(Last updated: 29 December 2016)
It takes me a LONG time to finally buy tech items especially. I research relentlessly the top products for whatever I’m considering buying. Reason being, I hate to buy the wrong thing. It’s safe to say that besides buying a 1980 MG Convertible on Oahu in 1985, I’ve made no purchases fueled by emotion since.
I had a Nikon D70s digital camera for a while here in Thailand. Can’t remember where I bought it – I think “Big Camera” in the mall in Phuket. I sold it when I needed cash, and have done with Sony cameras since. I’ve bought six or seven Sony cameras like the DSC-s90, DSC-h10, DSC-h20, and so on. Some of them I have bought multiples of. The fate they all succumbed to was humidity destroying the system board or the LCD screens. The more expensive cameras – over 10,000 THB – I sent to the Sony service centers in Phuket to see how much it would be for repairs. It was always 7,000 THB or more, which meant it was better in the long run to toss out the broken camera and buy a new one. Those Sony cameras seem to last two to three years in the humidity of Thailand. That is disappointing, and yet I wasn’t all that dissatisfied because I kept buying them. They are amazing cameras… in particular, the DSC-H10 was my favorite. Anyway…
I started looking for Nikon cameras again. I also looked briefly at Canon. I did have the Canon 550D for a while, during the birth of our daughter, but I didn’t like the images. The light balance was always off. I sold it weeks after our baby girl was born.
Recently I looked at the Canon 5d Mark IV, Canon 7D, Canon 1000D, 1100D, 600D. Canon has gone far ahead of Nikon in the digital video functionality of their DSLR’s and I thought for a while I’d be buying a Canon 7D for that reason. I have since quit that idea and will have a separate video camera instead. A DSLR takes great photos but is a big pain for shooting a lot of video. I’d rather have something good for video and a camera that is great at photos. That meant, back to Nikon DSLR’s.
I looked at the D300s, D3, D700, D7000, D5100, and the D3100. Any of them take great photos. Problem is – I wanted something weather proof… meaning – sealed against the elements somewhat. The d7000, D3, and D300s, and D700, were all weather sealed. Of these, the D7000 was the latest model. It got GREAT reviews everywhere, and some like Ken Rockwell, call it the best camera Nikon makes.
If you’ve bought cameras in Thailand before you know that the prices start at something outrageous – about $100 more than you’ll find the same thing for in America, but, you can’t get the ones in America for less than about $200 more because you’ll be paying customs fees and shipping with insurance. Looked at that way – it makes sense just to pay the price and buy your cameras in Thailand.
However, there is a cheap alternative – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
I flew over for a visa run from Thailand and found prices for Nikon cameras to be really decent. For example…
Buy a Nikon D7000 at Ampang Park Mall in Kuala Lumpur for just 3050 Ringgit (body only). I have yet to find a body only selling in Thailand – but I am not close to Bangkok where I’m sure they offer this. Not sure what the price is, but I did try to get one through Big Camera in Phuket and they told me 36,000 THB (~$1,200 USD).
Buy a Nikon D7000 with the kit lens – 18-105mm for just 3,800 RM in KL, Malaysia. In Thailand at Big Camera or “Digital Camera World Wide Image” for 49,000 THB. (Update – prices are MUCH less now, and the cameras are still amazing, despite other higher-end gear on the market.)
Buy a Nikon D3100 body for just 1,600 RM in Kuala Lumpur, or a kit for just 2050 RM. In Thailand you’ll pay 26,000 THB in Phuket’s Big Camera, and just 20,000 THB in Sisaket at the Big Camera at Big C.
I mentioned in another post that a Nikon store in KLCC in Kuala Lumpur had the newest – unreleased – Nikon AW100 already – and had 4 of them for sale. I grabbed one of the camouflage style AW100’s and love it. These cameras are not supposed to be released for another week past the date they had them in stock at the store.
Kuala Lumpur is a great place to buy electronics. The guy at the Nikon store told me that some tourists travel from Singapore and buy cameras in Kuala Lumpur, as they save on taxes. Everything tech is duty-free in Kuala Lumpur. They don’t charge tax at all. Amazing, right?
If you’re going to buy a few items – it makes sense to travel to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to get them. Thailand is very expensive for electronics like DSLR cameras. Big Camera is outrageous – and they don’t seem to drop the prices much. The same price for 1.5 years on the Nikon D7000 – as I remember.
I made contact with 2 shops that I trust in Kuala Lumpur… meaning, I trust them enough to send them cash through bank to bank transfer – and they send me the cameras. If you are in the market for big money items – either travel to KL or find a place you trust enough to send them to TH for you.
Hope this helps someone in the same boat.