The Panasonic GF3 deal from Saturday is over now, but I was wrong this time—the deal actually did last all day. First time I can remember that happening with a camera. Thirty-six TOP readers bought themselves one.
And by the way, apologies to those who wanted to avail themselves of the deal but couldn't. I know nothing about where Amazon will ship and why, where the Gold Box Deal of the Day is available and where it isn't, and all the other internecine fine points involved in those special-price offers. I'm just an affiliate; I don't work for Amazon. I don't think I've ever spoken to anyone from Amazon, and wouldn't know how to do so if I had to.
As several commenters noted, there is a flood of "de-kitted" 14mm ƒ/2.5 Panasonic wide-angle lenses on eBay, for as little as $159.99. That compares very favorably with B&H's new price of $303.59. Dealers or individuals are buying the kits for the sake of the cameras and jettisoning the bundled lenses.
Mysteriously, there are Panasonic 14mm lenses listed on eBay priced as high as $599.50. (Plus forty-eight dollars shipping.) This, while typical, has always seemed very strange to me. Why are these listed? How can they hope to sell? Not only does the selling price make no sense compared to the best price for the same item on eBay; not only does it make no sense compared to the new price from B&H; it even makes no sense compared to the price from a front-line bricks 'n' mortar retailer. The "Completed Listings" show no 14mms selling for higher than $280—versus a whopping 26 listings currently offering new 14mm lenses for more than that. As soon as the de-kitted lenses from Panasonic's GF3 fire sale are gone, I'm sure those overpriced lenses will still be there.
Always check B&H!
The logical explanation is simple: potential buyers exist who won't check new prices elsewhere. There are other possible explanations too, of course—maybe there are people in the world who can't buy from a discounter, or from the U.S., and who live in the mountainous rainforest of Rongo-Rongo and don't have local retailers. Or whose religion forbids them from buying anything when the price begins in anything but a "5." Or something.
But it does underline a simple rule for most of us: always check the new B&H price for anything before buying something new or used on eBay. Always.
I always do. And consistently, over the years, I've seen used items offered and sold on eBay for supposedly "rock bottom prices" that cost more than B&H is selling them for new.
The difference is the price of ignorance, I guess. I don't mean "ignorance" as an insult; I mean it literally. The buyers didn't know.
Not throwing stones
I buy an embarrassing amount of stuff from eBay. What can I say? It's the virtual camera fair (real camera fairs are still fun, once in a while—although I haven't been to one in years) and pretty much anything you've got to have now if you can possibly find it are sitting there innocently awaiting your greedy clutches. Catnip. I'm a sucker, as much as anybody.
But really, it doesn't cost anything but a few moments to do a quick round of basic comparison shopping before you bid to win. Those de-kitted 14mms might really be a bargain, right now, but not everything on eBay is.
Note: Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site. More...
Original contents copyright 2012 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved.