Half-priced Digital SLR

Temptation is everywhere and the price offers may be dazzling. The questio is often asked: Is it possible to buy a digital SLR camera at half its usual price? Sure! These are expensive little gadgets and some Internet prices may be positively surprising. Unfortunately, real good bargains are are. For digital reflex cameras as for most things, if it’s too good to be true, you know it’s not true.

Let’s start by noticing that some local markets are very different from the rest of the global economy. For exemple, in some countries, custom taxes are pushing the costs so high that it’s unthinkable to buy imported products (I think about Brazil where I wouldn’t buy a computer or a camera for this reason). On the oppposite, the Japanese market is well known for its cheap photo camera prices (but never half of the European or American prices) if you are ready to go there or to fight your way through a web site with nearly no latin-based characters (just try once to find your way in an on-line Japanese camera shop to know what it means to be utterly lost in a place you thought would be yours in seconds. Frustrating!)

There are only a few solutions left:

  • eBay sales made by well-identified vendors. Prices can be quite low even for brand-new products and prices do not always fly sky high. But, be very attentive and do not bite all abits. I like this possibility (but it’s time consuming).
  • Market anticipations (that’s the name I use for them): Some vendors apply the common knowledge that prices are going down and attempt to anticipate this by offering you what they think they will be able to do next week or next month. Advantage: They and you surf the wave of prices going down. Bad, bad, bad: Even if it is not said clearly, you may have to wait even more than what the resellers was expecting and instead of a week’s delay, you may see your money gone and no camera back for months. Definitely not my definition of a bargain.
  • Pure crooks and swindlers: On the Internet as elsewhere, some people would have you believe that fairy tales are true stories and either they will try to sell you another product at a higher price (replacement, my a..), or they will leave for a spending spree in Caiman’s islands with your money.

Don’t let them bite you now.