Nikon D400 Pre-order Information

The Nikon D400 represents the fourth generation of Nikon professional DX-format D-SLR. The much anticipated announcement is set to occur soon, possibly as early as March, 2012. Because the D400 is a pro-level camera, its production will be limited and initial demand is projected to be very high. By the time the camera is actually released and shipping to dealers, it will be very hard to purchase. In order to get the new Nikon D400 first, you should pre-order it from a dealer as soon as it is announced.

Recent DSLR announcements from Nikon have shown that initial demand outstrips supply by a large margin. In the case of the D4 and D800, some dealers such as Amazon and Best Buy offered preorders for a very short period before they were closed to prevent overselling their initial allotment of cameras. If you hope to get your hands on the D400 anytime soon, your best bet would be to pre-order it from a dealer as soon as it is listed available for preorder. This usually occurs just after Nikon’s official annoucement, sometimes within hours of the event.

Many of the major online retailers will offer the D400 for pre-order. When it comes to dealers, each has their own terms and policies, but the majority offer very generous return policies (usually 30-days) and most do not charge you until the camera actually ships. The most important thing is to get your order in as soon as possible. Orders are filled on a first come, first server basis. And once they get too many people on their preorder list, they will usually close the pre-order.

Following is a list of Retailers and Important Policies and Notes:

  • Amazon
    • 30-day Return Policy
    • No Restocking Fee
    • Will not charge you until the order ships.
    • Recently has been the first to list new items, even in the middle of the night. They also have been the first to close pre-orders when the demand is too high. A reliable source, and you can cancel your order at any time with no obligation.
  • Adorama
    • 30-day Return Policy
    • No Restocking Fee
    • Will not charge you until the order ships.
    • Usually lists pre-orders within hours of annoucements, but usually start during business hours. They have access to a large supply and pre-orders are usually open for a while. A popular choice, expect a long list and possible wait unless you get in first.
  • B & H Photo
    • 30-day Return Policy
    • No Restocking Fee
    • Authorizes your card for the full amount when you place the order.
    • Has been very fast at listing pre-orders, have good supply and pre-orders are usually open for a while. You need to get in first because they are bound to have a long list.
  • Best Buy
    • 14-day Return Policy
    • You can choose to return the item to a retail store.
    • No Restocking Fee
    • Usually offers a pre-order, about a day after announcement. Although they have a large supply, much is reserved for retail stores. Their online pre-orders are only open for a short time.
  • Cameta Camera
    • 30-day return policy
    • No restocking fee (terms must be met)
    • Good alternative to big mail order options, delivers pre-orders fast.
  • OneCall
    • 30-day return policy
    • You will not be charged until your order ships.
    • Has been good with delivering new cameras soon after release, has shorter pre-order lists.
  • Samys Camera
    • 30-day return policy
    • 15% restocking fee will be charged for opened digital cameras.
    • Has been a good source for new cameras, with shorter pre-order lists.
  • J&R
    • 30-day return policy
    • Restocking fee may be charged depending on condition of goods.
    • Has been able to deliver pre-orders in good time.
  • Abe’s of Maine
    • 30-day return policy
    • No restocking fee (if terms are met)
    • Good alternate source for in-demand items, able to deliver quickly.
  • Unique Photo
    • 14-day return policy
    • Items can also be returned in-store.
    • A good alternative to the big mail order options, for in-demand items.

There are alternatives to pre-ordering online. If you still have a local camera dealer in your area they may allow you to put a deposit on the upcoming Nikon D400. There are a few disadvantage however: local sales incur sales tax (unless you are lucky enough to live in one of the few states without sales tax) and local dealers will probably only have access to a very limited initial supply. In some cases it works out and you can get your camera, but make sure their supply is good and their waiting list isn’t too long before you commit. Online stores usually more generous in this regard, allowing you to cancel your pre-order at any time without penalty.

A word of caution should be noted about biggest big mail-order houses (B&H Photo and also Adorama). Nikon Professional Services (NPS) allows professional media who quality and join to receive priority in acquiring new equipment. NPS members may select the retailer of choice. The big mail-order houses have agreed to service these professionals first. What we saw with the D800 release was that professionals chose their favorite retailer, and as a result, many of the early shipments to these retailers were reserved for NPS members. The rest of the customers had to wait weeks and even months before there was enough stock to fill non-NPS orders. If being first matters, and you are not an NPS member, you should consider alternate sources such as AmazonCameta CameraOneCallSamys Camera, etc.

Another option is large retailers. The best example is Best Buy. Although not the first choice of professional photographers, they do sell Nikon DSLR. Individual Best Buy stores do not take pre-orders, but they may have a few cameras allotted to the store. If you are lucky and get in the door first as soon as they have them, you may be able to get your hands on one. In the case of the D7000, the camera arrived at the stores a few days early and a few stores sold them before the official launch date. People were scrambling to get there first and most of the cameras were gone within hours.

The amount of time between announcement and initial delivery can vary, but Nikon has been very consistent in recent history. The usual aim is to deliver the camera within about 5 weeks from the announcement date. The Nikon D7000 was just about 5 weeks exactly from announcement to delivery, and we expect the Nikon D400 to be released in a similar timeframe. Just remember, best way to get the Nikon D400 first is to place your pre-order online as soon as you can.

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