I noticed recently at Costco that they’re selling the Canon Rebel XTi with 18-55mm and the Nikon D80 with two lenses kit.
That’s silly. The D80 + 2 lenses (28-70 and 70-300) cannot compete against the Rebel XTi (+ 18-55) in a store like that. For one thing, they’re the same 10 megapixels. The D80 kit works out to be much more expensive (around $1200 vs $900). Sure there are differences, but the lenses aren’t even connected to the cameras so who is going to notice the larger and brighter viewfinder or better construction? And really, is this market going to care about those things? All your typical Costco buyer is going to see is that the D80 looks to be the same camera for a lot more, breaking the $1000 barrier is a big deal nowadays
It should come as no surprise that last time I passed by, the XTi was sold out.
What to sell and why it won’t happen
Instead Nikon should sell its D40 kit: a Nikon D40 with its 18-55mm. Sure it’s “only” 6 megapixel, but realistically, the price gap is so large that people will have a hard time justifying the way more than 50% price jump to Canon for 4 more megapixels when Dave Pogue just told them that 6 is good enough. (The Canon XTi also has more AF point, dust shake, etc. but like the Xti v. D80 comparison, nobody is going to understand what that means from a tiny little Costco placard.)
And under usage—size, feel, and buffer—the D40 just shines and shines. The customer’s who buy that camera would fit right into that “great value” Costco mold, coupled with a product that is set to have almost no returns.
If Nikon could allow Costco to sell this for $520 instead of $600 then you could stack the boxes like before and it will fly off the shelf. Especially since the D40 box is so much smaller than the D50/D80 kit. (Yes, these things will matter. If I had my say I’d think Nikon should take a page out of Apple’s playbook and make the D40 kit as small as practical: make the charger smaller; include a thinner USB cable or a ZipLinq; move the manuals to CD that contains picture project (one CD only); only bundle the English/Spanish quickstarts and warantee information; reduce the bulk on the camera packaging; get rid of every baggie; lose the eyepiece cap, accessory shoe cap, the lens hood and lens bag, keeping only the camera strap for branding purposes…)
The sweet spot is getting a digital SLR in a small box with a kit that is selling at around $420. That’s impulse buy territory for a Costco buyer passing by the digital SLRs—someone is going to say to themselves, “That’s how much I paid for my compact digital camera two years ago. I should upgrade.” Pentax, are you listening? Sell your old *st DL or new K-110D there and make the box smaller!
Of course, Nikon won’t allow any supplier to undercut the list on a new camera without rebates. And Costco’s policy of not selling a product for more than a certain percentage above their costs keep them from selling the D40. Stupid.
An alternative is to make that D40 + two lens kit for $600. But you can’t do that because the 70-300mm is not AF-S so the AF won’t work on the D40 and Nikon doesn’t sell a body-only model to vendors. (I could picture the 18-55mm DX + the 55-200mm DX, but the latter is $170 and selling briskly so you’d really offer this around $700 at best which is not as attractive, even though this’d be a much better value. And also, the box would be bulky.)
That crappy Catch 22 between two companies who won’t budge means a whole lot less money to go around for both Nikon and Costco.
This is why I skipped by the camera section at Costco. Too depressing to see Canon doing well in a market that Nikon should have a lock. As Dark Helmet put it, “Evil will always triumph over Good because Good is stupid.”