The good news is that in the last 2 days (this is written March 23 Hong Kong time) the much-awaited Nikon D800 has begun to ship from Nikon. The bad news is that it is shipping in such limited quantities that the price is being driven up by resellers. Reports are that it has also been shipped to Australia, Japan and Singapore, but Nikon agrees that it cannot begin to meet demand.
The D800 is the longed for camera that many serious Nikon users have been waiting for, fitting well in the stream of models and announced just after the D4. Perhaps the two main features are 36 megapixels, the highest of all "35mm" DSLR and the ability to shoot great video, amongst a host of other features such as in-camera HDR.
The camera was announced Feb 17th and since then many of us have been impatiently awaiting this new body. I have been in Hong Kong since Feb 24th and every time I have visited a camera store I have asked about delivery dates. I have one on order in Vancouver and my son has one on order here in Hong Kong. Yesterday we heard it might have been released.
My son Richard spent his lunch hour calling 30 of the over 100 camera stores in Hong Kong. Dial - "Do you have the Nikon D800 in stock?" "No", or "NO!" Next. Some offered to order it and take his money. Some had 1 body delivered, but had sold it. One said he would be number 246 on the waiting list. Then he visited 5 of the stores closest to his office in Kowloon. No luck. Typically we have found that there is little consistency in HK camera stores. Some have a lens or body, some don't, and the price is all over the map. One store, Photo Scientific, even refused to order a lens for me. As you will read later it took days to track down a 200-400 Nikkor F4.
(In the meantime Amy and I were on Lantau Island photographing Water Buffalo and visiting Pui O beach.)
|Water Buffalo at Pui O, Lantau Island. Richard Wright photo|
In the meantime I wrote to my camera store in Vancouver and overnight I got an email reply saying it is a great camera, (I knew that).
"This camera just started to get shipped to retailers in Canada. Please be aware that any one retailer may only get a couple of cameras from Nikon with every shipment they do. They must allocate this camera all across Canada and do not play favourites. Our orders will be filled in chronological order. You are looking at several weeks before we can fill your order. Many others are even after you."
It would be several weeks before it was in my hand. Evidently the pre-orders took everyone by surprise, including Nikon Japan. For me it is a double drag as the main reason I wanted the D800 was as a second body for shooting here in HK. I should have bought a used body of another model.
Finally, Rich found one D800 body at a premium price - close to $4000 instead of $3000. He offered to buy it if it was available this weekend in Hong Kong. (This is the Rugby 7's weekend here and the town is full of expats in team T-shirts and costumes.) He got a call back during a match. The camera might be available on Monday.
Amy and I are heading to Kowloon tonight for an evening of shooting night scenes on Nathan Street and on the harbour front and I will check out a few more camera stores myself. In the meantime, we wait until Monday. I'll keep readers posted.
|One of many Kowloon markets. Richard Wright photo.|