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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 9:48 pm 
Hi all.

First post on this forum and I just want to say I love the site. Great reviews and Video reviews are really nice feature.

Took me a while to get on this forum. Thanks for sorting, Gordon :-)

Well, I'm just starting out in the world of DSLRs after using my little happy snapper for a few years and will be concentrating mainly on Wildlife photography. I decided on the Nikon D80 after reading a hell of a lot of reviews and getting all the info I could.

I nearly went for the Pentax K10D, and have been avidly waiting for Gordon to come up with a review for it (sorry :twisted: ) . But I just didn't like the available lenses. As someone put it, a great lense on a bad camera is better than a bad lense a good camera. I just liked the range of Nikon lenses.

Also, did a look and feel test in a local shop and the Nikon came up trumps. Anti-dust never works anyways, I got VR in the lense and as for weather proofing - I bought a water proof hood. :D

So I've ordered

Nikon D80, 24-120mm VR Lens, 80-400mm VR Lens, Tripod, 4gb Memory, case & a whole load of other stuff.

In the UK, where I live it comes in about £2000. So I ordered it from the states and got it all for less than £900. (I swear we get absolutely screwed in Europe for this kind of thing).

Ok, so the warranty is only valid in the USA, but at that price I could buy the whole lot again and still save money. Customs can be a sting but I still save a huge amount.

I'll let you know how it all gets on. You never know, it could be the best cautionary tale ever. :P


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2007 11:00 pm 
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Hi Craig. I have a D80 and am very happy with it. Out of interest, where did you order the kit from?

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Nikon D80, Nikkor lenses: 35mm f1.8 G AF-S DX, 50mm f/1.8 AF D, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR, SB800 flash
My photos on SmugMug


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 1:02 am 
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Hi Craig, a big welcome to the Cameralabs forums and apologies it took us a while to get you on here!

Sounds like you've gone for a great setup. The D80's a great body and I've seen several pro wildlife photographers using the Nikkor 80-400, so you should be pretty happy with it! It's interesting you've gone for the 24-120mm too - will you miss the wide angle capabilities? (remember the 1.5x factor from your body).

As for customs, yes they'll probably charge you approximately 25% on the declared value to cover VAT and duty. Some people take a cheap flight over just to bring equipment back in person, but if you don't declare it, you're obviously taking a risk. You're right though, even when done above board, it still works out cheaper buying in the US, especially with the current exchange rates.

Looking forward to hearing what you think of your kit! (and I think the Nikkor lenses should come with international warranties, but I can't guarentee it)

Gordon


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 4:51 pm 
Thanks Gordon. :D

Phil, got the whole kit from www.expresscameras.com , they have some great package deals at the moment. But ordering internationally is a real pain unless you use an intermediary.

Customs can be a sting if you get caught. I'm playing it safe. The shipping is being handled by an intermediary who actually declare it for me... however they declare the wholesale value (about %40 of value) rather than the retail. I'll let you know how I get on. :wink:

I went for the 24-120mm VR just to be different 8) and because with the package I ordered, it worked out the same price as the 18-135mm so no contest really :lol:

I read some rave reviews on another forum about the 24-120mm as a day to day lense so that clinched it.

I will lose out on having a WA option, which is why I am also currently hunting for a Tokina AF 12-24mm, which a lot of people also rave about. I'm hoping all three lenses will give me the versatility for any situation... but the Nikkon 80-400mm VR really does look like the winner.

I'll let you know how it all works out. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2007 5:49 pm 
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Craig wrote:
Thanks Gordon. :D

Phil, got the whole kit from www.expresscameras.com , they have some great package deals at the moment. But ordering internationally is a real pain unless you use an intermediary.


I was afraid of this. :(

I really hate to be the bearer of bad news but you should know that there have been huge numbers of problems reported with that site. First take a look at http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Express_Cameras and you'll see there are hundreds of people who have had problems with this site. They use a "bait and switch" tactic when selling stuff from their site. That means they advertise cameras at low prices to get you to order from them. They then send you an e-mail asking you to call them to confirm the security code on your credit card. Once they have you on the phone they try to sell you unnecessary upgrades for your camera. For example they sell batteries from $300. If you refuse to buy these "upgrades" they will cancel your order saying the original item is not in stock. Have a look here for more on this technique.

Also take a look at http://www.nj.gov/oag/newsreleases06/pr20061130a.html where you will see that the State of New Jersey has initiated legal proceedings against the company.

This company has an extremely bad reputation on the net and I wouldn't order from them.

_________________
Nikon D80, Nikkor lenses: 35mm f1.8 G AF-S DX, 50mm f/1.8 AF D, 18-70mm f/3.5-4.5G ED-IF AF-S DX, 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6G IF-ED AF-S VR, SB800 flash
My photos on SmugMug


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2007 3:00 pm 
Doh! :?

Thanks Phil. :D :D :D I missed a bullet there. Looks like I got onto this forum just in time.

I use Access USA as an intermediary sometimes when shipping or payment might be a problem (a lot of legitimate US sites wont accept non US credit cards). They've actually been really helpful so I hope you don't have any bad news about them. :)

Rather than take any chances I just contacted Access USA and asked them to cancel the order. Hilariously enough they were actually quite suspicious themselves. Apparently expresscameras called them back to say "we are not good with American express" and needed another credit card number, then spent 20 mins on the phone trying to sell everything else in the store. They have now cancelled the order.

I always use Credit cards online so I'm protected to some extent but its always better to avoid trouble. Looks like I've been a bit naive :oops: - when a deal looks too good to be true, it normally isn't.

Just been to Adorama and although not quite so cheap, they have some great deals.

Cheers


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:25 pm 
VERY sorry to be late on this one, Craig... but yes. STAY AWAY from ExpressCameras.com!!!

Rule of thumb: if it feels to good to be true... and it looks like you're getting a totally top of the line kit, fastest lenses with VR and all that for less than half of what other places sell for then raise an eyebrow.

I always do a google search for the name of the website and add the word "warning" to the search. For example, do a google search for "expresscameras.com warning" and you will be FLOODED with bad news. Do this same search for ANYONE that is not one of the very reputable dealers in the US: Amazon (even though there are some shark sellers there too), Adorama (simply the best, in my book), Samy's Camera, CALUMET, J&R, B&H... and a few others.

Be as careful with your money and these no name sites as you are with your photos! One click and a few numbers from the back of your credit card and you'll not be getting any new equipment for a while and tied up in legal proceedings instead.


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 15, 2007 7:56 pm 
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Craig, nice to hear that you got away from that dealer! And good luck with your next purchase!

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 1:47 am 
I recommend www.adorama.com and www.bhphotovideo.com. Dont let the no saturday ordering discourage you since they are the most reliable vendors out there.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 3:49 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 3:32 pm
Posts: 9975
Location: Queenstown, New Zealand
If anyone is buying through Adorama, don't forget to click to their site via our Affiliate page - the prices are the same but they give us a small commission and every bit helps keep Cameralabs running! You'll also find some other stores listed here including Amazon.

Cameralabs Affiliate Page

Thanks!

Gordon


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 4:12 am 
you've got quite a setup there, I too am hoping to do some wildlife when I get my 55-200mm VR in like 2 days, also I am saving up for either a D80 or D200(but who knows with this release that is supposed to happen within the next few days) right now i only have a d40 with kit lense, collapseable lens hood, as of friday 55-200mm vr, tripod for all around things and another that can get as low as like 3 in. from the ground that is good for macro and laydown stuff, I think it is the MAX350 or something but it isn't like the little table top ones that are like $5. very lucky the next i would pick up is the MB-D80 vertical grip because it looks cool and is very useful although for wildlife I am not sure if you would need it.


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