My experience in buying a Digital Cam and my advice to others : LUSENET : Photography Singapore : One Thread

Hi,folks, I was quite new to Digital Camera a few months ago and I would like to share with you an unpleasant experience at Sim Lim Sq(SLS) when I bought a high end Sony digital camera at Hai Chew Electronics at #01-53/54 then. The salesman asked for my budget after I told him that the initial offered price was too expensive. My budget should not exceed $1k, so he offered me $990 but he didn't inform me that it was w/o GST. He even told me that he gave me this price as I looked sincere in buying the digital cam and this price can only be offered if I am not using VISA. When I was abt to pay, I was told to pay $1019.70 incl GST (and this price is only $25 lower than SAFE superstore) and I was stunned for a while. But I made the payment eventually. Then I upgraded the memory stick from 16MB to 32MB after bargaining from $25 to $20 when in fact the price should be less than $15. It was a painful experience.

My advice for anyone new to Digital Camera and intending to buy one: 1) Do a research at these overseas web site: for the camera you want and the accessories included. If you convert the price they offered to Sing $ plus the shipping cost, that would be about the lowest price any shop can offer here. At the local web site, you can check out tips for buying Digicam: (Go to ->Digicam & Photography SiG - Brought To You By Nikon -> A FAQ for Starting/Buying a Digital Camera)

2) Do not let the salesman know your budget. Instead ask for the best price they can offer. Compare with a few shops. Some will mark up the price w/o you knowing it and will convince you that you are getting a good price after bargaining. The electronic shops at 1st-3rd floor in SLS do not put up a price list outside their shops unlike computer hardware shops at 4th-6th floor. You might want to check out the price at SAFE superstore, BEST Connection, COURTS or Harvey Norman before making a purchase at other retailer stores.

3) Never be pressured into buying a product. It is a common technique used by the sales pple in SLS. When asked "What's your problem?" or "Come, tell me what you want!" or etc. Tell them that you need some time to consider and if the price is good, you will come back for it. It will take you some courage, ask a friend to go along with you if need to.

4) Check the local web site for 1st hand Digicam: (someone who imports Digicam from overseas and sells thro' this web site) (I bought a Sony 128MB memory stick and InfoLithium battery for $135 and $85 respectively at Parisilk and most retailers are selling at $165 and $120 respectively). (Alan Photo) (Cathay Photo) (M.S. Colour Service)

& a recommended store by a number of friends at: John 3:16 109 North Bridge Rd #03-37 Funan The IT Mall Singapore 179097

If you want a 2nd hand locally, check out: (Go to -> Electronics and Cameras) (Go to -> Photography Singapore)

Regards, Arthur

-- Arthur Koh (, December 16, 2002


cathayphoto(peninsular) does has a wide range of products but i don't think they offer the best price :) the shops beside it will offer even lower price eg. photoguide bought a Tokina 28-70mm ATX-ProII lens at almost $80 cheaper at photoguide

-- JZ Liu (, December 17, 2002.

I agree totally with you Arthur. Most salesmen at SLS are pretty pushy when they want to sell you something you don't need. Here's what I usually do when they start "going for the jugular", I just tell them "thanks, but no thanks, it's too expensive" and start to walk away. Let them rant and rave, just ignore their theatrics and continue walking off. Chances are they'll relent and drop their prices more. Afterall, times are bad and to let a sale, any sale, get away is pretty painful for them.



-- PM (, December 17, 2002.

All I can say is that in Singapore, buying serious photography equipment really SUCKS! No price list from all the retailers, have to ask one by one, ask friends, buy already worrying being cheated, met bad service sales..etc. Are we shopping or going for a WAR?

Although those Big stores (better service) have price, they only sell consumers photo equipment Not into serious photo equipment!

Why are the comsumers like us have to go through all the pressure and frustation??? I never had a good experience shopping with any of the retailers here but what choice i have!!! Will it change?

-- james Wong (, December 17, 2002.

Dear James,

I found it is not sooo bad buying photographic equipments here. Sim Lim is a place I usually avoid. I will buy from Peninsula Plaza because I feel it's just not worth it to waste your effort not to be cheated rather than save a couple of $$$.

-- Mr. Wang (, December 18, 2002.

hi WAng, Thanks for the advise. To be honest, I do all my system shopping in different shops in Penisular plaza and shopping centre.

I can honestly say the price i paid for so the last 5 years are not the best around town but i don't normally bother if it $10-$50 more. As I believe, a photographer should spend his time more taking photos than worrying about the price.

I just wish we will have a photgraphy body to protect us (beginner or the pro) on the prices just like CASE.keep my finger cross.

-- james Wong (, December 18, 2002.


Some say Alan Photo (Sim Lim) is reliable. I got a SA-7 with 28-80 mm and 70-300 lens for 650$ after a round of price checking at various places. You know the quoted price? 800$!! And the salesman refused to go below 750$. I shopped around for prices and then came back and asked another salesman. I got it for 650$ with 2 UV filters and 400 ISO film roll.

So if you goto Sim Lim, first goto other places and know the real price. Then bargain.

Of course Cathay photo is goog. They do not cheat. But they are pricy.

-- lim sam (, December 22, 2002.

Was reading through this thread then I saw Alan Photo. I had this experience yesterday while looking for a Sigma EX 2x Teleconverter for my Pentax. It seems that Alan Photo is one of the very few dealers who have this on stock. Anyways, here is how my journey went... 1. Went inside looking for the converter, asked this guy and he said they (Sigma) don't make for Pentax (seems the Sigma website was erroneous). Was looking at their displays and saw one amongst the othere TCs. It clearly labelled "Pentax AF". 2. They took it out and opened the box and tried to fit it in my Sigma 70-200 EX f2.8. They could'nt make it fit and strangely said "Ah, this TC is only for big lenses, yours is small". Last time I checked the bayonet mount for Pentax 35mm AF SLRs has not changed since 1975. I took the lens from the guy, tried to fit it in and was successful. 3. Tried the AF, it worked perfectly. Tested it a couple of times. Disassembled it and was about to pay for it. I was really happy after finding the TC I wanted at this point in time. Decided to make a few last minute checks on the TC lens. Then it happened, I found a small bubble in one of the elements inside the lens. It was quite obvious so I asked the guy if they had stock to change it to a better one. I would not want to pay for something that obviously has a quality issue. At first he denied the existence of the bubble, said there was nothing wrong. Then after showing him clearly that there was, he started insisting that ALL lenses of ALL brands have this bubble. Now here he is trying to challenge my intelligence, photographers spend time and money looking for lenses that would give them the finest optical quality by purchasing CLEAR, scratch free, NEW lenses, and this guy thinks otherwise. 4. Asked him, OK, then show me other lenses that have this "mandatory" bubble. He started talking angrily and said "I have sold a lot of lenses that are similar to this for the past years and never had a problem". Hmm, OK. I started packing my stuff, laughing while doing it, and left the place. They either don't know what they are selling or was trying to sell a defective piece to foreign customers.

Times like these when less people are going out to purchase stuff, you would expect that stores would be more receptive to their customers in order to bring in sales. I guess this is not the case in some shops in Singapore.

So far, the only camera shop I have found to be both friendly and well versed in camera equipment is The Camera Workshop at the Peninsula Shopping Centre. There is also this small tripod shop in Peninsula Plaza, owned by Cathay Photo as well.

-- Average Consumer (, April 27, 2003.

Hi All, I know this answer is a bit late, but here goes: For Alan Photo, they are more interested in selling to tourists than locals. The few times I went in, they were not even interested in providing sales service to you. The same goes for the other Sim Lim shops. I have heard quite a few first hand stories about how the service sucks and they are usually out to fleece you. Agree that Cathay Photo is not cheap. I got my Minolta Dynax 7 at about $250 cheaper at MS Color. However, they are usually better stocked. At the end of the day, while a cheap bargain is great, establishing a good relationship with a reputable camera shop is more important in the long-term. I found that they are more willing to give you advice and also better discounts. Good luck bargain hunting :)

-- Loke W F (, May 09, 2003.

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