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12-22-2011, 05:28 PM   #1
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What's with the B & H Photo Prices?

I've been following the prices of a couple of lenses that I would like to own. People I know have bought from B&H and I've heard nothing negative about them. However, unless Pentax has lowered their prices recently I have to wonder how B & H can sell so cheaply. The two lenses are the DA-15 and the DA 12-24. I'm having difficulty deciding between the two but the DA-15 is my number one choice over the DA12-24. But this thread is not about one lens vs the other; it is about how B&H can sell so low. Even now you can check these lenses in the Marketplace forum and you will find used copies for around the same price as B&H is asking new. On E-Bay there is a 12-24 and the owner seems to want around $750 while B&H has it at retail $699.00. Other stores that I know to generally have good prices can't even come close to B & H. So, here are my questions:
  1. Is there a catch with the B & H prices? I mean the used prices of these lenses are roughly the same or higher than what they charge.
  2. Could the new Pentax company be slowly reducing prices on the over-priced lenses and is B & H just the first to pass on the savings?
  3. Is there any other explanation as to how they can sell so low?

I've factored in the minor difference in exchange rates and compared Canadian and US prices. I've heard of dis-honourable retailers from Brooklyn but B & H is not one of those as far as I can tell. I'm not in any way affiliated with them and am not trying to promote them. I just want to understand why they are selling below even the common used prices for many Pentax lenses. Any thoughts?

12-22-2011, 05:46 PM   #2
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I've been noticing for a couple of years that eBay prices are often higher than B&H and Adorama. Both are reputable companies. Very. Ask any pro who buys online or mail order. Those two names will likely come up first.

I shop both. Sometimes one will offer better (or free) shipping cost, or a slightly lower price than the other. If you do buy through them, PM Adam and send him the invoice number. The forum gets a small affiliate fee.
12-22-2011, 05:54 PM   #3
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I have not checked B&H recently but I have noticed several Pentax lenses on Amazon new for much less than what the price on ebay has been for used. And I'm not talking about those ebay sellers who mark things up to ridiculous amounts hoping for a score, just regular closed listings and BIN listings. And just now a quick look shows for example the DA 18-135 on ebay from $519 to $619 but $429 on Amazon.

Actually I just looked and Amazon is showing almost all Pentax lenses with price cuts.

Optimistic View: Ricoh is trying to generate interest and enthusiasm for Pentax but getting aggressive on pricing.
Pessimistic View: Ricoh is going to close down Pentax and has ordered drastic price cuts in order to clear inventory.

So take your pick, is this a good thing? Or imminent disaster?
12-22-2011, 06:09 PM   #4
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Adorama has the same prices. The price for the DA 12-24 doesn't matter because it is not available anywhere -- the price could change when it comes back. The other lenses do seem heavily discounted, so it is either a Christmas price war or Pentax has lowered the price. But didn't Hoya raise the price on everything? Return to normality?

12-22-2011, 06:14 PM   #5
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Ebay prices on k-mount lenses have seemed qite high to me for the last year or so.
12-22-2011, 06:15 PM   #6
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One problem with ordering the 12-24 at B&H is that it isn't in stock (and hasn't been for months). That's part of the reason why used units are selling for more than the ~$600 they used to go for. The 12-24's Canadian pricing was close to double the US retail price for an extended period and it is still 50% higher, so they are harder to find on the used market here.

Canadian dealers have generally tended to charge more than American ones for Pentax products, especially lenses, flashes and accessories. The retail market is much less competitive here as the large volume retailers tend to stick close to MSRP. If the Canadian stores with a strong web presence (Henry's, Vistek) are selling at MSRP then there is less incentive for smaller dealers to cut their prices.

At least with living in Alberta you don't get hit with PST while buying from out of country.
12-22-2011, 06:48 PM   #7
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I think we all here can guarantee that B&H has no hidden strings attached to try and trick anyone. They are very reputable and their pricing is generally pretty competitive. My guess is Pentax/Ricoh may be lowering prices to help boost some sales, but ultimately, I wouldn't read into it too much and just start shopping!
12-22-2011, 07:06 PM   #8
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Agreed - B&H prices are for real, and pthing really odd about them, as Adorama's prices are usually identical, as are Amazon's *if* being shipped by a reputatable dealer (all too often, you'll see Amazon offering items sold by ripoff artists who will gladly charge 2X the going rate when they see B&H and Adorama are temporarily out of stock on an item). If you see people selling on Ebay for more than B&H, be aware that just because they are selling doesn't mean anyone is buying. But also, not everyone knows about B&H and Dorama, and might think that th Ebay prices represent a deal, si ce hey *are* still cheaper than list price.

12-22-2011, 07:23 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Marc Sabatella Quote
Agreed - B&H prices are for real, and pthing really odd about them, as Adorama's prices are usually identical,
Adorama's is identical, you just have to add to cart to see it. (Says "special price available" next to higher price whereas B&H lists no price at all until you add to cart.)
12-22-2011, 07:26 PM   #10
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I get a kick out of the eBay DA* 60-250's that pop up new for over $3000 Canadian

Or I could just go to any store and get one for ~$1400 at regular prices
12-22-2011, 07:35 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by calculator01 Quote
I get a kick out of the eBay DA* 60-250's that pop up new for over $3000 Canadian

Or I could just go to any store and get one for ~$1400 at regular prices
Somebody must be paying those prices if they keep listing them on eBay.
12-22-2011, 08:05 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Glen Quote
Somebody must be paying those prices if they keep listing them on eBay.
Actually not -- what people ask for on ebay often has little relation to what things actually sell for (also on ebay). I guess once in a blue moon someone actually gets one of those crazy prices from a really dumb person but not often. Maybe they list them just as a marketing tool or something...
12-23-2011, 05:48 AM   #13
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You ever visited the store? THAT's why they can keep the prices competetive, although it sort of depends on whether or not Pentax posts rebates as well
12-23-2011, 06:47 AM   #14
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I bought my DA 15 last spring for slightly over $500 with tax and shipping at B&H so the prices have gone up some. It always pays to shop around because you will find some big differences. I bought my K5 at Adorama because they had the price at the time. When I was shopping for my DA 10-17, Amazon had the best price at the time. The lens that seems to have the biggest price swings is the DA 40 which I have seen for as little as $275 a couple of years ago to over $500 earlier this year and now I see advertised again in the $300+ range.
12-23-2011, 06:59 AM   #15
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B&H is the best. I spent over $3k with them this year and have had nothing but great service. I have a new Bigma OS delivering today....
I have found like others have mentioned that out of stock merchandise do not necessarily reflect the current pricing. Sometimes they surprise you though. I get on their notify list if they are out of a item I am interested in. Most of the time the price is as advertised when they do contact me of new stock.
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