Zfc Release Schedule

It's never clear what the situation is as Nikon corporate has the habit of making announcements in Japan that either (1) don't apply to all other regions; or (2) apply to other regions but haven't yet been translated and posted by the regions.

The plan had been to release the Zfc to dealers on July 23rd. The Japanese-only message posted on Nikon corporate's Web site now says that only the Zfc 16-50mm kits will arrive at the end of July. The Zfc with 28mm kit has been postponed, due to delays in parts supply. 

Perhaps I'm reading more into this than I should, but my suspicion is that Nikon moved the 28mm f/2.8 (special edition) forward because it made the Zfc look more compelling, but then Nikon got far more orders for the kit with the 28mm lens than they were expecting. To the point where they simply don't have the parts supply lined up anywhere close to demand. 

What part is impacted is unclear, however many autofocus lenses (of all makers) relied upon parts from the plant that burned down in Japan, and there aren't a lot of other suppliers that can be tapped. 

Bottom line: the Zfc is going to be out of stock the day it ships, and only the body and body+kit lens are going to ship (at least in Japan).  

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The "parts shortage" problem is becoming another messaging problem. Not just at Nikon, but other companies, as well. On the one hand, the camera companies all want to announce and release new products (for competitive reasons), but they're often unable to fulfill even their current product demand under current conditions (Fujifilm lens supply is becoming an issue, for example). You don't build up good will by announcing and then not delivering. 

Moreover, I'm seeing more and more comments from customers now that imply deliberate misinformation from camera companies. I.e. the camera companies know in advance that they can't deliver a product, but announce it anyway. Then they issue the now ubiquitous "demand exceeds supply" press release.

I don't think that's it at all. I think three things are amiss: (1) the camera companies have gotten even worse at predicting how a product will do, as the pandemic has worsened their already bad customer connections and field information isn't get back to and being interpreted by HQ quick enough; (2) most of the camera companies have cut manufacturing to meet a lower overall volume level, which is lower than initial product surges; and (3) the camera companies are getting supply promises that aren't being met (because shipping was delayed, the parts from new supplier didn't pass testing, or the supplier just lied about when they could ship). 

The problem, of course, is that businesses are like sharks, they have to keep swimming (yes, I know most sharks don't have to; I'm using a commonly-held belief here as a metaphor). Nikon, in particular, has looked more like a non-swimmer lately as they make manufacturing and supplier adjustments, and pandemic-raised issues keep getting in their way. Still, this is becoming another messaging problem. Customers, both active and potential, keep seeing messages, both real and trolled, that indicate that "Nikon isn't keeping up," and at some point when messages get repeated over and over people just start believing them rather than trying to figure out if they're true or not. 


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