Any evidence of the weaker yen affecting camera gear prices?

Started May 31, 2013 | Discussions
noshea
Junior MemberPosts: 40
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Any evidence of the weaker yen affecting camera gear prices?
May 31, 2013

Surprised not the see any threads on this. The yen has apparently fallen some 20% since December because of the Japanese government's fiscal stimulus and devaluation policy. When prices go up the usual rational reason given is not 'camera companies being greedy' but an unfavourable exchange rate i.e. strong yen versus weak 'whatever'.

I've not made a study of it but as an example a Nikon D800 has been strubbornly around £1,900 in the UK, even going up a bit since Xmas if memory serves. Is this likely to be existing inventory that was bought wholesale at pre-devaluation prices and therefore doesn't reflect the present reality, or just retailers hoping for a bit of extra profit margin for every camera sold from new inventory by not lowering prices to reflect yen devaluation?

Nikon D800
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Weegee
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Yes, to the last part of your comment.
In reply to noshea, May 31, 2013

Same as gasoline. It goes up very quickly but comes down very slowly. That's the business model taught at The Harvard Business School. Many Japanese have gone there.

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Eamon Hickey
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rebates (in the U.S.)
In reply to noshea, May 31, 2013

Not as sure how things work in the UK and Europe, but in the U.S. the answer is rebates. When the value of the yen falls, if the camera companies decide to refund their windfall profits to the consumer, they almost always do so through rebates. (I believe similar programs are in effect in Europe -- Olympus, for example, just announced a series of new rebates in the UK, I believe.)

There have been a series of rebates throughout the first few months of this year from many camera manufacturers, including Nikon. The D800 evidently has a $200 "instant savings" rebate attached to it right now (going by B&H's D800 product listing), and there are evidently additional instant rebates attached to lenses and speedlites (going by Amazon's listings).

Canon, too, has much of their lineup on an instant rebate program right now. See here for details:

http://www.usa.canon.com/cusa/consumer/products?pageKeyCode=53

So the answer is yes, the effective price of a great deal of camera gear (in the U.S. and I'm guessing also in Europe) has fallen in response to the lower value of the yen.

noshea wrote:

Is this likely to be existing inventory that was bought wholesale at pre-devaluation prices and therefore doesn't reflect the present reality, or just retailers hoping for a bit of extra profit margin for every camera sold from new inventory by not lowering prices to reflect yen devaluation?

Well, here's the rub -- if a particular item is in high demand, and the company can continue to sell out its inventory without lowering the price, then they probably won't lower the price (and it's not the retailers who control this -- only the manufacturer (i.e. importer) benefits from the yen devaluation, so Nikon UK would have to lower its wholesale price on the D800 in order for UK retailers to be able to offer a lower price.)

So it's possible that Nikon UK is having no trouble selling all of its D800 allocation without lowering the price (whereas Nikon USA evidently decided to offer a $200 discount to keep its own inventory moving).

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noshea
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Re: rebates (in the U.S.)
In reply to Eamon Hickey, May 31, 2013

Good answers thanks and as a matter of fact, Nikon has been running a similar rebate these last few months on some cameras, e.g. the D600 but not the D800. Reading between the lines, perhaps it is trying to tempt the cost-sconcious APS-C camera users with 135 frame aspirations to move inexpensively, while assuming the more professional or monied crowd interested in the D800 are going to just buy it at its existing price point. I recall lots of people waiting for the D700 to go down. 2+ years later it had hardly moved at all, though I think that the weak pound and the strong yen at the time had some role in this.

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mosswings
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Re: rebates (in the U.S.)
In reply to noshea, May 31, 2013

noshea wrote:

Good answers thanks and as a matter of fact, Nikon has been running a similar rebate these last few months on some cameras, e.g. the D600 but not the D800. Reading between the lines, perhaps it is trying to tempt the cost-sconcious APS-C camera users with 135 frame aspirations to move inexpensively, while assuming the more professional or monied crowd interested in the D800 are going to just buy it at its existing price point. I recall lots of people waiting for the D700 to go down. 2+ years later it had hardly moved at all, though I think that the weak pound and the strong yen at the time had some role in this.

$200 off on an $2100 camera is not that much when the total system cost of moving up from DX (assuming you have not been buying FX lenses to this point) is well over $1000 after sale of your existing recent DX body.  One of the reasons the D600 is being discounted is because it had a nasty spate of early production quality control problems (example: the infamous oil-on-the-sensor-that-won't-come-off glitch, caused by an overlubricated shutter assembly) while offering somewhat less in the control and operational column than its DX brother, the D7100, at half the price.  The D800, despite its own QC problems, does stuff that no other FF camera can do, and is still in demand, as you have deduced.

 mosswings's gear list:mosswings's gear list
Olympus XZ-1 Nikon D90 Nikon D7100 Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6G ED VR Nikon AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G VR +1 more
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jkoch2
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Lower yen may cut camera harakiri, but not slice prices
In reply to noshea, May 31, 2013

Canon and Nikon have withstood financial ruin over these recent years.  But profits have ailed, and if a lower yen gives them a windfall, they aren't likely to dash the benefit to profits by cutting prices.

Their competitors have been bleeding badly enough.  Some are essentially in hospice.  Why impale themselves on a blade of discounts or rebates, if they are already in need of transfusions?

In any case, except perhaps in Europe, camera prices are lower than they've ever been, especially taking into account features.  On occasion, one sees prices that almost certainly mean the sellers are taking a loss.

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hotdog321
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Re: Any evidence of the weaker yen affecting camera gear prices?
In reply to noshea, May 31, 2013

I don't pay attention to other gear, but Canon stuff has actually gone UP quite a bit in the last 6-8 months. For instance, the 5DIII was well under $3000 last year--it is around $3300 now. (typical prices--you can find different prices occasionally).

The Canon 24-70 f/2.8L II lens is going for roughly $2100. Canon strobes, grips, even filters and hoods are really expensive and rising.

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