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Thread: DISCUSSION: Trying things in-store before buying it vs. buying Grey Import

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    DISCUSSION: Trying things in-store before buying it vs. buying Grey Import

    A thought came to my head last night while I was discussing with a few ppl regarding the merits of buying retail vs. grey import.

    Now, THIS IS NOT ABOUT PRICING AT ALL!

    But about the notion of trying/feeling/touching a camera to see if you like it or not in the store - which was what some people advocated.

    For me, I cant ever recall a time I actually bought a DSLR or selected a DSLR out of a few because it felt good or right in my hands. I buy it for its features and functions etc. This is aimed at everyone with a little bit of experience in photography here, not a beginner looking to buy their first ever DSLR.

    Anyway, what I am interested in seeing is that, because majority of us all know how a DSLR works and feel, has the reason/excuse of the retailer about being able to 'play around with the camera' before you buy OBSOLETE?

    For me, I know how the camera works, I would have probably done a bit of research already before looking to buy, I know how light an entry level body is and how heavy the top of the range cameras are. Does the retail store's reasoning enough to keep ppl from buying grey import? A salesman actually mentioned that last night - you would not be able to try it out before you buy it.

    I come from an infantry background in the army here, and we have all learnt to adapt to weapons and tools we use even though it doesnt always feel the best in our hands, we just care for the end result - which is its killing potential. Same for the camera - the photo it produces. I have come to realize that I dont care much about the ergonomics or layout of the camera - as long as its features interest me and it produces the desired results I want.

    Hope that makes sense
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    I would say the need to touch / feel fades over time. For example, for my first few cameras I did the touch feel thing, but now that I have Canon lenses I am locked in to a certain extent to buying another Canon so the need to touch is not really relevant.

    However, I went with my daughters to buy their first camera's and the need to hold the different bodies I found to be very important for that first purchase.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    As you say people can adapt. But try this, go to your local store and grab an entry level camera Jackie. I find these feel way to small in my hands and I would probably not buy one for that reason. They feel fragile to me!

    Though I will say I have not purchased camera gear as such for the way it felt in my hands, but I have NOT brought a product cause it just felt really uncomfortable in my hands. Ergonomics is a personal thing, my hands are a different width, fingers can be shorter, longer, fatter than the next person's and sometimes that can really be a limiting factor. I have not bought a car, cause the drivers seat was the most uncomfortable seat I have ever sat in, in a car.

    So I think that ergonomics are important, but these days most camera brands are so similar that it doesn't really make a lot of difference.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    As you say people can adapt. But try this, go to your local store and grab an entry level camera Jackie. I find these feel way to small in my hands and I would probably not buy one for that reason. They feel fragile to me!

    Though I will say I have not purchased camera gear as such for the way it felt in my hands, but I have NOT brought a product cause it just felt really uncomfortable in my hands. Ergonomics is a personal thing, my hands are a different width, fingers can be shorter, longer, fatter than the next person's and sometimes that can really be a limiting factor. I have not bought a car, cause the drivers seat was the most uncomfortable seat I have ever sat in, in a car.

    So I think that ergonomics are important, but these days most camera brands are so similar that it doesn't really make a lot of difference.

    Thats exactly my sentiments, the ergonomics of the modern DSLR in 2012 and beyond, are so similar that there is not much difference in terms of comfort.

    I also would not buy an entry level camera because of its small size, even though my hands are not that big - it still feels like a fragile toy.

    I have a lot of working friends toting high end cameras, one tiny press photographer used to complain about the size and weight of her 1D, being a 163cm woman and all, but after a few weeks she adapted to it and never looked back.

    The selling point/notion of trying cameras in stores - as mentioned above by 2BAD4U - is a fading thing with amateurs and hobbyists and pros. You and I, and pretty much most ppl who have been through a few DSLRs, dont really feel the need to try things out in stores before we buy anymore, as we can form quite a good idea of what it will be like in practical use.

    Im just not sure how long they can keep that up when arguing the merits of buying retail from them vs. buying something a lot cheaper via grey import.

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post

    Im just not sure how long they can keep that up when arguing the merits of buying retail from them vs. buying something a lot cheaper via grey import.
    Ah but that is purely about price, and I think we are seeing a shift there. I got my D800 locally here in Hobart, for $200.00 more than I could it get as a grey import. Looking at the D600 local prices against grey, the savings are marginal. I think the shift is already on towards local (either B&M or online) stores and away from Grey. Gone are the days when you could save $1000's, it's now down to a few $100's.

    I think the grey marketers are going to win on the third party stuff, like lighting, battery grips, even batteries (D800 one here is about $125.00 but can be got on the net for about $60. The whole grey market is shifting in relation to camera gear.

    I am not sure people use ergonomics as a major factor to buying grey, but local retailers (from a Nikon POV) are being given a chance to compete at a more reasonable price point of late.

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    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    The selling point/notion of trying cameras in stores - as mentioned above by 2BAD4U - is a fading thing with amateurs and hobbyists and pros. You and I, and pretty much most ppl who have been through a few DSLRs, dont really feel the need to try things out in stores before we buy anymore, as we can form quite a good idea of what it will be like in practical use.
    Yep, I'm on the same page there. The experience I have, and the kind of gear I use, doesn't require me to physically inspect the gear before buying it.

    Quote Originally Posted by JM Tran View Post
    Im just not sure how long they can keep that up when arguing the merits of buying retail from them vs. buying something a lot cheaper via grey import.
    As you're probably well aware, the retailers are clutching at straws, and will continue to do so for as long as possible.

    The common justifications a retailer will offer for buying from a B&M store rather than on the Internet are:

    1. You can inspect the product. As per this thread, for many of us, that's not necessary. I had never looked at or used some of the gear I own prior to purchasing it.

    2. You get a manufacturer's Australian warranty. Sure, but there are statutory requirements governing the sale of goods and services in Australia, so we as consumers are in fact not left in the lurch if we buy a product that the manufacturer intended for a foreign market.

    3. You get advice and customer service. Maybe, but in my case, you (retailers) don't sell to me; I buy from you. I don't need the advice and product knowledge salespeople can supposedly offer; there isn't much they can tell me that I don't already know, or that I cannot otherwise discover on the Internet.

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    Ausphotography irregular Mark L's Avatar
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    Think Warren's post #2 is valid.
    When buying my first DSLR, after researching the w.w.w., I had to travel 150kms to feel it and instantly decide I needed a bigger camera in my hands. But as you say JM, people with experience don't need to do this.
    Some of us wish we had the option of trying things in-store!

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    G'day all

    After 40+ years of film SLRs, my 1st digi-cam was chosen in store via a comparative handling of 3 cameras - they went from hand to hand to eye etc etc, before I chose the one that suited me best

    When that camera died, I ordered a different brand, similar spec replacement on-line, and within days I knew it wasn't "right" - there were things about its knobs & buttons that appeared to me to be quite nonsensical - and within 3 months it was gone at 1/2 the price I paid for it ... not impressed with myself. After handling someone else's "potential new camera", a replacement was ordered 'grey', it arrived & performed okay in daylight, but was as noisy as hell in dim light - so it went out as well

    Current camera(s) have all been handled before purchase in local shops
    Regards, Phil
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    Jackie, you come from a pragmatic POV and I largely echo your sentiments.
    But photography means different things to different people. And to some there is an emotional connection to their chosen tool. Just ask your average Leica shooter, TLR enthusiast. Touch and feel and the method of operation may be as important as the end result or any bling features. The method is part of the appeal.
    I know you're talking largely about experienced photographers in this thread but the initial handling does play an important role for first timers.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    I'm with you JM, but I guess I'm technically inclined and I do read the reviews and specs thoroughly. I do think that some people can make mistakes when deciding on something mainly because it initially feels good in their hands. If a tool consistently produces good results, you will soon learn to like it. If it doesn't, the "good" feeling will soon pass. Of course there are limits and a camera may just be too heavy for some people to hold steady or the buttons too small etc, in which case the results won't be great. Feel is one factor out of many, but the good reviews usually cover that one as well as all the others.

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    The ergonomics is important for wildlife/bird/sports photography and much less so for studio and less again for landscape (i.e. tripod) shots.

    That said I'd want faster frame rate and focus speeds ahead of an extra button.
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    http://steveaxford.smugmug.com/ Steve Axford's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kym View Post
    The ergonomics is important for wildlife/bird/sports photography and much less so for studio and less again for landscape (i.e. tripod) shots.

    That said I'd want faster frame rate and focus speeds ahead of an extra button.
    While it is important for wildlife, the quality of the final result is the key. I'm using a Canon DSLR for wildlife video. It is bloody difficult to use, compared to some video cameras, but ......... it takes brilliant videos if you do get it right. In this case it is worth the effort. I think it is a matter of balancing the chance of lost shots with poorer ergonomics, against the overall quality of the shots with better specs. Do you want more low quality shots or fewer high quality shots? That will depend on just how much difference there is in each respect.

    I think the same would apply for studio work. Missed shots may be repeatable, but time is money.

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    Living where i do i dont really get a choice to pick up and test a new camera out. Before i moved up here i had an Olympus E-3 which was great but getting all addons was a pain unless you were kerry packer. So when the time came to upgrade i had no choice but to turn to the intertubes. (not 100% true, but the only local company that was willing to get what i want in wanted more then 100% more then normal RRP). I was originaly going to purchase from an australian supplier but opted for the grey import.

    Most people in this town have done the same thing...and its not just with DSLR's

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    Still in the Circle of Confusion Cage's Avatar
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    I hear you JM.

    Features, specs, my needs, are all paramount, and to be brutally honest here, I think all manufacturers have tried to be 'all things to all people'.

    Coming from a 35mm film background, geez, if I need video, I'll buy a bloody video camera. I'll do my own PP, isn't RAW great, and I'd like to look at my menu and think "I can use that" and not, huh, what the hell does that do.

    Auto focus is great, expanded ISO and HDR are excellent, micro lens adjustment (we shouldn't really need it) is also a blessing.

    And yes, you do your homework, and if the camera of your choice turns out to be a bit different to what you expected, in my case the K5 felt a wee bit small in my hands, sheesh, you get a battery grip. Problem solved !
    Cheers
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    I am strictly an ameteur but I researched the web before purchasing a DSLR. As I had previous canon cameras I stuck with that brand and then just poured over the different stats until it came down to 2; a 5d or 7d. I did not find the need for touchy feel. I liked the extra reach, on board flash and then price so bought the 7d. I have learnt alot more now but am still more than happy with my choice. Mind you I would like a 5d3.......
    Cheers Brian.

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