Buying a Digital Camera in Hong Kong

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My trusty digital camera died last month. I used it regularly for taking photos of ToddlerB, and photos for this site, so I wanted to buy a replacement ASAP. As an update on the price differences described previously, here is a range of local prices for a Canon Digital Ixus 40.

I started at Fortress in Sheung Wan, where you'll get the official (and lucky!) list price of HK$2,880.

Next I asked the nearby Citicall on Queen Victoria Street, who quoted HK$2,730, and on the same street asked at Wah Kiu which quoted HK$2,600. The comparison is not exact, as Citicall included 2 x 128Mb memory cards, while Wah Kiu only offered 1 x 128Mb.

Canon include a 16Mb card in the box, which is good enough to prove the camera works, but not much else). I'd already decided that a) I wanted a much larger card, and b) that I'd buy a fast SD card so I can use it for recording videos. So the bundled cards above useless as they were too small, and probably the slowest they could get away with.

A day or so later I was in Wanchai and visited the 298 Computer arcade on Hennessy Road in Wanchai. The shop I am most familar with quoted HK$2,530, but then I was quoted HK$2,460 at another shop on the same floor. Both prices were for the basic camera with the bundled 16Mb card. I stuck with the cheaper shop, and added a 1Gb card and a spare (clone) battery, for a total of HK$3,290.

All the above prices included the official local warranty, so there was no difference in reliability of buying from the different shops.

In 298, both shops also offered grey-market imports ("soei faw" in Cantonese), which would save another HK$330. However their shop warranty has a 7-week turnaround in case of problems, and only lasts as long (1 year) as the official warranty, I decided to stick with the official version. (Again as mentioned in the longer article, if you are a visitor buying to take it home with you, the official HK warranty is probably meaningless to you anyway. In that case the cheaper the better.)

I've had the new camera for a couple of weeks now, and love it. When I bought the previous camera, I'd decided that I'd sacrifice features and lens quality for something I could easily carry in my trouser pocket. That way I'd be likely to use it a lot more. The first one I bought was an earlier Digital Ixus model, and I was very happy with it.

The new Ixus 40 is thinner, but still very solidly built. It has twice the resolution (4 megapixels instead of 2), better functionality, screen and user interface. I'd happily recommend it if you are looking for a digital camera.

I did wonder about reliability for a while, thinking that my first Canon had died after only 3 years and six months. I was comparing it with older 35mm film cameras that seemed to last forever. But then the Canon had had a fairly rough life, and I'd taken over 6,000 photos with it, so I figure that three and a half years life is acceptable.

The other thing that I've been pondering is how these new cameras and low memory prices will affect video camera sales. This little camera will take around ten minutes of reasonable quality video on the 1Gb memory card - similar quality to watching a VCD I guess. Given that I'm just catching moments of ToddlerB's life rather than making a movie, the camera seems to be doing just fine. It will be interesting to see how often our video camera gets used over the next twelve months.

MrB

Re:Buying a Digital Camera in Hong Kong

I recently bought a dSLR along Stanley Street in Central.

It's the Canon 350D that's been plastered all over the TV recently taking photos of ski jumping.

There are four camera shops along that street. The 1st one (at no.6) totally put me off. Didn't even face me when asking the price of some equipment. The last one along the street eventually got my business. They even persuaded me not to buy too many items until I was really sure of my requirements.

That meant going back every few days to pick up more stuff.

The prices there are low for an official Canon dealer. The famous shop in Mongkok was actually more expensive.

I bought the dSLR becuase I got totally fed up with the little point and shot which didn't take the picture when I pressed the button (delayed response). The breaking point was at my 3 year old's birthday party when many potential memorable moments were lost. :cry:

hi, I saw your story on the

hi, I saw your story on the net, Ive to go in Hong Kong in few days, where do you suggest me to go to buy the Canon 350D (or in other words Rebel XT)?? I want to buy a SLR and I know that over there it is cheaper but where? could you help me?
thanks a lot
Andrea

Where to buy a digital camera in Hong Kong

Based on the previous message from flickserve, it looks like Stanley Street in Central would be a good place to compare prices for digital SLR's at several shops in a relatively small area. Stanley Street is easy to get to - you can find it at http://www.ypmap.com/en/viewer.asp?mapService=LocationMap if you haven't been there before.

MrB

One year on, the 350D has

One year on, the 350D has given some really good photos of the children. Priceless in fact. Made me wish I'd bought a DSLR even earlier.

I've noticed a pattern in parental behaviour and DSLRs at children's events.

The guys handle the DLSRs, the wives handle the videocam and the subjects are still the kids!!

I have noticed a weakness of the 350D - the AF doesn't track children all that well. Another one is the 3 frame per second feature - it doesn't get a good sequence for a faster moving object (despite the advertisment's claims).

I'm seriously thinking of trading in the 350D and moving to the 30D. (next model up)

Hong Kong price for Canon Ixus 800 (aka SD 700 Digital Elph)

Here's an update after showing a visitor around Wanchai this weekend to check out prices on a new digital camera.

Store Price Discount
Fortress $3,280
Wanchai Computer Centre $3,110 5%
298 Hennessy Road $3,240 1%

I'm not sure if Fortress have got a lot more aggressive on their prices? Or maybe as this is a new model there is not so much margin for the smaller stores to play with. In any case the Fortress price is much better than in previous comparisons.

Fortress are currently selling the camera with a free bundle including case, extra battery, 1Gb SD card,and a tripod. I've included the cost of the 1Gb card & extra battery in the WCC & 298 prices above, but left out the case & tripod. If those are important to you, there's no reason not to just take the easy option and buy at Fortress.

MrB

PS these are display prices, before any haggling.

Ixus 800

I should add that the Family Tall bought an Ixus 800 last month. We searched Yau Shing Building (see more about Yau Shing here, and although we got several offers of prices below HKD3,000, none of these deals included the extra battery and SD card, both of which we wanted. So we just went to Fortress instead, since their overall deal was the best.

We're extremely happy with the camera itself so far. It seems like a very good product.

IXUS 800 at Fortress

Thanks for the info.
I wanna buy a CanonI XUS 800 as well and it turns out that I fly to HK in the next couple of weeks.
I've been checking out Fortress's website but the camera is not on it. Do you think I'll be able to find it in any store or do I need to go to some special location? I usually shop on Kowloon, the store not too far away from the waterfront.
Thanks for replying
Alex

IXUS 800: just about anywhere

Hi Alex;

I would be surprised if you failed to find that model in just about any camera shop in HK. You should have no problem finding it in any Fortress.

Mr Tall

Hong Kong price for Canon Ixus 800 (aka SD 700 Digital Elph)

Price has dropped even further. List price in Fortress was HKD3,080 last week. They even gave me an additional HKD100 off (ie HKD2,980 for the camera), but then I did go for an additional high-speed 2GB SD card (HKD370) and additional 2 years warranty (HKD 330). They also gave me a case, extra battery, film to cover the LCD display, a USB memory card reader, and a mini tripod.

buying IXUS 800 in Japan

Hey guys,

I want to buy an IXUS 800, and I'm visiting both Hong Kong and Tokyo in the upcoming weeks. Where do you guys think I should buy it?

Buying in Japan has the additional advantage of the camera being "made in Japan," for whatever it's worth. What do you think?

Go for whichever is cheaper

Go for whichever is cheaper I guess, since it doesn't look like you're bothered about warranties.

Also if you don't speak the local language of the country you are buying it from, make sure you can get English-language copies of the software & manuals from the shop that sells it to you (or check beforehand that you can download them from Canon's website). Also get the shop to set the camera's menus to English before you leave.

MrB

How much

How much did you pay for the canon 350D?

Hong Kong price for Canon 400D dSLR

A friend recently bought one of these for his holiday to Africa. He says he ended up buying in the 'Kinephoto' shop on Stanley Street. Here are the different prices he was quoted (prices in HK$, for camera body only):

Store Price Discount
Fortress $6,100
Wanchai Computer Centre $5,880 3.6%
Kinephoto $5,700 6.5%

MrB

This is the shop I usually

This is the shop I usually buy my stuff from. I find them very amenable.

Last purchase was a Canon 30D. Great camera!

Compact or SLR?

Hi Flickserve, just curious to know if you use a compact as well, or only SLR? I'm a mostly happy Ixus user. It lives in my pocket, so I can take quick shots just about anywhere, and I use the movie option a lot too for our kids.

But... the pictures from my friend's SLR look great. If I bought one I'm not sure if I'd use it - or end up just leaving it at home and still using the Ixus because it is more convenient. Any thoughts?

MrB

compact camera

Wise concerns.

It depends what you are comfortable with. Men are more likely to lug the weight of an SLR around the neck.

There are of course, special moments like the school play or sports events which are almost impossible to get good photos of with a pocket camera. SLRs all the way here.

If you are satisfied with the Ixus, stay with it. We were not satisfied with the compacts because of the quality of pictures from those special events. Blurred pictures, lots of grain, missed expressions occurred.

Having said that, we are going to buy a new compact. If it's someone else's party a compact is fine and very convenient for the informal pictures. If you have a number of special events, hmm, I'd suggest the SLR.

Sometimes I just go down to the playground and take pictures of the kids using the SLR. It's just to get good, clear photos of them running and climbing around at different stages of their lives.

Borrowing someone's SLR, using it and then viewing on your home computer would be one way of testing it out.

SLR

Thanks for the input. I hadn't thought about it like that, but you're absolutely right. The time we get the worst photos are usually those special events - school events for our eldest daughter, where we're not specially close and the light is poor.

It would make sense to have the better camera which we can bring along as we know in advance we'll need it. Then keep the compact for everything else.

Time to take a look at some cameras!

Thanks & regards, MrB

EOS 400D

would you know how much is the EOS 400D now in HK with the lense kit? im planning to ask a friend who is going there next week to buy for me. Thanks

DSLR

Hi there,

Together with brands like Canon, Pentax, Olympus, the newly available Nikon D40 X kit is also among the best buys. The feature of this D40 X is comparable to the Canon 400D. The kit is selling out there at around $6180.-

T

Hong Kong price: Canon Ixus 850 IS (aka SD 800 IS Digital Elph)

I must have tempted fate, as less than a week after writing I was 'a mostly happy Ixus user' above, the camera died!

I've stayed with Canon, but bought a model from the slightly larger family, the Ixus 850 IS (aka SD 800 IS Digital Elph). Having seen how close the prices have got, I didn't spend much time comparison shopping, but just visited these three shops. They are all in the same area, and from previous shopping expeditions they have fair prices. Here are the prices they quoted, all in HK$:

Store Price Extras
Fortress, Queens Rd Central $2,980 1Gb SD Card, Extra battery, mini-tripod, case, scratch-protector for screen
Wah Kiu, Queen Victoria St $2,780 1Gb SD Card
Kinefoto, Stanley Street $2,700  

The differences in the prices match the price of the extras on offer, so which you'd choose depends on whether you want the extras or not. I think it's safe to say if you're visiting on a holiday and know you want to buy a compact digital camera, head along to the nearest Fortress store and buy it there. The differences in price have become so small it's hard to justify spending much holiday time walking around stores comparing prices.

The Fortress sticker price is $3,080, but they knocked off $100 without prompting. The extras they include are great if you'll use them. When we had visitors a couple of weeks back I took them along to Fortress to get exactly this bundle.

I bought from Kinefoto, as I wanted to make my own package:

  • No SD card. I'd recently bought a 2GB SD card, so didn't need the extra. (The Toshiba Class 4 cards seem cheap at the moment, and are fast enough to take video with the camera. A 2Gb card costs just $129 in Wanchai Computer Centre. Don't bother with the faster Class 6 cards that the salesman will say you need.)
  • Proper screen protector. The LCD screen on my last camera broke twice, and ended up costing almost as much as a new camera to repair.  Then I bought a 'da protector' perspex screen protector, and had no further screen problems. This camera gets a da protector too, so hopefully there'll be never be any need to pay for a new LCD. They don't yet list a version for this camera, but their custom 59 x 43mm cut fits fine, and only costs $66 including shipping from the US. (That's HK$66). The 'protector' in the Fortress bundle is a thin film that sticks over the screen. Ok to stop minor scratches, but it won't prevent bumps from cracking the screen.
  • Canon battery. The extra battery offered by Fortress is a 3rd-party brand, something like the 'Goki' brand I bought for my last camera. "After all", I thought, "a battery's a battery." But after two years of alternating between them, the Canon battery that came with the camera still holds its charge as well as when it was new. The Goki got worse and worse over time, and after two years only takes around a third the photos the Canon battery can before needing a recharge. If you are an occasional user you probably won't notice much change, but if you recharge often this gets annoying. So this time I bought an extra Canon NB-5L battery for $240 at Kinefoto ($300 at Fortress).
  • Extended warranty. I took an extra 2-years warranty from Canon ($700) to have a total 3-years warranty. I usually don't bother with extened warranties, but I found that the Canon's mechanical parts can jam relatively easily (the infamous E18 error you'll find on many internet forums). Unlikely a problem for occasional users, but if the camera lives in your pocket every day(even in a case) and accompanies you to the beach, eventually some bit of dirt or sand will jam the works. The warranty should have me covered for fixing that.
  • No case. Got that already.

So far I'm happy with the camera, and the improvements that it gives over my old camera:

  • Sharper photos and movies. I think this is due to the Optical Image stabilisation, which this camera has but my previous did not.
  • I can zoom while taking a movie. Hurrah! It's only digital zoom, not optical. Still it's great to have.
  • Wider angle (zoom is 28-105mm vs 35 - 105mm). It's helped a couple of times when taking photos of groups when there is limited space.
  • Extra pixels. The extra resolution (7 vs 4 Mpixels) has been useful when cropping some photos recently. I'm not sure I'd bother with more than 7Mpixels - but that's what I thought when I made the jump from 2 to 4Mp!
  • Faster downloads to the PC. USB 2.0 at last, making downloading photos and movies much faster.

The only downside is that the Ixus X00 models are bigger than the X0 models. I previously had an Ixus 40. If I'd stayed with that family of cameras I'd have bought an Ixus 70. The wide-angle zoom and image stabilisation swayed me to choose the 850, but it's about as large as I'd comfortably like to carry in a pocket. To compare, 850 is around 25% larger than the 70, though surprisingly it's the lighter of the two.

How about value for money - which is best judged looking backwards. The Ixus 40 lasted around 2 years, compared with my first Ixus that lasted 3 1/2 years. However in the time I used them, each took around 6,000 photos. So a cost of around HK$0.5 per photo for each.

Is that 2-3 years going to be the typical life expectancy of a digital compact in daily use? We'll see how long this new 850 lasts.

MrB

Congratulations on your

Congratulations on your purchase. I am sure the quality of the photos is going to improve. This is mainly a function of the improvements in the digital sensor but all those things like image stabilisation help as well.

I just bought a Fuji F31fd for $2200. Having just bought it, I proceeded not to use at my daughter's birthday party today and just stuck to my digital SLR.

MrB, sounds like you are pretty happy with the photos so far. I'm not sure a DSLR would be worth the cost for you. If you want good pics of your daughter at special events, another strategy is to make great friends with another daddy who owns a DLSR. Then negotiate some sort of agreement to get pictures of your daughter as well!

Yes, with the improvements

Yes, with the improvements I've seen, the urge to dash out and buy a DSLR has certainly diminished. We had friends visiting a couple of weeks back, and some of the zoom shots from their almost-SLR (Fuji 9500) were excellent. For general shots we seemed about equal though, and for videos the Canon was better. So I'll need to find a dad with the DSLR that wants to trade some shots for videos!

Cheers, MrB

canon EOS 400d

hi, MrB. I will be visiting Hongkong next week and i am planning to buy an EOS 400d. I am so grateful for your inputs but i would like to know if the shops (kinephoto and Wanchai) accept major credit cards...
thank you very much.

Credit cards should be ok

Though you may find the shop asks to add a couple of percent to the "cash-price", if their cash price is really low.

If that makes the price too high, you could consider changing money to pay in cash.

MrB

DSLR

Dear Sir, was wandering if you could help me, my husband and I are planning to stop over in Hong Kong for a couple of hours on our way to and from Thailand next month. I currently have a Canon EOS 350D and a Canon Powrshot A530 (I think), I have been looking into getting a Nikon DLSR camera, I like the look of the Nikon camera, I feel that it looks alot more sturdy than the canon does, and have seen pictures from my friends Nikon D40 / D60 (can't remember which one they have), and they look alot better than mine.
Can you advise where we would be able to find a Nikon DSLR, even if it is a 6 megapixel, I am not really fussed as we only have printing capabilites for up to 6 Megapixels here in South Africa, please can you give me approx price and also a few tips on which is the better make, that way I know if I am waisting my money looking at buying a Nikon, or if I should rather use that money and buy some new lenses, please can you also tell me where the best place to buy lenses for a decen price.
Many thanks Sharene

DSLR and lens/accessories

Hi there,

Different brands and models of DSLRs have their own characteristics and specifications. However no matter the differences, they are nothing but tools for shooting. If your spouse is already living very happily with a Canon EOS 350D, it would be financially easier for you to stick with the same brand of DSLR using compatible lens and share your resources. You might still need your own tripods and filters though. This could save you big bucks for lens.

It's it more fun to find out what the cameras can do and use your own skills to compensate? After all taking photos is you want to express, what you capture. The rest is just secondary. It would also be fun trying to learn how to cheat the built-in program of digital cameras. :-)

Best Regards,
T

DSLR / Lens/accessories

Dear Sir, thanks for your reply, can you explain what you mean by cheating the built in programmes. I am quite keen on my camera and normally very good at using it, although I still have to learn how to properly work the manual modes on it.
Regards
Sharene

Cheating the camera programs

Hi there,

[Cheating the camera programs] simply means using unconventional settings to take photos.

All Digital Cameras are basically a computer running a proprietary embedded operating system with a photo-sensitive capturing input device and a flash memory storage device with a whole lot of different operating modes. If it is a computer then it could be cheated, maybe even in very creative ways. If your camera has manual controls (as mode DSLR cameras do), it would be fun to try different settings on the same subject and see what would happen.

DSLRs have the advantage over pocket Digital Cameras as they have an enormous array of lens, filters lens, flash lights and other accessories to play with. The only thing that could stop you from trying them out are most likely $$$ or your spouse. Now that both you and your hubby are keen on shooting so there's only one factor to stop you.

I don't have a DSLR yet, but if my current Digital Cameras are damaged beyond repair, my next camera is definitely going to be a DSLR.

Best Regards,
T

Cheating the camera programs

Hi there,

Some examples on Digital Camera tricks. I'm pretty sure these would apply to DSLRs to, if you have similar settings:

http://www.oreillynet.com/pub/a/mac/2002/10/22/digi_photo_tips.html

Enjoy,
T

sounds expensive

Hi

I've just bought the Canon 400D, and the prices I was quoted for body only we around 5300 dollars in Stanley street (nr. 25 and 27), they were both the official dealers with the full warranty  etc.  Finally I bought it from Concept Digital (shop 113 Wanchai computer centre).  The body was also 5300 there, but the advantage was I got excellent and honest advice from the guy.  I went with a professional photographer friend of mine who shops there often.  The best bit of advice he gave me was to get a Sigma 18-200 lens rather than the standard Canon lens.  The canon lenses are apparently better as lenses, (maybe so for the pro's but I can't tell) but for full versatility (wide angle and zoom) without having to change your lens, this is the best.  Plus if you keep on changing lens you can get dust in the camera which is a no-no for digitals.  The canon lenses were either 18-55mm or 17-85mm. 

I was kitted out with the body, the lens, a protective lens cover, a polarised lense, screen protector and 4GB disc for HK$8250. And I could pay by credit card!

 Speaking 2 months later after my purchase, I'm delighted with the camera and the advice on the lens.  It really is versatile for all my needs.  I think some good advice is worth more than any additional discount.