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Old Jan 12, 2006, 2:21 PM   #1
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I am going to both China (Beijing,¬* but Hong Kong airport only) and Japan (Kyoto and Tokyo) in the next few weeks.¬* My husband has delayed my Christmas present, a SD 550 , until this trip on the possibility it might be a good idea to buy the camera in Asia.¬* I have my doubts but have no real information on this.¬* I would appreciate advice from anyone who has had any experience with doing this.¬* ¬*Besides the name change, are there differences that would make this camera less useful or more confusing than one bought in the good old USA?¬* I have done a lot of research into making the choice of digital camera, but as to making the investment abroad, I know nothing.¬* ¬*¬* ¬*¬*¬* Sydore
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Old Jan 12, 2006, 5:23 PM   #2
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I would recommend buying in the US with a US warranty.

I purchased Canon SD-series cameras in Japan and the US a few years ago. From my experience, the cameras functioned identically. The camera store in Japan (Yodobashi - if you have the time I highly recommendvisiting)even offered an English version of the user manual.

However,if you are typically resident in the USthere are some downsides to buying outside the country.

1) Some manufacturers will enable or disable different functionality depending on the geography the product is sold in. This may be based on market preferences or some Intellectual Property issue. Whilemy cameras appeared to be essentially the samethere's no way of knowing for sure before buying and comparing unless you know someone in Canon's international marketing department;

2)Canon's US warranty probably won't cover productspurchased outside the US;

3)Any includedsoftware may only be in the language of the country where you buy the camera. Canon typically includes English versions of their software in Japan, but there's no guarantee; and

4) You may end up paying more for the product in a foreign country. For example, the yen has been so strong in Japan for the last couple of years that most things cost more there than in the US. Definitely buy your memory cards in the US. They were about 25% more expensive in Japan when I was there a year and ahalfago.

You may also want some time to familiarize yourself with the camera before your trip. You don't want to miss a great shot because you can't remember how to turn the flash off.

If living in the US, thetwo reasons I can think of for making the purchase in Japan is:

1) You're on the bleeding edge of technology, it's a new product that you must have, and it won't be coming to the US for another year or so; or

2) The producthas some functionality that you want andis not available in the US. For example: the Pixma printers in Japan have CD-printing capabilities that are not available in the US.

I can't specificallycomment on buying a product in China, but I believe most of the above points are equally applicable.



My family and I lived inTokyo for a little over a year. If you have any questions or would like any recommendations on locations, please feel free to PM me. We love it there and there is no place on earth like Kyoto.
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 3:38 AM   #3
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Daibutsu,

What a great and knowledgeable reply. Having made yearly trips to Japan and Korea for my job for 15 years, my experience is exactly as you describe it.

So Sydore, I can confirm that Daibutsu has hit every point squarely on the head. You might find a bargain in China (I doubt any bargains in Japan) but be sure that the camera is an export version and everything including the menu is in english. It may not be a bargain if it malfunctions after you pay for it.

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Old Jan 13, 2006, 6:22 AM   #4
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Thank you for the detailed and knowledgeable response, Dalbutsu.¬* You have confirmed my fears and added a few more concerns.¬* I will certainly not consider Japan as a place to purchase a camera.¬* ¬*My greatest¬* concern before I read your reply was the possibility of having something wrong with the camera, a lemon, a fake, heaven knows what, and having no dealer to turn to with my complaint, and no warranty. ¬*I suppose the same problems would hold for Hong Kong or Beijing.¬* ¬* ¬*You have been most helpful.¬* ¬*My daughter bought an expensive Nikon 35mm in Hong Kong with no problems, but I wonder if she was merely lucky.¬* ¬*Or perhaps the market for film cameras is more stable, more dependable.At any rate, I greatly appreciate your advice and the time you took to deliver it.¬* Wise words.Sydore
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Old Jan 13, 2006, 12:33 PM   #5
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skylark, thanks for the confirmation. Always nice to know that my perception of things is consistent withothers. At least a few anyway.

sydore, One additional point. Aside from the issues already discussed, I would be more concerned about picking up a "fake" product inChina than Japan. China's reputation for widely available gray and black market goods is fairly well known. I personally wouldn't be too concerned about getting a"knock-off"in Japan. I can't remember any instance where I felt a dealer was being shady or had any concern about the product I was buying. Canon even has a few stores in Tokyo that haveall of their productson display as well as a customerservice center counter. They even run the occasional demonstration and workshop, which can be nice, if you understand the language. The Japanese (please excuse the over generalization) are very label conscious. I don't think anyone selling "knock-off" goods would last very long.
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