Not Your Everyday Banana

by Bart Arondson

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Why do camera manufacturers (Canon, for the sake of argument) not offer multiple types of "kits"? For example:

  • 5d mkIII + 24-105 for $$
  • 5d mkIII + 24-70 F4L for $$ + $$
  • 5d mkIII + 24-70 f2.8 for $$ + $$ + $$

With a purchase of a kit, a consumer can get the body and lens cheaper than buying them separately. There is a cost saving to the consumer and perhaps higher sales for the manufacturer. Why doesn't this happen in the pro market segment?

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They do sometimes offer rebates for purchase of a body and lens(es) at the same time, including pro lenses. That's kind of the same idea. Right now, for example: nikonrumors.com/2013/06/02/… –  coneslayer Jun 13 '13 at 12:47
    
@coneslayer good point, that's one way manufacturers get round the issue of creating packaging and marketing materials for kits. –  Matt Grum Jun 13 '13 at 12:51
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I think your assumption of "higher sales for the manufacturer" is incorrect. –  dpollitt Jun 13 '13 at 13:29
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They do offer the first combination listed in your question as a kit. –  Michael Clark Jun 13 '13 at 20:07
    
Yeah and I bought 5D MkIII 24-70 f/2.8 II for $5k as a kit in store... –  NULLZ Jun 13 '13 at 23:45
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4 Answers 4

up vote 15 down vote accepted

I believe this is for the simple reason that many people buying "pro" bodies will have been DSLR/SLR customers previously and will thus have an existing lens collection so are unlikely to need as many different options in terms of bundled lenses.

The digital rebel end of the market is still capturing new DSLR customers who are upgrading from non-interchangable lens cameras. Fewer people go straight from a compact/bridge to a 5D mkIII!

Offering more kits means an more box designs, more shipments to retail outlets, greater marketing costs, i.e. it is a non-zero cost for the manufacturer. At the lower tier of the market the effort makes sense, but not at the highest tiers, for reasons mentioned above.

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Well, some actually do:

Canon EOS 5D Mark III 22.3 MP Full Frame CMOS Digital SLR Camera with EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS USM Lens

For example. But, I think the primary reason is that people who buy pro cameras probably have specific needs and desires and predicting that they'll all want "this lens" is certainly wrong. Not only that, most people that buy pro cameras likely already have lens to use, so many times they're just looking for a new body. IE, the market for a boxed set is much smaller than the average getting-started crowd and not worth their money to produce the sets.

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This is why they offer the body only option. Kit lenses are kind of like the crackerjack prize. It's not actually why you buy the camera, but it is a necessary piece of gear to make the camera work. They sell kits so that they can sell a workable package to someone who doesn't know what lenses they want. It's rarely if ever a good lens because it isn't intended to be. It's intended to be something super cheap that you would never buy by itself so that they can get started with their new camera.

For most professionals, they either a) have lenses already or b) know what lenses they want, so they buy body only and buy whatever lenses they need without having to worry about if the kit deal they want is available or not. They simply aren't the target market of kits.

Sure they could make a kit with every lens out there, but it not cost effective to do so. It would be far easier just to offer a sale if you buy a camera and a lens together (which they do from time to time.)

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Dang! I thought the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS that came in a kit with my EOS 5D mark II was a good lens. Now I find out it was just a crackerjack prize! :-( –  Michael Clark Jun 13 '13 at 18:28
    
@MichaelClark - well, when you compare it to the 24-70 F/2.8. ;) But yes, there are occasional exceptions to the rule. –  AJ Henderson Jun 13 '13 at 19:18
    
I own both the EF 24-105mm f/4 L IS and the EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L. Both have advantages and disadvantages compared to the other. Until the 24-70 II was introduced, they were only separated about $150 in price. –  Michael Clark Jun 13 '13 at 19:42
    
@MichaelClark - that's true, I forgot to put a II in there, but I was just making a joke. Yes, there are occasionally good lenses offered in bundles with really good cameras. My point was just that they are the exception. –  AJ Henderson Jun 13 '13 at 19:58
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The quick and easy answer is "pointless and too expensive". Matt's answer also covers a part of it.

Pro-bodies are, as Matt points out, mainly bought by people who have spent some time with photography and hence already have lenses. They will not necessarily want a new lens. Wes also correctly points out that the 5D MK III is sold with a lens as a kit - as was the 5D MK II, with the 24-70 or the 24-205 lens.

However there is another reason and that is complexity: The more combinations you offer, the more difficult it becomes to chose - and the more choice, the less people actually buy. (Source: http://www.ted.com/talks/sheena_iyengar_on_the_art_of_choosing.html , http://www.ted.com/talks/sheena_iyengar_choosing_what_to_choose.html ) So in this respect having too many options is not good for selling cameras.

In fact, if you bought a 5D MK II with a 24-70, chance is that you got two boxes - two individually boxed products that are offered at a lower price together, an "artificial kit". Then again, the very moment you buy several articles, you are in a good position to ask for a discount (at least in Germany) and are quite likely to get a bit off (the more you buy, the more likely). Hence the advantage of a kit is reduced.

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very true. BUT even factory marketed kits often ship separate boxes, it's simply easier for the production line of each separate item to do it like that. They might of course then pack those individual boxes in a larger "kitbox", but not always. –  jwenting Jun 14 '13 at 8:52
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