I hope my recent holiday buying posts have given you some ideas…in Part III we will look at the best method to make your purchase.

My Grandfather owned his own business (master tailor and cleaner) in San Francisco, my Father ran specialty butcher shops, and I owned two different camera stores. All these businesses are all about quality and service, and a small business model I really believe in!

In the 60s, 70s, and 80s the small camera store was the place for service. When you purchased a camera product the salesperson would spend as much as an hour showing you how to work your item before you even paid for anything (see my blog The Demise of the Camera Store).

Let’s face facts, in 2016 we need to go to the internet to get a good deal. Now I don’t work for Amazon, but in my opinion, they have the most competitive prices. Best Buy, Target, and Costco may match an Amazon price, but my advice is to ALWAYS check the price on Amazon first! This will at least give you a benchmark to work from.

The price on Amazon is fluid, changing possibly daily depending on supply and demand. If a product has received great reviews and the stock is low, the price will be higher. This explains why discontinued items if reviews were high, can cost more than a new model.

Amazon has a Prime membership (free trial for 30 days), where items are shipped for free and arrive in two days. Prime items come directly from Amazon and you get free returns and very fast credits.

Items purchased on Amazon that aren’t part of the Prime membership can be more difficult to return and service since they come from a secondary vendor. Be careful, buy Prime only!

Another vendor, I highly recommend is B&H Photo, they are highly service-oriented and give excellent reviews and advice.

I know what you thinking, you want to support your local dealer. However, while they may offer good advice and let you see and touch an item, small dealers just can’t match prices from places like Amazon. My last camera business was inside Marin Film Works and we purchased our products from Amazon. This allowed us to restock quickly, offer a lower sale price, and we didn’t need to keep a stock room loaded with merchandise. I often advise small business owners whether they are selling pots and pans, cameras, or travel items to buy from Amazon.

Most local chain stores just want to sell you something. They like to sell DSLR, the cameras with the interchangeable lenses. They do this because this type of camera keeps you coming back to buy additional items. Most people don’t need a DSLR, an issue I wrote about in a previous post: The importance of buying the right camera.

If all this is information is overwhelming just drop me an email and we’ll set up a consultation where I will talk through your goals with you and help you get just what you need. Then after purchasing, I can show you how to operate your new camera so you can get eye-popping quality photographs quickly and easily.

Happy Holidays! Tom