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Five Canon lens delays points to shortage

It’s becoming increasingly likely there is a major supply chain disruption, after Canon announced it cannot meet demand for five new RF lenses, covering most focal lengths.

The Canon RF100-500mm f4.5-7.1 L IS USM lens has been delayed.

Based on a translation from Canon Japan via Digital Camera World, the company ‘received more orders than expected… and it will take some time before delivery’.

The lenses include the RF100-500mm F4.5-7.1 IS USM, RF100mm F2.8 L MACRO IS USM, RF400mm F2.8 L IS USM, RF600mm F4 L IS USM, and RF14-35mm F4 L IS USM as well as a Ring type tripod mount E (B).

While Canon apologises for inconvenience caused to customers and thanks them for understanding, no reason was provided why there is a production shortage. By stating it received ‘more orders than expected’ even suggests it was merely a sales forecasting mishap.

The announcement bolsters Inside Imaging‘s recent report regarding a supply chain disruption, which hasn’t been formally acknowledged by photography gear manufacturers. A disruption is likely due to a lack of components such as semiconductors, or pandemic-related shipping delays.

From the article:

The stock issue is critical. Local retailers now know that if it isn’t ‘on the shelf’ they are competing with literally a world of online retailers, some of whom will be in stock.

There are a few factors as to why certain products may be in short supply. Reduced manufacturing capacity for starters. As reported in December 2020, the pandemic has disrupted supply chains by slowing down international shipping networks. Fewer passenger planes means international air freight has lagged, leading to increased sea freighting which then led to a shortage of shipping containers.

There has also been a global semiconductor shortage, partly due to a factory fire in Japan at AKM Semiconductor. The semiconductor shortage has reached a crisis point in the automotive and tech industries, with the worst affected companies being those spending less on chips. But if even tech giants like Apple and Samsung delayed product launches due to chip shortages, how could camera manufacturers sidestep the impact?

Without transparency from the brands, the severity of the impact on the photo industry cannot be certain. But there have been an astounding number of delays for recently announced cameras and lenses, and many retailers are currently awaiting fresh stock for existing cameras. The Nikon Z fc mirrorles APS-C camera, for instance, was delayed just four days after its unveiling. But it’s also happened for the Nikkor 105mm lens, the R5, Sony A1, and others.

While the pandemic has caused economic uncertainty likely resulting in manufacturers to scale back production, it seems doubtful they would be this poor at forecasting demand.

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