If you've been thinking about boosting your collection of Canon or Nikon camera lenses, you may need to set aside a slightly larger budget than you'd planned, thanks to the knock-on effects of the pandemic.
Reports from Canon Rumors suggest that prices for many Canon RF and Canon EF lenses have increased significantly in the USA, while Nikon Rumors says that Nikon Z and F-mount lens prices are apparently due to go up from April 1 in northern Europe. Canon told us it had no comment about the price rises, and we'll update this story when we have official comment from Nikon.
The Canon price rises in the USA appear to have already affected 11 lenses. The biggest price boost is on the Canon RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM, which is now $1,299 at most retailers, an 18% increase of $200. Other RF lenses to have been hit include the RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM (now $1,799, a $200 increase) and its new telephoto primes, the RF 600mm F11 IS STM (now $799, a $100 rise) and the RF 800mm F11 DO IS STM (now $999, a $100 increase).
Nikon's price boosts appear to be more general, affecting "all imaging cameras and lenses", according to a letter from Nikon UK posted on Nikon Rumors. Fortunately, sports optics and the Nikon Z9 will be spared from the rises, but the rest of its imaging range will be given "new pricing" that will apply to all orders placed from February 1 that are invoiced on or after April 1. If you manage to settle your invoice before March 31, though, Nikon will apparently honor its old pricing.
So far, it doesn't appear that these price rises are affecting regions other than those mentioned above. Many Canon RF lenses in the UK, for example, have actually seen price cuts lately, though it's not clear whether or not this is just the calm before the storm.
Inevitably, Nikon appears to blame "a period of severe disruption in global supply chains" and "cost increases to component parts and logistics charges" for its price rises. We'll update this article when we discover just how big Nikon's premium is going to be.
Analysis: an inevitable pandemic tax
Until now, the main pandemic-related issue for photographers has simply been finding camera lenses that are in stock, particularly newer ones for mirrorless systems like the Canon RF and Nikon Z series. But that scarcity has now been followed by an inevitable price rise.
Like all tech companies, camera manufacturers have been hit by severe components shortages, supply chain issues, and staff shortages over a prolonged period during the pandemic, and some of those costs have inevitably been passed onto customers.
The full list of Canon lenses affected by the price rises in the US, compiled by Canon Rumors, is below – and it certainly doesn't make encouraging reading for anyone who's been considering buying a new zoom lens. That said, many of Canon's primes seem to have been spared (so far) and the price hikes don't appear to have hit other markets yet.
We're still waiting to see exactly how big Nikon's increases will be, but it's likely that they'll be similar in magnitude to those seen on Canon's range. So it certainly seems like now is a good time to buy a Canon or Nikon mirrorless lens, if you can find the old prices and get your order through in time.
Photography has always been an expensive hobby, but the pandemic has sadly added an additional premium for those looking to invest in new gear. That said, it's also fair to say that investing in your technique is often a better – and certainly cheaper – idea, and you can get started with our 41 tips and tricks to improve your photography.
The full list of Canon lens price increases (from Canon Rumors):
- RF 24-105mm F4 L IS USM now $1,299.00 ($200 increase)
- RF 70-200mm f/4L IS USM now $1,799 ($200 increase)
- RF 100-500mm F4-7.1L IS USM now $2,899 ($100 increase)
- RF 600mm F11 IS STM now $799 ($100 increase)
- RF 800mm F11 DO IS STM now $999 ($100 increase)
- EF 16-35mm f/4L IS USM now $1,299 ($200 increase)
- EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM now $1,299 ($200 increase)
- EF 35mm f/1.4L II now $1999 ($200 increase)
- EF 70-200mm f/4L IS II USM now $1,499 ($200 increase)
- EF 85mm f/1.8 USM now $499 ($80 increase)
- EF 200-400mm f/4L IS USM Extender 1.4x now $11,999 ($1,000 increase)
- Check out our guide to the best Canon RF lenses you can buy
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Mark is TechRadar's Senior news editor. Having worked in tech journalism for a ludicrous 17 years, Mark is now attempting to break the world record for the number of camera bags hoarded by one person. He was previously Cameras Editor at Trusted Reviews, Acting editor on Stuff.tv, as well as Features editor and Reviews editor on Stuff magazine. As a freelancer, he's contributed to titles including The Sunday Times, FourFourTwo and Arena. And in a former life, he also won The Daily Telegraph's Young Sportswriter of the Year. But that was before he discovered the strange joys of getting up at 4am for a photo shoot in London's Square Mile.