Black Friday Ads Digest has began at Main Blog

Our annual Black Friday Ads Digest has began at the main blog! It will be updated multiple times throughout this week until all the relevant Black Friday Ads are digested. The “Latest Update” section will keep you updated on what was added.

(OLDER POST) Sunday Daily Deals not loaded yet

This is an older post… As of Sunday at 12:12am ET, most of the Sunday lightning deals are not loaded in the Upcoming section at the Amazon Gold Box, so I can’t do the usual “schedule” post until they get populated. I also have to sleep and such, so I will revisit these at some point on Sunday. In the meantime, you can check them at your leisure at the Amazon Gold Box, or filter them by looking at the Camera and Photo Deals or in general the Electronics Deals.

New Price Charts installment: Serious Fixed Lens Cameras

A new installment in the Price Charts series has gone live, it is the Serious Fixed Lens Cameras. The November 2016 series:


You can see the two previous years (mid-November 2015, and December 2014) by going further down in the Price Charts Archives.

New Price Charts Episode: Mirrorless Cameras

A new installment in the Price Charts series has gone live, Mirrorless cameras, by far the longest of the lot so far! Here are all three of them, with Fixed Lens Cameras coming tomorrow:

+ NEXT: Fixed Lens Cameras

New Price Charts Episode II: the APS-C DSLRs

Episode II of the November-2016 Price-Charts series is now up, it is the APS-C DSLRs Price Chart. You can check previous installments and previous years using the Price Charts archives. It will be interesting to see how Holiday Shopping season prices will differ from this snapshot of the prices.

New Series: Rantnoyances – pointing out consumer-related issues in shopping

A brand new series has gone live at the main blog, The Rantnoyances (rant + annoyance), pointing out consumer-related issues in camera (and general) shopping. We already had a couple of posts here earlier on (Jet and Triggered) but all the future posts will go to the main blog where it is a better place for longer and more reference-type material. Things fly off the page quickly here, so people don’t always see them, or can’t find them easily as time goes by (even I couldn’t find them quickly!). Rantnoyance #1 is an updated version of the Jet post, now with more details added!

Meta: New Price Charts Series began with 35mm Full Frame Digital Cameras

The promised Price Charts series of November 2016 has began with the charts/discussion of 35mm Full Frame Digital Cameras. I won’t spoil the findings here, but it is definitely a different pattern from last year’s comparison. These will continue on a daily basis, with APS-C DSLRs, Mirrorless and finally Fixed-Lens Cameras getting their own posts. As usual please feel free to leave comments/corrections/omissions/etc. If I don’t notice a problem or error, I can’t fix it 🙂

(RESOLVED) Technical Issue: Category Archives Show All posts

This has now been resolved, categories are working as expected again. Refresh the page if you still see the issue.

If any of you run into this, there’s a simple way to fix it in WordPress, go to Settings, then Permalinks, and change or enter something under “Category base”. Reload the page to make sure it takes effect, and then go back and change it to what it was before (or empty it if it was empty). Then refresh the page again, and it should work as expected.

The original post describing the issue is after the jump…

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Meta: New Price Charts series coming this week

It’s that time of the year again, and a new series of “Price Charts” will be posted this week. I have began the groundwork and these will be posted one a day starting with tomorrow. Please feel free to e-yell at me if I don’t 🙂

PS: if you want to get a feel of what to expect, check the Price Charts Archives with two sets of snapshots so far, mid-November 2015 and late-December 2014. The same categories will continue this year since there hasn’t been a dramatic change in the market. The longer and more reference-y posts will now go to the “main blog”, and the quick and time-sensitive posts will be here at the deals blog.

(ENDED) Meta Update: Win Re-Install, Possible Delays This Week

The Windows 10 update was successful…

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Meta: The Post Prime-Day Post-Mortem Post

This is a meta post, not an actual deal. It is the promised Post Prime-Day Post-Mortem Post, finally posted here 🙂 Please feel free to share your thoughts on Prime Day in the Comments!

Mapping the MAPs
With most of the major manufacturers going the way of MAP pricing, this presented a big opportunity for Rokinon/Samyang to offer a variety of different lenses for different mounts. With most of the bigger names sitting out, they got most of the Lensaholic attention, and getting people’s attention is half the battle for a not-as-well-known lens company.

Of what I spotted, there was the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens, the Sony a6000 two-lens kit late in the day, and a Nikon D3300 bundle that wasn’t sold by Amazon itself, but a Ritz Camera bundle. Among the fixed lens cameras, there was Ricoh Theta, a GoPro early morning bundle that got sold out before I woke up, and an action camera from the Kodak name holders.

The MAP thing, favored by most consumer electronics companies these days, also helped Amazon’s own products get more of the spotlight since more famous products from other manufacturers were not participating.

The Era of the Modest Doorbuster
Amazon has gotten way too big to offer really hot doorbusters. There are simply too many shoppers paying attention. Even on Prime Day, with a smaller percentage of shoppers participating, they still numbered in the many millions. Amazon increased the lifecycle of most lightning deals on Prime Day from the usual 4-hours to 6-hours.

Many of the offers were more of the pragmatic and utilitarian slow-burn kind. Sure, there were still offers that sold out quickly, offers that spent a lot of their lifecycle in Waiting List status, and there were some technical issues for some people earlier on. It was telling that coconut oil sold out faster than a lot of consumer electronics 🙂

Amazon had a bit of a twist this time. In addition to the customary Lightning Deals, they also offered a lot of “Add to Cart” offers where you got the discount by adding to cart, but there were no countdowns and no waiting lists, and the items did not get featured as prominently. Most people are trained to look for the Gold Box and Prime Day deals.

Their presentation and organization of things is getting better visually, it’s no longer just a long list of products. They’ve been struggling with this for many years. Some were a bit on the bloated size (unnecessarily giant images on bigger desktop monitors), but overall an improvement over previous years.

The Watching feature is finally getting more useful and featured more prominently, with reliable syncing between the various Amazon platforms, desktop web, mobile web, and apps.

The Problems
For whatever reason, Amazon decided to remove the ability to sort Lightning Deals by time (it used to be the default way) in the main Gold Box. This was great for power users. They instead replaced it by an algorithm hotness/trending type of a sorting mechanism. This is great for people who check in once a day, but why not keep the Date sorting as an option in the menu? They have options to sort by price, which is rather ridiculous when you are looking at thousands of deals of products of every possible kind.

With too many items featured, there was a bigger discoverability problem. You basically had to go through each department kicking the bushes looking for deals. For example, the 20% off book coupon was not mentioned anywhere except for the physical books pages.

With so many different spin-off services, some items become a pain to buy on Amazon. If you are looking for consumable type of items, there are as many as FIVE different separate ways to buy them. Yes, FIVE! The regular Amazon, Subscribe and Save, Prime Pantry, AmazonFresh, and PrimeNOW. Different services, with different prices and quantities at each one.

While they offered a no-strings-attached free 30-day trial for non-members, whenever you have an event where some people are not allowed to participate, it can consciously and/or subconsciously negatively influence the opinions of non-participants towards the service.

Meta Meta
Even though I was as productive as I could be covering Prime Day (absent cloning and/or army of minions), I still missed posting a number of good tech offers early in the day. A number of which got posted in the night wave when the camera and photo schedule madness finally slowed down.

There were fewer blog errors and typos and confusions than I would have expected for such a chaotic event. Or I didn’t notice them 🙂 The biggest goof was perhaps me accidentally starting a Kindle Unlimited subscription while trying to copy the url 🙂

The high-speed scrolling feature of the mouse proved to be the most useful technological thing in covering this. It was the best way to traverse the giant Situation Room post.

Speaking of which, according to WordPress, I revised that post 203 times 🙂


Tips for Prime Day

UPDATE: Prime Day is almost over but these tips are “reusable/recyclable” for both regular Lightning Deals and also the Holiday Shopping season…

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(ENDED) Heads Up: On Thursday, we Practice for Prime Day with Lightning Deals Situation Room

This experiment ended successfully…

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The Stock Status Tracking Page Returns!

With so many new cameras coming out in May 2016, this was a good time to bring back the Stock Status Tracking page as an experimental feature. Out of the gate it is covering the Pentax K-1, Nikon D5 and D500 and Canon 1D X II. If you would like to see any others cameras or sellers added, please leave a comment or use the online contact form.

Blog Update: Recent Comments widget added in the Sidebar

I just added a WordPress “Recent Comments” widget in the Sidebar of this blog so you can check the latest comments/opinions/corrections posted here.

I don’t want to add the more fancy third-party commenting systems since they add overhead and have their own tracking cookies and audience gathering data and such (which is probably why they are free for everyone to use).

I still have to figure out how to integrate the comment counter on the individual blog posts. The standard way of doing it with the Genesis theme would add a line to every single post and the posts need to get shorter (not longer) to make it easier for people skim and scan. In other words, I have to dive inside the Genesis theme to figure out how to do this and other theme-related things (or switch to a different theme). All options take brain-power and time, and I have neither 🙂

Poll & RFC: Do you find Fry’s Electronics Deal Posts Useful?

We have an opinion poll for you. Do you find the Fry’s Electronics deal posts useful? Most of their deals now are going through their email newsletters instead of having an “open source” weekly ad with various offers. They only have a small number of regional brick and mortar stores, so that reduces the percentage of our readers who have access to the stores. Also as one of regular readers pointed out a few days ago, they also mark as “online” offers that are “buy online pickup in-store”, which does not help the majority of our readers since Fry’s stores are only in a few cities/states.

If you have any answers that don’t fit the binary Yes/No, please leave a blog-comment or use the online contact form. The blog-comments are posted on the blog (unless you write in the comment “don’t publish it” or something along those lines – it has be clear enough for birdbrain me to understand it :)). Anything that is sent via email or the contact form is considered private (unless you indicate otherwise).

Things still quiet in the Amazon Gold Box

I am not quite sure how to post these updates, since lack of a post can either mean “no deal” or it could mean I didn’t get around to posting it, so this is a catch-all no-op type of a post, the Amazon Gold Box Lightning Deals continue to be very light compared to the Holiday Shopping season, both in terms of camera-and-photo items and overall. I will continue to monitor the situation. We are now in the Super Bowl to Valentines season, so the focus is more on salsa and bracelets 🙂

Buy 1 Holiday Wish, Get 1000 Holiday Wishes FREE

We have a brand new limited time promotion for you! Buy One Holiday Wish, Get 1000 Holiday Wishes FREE! Which is our clumsy way of saying Happy Holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Kwanza, Happy Hannukah, Happy Festivus, Season Greetings, Happy Saturnalia, FSM Day, and all the other holidays you celebrate from January 1st until December 31st every year!

Latest Deals Summary updated with Quick Jump Links

If you are following the updates intermittently or want to see a summary of the latest deals during the holiday shopping season, we have now added Quick Jump Links to the Camera Deals Situation Room so you can quickly jump to your product categories of potential interest without having to page-down and page-down. This was added partially because that post has gotten longer and longer.

Latest Deals Summary Updated/Pruned

The latest deals summary aka the Holiday Shopping Season Situation Room has been updated with new offers and at the same time, expired offers have been removed (I think I got them all, but the bigger it gets, the higher the chances of missing something). Expired offers are deleted from the post in order to keep readable and editable.

Latest Deals Summary Updated and Pruned (aka The Situation Room)

The Latest Deals summary, aka the Holiday Shopping Season Situation Room at the main blog has now been updated, with the expired Cyber Monday deals removed (I hope I caught them all), and today’s new offers added. The summary is intended to be an executive summary, not include every single offer mentioned here. I am trying hard to keep that summary post simple and readable. In previous years, by December 31st, it would be almost as long as War and Peace 😉

Summary of latest deals is at the Situation Room

Posts are flying fast and furious here during the holidays. If you want to quickly check a summary of the currently available offers, check the Holiday Deals Situation Room. It will keep going until the end of the year.

Alternately you can quickly check all recent posts here by using the Page links under the HOME button in the leftmost spot in the menu page. It has direct links to Pages #1 through #5. Open in new tab/window if you like, and peruse at your leisure.

There’s also the free full-text RSS feed, which also serves as a backup in case the website goes down (it is hosted by Feedburner, so it stays up even if this website is down).

One more note, a number of the offers are either for Cyber Monday specifically or were planned to expire at the end of day on Cyber Monday.

Camera Deals Situation Room launched at the Main Blog (aka Latest Deals Summary)

During the Black Friday, Cyber Monday and extended Holiday shopping period, deals (and posts here) fly at a much faster pace than usual. If you want an executive summary of the latest deals or if you are checking in intermittently, you can find some of the best deals currently available at the Holiday Deals Situation Room. Every year I vow to keep it simple and short, and every year it ends up becoming a big sprawl 🙂

A link to the new Situation Room has been added to the Sidebar of both this and the main blog under the “Black Friday Coverage” segment (which will change to Cyber Monday and Holiday Shopping eventually).

Another way to catch up with the latest updates here is to use the shortcut links under the “HOME” tab of the main menu here. They quickly take you to Pages #2 through #5 (eg open in background tab/window and digest them at your pace).

You can also catch up using the full-text RSS feed which also serves as a backup site in case the actual website goes down. The RSS feed is hosted by Feedburner, so it doesn’t depend on the website being up.

Update: Increased Number of Posts on Website and RSS

A quick note, I increased the number of posts shown on the front page of the blog to keep up with the increased volume of Black Friday postings and also increased the number of items to be shown in the RSS feed as we have been doing 20+ per day the last few days (and it’s only gonna get crazier). If any of these cause any issues technical or otherwise, please let me know in the comments or using the online contact form.

More Black Friday Ads are being digested (it continues)

The Black Friday Ad digest (going through them and pointing out the camera and photo related items) continues at the mega-post at the main blog with even more additions. There are still more retailers that are being added as we speak. So far the Nikon D3300 and the Canon D-Rebel T5 are appearing in many of the ads, and in our MAP-controlled world, they have the same prices everywhere.

In-Progress: digesting the various Black Friday Ads, looking for Camera and Photo offers

Now that we completed the Price Charts series we are climbing back on the Black Friday ad wagon, going through them and looking for camera and photo related items. This will continue in bursts in the next 24 hours or so. The newer ad digests will be added on top, and there’s also a “Latest Update” section giving updates. You can find them all in this sprawling Black Friday Ad Digest mega-post. A link to that is also included in the sidebar of this blog under the “IN PROGRESS” section, since it is … in-progress 🙂

Price Research: Fixed Lens Cameras Price Charts posted

Success! Our four-part Camera Price Charts series is now completed with the Fixed Lens Cameras price charts just posted on the main blog. You can find all of them in the Sidebar for future reference, or right below:

+ 35mm Full Frame Cameras
+ Mirrorless Price Charts
+ Fixed Lens Cameras Price Charts

Price Research: Mirrorless Price Charts now posted

The Price Charts party continues with the Mirrorless Price Charts just posted at the main blog. This covers all Mirrorless (non-RF) cameras with sensor sizes ranging from 1/2.x” to 35mmFF… If you want to quickly reference this (and the previous ones, the 35mm Full Frame Cameras and the APS-C dSLRs), you can also find links to them in the Sidebar of this blog.

Price Research: the APS-C dSLR Price Charts are out!

Episode II of our “Camera Price Charts” series is now published, taking a look at APS-C dSLR Prices as of today. Earlier this week we posted Episode I, tracking 35mm Full Frame Cameras… I added links to them in the Sidebar so you can quickly cross-reference them if needed…

Price Research: the 35mm Full Frame Price Charts

Silver lining of me procrastinating to do a new edition of the Camera Price Charts is that we have captured a fascinating pattern for 2015: most of the new 35mm full frame digital cameras released in 2015 filled the price-gap between $3000 and $5000 of 2014. What was a jump from the Nikon D810 to the Leica M-E is now filled with 2015 cameras. See the charts and discussion on the main blog’s new Camera Price Charts Episode 1: 35mm Full Frame… The rest of the charts are coming this week (DSLRs, Mirrorless, RAWsumers), hopefully one per day 🙂