Friday, October 11, 2013

How Were Used Nikon D600 Prices Affected by the D610?



Now that that D610 has been announced, it's not hard to see that used prices for the D600 will be depressed. However, it's arguable that the used value was already affected by the much publicized excess-debris issue. In the wake of of the D610 announcement, the benchmark price for a used D600 on Craigslist is clear, as the retailers have now been given free reign to price their remaining units as they see fit. The more interesting question is: how did D600 owners respond to the impending news of a replacement camera?


Results 


As with previous posts here and here, data was collected from Craigslist postings across the U.S. between Oct 1, 2013 and Oct 8, the announcement date for the D610. Unlike the previous price surveys, the D600 list is much more representative of the whole U.S. In past dives there was only enough time to mine the data from the large urban centers of each state, but because of the relatively few number of units sold in the U.S. a more complete scouring of each state was possible. These are asking prices only. There is no way to know what the final transaction prices are; however, the standard deviation suggests that the sellers for the most part were watching what was going on in the used market and were pricing accordingly.




Body Only Body & Kit





n 30 7

Average $1,526 $1,835

Median $1,500 $1,700

min $1,300 $1,600

max $1,900 $2,399

Stdev $141 $281


No surprise, the body + kit asking prices are higher than the body-only prices, but what is notable is that the spread in asking prices is proportionally wider. This is probably a result of the average selling prices that the body + kit units sold over the previous year; first at full retail and then in various states of discounting over the year. What's striking is the number of units being listed, which may or may not indicate indicate a greater loss of confidence in the D600 than in previous quality control issues. In the May compilation of used Nikon body prices, there were only ten D800 or D800e (body only) units for sale on Craigslist in the large urban centers (a quick scan of the smaller cities produced virtually no results). At this time, the D800 was roughly 15 months after the time of announcement. In three less months, the D600 is showing three times the number of listings.


There are a number of ways of interpreting this. It could be that D800 sellers are less likely to use Craigslist as their secondary market (and may prefer eBay, KEH, Fred Miranda, etc). If that is so then it would be in keeping with the D600's (and D610) more consumer nature. A second possibility is that there were less new D800's sold in a year's time than there were D600's, in which case the number of used listings may or may not be in keeping with the total number of units sold. Without a unit breakdown by model (which Nikon does not provide), this would be difficult to determine. What's interesting is how asking prices developed in the one-week period before the the D610 announcement:



As the chart above depicts, new or renewed postings of D600 bodies occurred at a steady rate up until approximately October 6. Listings started to spike on October 5, when Nikon Rumors posted that a D610 announcement was impending within the next 48 hours of posting. (This was heading into a weekend, hence the slow reaction to the news on the part of sellers.) Craigslist allows sellers to renew a posting 48 hours after a listing or previous renewal, so the uptick in listings on the 7th is not just new listings, but also an increase in people deciding to renew on the same day. Curiously, the average posting price per day rises over time instead of declining as you would expect. Though would be easy to attribute this to the small sample size, there is possibly another factor at work here. D600 listings are very spare compared to other camera listings, even in the densely populated areas of New York and Los Angeles. Many states did not not have any D600 listings at all during this period.

Hypothesis: because other postings were infrequent, sellers did not have an abundant amount of information to base their selling prices on, hence wider variation in asking prices. As interest in selling increased, sellers began to pay greater attention to information sources, such as rumour sites and what other sellers were doing. 


The above is a histogram of the D600 asking prices over this same period of time. Though the sample size is too small to do a statistical test for fitness, the distribution of the prices is vaguely bell-shaped. There is a progressive clustering of prices around the average. As per the previous chart, the posts closer to the average tend to be the ones that were posted at a later date.


The list of states that had active D600 listings is shorter than the ones without. For the most part, large parts of the "fly-over states" didn't have active sellers. This in itself is indicative, but probably not that earth-shattering for anybody living in an area with relatively few enthusiast-photographers.

Conclusion 


  • Despite being a "consumer" camera, D600 owners monitor internet information closely and price accordingly 
  • When information is scarce, used prices tend to show less agreement When information becomes clearer, all parts of the U.S. tend to gravitate towards the same price, as everybody is paying attention to the same sources of information 
  • In this case, it's hard to come to the conclusion that people were selling their cameras because they were working too well ("used car syndrome"). The sudden surge in listings for a one-year old camera would be considered unusual if there had not been a loss in confidence. Remember, the D610 was universally panned for barely being an upgrade. If it were not the case that people were losing confidence in the long term viability of their cameras, then the number of new listings per day would have been more steady 
  • Despite all of its pitfalls, the used camera market is an important economic part of the photographer community as whole, as it allows users to unlock capital tied-up in their present cameras in order to fund the purchase of new equipment 

Though not quantified, all of the listings, for obvious reasons, did not mention the impending D610 launch as the reason for selling. A few listings described their cameras as being "trouble free," and fewer still mentioned that the shutter had indeed been serviced. As recommended, only units that have had a verified shutter replacement are considered "safe" bets to buy as used. Remember: warranties are not transferable, so if the service has not been done, the buyer will have to pick up the full cost of replacement.

Warning 


As described numerous times, FX Nikons tend to attract a lot of scammers. The reasons are because the amount of money involved, and because of the still strong desire of consumers to move to full frame... at a price that they can afford. Scam artists take advantage of this desire, so be on the look out for posts that are too good to be true. In particular, when the data was compiled for this, a certain posting for a D600 listed at $1100 kept cropping up in multiple states on the east coast. It goes without saying, no sane person would list for this low and intentionally leave money on the table when they could sell at the going used rate, which is a few hundred dollars more.

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