Lens/body prices... going up?

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by ilyapitin, Sep 8, 2010.

  1. Hi all - long time member, maybe second time poster. :)
    I've been in the photography "game" for several years now, and purchased a lightly used D300 for $1200 about two years ago. I used it fairly regularly until a little while back where I've seemingly run out of time to take photos... that will soon change, I hope.
    That's my background which will hopefully help to solidify my inquiry which is: why are Nikon (and I assume other makers') prices going up? The new 85 1.4 is pushing $1600. The used market for lenses has stabilized. I realize supply and demand is at work, but as technology becomes less expensive to develop/parts become cheaper/etc. shouldn't these high priced goodies come down in price?
    Moderator note: Moved from Nikon Forum since this isn't specific to Nikon issues.
  2. It's not only about supply and demand - although that certainly is part of it...It's also about the value of the US Dollar verus the foreign currency - in this case the Japanese Yen.
    The dollar just hit a 15 year low against the yen - which translated means that the dollar buys fewer Yen than it did a year ago - thus prices on imported items - like Japanese cameras go up. It's difficult to grasp - because like every other industry camera makers are in a slump - but they can only eat the exchange rate for so long before they have to raise export prices.
  3. Hopefully the prices will fall if the yen weakens. Japan is having a *field day* buying up foreign property right now, but yes, their exports are suffering very, very badly. Perhaps the exchange rate is to blame for the recent *astronomical* prices of Canon's latest lens releases.
  4. Dave, great point. I didn't realize the Yen was that strong (or the dollar so weak). That is definitely the culprit, then, yes? Can we expect a turnaround for the dollar against the Yen in particular?
  5. as technology becomes less expensive to develop/parts become cheaper/etc. shouldn't these high priced goodies come down in price?
    In most recent high-end lenses Nikon has been increasing the number of elements, number of special elements (with ED glass, aspherics, nano-crystal coating etc.), and adding features (SWM, VR, etc.) leading to increased cost of the final product. In the case of the 85/1.4 AF-S there doesn't seem to be much new apart from the nano-coating and silent wave motor, which make it a bit more expensive than the previous version (and the rest is probably corrections for changes in exchange rates & the effects of inflation).
    Can we expect a turnaround for the dollar against the Yen in particular?
    Yes, if your country pays back its debt, produces superior products for lower prices than the international competition and exports them to other countries at prices that suggest that the dollar is undervalued, the dollar will then go up relative to other countries currencies. (Disclaimer: I don't really understand economics.)
  6. I live in Japan and i got no idea what you people are talking about...... The price in japan is 172,600 yen or if we talk in dollars 2,060 USD
    So you think the price is high in the us?????
  7. I belive all companys charge what they feel the market in that particular country can or will stand here in Canada the 85 1.4 G is $1899.95.
  8. The hilarious thing is that Japan is swamped with debt. LUDICROUS amounts of debt. They could tax every working Japanese citizen 100% for a year and spend nothing except for paying off debt, and still not pay off what they owe. I guess the world just trusts that the yen will ride this out better than the dollar.
  9. I agree with Ian..... and i think people should buy what they want or need at the price offer.... I don't wanna be in respectful but if i want a toy I buy and I don't care about the price..... If I think the price is too high I just don't buy it.....
    I do think the price of everything depends in HOW MUCH you really WANT / NEED it.....
  10. i dunno, i just bought a very-lightly used d90, 35/1.8, and sb-600 for $600 online from c-list. i saw other listings trying to sell the d90 for $1100, which hopefully included the kit lens. supply and demand seems like a relative term.
    new lenses dont really enter the market at a lower price, though sometimes their price falls within 6 months; other times it goes up over time. but if you look at the new D3100--$700 w/ lens--just on specs alone its superior in many ways to the digital bodies of five-seven years ago, which cost thousands. the good news is that expensive lenses will hold their value a bit better in the long run.
    a larger problem is that the US economy is not keeping pace with inflation.
  11. Well it is true that there is inter-currency value disparity but really the bigger cause for everything denominated in dollars is the fact that it is fiat currency not backed by anything. Our system is based on debt which takes the form of paper money originating from absolutely nothing. Each dollar bill bill printed up and distributed dilutes the perceived value of every other dollar. Our dollar has lost over 20% in the last ten years alone. Therefore it takes very many more dollars to purchase the same goods. BTW every single experiment with fiat currency in recorded human history has ended in a trainwreck financially for the countries who utilized fiat currency.
    So in addition to the exchange rates between currency pairs, we have a rank degradation in the value of our own currency and that process is called inflation. So that your new $2500 lens should really have cost $150 since the dollar has lost around 94% of its total value since it was taken off the gold standard for good. Sad but true...
  12. I just looked it up, Japan's national debt is $83,000USD per man, woman, and child. When they hit their financial crisis in the 90's, they spent their way out of it... and apparently, it worked?
  13. My wife recently took her 3rd economics course this past semester. They talked a lot about this thing. Two major reasons for price rise are the currency conversion rate and inelastic demand. A new term for me.
    'inelastic demand' If you google it, what you'll basically find is ...
    Whenever the price charged or changed has no real effect on the supply and demand of a good or service, it is considered perfectly inelastic. So what's an example ? Perfectly inelastic demand would be ~ to a unique life saving drug available from XYZ, Inc. only. People will pay any price to obtain it if they need it or perceive they need it. Even if the price of the drug were to increase dramatically, the quantity demanded would remain the same.
    A related factor is at work here too. When purchasing tails off due to the market not spending $$$, perfect inelastic economists tell manufacturers to keep the prices firm or even raise them. The concept being, less unit sales means that you need maximum profit per item to stay afloat. I had a hard time comprehending this, but it's an apparent standard philosophy of some economic theories.
    So when XYZ camera sales are sluggish, the manufacturer will keep the price stable or even increase it to maintain profitability.
    Jim's 2 cents
  14. Well if camera company xyz carried inelastic pricing on their product I would probably find my credit card locked inside my inelastic wallet!
  15. Phillip--
    From what I've read in WSJ and Forbes, Japan did not "spend their way out of it." They are on the verge of social collapse, in fact. There are no jobs there. Comparing retail prices in places like Canada and Japan to U.S. has a LOT more involved than currency exchange. The really BIG thing are the taxes, Taxes, TAXES! The tax rates I found during a visit in Iceland last summer absolutely stunned me! I have no idea why those in other countries aren't grabbing their pitchforks and mobbing government buildings to overthrow their economic oppressors. There is a reason so many people in the world buy their photo gear from B&H. Often it's actually cheaper for them to fly here, buy the stuff, then fly home than it is to pay the tax in their country.
    Kent in SD
  16. Elasticity of demand refers to the extent to which the demand for an item is affected by increases or decreases in price. The demand for an item with high elasticity of demand will increase or decrease more than the demand for an item with low elasticity of demand. Medicine or consumer staples like milk and bread generally have a low elasticity of demand because people will continue to buy them at more or less the same rate as prices increase or decrease. Consumer durables like cars or TVs generally have a high elasticity of demand because people can put off buying them when prices are high and will buy them when prices go down. Discretionary items also tend to have a high elasticity of demand for the same reason.
    Cameras and lenses are consumer durables and discretionary items and I suspect would have a relatively high elasticity of demand. I suspect that the high prices are due to the exchange rates and to the newness of the products. When new products come out they are generally in short supply and can command a high price until supply catches up with demand.
    Another factor is that products aimed at higher income people are generally less affected by price increases. A person willing to spend $1500 for a camera will generally be willing to spend $1700 (pick a number) for the same camera if he/she really wants it.
  17. Like Kent said it's hard to compare prices from country to country because of many factors. In many Europeans countries for example they raise a lot of tax revenue through value added taxes which are like sales taxes. Every country has to raise a certain amount of tax revenues and they can do that many different ways. The US depends highly on income tax. Other countries depend more on value added taxes.
    Japan is also accused of what is called dumping. That is that they export at relatively low prices to build volume and generate economies of scale. They then keep imports out of their home market to keep prices and profits high for their own products. The extent of this has been an issue for decades and I don't really keep up with it. We have other more pressing problems.
  18. Digital has helped boost photographic equipment sales in the past decade, including bodies and lenses, and Nikon (and Canon, etc) can charge as much as they are allowed to get away with, and that's just normal business. Back in the film days, only a few of my friends own SLRs and even fewer are real enthusiasts (e.g. shoot more than a few rolls per month.) Now with digital, almost everyone has a DSLR. You can imagine how many more lenses the companies can sell due to this growth. This is just demand and supply.
  19. There is hope for a fall in the Yen becaue the economic situation in Japan is not very good. Ilkka and others -- the value of the dollar is essentially a function of two things, most importantly interest rates. As long as the Fed keeps interest rates near zero the dollar will be weak -- why would you buy an instrument (US Treasury notes) or invest in a currency ($$) that had such a low return? The other issue is the more amorphous "confidence" -- which is to say the dollar can still rise against the yen and Euro as it did early in 2010 if people think those economies are weak and ours, relative to theirs, strong. Since our recent growth numbers are so flat, the dollar has dropped in value.
    The debt has far less impact than politicians make out. It sounds like a big number but this is a $14 trillion annual economy. Republicans love to scream about debt/gov't spending because they know that in a time when the government is going into debt in order to revive the economy -- and Paul Krugman among others is howling that the US hasn't spent nearly enough to do that -- then the Repubs will have trouble defending the obscenely low tax rates their wealthy / corporate patrons currently pay.
  20. In my little corner of my fevered mind ...
    I'd offer that for every person who buys let's say a D700 or D3x or XYZ for 'business' or 'sane reasons', there are 50+ 'rich" amateurs who buy it to "make better pictures"; as we all know a better camera alone makes better photos, de facto. (sarcasm)
    If the mfg knows this, then the price of the camera remains at what the market will bear, naturally, but will probably stay as high as possible for as long as possible. "Discretion" isn't a word that a gear hound understands when the NAS fog is nigh.
    Over simplified, perhaps, but it might be a contributory factor. I've been in the manufacturing of copier drums for high speed xerographic machines for 30 years now. We sell the finished drum for $400 to suppliers and OEMs. They routinely charge $ 2400 for the drum. Sure there is overhead to consider, but there is a large leeway in profit. Yet seldom, if ever , does the price drop an iota. Then you have the Gillette model for things like printers, etc. ... it gets way above my pay grade to figure the machinations.
  21. Plus Nikon has layers of management that work for nice paychecks. And in Japan, most companies have bonus checks two times a year for all employees who work, work, work. If Nikon USA were to cease to exist, a slight decrease in equipment prices might take place, but the cost of research-development in Japan would likely take control of the price. And the cost of shipping anything to Japan for repair would not make you a happy camper with a bit of a reduced price for a camera body or lens.
  22. Kent, many Europeans feel that higher taxes to support social programs that generally benefit everyone's standard of living is a worthwhile tradeoff. If the standard of living is the same or higher, net income is only a number that has little to no bearing on quality of life.
  23. Camera's are way overpriced. It's the profit margin down the line from manufacture to the seller. Add taxes so the politicians can make their masters rich and there you go.

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