Camera Crazy

Before we got our Sony Cyber-shot DSC-P73 last December, I’ve had my eye on the Olympus C-765 for the longest time. It has everything I wanted in a digital camera and more. It’s compact, could record movies with sound and more importantly, has 10x optical zoom. What’s not to like? Well, the price. It was selling at around 700+ then and our budget only allows for a camera with a price tag of $500 or less. So we settled on the Sony DSC-P73 – it’s small, uses AA batteries, got good reviews and was selling within our price range, retailing at $397.

But did that stop my lustful looks at the Olympus camera everytime we go to an electronic shop? Heck, no. In fact, I even told Gabriel I’d like to buy it come June (when all the stores would be doing their stocktake/inventory sale). Don’t get me wrong, the Sony camera takes decent photos and I like the fact that it could fit into my jacket pocket and let me take photos everywhere I go. Still, it’s not a sin to pine away at the one that got away, is it?

Well, it took a trip to the Werribee Open Range Zoo for Gabriel to finally see the merit of having a camera with 10x optical zoom. Most of the photos we took had too much background and too little animals in them because they were simply too far away. He muttered, a camera with a better zoom definitely. Yay!

Several days after that trip, I did some research on the internet on the best cameras around with better zoom capabilities. I briefly considered getting digital SLRs but the price was too steep and I can’t imagine lugging all that equipment around everyday so I went back to looking for compact cameras with at least 10x zoom. The shortlist consisted of Canon’s Powershot S1 IS, Panasonic FZ5 and the C-765’s higher end cousin, Olympus c-770. The Canon one was quickly eliminated from that list since only a few stores stock it and is in the same price as the Olympus C-770. I flip-flopped between the Panasonic and Olympus ones because they both had wonderful reviews. Panasonic is a 5 MP camera with 12x zoom with image stabiliser selling at about $700 to $750
while Olympus is a 4 MP camera with 10x zoom with no image stabiliser retailing at $599 to $699. Price and feature-wise, I thought the Olympus is a better fit. I asked Gabriel which one he liked better, he looked at online sample photos and said that he liked the photos taken with the Olympus one better (I should have known, he has a long standing preference towards Olympus). “Parang mas maganda ang mundo pag Olympus ang gamit (The world looks better through an Olympus),” he claimed. He was talking from experience, with good consistent good photos taken from our Olympus film camera and my old Olympus C-960 Zoom camera.

So last week we started browsing at electronic and camera shops, hoping to find the best bargain for a new Olympus c-770. We first went to Myer, where it was priced at $699. Next, we went to Elizabeth Street’s Camera Action shop. The place was busy and Gabriel quickly approached a guy manning the counter and asked how much the Olympus C-770 is. The man glanced at the brochures I was clutching and asked, “What’s the best price you’ve been offered?” To which I answered, $699. Which isn’t exactly true as we haven’t negotiated a price with anyone yet, we just looked at the price tag and walked away prior to this. Anyway, the guy posed a question to us again, “When are you planning to buy?” Uh oh, we’ve been put on the spot now because we haven’t really discussed when we’d be buying exactly. We’re thinking of buying when we get a good deal, there was really no set date by which we absolutely had to buy.

So even I was surprised when I said, “Oh, early next week.” To which he answered, “Ok, I’ll could sell it to you for $579.” I hope we didn’t look too shocked, I mean the guy just dropped the price without us really trying to haggle for it. I asked if we could have a look at a demo unit and he obliged. He wasn’t like most salesmen who’d talk a mile a minute while you examine the product, he just asked, why not buy now? To which we both answered, we don’t have the money yet. Not really true since we plan on buying on credit anyway but that would give us time to think it over and perhaps get a better deal elsewhere. He gave us his card and we thanked him.

When we got out of the store, Gabriel and I were puzzling over why the price at the Camera Action guy just quoted was more than $100 less. We even thought he misheard the price I quoted or perhaps he thought we were after a lower-end model? But no, the demo unit I got my hands on was definitely a C-770 and we both heard him say $579. What’s up with that? It wasn’t until we visited the Ted’s camera store across the street that we understood. The Olympus C-770 is selling for $599 at Ted’s. I guess he realised we’d be going across the street after visiting their shop that he thought he’d just quote a lower price than that of the competition. That way, we might not even try to negotiate with Ted’s anymore and just go back to him. Hmmm… nice strategy!

We visited several shops during the weekend and the prices of the same model in other stores doesn’t even come near the price that Camera Action guy gave us. Almost all that is, except for Dick Smith. The store was advertising the same model for $599 but most shops here would try to beat a competitor’s price if you tell them the best offer you got so we approached a salesperson and asked her if she could give us a better deal. She said she would match the price and give us a discount on the price of the memory card as well if buy both the camera and the memory at their store.

We indicated our interest and approached the glass case where the memory cards were stored. There weren’t any 512 MB memory cards in the case and she went to the back of the store to check if they have any more in stock. When she came back, she told us the lowest they could sell the camera to us would be for $577 and she’d give us $10 off the price of the 256 MB memory card (they’re fresh out of 512 MBs). And there’s one more hitch, they’re also out of stock of C-770s, the only one left is the one on display. We approached the demo unit and inspected it. The lens was left open and there were dozens of fingerprints on it, it looks okay but I was a bit wary of manhandled goods. She was trying to convince us that the unit has never been turned on and that it’s almost as good as new. We said we’ll think it over and thanked her, she was quite gracious about it.

Yesterday, we went back to Camera Action, approached the guy we talked to last week and told him we’re ready to buy the camera from him. He seemed to remember us and gave us a $10 discount on the 512 MB memory card we bought with our new Olympus C-770. He also said that we would receive a V.I.P. card in the post from Camera Action in about 2 weeks and we’d could print 50 photos for free. I imagine it’s for ordinary sized ones but hey, it’s free! Ain’t that a good deal?

Making the purchase made us think about what to do with the Sony digicam now, we certainly don’t want to hold on to it like we did with Gabriel’s first digital camera (
Kodak DC3200) or my first digital camera (Olympus C-960 Zoom) so we’re selling it off. Hope we find a new home for it soon and still get a good price for it. In the meantime, I think I’ll have a bit of fun fiddling with our shiny C-770 and plan where we could go to test it on the weekend.

Published in: on May 31, 2005 at 12:23 pm  Leave a Comment