A question about supporting the local camera store.

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by connor_roelke, Aug 24, 2008.

  1. Hi guys, this is more of an opinionated question, so I hope everyone can chime in.

    I'm in the market for a 35/2 and see three options. Buy used for ~$250, buy new online for $330 (w/ shipping) or
    pay $350 and support my local camera store. On any normal circumstance, I would probably try and find it used
    first. But the more and more I go into the local camera store the more I realize there is never anyone in there
    and always a bunch of people working. Everyone is super friendly and helpful. Would it be worth it to grit my
    teeth and spend $70 or so extra?

    Any opinions would be great. I plan to shoot it on a D50 (possibly D200 soon) and Nikon FG.
  2. Well, I think if you've got the extra $70, it would be nice to help out the local place, but it's not really anyone's decision but your own. I'd probably get it used, but then again I'm broke most of the time.
  3. Connor, I think it is a great idea wanting to support the local shop. If you are buying new and like the local shop folks then for the slight upcharge ($20) it is well worth it to buy local. If you are eperienced buyer of used camera gear then it's hard to beat the web for pricing. If you are not experienced, buying used gear sight unseen is something of a crap shoot. Buying from good dealers like KEH or B&H help your odds but it's still buying sight unseen. Now the place you really want to develop a local, personal relationship is with a good repair shop. A great camera tech, that you can work closely with, is worth his weight in gold! Best of Luck............................Lou
  4. I support my local guy when I can. I find now that he knows me, he will make a competitive deal whenever he can, specially on used stuff.

    I got a new in the box 35 2.0 AF for $250 with the new Nikon warrantee.
  5. If you frequent the camera store, and request assistance and play with their toys, I would make my purchases there. Personally, I make my purchases at B&H and don't visit any stores. But I pay more than at some online stores, however B&H accepts my returns and is helpful when I need it. These things are more important to me than saving a buck. It's your money and your decision.
  6. Connor... Are you from the US? It seems to me that people in the states tend to buy more on the net than at the local
    store. I notice everybody's threads like"today I ordered ....." "My Dxxx arrived today" and so on. I really don't like buying
    on the net. i rather deal one to one with my local store. yeah! His prices are rocket high BUT all I have to tell him is how
    much I can get it for on the web and he matches the price. Of curse in little things like filters, software, accessories where
    the differences is a few bucks I never ask him for discount. Another good thing is that lenses and camera bodies, he
    doesn't stamp the warranty card. So like my D300 after 6 months of use I still have 1 year warranty on it. Can you get that
    the web? And for sure if one day I have a problem with a product he will do everything he can to help me. He did it once already. I bought I
    used lens from him and (80-200 f2.8) and a few months later I had a problem with the manual/auto ring. took it to him, he sent it to Nikon, a
    week later I had it back, free of charge. The only reason I buy on the web is if I find a used lens or something that my local store doesn't
    have in stock
    and it will take long time to get. Rene'
  7. My basic rule of thumb is if I can buy something local and not have to pay more than 10-15 percent extra, I do it. It supports the local store, local economy, and if people stop doing this soon there will be no more camera stores. The local store is a great place for information, easier to return things to if necessary. My local store, a small independent, carries used gear it takes as trade-ins and occasionally something neat can be found there. It is also sometimes a local hangout for fellow photographers. Where else can you go to actually handle something before you buy it? Not always necessary, but sometimes important..............
  8. I guess my real question here is new or used. $20 doesn't mean anything to me. $70 does. I'm a kid in highschool.

    Thanks for all the responses everyone.
  9. Buy new if you can afford it. The extra $70 will get you a 5 year Nikon warranty.
  10. I try and support my local camera store. The reasons are quite simple, if I have a problem with my camera, I do not have to send it back to some store back east to have them look at it. I just take it to the dealer I bought it from to have them look at it.
    And another reason I buy local, is I use to work in a camera store in my hometown, and know how hard MOST dealers work to keep their customers happy.
    I have never bought any camera equipment from any internet camera company; other than a video from B&H.
    The day before I bought my D40 from our local Ritz camera store, the price was $549.99, when I went in to get it the next day, to my and the salespersons surprise, the price was $499.99.
  11. Ray House

    Ray House Ray House

    There is one listed in the classifieds (Aug 24 Nikon Equiptment) for $170.
  12. I just got back into photography after a 14 year break. I was amazed at how FEW camera stores are left in my area, Seattle, WA. When I left photography there were dozens of local camera stores in the Seattle area. Now there are but a hand full, mostly big box stores.

    I support my local dealers whenever I and my budget can afford it. Bought my D60 kit with two lenses from a local dealer, paid $50 more than I would have over the net. But I bought my 16-85 VR and 70-300VR from Amazon.com, almost $200 difference each in price. I usually buy all my accessories from the local shops.

    Everyone has a budget but I try to support the local shops as much as I can. Otherwise one day you may find that there is no local shop left to go fondle the newest camera, lens, etc.
  13. Johnny,

    I was saddened to learn that Ivey Seright closed this year. They had an absolutely perfect E-6 line. I always used that
    lab whenever I was working in Seattle.

    However, I am really glad that Glazer's Camera is still in business. Glazer's has great service for the professional and is
    a genuine photo candy store . Their staff always went out of their way to help me with whatever gear I needed, ASAP.
    That is a local camera store I would support, because they in turn support you.

  14. I buy used equipment, especially lenses, locally whenever possible. Gives me the chance to thoroughly inspect the piece. And prices are usually very reasonable, considering the cost of shipping, hassling with returns or exchanges if the equipment turns out to be unsatisfactory.
  15. Many online stores have liberal return policies if you are not happy with a product. This policy applies to new as well as used lenses. As there can be good and bad copies of any lens, where you purchase it can be very important.

    As ot all lenses are created equal.I think if you get your hand on a really good lens in a local retail store and it is only a little more than an online store, to me it is worth buying it and paying a bit of a premium. I have done so on several occasions. The sales clerks are often surprised when I want to purchase the display lens that I tested rather than a new lens in the box.
  16. I would buy everything I possibly could from the local store, I would never haggle over price, and I would forge a
    relationship with those guys, visiting them regularly just to BS, etc. I do that with my local music store, which is where I
    buy EVERYTHING for the church I work at, and guess what... They give me a nice little discount... which I never asked

    Not only does it keep some money in the local economy, it makes friendships which will likely make a difference in your
    life for the better, way more than a the glass you buy. (Sorry, I started preaching... I do work at a church remember...)
  17. Connor, try the local camera store and see if they are willing to move on price a bit, or to throw something in (filter, whatever). I know it seems mean to haggle, but when it comes to money a lot of us consumers are as desperate as the shops, and so I don't think it's unreasonable. Mind you, $20 is peanuts when you're looking at the difference between $330 online, or $350 local store, and for that small an amount I'd just go local if buying new.
  18. years ago I always bought local. Now, there is only one decent camera store left where I live, a city of 300,000+. It used to have a whole wall of cameras on display, floor to ceiling. I've had conversations with the owner on several occassions about whether not having readily available stock locally is the cause of peaple buying on the internet, or the cheaper price on the internet caused people to not buy local
  19. Well, its kinda a toss up. As a general rule I try to shop locally first then online. last year I was in the market for a New Sony Alpha 100. So I went to my local camera store to trade in a couple of Maxxum film bodies and some lenses. Not looking to trade for even money just so I could buy a additional lens or 2 .Business must be real good cause he wanted to give me less than peanuts for the trade items and wanted full retail for the body.So no deal, I sold on Ebay and purchased direct from Sony on a refurb at a great price with a 12 month warranty.
  20. In my area we have gone from around five "pro-line" camera stores to one. My rule is that if I go to the survivor for advice and a demo, I buy there. It's only fair.
  21. A quite good local camera store closed this summer after more than 60 years of business.

    There are three other stores of a similar good size still hanging on (including two who carry on supplying traditional photography and
    darkroom supplies as well as digital stuff) but the store that closed will be sorely missed.

    It was a meeting place for photographers, had sales persons who shared their information readily (who may be waiting on restaurants now),
    a place where amateur photgraphers could put up their photos on display, where you could advertise local photo events, learn about stuff
    coming down the pike, and so on.

    Like many local post offices and specialty shops, other great community places, they are a disappearing breed.

    Too bad. Doing everything by internet or telephone order may be efficient and convenient but it is gradually dehumanising patterns of
    life for the photographer (and others). Taking or making photographs is a singular and often lonely activity. Having good stores and
    camera clubs is a good way to keep it a collective activity, at least on a purely local level, which is normally a priority for most of us.

    Personally, I buy on internet or via telephone order only when the item I am looking for is unattainable locally, unless the price is vastly
    different (which often it is not). And if the choice is available, I prefer to buy from a bona fide camera store rather than a multiproduct chain
    that might have slightly better prices but next to nill customer contact and service.
  22. Ever since I got into photography in 1974, I've always bought mass quantities of gear locally (I'm from New Orleans). The camera stores loved seeing me come in, LOL. My being an untreated manic depressive back then helped their bottom lines considerably (when I was manic).

    Now, since I still shoot film only, and since I was displaced from New Orleans by hurricane Katrina, I'm 215 miles from the nearest camera store. They stock hardly any film, and pretty much everything they sell is digital. Since I don't use digital, I concentrate on used manual focus gear from Keh.com and eBay. I do support a local lab in New Orleans, though. I'll bring in about 10 rolls of film every couple of months for developing.
  23. Thanks for the advice everyone. I think I'm just going to bite the bullet and go spend some money. It helps that the copy I tried was absolutely tack sharp, I hope they still have it.
  24. One problem in purchasing locally is the sales tax which can be significant. Though I've never done it, I suppose that you might save a few bucks by having the item shipped to a friend or relative out of state, then reshipped to you. Another possibility is to have your local store order it for you out of state, and drop ship to you. I would think that this is perfectly legal in that it is about the same as mail order.
  25. Not a problem. No sales tax in New Hampshire. :) :)
  26. Supporting your local store works both ways. You get discounts and people will be very helpfull. More than once I've borrowed a brandnew lens over the weekend that I didn't have myself for an assignment and brought it back on monday, no charge at all. And that without signing anything, all on trust. Also they help me to get a great price on any redundant gear. So overall I may be paying a bit more than I would online but on the other hand that's what I call great service and something you won't find online. Building up a good relationship (I've helped them out a few times) goes a long way. Besides I prefere to deal with people I know.
  27. there are "local" stores about 35miles away.
    Hm 3-4 gallons of gas away.
    and the last time I called one, the lady DID NOT know what d-76 was.
    she would NOT let me immediately talk to anyone else.
    ( dragon at the gate)
    I emailed the owner and he said " we usually have it but call ahead to be sure"
    this was the OWNER's wife!
    what would you think?
  28. There were 2 local Camera stores in my area(within a 15 mile radius) 8 years ago. One was a well known retail store the other was a mom-an-pop camera store that tried to compete with the retail store. The thing that got me about this m-a-pop was that they were very snobish and unfriendly.

    If you asked them for help, they would act as if they were doing you a favor. I tried to support them for a while by purchasing certain items, but it didn't make a dent on how they treated you when you walked inside their store.

    On the other hand the retail camera store, is very friendly. Some sales people there know me by name. Almost all of them know me by face.

    The unfriendly local store closed down about 4 years ago. One of the sales-people who use to work there lives around the corner from me, in a more depressed area. I met him at the bus stop one day and he told me he was freelancing. You know, the guy is still unfriendly as hell.
  29. I'd personally support a local store if I knew of one that carried the gear I am interested in and provided service I valued. The best local stores around me are Best buy, ritz and Penn Camera. Penn Camera isn't that bad. However, none of them ever have any of the gear I am interested in (Olympus OM camera gear). So I don't have much of a choice except to go to the internet. At least I support the online retailers who have given me good service and stay away from the ones I dislike. KEH, Adorama and B&H get almost all of my service. Occasionally Ebay if one of those 3 don't stock a product I am looking for.
  30. Personally, I make my purchases at B&H and don't visit any stores. But I pay more than at some online stores, however B&H accepts my returns and is helpful when I need it.
    Thank you. Much appreciated.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
  31. If you buy local you will most liekly not only support your local dealer or the people who work there, but maybe also yourself. Money that stays in your local economy could come back to your own business. Of course this depends on what job you do.
  32. I am glad there are buy local shoppers. I salute you. You make a powerful argument. Buy something for me and I
    can feel better about ordering the new TV from J and R iin NYC( two hundred dollars plus tax less than at Best
    Buy here.No hard sell for added insurance package.) Just the way the market has shifted to on line for many of us.
    On line sellers are now providing lots of product info, easy returns, and in case of B and H, the option to ship
    at a favorable USPS rate to the islands.
    FEDEX/UPS costs no gas or time or parking btw ... How can 'local 'keep inventory like B and H for one mail
    example. " We can order it for you" aint good enough, E.g, Two months to get that Heliopan filter. Distributors
    price or stocking policy clearly favor large retailers I suppose so blame them fellers too...
  33. Another advantage to supporting a local (non-chain) store is that they can support you too. I've gotten emails from mine when something new or used has come in that they think I might be interested in, and they got another guy in touch with me to buy an old film camera of mine

    Also, they gave me a fine condition Domke F-2 bag that had come in with a trade.

    Biggs Camera, Charlotte NC, fine folks
  34. Some local stores are better than others. Last summer I went to one of our local photography stores, one that has been around for decades, and the guy behind the counter didn't even know what kodachrome was. There's no compelling need to shop at that store over an on-line store.

    On the other hand, some of the local stores are pretty good. A couple of them even still carry some chemicals and darkroom equipment in addition to a good selection of digital equipment and books.
  35. When it comes to gear, I can only afford used. I'll check out the prices online from KEH, B&H and the other usually suspects. Then I'll head out and check out the local shops. Now here in LA, there are plenty of shops. Some of the smaller mom-n-pop stores have closed while others may be hanging on by their fingernails. However, as a film shooter the pickings are understandably slim at places like Samys but what really amazes me is how these stores price their used goods on par with online retailers despite the atrocious conditions. I recently was looking for a Nikon F2 and after looking at a handful of bodies at several shops I was appalled at how beat up they were and for the astronomical prices being asked for them. I finally found a decent looking body at a camera swap meet and purchased it for $200 (no tax) from a shop owner from Orange County.

    I also got a great deal on a 28mm F2.8 AI-S lens from Keeble and Schuchatt in Palo Alto. My father lives up that way and he got a call from them that they had just gotten this lens in and it was overhauled by Nikon. It was exactly the lens I wanted and for $199 plus tax and shipping I still got out for cheaper then KEH. The lens is absolutely spotless.

    Meanwhile, I buy all my film and darkroom items from Freestyle. I drop by there about once a week and am on a first name basis with just about everyone who works the floor there. Freestyle is about the only place I can imagine that will still be supporting us b&w film shooters in the future. I spend as much as I can afford there for this reason.
  36. SCL


    We used to have lots of local camera stores in the Chicago metropolitan area...most you could go in, have a good chat and be shown something by a knowledgible employee or owner...or they would "look out" for something you really were interested in. The web and larger camera chains put a hasty demise to many of these (I still have a few on my list here and there in the northwest suburbs, and a couple of interesting shops in the Loop). If I get superb service and knowledgible attention in the local camera shop...I'd give them first shot, but have to admit the web garners probably 95% of my photography purchases these days.
  37. You'd get the lens right away, but any business fails without good customer service.
  38. Too often local shops charge way too much money. It's not my job to justify their light bill, building lease, etc...had I patronized those local stores, it would have cost me at least $5,000 more for thier items I have purchased over the last few years. I never had an issue with service or return or other mitigation when working with internet stores. Often in-store personal lie and manipulate in order to sale what's currently in inventory, or products that have the fattest profit margins.

    If the brick and morters can hang in there fine, but if they go under, bye, bye, no worries....

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