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Buying Digital Cameras from the USA

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by Matt F, Jul 31, 2002.

  1. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Has anyone investigated the option of ordering a digital camera from a USA website. I don't know what the shipping costs would be or what tax/VAT you'd have to pay at this end but the prices seem very reasonable:

    http://www.amphotoworld.com/categorys.asp?cat=9

    Sony DSC-S85 - £460 in the UK - $355 (£227) on this site
    Canon G2 - £600 in the UK - $439 (£281) on this site
    Sony F707 - £800 in the UK - $500 (£320) on this site
    Nikon 5700 - £900 in the UK - $600 (£384) on this site

    I guess there are things like warranties to consider also but the savings look tremendous.

    Matt.
     
  2. tomson

    tomson
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    Christ on a bike, thats cheap! A Minolta Dimage 7i works out at £335 - about half what it costs here.

    Might have to look into this a bit further...
     
  3. michaelab

    michaelab
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    Be VERY careful when buying from the US, especially with resellers like this who have prices which are too good to be true, because they usually are:

    Always check retailers out on:

    http://www.resellerratings.com/

    If you search for this particular reseller (amphotoworld.com) you'll see what I mean.

    Looks like they're just a typical 'bait & switch' reseller who you should avoid like the plague. If you're not familiar with the 'bait & switch' tactic it goes like this:

    1. Advertise ludicrously low prices (the bait).
    2. Get the customer on the phone and then tell them the price is actually not what was advertised and then pressure you to buy a whole load of accessories for exorbitant prices, sometimes even accessories which should be included with the product. You end up paying more than at a respectable dealer. A lot of them are also selling 'grey market' cameras with no warranty. (the switch).

    In general there are very few respectable online retailers in the US that will ship to Europe. Once you take into account shipping costs, VAT and customs duty the prices usually aren't that much better.

    If you want to see what 'real' US prices are like checkout B&H Photo in New York. Probably the best camera shop I've ever been to!

    Add to that that most cameras sold in the US have a US only warranty and certain other feature differences (eg NTSC vs PAL TV output) then it just isn't worth it.

    Michael.
     
  4. tomson

    tomson
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    Thats a very useful site.

    I've ordered a 256mb flash card off a company that gets a 10 out of 10 rating on there and so will wait to see what sort of service i get - there were loads of international recommendations tho, which is a big plus. They only charge $16 p&p - but will have to see if I get hit with customs duty etc.


    OK - it's about 3 hours later and it's been shipped. Things are looking good so far...


    Quick update...
    Card was ordered on friday and arrived this morning (monday), No extra charges either. A highly recommended site - mydigitaldiscount.com
     
  5. sr6

    sr6
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    Hi tomson,
    did u grt hit by customs?
    if so how much.

    thanks SR.
    :rolleyes:
     
  6. tomson

    tomson
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    Luckily customs left me alone :D
     
  7. michaelab

    michaelab
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    For something small and relatively cheap like a CF card you'd be unlucky to get hit by customs - I don't even know what the maximum 'duty free' value is for bringing stuff in from the US, or if the limits are the same at the airport (bringing stuff in yourself) as they are on mail order.

    Try ordering $2-3000 worth of digital camera though and if the sender has filled out the customs declaration then I think you'll be lucky NOT to get hit!

    Michael.
     
  8. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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    Hello Tomson,

    Depending on who they used to deliver it, the customs charge invoice arrives a week or two later.................

    I thought I had got away with it, unfortunately not :(

    Still excellent fast flash card though, and great service.

    Mark.
     
  9. tomson

    tomson
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    Hmmmm... i hope you're wrong. Fedex delivered it - i'll wait and see the outcome I guess.

    Did you get charged then? If so How much?

    The card really made a difference in terms of writting time - it used to take about a minute to write an uncompressed tiff, now its less than a quarter of that.
     
  10. Matt F

    Matt F
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    Never got chance to says thanks for your advice - so, thank you very much.

    Matt.
     
  11. Mark Grant

    Mark Grant
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    Hello Tomson,

    The Fedex invoice I received was for £12.45, that is £7.95 vat and a £4.50 administration fee.

    Not too bad.

    Mark.
     

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