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Purchasing GF1 gear in Japan/Taiwan?

Discussion in 'Panasonic Cameras' started by Carlos, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. Carlos

    Carlos New to Mu-43

    Oct 17, 2010
    I'm a recent micro 4/3rds user, having purchased a GF1 with the 20mm pancake lens about a month ago for an upcoming trip to Taiwan and Japan. It just occurred to me that I might pick up some gear for the GF1 while I'm abroad. Any suggestions?

    I'm wondering if I can get better deals over there, or if there might be certain things that are not available in the USA (short of importing from Japan). I was thinking mainly of lenses, possibly a case or a small tripod. I expect that anything I'd get over there would work with the USA-warrantied GF1 I have.

    Those of you who have shopped for camera gear - where should I look? I'll have a few days each in Taipei, Osaka and Tokyo, and imagine that Akihabara in the latter would be the best spot to go to.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. parvenu79

    parvenu79 New to Mu-43

    Oct 16, 2010
    I actually got my GF1 in Japan (a month before it was out here in the US). One thing is that I find things are by no means cheaper in Japan, even at Akihabara and big the big camera shops.
  3. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    They have a lot of "value added" tax so you usually pay more in Japan for the same items shipped over here. Like the VAT in Europe. My daughter lived in Japan for 3 years and loved the lower income tax but hated the higher cost for purchases. Her Japanese friends who visit go shopping crazy when they come here and buy Japanese made stuff cheaper here than back home.
  4. panystac

    panystac Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 14, 2010
    Tokyo, Japan
    You need to know where to buy at Akihabara. The big chain stores like Bic Camera & Yodobashi are not so cheap. However, if you go for the small discount shops, then you can get perhaps 30% off the regular price.
  5. panystac

    panystac Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 14, 2010
    Tokyo, Japan
    This is not correct. The GST/VAT in Japan is only 5%.

    Japan is not as expensive as some people believe, but you have to know how and where to buy.

    It's true that many Japanese made cameras are cheaper in the USA, but this is not the case for the Panasonic G series cameras.
    For example, a GH1 with 14-140mm lens costs a bit under $1000 USD, but in Japan, you can find it for $750

    And the reason Japanese women go shopping crazy overseas, is because they are equally shopping crazy in Japan!!!!!!!!!! :wink:
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Narnian

    Narnian Nobody in particular ...

    Aug 6, 2010
    Richmond, VA
    Richard Elliott
    That is why I said it was l"like" the VAT - they have other taxes as well that are hidden in the process (so I was told by an lawyer who lives in Tokyo and works with foreign businesses).

    I do agree you have to find the places that cater less to tourists to get better prices, like you would do in New York.
  7. panystac

    panystac Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 14, 2010
    Tokyo, Japan
    But these taxes are NOT hidden sales taxes!!! For example, there is income tax, then there is local/regional income tax, then unemploment insurance & pension must also be taken out.

    But a foreign visitor will NOT see any more than 5% on top. The reason you pay less in the US is not because of sales taxes in Japan being high. Prices in Japan for cameras are generally cheaper than anywhere else except the US. And as I mentioned, the Panasonic G-series is cheaper in Japan. (although the Japanese domestic models are all Japanese only menu)

    ###### This is worth remembering, that Japanese domestic model Panasonic and Sony cameras are all Japanese only menu.

    However, the G1, GH1 and GF1 can be updated with a firmware hack to provide English and other languages.
    The GH1 and GF1 need to be built before June 2010 for the hack to work though.
  8. bilzmale

    bilzmale Mu-43 All-Pro

    Being in Australia I buy a lot of my gear overseas using the internet. My experience is US prices are cheaper. Panasonic makes different body versions for each market (eg Japanese only menus, NTSC or PAL but not both). I got caught with a GH1 that was NTSC only. Fortunately I was able to 'hack' the firmware to PAL.

    Lenses do not have such problems.
  9. ~tc~

    ~tc~ Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Oct 22, 2010
    Houston, TX
    Bought my GF1 in Korea. Negotiated about the same price as the states, but they had to come down quite a bit!

    Body is more expensive, but lenses seemed cheaper - especially legacy stuff, tons of used selection. Accessories (batteries, cards, etc) were MUCH cheaper than in the states.
  10. sohopro

    sohopro New to Mu-43

    Oct 26, 2010
    If you come to taiwan, you may try this shop where is near to Taipei train station.

    Here is the Google map link.
    ¥x¥_É]³Õ·R¸ô2¸¹ - Google ¦a¹Ï

    their website is Chiu Hua

    They can provide good, honesty and English-speaking services to foreigner.
    But you need to do price research in advance, prices of some items are more expensive not because they are trying to reap you off but imported.

    Subscribe to see EXIF info for this image (if available)

    View image in gallery

    not sure if they have GF1, they usually don't sell gray market product but they have a lot of accessories in store comparing to the others.

    But you may find GF1 around that area (there are more than 20 camera shops along the road).

    Street price of GF1 body (JP version) + 20mm lens should be around USD 555 for now.

    for 20mm itself, should be around USD 340.

    BTW, maybe you could help bring one Amazon.com: Kata KT D-3N1-11 3 In 1 Sling /Backpack with Laptop Slot: Electronics: Reviews, Prices & more for me if you do come to Taiwan. :2thumbs:
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  11. panystac

    panystac Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 14, 2010
    Tokyo, Japan
    Only the firmware is different, not the body. If you apply the firmware hack to the Japanese version of the GF1 or the GH1, you can select either NTSC or PAL from the menu.
  12. Kosta

    Kosta Mu-43 Veteran

    Sep 29, 2010
    I actually bought my e-pl1 before i went to japan on special in Australia, it was about 650ish at the time (roughly when it came out) which was the cheapest i could find.

    Searching around in japan i found the prices were generally more expensive in July this year, including currency conversion from Australian dollar.

    I did end up buying the 9-18mm m.zuiko at the duty free at the airport for about $550. that was the cheapest i could find at the time - better than online. But, the major camera stores mentioned about don't have this sort of pricing - that said they are pretty competitive if you show them a legitimate online price.

    Legacy glass can be cheap but I only found this once I got home looking at a few online stores based in Tokyo area. At the stores I walked through it wasn't so cheap.

    But, there are plenty of amazing things to see and do so don't spend too much time in camera stores! get out there and enjoy the country and take some photos :) 
  13. panystac

    panystac Mu-43 Regular

    Sep 14, 2010
    Tokyo, Japan

    You need to know where to look in Japan for new gear. The large store are never the cheapest, except when there is a special run out discount.(often on a long weekend)

    E-PL1 with 14-42mm & 40-150mm - $750 AUD
    E-PL1 with 14-42mm - $570 AUD

    The older legacy lenses can be cheap, but again, you need to know where. One of the best places in Tokyo is Fujiya, about 100m from Nakano station, on the JR Chuo Line. They have quality used lenses, including legacy.

    If you know how to examine lenses (to make sure they don't have fungus/haze, etc), you can find exceptional bargains in some small second hand places. I often get incredible deals....
    e.g. Nikon Series E 100mm F2.8 for $15. Minolta MD Rokkor 85mm F2 for $12. Canon FD 50mm F1.4 SSC $15. Olympus 50mm F1.8 $10
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