Posts Tagged ‘ buying ’

More eBay Skulduggery

I ordered a Nikon D700 last week from a reputable seller with positive feedback from thousands of buyers.  Everything looked good except the price which was nearly a thousand dollars less than you would expect.  Not listening to my own advice from an earlier post on camera scams, I ignored the  “If its too good to be true then it probably is” rule.  And sure enough, it was bogus.  After ordering, I received an email politely asking if I would mind paying by western union rather than PayPal.  Luckily, as I wasn’t smoking crack I didn’t send the money and will be getting a full PayPal refund.  Its still an annoying waste of time.  The fuller story has emerged and it seems the seller was not aware these items were listed using there account.  Its not clear if someone hacked in through the users account and listed these items but it seems the most likely.

The lesson here? If you’ve got some advice that you believe in and give regularly to other people, you should follow it yourself!


Buying a Camera – Part 3: Whats in a name?

By Jack Berglund

I’m not a big fan of ‘marketing fluff’ naming.  Give me a nice logical set of numbers and letters any day.  Cars are a good example.  In a rush to conjure up some lifestyle association, too many manufactures put ridiculous names on their cars.  Naming your latest 4×4 after a Lake (Chevy Tahoe) or even more confusingly, the capital of an ex-French colony (Porsche Cayenne) undoubtedly makes sense in a marketing meeting. What annoys me, is deep down I know it probably works in the real world too otherwise the practice would have died out.  Ditto for the ‘lifestyle’ car ad which shows a pair of models driving through a beautiful place with giant grins and  ‘we’re better because we drive this car’ expressions but tells you nothing about the car.

What fills me with hope is the world of photography.  Here is a place where engineers come up with wonderful pieces of technology, give them logical letters and numbers and push them out to the world for all to enjoy.  Well, not quite.  It seems in both Canon and Nikon’s cases, the naming logic was devised at 2am after one too many Sake.  Continue reading

What Camera to Buy – Part 2: Cameras by the Pound

By Jack Berglund

One imagines that setting the price of a camera involves a lot of time and effort on the part of the manufacturer.  A team of people would weight up competitive offerings, cost of manufacture, exchange rates, target audience and so on. Countless meetings, phone calls, PowerPoint slides  and spreadsheets would be required.

Not so at Nikon it seems.  You can predict the street price of any of their current cameras to within a few dollars solely by knowing its weight.  The correlation in uncanny right up the range until you get to the D3s.  I imagine the pricing meeting would go something like:

‘Konnichiha team, we need to come up with a price for the new D900.’

….”How much does it weight?” Continue reading

What Camera to Buy – Part 1: Choosing a Make

By Jack Berglund

Related Posts
What Camera to Buy – Part 2: Cameras by the Pound
Buying a Camera – Part 3: Whats in a name?

Choose the Make First

With a wide range of cameras from big name manufacturers such as Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax, picking your first DSLR can be difficult and time consuming but it needn’t be. Somewhat counter intuitively, when buying your first SLR camera the best approach, in my opinion, is to pick a make first and then the model. With most other purchases you would compare the different offerings from different brands in the price range you were looking at and pick the one that best suited your needs. Buying an SLR camera is different.

At any given moment, the camera with the best set of features for the price might be a Canon, Nikon, Sony or other brand. With the different release schedules, one manufacturer may have an edge after releasing a new model or drops the price of an existing model but this can change quickly. At a given moment, the Sony might have a million more pixels or the Canon higher resolution video but resist this kind of thinking…

Trust Me, Choose the Make First then the Model

Why is the brand more important than the camera? Imagine you were buying a car knowing that whatever make you bought would be the make you’d buy for the rest of your life. You love the looks of the new little Fiat 500, the price is right and the package great. However, looking down the line, you realize that Fiat don’t make any good midsized or large cars and you’d be hard pushed to upgrade in the future. It wouldn’t matter how good the Fiat 500 was. Clearly, in reality you’re free to switch makes of car any time you like but with cameras its more difficult to jump. Continue reading

Buying a Camera? Watch out for scams

By Jack Berglund

I’m assuming you use your common sense and judgment when ordering expensive items online but there are a couple of specific things to look out for that have caught out people I know:

Bait and Switch

There are a number of companies in the US and I’m sure elsewhere with an extremely frustrating business model.  They will advertise items with a low but not completely unbelievable price.  When you place an order, they will contact you and push to sell additional items such as an uprated battery or more memory for hugely inflated prices.  From what I’ve been told, their sales tactics are very pushy, boarding on unpleasant.  If you decline all the options, more often than not you will get an email that your order has been canceled.

To avoid waisting your time and effort, do a quick check on any company before ordering, particularly if it seems to be to good to be true.  Reseller Ratings is a good site for checking companies in the US.  Here is an example of one company to avoid:

I recommend using a known reseller such as B and H Photo, Admorama Camera and in the US. In the UK try Fixation, Calumet and Mifsuds.

A note on Amazon has been criticized for not checking out its third party vendors as carefully as people would expect.  In the US, Amazon stock a lot of the mainstream photography equipment themselves, but check when ordering where the item is shipping from.  If you’re unlucky, one of the smaller resellers listed on the Amazon site might not be legitimate or go out of business before you receive your order.

To eBay or not to eBay?

There are deals to be had but when using eBay be very, very careful…

My girlfriend recently found what looked like a good deal on a new Nikon D3.  The seller had a well organized store front and 500+ positive ratings.  Continue reading

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