Both the Nikon D3
are already being manufactured for sale, though at lower than target volumes as the company ramps up to full production levels, we learned today during a tour of Nikon's factory in Sendai, Japan
Three Hour Tour: Photo industry journalists and analysts from around the world form up outside Nikon's Sendai facility. Pictures were not permitted inside factory buildings (Group photo courtesy Nikon)
D3 bodies are currently being made at a rate of about 400 per day in Sendai, but this will grow to about 600 per day in September for a planned ongoing production of 12,000 units per month. Assembly of the D300, which takes place at Nikon's factory in Thailand, will also be in full swing in September, at which time 60,000 units of the midrange digital SLR will emerge each month.
Nikon's Sendai factory opened in 1971 and employs over 1100 full-time and temporary workers. In addition to the D3, Sendai has produced the D2Xs, D2X, D2Hs, D2H, D100, D1X, D1H and D1. Except at the busiest times, Sendai runs a single eight-hour shift per day; Thailand, which handles the production of the D40, D40X, D80, D200 and now the D300 (plus certain lower-priced lenses), operates round the clock in three eight-hour shifts and employs about 15,000 people.
The Nikon D3 and D300 are slated to ship in November 2007.