Cameras are expensive, so finding the best DSLR camera deals is important. Luckily for consumers, major manufacturers like Nikon and Canon have rules in place to make finding the best deal easier.
Manufacturers Set DSLR Prices, Not Retailers
Most camera manufacturers (including Nikon and Canon) set the price that retailers must adhere to. If Amazon, B&H, or Adorama wish to continue to purchase directly from the manufacturer, they must follow these rules.
The Best DSLR Camera Deal or The Best Price?
Retailers may attempt to lure customers in from their competition by bundling accessories with cameras. You pay the set price for the camera, and they might throw in a free camera backpack, tripod, or several of these items.
Often, these bundles are excess inventory items and probably not the best choice for each option. But, they can be good for absolute beginners who aren’t sure they will stick with photography or filmmaking as a hobby.
The Old School Retailers
When I was getting started in photography, B&H and Adorama were the only ‘reputable’ online retailers. That is to say, they were better than others – but not great. Availability of product, shipping costs, and customer service were always concerns. While the first two have improved, customer service has not.
There are plenty of recent customer service horror stories for these companies to warrant pause. Customer service is still run like a mom-and-pop shop instead of a major retailer that puts customers first. Most retailers have figured out that customer-centric policies make sense.
They make policies based on the 98% of honest customers, not the 2% that may take advantage of you. Thus, they make returns, mistakes, backorders, and checking order status as easy as possible.
As an example, if B&H ships you the wrong product, they want you to take pictures of the product and ship it back to them before they ship you what they were supposed to send you in the first place.
This minimizes their risk, of course – and puts their business ahead of customer needs. They will continue to lose market share as long as there are others providing a better customer experience.
Amazon For The Win
We’ve used Amazon for nearly all of our equipment in the last few years. Occasionally, we’ll get lucky and find a good deal on craigslist or facebook marketplace. But, for the most part, Amazon is our go-to place for DSLR camera deals. Here’s why:
- Customer Service – Amazon doesn’t play games with customer service. Every time I’ve had a problem (which is rare) they go above and beyond to make sure it’s corrected.
- Free 2-day shipping with Prime – Prime members get expedited shipping at no cost. Other retailers tend to have free standard shipping, but a much higher price for expedited shipping. Normally when I buy camera gear I want it ASAP. Same day delivery may be available from Amazon in some markets.
- In-Stock Items – Amazon has lots of fulfillment centers, so products are more likely to be in stock.
- Used Items – Amazon’s marketplace offers a variety of used options on nearly every product. This is great for someone looking for an inexpensive full-frame upgrade, a backup camera, a 2nd lens for two-camera work, etc. We’ve bought several used items from Amazon and everything has worked flawlessly.