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Thread: Where do you buy your gear?

  1. #1
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    Default Where do you buy your gear?

    Hi all,

    I'm looking at making the leap into the big world with a DSLR. I've decided on what I'm after (50D, 100-400), and after months of hassling and well reasoned arguements ( :roll: ), I have convinced my parents that now is the moment to step up, especially with the 50d no longer being manufactured.

    So now I'm trying to find the best price. Personally, I'm not averse to buying parallel imports, however, my parents have a significant prejudice against it. This is mainly because there would be no manufacturer's warranty, only a retailer's. They are also against a solely online store, because they believe warranty claims would be harder to pursue without a face-to-face interaction.

    So my question is basically: where should I be buying my gear from? And: can you give me any compelling reasons (other than price) to buy either online or through the grey market? Would people suggest a large retailer (Harvey Norman), or part of a chain (Camera Warehouse) or just a small outlet?

    Thanks in advance,
    Ashwin
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    I buy my stuff from Ebay, I got my 300mm f4 for $1200 in as new condition. But that would be a whole other can of worms by the sounds of things. If you want to buy from a non online place and get online prices, Digi Direct is going to be hard to beat, just call see if they have stock and go to the retail store hand over the hard earned and it's in your hot little hand. Prices are as good as or better than any non grey importer.

    One tip, be sure to take all the online prices with you , prices for stuff like CF cards is higher in store but they will honour the online price if you ask!

    Don't go anywhere near hardly Normal, the prices they ask for some stuff is a joke. The other one to try is Foto Riesel, they had prices for big teles as good as any online retailer on their website, not sure how well they compete on a 50D, but worth checking. Digital camera warehouse is in a similar position,. BTW none of the stores I checked show the 50D on their websites, so you want to hurry!

    Be sure to budget for a couple of good size CF cards and a card reader, not to mention an external hard drive and a new internal one to hold all your pics.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    I buy off ebay as chris above, second hand higher end lenses just made a new/old purchase last week, do some homework though.. purchased a new 1d3 off DWI a grey importer which was a risk especially for this model.. but as it was end of model i paid second hand price for new. regards

  4. #4

    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Personaly i buy all my gear from Stu at http://www.qualitycamera.com.au/ hes independent, service is second to none and is genuine Australian stock and you will have no problems with warranty. I lost the lens hood off my 100-400 three days before we were going away, i rang Stu and he took the hood off his own (personal) lens and airbagged it to me overnight, i had it at 10am the next day.

    After using a 7D on the weekend, can i suggest that you ditch the idea of 50D and spend a bit more coin and get the 7D, it's twice the camera! I'm looking at one right now, just waiting on a price back from Stu.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Another option is a second hand 1D MkIIN, I see FotoRiesel has one going for $1600 in the latest Photgraphic Trader, means they would be going for around $1200-$1400 on Ebay. Personally I'd go for the 300mm f4 + 1.4x or the 400mm f5.6 over the 100-400, If you are going after birds you'll rarely need to zoom out unless you're in a hide. The 300mm f4 also makes an excellent long macro lens.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
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  6. #6
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    I agree with Chris regarding recommended lens. Good luck with the shopping.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Thanks guys

    Believe me, I would love a 7D, but money in the issue here, with my parents rather unwilling to either part themselves, or allow me to part with such a large chunk of money because I'm a teen, and also because I'm new to DSLR shooting. So the 50D is the compromise. In the last couple of days, Dale (Mengel) has been in touch, and it looks like I may be able to buy his old 50D, so I am absolutely stoked

    Chris has throw a spanner in the works by suggesting a different lens to the 100-400. I've had a look around the net, and the 300 f4, the 400 f5.6, and the 100-400 are all around the $2000 mark. The problem for me with the 400 f5.6 is the lack of Image Stabilisation, which would be really important for me given that I prefer mobility, and I don't actually have a tripod, so I would be always haldholding the lens. The 300 f4, with a 1.4x would push the lens int the unpurchasable realms, in which I would be unable to convince my parents. Personally, I would prefer the increased variability and adaptabilty of a zoom lens. One example, off the top of my head would be a pelagic.

    What particular reasons would there be for the 300 f4 + 1.4x. Would image quality be better? Even with a teleconverter?

    I've seen that a lot of people on the forum have the 100-400 and would love to hear from anybody about any criticisms they have of it, because the images they post are great.

    Cheers,
    Ashwin
    Familiarity breeds contempt; don't neglect the common birds
    --\\
    ---\\_(j*)>.........Aus Life List: 534 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ----\___)................NSW List: 428 (Northern Royal Albatross - 6/9/14)
    ------\ \..............o..2014 List: 348 (Southern Giant Petrel - 6/9/14)

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    the 100-400 doesn't have the best reputation at 400mm and sample variation seems to be quite high, may have improved of late, don't know. It's also a push pull zoom which many don't like. You can take great shots with it, but honestly I had an 85-300mm FD lens and from many thousands of shots with it I pulled back from 300mm a handful of times.

    The 300mm f4 has great image quality along with the IS, I hand hold mine down to about 1/80- 1/100 SS with the 1.4x on board. I don't notice a big drop in image quality or AF performance with the 1.4x and it seems to do a pretty good job with in flight images. The 300mm f4 also has a slightly closer min focus distance of 1.5m, I use that all the time with butterflies, dragonflies, reptiles frogs etc.and it does make a difference. The 300mm f4 has a built in captive lens hood, no hood to lose.

    At the prices on digi direct the 300 + 1.4x combo is $322 more than the 100-400mm. The savings going with the s/h 50D would go some way to the difference?? If you're down the Royal at any time I could arrange for you to try mine out.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Congrats on convincing your parents to let you buy a decent camera kit! It may be the start of a very long, rewarding, and expensive hobby. Mine already is, and I've only been doing it properly for 3 years or so
    The 7D is an awesome camera by the looks of it, but as a way of starting off, you won't have many regrets with the 50D. I loved my 20D and 40D and they are capable of taking great photos.
    The difference at this level is the lens. I tried out a 100-400 on a pelagic last year and was quite impressed by it. Good IQ. But as Chris says, the problem with this lens has always been quality control, and there does appear to be some copies that are just not up to the job.
    As for the 300/4, I reckon it is a great lens. Used it as well on a pelagic last year and fabulous IQ, definitely better than the 100-400. To be realistic, on a pelagic a 300mm focal length is a pretty good compromise. I can't wait to test the 300/2.8 on pelagics next year, I reckon the focal length will be perfect. There are the very odd occasions where some rarer birds, say, do a slightly distant fly-by but other than that, I wouldn't worry about focal length on a pelagic. You just adjust where you photograph birds, as most of the birds are flying up and down the burley trail.
    But to be honest, 300 by itself is a little short for birds in general. There are occasions where it is perfect, and the f4 aperture will shine, but most cases, no. In this case, a converter would help bring the focal length up, and I reckon it should do a fair job. I am still yet to be convinced of IQ though. I would love to see samples of the 300/4 and 1.4X. Anyone??
    Basically, I reckon chances are you will go well with both lenses. If it were me, with my experiences now, I would chose the 300/4, but maybe that is my personal preference.
    Tobias Hayashi
    Canberra, Australia
    www.flickr.com/photos/callocephalon

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ashy Drongo

    What particular reasons would there be for the 300 f4 + 1.4x. Would image quality be better? Even with a teleconverter?

    I've seen that a lot of people on the forum have the 100-400 and would love to hear from anybody about any criticisms they have of it, because the images they post are great.

    Cheers,
    Ashwin
    I've been using the 300f4 + 1.4tc since Feb, and it's a great lense. If you remember the threads I started before about this I was also tossing up between the 300f4+1.4tc, or the 100-400, or the 400 non IS lenses.
    I've had absolutely qualms or problems with this lense. It's a great lense, lightweight and produces great images!

    I went with that lense because it seemed the IQ was just a touch better than the 100-400. The 100-400 is a larger lense and is heavier than the 300. No loss if IQ with using the TC. Just look at all my Stint and Plover images. I've never taken an avian image without it, it's a great combo. Having said that, I know we have blokes here like Rod who produce great shots with the 100-400.

    IS is an interesting factor. At first I thought it absolutely neccesary, but the past couple of months I've turned it off when using a tripod and found the results a bit better. As you said IS is probably better for if youre going to be hand holding.

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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by callocephalon
    But to be honest, 300 by itself is a little short for birds in general. There are occasions where it is perfect, and the f4 aperture will shine, but most cases, no. In this case, a converter would help bring the focal length up, and I reckon it should do a fair job. I am still yet to be convinced of IQ though. I would love to see samples of the 300/4 and 1.4X. Anyone??
    All my images were taken with that setup since Feb. I wouldn't say there is a problem with IQ at all. You loose a full stop and end up with a 420mm lens at f5.6, but considering I take most of my images these days at f7.1, that's not really an issue for me.

    I was looking at all my Stint shots taken with the 70-300 compared with the 300+1.4 and the difference is like chalk and cheese!

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Everyone will have an opinion on this of course Ashy and what you need to do is filter all the info with your own birding preferences. I used the 300f4 +1.4 for years too and loved it, but on pelagics as you say it is not as good. WHen i went to Africa i borrowed a 100-400 and found it very useful. I am often wishing for a much shorter lens to shoot long lens landscapes or people where 300-500mm is too much.
    Note that Mark spends all his photographic time at long reef where he wants the longest lens possible all of the time (and I'm sure if given a 500mm he wouldn't use the 300 anymore! ), where someone like Brook does alot of his photography on boats/pelagics. Different people different needs.
    (Mark this is by no means a criticism of your advice mate - just a good illustration of everyones different needs).
    As you did say though if that combo pushes the budget beyond what you can afford then that makes the decision for you.
    Cheers, Dave

    www.davidstowe.com.au WORKSHOPS

    Aus Life List IOC= 688 - Carpentarian Grasswren
    "So God created every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good." Genesis 1:21


  13. #13
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Stowe
    Everyone will have an opinion on this of course Ashy and what you need to do is filter all the info with your own birding preferences. I used the 300f4 +1.4 for years too and loved it, but on pelagics as you say it is not as good. WHen i went to Africa i borrowed a 100-400 and found it very useful. I am often wishing for a much shorter lens to shoot long lens landscapes or people where 300-500mm is too much.
    Note that Mark spends all his photographic time at long reef where he wants the longest lens possible all of the time (and I'm sure if given a 500mm he wouldn't use the 300 anymore! ), where someone like Brook does alot of his photography on boats/pelagics. Different people different needs.
    (Mark this is by no means a criticism of your advice mate - just a good illustration of everyones different needs).
    As you did say though if that combo pushes the budget beyond what you can afford then that makes the decision for you.
    Too right!!! If I had a 500mm lens, then I would probably never use the 300+1.4 again!!!

    But your brought up a really good point that I found hard to navigate when trying to purchase my lens. As you said, 90% of my time is with the shorebirds and birds on the reef. For me a prime lens was the way to go. I do find it hard sometimes to use this setup in forests when trying to get onto smaller birds that move around a lot. Perhaps a 100-400 would be more suitable for that environment?

    Perhaps we need to have another Boz meeting so Ashwin can check out everyone's gear and see for himself?
    Or if Ashwin wants to meet me on the reef sometime, he's more than welcome to check out my current setup and see if that's suits his needs or not.

  14. #14
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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Quote Originally Posted by callocephalon
    In this case, a converter would help bring the focal length up, and I reckon it should do a fair job. I am still yet to be convinced of IQ though. I would love to see samples of the 300/4 and 1.4X. Anyone??
    Have a look at my dragonfly and butterfly posts in other images, all with the 300mm f4, and about 50% with the 1.4x, the rest with a 25mm ext tube.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
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    Instagram: @ausnaturalimages

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    Default Re: Where do you buy your gear?

    Mark, for small birds, focal length is always king, unless you are in a hide, 400mm is just long enough for small birds and you need excellent field craft to get anywhere near frame filling images in my experience. The question for Ashy is are you thinking you will be shooting much other than birds, large insects, reptiles or frogs? They all generally require good focal length. If you feel the need shorter focal lengths down the track save for one of the multi purpose short zooms down the track. Once again try out a 300 f4 + 1.4x combo if you can.
    Chris Ross
    Helensburgh NSW
    www.aus-natural.com
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