Saturday, April 26, 2008

Weekend Shopper: Because it's cheaper than buying new cars!

Yes, camera fans, consider how much cheaper it is to buy new camera gear, than buying new cars! The average price of a new car is in the $20,000+ neighborhood, the average DSLR is $1,000 or even less. So if you want to feed your need for photographic gear, it's simple, buy a used car, keep a big chunk of the savings, and spend the rest on cameras :)


Calumet special $15 off $100 (expires April 30)
Be sure to check our sticky post on market news, it includes store schedule updates (eg B&H and Adorama closed for Passover). Also there you will find the special Calumet $15 off $100 special promotion. But hurry up that expires on April 30, 2008! The $15 off discount applies if you shop through this specially marked affiliate link, and you will see the $15 discount in your order confirmation email, not your shopping cart. Why do they have to make it so difficult? That is a good question for Calumet :)


Lenses
Since lenses are usually playing second fiddle to camera, today we start with lenses! Prime your primes! Zoom zoom yes, but $110 is what you pay for the Nikon 50mm Lens at J&R World.

How about a Canon prime? The Canon EF 50mm f1.8 II is just $86 at Amazon. While a prime doesn't give you zooming, some people will argue that they are still the best bang for the IQ-bang lenses, other things equal. Of course if you consider multiple focal ranges, and such, a zoom lens becomes a more affordable option compared to a bag full of primes. We blog, you decide!

And another old school lens, the Cosina 19-35mm f3.5-4.5 MC AF, Canon mount, is offered for exactly $100 at Amazon. If you are going to try it on APS-C Canon DSLRs, be sure to do the 1.6X math. It's not as wide-angle on them :)

And a new school lens, the Nikon 55-200mm DX VR f4-5.6 G ED IF, offered by Amazon for $211. As the DX indicates this is only good for DX DSLRs, which is all current Nikon mount DSLRs (Fuji too), except for the Nikon D3 (and the older Kodak DCS full-frame Nikon-mount DSLRs).


DSLRs
Canon continues with the aggressive pricing on the 40D, despite news of Canon price increases in May which do not affect cameras. So you might be interested in the Canon 40D with EF 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS USM for $1294 + $14 S&H at OneCall. The total comes to about $1310 shipped plus sales tax if applicable in your region.

The Nikon D300 with the 18-135 DX lens are offered by Amazon herself for $1970. That's right, the buzz-worthy D300 is offered for under $2000. You can see some of the D300 reviews at The Review Matrix. But it's not just the D300, a number of other recent DSLRs are listed, with lots and lots of reviews. Be sure to read each review carefully, there will be a grueling GRE/GMAT-style test at the end of the camera semester :)

Fans of the Sony A700 may feel betrayed as Sony blasted the A700 with three new Alpha DSLRs. But if you like the A700 for what it is, not for what it is not, and you are also in need of a versatile "digital" lens, then number-crunch this OneCall special: Sony A700 with 16-105mm DT f/3.5-5.6 for $1532 + $16 S&H, total of about $1550. We like round-numbers :)

Meanwhile 4/3rds fans have fewer reasons to resist purchasing the lovely Olympus E3. It's current price is falling, now offered body only for just $1630 at Amazon. This is after all the Olympus and Four Thirds flagship DSLR at the moment. Although price-wise, the Leica version of the Panasonic L10 costs more :) Speaking of which, there were some rumors that a Leica version of the E3 would be coming up. But then again, things have been rather quite in terms of new "traditional" product introductions at Leica. But no so quite on the drama front (eg CEO getting fired).


Compact digital cameras
Is this a Samsung NV-series camera? Oh no, it isn't! Is it s small lens camera? Oh no, it isn't! It is the new Kodak Z8612 IS, their new 12X superzoom IS camera, with an 8mp 1/2.5" sensor, 2.5" LCD, face detection, and reasonable price of $240 via Tigerdirect upon Amazon.

Zoom Zoom! The 20X Super Hyper Zoom from Oly, the Olympus SP570UZ is offered by OneCall for $418 plus $10 S&H, for a total of around $430. Numbers are rounded for readability. OneCall is making us use our math skillz this weekend :)

More zoom zoom but of a different kind. A more affordable entry-level AA-based zoom is the new Fuji S1000fd, which Cameta Cameras has bundled and it is offering for $263 on Amazon. The bundle includes the camera (obviously), a case, 4 AA bsatteries, and an accessory kit which includes a mini-tripod and trinkets.

Not the LOTR Elves, but the Canon Elves are taking over the photography forests :) For example, for $150 you can get the silver Canon SD1000 at J&R World. This is the bread and butter Elph, the lowest priced carry around affordable mass-market model. This is of course replaced by the multi-color SD1100-IS, which as the model name suggests adds IS. The SD1100 goes for around $230 at the moment.

But if you love wide-angle in tiny compacts, then consider the Canon SD870 IS, shiny silver color, at J&R World as well for $260. This, along with the SD800-IS start at the 28mm equivalent. Unlike the other Elves that start in the 30s. The same goes for loans, why burden yourself/family with a $30,000 new car loan, when you can borrow $10,000 for a reliable used car, spend some on camera and lens gear, and your new debt is decreased by two thirds before you even sign on the dotted line :)

How about a factory reconditioned camera? Well, some people like them. The prices are certainly more "down to earth". Such is the Kodak ZD710 offered by Buy.com for $120 with free shipping. This is a 10X basic superzoom. Again, please note this is factory recertified, aka refurbished, aka reconditioned, or whatever other euphemism is used :)


Memories
Don't worry we are not going to start singing! The 1gb PNY P-SD1G-RF3 SD memory card goes for $6.50 at J&R World.


General Market
If you want reliable but affordable laptops when you are at the office, at home, the studio or on assignment, and you don't object to refurbished/reconditioned models, we have an exclusive deal from Dell Financial for you: Save 10% on any Dell Laptop or Desktop with coupon code: CJ0408$DF. This is only for refurbished Dells sold through Dell Financial Services.

CompUSA is back! No Bear Sterns bail-out but it was taken over by the parent company of Tiger Direct. And if you find any cameras you like there, and you use PayPal, you can get 10% Cash Back with Paypal on CompUSA.com! Please note maximum cashback is $20 and minimum order is $200, so your best bang for the buck order should be $201 or so :)

And speaking of which, if you are looking for a trusty companion while on the road or on assignment, the Dell XPS M1530 laptop goes for $1300. The 256MB NVIDIA GeForce 8600M GT and 15.4" widescreen should help a bit with the image analysis. Also of interest it is powered by the Intel Pentium dual core T7250, has 3gb of memory, along with a 250gb of hard disk and slot-loading dvd burner. And if all your cameras stop working or ran out of battery, fear not! You can complete your assignment using the built-in webcam of the XPS M1530 ;-)

Abe's of Maine has a mother's day promotion, $10 off your purchase with coupon code CJMDY55!. This expires on 5/31/08 so there's plenty of time to try to find the perfect Mother's Day gift at Abe’s of Maine.


Flash!
Flash! Not Gordon, but the Sigma EF-530 DG for Canon cameras, $239 at Amazon via 17th Street Photo, not to be confused with 47th street. So many streets, so little time!

We don't want Nikon fans to feel left out, so here is a Nikon SB-600 special bundle, offered by Cameta Cameras on Amazon for $280. This includes the SB-600 flash, a rapid charger with 4 AA batteries, an extra 4 AA batteries, a Sto-Fen omni-bounce diffuser, TTL flash cord, and the Stroboframe 350 flash bracket.


Polling
We will be increasing the interactivity of this blog by asking lots of questions via polls. We blog, you decide! The first one is at the bottom of this post, asking you, the readers, whether you would like the "Weekend Shopper" to become a regular Friday feature.



Thanks to everyone voting in the poll! To answer the question about covering specials for the UK and other world-wide markets, unfortunately we are not very familiar with the prices and the various retailers in other markets, so it's hard for us to figure out what is a good price. But if we do run across anything that screams "great deal!", we will certainly post it.

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