It’s really amazing how far and how fast the price for the Nikon D600 dropped. I am now seeing that the regular price for the body alone is $1899. That is a $200 drop in about 2 months. The kit with a $599 lens was selling for about $1999 so if one were to sell the lens off, the body alone would be about $1600! And now, here come the refurbished cameras which I’ll explain in a bit.
I don’t even remember seeing any price drop for the four-year-old D700 until its successor the D800 was announced. If anything, I think there was even a price hike with the D700. One could argue that the reason for that is there are just many more new cameras is now and it’s just competition between the dealers, but the way that Nikon has been dictating the price to the dealers lately, that is unlikely. It wasn’t like the old days where the online retailers could just charge what they wanted to because if they go down too low, there would be hell to pay if they planned on being an authorized dealer for long. In my opinion, the sudden price drops are because Nikon botched the release from the start and now it has to move inventory.
The saddest part of course is that this is a brilliant camera. This was supposed tobe the full frame camera that everybody was waiting for. The enthusiasm was so high that for almost a year before its release, there was buzz around the Internet about it – Nikon Rumors was full of predictions about its offerings along with flickr message boards. The sensor I would argue is better than any other sensor that Nikon has produced when you consider the happy medium between megapixels and high iso performance. So how did Nikon get here to the point where they’re selling it off?
- Even before the release, once the price of $2100 was confirmed, the general consensus was that for the consumer quality body and features, this camera was overpriced. A lot of people were hoping for a price of about $1600 since basically this was a Nikon D7000 with a full frame sensor. Judging by how previous Nikon mid-level to pro cameras didn’t drop in price for a long time, many including myself took the plunge. I of course at least got a free bag and memory card and a few other goodies and later a small price break from BH Photo since I was without my camera for almost a month but for many they paid absolutely full price.$2100, for many is considered a pro camera price and therefore with that price, there are certain expectations that people have with features, quality, and price stability. Which brings up the next point
- For the price point, the camera has several shortcomings starting with the infamous dust on the sensor issue. That issue is real although many people found workarounds. There is also the issue with the video being crippled and not allowing changing of the aperture while shooting or in video mode in general which makes no sense but there are rumors of a firmware upgrade at least to fix that. These aren’t completely deal breakers of course; however, the way that Nikon failed to address these issues were unacceptable to people at this price point which brings up the next point.
- Nikon completely dropped the ball on customer service with the D600. I absolutely loved the D 600 when I first got it and took it out for the first shoot. ISO 6400!?? Yes please! And then came the dust. I was getting spots left and right ( mostly left) and around that time, the camera forums online were blowing up with reports of many other people having the same issue so I sent Nikon an e-mail to see how it could be fixed. Two days later with no response, I called them up and spoke with somebody who denied there was any problem. I already posted about this, but Nikon refused to even send a shipping label so they could have a look at it. I wasn’t going to spend another $50 on shipping after spending $2100 so the camera went back. It turns out, I wasn’t alone.
My next camera also had the dust issue, but I was able to clean it out myself. The damage to Nikon’s reputation and in particular the D600 is already done however. The people who were waiting on the sidelines to see whether to buy this camera took one look at us early adopters and wanted no part of it. Even on this blog, which is normally read by a few friends, I was getting thousands of Google search requests with the keywords “Nikon D600 dust issue” so I can only imagine how real review sites must’ve done and how many people who had been waiting for this camera decided not to buy it.
Nikon could have indeed created the perfect camera but they completely botched it up. If the price was lowered from the beginning, people may have overlooked the issues that it had but consumers during a recovering recession are not going to be forgiving when they spent $2100 plus lenses to get spots on their picture. When the company who made that camera and charged him that price does absolutely nothing to acknowledge the issue and offer a solution, it is just throwing fuel on the fire and they will lose customers.
So what’s the damage to Nikon? Well, for one thing they are stuck with a bunch of dusty cameras that they had to clean up and can only sell as refurbished. I saw a major retailer have them for $1680 now! There will be many of them I am sure. Now I’m not a big city fancy MBA( no wait, I am), but even I can see that offering a shipping label that costs $50 (although it’s probably much cheaper for Nikon giving the volume that they have) for a camera that a consumer paid $2100 for, would be much cheaper then the customer returning that camera and the company selling it for 500 cheaper as a refurbished.
The domino effect was the massive price drops on the new cameras for the customers that they probably would have had at the original price if they did the other things right. of course, those customers are happy campers because they got some great deals but that was done on the back of the loyal customers who trusted Nikon and bought the camera early. They will not make that mistake again.
More importantly, the long-term effect will be not to trust Nikon in the future. Even a remedial marketing class in a community college will tell you that it’s easier keep current customers happy than to get new customers. All of this is of course my opinion, allegedly.
Picture of the day. Birds running away from the winter storm the day before it came.