Ideal Focus

A Primer In Alienation

It seems that it’s not just politicians who like to try and slip bad news under the radar. On Friday afternoon it seems that Nikon UK have decided there were pricing errors on the now ready to ship D800 and D4 cameras.

  • The D800 price has been raised from £2,399 to £2,599 (£200)
  • The D4 price has been raised from £4,799 to £ 5,289 (£490)

A price rise for an available camera would be annoying, but leave consumers with a clear decision to make. The problem in this case is that the D800 and D4 supply has all been pre-ordered.

For anyone who has ordered, and been charged for, one of these cameras, they shouldn’t have anything to worry about. Their cameras should arrive for the previous price.

Things get more murky for those who have ordered but aren’t charged until the item ships. (i.e. Anyone who has ordered from a reputable retailer.) In this case there’s a lot of uncertainty. The retailer may honour the original price, but they aren’t obliged to. they may ask you to agree to the higher price or cancel the order.

From what I understand Amazon and Jessops have both said they will honour the original prices for those who ordered before the price changes. (Obviously you should still check for yourself if you have ordered.)

Okay that’s the public information service part of the article finished, now to on to the analysis.

The earlier prices are supposed to have been the result of a “systems error”.

It seems incredible that Nikon could manage to have an incorrect price announced for more than 6 weeks without anyone knowing. What will further fan the conspiracy theorists’ flames is that the D4′s price has been equalized with the Canon 1DX, and the D800 moved much closer to the 5D Mk iii. I’m not going to speculate on theories though.

What is clear is Nikon has made their customers suspicious and garnered a lot of ill will.

As I alluded to earlier, most of the upset caused by this is that there’s no information. Nikon haven’t released an official statement, and people who have ordered their flagship products don’t know how much they’ll be asked to pay.

Nikon probably aren’t going to lose sales directly over this. The people buying these cameras are professionals, who aren’t going to switch systems. They’ve invested too much in lenses, and there’s no guarantee Canon won’t do the same thing in 5 years time.

Where Nikon might suffer is people like me warning amateurs not to pre order a Nikon camera in case they raise the prices. Those people might might choose a different brand rather than waiting to be sure of Nikon prices.

This is obviously a public relations blunder that needs an explanation. It was less than fortnight ago that I talked about Customer Service In The Camera Industry. As things stand, Nikon are looking a lot worse than either of the cases I highlighted in that article.

I obviously wish anyone who has ordered either the D800 or D4 the best of luck with their purchases. If anyone has a story about their experience feel free to share it with me using the contact information below.

UPDATE March 26th 11:00am:

Good News!

The British Journal Of Photography is now reporting that Nikon has apologised for the pricing error, and stated it will honour all orders made prior to March 24th at the lower prices. (Read the full story on the BJP website.)

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