Photo equipment retailer in San Fran

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by mch42, May 10, 2004.

  1. mch42

    mch42 Guest

    This may be relatively offtopic, pardon me for that, but I didn't think of a
    better place to ask.

    I'll be travelling in California for a few weeks, starting with a few days'
    stay in San Francisco. To ensure I have plenty of storage space for
    documenting the trip, I though I'd hunt down a cheap 1 or 2 GB Sandisk Ultra
    II CF while in SF. And perhaps grab a compact digi as a backup.

    Now, finding good deals at online stores is easy enough, but locating a
    decently priced brick-and-mortar photo equipment retailer in a foreign city
    turned out to be tricky.. so, any word-of-mouth suggestions on where to have
    a look?

    mch42, May 10, 2004
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  2. mch42

    EF in FLA Guest

    Now, finding good deals at online stores is easy enough, but locating a
    The above is certainly true, why not buy online?
    EF in FLA, May 10, 2004
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  3. mch42

    mch42 Guest

    Buying online from the US means shipping costs, taxes and customs. That's
    why I figured it'd make sense to pick up the equipment from a local store
    after I arrive in the States, rather than having it delivered to my door
    back home in Europe before the trip...
    mch42, May 10, 2004
  4. mch42

    PTRAVEL Guest

    You're not going to find many good sources for CF cards in San Francisco --
    they're available, but not at the kind of discount prices you can get
    on-line. Your best bet is Frys Electronics -- if you hit it on a good day,
    you can get on-line pricing or better, though it's hit or miss. Frys is
    about a 40 minute drive from downtown SF. Otherwise, if you're in-town, you
    could try CompUSA on Market or Best Buy on Harrison. Neither offer
    particularly good pricing on CF cards, but you might hit a sale.
    PTRAVEL, May 10, 2004
  5. mch42

    adm Guest

    If you are wise, you would print out the best of the on-line deals from that
    day, then take that to the stores and see if they will price match.
    adm, May 10, 2004
  6. mch42

    nixjunk Guest

    This may be relatively offtopic, pardon me for that, but I didn't think of a
    Look for the bigger type electronics stores like Best Buy, Circuit City, and

    If you catch them when there are sales going on then you can get relatively
    decent deals on digicam media, as least for brick and mortar stores. Normal
    prices, of course, are normally not nearly as cheap as online retailers.
    Sometimes the price differences can be huge. Also, keep a lookout for, or ask
    about, returned items that are usually sold for quite a bit cheaper than new
    items but carry the same warranties.

    Since you are looking for the larger storage sizes and more specialized with
    the Ultra II type those may not even be on sale in the stores or normally
    stocked. All these stores carry much more than what you will see in the actual
    stores but what you see in the stores are items that normally sell quickly or
    are normally in demand. For other items more specialized, the Ultra II in those
    sizes I think falls into that category, they would order it for you and a few
    days later you would pick it up.

    In that case you may as well order online from an American retailer, if they
    are much cheaper than you will find in Europe. You may be able to simply choose
    a quick delivery option if time is a consideration in receiving it before your

    If I were you I would do that instead. That way you don't waste time looking
    around for a store when you can be enjoying yourself and taking pictures.

    Where else in California do you plan on traveling to?
    nixjunk, May 10, 2004
  7. mch42

    Geoff Roach Guest

    Try Fry's Electronics. Better prices than almost all photo stores even mail
    order. They are primarily a computer / electronics / software place.
    Geoff Roach, May 10, 2004
  8. mch42

    PTRAVEL Guest

    Sorry, but Frys' pricing is, generally, not better than mail order. Their
    sale prices can be excellent, even extraordinary, but their ordinary pricing
    is higher than Best Buy and similar mass marketers, and frequently MSRP.

    Incidently, it's Frys, not Fry's.
    PTRAVEL, May 10, 2004
  9. mch42

    Mark Hanson Guest

    Mark Hanson, May 10, 2004
  10. I've been shopping around for 512MB high speed cards, and the best
    prices I've seen in the Bay Area have been at San Jose Camera and
    Central Computer:



    Not sure if Central is stocking the 2 GB cards, but their web site lists
    the 1 GB card for $226. Central has a store in SF about a block from the
    Moscone convention center. For a full service camera store, San Jose
    Camera is excellent, I've bought several lenses and other items from
    them recently.

    Scott Richter, May 10, 2004
  11. mch42

    Robertwgross Guest

    Yes, and the sales tax in San Francisco is considerable. If you happened to
    pass through some other state and locality that had lower sales tax rates, you
    could save a few dollars on purchases there.

    ---Bob Gross---
    Robertwgross, May 10, 2004
  12. mch42

    PTRAVEL Guest

    You're right -- I'm wrong (I was going to write Youre right -- Im wrong).
    PTRAVEL, May 10, 2004
  13. mch42

    stan Guest

    Why not buy an extra memory card or two before you leave? Any store in SF
    is going to have to charge sales tax. Sales tax in SF is outrageous in
    my humble opinion.
    stan, May 11, 2004
  14. mch42

    stan Guest

    A complete waste of time in my opinion. I tried doing that a few times.
    No retailer would ever accept the price-match. In fact, if you look at
    the price matching policy for most retailers, it specifically excludes
    matching the prices of online vendors.
    stan, May 11, 2004
  15. mch42

    nixjunk Guest

    While I agree with him buying before leaving I wouldn't compare sales tax in
    California with the VAT in most any European country, and typical prices
    nixjunk, May 11, 2004
  16. mch42

    Crownfield Guest

    calumet photo?
    Crownfield, May 11, 2004
  17. mch42

    mch42 Guest

    Actually you're both on to a point. The SF prices I managed to find (thanks
    to all of you who suggested stores to check out) aren't really chockingly
    cheap, probably due to the sales tax. Indeed, the VAT over here is much
    higher (22% in fact), but here's the catch: if I buy from within the
    European Union, I can in effect deduct the VAT completely in my company's
    accounting, whereas I can't do that if I buy the stuff from the states. So,
    even if the 1GB cards may be $70 less expensive in SF than at my local
    store, the actual savings would only be around $15. And that $15 isn't
    really worth wasting one or two hours on tracking down the cheapest store
    while on location in SF.

    Of course I could mail order from the States, but then, alas, the stuff
    would get stuck at the customs office where I'd have to shell out 5% customs
    tariff _plus_ 22% VAT on the purchase price. Hooray for the "barriers of
    entry" between the EU and the US :)


    PS. Since the cards weren't really as affordable as I had hoped, I think I
    might just as well look at an XS Drive II or something along those lines for
    more on-the-road storage.
    mch42, May 11, 2004
  18. mch42

    mch42 Guest

    Right. In fact, the 1 GB card seems to be out-of-stock at several stores,
    and the 2 GB version doesn't really seem to be available anywhere... Maybe
    I'll just grab another 512 MB Ultra II and something along the lines of an
    XS Drive II.
    Haven't decided on the itinerary yet, but it looks like I'll be spending
    very little time in places where one could expect to find cheap photography
    equipment :) Think I'll quickly pass through L.A and San Diego though, but
    as you said I'd actually much rather be shooting pictures than haggling
    prices with annoying sales people... :)

    mch42, May 11, 2004
  19. mch42

    nixjunk Guest

    Since you are looking for the larger storage sizes and more specialized
    Another option is to order online before you leave and have them deliver it to
    a hotel location you know you are going to be at. I did that once before on a
    trip back east to Virginia.

    If I were you I would have at least a rough itinerary so you don't end up being
    in tourist areas without any room accommodations, mainly only a problem on
    weekends. To be safe have reservations for Fridays and Saturdays.

    In some smaller cities and towns you can end up not being able to find any
    rooms on Fidays and Saturdays and you will end up having to drive quite a bit
    outside of town just to find a room. Doing that only eats up time looking for a
    place, including driving to and from it, where instead you could be relaxing,
    going out to dinner, or sightseeing.

    I would include Las Vegas and the Grand canyon on your schedule. I'm in
    California and if you would like some tips for your trip just e-mail me.
    nixjunk, May 11, 2004
  20. mch42

    adm Guest

    It's worked for me before.
    adm, May 11, 2004
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