34 posts categorized "ideas"

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Strategery: starting a 30 day Amazon Prime Free Trial now

If you are/were interesting in giving Amazon Prime a try but kept procrastinating, this is perhaps a great time to start a 30-day free trial, as it will cover the Black Friday Week and most of the Holiday shopping season which features more potentially interesting lightning deals than usual. With Prime, you don't have to worry that an order is under $35 and won't get free shipping. You get free 2-day shipping on orders shipped or fulfilled by Amazon warehouses. Some sub-$5 items that are part of the new Add-On program and items shipped by marketplace/3rd-party/individual sellers don't get free Prime shipping.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Reading Material: on buying Used or New Gear

While assembling the latest Opinion Soup round-up, we found one post that is definitely of interest to camera shoppers reading this blog, a practical detailed article on what to look for when evaluating Used or New gear by Ming Thein.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Ideas: selling your gadgets online (The Verge)

If you are not an expert at buying/selling used/pre-owned camera gear, The Verge has published a general-interest post on selling your gadgets online. This is a general-interest post, not camera-centric, but most of today's cameras are filed under consumer electronics/gadgets. This might also be of interest if you are a buyer - so you can get a better understanding of what a seller is going through during the selling process.

On the other hand, if you don't have the time/interest/energy to maximize/optimize the returns, but instead prefer a more hassle-free approach, you can sell/trade them at B&H Photo.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Ideas: Photography titles to spend Kindle w/Special Offers $3 Video On Demand credit

If you have a Kindle with Special Offers eInk hardware device, turn on your device, connect to the internets and check your Special Offers. One of them gives you a $3 Video On Demand credit. You must claim this offer on the Kindle eInk hardware device by May 6, 2012, and use the $3 credit by June 6, 2012. You can watch the video wherever Amazon Video On Demand works on (web browsers, desktop computer application, Tivo, Roku, smart HDTVs, BluRay players, Kindle Fire, etc)

This turned out to be a long post, more after the break...

Continue reading "Ideas: Photography titles to spend Kindle w/Special Offers $3 Video On Demand credit" »

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Strategery: look for clearance specials at brick and mortar

The retail world is in-between the end of the back to school sales and the start of the holiday shopping season. This is often a time where some brick and mortar stores try to clear out their inventory to make room for the holiday shopping season line-up. So this may be a good time to check what items they may have on clearance. And if you find something of interest on clearance, it may not be a bad idea to see if you can negotiate a bundle discount, especially if you are buying multiple items. Once they put items on clearance, they have already mourned the lo$$e$, so they now just want to get rid of them and free up space.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Strategery: potential for end of quarter discounts

Most retailers use the calendar quarters to report their financial results. September 30 is the end of the third quarter for companies using a calendar year quarter. With the economy being soft, and retailers wanting to boost their sales numbers, the end of the quarter may be a good time to offer more aggressive discounts. This of course is by no means guaranteed, but it is something to keep an eye out for. This applies to publicly-traded retailers. Privately-owned retailers do not have to play the quarterly song and dance game.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Last minute gift idea: Online Gift Cards with email or print-at-home delivery

Looking for a last minute gift idea to save the day if you don't want to brave the cold and the crowds at the malls? How about online gift cards that you can either send by email or you can print on your own home printer, or even send through Facebook? You can do that with Amazon.com online gift cards.

Speaking of Amazon, you can now send MP3 albums as gifts, and today they are offering their top 10 albums of 2010 for $4 each. Use one-time-use coupon GIVEMP3S to get a $2 off (coupon is a $2 credit to your account, you can use it on any mp3 music purchase). They are also offering 1000 MP3 albums for $5 each.

If you prefer free, Amazon has 160+ free mp3 samplers (the top two lines have not been released yet).

Adorama has also launched emailable gift cards, however there is no delivery estimate given on their website, so if you are making a time-sensitive purchase, you may want to contact their customer service first. I made a small test purchase that has not arrived yet (about 2hrs 50min ago).

Friday, December 10, 2010

American Express launches new $50/year, 180-day return protection service

American Express has launched a new (at least new to me) service that for $50 per year gives you extended protection on purchases. Think of it as insurance policy perhaps. Their page does a poor job of explaining exactly what's covered. Maybe they cut/pasted it from a previous program since they prominently feature ...Videotapes and ...Audiotapes. Digital cameras are not listed in the "What's Covered" section but the first paragraph mentions them explicitly. If you are not sure, be sure to contact AMEX to get an explicit clarification before signing up for it. We do not know any more than what is written on the above pages. This is discussed/via the Fat Wallet forums.

According to AMEX's "How to Use" section, if you have an unsatisfactory item that the merchant you purchased from will not take back, AMEX will take it as a return and refund up to $600 per item plus up to $20 in return shipping fees. You must initiate this process within 180 days of purchasing the item! Maximum benefits are $2500 in prodcut refunds and $100 in shipping refunds per year.

With this program, you don't have to be an American Express cardmember and you don't have to use an American Express card to pay for the items. AMEX already has a similar program for current AMEX cardholders.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Ideas: Pay for Amazon purchases with AMEX Membership Points (0.7x exchange rate)

If you are an American Express card member participating in the Membership Rewards points program and you are looking for ways to spend your accumulated points, there is a new option these days - you can use your accumulated AMEX Membership Points to pay for your Amazon purchases! You can read the FAQ of this promotion at Amazon.com.

Continue reading "Ideas: Pay for Amazon purchases with AMEX Membership Points (0.7x exchange rate)" »

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Meta-advice from Hogan on buying camera gear

Thom Hogan has a new commentary on his website dated July 20, 2010, and entitled "Buy the Best You Can Afford" where he talks, on a meta-level, about buying camera gear, prioritizing, and thinking things through. This is not an article about buying camera X over Y, but rather, it approaches things from a meta, or buying-process level. If you are reading this at a later date, look for it in his 2010 Archives under July 20.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Thom Hogan on buying Gray/Import gear

Thom Hogan has a new update on his website dated June 24, 2010 (look for it in his Archives if reading at a later date) that discusses buying gray/import cameras and lenses, and suggests when it may be a good idea to do so, and when it may not be a prudent idea to do so.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Father's Day instant gift: Amazon electronic gift certificates

If you are struggling to decide what to get for Father's Day, there is a quick and easy solution to the problem, electronic Amazon gift certificates. You can either have them delivered via email, or print the gift certificate immediately on your printer and put it in an envelope or gift basket and hand-deliver it.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Father's Day Gift Ideas: ASUS sale, OneCall Gift Guide, Dell 48-hour sale

We round-up some specials that also happen to be potentially good gift ideas for Father's Day, whether you are buying for a father, grandfather, or yourself! We start with the ASUS computer sale at Buy.com. It features ASUS laptops with the new Core i7/i5/i3 processors (15.6" or 17" screens), along with 10-inch netbooks. The sale ends June 5.

If Dad is a Canon (D)SLR user, you can't go wrong with the 50mm f1.8 lens for around $103. It's bang for the light buck you can't get even the with L-lenses *hides under desk*

Next up, OneCall has prepared a Gift Guide of brand-name consumer electronics for the tech-savvy dad. And if you have questions about these or want to ask for a better price, especially if buying multiple items, you can call their toll-free number 1.888.499.4795

But you don't have to break the bank for a gift - for example, for $25 with free shipping you can get this solid and super-compact mp3 player, the 4GB Sandisk Clip. This is ideal for podcasts and audiobooks. [SOLD OUT]

Dell has an on-going 48 hour sale focusing on monitors and HDTVs. The sale ends at 5:55am CST on Thursday June 3.

For the early-adopter gadget-geek Dad who loves to talk to everyone about his latest gadget, there's the Canon SD4000 IS shipping for $350. Then everyone in the neighborhood and the office will know about backlit CMOS sensors :)

And for the scifi geek dad, you can get him the complete Babylon 5 TV series on DVD for $100 ($20 per season). This special price is only good for Wednesday at Amazon.

And we saved the most complicated for last - for around $134 to $140, you can get Dad the Panasonic BD-65 BluRay player at Amazon. But that's not all. Amazon includes your choice of three free BluRay movies (out of about 50), and a $5 Amazon Video On Demand credit when you activate the BluRay player with Amazon Video on Demand. And there's more - if you also bought or buy Avatar, there is a $25 mail-in rebate in the Avatar DVD or BluRay box when you get a qualifying Panasonic BluRay player (which this one is) before July 10 or so.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Valentine's tech-gadget gift ideas under $100

How long do roses last? A $10 watch call tell time nearly as well as a $200 watch. Jewelry is so tacky and passe. Why not buy your techie-valentine something practical they can use and have fun? Here we have tech-gadgets under $100 that your Valentine can actually have fun using, instead of putting in a vase and throwing out a few days later :)

If your Valentine is an Apple fan, then for $69 $63, you can get them the Apple Magic Mouse. The stock-status at Amazon is all over the place, so this may change by the time you read this.

Does your Valentine like to digitally scribble? If yes, there are two hot gadgets under $100 at the Amazon Electronics store: The Wacom Bamboo Pen and Touch Fun Small Tablet for $85 with free shipping, and the Genius MousePen 8 x 6-Inch Graphic Tablet for $53, which includes a computer mouse.

This is a tiny little mp3 player that is flying under the radar and could make an affordable and practical gift. Especially if your Valentine has or uses microSD memory cards. It is the Sandisk Sansa Clip Plus, available in different on-board memory configurations. Please note only the "Plus" models have a microSD slot. The non-Plus Clips do not have a memory-card slot. The Sansa Clip Plus was selected as the mp3 player of 2009 at Anything But iPod.

Now for the computer-geeks, for under $30 and with free shipping, you can get/gift the Logitech Trackman Wheel (Optical). This has over 500 reviews with a 4+/5 rating.

Next up, if you are feeling retro about music, but don't want to break the bank with a vinyl record player, for $50 you can get the Jensen 3-Speed Stereo Turntable, with AM/FM Stereo Radio, model JTA-220. It has a rating of four of five stars with 25 customer reviews.


Saturday, December 26, 2009

Shopping strategy session: Clearance, discounts, and CES/PMA

Now that the Holiday shopping season is winding down, we are entering a new clearance and new-release cycle. Already some retailers have began advertising their after Christmas Day sales. With CES 2010 tipping off in early January 2010, we are bound to get a new wave of digital cameras, mostly point and shoot models. We had a total of 48 new digital cameras in January 2009, so we should expect similar "excitement" this year.

From a shopping perspective, this typically means that the previous/older models will get further discounted, some will be put on clearance, some will actually be good deals, while others will aimlessly wander around until they run out of stock. For some buyers, the good bang for the buck deals are hard to resist. Why wait and pay $400 for the 2010 TZ-series model, when you can get the 2009 model for under $250 right now?

Others would much rather have the latest model as soon as possible, and don't mind waiting for the tests + release and paying full price. Or perhaps waiting a few more weeks/months until it starts getting discounted.

After the initial burst of new cameras at CES 2010, there will be a continuous parade of new cameras until the end of February. PMA 2010 will take place in late February 2010 in Southern California. We may (or may not) have a break in the action after PMA, and then things will pick up again leading up to Photokina 2010 in September.

This will mean more discounts and clearance, and also more new temptations...

So here are some action items:

1) Of the current compact (fixed-lens) cameras, identify which models pique your interest and research them - that way if you happen to find them at a clearance sale, you can make the decision quickly

2) Do an inventory of your lenses and see what you want, what you need, and what would be nice to have. Lenses are not typically fluctuating in prices as much as cameras, but you never know. A few days ago one of the Pentax 28-80mm FA-J lenses was going for $40.

3) Do some camera-system soul searching - are you tempted or curious by Micro Four Thirds? Another mount you currently don't have any gear for? Have a bag of golden oldie lenses of a particular mount but not a dSLR for them? Identity all these, and create a snapshot in your mind of the current DSLRs/M43rds cameras. Further research ones that may sound potentially interesting. So if/when you happen to spot a good deal, you should be able to make a quicker decision (eg before it sells out). For example, two years ago, the Samsung GX-10 with kit lens (Pentax K10D) was cleared out at under $350. At the time, that was a huge discount. So you never know...

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Consumer Reports announces their December Electronics ratings

Consumer Reports has announced the release of their December Consumer Electronics special edition, which among other things includes ratings for consumer electronics products and retailers. The detailed reports are available for subscribers or buyers of the print editions.

As part of the above announcement, CR offers six common-sense tips for consumer-electronics shoppers as Black Friday is just around the corner. A value-added press release! Who knew press releases could be useful :)

Please keep in mind that their camera reviews and testing are targeting the average consumer, they are not intended to be replacements for dpreview et al. They explain their testing in this short video.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Opinion: Are refurbished camera gear good buys?

Photofocus tries to answer the question that keeps coming up in forums and in the blogs, is refurbished safe to buy and under what circumstances? Read on to find out what they think and what they experienced.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A used Leica M6 is the ultimate depreciation stopper?

One of the banes of high tech, and digital cameras is, that just like cars, the moment you press "order" you start losing "value" in your new purchase. Granted, you are not buying a camera for the same reasons you are buying a stock or a financial investment, however, nobody likes to see what they bought drop in value day by day.

So, the Online Photographer has a suggestion for those who do not want to lose any value from their gear: Used Leicas!

That's right, they may cost a lot (even used) to get into, but when you resell, you can recoup your initial payment, and if you are business-savvy (or lucky), even make a profit. Of course you still have to pay for film and film development because the digital Leicas are still too expensive to buy used, and an unknown in terms of long-term resale value...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Tips on high-demand camera-shopping at Amazon

If you are not a grizzled Amazon shopper, you may want to check this new post at Serious Compacts, where you can get some nice tidbits when buying or pre-ordering a high-demand camera at Amazon. As you know, during the initial rush, things can get a little crazy, so knowing what to do (or what not to do) can help get the camera faster to you.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Sony Alpha users: Saving money with M42 lenses

AlphaTracks has posted a nice write-up for Sonoltans on how to save money by using older M42 lenses on your Sony and Minolta DSLRs. There are trade-offs to doing this, and AlphaTracks does a pretty good job of going through them. However, please note that this is not for everybody, certainly not for the AutoFocus-only crowd.




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