One question I get inquired very often from my readers plus friends is, “ Where must i buy a camera? ” While this may appear like a pretty straightforward answer to a number of our readers, I still decided to compose a quick article about where to purchase cameras and why.
This is not about what DSLR , mirrorless camera , or lens you should buy. If you are looking for detailed home elevators what camera equipment you should choose plus why, please read our extensive “ Beginning Pictures Equipment ” guide. Furthermore, take a look at the following articles if you are looking for any DSLR versus Point and Shoot comparison, or a DIGITAL SLR vs mirrorless camera comparison.
If you have currently made up your mind on what camera plus lens to buy, but you are still questioning if you should purchase it online or even in a local store, keep reading, since I could possibly save you some money.
1) Where to Buy a Camera- Local retailer-store or Online/Internet?
There are many different sources of where you could buy cameras, but I will talk about the three major ones:
- A nearby camera/electronics store
- An internet Internet store
- An internet auction site like auction web sites
Certainly, you could also buy an used camera from the friend or a coworker or perhaps get one for a really good price in the garage sale. But those situations are rare and you would have to opt for yourself if it is worth it. One thing to notice – if you buy an used camera or even lens, in most cases, the manufacturer’ s i9000 warranty will NOT transfer to your title.
So , which one is much better, a local store, an online store or even online auction? It really depends on the case-by-case basis. Let’ s evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of these inside a little more detail.
1 . 1) Pros and cons of a local store
Advantages of a local store:
- Helpful employees – a local camera store for example Wolf Camera or Calumet Picture will have qualified sales staff that will help you answer many of your questions regarding cameras, lenses, and other accessories (which is not always the case in bigger electronics stores such as Best Buy).
- You can try before you buy – you can see, touch and even try a few of the equipment before you buy it.
- Immediate purchase – if the product you are looking for is in stock, you can get this on the same day.
- Instant return/exchange – If anything is certainly wrong with your equipment you can come back or exchange it within 14-90 days (depending on store come back policy).
- Great deals – occasionally, local stores might have excellent discounts and specials, especially if they have to clear out their shelves or walk out business.
- Discounted screen items – you might be able to purchase a display item at a greatly low price.
Drawbacks of a local store:
- Commission-based – while having a great salesperson that knows what they are talking about might be an advantage, additionally there is a big possibility that they will try to convince you to buy an expensive product that you don't necessarily need. They might also sell you extra accessories, filters, warranty, etc . This is because most sales people, particularly in specialized photography stores and huge electronics stores, get commissions through sales. So , the more you buy, the greater they get.
- Increased prices – local stores seldom have good prices on camera equipment, since most of what they sell can be “ MSRP” (manufacturer’ s recommended retail price).
- Product sales tax – you pay product sales tax, which can be as high as 12 % of the total amount.
- Buying frenzy – seeing a range of gear and accessories, you might be a victim of marketing and spend more cash than you intended to before getting into the store.
1 . 2) Pros and cons of an online store
Advantages of an online store:
- Great costs – there is a lot of tough competition upon photography gear on the Internet and companies that will play on large margins can offer better prices and incentives. Additionally there is a smaller overhead of operating an internet business, since there is no need to hire expensive sales reps.
- Product reviews – on-line product reviews are another huge benefit, because you can find out what other people consider the product before you buy it. Many online stores provide the ability to leave comments plus rate products, and I always understand other people’ s comments before you make the final purchasing decision.
- No sales tax – a person don’ t pay a product sales tax (as long as the shop you are buying from is in an alternative state). While for smaller buys this might not be a big deal, if you are purchasing a DSLR or an expensive lens, paying out no sales tax will make an enormous difference.
- Better return/refund policies – some of the specialized on-line photography stores will have much better return/refund policies and customer support than a local retailer-store.
Drawbacks of an online store:
- Shipping and insurance fees – while many of the online stores possess free shipping on select products, you still have to pay shipping/insurance fees upon other items. You have to be extra-cautions regarding shipping charges, because some businesses might advertise a product at a low cost and make it up in delivery charges.
- Fraud – unfortunately, the Internet is full of con artists that advertise cameras and lens at super good prices that will try to escape with your money and steal your own credit card info.
- Not really immediate – once you place a good order, you have to wait for your purchase to go through and get processed/shipped. Then you need to wait for your package to arrive.
- Processing and shipping gaps – some companies get therefore busy with processing online buys that you order might not be processed for a few days, especially during the holiday time period. In addition , you might also experience shipping gaps due to inclement weather.
- Lengthier return/exchange – if something proceeded to go wrong with the product you purchased, you will have to RMA it back to the business, then wait for the company to procedure your RMA and send an alternative unit back, which might take up in order to two weeks or more.
1 . 3) Advantages and disadvantages of an auction site
We wrote an in depth article highlighting the pros and downsides of buying camera gear on public sale sites like eBay , which you can access through this link .
2) My recommendation
I personally buy everything online, since it is much cheaper. I do not have to pay the sales tax and I can find several amazing deals online that a local retailer-store will not be able to match. I usually spend no shipping fees and even basically have to, I know that the online vendor is not overcharging me. I do not really mind waiting for a couple of days and I understand that the companies I deal with are completely reliable and provide excellent customer support.
In terms of fraud, if you view a deal that sounds too great to be true, do NOT buy this. I have seen too many companies on the internet that will advertise cameras and lens at half price or much less. Photography gear is nothing like normal electronics, where one retailer may have a much different price than an additional. Most of the photo equipment prices are usually regulated by the manufacturers. If the cost you see is much lower than in any from the websites listed below, you are most likely coping with a scammer.
Right here is the list of verified and reliable online retailers that I buy my equipment through:
- B& H Photo Video clip – one of the biggest photo/video stores in the world based from NY. I always use B& L for all of my purchases plus use another company only when B& H does not have what I want within stock. Their customer service is outstanding and I have never had any difficulties with them.
- Adorama – another large online store with great customer service and support based from NY. This is the second best for myself and their prices are usually upon par with B& H.
- Amazon . com – Everybody knows Amazon . com, because it is a great company with excellent prices. Be careful about some of their resellers though!
The above mentioned companies are all very reliable to utilize and I highly recommend them for your digital photography needs. Please note that most of the over companies also have retail locations within New York and other major cities.
Obviously, an online store may not work out for you if you need something instantly. Another thing you should keep an eye on are usually specials that happen in nearby stores every once in a while (Black Fri, holiday specials, etc). I seized some filters and other camera components when a local Wolf Camera shop was closing down for good – they were giving up to 75% away. For all other cases you should use an internet store or an auction web site, if you want to get the best price.
If you have any questions, make sure you post them in the comments area below.