Exclusive: Nikon India MD dismisses camera-phones threat, confirms Nikon 1 launch next week

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NDTV Gadgets' Karan Patheja and Kunal Dua sat for an exclusive chat with Nikon India MD, Mr. Hiroshi Takashina, on the sidelines of the launch.

Mr. Takashina spoke at length about the new launches and revealed Nikon's plans of launching the Nikon 1 series in India next week. He dismissed smartphones as a threat to the camera industry, saying camera phones only help bring more and more people to photography and, thus, increase their customer base.

Here's the chat in full.

Karan: Hi, thank you for joining us, and congratulations on your new release. Can you just quickly take us through the cameras?

Hiroshi Takashina: Thank you. Today we are proud to introduce a top of the range DSLRs - one is the D4 and the other is the D800. D4 is our top of the line camera, belonging to the range well accepted by many professionals all over the world. And with D4 we include this newly developed 16.2 megapixel CMOS FX sensor and EXPEED3 engine.

So that provides the high quality in any station for professionals, like we are having the high speed shooting (clicks the camera once and it starts shooting rapidly), like this, 10 frames per seconds, provides the nice quality pictures even for sports shooting or high speed shooting.

And also, best feature about this camera is very good capability of low lighting. For example, ISO capability is starting from 50 to 2,48,000. So I can say even better, even better than our eyes. So even under very dark conditions, we can have a very great picture.

Also, for the D800, this is the largest model amongst the current DSLR with 36.3 MP image sensor. So that's good for studio photographers or nature photographers who seek very detailed pictures.

Karan: You know it's often said that after a certain boundary, megapixels don't really make a difference and they become more like a selling jargon. Do you think that 36.3 MP is something that anybody will be practically using in a day-to-day professional or advanced amateur lifestyle?

Hiroshi Takashina: Sure, definitely. More important thing for the detailed high-resolution picture is the lens. Even if the high end MP camera does not have such a good lens, it will not provide so much detailed picture. But for Nikon, we have the confidence over our quality and our lenses. Nikon's current lens line up, this D800 can provide the meaning over the high resolution.

Karan: Ok. In that case, I would like to ask you - being a camera manufacturer, do you think that you will be in the near future, be facing threat from the mobile phone industry? Especially with the kind of cameras that they are about to release. We've just heard that Nokia's about to release a phone with a 41 MP camera. Do you think that it is direct a threat to your products?

Hiroshi Takashina: No I don't think so. Actually, it depends on the censor size. As you know, compared to the cameras, the mobile phone image censor is much smaller. Even at higher megapixel, the result is very much different. And I am happy to see more demand of mobile cameras because they are creating a new demand for us because more people are used to take pictures by mobile phones and, in the future, they will use our cameras. That's why we really appreciate the high volume of sales of mobile cameras.

Karan: One of the criticisms for your cameras, especially compared to the Canons and the Sonys, is that they are heavy and inflexible to the point that the ergonomics come in the way of photography. What have you got to say about that?

Hiroshi Takashina: The first priority of the professional cameras if of course the picture quality. But on the other hand we are also seeking, for it to be as light as possible. And this structure, especially for the D800, compared with the D700, we provided a much lighter body.

Karan: You know there's a very interesting note that I've read in what you've said in your press release - you've said that "Nikon's vision is to expand photography culture in this country and we believe that our latest offering will help us to take this initiative many steps ahead." I believe that for a photography culture to be embedded in this country, Coolpix is doing a better job than something which costs 3 and a half lakh rupees, what have you got to say about that?

Hiroshi Takashina: Well I think both are important. And Nikon's strength, even with the Coolpix compact cameras, is picture quality. We provide products that suit demands of the customers in India who are seeking higher picture quality.

Karan: Is there a reason why Nikon doesn't venture into something like Four Thirds for the Indian market?

Hiroshi Takashina: Yes, actually there is some demand from people who are seeking interchangeable lens cameras but prefer much lighter weight. So to address this demand, we will introduce the Nikon 1 series into the Indian market next week. This is our new type of interchangeable lens cameras, with much smaller size, but easy to change the lenses and also our previous/ current lens range line up, can also be used in these cameras with the converter.

Kunal: Talking about your competition, Canon just announced the 5D Mark III, so how does the D800 compare to that?

Hiroshi Takashina: We are not in a position to comment on other manufacturers' cameras, but we strongly believe the 36.3 megapixel will create the difference.

Karan: Well thank you so much for joining us for this interview and congratulations once again for your new releases.

Hiroshi Takashina: Thank you.

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