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PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:25 am 
Hi y'all

Our budget is up to about $1000 US and there are several outfits in NYC that offer incredible discounts on this kit. Our use will be for lots of young kid photos, but I like to tinker too (my first SLR camera was a Canon A1). I'm sticking with Canon or Nikon as adding others into the equation just gets too confusing.

eg
Canon 400D package with 17-85 IS lens, + extras = bag, CF card, tripod etc for $829
(CCI Camera City)

or

Nikon D200 with 18-70 lens + extras for $939, (Express Cameras)

So a better body but lower level lens for a $110 more.

I realize the extras are probably not of great quality, although they do say "full size" tripod.

But this got me to thinking that I could get say a D200 body ($569) and either an 18-135 lens or a 24-120 VR lens for about $1000 total (no extras). I like the idea of a VR lens but wonder if the slight loss of wide angle will be significant.
Obviously the best choice lens would be the new Nikon 18-200 VR, but these discount stores have that in packages at about $1600.

The Canon 400D and 17-85 IS add up to about the same price as the package from these places. I also notice that their prices tend to change frequently - has anybody out there had experience buying from them? I suspect that it is ok unless something is faulty and then you have a hard time getting someone to deal with the fault.
I tried handling the cameras at a local Circuit City (a D80 not a D200) but they're utterly useless as they tie the things down with security cables - how not to sell a product! The D200 has a lot of appeal because of greater features and better build but I gather it's quite a bit heftier too.

So what to do?

A great and informative site you folk are running.

Thanks

Drossy

PS I knew that was Queenstown when I first spotted some of your sample shots! Do you have a season pass for the gondola?


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 Post subject: New York City
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 10:15 am 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9812
Location: UK
Hi Drossy,

You don't say which companies in NY you are considering. I am sure there are some excellent ones.

From my own experience I would certainly caution you against some of the outfits that populate 5th Avenue - you will have to decide which ones yourself. They are only interested in selling and I have had much better customer service from a back street seller in Kowloon, Hong Kong!

Bob.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:26 am 
Drosman , you can but a d200 body for $ 569 ????

I live in Belgium , in Europe. Here the d200 is priced about € 1450 or about
$ 1800.

please explain...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 2:00 pm 
Hi Bob,

I live near Boston so will be doing the internet thing.
I did a Google search and several discount stores came up:
[url]CCIcameracity.com[/url] and [url]expresscamera.com[/url] are 2 that I've looked at most carefully. I can find no indication that the commonly used rebate scheme/scam is being used. I suspect that these places cut margins to a point where after sales service is minimal, but if I can make a major savings...

Bart,

Have alook at the websites above. Perhaps with the dollar-euro exchange rate a shopping trip to the US is in order!
But, I've followed these places for a few weeks and I notice that the prices fluctuate a lot eg today the D200 body is listed at $749 from CCI - it was $569 last Sunday.

I know many despise this sort of commerce as it does affect those merchants that can't buy in bulk, but offer decent after sales service.
I bought a Canon A75 2.5 years ago from 17th Street Photo (another NYC based discounter) which had one of the best web prices at the time and had no problems with the deal.

This is why I was checking in here to see if anyone had experience buying from these places. their prices are significantly less than most other internet sellers.

Thanks

Drosman


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 Post subject: Boston
PostPosted: Wed Dec 06, 2006 4:23 pm 
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Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 4:30 pm
Posts: 9812
Location: UK
Hi Drosman,

Slightly off-topic but I have fond memories of Boston. I've enjoyed many a walk along the Charles River and downtown must be a lot quieter than I remember it now the Big Dig is finished.

I bought my Televue Pronto telescope from F.C. Meichsner Co. in Lincoln Street almost ten years ago. Very helpful people. Not sure if they sell cameras as well but if they do check them out.

Bob.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 12:28 am 
Hi Drosman,

Like you, I'm looking for a Canon 400D. I found some cheap prices on internet like the one you mention from CCI Camera city. Too nice to be true, so I dug deeper and found pretty bad reviews/rating about this resseller in particular. I do not know how much you can trust this can of ratings, but when they are so negative, I would be very cautios. You can have a look at resellerratings.com.
http://www.resellerratings.com/reseller ... e=c&page=5

My conclusion is that if you find a price 20+% below average price from major resseller, you are going to sign-up for troubles... I do not expect anymore to get the 400D body for less than $600.

Good luck,

JM


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:04 pm 
Hi vihem,

Thanks for the link. It was very useful. I've checked out a bunch of these places with prices "too good to be true" and sure enough they all use a bait and switch, hard sell tactic and will cancel your order if you stick to the quoted price. It also appears that their merchandise is sometimes suspect so I am going to give them a wide berth.

Thsi means that a D200 is out of the question as reputable sellers start at around $1700 for the body and 18-70 lens.

I think I will now look at the 400D with 17-85 IS lens which will stretch my budget to around $1200.

It is still a diffcult choice!

I hope this thread is useful to others who are shopping via internet in the US and come across prices that look unbelievably good from these shady outfits.

A pity Mr Spitzer, former Attorney General in New York didn't take some of them down.

I'll let the forum know what we end up with and my impressions. I'm sure we'll notice a big difference over the A75 and it will put the film SLRs into permanent retirement.

Drosman

PS Bart, hold off on that US visit!

PPS Bob, been here about 6 months. I work in Cambridge for the time being and enjoy a nice view of the Charles from my office. Boston is a little intimidating (awful drivers!) so we haven't ventured downtown too much.


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 Post subject: And the answer is...
PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:01 pm 
... A Canon 400D with IS 17-85mm lens.

Since my wife is part of the equation I had to persuade her that upgrading from my original estimate that we could go dSLR for about $800 was a good move and she nixed the idea of a Nikon d200 with 18-70 for about $1700.

I got this from B&H Cameras with a total package deal of just over $1300, so much for my $1000 budget limit! This included a 2GB Sandisk III card, an UV filter and a spare battery (non Canon). The camera and lens came together in a Canon box with the camera in its own box inside. This makes me wonder if the kit is provided by Canon this way or if the retailer can add a lens to the box (assuming it will fit). I didn't find too may retailers offering this combination of body and lens, It was $1180 from B&H, about $70 less than buying the two items separately. It's the black body - I noticed a few places asking a ~$60 premium for black over silver. I wonder if this is necessary. I paid for 3-5 day shipping and got it in 2.

First impressions based on a half hour play last night:
Even though it's all plastic the body still has a nice feel to it. I would have liked to handle a Nikon D200 as comparison but haven't found a place nearby where I could do this. I popped the lens on easily enough and found the Canon battery had about 2/3 charge in it so could play immediately! With the lens installed the total weight must be around 1100g but it feels balanced enough. The lens is a bit bigger than I imagined from looking at the pics. I have small- medium sized hands and have no trouble holding it - it's not too small. In fact I found it a bit better than a D80 I tried (but both cameras were encumbered with security cables at the time so not the best way to compare). There are enough buttons on the back to be a bit intimidating but a brief consultation with the manual soon identified which was which for many features such as playback, ISO, white balance etc. The display is easy to read - and I have deteriorating eyesight, although this was indoors in average room lighting. The display shows a lot of information, but I think it will become reasonably intuitive to quickly assess the settings with a little familiarity. It's good that it provides a description to go with the icon eg for white balance. One thing I will need to get used to is the way the display flicks off when you move the eyepiece to your eye.
I fired a few flash photos off of the kids who gleefully adopted silly poses for me and experimented with slow speed shots without flash to test the IS feature, but I will need to download the shots to my computer to get a better idea of how they worked. I changed the white balance to indoors but thought the pictures still looked quite yellowish.

Anyway, the excuse for getting this is partly for the imminent arrival of kid #3 and so I'm glad we've got it on hand before the baby arrives.

cheers
Drosman


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