I thought I would share my recent experience since I am sure many of you have had something similar in your quest for the perfect lens...
First I call local chain store #1 (close to my house):
I ask if they have a Tamron 17 – 50 canon mount in stock. I want to try one out and see just how it feels and how loud the auto-focus is. I have bought cameras and lenses from this store in the past, usually paying a small premium to support the local guys. I don’t know why, they certainly are not the tops in customer service or photographic advice, but I feel some kind of loyalty.
I am told that they don’t have the lens but it looks like the main branch does.
Then I call the main branch of local chain store:
I ask if they have the lens in stock and they do. I am told the price is $450 - which surprised me since it is the same price as B&H online. I might just be getting the lens locally, after all.
The next day I drive over to the store on my lunch hour to check out the lens.
I am told that they just sold the last one the night before. But, they check and Store number 3 has one left – but it’s the display model. I ask if there is any discount for the display model – of course not.
In the meantime, so that my trip to the store is not completely wasted, I ask to try the Canon 10-22 lens. I am actually quite torn about whether to get a wide-angle so this is a good experiment. But then I find out the price is $789 – more than $100 higher than B&H online! As I am looking over the shelf, I also notice that they are out of the 17-55 IS lens and 17-40 as well. I ask about Sigma lenses and am told that they stopped selling Sigma years ago because of returns and quality issues. I didn’t ask how the quality of the Promaster lenses they sell compares…
The salesperson then suggested the 17-85 IS as a reasonable alternative. I’m not really interested based on what I have heard about the lens but ask to see one anyway since I never had before - what the heck. But… surprise, they don’t have any in stock. Would I like for him to check the other stores for availability? No thanks.
I go looking through other items I need and notice that they carry the Cokin P size filter holders – but no P size filters. When I ask why I am told that they didn’t think they would sell so they don’t stock them. So why do they carry the P size filter holders??
I notice a used Canon 20-35 on the shelf for $375 – seemed high to me but I am not really familiar with the lens and I want something faster with a wider zoom range, anyway.
I leave empty-handed.
Today, I call local chain store #3 to be sure they have the lens in stock before I make a trip over.
I am asked to hold on a minute. Rather than put me on hold the guy just sets the phone on the counter so that I can hear his conversation with another customer. After waiting several minutes, I hear the phone being jostled around – but it does not actually end the call. I hear the salesperson laugh and say “Oh, I think I just hung up on that guy.” Funny...
I hung up on him, instead.
Looks like I’ll just order from B&H … So tell me, what lens do I want?!?!?