Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lens prices to rise?

Reading the headline above, you may be tempted to dismiss it as old news. Didn’t lens prices rise steeply as the machine vision business climbed out of the ’08-’09 recession? Well yes they did, those from the higher-end manufacturers anyway, but word is, we’re in for another round of price rises.

The issue, so I’m told, is the “shortage” of rare earths. I didn’t know this, but apparently rare earths are used in the manufacture of camera lenses, so as their prices increase, so will the cost of lenses. And with demand still strong, I doubt lens manufacturers will have any trouble passing the increase along.

If you’re interested in learn more about this issue, here’s a link sent to me by Spencer of Toledo-based LightWorks : http://www.gelighting.com/eu/resources/rare_earth_briefing/ .

The article is undated but seems to have written within the last few weeks, and coming from GE, I’d suggest it’s pretty credible.

So what are we buyers of lenses to do? Rush to stock up now? Well I suspect a surge in demand will just result in higher prices anyway, so that isn’t likely to help. In fact I think all we can do is grit our teeth and smile nicely as we read out our credit card details.

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