Do some countries sell Canon or Nikon DSLRs at a much cheaper price? Could I save money by buying from a dealer who will ship internationally?

Getting a high end DSLR or a good lens locally is beyond my budget.

  • 3
    A broader question you could not hope to ask. The dealer with the best price will vary by which exact equipment you want to buy, where you are and how flexible you are. If cost is really your biggest issue in purchasing a dslr then you should investigate the second hand market. – James Snell Jan 5 '13 at 20:11

The prices are pretty much aligned worldwide. For example, I noticed only a very slight difference for my DSLR between France and Czech Republic (where I live). Only a dozen euros or so. Usually, between the US and Europe, prices seem cheaper in the US, but that's because the US prices do not reflect the taxes that will be applied when you do the actual purchase.

That being said, you have to also take into consideration the following if you are trying to order your camera from abroad:

  1. Shipping costs overhead: Nobody ships worldwide for free. Whatever you may gain with a cheaper price tag abroad will probably be eaten by shipping.
  2. Customs overhead: Any honest vendor will fill out the proper Customs information on the parcel (if only to avoid the parcel being retained at the border by Customs), and you will be subject to whatever taxes apply.
  3. Lack of International warranty: You're going to invest into something expensive, potentially fragile, definitely complex and delicate. Not the kind of thing you pry open with a phillips screwdriver every morning for breakfast with your cereals :). Buying abroad, you will probably not be able to benefit from the manufacturer's warranty (which only work in the country where they were purchased. With maybe the exception of the EU, where warranties may apply across any member state of the EU. Probably depends on the manufacturer as well).

If you want to save money, you'd be better off looking for a second-hand offer in a local shop, which would provide you some basic warranties and would let you avoid the hassle of worldwide ordering.

  • Well, if you are in Europe there is ALWAYS a seller warranty - and technically all EU warranties are 2 years (even in the UK). – DetlevCM Jan 5 '13 at 22:24
  • @DetlevCM true, but if you buy your DSLR in a shop in the UK, and have a problem, say, in Italy, I'm not sure you can get your camera serviced in Italy. You might have to go to a service center in the UK, where the camera was urchased, in order to exercise your warranty rights... – matt.nguyen Jan 6 '13 at 12:35
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    Yes, if you buy a camera in the UK and then go to say Italy you have your full warranty. They have to repair it under warranty. Period. Now in some countries they will give you 2 years right away in others they will only commit to one year - so in that case you might need to return to the country of origin unless you want to argue with them on the basis of EU legislation, but you can make use of your warranty anywhere in the EU. In fact, as a result most companies offer an EU warranty right away - i.e. it is not limited to the country of purchase. – DetlevCM Jan 6 '13 at 16:00
  • across the EU, price differences aren't large. But buy the same item in the US or say Singapore or Hong Kong, there can be major differences (several hundred dollars on a DSLR body are not uncommon). – jwenting Jan 7 '13 at 12:25

It depends where you live and it depends on the particular item. The USA generally has the cheapest prices but that is not even true for all items. Some cameras are cheaper in Canada and you will find that the same brand sells lenses cheaper to the USA.

European prices can range from a little higher to considerably higher. I have seen as much as 30% for something bought in the UK compared to the USA. A cursory peek at prices in northern Europe while I was visiting shows that prices are at least somewhat higher.

While some companies sell lower-end gear cheaper to less developed countries, the sad truth is that most stores in those countries mark up the price and pocket the difference. This is what I have seen mostly in South America. For high-end gear, there are fewer buyers in poorer countries and so are generally sold at even higher prices.

The bottom line is that you have to make the evaluation on a case-by-case basis and make sure to account for duties and shipping. A store properly setup to ship internationally should not charge you local sales tax. Instead, you usually pay duty on arrival to your country, unless yours happens to be a free-trade zone or have a free-trade agreement for which your item qualifies for. This is tricky because local laws are complex and look at the country of sale but also the country of manufacture sometimes.

Where I live, I even save money by buying from a store outside my province because I only get charged federal tax and no provincial tax for those items. When shipping is free, which is often the case for high-end items, that makes it a good choice. It often happens that I can save even more internationally because the import duty is comparable same as the sales tax.


Do some countries sell Canon or Nikon DSLRs at a much cheaper price? Could I save money by buying from a dealer who will ship internationally?

Considering US & Indian markets, you might get a good price in the US market. But note that shipping charges would be pretty high and it would end up costing you more than when locally bought. Unless you find some way to sneak it out of US you wont save much :P

Getting a high end DSLR or a good lens locally is beyond my budget.

Have you really checked out the price difference ? Take a look at newly launched Canon 6D in US market and Indian Market. You might save ~7000 rupees. Its upto you to decide whether you can let go off this considering actual cost 121245 rupees.

Note: Numbers are from Canon Online stores. There are surely better deals on best buy,adorama etc ...

I suggest you to purchase from your locality to avoid issues when you want to claim warranty.

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