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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
Can't find it on the XL1 Watchdog site? Discuss it here.


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Old December 20th, 2001, 03:25 PM   #16
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Thanks Bill,

First, I think it's important to draw a distinction between what does and does not constitute a good price. As Americans, we've become accustomed to "rock bottom" pricing schemes through mass media marketing, that we come to expect it (look at automobile dealerships for example). I think that's a serious mistake in this industry.

So I have to disagree with your point of view wondering how companies like ZGC can "justify" their pricing. Justify? As long as they're selling at or even a little below the MSRP, there's no "justification" required. What I want to know is, how do those companies who sell *above* the MSRP justify their prices. How do those companies who sell *below dealer cost* justify their prices. That's what raises my eyebrows and causes me to steer clear. Selling at or just below MSRP is towing the mark -- no justification required! It's the *honest* way of doing business!

I'm happy you found a good deal elsewhere, but so many people fall into the "lowest price" trap purloined by utterly unscrupulous outfits, offering "new XL1S's at $3200" or a GL1 for $1600. Ridiculous! And unfortunately very common.

You were smart enough to know exactly what you're looking for, but a lot of new folks will rely on a company like ZGC not because they have a new building but because they have an educated staff, people who know the gear and know the business. That's vital, and not something you get by paying them $7.50 per hour or charging $20 over dealer cost. That sort of intelligence combined with a smooth, honest, reliable business operation and associated overhead costs money. The MSRP builds in enough of a margin that such a company can run properly, with an expert staff and still make a profit (remember our capitalistic values... we're in business to make a profit... that's the idea).

If you think about it, Bill, I could turn your argument around and ask you, why should I hire you to shoot my wedding, when my Uncle Charlie can do it for free with his VHS-C camcorder? Not that you're shooting weddings; besides I'm already married. The answer is, I hire you because of the associated value, and value is *not* directly related to price.

Regarding the price of that piece of machined steel you mentioned, it's important to note that's a highly specialized item of which maybe a hundred or so will ever get made and sold. It's not a mass-produced product; there's engineering, shipping etc. to pay for, plus you're paying for the rarity of it. Highly specialized always equals somewhat expensive.

You might want to consider taking your lens and camera to a local machinist to turn out a custom adapter for you. It probably won't cost $450 but I bet it won't be cheap either.

One thing I learned a long time ago is that all this gear is expensive to begin with... it's all so relatively uncommon and specialized, hence high-priced. Look at Canon's 3D lens... eight grand for that thing, made one at a time by hand in Japan. And you know what? They can't keep up with the demand!

Everything is relative... I don't consider the money I'm paying out for this gear to be buying "service with a smile," I consider it to be buying into a relationship with an expert, competent staff who will gladly help me out in a jam, find the rare oddball pieces of gear I need, help with a purchase decision, and best of all *not rip me off* but do business in a high-profile, high class and trustworthy manner.

You may not need that, especially if you're smart enough to fish out the good deals and all, but I'm not like that... I need help when it comes time to spending a big wad of cash, and a lot of other folks need help as well (I know because I keep hearing from 'em). That's why I always recommend ZGC and my other sponsors.
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; December 20th, 2001 at 03:40 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2001, 03:34 PM   #17
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Howdy from Texas,

Barb Lowry said to Bill Ravens:

<< You were one of the lucky ones who found a reputable source. You might want to share your resource with the Watchdog Community. >>

Actually I prefer that we not do that. To avoid any confusion I'd rather just stick with recommending Watchdog sponsors.

No disrespect to Bill, but for the first couple years that I ran the Watchdog, I received a *lot* of e-mails from folks who told me they bought their cameras because of my site (see the no-longer-updated "Good Dog" page on the Watchdog).

Nothing wrong with that and I'm happy for those people, but it meant that somewhere somebody was making money from camera sales thanks to my efforts. The site will always be free but I get a funny feeling knowing that profits are being made from it by people I don't even know.

Now that I'm older, grumpier and more experienced, I really want to steer as much business as possible that results from my site towards my sponsors only. I won't make it a rule or anything, but please consider it a *strong suggestion.* We're playing in my yard here, so I can be unreasonable if I feel like it.

Much respect,
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Last edited by Chris Hurd; December 20th, 2001 at 04:03 PM.
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Old December 20th, 2001, 03:41 PM   #18
 
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Barbara....

Since I started this diatribe, it's only fair that I qualify the statements I made. My purchase price was $3500 for the XL1s kit, including an $85.00 polarizer. I seem to have misread your own price posting if the difference is less than the $1000 I claimed. The website for this supplier can easily be found by doing a websearch on Pricewatch.com. I do not particularly care to advertize for them, but, if someone REALLY wants to know who it is, I'd be glad to respond to a private email query to me. Your point about post-sale support is well made. My supplier would certainly NOT provide the service you provide. If I was in need of this kind of support, there is NO QUESTION that I would have gone to a full service dealer like ZGC. Likewise, their response was not overnight. However, as I'm sure many readers of this forum know, the realities of financial survival in this business are exactly that....survival.

My own video business, fortunately, is not my only means of gainful employment. In fact, it is barely gainful, sometimes a total loss, but, I do it because I love it. So, it's only fair for me to admit that I have the luxury of naming my own terms, when it comes to the videography vocation. If this means I'm not really a professional, oh well.

As I said in my previous post, I'm not trying to pick a fight with anyone. I would just like to point out that every consumer has to balance their own needs against the cost. I made my own choice and want to point out that there are a lot of choices available. I'm impressed with your attention to this forum and you will get some of my business.

Thanks for the info you provided, I was not aware of all the support you provide.

Feliz Navidad,

Bill Ravens
Chalchihuitl Productions
Santa Fe, NM
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Old December 20th, 2001, 03:42 PM   #19
 
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I agree Chris...thanx for validating my own feelings on this subject.

Bill
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Old December 20th, 2001, 04:00 PM   #20
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Chris - Sorry Chris, I do understand your proprietary feeling about resources for product now that you explained it.

Bill - Thanks for your response -- one last note on this subject just for fun: ZGC is not a huge operation, which is why people never get lost in a phone bank when they call us! So call anytime and ask for Christine.

Cheers,
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Old December 20th, 2001, 05:25 PM   #21
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I got my XL1s and MA-200 from ZGC. They are the best too me. I had something wrong with my XL1s and they were right there to help me out. Finding out there was nothing wrong with my XL1s ZGC was willing to make me happy and offered to give me my money back after had my XL1s for 2 mouths.

Now thatís what I call a good business. ZGC is about 45 min's from me and when I was there I felt like I was at home with family. They are great folks over there and I plan of buying more stuff for my XL1s soon from them. Thanks ZGC for your kind help and support.

Mark Chiocchi
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Old December 20th, 2001, 05:45 PM   #22
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Not to beat a dead horse here but......

I bought a 16x manual lens from ZGC last week.

I made the purchase at the last minute, and of course needed it right away for a couple of shoots.

ZGC had it on my door the next day, at no extra charge.

Any company that responds to my needs in that manner will see my credit card numbers again in the future.

Mike Avery
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Old January 8th, 2002, 02:24 PM   #23
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too cheap?

i just purchased an xl1s from an online vendor and it was 2700 after shipping. however, i dont think that it includes anything but the lense and body (despite what the sales department said). i havent received the camera yet however, the 1300 below average price was worth it to me. they were not an authorized dealer (i asked, the guy said he "didnt know") and the service was verry rude. i live in the boondocks and have only been to nyc once but the guy seemed like he was doing me a favor. if i had the money, i would have spent the money at a more reputable dealer, but oh well.

some resources i used were canons customer service in finding if they were authorized (i think its 1800-GOCANON but i'm probly wrong) and the online better business beauro (so i cant spell, sue me) to find where they are(another detail they wouldnt give me).

as everyone else has said, yes you can get cheap deals but its a hassle.

fletch
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Old January 8th, 2002, 05:13 PM   #24
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Australian consumers are quite lucky as we have an option of buying a "PRO" pack offered by Canon Australia.

The Pro-pack contains your standard kit that gets your running out of the box and adds:

HC-3100 Hard case
CH-910 Dual Battery holder/charger
Extra BP 930 battery

For an extra $800 (AUD) = ($400USD) Its quite cheap considering you'd be paying almost double the price if you were to buy it at retail prices.

Does anyone have any comments about the MA-200 attachment? How does it feel in terms of balancing the camera with the CH-910 put on the back? Will the overall weight put an extra 1kg?

Cheers,

Ethan
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Old January 8th, 2002, 09:28 PM   #25
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I live in New York City and we have an account with B&H. Since we have a re-seller certificate, we pay no sales tax. B&H has consistently the lowest prices around among the "reputable" vendors. Today I priced an XL1S - ZGC $4,400, B&H $3,750. Still, I might go with ZGC. Why? For one thing - B&H will only sell the XL1S with the 16X lens. Period. ZGC will sell it in any configuration I need. If I want it with the 3X lens, ZGC will sell it. The price is a bit higher than I would wish but - and here's the second reason - I seem to get really personal attention from ZGC. I think there's been more personal communication with Christine after two emails than 10 years of in-store shopping at B&H where I've never seen the same sales person twice. Now if ZGC could only lower the price.... (is hagglig allowed?)

Oh, and by the way Chris,

>>If you think about it, Bill, I could turn your argument around and ask you, why should I hire you to shoot my wedding, when my Uncle Charlie can do it for free with his VHS-C camcorder? ... The answer is, I hire you because of the associated value, and value is *not* directly related to price. <<

In the industry our company is known as "very good but expensive." I will take the liberty to borrow your words on associated value. I get quite pissed when I hear the "but expensive" after the "very good." It's the old adage - you get what you pay for.
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Old January 8th, 2002, 09:52 PM   #26
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I got my XL1S at ZGC and paid $3,700. Plus two free shits and better service than B&H.

Don't get me wrong B&H has OK service and support, but not all the time. Sometimes you get "JO" that don't care what you are calling for.

I only buy from B&H if ZGC dose not have what I am looking for.
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Old January 8th, 2002, 11:07 PM   #27
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<<<-- Originally posted by RockFord : I got my XL1S at ZGC and paid $3,700. Plus two free shits and better service than B&H. -->>>

Was that with lens? I can't understand why it would cost so much more to buy it with the 3X instead of the 16X. I'm asking because at $3700 with the 3X I'm sure to buy it.

I agree with your opinion of B&H. We deal with them because they are cab ride away and their prices are always among the lowest. Not because of service.

Tell me a little more about your $3700 for the XL1 from ZGC. Maybe a phone call can make all the difference.
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Old January 8th, 2002, 11:54 PM   #28
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I got mine when they first came out I got the XL1S with the 16x IS II Video Lens for $3.700 and the MA 200 I don't remeber what I paid for that.

I also have the Wide 3x Lens. I got that off ebay +10 mint for $800 bucks and just got the new 16x Manual Servo Zoom Lens as well from ZGC and they gave me 2 more shirts when I picked it up.

I also have a GL1 and just pick up the WD-58 wide for it.

The XL1S 16x IS II Video Lens is a better lens than the old one that came with the old XL1 it sells at B&H for $1,599.95 where the wide 3x sells for $1,209.95 and the old XL1 lens sell for $1,349.95.
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Last edited by Mark Chiocchi; January 9th, 2002 at 12:34 AM.
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Old January 9th, 2002, 08:05 AM   #29
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Ozzie - Will ZGC haggle? Christine is the best at giving people a reasonable package price for your wish list of goodies.

It's hard to come down on the price of an individual Canon item -- camera or accessory -- because there are so many sources out there selling the stuff. Most everyone familiar with the Watchdog knows that if you look long and hard enough on the Internet you'll find just about any of these items at or near dealer cost, which Canon and reputable dealers are not happy about. To repeat the same cautionary warning: watch out for sneaky hidden costs when the price looks really attractive. But I digress.

That wish list of goodies I mentioned means that most videographers need more than just the Canon XL-1S out of the box depending on your chosen creative goal with the camera. Make a list of what other items you need in addition to the camera and ZGC will put together a special package price for you for all items.

Happy New Year!
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Old January 9th, 2002, 08:26 AM   #30
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Ozzie - I want to clarify for Watchdog viewers that the $4,400 price you were quoted by ZGC included the camera body, viewfinder and Canon 3x wide angle zoom lens.

B&H doesn't put together special camera packages like ZGC does, so the quotes might not be for the same items. Let me know if I read your posting incorrectly.

Every price we quote for customized packages will differ because the items in each person's wish list differs. We do, however, list prices for ZGC's special combination camera body/16x lens/viewfinder combos listed on our website.
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