Sunday, December 13, 2015

Canon Users

If you are thinking about buy any Canon camera equipment during the holidays or beyond, you might want to consider visiting the Canon Price Watch website.  

Canon Price Watch scours the Internet for deals on Canon cameras, lenses and accessories.  In addition to providing links to websites such as B&H, Adorama and Amazon, the have a "street price program" where authorized Canon retailers make products available for significant savings over typical retail prices.  I used the street price program, and it saved me a lot of money.

In addition to looking for current bargains, you can set up alerts to let you know when a particular camera or lens is on sale.  You can even set it up to alert you when your item falls below a certain price.  This allowed me to buy a refurbished Canon 5D III at almost 30% off the normal refurbished price and 40% below new.

One thing to pay attention to when you buy from a sale from Canon Price Watch or any other bargain.  Sometimes the items are known as gray market items.  Official Canon products sold in the USA come through Canon USA.  Sometimes vendors import Canon products from someone other than Canon USA.  These are known as "gray" items.  The product themselves are identical to "official" ones.  The only difference is the gray items may not be covered by US warranty.  Canon often does provide warranty work for these gray items, but they are not obligated to do so.  Sometimes the seller will provide their own warranty on gray items, and the quality of that warranty will vary.  Worst case you might have to ship it to Japan to get warranty work completed.

Personally, I prefer to avoid gray market items, I'd rather have the certainty of the warranty over the possible 5% or 10% savings.  Still, I love what the gray market has done.  For a long time, you really didn't see big discounts on Canon's higher end camera's and lenses.  As the dollar has gotten a lot stronger compared to the yen,  vendors could obtain the gray market gear overseas for much less than from Canon USA.  This made the gray market good much cheaper than official goods, resulting in loss of sales for official Canon retailers.  Canon USA responded by discounting a lot of its equipment, through a combinations of price cuts and/or rebates.

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