Buying a lense abroad
I'm off to Malaysia and singapore in August and am thinking of getting a wide angle zoom for my canon 450. I'm looking at the tokina 12-24 or tamaron 10-24.
So what i'm after is a bit of advice, for example:
Is it a good idea to buy abroad? Will I get value for money.
Is it a brain dead idea and i should buy one here.
If it is a goer, which country would be best? Can you recommend any shops.
What are the possible problems/annoyances that could occur.
Many thanks for any advice.
The main issues with buying anything abroad are with the warrantee, as most manufacturers won't repair a product when purchased outside of Europe or the UK. You've also got to be careful with duty tax etc. as bringing the product back the customs could incur costs. I'm by no means an expert on this subject, but it can be worth it if the prices are much lower. Just be aware that if anything does go wrong you'll be stuck with the repair charges, and be careful to insure it's an original product rather than a ripoff that just looks similar.
I bought a lens recently whilst in Hong Kong and have had a bad experience with buying overseas. With the exchange rate, when I got my bank statement, it was almost the same price as I would have paid here in Australia. I also seem to have bought a dud and it has been in for repair 5 times since November (I am now waiting to hear back from the repairer). I am not sure what will happen if it still doesn't work properly when I get it back. I have been lucky that they have been honouring the warranty, but I was told that they don't have to. I was also told that sometimes in Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong, they repair returns and then sell them off as being new, and it looks as though this is what I got. If it was me, I would pay the extra and buy a one locally and with a proper warranty.
There is currently no import duty on digital still cameras, though you would be liable for VAT payment at 17.5%. Also, if a camera is not imported by the official UK distributor they are understandably under no obligation to repair it for you under warranty at their expense, though most companies do so as a courtesy and for good PR.
Sorry, just realised its a lens, not a camera, you're thinking of buyng. Can't remember what the duty is on lenses. You'd still have the VAT issue, but I guess a lens is less likley to break down than a camera so there's less risk.