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Old July 13th, 2010, 09:55 PM   #1
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Buying Cameras From The US

Hi All,

I am looking into buying a camera from the United States and shipping it into Australia.
The reason I am looking into this is because the prices are so so much cheaper.
I am looking into buying a Canon Vixia ( Legria in Australia) , not professional camera so they are not to expensive.
Will American cameras still work in Australia? Is there any reason why I shouldn't buy form US?

Thanks for your help
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Old July 14th, 2010, 02:51 AM   #2
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Hi, Chase...........

Sigh, this keeps coming up and for the life of me I don't understand why.

OK, bottom line (and long answer).

[insert Oz camera distributor here] will NOT support/ warrant/ fix a camera bought from [insert anywhere else you care to name, here].

Ergo, a camera you import from anywhere only has a warranty in the country of purchase, not Oz.

Secondly, the 60 hz NTSC models DO NOT BEHAVE WELL with 50 hz Oz lighting frequencies if shooting under lights.

Thirdly, if it's "dead out of the box", what are you going to do?

You have no choice but to pay shipping back to where it came from and pray they'll either replace it or fix it. Hope you've plenty of pile on that prayer rug.

Fourth, the output of any such camera will be either NTSC in SD or at 60/ 30 fields/ frames per second in HDV/ AVC, can any of your display options handle that?

Fifth, if the camera arrives with a US only, 110 - 120 Volt 60 Hz power pack, you're stuffed, mate (highly unlikely, I grant you, but then again...........).

Short answer: Don't do it.

Convinced?


CS
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Old July 14th, 2010, 03:03 AM   #3
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I tried to buy an expensive Yamaha audio mixer here in the UK. It had a very weird spec, and was just what I needed - it appeared on the Yamaha web sites in Japan, USA, and closer to home, even Germany - but not on the UK one.

The well known problems neatly summarised above worried me, so I went to Yamaha UK and asked if they could get me one. The answer was no, and they even added that if I brought one in from Germany - part of the EU - they would NOT support it, or offer me any help whatsoever - I was on my own. In this case, I did import one, but I've always been worried by the fact that even a small fault would cost me a very large sum to get fixed - no spares, no service, no peace of mind.

It really depends if you can live with the potential for hassle, and probable long delays for even the smallest fault to be fixed - or just accept that if it dies, it's properly dead, and wipe it off!

It also goes wrong here sometimes when you import kit and it gets delivered by DHL, because a couple of weeks later, you get an invoice for the 17.5% VAT (soon to be 20%) - which needs to be taken into account.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 06:11 AM   #4
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Thankyou

Thank you for your responses guys but I am still considering getting one from the US.

I am looking to buy a Canon (looking at HF 21) from either B&H or Canon direct.
I will be saving around $1100 on the camera before postage costs are counted, that is a major saving and thatís why I am considering it. My TV is compatible with both NTSC and PAL so there are no worries there and I will be editing footage only taken by this camera so there will be no cross compatibility issues.

Chris- I wonít be using this camera under any lights itís for outside sports, it is only for small projects nothing to serious. As I am buying it from a reputable dealer I thought the chances of being sent a faulty item are highly unlikely and B&H cover the item for one year seemings I am only paing around $600 for the HF21 it is not a huge financial investment. The power packs from B&H and Canon are not 110 - 120 Volt 60 Hz so I have no worries there. Thanks for your tips.

Is there any other reasons why I should not buy from the US?

Thankyou for your time
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Old July 14th, 2010, 06:21 AM   #5
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I suspect it's a matter of importing appropriate items. Video cameras I wouldn't because of the differing standards,

I say this having imported a Steadicam from the US, much to the annoyance of Optex, the then just appointed UK agent (although it didn't stop them selling me accessories) . Fortunately, I didn't have any problems, although I ended up having to make a part because of a design over sight by Cinema Products, (Steadicam operators did that sort of thing then). However, the cost saving was large enough to cover a lot of fixing if there had been a problem.

BTW I wasn't the only one who did this around this time.
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Old July 14th, 2010, 08:29 AM   #6
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I wouldn't recommend it personally. There's just too many things that could go wrong.

First of all it's alot harder to be sure you are getting it from a reputable dealer - B & H Photo is generally regarded as one of the best distributors in the USA and usually have the best prices. I've often seen people from the USA advising others that if you find a cheaper price than B & H, it's probably a scam. So keep that in mind when looking at the dealers and always make sure you check out the retailers online reputation on a few review sites.

Other than all the 60hz/50hz stuff which you've said you're ok with, the next biggest issue is the warranty. For me, the biggest incentive to buy brand new instead of used is the warranty. If you're not getting a valid warranty then you're actually going to have more buyer protection buying used on ebay - and can probably find a better deal.

Next, you'll have all the extra expenses which can add up to quite a bit. Once you add postage (with tracking and insurance of course!) and GST (you might get lucky and have it slip through customs if the seller marks it as a gift) exchange rates and any credit card/bank fees you might get charged for the currency conversion you might not be saving all that much money.

If you want to get the best deals on a brand new camera, I'd recommend dropping into your local Harvey Norman / good guys / JB Hi Fi once a week and checking the prices. Harvey Norman in particular have had some outrages sales lately and I've had to try very hard to not buy a few cameras just because they are so damn cheap!
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Old July 16th, 2010, 08:21 AM   #7
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Thankyou

Hey Guys,

Thanks for your response John.
I have a few questions regarding NTSC/PAL...
If I was to buy a camera from the US if I was to convert the footage from NTSC to PAL would the quality loss be noticeable?, I know that PAL has a better res. but the frame rate for NTSC seems better for filming sports as its 30p.
At B&H you can buy PAL cameras, if I was to buy a camera from there and ship it to Australia would the warranty be valid as it is a PAL camera?
The Canon warranty is only one year, from the cameras that I have owned they have all lasted much longer than one year so I have never had to use the warranty, and If I had it had already expired. The chances of the camera being faulty are pretty low and I always take great care of my cameras so I see no reason why the warranty is such a big deal, I guess it just offers a piece of mind.
So after looking at different cameras my three options for buying the Canon HF 21 are:
(ALL in Australian Dollars)
Buy a PAL camcorder from B&H: Camera- $1022 Postage- $70 Fees- $30 Total: $1122
Buy a NTSC camcorder from B&H: Camera- $680 Postage-$ 70 Fees- $30 Total: $780
Buy a PAL camcorder from Australia: Camera- $1700 Postage- $0 Fees- $0 Total: $1700
As you can see the savings are quite substantial if this was you which one would you deem to be the best offer? If I was to buy the NTSC I would still be able to edit the footage (I have Sony Vegas Pro 9) and be able to burn it to disc, seemingís most DVD players are not region coded that should not be a matter and it doesnít matter what format I upload it to the web NTSC and PAL are always supported. They are the only two ways I will be publishing the footage and I will rarely if ever connect to the TV to play off the camcorder.
I have been looking at the camcorders in Harvey Norman and JB HIFI and they are only offering the Canon R16 and the HF200 at around $1200 which seems expensive for not as good camcorders as the HF21.
Sorry for the long post, I am quite confused about the whole matter I donít have a huge budget as you have probably already guessed so I am trying to get the best value for money.
If you have any suggestions please send those through it would be greatly appreciated.

Thankyou
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Old July 16th, 2010, 12:10 PM   #8
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If you're talking about a standard definition NTSC camera compared to a SD PAL camera, yes you do notice a difference. The latter being the newer system using more pixels.
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Old July 16th, 2010, 08:31 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by Brian Drysdale View Post
If you're talking about a standard definition NTSC camera compared to a SD PAL camera, yes you do notice a difference. The latter being the newer system using more pixels.
Does this mean that HD is a different format all together and has no implications when bought from the US?
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Old July 17th, 2010, 02:31 AM   #10
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don't forget you have to add import duties for anything over $1,000 - check the customs site
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Old July 17th, 2010, 02:41 AM   #11
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The difference is the HD frame rate, in a PAL country it will be 25 fps, in an NTSC country 29.97 or 59.94 (people tend to short hand these to 30 or 60).

One filming problem with a US camera would be flicker from fluorescents, because of the different AC frequency (60hz compared to a PAL country 50 Hz). You can correct this with the shutter, but you usually lose a stop.
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Old July 20th, 2010, 10:41 PM   #12
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A million things could go wrong...as everyone else in this post has mentioned. If the only reason you want to import it from the US is because of cost, and you are ready to take the huge risks involved, plus make compromises later, you might learn -

That you end up paying the same just to fix mistakes, and worse - you will spend time fixing those mistakes too.

If you're okay with this, go ahead. Like in gambling - what if you are miraculously blessed with a perfect camera, perfect service, no issues at all in production and post-production, and your camera never gets damaged or is in need of repair?

If you're a professional getting paid for your work, buy it from Australia. If you're an amateur who's not getting paid enough to cover costs, then buy a cheaper camera from, you guessed it - Australia.
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Old January 9th, 2011, 12:51 AM   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase Galbraith View Post
Hi All,

I am looking into buying a camera from the United States and shipping it into Australia.
The reason I am looking into this is because the prices are so so much cheaper.
I am looking into buying a Canon Vixia ( Legria in Australia) , not professional camera so they are not to expensive.
Will American cameras still work in Australia? Is there any reason why I shouldn't buy form US?

Thanks for your help
Hi Chase

FWIW I have bought most of my camcorders from the US (HD200UB, FX1, HD7,HF S200 etc...) All HD and no issues whatsover so far with the frame rates etc. I love 24p and they play back great on my tv. Others here won't approve and think we ought to be paying over the odds to Aussie retailers who generally rip us off.
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Old January 9th, 2011, 12:53 AM   #14
 
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Originally Posted by Chris Soucy View Post
Fifth, if the camera arrives with a US only, 110 - 120 Volt 60 Hz power pack, you're stuffed, mate (highly unlikely, I grant you, but then again...........).

CS
Huh??? All of the chargers/AC adapters I have bought from the US have been absolutely fine with 240volts input!
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Old January 9th, 2011, 12:55 AM   #15
 
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Originally Posted by Chase Galbraith View Post
Does this mean that HD is a different format all together and has no implications when bought from the US?
HD is HD PAL. Secam or NTSC. Frame rates are a different kettle of fish. I don't have any issue with flickering. Its all marketing nonsense mate. Go for it and save $$$$!
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