The DX Zooms Keep Coming

Nikon has announced a new version of the 18-300mm DX lens, this time with a maximum aperture of f/3.5-6.3, which resulted in smaller filter ring (67mm instead of 77mm), a slightly shorter lens, and a significantly less heavy lens (dropping about 10 ounces). It also introduces a new lens at only US$100 less than an existing one. Can anyone at Nikon explain to me why we need both lenses on the market? 

AFS DX 18 300 3.5 6.3G.jpg

The question, of course, is why? Nikon seems overly determined to iterate low-end consumer DSLR bodies and convenience lenses while continuing to ignore demand for filling in the DX lens lineup with a few useful primes. Strategically, Nikon hasn’t swerved even an iota from their parade of DX consumer bodies and 18-xx zooms. I can only conclude that they are confident that the leaks in the serious user base going to Fujifilm, Olympus, and Sony aren’t big enough to change their course. 

Of course, if you want an 18-something zoom lens, Nikon has now given you nine choices (plus another that starts at 16mm). The net result is that Nikon mostly produces lower end consumer products now. At the same time as the new 18-300mm announcement, we also got the Nikon 1 J4 announcement, or yet another attempt to make the low-end Nikon 1 body stick in the market, and another attempt at an Android-based Coolpix (the S810C). Nikon seems to think that there’s gold to be mined in the fast-eroding low-end camera business. I remain unconvinced that this is the right strategy to ensure the long-term health of the company. The dealer base in the US is already struggling under the huge consumer push Nikon made, and basically anything Nikon made at the consumer end in the last five years is still available new from dealers. Yet here Nikon tries to cram some more into the channel. 

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