Your Reaction May Vary

Yes, Nikon’s generated a lot of commentary and follow-on activity (including this site’s coverage) with the announcement of the Z8. But I’ve already noticed some differences in reaction. 

Here in the US, for instance, the reaction has been basically “a more compact Z9 for US$1500 less.” Already dealers are getting Z9 trade-ins in anticipation of people switching over to the Z8. Too many people overbought to get a Z9, apparently, though I’m not at all sure that a Z8 isn’t still overbuying if that were the case. At least it’s smaller and lighter ;~). 

What will likely happen in the US is already obvious: Z9 sales will dry up, Z8 sales will take their place (and possibly escalate; again, I’ll have a lot more to say in my presentation on Friday). Used Z9’s will become a thing, though at what price point they’ll lock in I don’t yet know. 

However, this reaction does not apply worldwide. In Canada, a Z9 is CAN$6999 and a Z8 is CAN$5399, a similarly wide price differential as in the US, but high enough in price that I’m seeing a fair amount of hesitation from our Northern neighbors. There’s a particular big drop down to the Z7 II at (currently) CAN$3499, for instance. The slow trend in Canada has been the loonie slowly eroding in value against the greenback.

One Australian reader pointed out to me that a Z8 with an extra battery and grip is going to retail at ~AUS$7800, while a Z9 is currently AUS$7800. Hmm. That is a Hobson’s choice if I ever saw one. 

In much of Europe we see something similar: the Z8 and Z9 are closer in price to one another at retail than they are in the US. 

In other words, the “value proposition” of a Z8 compared to a Z9 is something that has a great degree of regionality to it. 

I wouldn’t get too locked into that: the world economic situation is such that currency valuations are highly likely to move at little notice. If I’m not mistaken, Nikon costs many of their production bits using the Thailand Bhat, which has (had?) a relatively stable relationship with the dollar (e.g. narrower range). Since the start of this year, the yen has depreciated about 5% against the dollar, while the Bhat has gained about 3% against the dollar. This is probably one of the reasons why prices for Nikon products in Japan are being raised. 

But the real point I want to make is that any significant currency market changes could very much change what happens with worldwide Z8 prices. While I risk dropping into politics, the lack of agreement on the US debt limit at the moment has the chance to escalate into real pricing changes for goods. That US$4000 price on the Z8 looks good now, but a dollar devaluation of any significance will raise that price pretty rapidly. 

Thus, while Nikon is riding a high in the US at the moment, I see clouds on the horizon. We may or may not get a storm. 

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