We've already speculated about the future of Nikon and their plans for a cinema camera, but there is an interesting rumor circulating that Nikon is planning to move their service center in El Segundo, CA once the lease is up in a few months. Why does this matter? Well the word is that they will be moving to a new site right in Hollywood, and this would no doubt be a direct response to the Canon Professional Technology and Support Center. If that does happen, what might it mean for filmmakers, and what does Nikon need to do to compete with Canon, Sony, and Panasonic in the video world?

Nikon Rumors talking about the possible move:

The rumor is that Nikon is planing to end the lease of their 10,242 sq. feet service center in El Segundo and move to Hollywood, California. Their current lease ends September, 2012. The speculation is that Nikon is moving in order to be closer to Hollywood for their future plans to concentrate on video/film making.

If this does happen, there is no question that Nikon sees the value in entering the real cinema market. This might not necessarily be only one expensive large sensor camera like the model I've stitched together above, but a range of products specifically designed for video. We've already seen Sony do this with their FS100, FS700, and F3, and Panasonic has a strong contender in the AF100. There is undoubtedly an enormous market for large sensor video cameras, and if Nikon wants to enter this market, moving a service center to Hollywood is a giant leap in the right direction.

Nikon is a trusted name is still photography because they've built up a reputation by being reliable and producing quality results. Canon has done the same, but when they decided to enter the camera market, they knew they needed some champions to help Hollywood, and to a lesser extent the general filmmaking public, trust that their cinema cameras (the C300, C500, and 1D C) were going to deliver. People like Shane Hurlbut and Vincent Laforet, who already have tremendous reputations in their fields, have worked with Canon to show off the new cinema line and alleviate concerns about performance. If Nikon wants to truly compete in this realm, they will need to do the same.

While Nikon has taken a huge step in the right direction by offering recordable HDMI on both of their higher-end cameras (the D800 and the D4), the quality of their DSLR video has trailed Canon by a generation. Independent filmmakers helped solidify Canon's presence in the video world, and it is independent filmmakers who could do the same for Nikon. If they want to truly enter the cinema market, they need to offer more DSLR models with clean HDMI. Not only that, but newer models from Nikon cannot have the soft video of the D4. While they might make a huge profit on a $15,000 video camera, it's the lower end DSLRs that find their way on many independent sets -- and if the quality is below that of similar Canon cameras, there isn't much of an incentive to go Nikon. Canon learned that they could convert many filmmakers once they had the budgets to spend more money on higher end cameras, but they are missing a huge segment (under $10,o00) that I've already said Nikon could take advantage of.

Either way, Nikon has to begin creating the perception that their products are as good, if not better than the competition -- which includes Sony, Canon, and Panasonic. The new Nikon D3200 is a low end consumer model, and thus does not have clean HDMI -- but if Nikon is serious about wooing customers away, they've got to start providing that feature on cheaper models. Better yet, if they could create their own MPEG-2 4:2:2 codec like Canon and put it on their DSLRs, it would be a huge incentive to use their cameras over the competition. A RAW video option would certainly help, but it's not likely we would see that feature on a DSLR -- that would probably be saved for a large sensor video camera.

More competition is always good, and the only way to get more affordable large sensor cameras is for competitors like Blackmagic and Nikon to enter the market.

[via Nikon Rumors]