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(Most) local camera prices approach parity

Photo Counter has been informally monitoring local camera pricing for some time now, and it’s clear, for popular new releases, the differential in US MSRP (manufacturers’ suggested retail price) and Australian RRP has shrunk considerably since initiatives in that direction by market leader Canon late last year.

A wave of significant new camera releases over the past few weeks from top brands gives an opportunity to review the situation as at August, 2012:

The Canon EOS M doesn’t yet have a local RRP, and Canon has in fact adopted a policy of not making RRPs publicly available as the Australian street price can vary markedly from the official RRP. But given Canon says it will sit between the EOS 600D and 650D in price, $799 seems to be a safe bet for this model’s release price.

The US MSRP is US$799. Twelve months ago a $799 RRP camera in Australia would have a US price of $499 or $599 at best.

The Pentax K-30 carries a local RRP of $899, and at the current exchange rate that’s cheaper than the US price of US$899.

Pentax never had the same issue with price differentials as most of the other camera distributors, and maintains this happy state of affairs with the recently-announced all-weather DSLR, the Pentax K30. Local RRP with an 18-55mm lens is $899. US MSRP is US$899 as well.

The Sony RX100, a premium compact model with a fixed lens and large-area sensor, has an RRP of $799, compared to US$648 (+ approx $50 shipping) from B&H in New York, and $640 – 700 on eBay from Hong Kong. It’s already being locally advertised at $699, sourced from Sony Australia (underscoring Canon’s issue with RRPs.)

The Wi-Fi mirrorless interchangeable Samsung NX20 and NX 1000 were announced this week at RRPs of $999 and $749 respectively. US prices are US$1099 – more than $100 over the local price – and $699.

Panasonic, however, is the one camera company which doesn’t seem to have moved local pricing to the point where the offshore online alternative is no longer attractive. This week four new cameras were announced, as well as pricing for two already-announced mirrorless interchangeables, the Lumix G5 and GF5.

The Lumix G5 with kit lens is $1099 here and US$799 over there. Surely there’s been a mistake!

The mirrorless interchangeable G5 body only in Australia is $999. In the US it is $699, while with a 14-42mm kit lens attached the price goes to $1099 in Australia and just US$799 in the US. The lower priced GF5 is $699 in Australia and $519 in the US with the standard kit lens, while equipped with a power zoom lens it’s $899 here and $699 in the US.

The new digital compact Lumix FZ200 will be available in September with an RRP of $799. This compares to just US$599 in the States. The FZ60, also available in September, has an RRP of $599 and a US MSRP of US$349.

The latest in the popular LX range, the Lumix LX7 is available next month at an RRP of $649 and a US price of $499.

Retailers need to keep a watching brief on the trends in these price differentials as they effectively represent a competing channel of supply. Internet-savvy consumers in the market for a new camera certainly will be. And when a savvy consumer tells you they can get it for $200 less on the ‘net, you will be in a position to humbly beg to differ. Well, in  most cases!
Keith Shipton



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