Sunday, December 30, 2012

Must be a proud Canadian Photographer!

This post is a reply to a comment someone (Anonymous) left in response to my article “Favorite On-Line Resources for Photography Products and Services - Part 3 - Where I Shop For Products” (http://www.eyesonphoto.com/2009/01/favorite-on-line-resources-for_08.html). Usually I would not even publish this kind of comment but thought it deserved a response. Here is the comment followed by my response:

“Anonymous  -   Sunday, December 30, 2012 2:25:00 PM PST
Wow, thanks for supporting the Canadian economy. Must be a proud Canadian Photographer!”

Well I understand the dig and I do support some Canadian vendors and retailers. Read below. However you must know several facts first. Then read on, and check out my reply to your comment.
1st, My audience for this site is mostly U.S. based. Over 80% of my visitors are from the U.S. I cater to my readers. I do have a few Canadian, European and Aussie readers also but even most of my Canadian readers cannot purchase products from the retailers I deal with.
2nd, Many products I purchase are simply NOT even available at local stores. What am I supposed to do, do without or use inferior products? Think not. Look at several examples. I purchased the BlackRapid (www.blackrapid.com) shoulder strap that I blogged and raved about on this site. No local supplier carried this product. After I got it several photography friends also purchased the same products from the U.S. Then, based on my recommendation, a local store, Lens and Shutter, started carrying the product. Another example is my Canon M80 Portable Backup unit which I also blogged about. Canon Canada, in their wisdom, decided not to import this product at all! They did not think it would sell well. So I went out of Canada and purchased one directly from Japan. I had read great reviews about another great backup option, the Sanho Corporation (www.hypershop.com) ColorSpace HyperDrive. Oh, no one in the Vancouver area carries this product and Amazon.ca just started carrying the product a few months ago and do not carry the great new HyperDrive with built in WiFi. So again, off to purchase from the U.S. Oh, and no one around here carries the great Paul C. Buff Einstein 640 lights, American Made, that I purchased directly from the manufacturer. The list goes on, and on. Oh, and I never did find a local supplier for the great Tripod Accessories I like from the American company Really Right Stuff (www.reallyrightstuff.com).
3rd, Some Canadian companies like Canon Canada sees a fixed markup with a suggested retail price that they control and regulate as a means of increasing profits. Way too often I can purchase the exact same $1200.00 lens for less than $1000.00. I pay taxes when I bring them into Canada on the smaller amount and so I end up saving on Taxes also. But I do pay taxes which go to… oh yes, Canada. I do not understand when the Canadian Dollar is higher than the U.S. dollar why there would be a 20% plus difference on most items. So much for a competitive free market. Note the differences are based on L Series Lenses and the high end Flash units and that the differences on non L series lenses and camera bodies are minimal so I usually purchase those in Canada.
4th, the 3rd item is partly facilitated by this item, I live right next to the border and go into the U.S. every week to pick up my mail at my P.O. box. So, yes I am lucky to be able to do this but it makes purchasing products out of the U.S. so much easier.
5th, again kind of like item 2 above but rather on the scope of the items carried. Shopping on-line, searching and browsing great sites like Amazon (www.amazon.com), Adorama (www.adorama.com) and B&H Photo (www.BandH.com) allows you to find (and purchase) items you never knew existed before because they are NOT available locally! You can find the smallest most amazing products like the Kacey Enterprises DSLR Camera Paint Pole Adapters for Pole Aerial Photography (www.kaceyenterprises.com) which I blogged about. I know several other photographers that have ordered these products from the U.S. company. I won’t mention their names for fear that someone may suggest they are not good Canadians.
On supporting local companies:  Well every year I purchase stuff from Kerrisdale Cameras, (last big item was the Canon 100mm Macro), and from Lens & Shutter (last big item was the Epson 3880 Printer) and from Beau Photo (Lots of big items although they didn’t have the last big item I wanted) so I went and purchased my new Sekonic LITEMASTER PRO L-478D Photographic Light Meter at Photo Experts in Surrey, all in the last year. Apart from a few issues with Kerrisdale Cameras, Beau Photo, Lens & Shutter and Photo Experts are EXCELLENT local retailers that I support whole heartedly. Most of my readers unfortunately cannot purchase from them.
On supporting me:  See I also get great support from U.S. vendors like Canon U.S.A and several others. I am a certified Canon Professional in the U.S. because they gave me that honor. I get priority and cheaper repair services and free loan equipment. When I approached Canon Canada years ago I was basically told where to go. Based on my years of service records with Canon U.S. and friends dealing with Canon Canada repair (in Toronto), I can emphatically say that the Canon Service out of California is much better in many ways. When I approached Canon Canada for help with the Delta Photo Inspirations show the Delta Photo Club puts on every year they said they weren’t interested. When I asked them for support in way of donations or products or swag to give as prizes they blew me off. Nikon gave us a $500.00 camera last year for the same show. Oh, and Epson gave us a big 13”x19” printer the year before. Canon Canada could do a lot better to promote their products and make their prices competitive and so I have no qualms about purchasing Canon products out of the U.S., especially when it saves me a lot of money.
So about your comment:  In general the Internet has caused a lot of problems because of the anonymity it affords readers and people who post comments. Normally I would not have even published your comment but thought it deserved to be published with a response. You see, kids all over the world now deal with bullying through the Internet because other kids can leave anonymous comments; people can post hateful messages about people and even post religious hate comments. Now, don’t get me wrong, your comment cannot be compared to any of these examples except that it is anonymous. This anonymity allows you to be big and strong and trash my shopping habits and yet it protects you. It protects you from me and even from other readers knowing who you are. I hope you feel very good and very proud about your comment.
Your comment is solely based on your limited knowledge of who I am and my shopping habits based on what you have read on my Blog. So, it’s not a complete picture. On my post about where I shop on-line, at no point do I mention I buy ALL my stuff from those on-line retailers? But you made that assumption. Incorrectly I might add. Now perhaps you think you know me because you may be a member of the Delta Photo Club or some other local club I teach workshops at or judge at, but again, you do not know me very well for if you did you would know I do indeed purchase a LOT of products from Canada! Thousands of dollars every year in fact.
Now if you did know me, I would have expected you to come to me and ask me why I purchase so much from the U.S. and then I could have simply explained it to you. You may decide that my reasons mentioned above are acceptable or perhaps not acceptable to you. I’m OK with either. The question is are you OK with yourself making unfounded accusations about people and then hiding behind the anonymity afforded by the Internet? Was your comment meant to be a little “dig” because perhaps you don’t like me? That would be bullying. Or are you truly a great Canadian that will only purchase products that are made all over the world, in Canada only? Have you never purchased a product outside Canada. Do you not take advantage of the Duty Free liquor sales when returning from abroad? Oh well, your loss.
A final thought. My blog about purchasing on-line is based on where I have had success buying on-line. The reason I created the list is because many readers asked me where they could safely purchase items from. Specifically they asked me where they could purchase items they could NOT FIND at their local American and Canadian Retailers. Most of these readers being in the U.S. but some from here in Vancouver Canada. I was merely doing them a favor. And for that, you decided to make your comment?
Oh, and another thing. You’ll notice there is a lack of Canadian companies mentioned in this blog post. Not my fault the better companies are U.S. and not Canadian. Having said that, there is a great Canadian company I support that makes the best Lens and Sensor Cleaning Products, LensPen (www.lenspen.com). They are even in our very own GasTown section of Vancouver. They are a great company and have supported the DPI show every year for which we are thankful. This product however, specially the SensorKlear II is very hard to find in Vancouver. Also, some retailers do not carry their products at all. Beau Photo does not carry their products. And some retailers carry a fake illegal knock-off of the same product just so they can make more money. I always make sure I buy the original LensPen products. But if the retailers aren’t willing to support ‘local’, ‘Canadian’ companies? Why should I support them?
At this point I must thank you however. The local retailers I mentioned are all very good and deserve mentioning. When I update by blog “Favorite On-Line Resources for Photography Products and Services” I'll make sure to add a local Vancouver section for local readers. My oversight but for now they are mentioned here.
Thanks again. I hope you have a nice day!

© 2012 Francois Cleroux
(Version 1.11 - December 2012)
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- Francois Cleroux