I don’t know how long camera makers will continue to think we believe their “we had no idea this was going to be so popular!” excuse. Of course, they knew it was going to be popular. because its predecessor was also extremely popular. Still, Nikon released an announcement that demand “exceeds our expectations”, so they suspended sales of the new Nikkor Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S lens.
All I hear when companies say they “didn’t anticipate demand” is Homer Simpson saying, “It’s my first day.” Fortunately, some sellers still have some in stock at the moment. But once they sell out, it may take a while before they get any more. It’s not even a new goal either. It was announced last October. Here’s what Nikon has to say…
Thank you for your loyalty to Nikon products.
We received a large number of orders for the “NIKKOR Z 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 VR S”, which exceeds our expectations. We have decided to temporarily stop accepting orders from Friday, December 2, 2022. We are planning to increase production due to the favorable reception of orders, but we sincerely apologize for causing much inconvenience to customers who expect this product.
We will continue to monitor the situation and make an announcement as soon as it is confirmed.
We will do our best to deliver it as soon as possible, so we appreciate your understanding.
It’s been a common thread over the past two years, but not doing enough to meet demand really comes as no surprise. There’s still a global shortage of silicon, there’s still blockages in China, where they’re probably sourcing a lot of electronics, and shipping logistics aren’t as straightforward as they were before the plague. But the fact that they keep telling us this same old story basically indicates one of two things. Either the camera makers are incompetent – and even if it’s Nikon in this case, I find that unlikely – or they think we’re idiots.
The truth is that with reduced resources and increased costs due to the pandemic – and that’s before we even think about the general global economy and the cost of living issues that are happening right now – they limit their manufacturing to produce the bare minimum on a product launch to see how well it works before they put any real effort into it.
However, they usually do not underestimate demand at all. They know exactly what the demand will be, but they are playing it safe. After all, in this case we are not dealing with a whole new type of lens. Sure, it’s a new lens, but it’s basically the replacement for the older Nikon AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G ED VR for Nikon’s F-mount DSLRs, and they TO KNOW how popular it was. There’s no real reason to expect his successor to be any different.
It’s damage mitigation, that’s all. They keep production low in case they release a product that they think is popular but falls flat once it hits retail, and they’re not stuck with a warehouse full of equipment that they cannot sell using materials that could have been used elsewhere. They make just enough to keep the early adopters of instant gratification happy (and talk about how good it is and basically do some marketing for them for a few months) while they ramp up production .
The other thing about this particular case, however, is that this goal was announced over a year ago. Hadn’t the past 14 months of pre-orders and sales given them an indication of future demand? Nikon may just be incompetent after all.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with the reality of the situation. It’s not the manufacturers’ fault that there are global shortages of raw materials. We kind of expect that to happen with most of the new gear released these days. But be honest with us and tell us what’s really going on.
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