Where to buy in San Fransisco

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Michel, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. Michel

    Michel Guest

    Hi ,

    Who can recommend reliable shops where to buy digital in San Fransisco?
    Prices and stock are to key factors.


    Michel, Nov 8, 2006
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  2. Michel

    Mike Russell Guest

    Who can recommend reliable shops where to buy digital in San Fransisco?

    Get a copy of the Sunday Chronicle newspaper and check out the prices.
    Circuit City is a chain that has a good display of cameras, and good prices.
    Best Buy is a similar outfit. CompUSA also has a good number of cameras on
    display, and may have good prices in the paper, but (with the exception of
    the San Rafael CompUSA) these stores tend to be unpleasant, and would not be
    my first choice for a visit. If you have a friend in the area, use
    pricegrabber.com to find a good price over the web, and have it delivered to
    their home.

    Avoid the stores on Market Street and elsewhere that display cameras and
    electronics in their front windows - they are expensive, aggressive, and

    Have a great visit - this is a good time of year and the weather is
    particularly clear and sunny right now.
    Mike Russell, Nov 8, 2006
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  3. Michel

    just bob Guest

    If you want a real photo store with stock, it's Calumet.

    But they do not have discount pricing. You will not even get them to match
    just bob, Nov 8, 2006
  4. Michel

    Michel Guest

    Thank you very much for your quick answer. I appreciate.
    Mike, I can't get a copy of the Sunday Chronicle as I am living in
    A friend of mine, airline pilot, could try to find one of my wanted lenses
    in SF.
    But you gave me already some tips.
    Any idea the difference % between e-stores and the street prices?

    Tks a lot

    Michel, Nov 8, 2006
  5. Agreed. And there's that old store on Second St. - blocked the name
    right now, probably because several of their sales "help" are snotty.

    There's a top end outfit in Palo Alto, although I have yet to make a
    pilgrimage there. Shukert and something. Man, I suck today with names.

    What gear are you going for?
    John McWilliams, Nov 8, 2006
  6. Michel

    Paul Rubin Guest

    That's www.adolphgasser.com , actually an interesting place, but
    prices won't be all that low.
    Keeble & Schucat, www.kspphoto.com .

    Should also mention Looking Glass Photo in Berkeley
    (http://www.lookingglassphoto.com). Looking Glass was one of my
    favorites back in the day, though I'm sort of surprised to find
    they're still around now.

    Overall though, if there's something specific Michel wants, he may be
    better off ordering it from B&H.

    Michel, what in particular are you looking for?
    Paul Rubin, Nov 8, 2006
  7. Michel

    Mike Russell Guest

    I'll add my vote to that. Michel mentioned buying a lens. Circuit City and
    the other places I mentioned would be for cameras only. For a lens that I'd
    almost certainly go with the web.

    Unfortunately ordering over the web is not going to be an option to
    travellers who want to buy without having to pay VAT, which is 15 percent or
    so. We have an 8.5 percent sales tax, which added to the store's markup
    will make it almost a wash.

    So this begs the question of how a foreign visitor with just a few days to
    spend in the US can buy something on the web. Possible business niche
    opening for some enterprising soul: future vistor paypals the money in
    advance to the purchaser in the US, who orders it for later pickup.
    Adolph Gassers - this rather dingy ugly place was where Ansel Adam's bought
    his photo supplies, and it would be a miserable place to work every day,
    IMHO. But the people are knowledgeable, and even polite in a New Yorker
    sort of way. The last purchase I made there was for a Macbeth Colorchecker,
    and the person behind the counter very kindly gave me the educational
    discount because I said I needed it to write a web tutorial. Whether you
    buy or not, if you're near Market Street, it may be worth a peek inside for
    history's sake, just to visit the shrine of St. Ansel, and see where young
    Ansel Adams used to spend his allowance money.
    Me too, but Google's got it: Keeble & Schuchat
    Mike Russell, Nov 8, 2006
  8. Michel

    Michel Guest

    I am looking for Canon lenses.
    Here are my options:

    EF-S 17-55 f/2.8 IS USM
    EF-S 17-85 f/4-5.6 IS USM
    EF 70-200 f/4L IS USM
    EF 70-300 f/4.0-5.6 IS USM
    EF 100-400 f/4.0-5.6L IS USM

    I would have to compare first with our prices in Europe, more specifically
    with German prices which are far cheaper than the belgian ones.
    Of course, ordering on-line via a local address should be the max. but
    actually out of the question .
    Michel, Nov 8, 2006
  9. Michel

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Try calling these guys:


    They are about 1 hour's drive south of San Francisco. As I understand
    it, they just sell stuff (i.e. you tell them what you want and they
    take your money and hand you a box), they don't try to advise you or
    show you stuff and let you play with it. But their prices are
    supposed to be pretty good (I haven't bought anything from them).

    As someone else said, though, California has an 8.5% sales tax which
    (unlike VAT) would NOT get refunded when you go back to Europe, and
    that itself can be significant for a more expensive item.
    I think ordering with a foreign credit card using a hotel room as an
    address would get rejected, but maybe you can arrange to pay in
    advance by wire transfer. For an expensive item like the 17-55 that
    might be a workable plan. B&H will also ship internationally if you
    want that.
    Paul Rubin, Nov 8, 2006
  10. Michel

    SMS Guest

    It depends what you are buying. There are no real camera discount stores
    in San Francisco, or in the whole Bay Area for that matter. When Keeble
    and Shuchat in Palo Alto have their annual sale, the prices are only a
    bit more than ordering from New York, but they often quickly sell out of
    the popular stuff.

    The way to order online for U.S. pick-up is to add the address of the
    local Fed-Ex office to your credit card as an alternate address, and
    then get the seller to agree for you to do will-call at Fed-Ex. Many
    sellers don't allow will-call without a delivery attempt, for fraud
    reasons, but they can usually be persuaded to waive this.

    Even getting the stuff shipped to a hotel is possible, with overnight
    shipping, and the savings might make the shipping costs palatable.
    SMS, Nov 8, 2006
  11. Michel

    harlen Guest

    At San Jose Camera, you know what you want and you buy. The clerks are not
    friendly or helpful. Their prices are very competitive and have inventory.
    You can call them for pricing and stock before going to the store. The
    store is at the intersection of Hamilton AV and Winchester Blvd.
    harlen, Nov 8, 2006
  12. Yeah, dat's it. And Paul reminded me of The Looking Glass, one of my
    favs, but which had temporarily left my grey matter along with any
    spelling ability.

    Now I know why I keep dropping by Gassers': the ghost of AA. I have a
    B+W of Half Dome hanging that I did 20 years ago, and I tell
    unsuspecting guests, should they be ignorant or polite enough to ask,
    "Is that an Ansel Adams"? And I say, "Why yes!" Usually I break down and
    say the truth before they leave.
    John McWilliams, Nov 9, 2006
  13. Michel

    just bob Guest

    Ha! You are spot on about San Jose Camera's help being less than inspiring,
    but their pricing is only slightly better than Calumet or Keeble. If I was
    coming from SFO it would not be worth the travel cost to go up to SJC. Also
    their shop is very small. Keeble in Palo Alto is very nice, people are
    great, and you can haggle a bit with them. Ask for Gary, who knows all the
    Canon gear really well. Don't even try to bargain a price at SJC - they are
    firm. I do more shopping at Keeble - I pay more but they have everything,
    and I mean everything. SJC is closer to me and cheaper but when I need to
    shop I go up to Keeble.
    just bob, Nov 9, 2006
  14. Michel

    Father Kodak Guest

    Haggle at Keeble? My impression is that the price is the price is the
    price at that store. Is there a right way and a wrong way to discuss
    pricing at Keeble?

    Father Kodak
    Father Kodak, Nov 9, 2006
  15. Michel

    just bob Guest

    I was in there about a month ago and asked "Gary" if he could come down on
    the price of a 5D a bit, to $3100, and he said it was possible.

    But get this, I just called to ask what the price is now because they are
    having their "Pay no tax" days this weekend and he said $3300 (!) for the
    5D. When I asked about online sales from New York being less expensive he
    says they do not work in "grey market" products and "shady back door" deals.
    When I said do you consider BH Photo in New York one of these types of
    sellers and that the Canon 5D with USA warranty is selling for only $2799 he
    said, "they are a good company" and "they must get better pricing than we
    do." I really doubt the difference they pay is that much. There are just
    too many rich people in this area!
    just bob, Nov 9, 2006
  16. Michel

    Bob Salomon Guest

    And there aren't a lot of rich people within 40 miles of Manhattan? What
    is the population in Palo Alto?
    Bob Salomon, Nov 10, 2006
  17. Michel

    Father Kodak Guest

    I'll say About a year ago, I was at the Nikon counter. Guy to me is
    looking at a D2X. Tries it out, lays his card down on the counter and
    says, "I'll take it." Not a word about price. My never-pay-retail
    inner shopper was shocked, shocked.
    Palo Alto itself, about 60 thousand. Count the surrounding "rich"
    areas and you're up to several hundred thou. The Upper East Side
    probably has more well-off people than all of Palo Alto and Menlo Park
    plus Atherton.

    I think the difference is in the way people were brought up. People
    here don't seem to care as much about "did I get a good price." It's
    hard to describe.

    Go into Keeble and Shuchat any Saturday and it's very crowded at
    times. On a weekday morning, in the "pro" store across the street, it
    can be very quiet.

    From their point of view, they are doing pretty well, why should they

    Father Kodak
    Father Kodak, Nov 11, 2006
  18. Michel

    Father Kodak Guest

    And with the 8.25% sales tax, that comes to $3355.75.
    Plus shipping of course! Another $20-$30.

    Heck for that difference, you are half-way to a great lens.
    Sometimes when I'm there, I feel like I did when I first went into
    that store in the late 70s. Everyone there is the same, only 30 years
    older. And frozen in time in their attitudes.

    If they were smarter, they would realize that they need to develop a
    strong web presence if they wish to survive, even regionally. Frankly,
    I think that they will go under once Terry Shuchat is no longer
    actively involved in the store's management.

    Father Kodak
    Father Kodak, Nov 11, 2006
  19. Michel

    Ray Fischer Guest

    The average price of a house in Palo Alto is about $850,000. Stanford
    University is next door.
    Ray Fischer, Nov 11, 2006
  20. Michel

    Bob Salomon Guest

    Look up the price of a condo in Manhattan.
    Bob Salomon, Nov 11, 2006
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