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Great Bay Area Stores (CA)

Carole Murillo , Aug 14, 2008; 02:02 p.m.

Hello All! I need fast and intelligent help from you Photopraphers out there! Let me condition w/these points: 1) I am not the photographer in the family. 2) I normally don't utilize forums fro feedback. But I need help. Hope that you can help me and are willing to do so.....

My Husband's last of the 40s Birthday is coming up next weekend. He has been photographing for years, but his last camera purchase was (from me - good wife) a few yrs ago and was the EOS1D (4.1 megapix/8 frames....). He has been slobbering over the EOS5D. We are in Fresno, so we make photo purchases in the Bay Area. We love the service, etc. of Calumet (S.F.), and have entertained KSP (in Palo Alto). Calumet has just quoted me a price of $2299 for the EOS5D kit. Wolf camera quoted me $2499. KSP quoted $2300. These prices seem high! Are they? What other stores do you pros recommend? Is this a huge up tick from the 1D?

Please respond regarding most highly recommended CA Bay Area camera stores, and the quality of this pending purchase. He does alot of "weird" phtography: depth of field, nature, sports, has done a few weddings...... He's really good, just needs to gather w/a group for feedback. Thinking about the BAPC (?).....

Please advise.

Responses

Bob Atkins , Aug 14, 2008; 02:09 p.m.

Use current prices at Adorama and B&H as your benchmark. Prices on the 5D have been fluctuating a lot recently.

Be aware that many people think that an upgrade to the 5D is very likely to announced by the end of this month (see http://www.bobatkins.com/photography/digital/canon_eos_5d_mkII_4D_6D.html). It will certainly be more expensive and some people may think that a 5D at a lower price will still be an excellent choice, but be aware of the facts (or at least the rumors!).

Unless he knows all the facts about the 5D, the possibility of a new model next month and still knows that he really wants the 5D, I wouldn't surprise him with one next week.

BTW I bought a 5D a couple of months ago while Canon were offering a significant ($300) rebate on it, despite my belief that a new camera would likely appear in the fall. The 5D at the right price can be an excellent choice even now, but as the prices on it rise it gets less attractive. I suspect the new model will likely retail at around $3000.

G Dan Mitchell , Aug 14, 2008; 02:23 p.m.

As is typical, Bob's advice is good. I'll just add a little bit as someone who lives in the area you asked about.

I shop at Keeble and Schuchat in Palo Alto when I want advice from knowledgeable store employees, and I buy online when I know exactly what I want and do not need to try the product or ask questions before buying. I've found the K&S folks to be helpful and polite, virtually without exception. If you do want to buy from a storefront I think you'd do well there. (I'll also occasionally patronize San Jose Camera in Campbell since they are closer to my location.)

I'm also with Bob regarding the timing. If this is a camera that he had been "slobbering over" and, as it seems, he'll probably use it for a long time before the next update, right now is a good time to think about holding off just a bit in anticipation of likely announcements of new products.

I'm not suggesting that the current 5D is a less than capable camera. I use one and I like it a great deal. However, with _likely_ updates just around the corner if there ever was a time to wait just a bit this is it. Would your husband be pleased with a promise to get the new body when it comes out? Or is the current 5D price getting close to the limit of the "birthday budget?"

Take care,

Dan

Bob Atkins , Aug 14, 2008; 02:31 p.m.

BTW if you want the current "most likely" date for an announcement from Canon, I'd say that would be on or after August 26th. The announcement may not mention the 5D of course, but it's know that Canon have scheduled some meetings with distributors in Europe on that date. What they will actually talk about is unknown. Last week Canon released two new "all in one" printers and three new flatbed scanners and I'm sure they'll have some new digicams for the fall too.

Steve Henry , Aug 14, 2008; 02:59 p.m.

Currently I use a 1DsMkIII and my wife uses a 5D. Both are excellent cameras, and the full frame sensor is a definite asset. One thing that may be coming on new Canon models is a live view function like on the MkIII (Bob might know). I think that's a great addition, especially for macro photography and other "weird" stuff using lots of depth of field. So it might be worthwhile to wait. Another Bay Area store to consider is San Jose Camera and Video - their prices are generally good, but it's better to know precisely what you want and go there during off-peak hours/days, or call. I just checked KEH and they had a new 5D for 2399 and a "LN" one for 2099. Also had a used 1Ds for 1700-ish. Happy shopping - it's part of the fun.

Ralph Jensen , Aug 14, 2008; 06:40 p.m.

I too think it would be a big mistake to buy before Aug. 26 (or whenever Canon makes its pre-Photokina announcements). There has probably never been a camera as widely anticipated and discussed as the successor to the 5D - literally thousands of internet threads of speculation on it - and grateful though your hubby would be with a 5D, it IS a 3-year-old camera and he might look enviously at its successor and/or benefit from a price drop of 5D's after the successor has been announced.

So I'd wait.

Ralph Jensen , Aug 14, 2008; 06:45 p.m.

P.S. If the prices you're being quoted seem "high" (and they're not, if bhphoto.com is any guide), it may be because your husband was drooling over the 5D during Canon's $300(?) instant-rebate program, which expired in mid-July. The 5D was selling new in the $1800-1900 range earlier this summer; a real bargain.

Peter Lyons , Aug 14, 2008; 07:29 p.m.

I live in San Francisco, and while I do visit local stores for service calls or smaller items, for cameras and lenses I try to buy out-of-state to avoid 8.5% sales tax.

Incidentally, $2300 is the going rate for a 5D. Kinda sucks since it was $1800 about 6 weeks ago... and I just killed one of mine, so wound up buying at $2300. Lousy timing. <sigh...>

Gary Belman , Aug 14, 2008; 09:07 p.m.

I live in Clovis, which is just east of Fresno. Last year I purchased two 40D bodies, a 580EXII flashgun, and two new telephoto lenses along with various other items. The first body and flash I purchased was from Horn Photo. They are reputable and knowledgeable but priced higher than B&H in New York. The second body and the lenses were purchased through B&H.

When the shutter unit on my first 40D failed, Horn Photo not only took care of sending the body back to Canon, they also loaned me one of their rentals whenever I had a photo shoot to cover. The advantage in purchasing equipment from locally owned shops is the service they can provide.

While I don't purchase all of my equipment from Horn, I do enough business with them to maintain a good relationship and to receive the accompanying access to their service. If you go to Horn, ask for Matt.

Richard Wang , Aug 14, 2008; 10:15 p.m.

Here my highly prejudicial and very subjective review of SF Bay Area Camera Shops.

CALUMET SAN FRANCISCO

Never had a good experience with them.

The neighborhood is filled with dot.com and new media companies, and it seems that some of the salesmen only want to cater to these rich dilettantes.

The other salesmen act like tortured artistic souls and can't be bothered.

Overall not the most eager to answer questions, but they probably thought I was wasting their time.

Inventory of accessories very slight.

KEEBLE AND SHUCHAT PALO ALTO

Extensive inventory. They've got almost anything you would want with photography.

The salesmen are generally good. They are willing to help except when it get busy on the weekends.

Pro side staff is better than the retail side. Perhaps it the clientele.

Used department has some great deals. There are alot of rich hobbyist in the Bay Area, who are always trading in for the newest gear.

Bought a 1D MkII with 1,400 actuations for about $1500.00. Owner traded it in for a 5D because it was too heavy.

Rental department is the best part of Keeble, informed and willing to help. Only problem is that most of the rental equipment is old and well used.

Borrowlenses.com in San Mateo has newer and better rentals but staff not as informed or experienced as Keeble.

BEAR IMAGES PALO ALTO

This is the definitive pro shop in Bay Area.

You're not going to find any digicam for sale, but if you want to buy a Linhof lens board or a Think Tank bag, this is the place.

This is one of the only places in the US that you can walk in and walk out with a $30,000 digital medium format system. They're also willing to have you demo these ultra high end systems.

I'm lusting after a Phase One P 45+ digital back for my RZ67, but I don't think I can justify to my wife the $33,000 price tag.

The staff are all professional photog's.

ICAMERA OAKLAND

This shop is an Aladdin's cave. It's not located in the best part of Oakland, but if you've got to get a camera fixed or want to find some obscure camera or camera accessory - this is your store.

The owner will repair anything from digicam to Leica M3.

Also good place to buy used film equipment.

CRAIGSLIST.ORG

My favorite place to buy camera equipment, good discount and I can touch the stuff. But you've got to know what you want and what you're looking at.

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