When, When, When?

I'll remind folks that I'm a one-man band performing a complex opera here. I'm constantly juggling various projects and sometimes changing my priorities. So...

  • When will the Z6 II and Z7 II Guide be done? I don't know. NikonUSA didn't bring in many Z7 II bodies, and I'm still waiting on mine. The good news is that this book is based on the existing Z6/Z7 Guide, so it's more a matter of verifying things and documenting differences than writing from scratch. Once a Z7 II is in the office, I'll be able to judge a likely publication date more easily.
  • When will (10 currently in progress!) lens reviews be done? This is going to be an ongoing issue for me in 2021, I think. This is the year that things change for the Z System, with enough Nikon and third-party lenses that the whole system seems quite expanded and presents useful options to most types of photography. I want to make sure you have useful information and opinions about all those new optics. I'm going to have my hands full trying to complete tests, do field evaluations, and write up the results, so bear with me. You'll probably see at least two new lens reviews this month, with many more right behind.
  • When will you review the Z6 II and Z7 II? Frankly, I'm not in a hurry to do this. I want to get plenty of experience with the changes in the autofocus system and continuous tracking before I finalize my thoughts here, and the opportunities for field shooting that would complete that testing are limited until the pandemic begins to clearly wane and I've joined the group that are vaccinated. Suffice it to say that the Z6 and Z7 were really good cameras, and the Z6 II and Z7 II are better. The more nuanced view will have to wait.

Nikon's a bigger organization, so perhaps the expectations there are different?

  • When will Nikon launch a new Z camera model? This question is tricky, as a critical supplier suffered a catastrophic fire that's impacting all camera makers. That said, I don't think Nikon will delay their launch windows, and the first one is already open (now through end of February). I'm expecting two new Z cameras for sure this year (one DX, one FX, though internally Nikon corporate seems to be continually debating what to do about DX). If I had to guess, the DX one will be first, the FX one in late spring or early summer. It's the FX one that everyone is waiting for.
  • When will Nikon launch more Z lenses? I think we'll see the next lens launch very soon. Indeed, I think we'll see most of the 2021 Z lenses by the end of summer (or the FX camera launch, whichever comes first). That doesn't mean everything will ship immediately, though. The 400mm and 600mm may be more like the NOCT, with a development announcement and prototypes in field. 
  • When will Z gear go on sale again? Historically, Nikon returns to lens rebates in February, and they sometimes have big sales in the February/March time frame so as to make their fiscal year numbers look good (their fiscal year completes at the end of March). But product shortages coupled with improving sales coupled with another write-off of assets means that Nikon isn't likely to try to push some last minute quarterly sales gains as they usually do. They might bag the current fiscal year to make the next look really good. That said, I'm pretty sure we'll see some ongoing sales and discounting, but not with large discounts, and particularly on things that are in plentiful inventory. I expect the Z50 to drop in price soon. I wouldn't be surprised if the original Z6 and Z7 go out of stock and thus not get discounted highly, as I don't believe they're still made (Sendai stopped making them in October, and I don't think they've since taken up production residence in Thailand). A few of the lenses may get on-going discounts. Thus, I'd be surprised if Nikon is at all aggressive about discounting here in the US in early 2021. 
  • When will Nikon sell off the Imaging group? Hah! Trick question. Certainly not going to happen any time that I can predict. In other words, it's not likely. What I'm hearing out of Tokyo is that Nikon still has assets to write off (and repurpose), which will make the financial statements look negative short term, but that the sales efforts are going well, and the on-going product lines are profitable and growing. Nikon Imaging will be smaller, leaner, and probably faster, but it isn't headed out the door.
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