Here at Digital Camera World, we love to share news on the latest cameras and lenses. But sadly, there's an increasing disconnect between us learning about cool new kit and consumers actually getting hold of it.
Right now the COVID pandemic, a worldwide chip shortage, and general disruption across all the major supply chains – not to mention localized issues like Brexit and overcrowding at ports in the US – are all creating a perfect storm.
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And so, in the last month alone, we've seen stock shortages for the Canon EOS R3, Fujifilm's apology for delays on supplying its Fujifilm 33mm f/1.4 lens, Laowa pushing back the release of its Argus 35mm f/0.95 lens, limitations on the supply of the Ricoh GR III and GR IIIX, and reports that the Leica M11 will be pushed back to 2022.
Then this week, we told you how Tamron had issued a mea culpa for a delivery delay on its three latest lens releases. So it's with little surprise, but a lot of frustration, that we have more bad news to add to the list.
Sony supply succumbs
A statement reads: "Currently, with regard to digital imaging products, parts procurement is delayed due to the effects of global semiconductor shortages. This has affected the production of some products and may take some time to deliver. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience caused to customers who are looking forward to the product."
But before you run away screaming, we should add there's also some good news. Well, potentially anyway…
When the chips are down...
According to sources quoted by Nikkei Asia, Sony is considering joining TSMC (the Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company) to build a new multi-million-dollar chip plant in Japan to fill the shortfall. It's estimated this will cost ¥800 billion (around $70 million / £51 million / AU$ 95 million), and the Japanese government will provide up to half the amount. Japanese auto parts maker Denso is also tipped to be seeking involvement.
Nothing's confirmed yet, but there's a lot of logic to this strategy. Firstly, it would solve a major problem for the world economy, and boost the profits of all companies involved. And secondly, from the standpoint of Japanese government, it would help motivate China to pull back from its current military escalation in the Taiwan Strait.
That's the (potential) good news. The bad news, though, is that even if the factory does go ahead, it won't be operational till 2024. So if you're looking forward to getting that brand new camera and lens for Christmas, or indeed any time in 2022 or 2023, you might want to temper your excitement just a little.