My post about my one night stand with the Tamron 150-600mm generated a lot of comments. A lot of people bemoaned the fact that they couldn’t get one because it was backordered at B&H, Adorama and the like. In 10 days, I’m departing on an exciting 18-day raft trip down the Grand Canyon and didn’t want to lug my expensive 500mm down the river in the raft. Nevertheless, I really wanted to shoot the wildlife down there and felt the more compact Tamron would be ideal. So yesterday, while out shooting ospreys, I ordered one and will have it in a couple days.
Before you think I’m getting special treatment for writing a gushy review of that lens, I’m not. All I did was phone my local camera store (local being relative – for some reason Flagstaff, gateway to the Grand Canyon, can’t support a camera store, so my “local store”, Tempe Camera, is 150 miles away). Voila, they had one in stock and it’s making its way up the hill to Flagstaff as I write this. Unfortunately it was the only one they had that wasn’t spoken for – I inquired for the sake of my fellow PL readers, even the Canon shooters ;)
Why I’m writing this, is because I feel that supporting our local camera shops is important. They’re a dying breed. It’s hard to compete with the online outlets and box stores. I’m sure I’m not the only photographer who has gone into their local store to handle a new lens or body, then gone back home and ordered it online to save on sales tax. In fact, I remember doing just that at Tempe Camera with the Nikkor 80-400mm to see if the AF on the new version seemed fast enough. I left the store without the lens, but with some lens tissue and cleaner. A month or two later, I bought the 80-400mm from B&H. Well I never found the 80-400mm to be that good with birds-in-flight, but I did like it for stationary stuff. However most of my subjects are beautiful and quick. Fortunately, I found a sucker to take it off my hands (some dude who shoots slow ugly things like people for an undersized magazine with yellow borders). He gets a lens to replace his 80-400mm that was stolen (the thief did him a favor stealing the old version) and I got a lens better suited to my subjects, plus an extra grand to go play with.
Bye Bye 80-400, we’ll miss you Nan (yes, I give my telephotos pet names and yes, I’ll probably be hugely unoriginal and call the new one Tammy. What can I say, if I had a pet Barn Owl it would be named Barney).
Back to the importance of local stores. When you need an item and you can’t wait, they’re there for you. When you want to feel the camera in your hands and judge it’s ergonomics, they’re there for you. They’re likely the guys that sponsor the demo day when manufacturers reps come to your town and let you try out the latest goodies. They host local how-to workshops, provide rentals and facilitate repairs. They provide a lot of things the online retailers aren’t in a position to do. They are there for us when we need them, but they might not be much longer. So if you’re Jonesing for that 150-600mm or other item you just can’t seem to find online, give your local store a call. They just might come to your rescue.
I’d been watching B&H, Adorama, et al. for months to see when the lens was in stock–still isn’t–but my local (again relative–about 30 miles away in upstate SC) took my my name about a month ago. Last week they called with a Nikon mount… I was there in under 3 hours to pick up the treasure. I’ve decided to patronize the local store for two reasons: First because they are committed to photography (in addition to making a viable business work profitably), and second, they are local. BTW the next closest local camera store is 100 miles away.
I’ve had my 150-600 since the first week it was available in the US. Getting lots of use out of it for daytime outdoor sports. Something that a lot of people probably don’t realize. The difference between 500mm and 600mm is VERY minimal. Take a step or two forward and you’ve made up the difference. For me, I wish I could use the zoom lock to lock it down at 500. I think the lens is sharper there (at least my copy) than 600mm. A tiny bit of cropping yields better results than shooting at full zoom.
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Nasim, I would like your opinion on comparing Tamron 150-600 and Nikon 300 with TC. I have Nikon 300 f 2.8 and was thinking to get TC 1.4 and 2.0. After reading the review on Tamron 150-600 it looks really temping to buy one glass instead two TCs..
I read your review on Nikon 300 f2.8 and would be interesting to hear how compares with the Tamron. Thank you in advance.
I would like to weigh in on the ‘local’ side of things… Recently, I crossed over to the ‘dark side’. Sold all my Nikon stuff and moved to a Sony AR7. Having worked with Nikon for nearly 40 years… film and then digital, this was NOT something I did without serious consideration.
Here in eastern Canada, we have one major supplier… Henry’s. They are a great store, have a serious online presence as well as a brick and mortar setup in a large number of locations. However…
I spent 5 years living in Kingston Ontario. I could, and did deal with Henry’s there. Great group of people.
However, when it came to the switch, I went with a local independent shop called Camera Kingston. They beat the prices of Henry’s, B&H, Adorama and the Camera Shop out in Alberta by enough for me to buy an extra lens.
I will shop there whenever I can price, service and everything else is just too good to pass up.
Now, I need to save up for the 810 or 750 as a back-up :)
I would bet serious coin it will come from Camera Kingston, a local brick and motor shop that has prices I cannot get anywhere else.
Great article, John. It’s been at least a decade since the camera shop in downtown Flag closed — then the chain store in the mall closed. I, too, find it amazing that an area with highly photogenic scenery cannot support a camera store.
On a recent trip to Boulder, Colorado, I was able to walk into a camera store and test several cameras. Can’t do that online…yet.
I would be happy to (once again) support a local store.
Yet another great, interesting article
Thanks for sharing!
Agreed. I got a D810 the morning of July 17 at a local store when B&H could not fulfill my preorder. Same story on the D800. The downside of this strategy is return privileges. The charger on the D810 was defective (does not charge with the plug prongs at a right angle to the charger). B&H would probably have exchanged the charger. The local dealer said is was between me and Nikon. The D810 is now in transit to Nikon for repair of the long exposure hot pixel problem. This increased my sensitivity to the issue so I checked a few of the D800 long exposures I’d taken in the past. Sure enough, a good number of hot pixels in NEF. I’d never noticed it before because they do not show up in the JPEGs exported by Lightroom.
Good observation on the hot pixels – Lightroom indeed does cancel these out upon import. I think this is a bigger problem for folks shooting video, where that one hot pixel will not pan with the shot but sticks out instead.
Regarding supporting local camera stores, I can’t agree more. There is nothing like walking into a local camera store where the staff are knowledgeable and love to get involved in what the customer is interested in.
Unfortunately too many local stores are their own worst enemy, they feel they can’t compete with the online stores so the first thing they do is give up on their biggest competitive advantage “customer service”. Customers want to be sold things, they want the salesperson to be excited about the product and show them all the cool things it will do. Local stores have to work the face to face contact they get with the customer, it’s the one thing that an online store really can’t compete with.
Let’s face it most photographers purchase things because they want them not because they need them. So if you are an employee in a local camera store, use your great customer service and excitement for photography as a tool to fight the online stores.
Nice lens, hope they make it for the Fuji x-mount soon. Would love to put it on my X-T1 !!
I have tried it on my X-T1 with an adapter (manual focus). Looks nice! Not all that easy to focus though. lol
I have an adapter for my Nikon lenses too, but getting tires of the manual thing…you know !
For the past 50+ years I have bought of all my camera stuff from B&H. Adorama is my back-up but rarely used.
B&H ships out-of-state so no taxes are included in my price and many times no shipping charges. Their customer service and ethics are outstanding…and so is their longevity. I have NEVER had a problem with B&H so I have zero reason to change my buying habits. A half century of satisfaction is worth my loyalty.
I too have bought a ton of gear from B&H and their customer service hasn’t let me down (I even returned a Leica, no questions asked). That said I think there is great value in having a good local store for the reasons stated in the post. I’m certainly not bashing the online vendors here, just trying to support the local guys.
Bottom line question, John: A lens is for sale at B&H for $1500 (no tax) and also at a local vendor for $1750 (plus tax). Which one would you buy? I go with VALUE (i.e. the relationship between quality and cost).
By the way, I am a very big supporter of local business in my area with photo contributions to their websites, newspapers, and buying their home-grown food…the extra cost is worth the added value in quality.
Fortunately my local vendor charged the exact same price for my Tamron as B&H charges. The big manufacturers set the MSRP and will not do business with retailers that don’t adhere to it – that’s why you never see B&H or Adorama undercut each other on current items and if you do see an online retailer advertising for cheaper it will be gray market or a bait-and-switch scam. I no big fan of paying taxes, but I do enjoy roads with fewer potholes leading to taxpayer-funded parks for me to go shoot in. If I wasn’t in a hurry to get the lens before my big trip, then I might have waited for B&H to get it in stock and save a few bucks. When I think of quality I think of the end result, i.e. the pictures I hope to get on this trip. Having the lens I think will best allow me to get those pics then has great value to me – greater value than the cost of taxes and shipping. Of course if it was the Sigma 200-500 f/2.8, the cost of the taxes and the flotilla to ship it would outweigh my other quality of life considerations and I’d buy online :)