What happens when a manufacturer desperately wants rapid market share gain and mass adoption of its full-frame mirrorless cameras? You get a hard-to-refuse offer that instantly gives you cash for ANY camera in ANY condition. That’s right, Sony is giving away $300 if you trade-in your old camera. And when I say old, it could be a broken/non functional film camera that is not worth a penny, or a dead point and shoot that you have had in your drawer for years and never had a chance to dump it. With the already aggressively priced Sony A7 and A7R cameras, giving access to a full-frame A7 camera body at $1700, this $300 credit makes the A7 the cheapest full-frame camera we have seen to date, at under $1500 price tag. Clearly, Sony is not looking into making money from this rebate program and just wants rapid adoption of its brand new technology. When I originally shared my thoughts about the potential impact of the Sony full-frame mirrorless system on Nikon and Canon sales, a number of our readers criticized me for what I wrote and argued that there was no threat for the big two. Well, judging by what I hear so far in terms of sales and adoption, even among our readers, Sony is doing really well. And seeing how the Nikon D610 got a $100 off just after a month of its launch tells me that Nikon is definitely adjusting its pricing in response and Canon is pretty much doing the same with its 6D line. As Sony continues to expand its market share, I am sure we will be seeing price drops across the industry from all manufacturers. This is definitely good for us photographers, since healthy competition is always a good thing that drives innovation and decreases prices. With mirrorless having less components and bulk than a DSLR, it will be an interesting battle to watch for the next few years.
Just wanted to post a quick reminder that the Nikon and Canon Lens and Speedlight rebates will be expiring in just two days and will not come back, probably till the holiday season at the end of the year. Nikon has already extended its rebate program until the end of March and with the end of the tax season, it will also end the rebates. As you may already know, there are two types of rebates taking place right now – lens-only rebates and camera combo rebates. I won’t go over these rebates in detail and provide my recommendations, because I have already done that in the previous article.
Thanks to the tax season in the USA, manufacturers like Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Olympus and Panasonic have been aggressively pushing their sales, offering great rebates for cameras, lenses and accessories. So if you are looking for a good deal, now is a good opportunity to save some money (I do not expect to see good rebates / savings until the end of the year). Let’s start with Nikon. The good news is, Nikon has extended its lens savings program until March 29, 2014 and is now offering more rebates for those that are looking for camera + lens combo savings. These combo savings include such cameras as Nikon D3100, D3200, D5200, D5300, D7000, D7100. D610, D800/D800E and Df. Most of these cameras currently already have instant rebates and if you combine them with some lenses, you can save up to $680 off. Unfortunately, the lens selection is pretty small and mostly includes DX lenses. There is only one FX lens offered (70-300mm VR), from which you can slice off another $200, bringing the price down to under $400. You can access the rebates through the “Buy together and Save” link.
Nikon is not the only one feeling generous lately. Fujifilm also has some savings for those looking to purchase a new lens or even a camera, and they are, arguably, more impressive than those offered by Nikon. For example, the extremely popular XF 27mm f/2.8 pancake lens is currently selling for less than half its original price. Other rebates include the X-E1 (body only or kitted with the Fujinon XF 18-55mm f/2.8-4 R OIS lens, it offers the most impressive savings), X-Pro1 and the lower-end bodies, and almost all primes lenses along with the Fujinon XF 55-200mm f/3.5-4.8 R OIS zoom lens.
You are going to like this. Each time Nikon did a rebates program for its lenses, one had to buy a DSLR body first to take advantage of the savings. It has really been a while, but not this time. The savings range from a welcome $20 for the AF-S 50mm f/1.8G lens all the way to frankly impressive $400 for the likes of AF-S 80-400mm f/4.5-5.6G VR. More than that, there are a total of 15 lenses that are part of the rebates program. The offer expires on the 1st of March.
Sony is joining the rebates party with its own “Buy Together and Save” program at B&H. These lens savings are valid when purchased alongside either one of their popular full-frame mirrorless cameras, the Sony A7 and A7r and in all cases are $200 off the price of each of the four available lenses.
Nikon’s “Buy Together and Save” instant rebate program is expiring today (it will not be extended anymore), so B&H is offering a free UPS Next Day Air shipping for orders to arrive to your home before the end of the year. If you want to see a detailed list of cameras and lenses that are available for this rebate program, along with our recommendations, please take a look at this article that I posted on Black Friday. In short, this particular rebate program applies to all current and older Nikon DSLRs and a long list of DX and FX lenses. Once you add a camera body to the cart, you can stack as many lenses as you want, increasing the total savings.
B&H is now offering the Canon EOS T5i with EF-S 18-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS STM and EF-S 55-250mm f3/4-5.6 IS STM lenses and a SanDisk 16GB SD memory card with a whopping discount of $500. I was not impressed with the T5i, perhaps better known as 700D, but only for one reason – it is not much of an update to its predecessor, and it seems like a lot of manufacturers are just flooding the market with barely improved products. So what I did not like was the very fact the camera was released so soon after 650D came into market. However, on its own, it is a very capable camera and, from specification standpoint, up there with the best in entry level segment. If you were planning to purchase it, now is a good time to do so, because, for a limited time, the two-lens kit costs just $999 compared to the regular price of $1,499. Follow this link to get to the product page. Mind you, the new price is only visible when you add the camera to the shopping cart.
A boxed version of Adobe’s Photoshop Lightroom 5, which we already reviewed, has just received a limited time discount. You can get a boxed copy for both Mac OS and Windows for just $89! The offer runs out in a couple of hours at 4:00 PM EST (that’s about two and a half hours from now), so you better make up your mind quick whether you want it or not. Suffice to say, at that price, it is quite a bargain.
In order to take advantage of this flash sale, follow this link and order your copy of the software. Shipping is free within USA. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 5 is the software tool that I used more (much more, at that) than any other for my personal and wedding photography, including full-fledged Photoshop. Here a quick summary of our review:
Adobe has, once again, released a well thought-through product that is certain to make the workflow of a lot of professional photographers very efficient. I’m not going to start raving endlessly about every single feature it has and how it has helped me save time while post-processing. You may have already gotten that point if you have read my Mastering Lightroom series articles and various comparisons. Suffice to say, that with the help of the more powerful Spot Removal tool as well as the newly added Radial Filter and Upright tools, it has become even more capable than before. That is a serious achievement given how good Lightroom 4 was. The very minor, but extremely useful inclusion of the full-screen preview mode (triggered by hitting “F” key on your keyboard) is the icing on the cake. Add that to a superb control of tones and colors as well as very natural-looking noise reduction mechanism of the previous versions and you have one software tool that can replace several dedicated programs for a lot of us. It is a natural companion to anyone shooting RAW professionally or just for the fun of it. And, perhaps even more so than ever, Lightroom emphasizes speed, so that we spend less time post-processing and more time photographing. Not to mention all the new cameras that are now supported by Lightroom.
Olympus and Panasonic are taking care of the m4/3 system Black Friday discounts, and those involve both lenses and mirrorless cameras. The list consists of the most popular cameras and lenses, so there is a good chance that, whatever you were planning to buy, it is now more affordable.