Canon USA has announced price reductions of up to 33 percent on around 25 ‘L’ series lenses, further widening the gap with Canon Australia pricing and making the offshore/online option more attractive to buyers.
The Canon EF 24-70mm f4 IS USM, for example, has dropped from a manufacturer’s recommended price of US$1499 to US$999, while the Australian RRP is $1699. Up the scale, the EF 300mm f2.8L IS II USM has been reduced from US$7299 to US$6599, while the Australian RRP is $8399. (And a local grey marketer has it on offer for $6345, with free shipping!)
US websites are reporting that some of the price reductions are effectively making permanent the rebates which have recently been on offer in the US.
Prices are down
But the lowest US ‘street prices’ are dramatically lower yet again. While much of photographic equipment retail pricing in the US is now controlled by a retail price maintenance policy (click here for details), authorised dealers are able to offer ‘too low to show’ prices so long as they don’t advertise them, as explained on a US website:
As you may be aware, as of April 2014, Canon USA is now enforcing a strict Minimum Advertised Price on all lenses and bodies. This means authorized Canon dealers cannot (under any circumstances) advertise a price below this minimum advertised price. This doesn’t stop dealers from having deals and specials, it just prevents them from telling you about it.
Dealers can’t even use the old “Add to Cart” trick to tell you about their lower prices, thus the “Street Price” was created. It enables the Canon community to share knowledge of these deals (while allowing the dealer to remain MAP compliant).
– So for instance, the popular Canon EF 24-105 f4 L has a Minimum Advertised (or Manufacturer’s Suggested) Price of US$1149. The Australian RRP is $1549, according to the Canon Australia online store. However, US stock with warranty can be sourced from authorised dealers for around US$700, so long as a buyer knows where to look.
This wild price variability seems to impact Canon lenses in particular. For example, the competing Sigma 24-105mm f4 DG OS has a US price of $899 (B&H) and can be purchased in Australia in store for under $860 (DCW).
In his comparative review of these two 24-105mm lenses lenses, Roger Cicala (Lensrentals.com) noted that the Canon – and also Nikon – lenses competing against the Sigma 24-105mm were easy to find in the US at discounted prices, and speculated that the arrival of the professional Sigma Art lens series has had an impact on Canon and Nikon lens pricing: ‘If nothing else, I think the presence of the Sigma will keep Canon and Nikon prices reasonable.’ (‘The Sigma and Canon 24-105s are nearly identical,’ according to the review),
– Perhaps Canon USA’s price changes on ‘L’ series lenses are also reflection of this new competition in the market.
(On September 1 we asked Canon Australia whether local pricing will change. We are still awaiting a response. Scrub that – we are still awaiting acknowledgement that the enquiry was even received! Scrub that, too – a follow up email elicited this response: ‘We won’t be commenting.’)
Canon USA price drops (US dollars)
EF 14mm f/2.8L II USM from $2359 to $2249
EF 24mm f/1.4L II USM from $1749 to $1649
EF 50mm f/1.2L USM from $1619 to $1549
EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM from $2199 to $2099
EF 135mm f/2.0L USM from $1089 to $1049
EF 200mm f/2.8L II USM from $819 to $779
EF 300mm f/2.8L IS II USM from $7299 to $6599
EF 400mm f/2.8L IS II USM from $11499 to $10499
EF 500mm f/4L IS II USM from $10499 to $9499
EF 600mm f/4L IS II USM from $12999 to $11999
EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM from $13999 to $13499
EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM from $1049 to $949
EF 180mm f/3.5L Macro USM from $1579 to $1499
EF 24-70mm f/2.8L II USM from $2299 to $2099
EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS USM II from $2499 to $2299
EF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM from $1349 to $1299
EF 24-70mm f/4L IS USM from $1499 to $999
EF 8-15mm f/4L Fisheye USM from $1499 to $1349
EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM from $1599 to $1449
EF 28-300 f/3.5-5.6L IS USM from $2689 to $2549
EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II from $299 to $249
EF-S 55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS STM from $349 to $299
TS-E 17mm f/4L from $2499 to $2249
TS-E 24mm f/3.5L II from $2199 to $1999
Extender EF 1.4x III from $499 to $449
Extender EF 2x III from $499 to $449