When purchasing any sort of camera equipment, be it a $3000 dollar SLR or a $400 digital camera it is important to realize that every single thing you buy in that store is negotiable. Camera equipment has a large markup and the dealers are used to haggling. This includes mall standards like Wolf Camera. Never accept the price given, and always be prepared to negotiate for a better deal. One good way to get a rock bottom price is to call a discount camera dealer like B&H Photo in New York ( www.bandh.com). You MUST call them on the phone, most retailers of name brand equipment have signed agreements stating that they will not advertise any price below the Minimum Advertised Price set by the manufacturer. This does not however prevent them from selling it at a lower price.

For example, this summer I wanted to buy a new digital video camera, and I selected the Sony PC100. My local Portland camera shop, Camera World listed it in their circulars for $1899. I called B&H and they quoted me a price of $1450. So I knew that since they were making money at that price, the wholesale had to be way under that, probably under $1200. In addition I wanted a number of accessories, all of which they sold for between 50 and 80% of list price. I wrote down all of the prices and went off to Camera World.

I told the salesman I wanted that camera, but that B&H (everyone in the camera business has heard of them) had it for $1400 and could he match that price. He looked it up in the computer, and immediately said, "Sure". Right there, I saved $500 dollars, and it was the same story on the accessories. It was an especially good deal because Portland does not have sales tax and I didn't have to pay shipping.

The moral of the story? HAGGLE. Don't be embarrassed, I guarantee the sales associate won't.

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