Monday, November 19, 2012

Black Friday Deals, 2012 (Updated)

I love American Thanksgiving, if only because it puts a definitive and immovable start date on the year-end holiday season. In Canada, we have no such November date, and consequently, the commercial entities begin pushing Christmas on us the day after Halloween. However, when it come to Black Friday and the Canadian equivalent, Boxing Day (December 26), I prefer our version because it pretty much signals the end of the spend-spend-spend portion of the holidays, with New Year's being more of a denouement than a climatic event. However, in this puttering economy, you can't begrudge anybody the need to save on every dollar possible. That said, I think we lose a little bit of meaning in our holidays when you wrap up dinner and then immediately head for the nearest store lineup. Relax, slow down, enjoy the company and the conversation. Have some more pumpkin pie. Enjoy life without having to buy things... That's a bit of idealism, of course, something that I haven't adhered to. However, I do want to say that my years living in the U.S. are fondly remembered, especially with all the Thanksgivings spent there.

 Of course, as a Canadian living in the States, that meant having two Thanksgivings every year, so what's not to like about that? Did did I mention that I still love American Thanksgiving, because it means that productivity in Canadian companies that do business internationally grinds to a halt on Wednesday afternoon because all of our U.S. business partners are rushing off to the airport to get home? That said, here's a run down of some camera related stuff.  All prices USD. Happy hunting. (Note: This post will be updated through the week)


Adorama has a a sneak peak page up. If you want a D600, they're bundling it with the 24-85mm f/3.5-4.5G ED AF-S VR for $2,496.95. This is a good $200-ish savings off of the price of the lens. The standout deal is the Nikon D5100 for $446.95, which includes free shipping. The camera is at the end of its lifecycle, but even so, this is a stupefyingly low price for a dSLR of this's a lower price than some compact cameras! The D5200 is coming in the New Year, so don't expect inventory for the D5100 to last forever. If you are wondering whether to wait for the newer D5200, I would say this: most enthusiasts, even if they don't want to admit it, already have their hands full with 16mp; 24mp is too much. That said, if video is your priority, the D5200 will likely be better, but in the hands of most people, we're well past the point of diminishing returns. Wherever you buy you buy your Nikon now, there are a lot of discounts for bundling with lenses and flashes.


This is their Black Friday page for Nikon.  As I am writing this one a Monday, their Black Friday page is decidedly underwhelming. I expect this to change. Watch for the rebate deals on Canon equipment, details of which are on the web already. Nikon is in a market share mood, so they are also on the rebate gravy train as well; continuing watching this page.

Amazon has set up their own Black Friday store here. Probably the best value of the moment is the Nikon D5100, which Amazon is listing at $546.95. Not as good as the Adorama deal, but you might not get first pickings when the shopping starts. Amazon is by far the largest e-commerce retailer in the U.S., so expect heavy traffic from Thanksgiving through to Cyber Monday.

Redflag Deals

Canadians looking to get in on the action will be looking here. Don't forget to take into account the notorious RedFlag Deals effect, where word leaked on the internet will cause stores to instantly run out of said item. This forum is populated by a very savy, if slightly bonkers crowd. Imagine what Extreme Couponing would look like with tech geeks. Warning: RFD is very ha

Best Buy

This flyer has a couple of Canon T3i bundles that I'd pass over. However, if you are in the store, the SanDisk Ultra 32GB SDHC UHS-I Class-10 Memory Card for $17.99 will go quickly. Best Buy normally lists these cards at $69.99, of which I'm skeptical that anybody would actually buy at that price. Most online retails list these cards at between $35 and $50, so you are still getting a good price. If you miss out, there are similar deals popping up in other electronic retailers, but traditional strategy has dictated grabbing the memory cards first when you go through the doors of Best Buy, as the good ones go fast, and they are small enough to leave your hands free to grab other things.  Best Buy is also keeping a count down page, so you might want to watch here as the Friday get's closer.


Here's a copy of their flyer. They are offering a Dolica ZX600B103 Proline 60" carbon fiber tripod with ball head for $79.99. I've never heard of this brand either, but annecdotal reviews indicate that it works well, not as sturdy as a carbon fiber tripod from Manfrotto or Giottos, obviously. Not at this price. It seems to be sold in a number of venues, but Costo seems to be the major distributor. Try to see if you can handle it in person, as the specs don't indicate how much weight it's rated at.

Fry's Electronics

Their flyer is up. At lest as far as cameras go, I'm not that impressed. For the most part, they are offering what the manufacturer's are offering, with a body/kit Nikon D7000 listed at $1,296.95. That's still a savings over what the price was last week, but considering the location of a typical Fry's retail post, you would be depriving yourself of shopping opportunities elsewhere if you went there only for the cameras. For $1,596.95, you can upgrade the lens to the 18-200VR; again, a savings over what the price would have been before, but not any different now that Nikon is in full rebate mode. Save their flyer if you find a place that's willing to price match on Black Friday.

Helix Camera & Video

An independent store located in Chicago. A few years back, they ran an online special for a Promaster 17-50 f/2.8 lens, which quickly took off beyond all reason across the internet? Why? Because people quickly understood that this was a re-branded Tamron 17-50, for an unreasonably low price. Helix is a region chain, and they soon got swamped with orders coming in from all across the internet. To their credit, they honored every order that went through their sales system. Class act. So if you are in the Chicago area, support your local camera retailer.  Helix is offering the same rebates that the other Nikon dealer's are offering, so if you want to take your time and do it right, I would humbling suggest buying with a retailer like them rather than at a big box store.

Nikon USA

This is Nikon's U.S. e-commerce storefront. If you find a deal online, compare to here to see if your local retailer is making an effort to grab your buisness, or if they are merely passing on savings from Nikon's U.S. distribution and lazily calling it a 'sale'. Look for retailers to bundle extras, like cases, memory cards or sales tax reductions.


Radio Shack is advertising a Canon T3 with 75-300 for $499.99. I think it's a reasonable price, especially if you don't live near a dedicated camera store and the generic mall is your only option. You can do better, of course, but for the time and effort, it might not be worth it if you are just stepping into photography. I should point out that this is a very old non-IS zoom lens that they are including, which only shows that you get what you pay for. It's a nice addition, but if you are buying for a new photographer, non-stabilized long lenses are not very user friendly without tripods.

Samy's Camera

Sam'ys is located in Southern Caliornia, but has an online storefront. Their weekly flyer is here. The deal that sticks out to me is the Canon 60D with 18-135 lens for $1099. No tax. Samy's is one of those places where 'real' photographers go, which is a good thing if you are a neophyte, as it means that the sales staff will actually take time to answer your questions and let you play with the equipment before you buy.


Staples has launched their Black Friday site here. Discounts on the Nikon D3100 and Canon T3, but if you are looking for a camera body, I'd prioritize finding a Nikon D5100 first, as you will get a better shooting experience. I generally wouldn't put Staples at the top of my list for physical shopping locations on a Black Friday, not unless it the store was in very close proximity to other stores.


Walmart's Black Friday side is up here. They have a lot of selection for low and mid range dSLR's, albeit at prices that aren't at the very lowest of the low. Consider the D5100 with 18-200VR for $1,148.00. This also includes a 16gb card. This isn't cheap compared to the other D5100 deals that I've listed, but you are getting a quality lens that will last a long time, long after you are done with the camera body and have moved on. Over retail, the price savings is about $200, and if you hand this kit to the average person, it might be the only camera they will ever need considering the versatility of the 18-200VR.

Lastly, because I'm that kind of guy, here are some reminders about why you might want to sleep in and take it easy on Friday instead:

Hmmm..... maybe there is something to be said about online shopping. Happy Thanksgiving; may you have good memories, and good pictures of those memories.

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