Nikon cancels DL compacts amid 'extraordinary' losses

As part of a fundamental restructuring, it's shedding 1,000 employees via voluntary retirement.

Nikon has cancelled the DL series premium compact cameras it was hoping to pit against Sony and Panasonic. The lineup was supposed to launch in June of 2016, but was delayed due to problems with the electronics. Since then, its rivals have released new models (the RX100 Mark V and Panasonic DMC-LX10) putting the company significantly behind. Because of all that (and a soft market) Nikon thought the DL compacts weren't likely to be profitable.

The lineup was supposed to feature three high-end models with 20.8-megapixel, 1-inch sensors: a DL18-50mm walking-around model (above), DL24-85m zoom and a DL24-500 superzoom (below). The DL24-85 model would have gone up against Sony's RX100 Mark V and the Panasonic DMC-LX10 while the DL24-500 would rival Sony's pricey RX10 III compact zooms.

The news comes amid a lot of turmoil at Nikon, which is undergoing a "fundamental" restructuring. It also revealed today that it's shedding over 1,000 employees via voluntary retirement, and that it took an unexpected loss due to problems with its semiconductor lithography business. Overall, its sales are down 8.2 percent over last year.

The failure of the compact line-up has got to be a big blow for Nikon. Other than the aging Nikon 1 series (which is reportedly foundering, too) it has nothing in the booming mirrorless category and now, no premium compacts either. Meanwhile, its rivals, especially Sony and Fujifilm, are releasing popular and desirable large-sensor cameras like the XT-20 mirrorless and aforementioned RX100 Mark V.

That means in the high-end market -- which is the only place for camera-makers to be these days -- Nikon is strictly a DSLR company. While it certainly has the engineering chops to make something its fans want, it had better pull something out of the hat soon.