and D900 Nikon has supplied to the Mansurov team… ;)
        Bob

        • 56
          ) Srini

          Early beta copies of what….???? Guys are already going nuts about D400…you have added D900 to that list….

          Keep up the good work Bob….

    • 46
      ) OSeven

      Hey Bob,

      The joke aside, can you post the original sized Flowers-Wide-Angle-D800.jpg? Is the magnification also a joke or is it real?:)

      Thanks

      • OSeven,
        Pure, unadulterated…. joke! These photos were taken with a Pentax K10D – not even a Nikon!!! I must be going to Photographers’ Hell for this one! :)
        Bob

  40. 44
    ) Brian

    This is why I love this website! Too funny! I actually fell for it.

  41. 45
    ) Shubho

    By far, the best April Fool’s prank ever !!!!! :) :)

    This site is one of the very few ones that I subscribe to and generally read posts as soon as they are posted. Somehow, this one missed my notice and I happened to have it read it now (3rd Apr).
    I was zapped !! :) More so, because I am in s/w Prod Mgmt and know the possibilities of a firmware upgrade is technically possible.. ;-) The element of 1st Apr had completely gone out of my mind.

    The only thought which crossed my mind was a strong desire to lay my hands on one of the D800 s ASAP ..!!!!! LOL

    A very well articulated post ! Good job Bob !
    We eagerly look forward to Nasim’s posts and now I guess you are an established name in the mansurovs family too!

    • Shubho,
      Indeed the element of “it could be true” helped fool a few people. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.
      Bob

  42. 47
    ) Juan Vergino

    Good job Nasim! I fell for it too!
    Here in Spain (Europe), the equivalent to April Fool Day is december 28th, to commemorate the killing of innocent children by King Herod, shortly after the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. Instead of “April Fool” is called “The Day of The Innocent”. I called my favorite photo store in Madrid and I’ve sent them the link to your news. To them it seemed a bit exaggerated picture of the fly, but I was told that “it is very strange but we will investigate” …
    The truth is that here in Spain there is also a lot of gossip about the new features of the D800. Someone wrote in a chat at ISO 1600 there is almost no noise…

    • Juan,
      We appreciate the publicity and the chance to make a few people smile along the way! ;)
      Bob

  43. 50
    ) Isaac McGinley

    HAHA! I totally fell for this. I thought the world of digital photography as we know it was over. Good work, Sir.

  44. 58
    ) Mike Wade

    coming accross this on google several days into April I missed the date – so foolishly got a bit excited, as I have one on order! ell don

  45. 59
    ) Brad Hunt

    This post is a quick update to my D800 autofocus issues, as well as commentary on the specific performance on some of the more popular lenses people have been asking about. I don’t have time to post crops, but I think most of you would trust that I know what I’m doing.
    I spent the morning at Nikon. Ostensibly, to collect my replacement D800, and a PC-E 85/2.8 Micro. However, it turns out the replacement D800 exhibits the SAME autofocus issue – namely, with wide angle lenses, the center and right side AF points yield in focus images, the left side bank is way out. This is especially obvious with the 24/1.4 G. We also tried their NPS loaner demo units and their D800E sample. The results were mostly the same – all of the D800s showed identical results. The D800E was a bit better, but still noticeably soft on one side. It gets worse: I’ve had a number of emails from people with cameras in the same serial number block – below 1000 – and the 24/1.4, who are finding the same thing. Apparently it is a serious issue, because my NPS rep told me that HQ has asked for updates and is looking into it on the production line.
    Perhaps it was my 24/1.4 sample that was the issue – nope, because it works fine on a D3x, D4 and D700; we tried another 24/1.4 which showed consistent results – that rules out lens problems. I think we can also rule out sensor alignment problems as I don’t see any odd shifts in the focal plane when focusing using live view.
    The upshot is that it will take them two days to diagnose the problem, and possibly longer to fix. Since it’s only an issue with wide angles, and not an issue with anything above about 50mm, I elected to keep this body for the time being – I’m only using it in the studio with the 60/2.8 G Micro, and now the 85/2.8 PCE. It looks like I will be reviewing both E and non-E after all – I’ve elected to take a D800E for the replacement unit.
    There were more surprises in store, though – specifically, with lenses.
    Summary of Nikkors tested so far on the D800:

    http://blog.mingthein.com/2012/04/05/and-the-nikon-d800-autofocus-saga-continues-with-some-comments-on-specific-lens-performance/

    • Brad,
      Sorry to hear about your issues with the D800. I guess this comes with being on the “bleeding edge” of technology. Hope they get it fixed quickly. Thanks for the link!
      Bob

    • 65
      ) JosJan

      Sorry for the bad luck but a good note to hold off on buying new tech. and better reason to take a closer look and purchase a D700. Thanks for the info. and again sorry you had to be the one to find this out.

  46. 62
    ) Cristian P.

    Come on…almost got a heart attack. Felt totally into it after being used with your serious and technically amazing content. Nice one :)

    Cheers.

    • Thanks, Cristian. Make sure you are in good physical shape and ensure you have your sense of humor handy when you read future posts. I would hate think I caused anyone’s demise! :)
      Bob

  47. 64
    ) JosJan

    Seems like someone is trying to attract more hits for their website. Possibly looking for more advert revenue? You got my vote.

    • JosJan,
      Trying to make it more interesting and entertaining! ;)
      Bob

      • 67
        ) Arthur

        With success! Thanks, I really enjoyed this article! :)

  48. 68
    ) Julio

    DAMN!!!!!!!!
    You totally got me!!!!
    I was sitting telling my work cohorts all about this!
    CRAP!!!!!!!
    I’m an idiot!

  49. 69
    ) Ron

    GOT MY Preorder D800!…. Still April (fools) right? :P

    This Nikon way of torture cruel and unusual punishment

    LOL!

  50. 71
    ) Shobhit Deep

    Well, I believed 15 days before the April 1st of 2013 :-) LOL

    BTW, the recent price drop of Nikon lenses by around $100, checked today for 50 1.4 G and 85 1.8 G on Amazon… Any idea if Nikon has dropped the prices in competition or are there any possibility of an upgrade to G series ones?

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