So Why is the Z5+24-200mm Out of Stock?

Z5 body only? In stock most everywhere.

Z5 body plus 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens? In stock most everywhere.

Z5 body plus 24-200mm f/4-6.3 lens? Out of stock most everywhere. This, despite the fact that you only get a US$100 implied discount buying the 24-200mm lens in the kit.

I'm going to go out on the limb a bit on this one. NikonUSA missed a clue.

I've now gotten at least a dozen emails that go like this: "I wanted the 24-200mm lens, but it was out of stock, so I bought the kit..." After the ellipsis comes some variation. Either "I'll sell the Z5 body" or "I'll sell one of my older DSLR bodies and use the Z5 as a backup" seem to be common. And I've also gotten plenty of emails that indicate that people would have liked to have seen a Z5+24-70mm f/4 S bundle with the same implied price discount you find in the Z6 bundle.

Meanwhile, the Z5 body plus 24-50mm f/4-6.3 lens is in stock everywhere, but the 24-50mm lens only is out of stock everywhere (including my NPS Priority Purchase order). Exactly the opposite problem as with the 24-200mm.

This is not the first time Nikon has had this problem—I can point to multiple launches with similar issues—and it seems to happen more in the US than anywhere else, so it's clearly either an intentional result or a logistical error. Neither are particularly good for making customers happy ;~).

Nikon loves its spreadsheets. Tells them exactly how many to make and where to send them to maximize some bottom line number down at the bottom of the sheet. This is what back in the late 70's used to call "Visicalc Mentality," which is a form of what today we call confirmation bias. The spreadsheet can't be wrong. 

But to the customer this practice is clearly wrong. 

I'd argue that it's wrong to the company, too. Since the Z5+24-200mm is out of stock, and that's clearly a popular combination, it means that the actual sale Nikon makes doesn't happen today, instead it will happen some time in the future. Pushing potential sales out into the future is risky, because by the time you can build out supply to meet demand, competitors may have introduced something that will get that potential customer's attention, and that future sale never happens. (And then we get Nikon quietly dumping inventory into the Gray Market.)

That Nikon keeps having this same problem means that they're either fine with it, don't know how to fix it, or haven't actually figured out that it's a real drag on their financials. 

So let me put it clearly: the time when you can most get a product to go viral and word of mouth speaks loudest is when you launch it. Right now there should be a bunch of folk who got Z5's with the 24-200mm lens running around saying "wow, this is good; it might be everything I need in one bundle." They're not, because they haven't gotten their product yet, despite somewhat sluggish sales for the Z5 out of the gate. (That's another story for another day, but I think that once we hit the holiday season and we have five clear FX body choices priced correctly, the Z5 sales will pick up.) 

Nikon tends to be their own worst enemy when it comes to product launches. That's a shame in this case, as the Z5 is quite good, and both price and feature set should have broad appeal. With the 24-200mm, it really is the all-in-one travel camera. Only you can't get that combination. Doh!

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