beware of black friday “deals”

I have written here about deals on gear before. Black Friday is supposed to be a day of one time deals. The idea is to bring you into the stores to buy other non discounted stuff along with the cheap deal. The problem with this idea is that the odds are against you on actually walking away with a deal. Retailers often only stock a small quantity of the deeply discounted items. Do you really want to get up at 3am and stand in the cold just so you could find out that they only had 2 $300 HDTVs in stock and you are third in line? In my opinion it is way too much work to get that deal than its worth.

The truth is you are not going to find a Black Friday deal on a Canon 300mm f2.8 IS. Believe me I have looked. What you will find are some of the lesser items you need such as bags, memory cards and various off brand accessories. I have compiled a list of some Black Friday deals along with some things that you can buy right now at discounted prices. These are things that I believe a working photographer might use.

Black Friday Deals:

  • Memory Cards from Sandisk. Quite a few retailers are offering deals on memory cards and not just shitty, slow, off brand SDHC cards. Office Depot has 8gig Ultra II CF cards for $19.99 and 4gig Ultra II SDHC cards for $12.99. That is a pretty good deal on an 8gig card although it is unsure whether or not you can order these online on Friday to avoid the crowds (I’m not sure how big crowds can get at OFFICE DEPOT). Remember HD video from your 5D Mark II or 7D is only 5.5megabyte per second. These cards are rated for 15mb/s. Abes of Maine also has good deals on memory cards: Sandisk 4gig Extreme III SDHC or CF cards for $19.99 and Sandisk 8gig Extreme III SDHC cards for $29.95.
  • Hard Drives. There aren’t very many stellar deals on HDs. However, Target is offering 1Terabyte Western Digital Elements desktop drives for $59.99. They don’t actually list this drive on the website being currently for sale, so I am not sure how much of a discount this is for them. Amazon currently lists the  drive for $99.99. It has a high rating with customers.
  • Cameras. The truth is that most of the cameras that I would even consider buying, either a point-and-shoot or DSLR, are cheaper right now online from Amazon, B&H Photo and Video, J&R or Adorama Camera. Also a lot of the cameras that are listed in the circulars are older models or have been discontinued.

Current Deals:

  • Memory Cards. Adorama Camera currently has some great deals on bulk cards. Some of these require rebates but most do not. You can get 3 Sandisk Extreme III 4gig CF cards for $89.99 without a rebate. That makes each card $29.98. You can also get 5 (five, thats right, five) Sandisk Extreme III 2gig CF cards for $49.99 without a rebate. That makes each card less than 10 bucks. If you are willing to fight to get a rebate you can get 3 Sandisk Extreme III 8gig cards for $94.95. That is with an $80.00 rebate, so each card would be $31.65. Great deals available right now.
  • Hard Drives. Newegg has the Lacie 2Terabyte 2Big Quadra external hard drive for $294.99 with free shipping. I use Lacie drives for everything and love them. Lacie currently lists the drive at $399.99 on its own store. Western Digital drives are pretty cheap everywhere right now.
  • Digital Cameras. Pretty much every ad shows a discounted digital camera that is actually cheaper right now online. Best Buy has the Canon SD1200 IS p-n-s for $179.99 on Friday with an extra battery (off brand) and case (also cheap off brand). You can get the same camera at B&H for $170.95 with free shipping and no sales tax. Best Buy also lists the Canon Rebel T1i with 18-55mm lens for $699.99 on Friday. You can get the same kit for $719.00 with free shipping and no sales tax today from Amazon.com. The reason why I keep listing the no sales tax thing is because sales tax in Colorado is anywhere from 6% to 9% depending on the city. So a $699.99 camera is actually $748.99 with tax at 7%. Cheaper online.

The point I am trying to make with this post is that you need to do your homework before venturing out to fight the crowds. Often things that you will actually want to buy are just a cheap click away. I know I will be enjoying my coffee in my bath robe, waiting for deliveries, while everyone else is fighting for a “deal” on Friday.

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