The Z 9 has, without a doubt, broken all of our records.
Not only has it gleaned the highest number of pre-orders that we’ve seen in a new release to date, but it’s possibly been one of the most talked about cameras on the internet since the announcement of its development back in March 2021.
Some of our most viewed YouTube videos have been on the subject of the teasers for the Z 9, and judging by the daily plethora of emails, telephone calls and social media comments it isn’t going to lose traction any time soon.
If you’re a Grays of Westminster customer you may have asked to register your interest for this body before you even knew it existed (yes, we already have people registering their interest for things that don’t exist yet). In fact, just the other day we had a gentlemen enter the store asking to see a Z 8, perhaps believing that we had a prototype hidden under one of our desks. He was very gracious when we explained that at the moment we had no idea of a Z 8 would indeed be released, or when, and said he’d be back in a few months to check, but to please register his interest in the meantime.
As a general rule those who place their names on a ‘register-my-interest’ list have about a 50% fall off rate when the product is actually announced. Either the specifications aren’t quite what they were looking for, or the price is too high (or low in some cases). The Z 9 broke yet another record for us by being the only camera which had an almost 100% take up rate from the pre-register list which might not surprise many of you, but certainly surprised us after 36 years of it being otherwise.
Those ‘I’m interested’ folk are normally then emailed on release day and invited to place their order. With the sheer quantity of people, however, this was no ordinary activity for us.
What happened on release day?
You may be interested to read that dealers are not actually sent information about the camera prior to release. The price, official images, unique product code and proposed delivery date – all those things needed to actually advertise a camera for sale – are given over at the same time as the product is released to the general public.
This has everything to do with information leaks and the caution of camera manufacturers, though it’s tough on the dealers. It certainly makes for an interesting release day at the best of times, but when it came to the Z 9 it was something else altogether. The staff worked from the crack of dawn until late at night both to get the Z 9 news out there and to contact our waiting list, all while phone calls came in non-stop, a cake turned up from Nikon and multiple people turned up in the shop wanting to see this new body for themselves. That would be no mean feat even if we had a 100-man team, but the handful of staff we do have dealt with the launch valiantly, and by the end of the following week we were well into triple digits on the number of Z 9’s that had been pre-ordered.
How do you organise the waiting list?
The waiting list is organised into three categories – 1) Has the person already paid for the item, and when? 2) Is the person a Nikon Owner subscriber? 3) Is the person an NPS member?
Of course our Nikon Owner subscribers come into two categories – standard, with the basic benefits, and those who are Gold, Platinum or Diamond subscribers who all have as an included benefit a priority on our waiting lists, as has been the case since the inauguration of the Gold subscription back in 2010.
Nikon then add their Nikon Professional Services registered users to that priority list as they also aim to get professional bodies into the hands of professionals who will use the camera for work as quickly as possible.
All of this information is passed along to the allocation team at Nikon (order numbers only for GDPR reasons) who then have the thankless task of trying to work out what bodies go where. The allocation team don’t tell us when or how many cameras we’re getting until the delivery is already in transit, but as Nikon in the Netherlands has been closed since Christmas Eve we won’t be hearing anything from them until after the 4th January now, provided they have something to tell us.
Update – 2nd February 2022
To be completely transparent with you we’ve received two deliveries so far of the Z 9. The first was on the 23rd December, single digits, and the second delivery was just last week, a similar quantity, which works out and one delivery per month thus far. We have high hopes that the allocations will snowball, and that at some point we’ll start seeing more and more come through for a couple of reasons.
The first is that we’ve been seeing interestingly high figures for deliveries coming out of Nikon USA. Our own YouTube videos are filled with comments from American Nikon Pro Service members saying that they received theirs in January, which honestly only adds to our own frustration as it is clear from the Triffid-like grapevine that other regions are experiencing similar issues to Europe. There were figures of 40,000 units being ordered from China alone, and other reports saying that the UK received 1000 units total (to cover 21 physical stores and 8 dealer websites) in December. But the good news about the USA receiving so many at the outset is that their pre-orders will be fulfilled quickly, and that means that hopefully, hopefully, the rest of the world will start seeing a bigger share of the pie sooner rather than later.
Also, based on serial numbers of the batches that are being sent out and according to an interesting thread on dpreview.com it looks like monthly production is on the higher end of the 3500-5000 p/m estimate.
Although this doesn’t necessarily give a clear picture of when you’ll receive your Z 9, at least it might indicate that we are receiving small deliveries and that we will get to you as soon as we physically can.
So, when will I receive my Z 9?
The simple answer is that we don’t exactly know yet. Have a few Z 9’s been seen out in the wild trickling through the ranks of a scant and lucky few? Yes. The cameras exist – just not enough of them to go around at the moment.
If you ordered a Z 9 on day one then we really, truly hope to get a camera into your hands as quickly as possible. It’s impossible to say whether that will be before the end of January, or whether it might be closer to February simply because we don’t know how many Nikon are going to be sending over the next several weeks. That isn’t a new practice – this has been the case certainly for the past few decades, but is merely magnified by the sheer demand for this item.
With supply chain issues that start all the way back in the manufacturing process to a shortage of shipping containers and HGV drivers, there are real-world issues with the general supply of things everywhere. In the UK that is compounded by new Brexit laws coming in January 2022.
But rest assured we are as desperate to get these into the hands of our clients as you are to receive yours. Our staff regularly work extra hours and through their lunch breaks, as well as weekends, to keep everything ticking along as smoothly as possible in an otherwise impossible situation.
Please be prepared to wait
Nobody wants to be told to be patient – we don’t like it either! But we would ask if you could please, politely, await your turn on the list. Unfortunately abusing our staff will not make the Z 9’s arrive any faster.
Don’t want to order right now? No problem.
If you’re happy to wait you can add yourself to the notification list here, and as soon as we have stock we’ll send you an email. This may be several months away but at least you’ll know when you can get your hands on one without having to wait!
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