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Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
02-17-2012, 12:08 PM (This post was last modified: 02-19-2012 06:36 AM by nikonjin.)
Post: #1
Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
Last Thursday I got a call from Ken from TA Macalister (Nikon’s NZ distributor) asking if i want to drop by his office for a cup of coffee. Yeap sure, i always feel excited whenever i have a chance to visit TA Macalister and coffee is always good so I promised i’ll call him first thing next morning.

Turned out I was a bit busy the next morning and end up it was Ken who rang me again. He probably thought i’ve forgot about him but of course I didn’t. So anyway about 20 minutes later I arrived his office in Mt Wellington. We sat down in one of the meeting room and spent about an hour or so talking about many different topics. Actually it was Ken who was talking most of the time but surely I don’t mind as Ken told me many very interesting things and some behind the scene stories that I didn’t get to hear every day.
So let me summarise some of the topics and share with you guys.

For those of you who are not familiar with TA Macalister, TA Macalister is Nikon’s New Zealand distributor. It is not really a big company but it is the longest serving Nikon distributor in the world.

[Image: kenbw2a.jpg]

Ken joined TA Macalister and become the Nikon Product Manager since early 2011. While he’s relatively new at TA Macalister, he has been using Nikon cameras for 30+ years. And before becoming Nikon’s product manager here in NZ, he has worked for many big brand companies working in similar area.

One of the topic that Ken brought up at the beginning is the price of Nikon gears in NZ. Many of us Nikon users here in NZ probably have complained about the high price of Nikon gears in NZ compare to other countries. While i was talking to other local Nikon users, it’s not uncommon to hear someone saying the guys at TA Macalister are selling Nikon gears way too expensive. Or they probably don’t know there are websites like B&H, Adorama, DigitalRev or eBay who are selling the exact same item at a much lower price. But after talking to Ken, i understand this is nothing further away from the truth. Ken and his colleagues know some of the Nikon products are expensive here in NZ. They know about B&H and their price. They know a lot of people are importing their new camera or lenses from oversea simply because of the big price difference on some of the items.
Ken even emphasised to me that their biggest competitor is not any other camera brand. Their no.1 competitor is the oversea websites, parallel importers and eBay/trademe sellers. Ken monitors the prices from local official dealers regularly and compares them with the price from parallel importers or oversea websites. He also monitors the sales result from the local market very closely and analysis how well each of the Nikon products sell every month. He wants to make sure his price is competitive and if he notice some of the price is not competitive, he would try his best to adjust the price to make sure people would buy locally through one of the authorised dealer.
He recently lowered the price of the AFS 85mm f/1.4G by almost $1000. A few other lenses’ price were also lowered by a hundred dollars so they are closer to the oversea price. But Ken also admitted it’s impossible to get the local retail price to match price from the cheapest oversea websites. After all, New Zealand is a small country with small market and that pushes the price up quite a bit. But he believe as long as he makes the price difference between local and oversea to minimum, a lot of the users would still want to buy from the local authorised shops to enjoy the full local warranty and also help keeping the local shops survive. Ken said while he’s trying to make sure all the Nikon product’s price is competitive, there are just too many products so he asked me to let him know if i found any Nikon product that is selling too expensive and he will look at it and see what he can do. So if you guys found any products that you believe is selling too expensive here in NZ, feel free to get in touch with me and i’ll let Ken know.
In the last few weeks, there are people complained to him and ask how come it takes so long for them to announce the local price of the D4/D800. A lot of people thought it’s just because Ken or his colleagues are lazy. But Ken told me that’s definitely not the case as he waited for the actual retail price from oversea websites, then work out how much people would pay if they buy from oversea and get it shipped to NZ (i.e. the camera price + shipping convert to NZ dollar + GST). And then he figure out the price so his local dealers can be competitive against the oversea websites. But this is just the beginning of his job, the real challenge for him is to go back to Nikon to try negotiate a good price and make it happen. That’s not an easy or quick task and that’s why he can’t annouce a price straight after the camera annoucement.
So what is D4 / D800's price and date? Ken said that he expects the first shipments sometime in april. Price? it’s not really finalised yet but Ken told me he is trying his best to make them as cheap as possible, so that it will make more sense for us to buy from the local authorised dealers so that we can enjoy the Nikon warranty and support from them (Note: overseas and parallel bodies will have no warranty in nz.)

I asked Ken how’s the preorder figures for D4 and D800 look like? The answer is, even before they announce the price and date, there is already a very very long pre-order list for both cameras. Especially the D800 and there are shops already have a preorder list of 40+! So if you want a D4 or D800 and still hasn’t order their D4 or D800 yet, be prepared to wait for a long long time before you can get your hands on one of these full frame cameras.

And another interesting thing I found out from Ken is, despite it is discontinued in some other countries, the D90 is actually still an current model here in NZ and is not selling too bad at all!
And for the D700, there is still a long waiting list for this camera and they can never get enough stock to supply the local shops. Even after the D800 is announced, shops around the countries still want to order more of this almost 4 year old FX camera.

Another question i had on my mind for a while is, why Nikon put the 36MP sensor in a D800 class body, and not a D4x instead? Ken explained that one of the reason is because the high resolution camera are quite often used by studio or landscape photographers. So unlike D4 that is designed for sports or reporter photographers who would use the camera under extreme weather conditions and therefore require a really super ultra tough camera. The studio or landscape photographers normally don’t need D4’s build quality and a lot of them would actually prefer a smaller but still solid body like the D800. Btw the D800 does feel very solid and well built! It’s not a D4, which is solid like a TANK (and feel like it can be used as a weapon or body armour if you are a warzone photographer!), but it’s still a VERY VERY solid camera in a smaller body, and I’m sure the D800 can survive most kinds of punishment.

We then talked about the new 1 system. Ken said he understand a lot of enthusiasts complained about the camera’s sensor size, and a few other things about these new Nikon mirrorless cameras. But we need to understand that the current V1/J1 cameras are more targeted towards compact camera users who wants to upgrade to a better camera but don’t want anything too big or heavy like a DSLR, rather than DSLR users who is looking for a smaller camera. So that’s why it might not really appeal to people who already owned a DSLR and want a smaller camera. But then this might change when Nikon start releasing some fast prime lens.

[Image: kenbw1a.jpg]

And one question i have to ask is, will there be any more new DSLR coming out this year? Are we going to see a D400 soon? Ken smiled when i asked him those questions. He said the only thing he can tell me is, he would be very surprised if there isn’t any other new DSLR coming out this year. And sounds like we might even see one more full frame DSLR coming out this year! So let’s wait and see, It would be a great news if it’s true.

Ken is really a nice guy and anyone talks to him can feel he has a lot of enthusiasm for his job. I can definitely see that he is trying his best to improve the price of Nikon camera gears in NZ and also creates more value and support for the local Nikon users. He told me a lot of his plans and goals, and he is working very hard to make them happen!

Now, where was my coffee???
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02-17-2012, 01:31 PM
Post: #2
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
Wow! How did you manage to get him to interview? Can't wait to read it Richard.
vw

Hoping to get a D700 with video someday...Smile
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02-17-2012, 03:20 PM
Post: #3
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
Good stuff Richard...

(02-17-2012 12:08 PM)nikonjin Wrote:  I sat down with Ken (NZ's Nikon product manager) this morning, spent an hour or so and talked about quite a few things. It was a really interesting talk, I'll try summarise some of the topics into a article here Smile


[Image: 6889291505_697541dce4_b.jpg]
Interview with Ken (NZ's Nikon Product Manager) by Richard @ PhotobyRichard.com, on Flickr
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02-17-2012, 07:04 PM
Post: #4
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
very nice!
waiting for your article
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02-18-2012, 12:28 PM
Post: #5
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
Good work mate, it's an exciting time for Nikon right now.

Jeff (but my friends call me Dogs)
I am a bomb disposal expert. If you see me running try to keep up. Undecided
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02-19-2012, 06:35 AM
Post: #6
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
Article is up, hope you will enjoy...

and if you have something you want to ask Ken, please feel free to PM me or leave a message here, and i'll try to ask Ken when i talk to him next time!
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02-19-2012, 03:44 PM
Post: #7
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
Awesome article thanks!
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02-20-2012, 07:25 AM
Post: #8
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
i think we should probably do more things like this! Wink
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02-20-2012, 11:49 AM
Post: #9
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
great interview! thanks for doing that

interesting to hear the stories from the nikon product manager
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02-20-2012, 01:46 PM
Post: #10
RE: Interview with New Zealand's Nikon Product Manager
Thanks for the interview!

I remember seeing there was a massive drop in the 85 1.4G's price few months ago, and the price now is almost same as if i import from B&H directly, so that's very good!

I noticed a few other product's price were dropped quite a bit recently too! Now i know why! Big Grin

Good on Macalister for lowering the price and try to compete with the parallel importers. But i think some of the lenses are still quite expensive here in NZ.

And any chance you can get them to sponsor us some prizes or do some special events for us? Big Grin
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