Nikon D3S availability

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by MrLogic, May 15, 2010.

  1. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    They are OOS everywhere... I wonder if it's "just" a matter of grossly underestimating demand on Nikon's part... but I kind of doubt it.

    Then I read this:

    Absolutely stupifying: ISO 6,400 with the D3s: Nikon D3 - D1 / D700 Forum: Digital Photography Review

    How big can that order possibly be? LOL.

    Doesn't look like it's coming in time for my trip to Iceland (June 12) so... :x
     
  2. Derrel

    Derrel Mr. Rain Cloud

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    I read an article earlier this week that might shed some light on the situation.

    From the article "Nikon's year" dated May 11,2010 at Thom Hogan's Nikon Field Guide and Nikon Flash Guide

    "Nikon calculated its market share in DSLRs last year at 34%, and its Coolpix share at 11% of the market. Still, the continued pressure on prices takes away some of the sheen of the reasonably strong unit volumes sold. Simply put, Nikon is selling more and getting less. As you might have guessed from product shortages, Nikon has been reducing inventories, too. The Imaging division's inventory at the end of the year was only about two-thirds the size it was two years ago. Nikon is running very lean at the moment."

    and "Nikon's goals for the close term are simple: become profitable again this year and achieve a sustainable growth beginning next fiscal year. But what does that mean in terms of cameras? Would you believe 15% growth in unit volume of DSLRs? A bit unbelievable given the current lineup, isn't it? Looking closer at the estimated numbers, we must have at least two new DSLR models coming before October rolls around, otherwise the numbers don't make sense to me (remember, we've already made it through half of Nikon's first quarter). Moreover, the numbers are back-loaded in the year (partly because Christmas falls in their third quarter). Nikon's guess at market share for the coming year is 35%, or basically the same as last year. They'll need several more great products to achieve that, I think."

    "Nikon also expects a 13% growth in lens sales and a 9% growth in Coolpix sales. How does Nikon suggest they'll achieve all this growth? "Development acceleration of new generation..." and "rapidly growing emerging markets." Oh, and one other factor that's important to most of you reading this: Nikon expects the dollar to be 90 yen and the Euro to be 120 yen during the year. Strong fluctuations off those numbers and either profits or prices have to change."

    My take on this: Nikon's Imaging Division is running lean, very lean. They are working on upcoming, new product production, and so assembly of low-volume items like the D3s is done in batches, just like lens assembly is done in batches, and finally, with expected fluctuations in exchange rates, Nikon does not want to sell-through pent-up demand at unfavorable exchange rates if they are anticipating that fulfilling orders later in the year will bring them more profit later than it will today. Nikon is a smaller company this year than it was a few years ago--they have cut workforce, and there is very high demand for their best products, like the class-leading D3s, which is more like a new-generation model than a typical "s" refresh like the D1h or D2Hs or D3Xs models were--the D3s sets the bar much higher than a "normal" refresh has done since 1998 with the D1 or since 2005 with the D2X series, so...there is very high demand for the D3s from the user base, and after laying off 5,000 workers (or more) last year, the entire Imaging Division inventory is, well, 33% smaller than it used to be...
     
  3. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    120 yen? Not a chance. The euro is expected to further depreciate relative to the yen (and just about every other currency, really) and it's already at 115. Sucks to be in Europe. :thumbdown:


    Then again... the D3S may be a bit underpriced relative to the D3X as it is. Can't hurt to raise the price a little... no matter if Canon follows suit. The 1D IV doesn't seem quite as popular.
     
    Last edited: May 15, 2010
  4. MrLogic

    MrLogic TPF Noob!

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    More from Thom Hogan:


    Someone Doesn't Understand Their Best Customer

    May 19 (commentary).
    Nikon is pretty conservative fiscally; they run a tight ship. But the ship is hunkered down for a typhoon when we only have a strong trade wind. Consider this (mostly) out-of-stock list at the moment: D3s, 17-35mm, 18-105mm, 16mm f/2.8D, 24mm f/1.4, 50mm f/1.4G, 60mm Micro-Nikkor, 105mm f/2 DC, 200mm Micro-Nikkor, 300mm f/2.8 II, 400mm f/2.8, 500mm f/4, 600mm f/4, TC-20E III. Seriously short supplies of these products are currently being experienced, and some of those have been long-term shortages. (Some dealers are also reporting to me that a few other products, including the D90, are starting to get harder to get their full orders on, too.)


    While I'm not going to let Nikon off the hook, let me first explain why the exotic lenses are so slow to get restocked: it takes as much as a year to create these lenses from first glass pour to final box-and-ship. The glass has to be cured and polished, and for the level of quality demanded and size of the glass, this is a long process that involves a lot of hand work and assessment. Think of the glass in these lenses as making wine: they need to cure to the right age before being polished up and bottled.


    You'll notice that a lot of the products in short supply are pro-level products. When Nikon introduced the D3, we got a flood of pros snapping those bodies up. Some of those were coming back to Nikon from Canon, some were new to Nikon. But they all demanded top notch lenses. With the Beijing Olympics being the biggest photographic event following the D3 launch, and given how dramatically the Canon/Nikon ratio switched between the Athens and Beijing games, it's no surprise that the big long lenses got snapped up in late 2007 through mid 2008.



    But what's the excuse now, Nikon? Had Nikon done a big run of new exotics starting in mid-2008 to respond to the initial D3-caused order crush, we should have had plentiful supply from about mid-2009 on. Certainly by now. Instead, there are almost no exotics to be had (other than the 200-400mm, which is being replaced soon).



    In short, Nikon has misjudged and underestimated the demand for a number of products very badly in the last year. One wonders how long such shortages will go on. Given what we've seen in the past two years, I'd say "until demand for the D3s and D3x goes down substantially." (That's sarcasm, folks.)


    A lot of Nikon users are waiting patiently for the D700 refresh. Many are hoping for a D700x type of update, as well. But think about what a high-megapixel count D700x type of body offering would do to the rest of Nikon's inventory: the top performing lenses would all be out of stock. Perpetually. You can't shoot 18 or 21 or 24mp with the 24-85mm or 24-120mm and get any tangible benefit from the megapixel bump. No, the appearance of a D700x-type of body would cause a run on the "good" glass that would make everything be hard to get. So be careful what you wish for, Nikon shooters. (Hint: stock up on the glass before new cameras arrive ;~).



    Something is seriously wrong with Nikon's relationship to the pro and serious shooter ranks. First, they're badly underestimating demand. Second, they do not appear to be responding to product shortages in any urgent fashion. Third, we've not gotten follow-on products that have large pent-up demand (D700x, pro DX body, etc.). Fourth, some products need some more attention to minor issues (overheating on the SB-900, for instance). Fifth, if we're going to have video in the products, it has to be professional grade, too, and right now 720P/24 is too restricting.


    There is a common denominator here: Japan. None of these issues seem to apply to things coming out of the Thailand plant or China. The problems are in things that are right there in the home market. Can it be that the Sendai plant really isn't capable of keeping up with D3s demand? Is Nikon really afraid to up glass production for the long lenses? (Hint: they could always use that extra glass for some more new lenses that people want, such as a 100-500mm, a 400mm f/5.6, and so on.) Are the designers so overwhelmed with trying to come up with complex projects like the D3000 that they can't push the high-end products up a notch? (That last was more sarcasm folks.) Is Nikon so afraid of the yen appreciating still more that they're unwilling to actually build to demand?


    All of those things seem like silly, irrational, and problematic management practices. But if the issue isn't one of those, what is the issue?



    I've written this before and I think it's time to once again bring it up: Nikon needs to cleave its Imaging division efforts into two distinct entities: serious and consumer. From the planning stages right through to the sales organizations there needs to be a pro division that focuses on the core and most important Nikon customer, the pro shooter. Basically take the D300 and up, the f/2.8 and faster glass, the 300mm and up glass, and bring it all into one group that is managed and monitored for performance separately from the consumer group.



    Further, reinvent NPS worldwide while you're doing this, Nikon. As I indicated the last time I wrote that, the serious and pro shooter group would be willing to pay more, but only if they're given more. More supply, better products, loaners during repair, strong attention to demand, an open dialogue with this constituency, more training, and better service and support would constitute "more" in my book. If that raises the price of a D3s to US$5999 from US$5199, so be it. At least I'd be able to buy another one off the shelf and know that it's got strong support behind it.


    All of this is not to say that the consumer side of things is all peaches and cream. But at least those products seem to be in stock.









    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]Is Thailand an Issue?[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif][/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]May 19 (commentary)--Things in Thailand just took a big turn downward with the latest escalation between protesters and police/military. For the first time in 18 years Bangkok is now under a restrictive curfew. The scary aspect of yesterday's fighting was that protesters starting burning symbols of authority and money--banks, shopping malls, and the stock exchange were targeted by Red Shirt protesters.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]The Nikon-related aspect of this is that the plant that makes the D3000, D5000, D90, an D300s is less than an hour from downtown Bangkok. Certainly the chaos now ensuing in the capital must be having some small impact on Nikon. With two new consumer bodies likely to be in or near production in the Ayutthaya facility, one has to wonder about whether on-going disruption will impact Nikon's ability to launch these products in a normal fashion.
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]For instance, the US State Department this week issued a travel warning that suggests "US citizens should defer all travel to Bangkok..." I'm not aware of a similar warning from the Japanese government, but the Japanese embassy in Thailand closed on Monday. Normally, engineers from Japan would be traveling to and from the Thailand plant as a new model nears introduction.[/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    [/FONT]
    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]We can only hope for the safety of the Nikon employees and that any disruption Nikon might experience is short-lived.[/FONT]


    [FONT=Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif]
    [/FONT]



    Thom Hogan's Nikon Field Guide and Nikon Flash Guide
     
  5. inTempus

    inTempus TPF Noob!

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    I've been waiting seemingly forever for a D3S... but I'll keep waiting. :)
     

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