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Thread: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

  1. #1
    Machka's Avatar
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    Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Where do you usually purchase your cameras and accessories?


    Do you have a favourite brick and mortar store? If so, which one do you recommend?

    Do you order your equipment online? If so, which online site(s) do you recommend?



    (I hope this is the right place to put this ... on a cycling forum I'm part of, we have a "Positive Experiences with cycling-related businesses" thread where people can talk about good places around the world to get their cycling gear, and I didn't see anything like that here)

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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Hello Machka

    I think the thing is that CiC takes great care not to be seen to be promoting any one manufacturer or retailer over another. Maintaining a level playing field is important for the forum.

    But in terms of the amount of traffic that goes across the forum the sorts of retailers oft quoted on here are the likes of WEX Photographic (formerly Warehouse Express) and Jessops in the UK and B & H and Adorama in the US.

    Because this is such an international forum, the smaller national or regional dealers, many of whom are excellent, tend not to get mentioned.
    Last edited by Donald; 30th January 2012 at 01:25 PM.

  3. #3
    rpcrowe's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    I tend to buy where I can get the best deals. The best deals, however, do not include only the lowest prices; they are from retailers whom I can trust. There are several honest and reliable retailers here in the USA that work on a very small profit margin with volume sales. If a piece of gear is advertised at a price considerably below the price these dealers advertise; it is almost certainly a scam.

    There is another nationwide retailer whose prices are generally not at the bottom of the pack for name brand items. However, they have begun to carry a line of house-brand items that are good buys. I have purchased a carbon fiber monopod from them on sale and it is a quality item which I got on-sale at a reasonable (but not cheap) price. I served in the U.S. Navy with the manager of the local store in this chain and he told me that their line of filters are made by Schneider in Germany. They are also not cheap but, decently priced.

    As far as eBay is concerned, that is a total different question and I could fill pages with recommendations on how to avoid getting ripped off on eBay. But, I will simply state that eBay is a "buyer beware" marketplace.

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    Ramblinman's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    I get my gear from several places one of which is B & H Photo which is 2 blocks away from where I work. Yes, its both good and bad to be so close to such an awesome store. I bought my 5D from usedcamera.com and lenses from Adorama, Cameata Camera and craigslist. I have no one favorite place, but as long as I find a good price, I will venture to it.

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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    I buy almost exclusively from a Canadian chain (Henry's), NOT because they have the best prices (they price match almost everything) but because of the customer service. I've been in often enough over the last four years to know most of the staff. I try to deal with the same one if possible as they get to know my history and can be more focussed in their help to me.
    For example, just taken advantage of a warranty, on a Sony A350, that had a lemon clause. 3 breakdowns and I get an equal (or close to it) replacement or funds back towards a new camera. Camera did break three times but not the same issue (two sensor and one on camera flash) but they were happy to replace for me.
    So NOW I have a brand new Sony A77 for a heck of a lot less than would otherwide had to pay for it.

    Only issues I have with Henry's is their slight limitation on range of stock. I picked up a radio trigger MUCH cheaper elsewhere as Henry's only had higher end kit in (I paid $130 versus $400+). Pretty much the only thing I have bought NOT from the same brick and mortar store.
    Customer service can be important - and with price matching it makes the difference for me.

    Graham

  6. #6
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    I rarely (twice) have used anything but the local store. It is a photography only store, and has eight locations in Vancouver BC and here. If they don't have an item in stock, they can get it overnight from another store with no strings attached (they are bringing in a 2.0 extender for me to look at today).

    Whenever I buy something they price check online, and I get a matching price. Since I cannot avoid brokerage fees, and federal and provincial taxes, importing camera gear is no cheaper than buying it from the local dealer, and returns are far easier than with an online store.

    The local large box stores (Walmart and Best Buy) handle consumer level camera gear, and their sales staff don't know "squat" about photography. They however very good at BS. The local photo store knows that BS won't bring customers back so they don't engage in it.

    The reasons I didn't buy local (twice) were: the lens I purchased had no Canadian distributor, and the tripod head came from a Canadian online store and the local store doesn't stock that particular brand.

    Glenn

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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Are you talking about purchase in Australia? That could seriously reduce the number of effective replies.

    All I can really say, speaking from the UK, is that if you buy anything online do check out some independent reviews of the site first. Also consider delivery in terms of both cost and availability/delivery time where you live.

    For example, if you miss a couple of days off work while waiting for a delivery you probably haven't saved anything.

    Another thing to consider if purchasing from overseas is possible import taxes and how you would return a faulty item. There are some Hong Kong firms which appear cheap but extra taxes are possible.

    Actual shops are good in respect of being able to try different items before purchase and relative ease for returns. But some are considerably more expensive then internet sales and it may not be convenient to travel to a store if you don't live in a major city.

    So for me, I have purchased all my camera equipment on the internet and without any problems. And from a number of different companies.

    The one and only problem was when I purchased a secondhand camera and lens from E bay and discovered, too late, that the lens had a fault. That plus a deep suspicion that the sellers were bidding against me to force up the price has prevented me from ever using that organisation again.

    The last purchase of a 7D body was from a Gibraltar based company who deliver throughout Europe. Delivery was a bit slower than the estimated time but I'm retired and it was wet weather so I didn't mind waiting around for a couple of days to save over 300.

    The only time I had to make a return was when one UK internet company sent me a 2000 Nikon body instead of a 500 Canon lens. They quickly arranged for an exchange of goods.

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    tbob's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Because I am in an isolated location (600 km to the nearest specialty camera store) I buy from one of three brick and mortar stores (Vistek, Don's or The Camera Store) in Edmonton or Calgary , Alberta (they have different companies they are distributors for) and wait until I make a trip for the big ticket items. I usually go to Edmonton/Calgary at least twice a year so it isn't a big inconvenience. If I lose or break a filter or lens hood I order on line from whoever of the three has one in stock. Delivery in three to four days. Patience is needed when you live in the boonies.

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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    My experience is limited to the UK so will be of limited value.

    However, for those in the UK or nearby I can recommend SRS Microsystems - http://www.srsmicrosystems.co.uk/

    When I bought my camera, they kept me updated on the progress of the order. It was delivered within two days.

    After I received the camera I emailed them with a query. Within ten minutes they had 'phoned me to talk it over.

    Dave

  10. #10

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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Quote Originally Posted by tbob View Post
    Delivery in three to four days. Patience is needed when you live in the boonies.
    That delivery period is better than I get from some of the UK carriers when using the Standard Delivery option. Admittedly I'm in a fairly small coastal town with the nearest city over 30 miles away but it should be a lot easier for them delivering to me than where you live!

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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    i've used the following that I'd use again
    WEX (Warehouseexpress)
    Grays of Westminster <--- they are exclusively Nikon
    Park Cameras in Sussex
    Photosounds in Bishop Stortford - not the cheapest but still ok and they have a good stock of Micro 4/3rds - stuff that Americans don't seem able to get was sitting in their window!!

    I'd pay a tadge more for good service. I do find it odd that people feel they can spend ages in a shop trying gear in shops and then buy on line for say a 20 saving. In a few years those good local dealers won't be there....

  12. #12
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    I pay more for good service, and good service must be local; here's why:

    When I was looking for an ultra wide angle lens, the dealer let me spend two hours with my camera and tripod testing three copies of the same lens - to determine which was the "best". Try that online.

    Yesterday I wanted to know if an Extender would fit my TSE 24 lens. The Canon website says "not recommended", but doesn't say why. I went to the dealer with my lens and tried the 1.4 EX - it fits. The reason it's "not recommended" is that with extreme tilts/shifts with the extender, the image from the lens may not fall completely on the sensor (vignetting). I will now go with a tripod and test the lens/extender combination to see how far I can push it. Try that online.

    When I bought the TSE (locally) I immediately took it into the field shooting some trees with back-light shining through the leaves. The image displayed some CA. This lens isn't supposed to do that. The dealer gladly exchanged it for another copy - it tested fine. Try that online.

    I could try out equipment online (some do it), but who pays the shipping each extra time and who pays the brokerage fees each time? Me of course. What bargain?

    And, because I've spent $13,700 plus in the past five years, I get an automatic 10 percent discount on everything but photo printing. I wonder if the online stores will do that.

    Glenn

  13. #13
    Dr Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    When I am considering purchasing a new piece of camera equipment, I start at Amazon.com. Many of the US reputable camera stores (Adorama, B&H, etc) sell on Amazon. It gives me an idea of a fair price for the item and I know the seller and Amazon will stand behind the product. If the price is the same at my local camera store, I give them the business sometimes. Supporting the local store gives me ready access to those items I sometimes need quickly.

    Dr Bob

  14. #14
    Goldcoastgolfer's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    If I know what I'm looking for a buy my stuff from two dealers in Hong Kong. If I'm not sure, there's an online retailer in Australia but based in a bricks and mortar building on the Gold Coast that is the cheapest place to buy camera gear from in Australia but still provide really good service and advice

  15. #15
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Most stuff has come from B&H, purchased online (never been to the store)
    I have also puchased things online from Amazon and Adorama.
    I have a local camera shop that I frequent and try to buy from them when I can, depending on the item. I like to support the brick and morter (non big box) stores when I can so I have a place to handle gear before I buy. I'll pay a bit more to give them business, but that does have it's limits unfortunately for them. Saving tax on an expensive lens or body makes a big difference.

  16. #16
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Local brick and mortar store. Some brick and mortar stores and some department stores only carry specific brands, so if you are looking for something special online is the only way to go. I have ordered specialty lenses and accessories through Adorama.

  17. #17
    Black Pearl's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Take a wild stab in the dark.......

    Being a store manager for Jessops then it won't surprise you to know I buy everything from my own store. I haven't always worked for Jessops but the Internet didn't exist beck then so I bought from a local store - it's still there in the same town as my store and still doing well even though Jessops has a reputation for putting the independents out of business. I have never, don't and will never buy major items online...no matter what the price difference is. Oddly if you look at the reputable sites then they are not usually that different in their pricing these days as the highstreet. Yes their are places that sell thing very, very cheap, but I'm sorry I just don't trust them.
    Trust is one of the things I like and I'm willing to pay for it. My local Hi-Fi store has been there for as long as I can remember, they know me, they know what gear I have and will recommend products from a lifetime of experience...the Internet will never be able to do that.

    For most of us photography is a hobby and part of that hobby is going into your local store (assuming you have one) and having natter with the staff, talking about the things you and they have been shooting, swapping ideas, looking at pictures and having a play with a new bit of kit. It may just be because they have one in and you've always fancied a try but that is all part of the fun. I have regular customers who I've dealt with for over twenty years, I am friends outside of work with some of them simply because we have a common love - photography.

    Buying online removes all of the above and for me it removes a huge part of photography.

  18. #18
    Ricco's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Being an Aussie - I can provide you with comment.

    I used to buy from local stores but have stopped. Recently I purchased a 24-105mm and 580 flash from topbuy.com.au and everything got delivered without a problem.

    This pains me because I come from a small business background but I shop on the internet. When I go to a shop and get dodgy service AND have to pay a 10-20% premium including delivery I can't stomach it. I don't mind paying extra for good service but I can't deal with rude salespeople that aren't interested in helping and look down on you if you are not a world reknown professional photographer.

    I don't know whether it is an Australian thing or a Perth thing but this isn't confined to camera shops and I simply cannot find good service any more.

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    Machka's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Thanks for the suggestions ... and keep them coming.


    In my case, I don't have a local photography shop of any sort ... unless you consider a 100 km radius "local". I live on the outskirts of "The Middle of Nowhere".

    I have no problem with the idea of ordering online. My husband and I are cyclists, and that's how we get our cycling gear. It's a choice between driving 100 km or more on the chance a shop will have what we want ... or ordering exactly what we want and having it quickly and conveniently delivered right to our door.

    Shipping from countries other than Australia is something I'll have to check, but if it is similar to our cycling situation, the North American options will have rather hefty shipping charges while the UK options will be quite reasonable. I don't know why that is. However, I won't assume that is the case with photography equipment too ... I'll check.

  20. #20
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Where Do You Purchase Your Cameras and/or Accessories?

    Jessops you know. Also Wex and MPB amongst others. Jessops because my mother wanted teeny eeny little picture of her pet mongrel and everywhere I went couldn't deal with tiff files, except the staff at Jessops put the pics on a computer and converted to jpeg.

    So I was able to make the pet keyring and some coasters for her costing almost nothing.

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