Which Shop should I go????

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Can anyone plese let me know which shop should I go to buy a Tokina AT-X 28-70mm pro II f2.6-2.8 lens, Cathay Photo shop is sell at S$750 w/o GST and John 3:16 is selling at S$690 w/GST. I have read some mail saying that cheap thing are defective, so in this case where should I get it?????

Regards AK

-- Arthur Kam (arthur.kam@compaq.com), May 10, 1999


John 3.16 should be a wise choice as they are a family run business and probably against their moral to cheat customers. I have known them for long. Look for Samuel and says Loh recommend you to him. He should be able to give you a very good price. No commission earned.

-- Loh Wai Khong (waikhong@ime.org.sg), May 10, 1999.

Against the moral to CHEAT?????? Pls have a bigger circle of Photographic friends & ask them about that shop & boyyyyyy...you'll be shock!!! Francis.

-- Francis Lee (huhututu@hotmail.com), May 10, 1999.

I was once told that they were only earnly $20 from my $2000+ lens purchase. Imagine if they were to make 10 sales of this $2000 lens per day, where are they going to find the money to pay for the rent and salaries for the salesman? Perhaps he's refering to the net profit.
Nonetheless, you can still get reasonable price (check out the market price first and bargain to get a good deal) and personal service from this shop.

-- Wee Keng Hor (kenghor@hotmail.com), May 10, 1999.

About retailer margin. A retailer keeps a margin of 30-40% of the items price. Sometimes the margin goes over 60%. I am not talking about profit which depends and varies from shop to shop.

The profit margin will not be normally less than 10%. If they sell a 2000$ item, they make atleast 200$ profit over it.

-- Red (gred@hotmail.com), May 11, 1999.

Well, I am not saying that you must definitely buy from John 3:16. The fact that what attracted me to them is their after sales service, no doubt that I am paying a bit more for it. Of course you can always ask around for pricing before you decide which shop you should patronize.

My advice then is, if you don't feel at ease buying from John 3:16, then by all means buy elsewhere. I rest my case here.


-- Loh Wai Khong (waikhong@ime.org.sg), May 13, 1999.

Helloo! What nonsense is this , Whether you buy from cathay or john 3:16 you are still buying a tokina len's. What kind of cow sense is this,is it not a warranty set. Isn't cathay the agent for tokina so you are telling me if i buy from the agent it is a good len's and if i buy from a shop that is supplied by them it is not good. This is most amazing how stupid can you be.So what make's you so sure if you buy from someone other then them you are safe, Oh please wake up and smell the rose's my good friend. I just thought i give my two cent's worth.

-- Catherine Joseph (braveheart2nd@yahoo.com), May 14, 1999.

I agree with the rest here that John 3:16 is instead a wise choice. They may not be the cheapest in TOWN, but who else can match the superb product knowledge and services they provide to their customers? They even provide you a very good aftersales services. I would dare to say that no one can beat them in this area! Of cos, you are not obliged to buy from them unless you are comfortable with whatever they offer. We are talking about consensus here, get it? But if you are afraid of being cheated, then my advice is that you do your research thoroughly for the CHEAPEST DEAL if that's what you want (for being so KIASU & KIASI) than be so dumb to throw yourself into a your-so- called Cheaters' Den!

-- Judy (ddanimals@hotmail.com), May 19, 1999.

From my personal experience with the other shops, I can frankly tell you that John 3:16 have the best service around town. Before and after sales, they are just as friendly and helpful. Even some of their customers even group up for photoshoots on the weekends. Now, where can you find such a place with friendly staff and customers?

-- hommer simson (papahommer@yahoo.com), May 21, 1999.

Personally, I would recommend Cathay Photo. After all, you are purchasing from the agent itself. If you do encounter any problems, you can always go back to them. They are the agent for Tokina, they should know best. If we are to get ridiculous here, talking about customers getting together for photo shoots then we might as well talk about Cathay Photo's newly renovated premises or their staff who are all dressed in blue uniform with name tags. What we are discussing here is all about price and good service. I'm sure you don't mind paying a small premium for a service from the agent themselves.

-- Rizal bin Mohd Aidik (skiro@rocketmail.com), June 28, 1999.

Dear Rizal.....

well, different people have different definition of good service.... To you, Cathay Photo, might have given you a good service, but to me they have failed me many a times. It's either their prices were too high (we are talking about S$50/- and above) or they simply ask me "you want to buy or not?" that simply puts me off.....

If their prices are just a bit higher, but if they can provide me with a good service. Then it's worth every of my pennies to go there.

As for John 3:16, their services is really worth every of my monies. One of my camera broke down on my recent trip down to Singapore, I approach them with this problem, they help me sent my camera for repairs and free of service charge! Who can beat that....?

I rest my case.


-- hommer simson (papahommer@yahoo.com), July 02, 1999.

Fotoguide at Peninsula Plaza (near Cathay) is a reliable shop. You can be assured that you will not be cheated, or given used stuff claiming it is new. Their prices are lower than Cathay too, but you need to bargain a bit. Look for Mr. William Ng or Mr. Nelson Tan.

-- Sriram (rsriram@post.com), August 05, 1999.

Hi. Just a personal experience from John 3:16. I bought a Tokina 100-300 f4 from John 3:16. When I brought it, they said no need to stamp on the guaranttee card, giving me a whole lot of reasons for this. Brought it to Australia and it couldn't focus, and it was only on 2nd use of this lens. Okay, brought it back to the shop and the guy Samuel told me they would check it out and call me to let you know. Few days later, I was told to go down to the shop, and the guy told me this lens has to be sent to Japan for service, and that they would give me a *new* lens to replace this. So I asked if I need to go back and take back my lens once it has been repaired and return the replacement lens, I was told that I don't have to. Now, this really puzzles me as "are they going to sell that repaired lens as new lens to another customer?" since the guarantee card has not been stamped? And it really doesn't make me feel nice in the sense that "did i pay that much of money upfront to buy a lens that might not be even *new* and unused before?" since I can easily get a replacement. And my gut-feel is that this replacement lens is not a new lens either!!!!

I never buy from that shop anymore!!!!!

-- Patricia (mpeongsk@nus.edu.sg), August 19, 1999.

Aiyah Patricia,

It's pure speculation and I think your posts might be defamatory.

Maybe you would like to check with John 3:16 what happened to the repaired lens and let the forum know.



-- daniel loh (loh_daniel@hotmail.com), August 23, 1999.

Well, the wonder never end..... Next time when you purchase anything from any shops, stamp your guarranttee card. But like Daniel said.... check with the shop. And maybe you can enlighten all of us on that issue.

-- Hommer simson (papahommer@yahoo.com), September 15, 1999.

my own personal experience: I think John 3:16's sales & assistance is one of the best. I bought my EOS50 from them. Cathay can also give you a good price if you email them for a quotation. Does Mustafa sell Tokina? I'm not sure .. but I did buy my Canon 100-300 lens there and got the best price in Sgp.

-- Wang (wyl03@yahoo.com), September 28, 1999.

I bought an EOS3 from John 3:16 and found their service so solid and respectable that I've continued buying 99% of my equipment from them, to the tune of around $5000+. I have no reservations recommending them.

*In fact, they've actually dissuaded me from buying better flashes than I needed. That is looking out for my interests.

Cathay has good selection too, but I find their service very marginal and unhelpful. Therefore they only get tiny scraps of my business, grudgingly.

Every other electronics store in Singapore can go to hell. They get - none- of my business.

-- Michael Slater (mslater@pacific.net.sg), September 20, 2000.

Wow! There's life in this thread yet!!

Yes, I agree with Michael and I too would give John 3:16 the thumbs up. As for Cathay, my experience with them has been good, however only when I to Kelvin Pung. He is both helpful and knowledeable and is only 1 of 2 that I know that calls you back when they promised to. The other is Sam from John 3:16.

-- Benjamin Yap (ben@mostly.com), September 20, 2000.

i think if you buy from either is the same, as Tokina lenses are from Cathay Photo, but , i suggest you can try asking from Camera Workshop (Daniel), tell him the price and see what price you get. You will be surprise that he actually offer a better price, getting them from photoguide...Well just remember to get the warrantee card stamped, that's the most important thing.....:)

-- ric (ae1c1976@yahoo.com), November 06, 2000.

Whichever shop you go to, just check around for the price of the item you intend to buy as well as the price of a few other items for use as price-check reference.

If you are willing to pay for good service, please carry on. It's your money after all. Just don't get over-charged. IMO, paying $5-$10 more for "good service" or to "feel good" is reasonable, but not more.

For me, it is the item I'm interested, not the look of the sales person who hands the item over to me or what he or she might say.

Also, research and read and find out everything about the particular item you intend to buy before stepping into any shop. Most sales person only know that much. Don't rely on them for product info (any why should you, do your home work, don't blame others). Go to the product's web site to obtain full info about the product, or "study" the product brochure, espcially those features you are interested. If the sales person recommends something else which you know little about, just listen for his/her reasons, and GO BACK HOME and do some more research before you decide. Most of the time (but not all the time), it is because the shop is trying to hit a sales quota, or it gets more commission from selling that item.

I concluded that saying anything negative about John 3:16 will invite violent attack, so I am just going to say this : I stepped into John 3:16 once some five years ago, and I will never step into that shop for the rest of my life. That's my choice. You are free to decide for yourself.

On the other hand, I have bought over $50,000 worth of photographic equipment from Cathay Photo. They will give you good/better price (may not be the best) if you are a regular. But I suppose most shops are like that.

Maybe it's also interesting to observe what type of customers come to these two shops. Draw your own conclusions.

So in summary :

1) Know your stuff, do your research (so that you'll know if the sales person is bluffing you or not). Know exactly which features you need and which you don't. No harm bringing a friend, but please bring someone who REALLY know the stuff, not just "a friend".

2) Shop around to compare prices. Even today, I ask around for prices before going to Cathay.

Lastly, and most importantly (which someone has said, but i think it could not be over-emphasied): No Warranty-No Talk. In fact Don't talk anymore, just walk out. And the shop has to stamp on it. And also to INSIST on receipt, which has to indicate the items you purchase, including brand, model and yes, serial numbers. No, the cash register or Net or VISA receipt won't do. Some agents (for repair) will ask for proof of purchase (your receipts). No matter where you buy from, don't forget this two most important documents. The best item will breakdown one day. "Don't worry, just bring back if you have any problem" won't do. Again, the decision is yours. Be safe and happy, not sorry. But again, it also depends on the item that you are buying. Not insisting the above for something that costs $150 is not a big deal (to me), but if you are buying items costing hundreds or thousands of dollars, you take you own risk. Warranty Card and Receipt are the safety net when trust and friendship don't work.

No offence intended. If I have unintentionally offended anyone here, please accept my apology in advance.

Also, please pardon me for my poor English or Singlish or grammar or spelling or typo errors. Don't attack me for that also.

Most importantly, Happy shopping. Happy shooting.

As for Arthur, why not go to Cathay or Foto Guide and ask if they are willing to sell you at $690 (or even $680 or $670) and see what they say. No harm asking right ? And who knows you may get it for $670 ?


"I am a photographer, not a fighter"

-- Wilson (rangefinder@hotmail.com), November 10, 2000.

Why not visit T.K Foto Technic and ask for the prices there. They are wholesaler. The price they give is very low and affortable. The salesman there is very friendly. You can request for their price or quote them your price at their web site at http://www.tkfoto.com.sg

-- Allen (allen_ng@atlasdata.com), March 31, 2001.

Personally, i do not like j3:16. Why? They sold me a Rodenstock microfiber cloth for $12.50 where a week later i found out that Cathay at Marina is selling the same thing for $6.

I agree that some times Cathay do sell more expensive then j3:16, perhaps 10% more expensive. But look at the margin! j3:16 over charge me by 100%

I will not buy from there anymore.

-- tony (tonyhalim@www.com), October 23, 2001.

Well I have been going to J3:16 for many years now. Their products are not always the cheapest but they do have pretty good after sales service.

As for Cathay, I would never step into their Marina Square shop again. Bought my first SLR camera there from a sales person can Sam there. When I saw a lot of dirt there (not kowning that it doesn't affect the photo then) went back to the shop after about a week. Sam (the indian sales person) came to 'serve' me and when I took out my camera and ask about the dirt inside he actually just walk away from me and my wife. Now how's that for bad after sales service. Another shop that I wouldn't never set foot again is Camera Art at Adelphi. When I enquire about the EOS5QD which they display at their windows, the owner told me in my face 'You buy then I show you'. Ended up buying a Nikon F90 from J3:16. Now I just get my stuff from either J3:16 or Cathay at Pennisula.

-- Adrian Seah (adrianseah@asia1.com), November 28, 2001.

Cathay Photo

The staff at Cathay Peninsula & Cathay Marina are rather different in terms of knowledge. One general thing to have in mind about the 2 shops is that Marina is in a shopping district where it is not in Photographers' World while the the one at Peninsula is in a REAL Photographers' World. (This only a very general statement and may vary in times and cases). In these cases, the guys at Peninsula definitely have know their products one million percent and run into serious problems if don't know their stuffs as there lots of pros (incl. commercial ones) who know the products and imagine the kind of knowledge required of the salesperson against a 'perhaps real photographer in disguise'.

The rental and other overheads are also much higher in Marina than Peninsula.

Buyers, from my experience of hanging around Peninsula area for the past 4-5 years, I've made many new photography friends from all walks of life who take real and great interest in this sport. It's not difficult to mix with them and for one who always on the learning side, it's even easier. We sometimes just have to take the first step in breaking the ice. Just relax, smile, be courteous and ask around these others who at Peninsula area. Soon enough, surely you'll learn alot about the hardware and also meet and make new friends. Right guys?

For second stuffs, you can try The Camera Workshop at Peninsula Arcade, on the hotel side. Prices are good. You give reference to my name and said that you read my recommendation over the internet. I've known everybody in the shop for about 5 years now (Don, Daniel, Nick, Becky & Laila) and most of my supplies are from them - 1st & 2nd hand. If you get poor service during non-peak periods, please let me know. I want to know. There is no commission in this. We should all share the good stuffs, right? If you're after 35mm camera & stuffs, you can ask Don/Daniel/Nick and Medium Format:Don/Daniel/Nick, a real expert on Medium Formats & Hasselblad:Don.

For Film supplies, you can try Ruby Photo - my accessories & film place, same place as Camera Workshop and look for anyone there. They also do film processing, studio supplies and darkroom stuffs, plus accessories. Favourite contacts : Ms. Eng & Andy.

An alternative is Photo Guide - my accessories & film place, all the guys there are just as wonderful. They are adjacent to Cathay Photo Peninsula. They do most or all of what Ruby photo does and even sells cameras, lenses, flashes, bags, accessories, etc. Look for Nelson, Lim or anyone else.

As for Cathay Peninsula, you can try Kelvin, Kenneth and any others. I go there for occasional accessories.

Please feel free to e-mail me directly as I would love to learn of your encounters and exchange experiences, views and comments all and where possible.

Wilson, I may know, not very sure, but your tone sounds familar. Would like to make friends with you if there is chance to bump into one another in Peninsula area.

Regards, Simone Lynn

-- Simone Lynn (simonelynn@yahoo.com), February 05, 2002.

Just took up photography in the past year. And you know it can be quite intimidating buying technical products from salesmen. However, John 3:16 has always been reliable on this account. I have never felt pressurised to buy anything from them...nor have they insisted that I buy something more expensive. And Samuel is indeed very patient when it comes to explaining how things work. And lots of Caucasian tourists go to the shop, often mentioning how they were recommended by others...implies quite a bit about their honesty and reliability. The only grouse I have is that their products are not the cheapest around but their aftersales service is excellent.

-- Norman (normanchua@hotmail.com), February 23, 2002.

Beware of the tricks when you go shopping! I had a bad experience in Peninsula Plaza. In early Mar 2002, I went to a shop in Peninsula Plaza (the shop's name is something like "World Wide Camera", #01-38, just opposite Funan Center). I intended to buy a UV and Cleaning kit for my Sony 707. After a round of bargin, I bought them at S$25. Then the sales guy began to persuade me to buy a wide angle lens. It was a 46mm 0.42 super wide angle lens, After trying it, I noticed the four corners of the viewfinder are black. I suspected that it was because Sony 707 uses 58mm lens, so I asked for 58mm wide angle lens. But the sales guy said that there was NO 58mm wide angle at all and explained that this is fish-eye and asked me to zoom in the camera. The blackness did disappear after some extent of zomming in. Finally I was convinced and bought it at S$150 (the guy quoted at S$185). I knew the price was still high, but I thought it worth it because the guy was nice to spend so much effort educating me. After I came back that day and went to Internet forum, I was told that the black corners was actually due to the incompatible lens size. I found that I was trapped !! The next day, I went to ask the sales guy. His attitude was totally changed. He said "there is no 58mm wide angle" meant "we don't have 58mm wide angle", bullshit! And he kept insist that the black-corners was "fish-eye"! He refused to refund and he even refused to exchange it for a 58mm, rudely.

Watch out! You are dealing with those guys whose only goal is to grab as much as they can from you!

If you are new to camera stuff, go to a reliable shop.

-- Ben (sgben2000@yahoo.com.sg), March 06, 2002.

To SUm Everything Up...

John 3:16 cheats some people.. and give discounts to others...BUT they're nice.

Cathay Photo gives mostly bad service and can be quite expensive at times... but who can stop them? They sell trust worthy equipment.

Peninsula is a gamble.... just like luckyplaza etc... =)

-- LioNeL (lionel@ihavepm.com), September 07, 2002.

Where is John 3.16b located?

-- lim sam (limlim2001@mailcity.com), December 22, 2002.

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