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Nikon Ending Camera Production in Japan

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
They have manufactured most of their cameras in Thailand for more than a decade. They are just moving the rest, the high end models like the D6 as well, plus apparently cameras for the domestic Japanese market which I believe have been produced in Japan until now.
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
I've purchased the D800/D810 and the D850 and I think all of them were made in Thailand. However, there's something to be said of Japan's quality that equals or bests Germany. Perhaps i'm being naive, but I specifically try to purchase Japanese camera products because of their skill. I'm not saying that Thailand doesn't have the same QC, but Japan has been synonymous with legendary cameras all the way back to the Nippon (Nicca) models.
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Eh? The manufacture of high quality products happens everywhere in the world, regardless of branding and all the other marketing nonsense. The primary differences all come down to cost in the end. Japan is just as, if not more, expensive than the USA or Germany in terms of manufacturing cost. Nikon moved their manufacturing to Thailand to reduce cost, just like Leica had the Canadian plant as well as still has the plant in Portugal.

The perceived quality of Japanese, or German, or whatever, manufacture is without a doubt more myth, arising out of a time long ago pre-globalization of all involved in manufacture, than anything else. I've gotten superb bespoke products made in China within the past two years, for instance, where the perception is "mass produced, mediocre quality, cheap" ... and I've seen some truly awful crap come out of Japan and Germany too, in the same time period...

The point of a brand as a marketing tool is to build credibility in the quality and consistency of the products, regardless of where they're manufactured. Nikon's credibility as a quality manufacturer has suffered somewhat in the past couple of decades not because they have been moving their production to Thailand but because they're letting the quality controls (problem signals and rework indication) slip a little to reduce cost, since the vast majority of people are somewhat insensitive to product quality beyond a certain point of functionality and longevity. Most people no longer hold onto their camera equipment long enough for anything like normal wear and tear to render it unusable or unuseful, and the marketers have pushed this attitude because it's easy to sell "new, better, more, more, more, cheaper" rather than "same stuff, improved quality, more reliable, longer lasting". The latter are semi-hidden characteristics that simply don't sell as well as the former.

G
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
Agree with Godfrey -- go to where you can build it good-enough and cheapest... Sort of a spin-off or corollary of Moore's law -- 18-month product improvement cycles all but eliminate reliability issues in most tech devices...
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
It's a bit of a contradiction to say Nikon's credibility for quality has suffered not because of production in Thailand, but because of QC lacking as a result of cost cutting. Which is probably inherent to their move to Thailand. Japans's work force is legendary, as is German engineering ...
"Lacking QC because of reducing costs" is quite different from saying 'that Germans and Japanese have better behavior/more skill than Thai workers'. The latter implies a lot of judgement/prejudice on the nationals involved, the first simply states a simple if conjectural fact.

G
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
No one is implying that. But, regardless, I hope Nikon has success in Thailand and undoubtedly produce amazing, innovative cameras. As mentioned I've owned most all D8** models and have been impressed with the quality, just like Swiss watches, Cuban cigars, and German sports cars!
 
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Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
Japanese factories in Thailand all have senior staff from Japan and follow Japanese standards in every way, be it cars, cameras or other electronics. They pay the highest salaries, big bonuses to all employees and they pick the best people from the best schools long before their education is even finished. I know because the company I work for compete for some of the same people, and there's no way we can compete with the Japanese for top staff members.

Even when having a Japanese brand car for service in this country (they are all manufactured here, some being exported worldwide, like Toyota one ton pickup trucks), it's like visiting a Japanese company (which it in a way is, even if locally owned). The routines, the cleanliness and the systematic approach are all very Japanese. Thai workers are very god, very reliable, but they are even better and even more reliable under Japanese management.

No worries about this move. I would rather say that it increases the likelihood for me buying more Nikon gear in the future.
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
Agree with Godfrey -- go to where you can build it good-enough and cheapest... Sort of a spin-off or corollary of Moore's law -- 18-month product improvement cycles all but eliminate reliability issues in most tech devices...
While Moore's law is not based on physics, it is a frustrating component to today's throwaway technology where GAS prevails with consumer glut. How much more tech can you put into a camera and still call it a camera? Where's the challenge of crafting an image?
 

Jorgen Udvang

Subscriber Member
While Moore's law is not based on physics, it is a frustrating component to today's throwaway technology where GAS prevails with consumer glut. How much more tech can you put into a camera and still call it a camera? Where's the challenge of crafting an image?
Which is why I, in spite of it not being an ideal solution, have taken a break from buying new, and shoot with two 2015 model Panasonic GX8, a somewhat newer G85 and a Nikon D2Xs for when I want something serious. It doesn't make sense to buy new cameras anymore. 2-3 year old bodies are mostly available for way under half price, and they are just as good as when they "revolutionised" photography back then.
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
JD -- another good point. Jorgen, kudos to you and I get it!

On the upside technical perfection from a tool does not make something art -- and fortunately that still requires an artist. Speaking for myself, that gives me something to strive for regardless of the tools I choose...
 

KeithL

Active member
I can envisage using my Z7 bodies for years to come. On the other hand lenses will no doubt be a constant temptation.
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
JD -- another good point. Jorgen, kudos to you and I get it!

On the upside technical perfection from a tool does not make something art -- and fortunately that still requires an artist. Speaking for myself, that gives me something to strive for regardless of the tools I choose...
Great point!
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
Even my ancient 2003 generation Olympus E-1 produces some lovely results now and then, when I take it out.
All the technical issues pale in comparison to the question of making actual art ... :D

G
 
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