Camera and Lens Prices Gone Crazy

It is well known that after the earthquake and tsunami in Japan on 11th March, many factories in Japan have been affected, including many camera and lens makers. Production has been delayed and completely stopped in some factories. This has resulted in camera and lens street prices going crazy.

As far as I know, Canon Hong Kong has officially raised the recommended retails prices of their products by 5-6%. Although Nikon Hong Kong has not officially announced any price increased yet, they are expected to do so at any time.

Raising official recommended retail price is one thing, but the main problem seems to be that no new shipment is arriving in Hong Kong and none are expected to arrive for at least the next few months.

Street prices of cameras and lenses are not only affected by official recommended retail price, they are also affected by supply and demand. At the moment, the demand is huge, and supply severely constraint. This has led to street prices going crazy. Many cameras and lenses have street prices that have gone up by 10 to 20% at least. Some products maybe completely out of stock, so no matter how much money you have, you will not be able to buy them.

Street prices are crazy and extremely volatile at the moment, so unless you really need to buy now, otherwise, it is probably not the best time to buy any cameras or lenses for now.

There is also very little point in updating and requesting me to check camera and lens prices at the moment because the street prices are simply too volatile and could change daily. If you really need to buy, then you just have to be prepared to pay a premium.

I will post update if there are any change.

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20 thoughts on “Camera and Lens Prices Gone Crazy

  1. The camera shop that I purchase most of my equipment will also have to raise prices due the shortage of lenses next month. The weakness of the USD + the damage to factories in Japan, is the main reason. So rather than wait to purchase a lens, might as well get it now unless you want to wait until everything goes back to normal which could take a very long time.

  2. thanks for your information,seems i have to delay buy the cameras until next few months.
    cause i heard from friend who read some article about canon camera production in japan.they said there will not stop produce canon in a long time,cause they have many resources from other component factory in japan which is still produce.
    even they said no raises price for canon camera,so i decided to not provide a golden opportunity for traders to have a big profit in this situation.
    i prefer to buy at high prices,if indeed the price is increase from the production cost,not from trader who take advantage of the news..
    i hope japan will recover soon. (^^)
    thank you roland for sharing news in hk market.

  3. Hi,

    Which shops do you recommend in Malaysia to buy Canon Lens?
    Is the price drop in Malaysia making the retail price lower than in HK? or is HK still cheaper?

  4. the information that i got from my friends is saying that got nothing to do with Japan’s Tsunami due to that Our Malaysia’s Canon Co. at the early stage is already charging us way too expensive at the beginning. Heard that to Fight the Grey Set in Malaysia they reduce the price of the Original Set in Malaysia. That’s what i heard. But i’ll keep u inform if the price will go back up. Btw one thing to saying is that..if HK gonna add 10 to 20% of the price then the price is Equally the same as Malaysia.

  5. I can tell you the prices of Nikon pro equipment in the UK is starting to go up pretty steeply. Many of the sought after f1.4 primes and f2.8 zooms are not in stock, pro body prices seem to be increasing day to day.
    As far as I could find out nobody has any idea when new stock will be available… some are suggesting none at all this year because of the situation in Japan.
    The little stock available is attracting a premium.

  6. Just FYI I went and purchased a Canon EOS 600D and 28mm f1.8 lens last week, and the prices I was charged were midway between the lowest price Roland lists and RRP… I could have haggled but I got another 1.6% for paying cash and I thought the prices seemed fair. Not much profiteering yet – I asked the shop owner if he had trouble sourcing from Japan and he said volumes were down slightly but he was still getting shipments.

  7. Ahhhh… I had been wondering why lenses I’d been watching and pricing have gone up so much…. especially the Canon L lenses. The 70-200 f/2.8L II I got a while back normally retails at $2300-2500. But few places had it at under $2650. I got a deal on mine (two discounts at the same time back in November) for $2050. I could sell it practically new for a $500-600 profit. yeesh. Good thing I got the lenses I was needing for later this summer already. I don’t know why I didn’t connect the Japan crisis with the Japanese camera company product prices. Thanks again for the post.

  8. Roland,

    I’m in Hong-Kong next week and I had a couple of questions for you:

    - I was considering getting a Samyang lens, which presumably should not be affected price wise. However, your own lists only quote on Samyang lens and that suggests to me that not all shops will carry them. Can you point me to a shop that will carry them for sure ?

    - On another note, I have some spare time and would love to take you out for drinks if you’re so inclined (at your convenience). If that is not feasible, I would nonetheless ask for recommendations on locations to photograph the old hong-kong. Last year when I was over, I stumbled upon Man Mo Temple, which I may very well visit again, but I was wondering about other places worth shooting apart from skyscrapers…

    • Hi Benoit,

      I think most camera shops may not have Samyang lenses in stock. I know Echo don’t usually stock them, but order for you if you want. I found out on the net that this paritculr shop may have Samyang lenses in stock:- http://www.photoman.com.hk/

      I have never shopped with them, so I will not be able to tell you if they are reliable or not. You can email or call them by phone to check out.

      Actually, I would love to meet my readers from around the world. You don’t really have to buy me a drink. It would be good just to meet up. Tell me when you will be in Hong Kong and which days you will be free and we’ll see if we can arrange to meet.

      There are many places of interest for photographers in Hong Kong besides skyscrapers. What are you interested in shooting? Temples? landscapes, nature or something else?

      • May be a bit late… but I found the Samyang 35mm at DCFever at Mong Kok. A few other stores were also stocking Samyang lenses in that building – lots of 2nd hand lenses there as well.

  9. Roland,

    I’m landing in Hong-Kong around 5 PM on Saturday. I’ll probably be exhausted for that evening, but am likely to wake up early on Sunday. I’m available all of Sunday and all of Monday.

    Email me so that we can arrange for a meet. I’m staying at the Novotel on Nathan Road.

    I will definitely check out Photoman. They seem to have a ton of strange lenses !!!

  10. That’s an unfortunate consequence of a tragic event…

    I’m planning to visit Hong Kong in the first week of May, that’s probably too soon for the prices to get back to normal, isn’t it? I was hoping to get a 550D or 600D body… :(

  11. dear Roland,

    my friend is in HK now and he went to echo to check out the canon 5d mk II and 24-105mm lens,
    they quoted him 26,000 but it’s a second hand good.
    Is it normal?
    please help, this is quite urgent as he is returning tmr!

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