Even while the human impact of the devastating Earthquake and Tsunami that hit Japan last week is still being fully assessed, the tragedy is already having an immediate effect on business and industry, with feared shortages driving up prices of everything from car parts to hybrid automobiles.
Nikon, whose main assembly plant for their high-end cameras, such as the Nikon D700, is in hard-hit Sendai, was forced to shut down all of it’s operations in Japan, as was Canon.
While Canon seems to have suffered the least damage, the main impact being a temporary suspension in operations of the plant that manufactures their lenses, closure of Nikon’s Sendai plant has already sent prices on their high end models skyrocketing, with some dealers raising the price of the D700 as much as $300 in the past week.
Is such an increase warranted, and what does it mean for photographer?
Well, the answers are probably no, and not much.
Nikon has already announced that they will be moving their Sendai operations to their factory in Malaysia with in a month. Nikon has already got substantial operations in Malaysia as well as China. While the supply chain will be limited for a brief period, the likely impact is that this temporary shutdown will delay shipping of the D800 until some time in the May-June timeframe.
Canon has also stated that they will re-shuffle manufacturing operations to other facilities World-wide if they are forced to suspend operations for more than a month.
For photographers looking to purchase, the best advice is not to make an impulse buy for fear that cameras might not be available later on during the year … In fact, now isn’t the time to plunk down the coin for a new Nikon D700, since the model is a few years old, and the D800 promises to be a substantial upgrade, and the same could be said for the Canon 5D
For shooters who have been thinking about picking up the new Nikon DX model, the D7000, it’s also a good time for wait for a bit. The camera has been back-ordered at most of the big dealers for some time, with gray and secondary market vendors selling the D7000 at a premium, which will likely increase in the short term. The D7000s are being manufactured in Thailand, and supply should not be affected by the crisis in Japan. It is just a matter of creating enough inventory to satisfy demand.
If you do need a D7000, and can’t wait, Adorama has a few factory refurbished models for about $100 off list. Not a bad price on a camera that is probably better than “new”. The D7000 is the model to buy right now if you’re in the market for a DX sensor camera.
The best advice right now is to save your money, and send some of it over to Japan to help in the disaster recovery effort, where it will do some real good.