Where Should I Shop for Cameras and Equipment to Get the Best Deals
Where’s the best place to buy a camera or other photo equipment? With so many options now, how is someone supposed to know where to start?
Obviously when you start shopping you should check out options and prices on the internet. Now be careful when you are looking at a particular product, be it a camera, lens, or other photography equipment, that you know what you are getting. When I bought my Canon 5D Mark II, I found sites that offered Canon 5D Mark II at really low prices, from Asia. They are call “knock off” products for a reason. They tell you they are the same, but the quality is usually lower AND (important point) there is no manufacturer’s warranty from Canon. So lesson number one: Make sure you know what is being sold.
Purchase from a reputable dealer. You CAN get great deals online. I purchased my camera used through Amazon.com. It actually was being sold by a pawn shop out west. It was an amazing deal. Because it was through Amazon, I had their guarantee policy. So as soon as it arrived, I tested the entire camera out and found that there was a row of dead pixels in the sensor. I contacted the seller and told them I would either return the camera, or they could pay for the repair work to be done by Canon. They agreed to pay for the repair work, which was $250 dollars. (Actually they credited the $250 back to me and I paid Canon). BINGO! I had a perfect camera totally repaired and certified by Canon. I only paid $1500 for the camera body including the repair. I already had Canon DSLRs so my lenses transferred to the new camera.
I almost always check Amazon first when looking for camera and accessories because most of the major camera equipment stores sell through them, and may offer better deals through Amazon than on their own websites such as B&H or Adorama. When you look at something on Amazon, see where it is being sold from. If you look up an L-series 24-70mm lens, there are a bunch of used ones being sold from Japan. I’d stick with stateside purchases. Check out some used dealers also. One I trust is KEH.com. Also check in Rangefinder or Professional Photographer magazines for dealers.
Get great deals at trade shows at the national photography conferences. When I attended the WPPI convention a couple years ago, I spent a lot of time at the trade show. I learned a lot and made some great vendor connections I’m still using today. I also found fantastic deals, most which were good for 30-60 days after the convention. This is how I bought my Westcott studio light package. I saved about 50% of the total retail cost. I also purchased template software for albums, photo collages, and marketing materials for a fraction of the normal cost. Beside all the valuable training and classes and interaction with great photographers, I was able to make great purchases, and plan for future purchases. (It was at the Canon booth that I learned that I wanted a 5D Mark II and L-series lenses to regain the quality I lot switching from medium format film to digital. So when I was ready to purchase, I could spend time looking for a great deal.)
The most important thing to remember when making photography equipment purchases is that YOU are the most important piece of equipment that will determine how your images turn out. Save BEFORE and buy when you can pay cash. While you are learning, you don’t have to have the best equipment. Learn to use what you have now to make great images. Then when you can afford to upgrade, you will be that much further ahead.
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