The range of Nikon pricing is what surprises me, along with the fact that Nikon created a lot of the current market place expectations when they put their top-of-the-line features out there for an intro price of $2999.
When the D700 was announced this summer, I was surprised at how much Nikon was offering for so little (compared to others at the time). On the Canon discussion website, Photography-on-the.net, there was no shortage of folks writing posts that were prayers to Canon: can we have almost all the features of a 1 Series for $2999 too? Many hoped the 5DII would be a digital body that resembled the 1V more than the original 5D. On this site, Michael posted his essay regarding the pricing of the D700 - what could Nikon be thinking to price so much for so little especially given the small differences between it and the D3. Were they crazy, the essay posited, or had Nikon figured out a brilliant product / pricing path designed to eat the other guy's lunch? In my case, it was a winning price / product: everything I'd wanted at a price that wasn't too crazy. Mine came to me on the first day of product shipping.
Now comes the D3x and it's surprising for being so expensive relative to expectations. What's interesting to me is that Nikon's D700 has a lot to do with those price expectations. A year ago $7999 for this camera I think would have been accepted with a "Wow!", but also the resigned "that's what these things cost" that went along with the IDs MK II / III. The D700 pushed expectations for Nikon top features (D3 AF, super build, metering, full frame, etc.) and very little compromise to a much lower price point. The industry followed. The expectations are thus more along what Michael outlined in his "What's New" coverage. If the D700 was $2999 at launch - now $2500; if D3s are going for $4300, with the Sony out there at $3.000, perhaps a $5000 or a $5,500 body is where Nikon will strike and again strike a value contrast with the competition. But alas.
Who knows, maybe we'll see a D700x in 6 months for $3500 and Michael can dust off the "are they crazy or brilliant" essay. If anything, the pricing does feel erratic.