Lens price fluctuation and the new Nikkor 18-200mm
You can thank the falling dollar/rising yen for the price increases in the US. Japanese companies often peg their P&L at 110 yen to a dollar. We're at around 90. So it's not surprising to see the recent 20% increase in price on higher-end goods ("luxury items") where consumers are not as sensitive to price increases.
Here in Japan, the list price of the new 18-200 VR II lens has not increased over the original 18-200. It's still at 100,000 yen before the 5% consumption tax. (BTW, this lens had been priced higher in Japan than the US.) Right now mail order prices for the original 18-200 VR is aroundr 63,000 yen and the new one is 67,000 yen, tax included. But that's just because they want to move the old one. The original lens was selling for about the same price as the new one just a few months ago.
If you take into account that the 18-200VR is made in Thailand and the yen is quite strong against the Thai Baht (as strong as it has even been), Nikon is not doing too badly on each 18-200VR sale. Where they are really hurting is the higher-end products (pro glass) that are made in Japan.
Anyway, if you must have the 18-200 VR, you might consider the original version and save some money. The optical formula has not changed, so the IQ should be pretty much the same. I played with the new one and it still has the zoom creep if the lock switch is not engaged. I'm still very happy with my original 18-200VR, but I gotta tell you, these days the Tamron 17-50 VC is on my camera just about 100% of the time.
As for the Nikon 12-24mm, I couldn't justify that kind of money for a lens that (for me) is a special occasion lens. I ended up with a Tokina 11-16mm and couldn't be happier. It is razor sharp even wide-open.
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|Nov 6, 2009|
|Nov 7, 2009|