I confirm that. I finally bought it today in a small shop on Apliu Street in Sham Shui Po and it includes Olympus international warranty. I added a 8GB card and a cleaning set and the price was still $500 less than Fortress
Fortress and Broadway are known to be 5%-10% or more higher price than dedicated camera stores. They will throw in stuff like higher meg memory card (usually a no name card that is only worth like $100), little useless tripod, little useless camera bag, screen protector, etc. Ap Liu Street - you must be brave to buy anything there. Not a street I would recommend for camera shopping unless you know what you are doing.
1. Can use Credit Card with no additional charge up
2. If buying a lot of equipment or very high end lenses (the shops often offer promotions for 12 /24m 0 percent installment payments)
3. Fortress is offering extended warranty on Nikon / Canon bodies for additional 2 years over the manufacturer 1yr warranty. The extended warranty service is performed by the respective service centers (NOT FORTRESS). And if that wasn't enough it doesn't just cover the mechanical failure but also covers user negligence (i.e. you take your pricy new DSLR for a swim / snorkeling without a protective housing, you drop, etc.) They will replace it with a new one.
Personally, the extended warranty and knowing how to get deals at large retailers is worth more to me than the gweilo mark-up headache I often have to go through to save a few bucks in Mongkok, Stanley Street, Computer Centers, etc. I still get my lenses and accessories at these shops but for new bodies....always get at Fortress. The extended warranty also helps me re-sell the old equipment when I'm done with it or ready to upgrade.
In the US there is this company called Mack that sell 3rd party extended warranties. Probably worth about $5. With new models of digi cameras every year the rate of obsolescence is high. You're better off getting home insurance that covers your equipment. Fortress and Broadway have their place in the retail space, but there are other places that will save you money - it's all about choice. Many camera dedicated retailers will put you on waiting lists for popular new cameras and then call you when they come in - not sure Fortress will do that. When the new Canon 5D III comes out later this year, there will be a waiting list I am sure at places like Man Shing and Wing Shing (related stores by the way) but to be fair when the 5D II came out Broadway had more stock that anyone else I was told.
I bought my D90 when it came out, Broadway wasn't more expensive than Wing Xing and some others. Though Broadway didn't want to give any discount they threw in quite a few accessories which the others wanted to charge for. Admittedly the tripod is crap (I didn't ask for that) but got a few things like UV filter, 4G memory card, spare battery and bag that weren't in the "standard package". In case of the bag they gave me a choice between two different models; nothing fancy but it worked for me and I am still using it.
Also, the idea that once a new model of camera is out, one should run out and upgrade is a bit absurd. First the Pro level DSLR life cycles are typically at least 24 months if not longer. Thus a 3 year warranty perfectly covers the life of my camera. Furthermore, I have personally re-sold both bodies and lenses to both shops and individuals which shows that there is a solid market for older models which are still perfectly fine to use.
On a side note....I often find it amusing that Hong Kong photo market is mostly flooded with equipment whores rather than photographers. That's why you see these guys walking around with $20k USD worth of equipment around their necks....pro glass, brand new pro bodies, and shooting in (P) Programmable Auto mode. I guess they need the expensive gear to impress their other 15 lonely friends when they're shooting gaudy portraits of some pseudo-models. I'll use my old gear and keep the $ales rolling in....
Calm down climber, my reference to Mack was just to give readers an idea of what an extended warranty is worth, not to suggest that they should get that in HK. Many people want to buy from reputable places at a good price. There are places like that in HK. Just giving people a choice that's all.
All I am saying is that the UV filter Fortress gives is worthless to me (invest in good mc filter, B+W, Heliopan or Hoya HMC etc. or none at all), the mini tripod I would just throw away because I would not trust my camera to sit on there, the memory card, especially for a fast DSLR better be a Sandisk Extreme III or the like, otherwise it is useless to me, and the camera bag - sorry have 5 or 6 at home already. So for someone like me (and I would think other experience shooters) those add ons that Fortress throws in are no value.
A place that lets you return a defective camera without hassle - on the surface this seems like a good idea right? But ask yourself what is done with those cameras. Betcha they recycle it to the next newbie. With hot pixels on your body, if not too many it is simply re-mapped out and the camera can be sold again with no one the wiser. You don't think Broadway do that?
As for the equipment whores - you've got it all wrong. The guys with the f2.8 zooms in HK at least use their gear to shoot something other than cats or dogs. The biggest gear hogs, however, are the ones with the titanium Leica M9 (or Eddie Bauer M6) kept in a glass case and never used. HK has their share but so do other places presumably.
To be clear, I am not badmouthing Broadway or Fortress at all. Never have if you've read my posts properly. and I did not say Fortress is ALWAYS more expensive just that in general it is the case. In the OP's case, another poster has shown that the Pen can be had for $500 cheaper which works out to around 6% if you buy from local store vs the mega chains. With warranty and not water products. The camera is new and popular so the discount is not as high.
The extra 2 years warranty that Fortress offers is a good idea but covers accidental damage only, and it is wrong that climber would suggest that if you took your DSLR swimming without a uw housing it will be replaced. Believe me if Fortress replaces that they will go out of business real soon. One thing you learn in HK you get nothing for free. But if that's worth $500 bucks, well only the buyer can decide.
Sorry that some have to face the gweilo price treatment. I know how it feels since I've got the saliva price treatment walk into a store all enthused about a new toy and the salesmen know they got me ... Must stop , must stop, walk away, walk away I keep telling myself. Come back when the mind is clear and lips are dry.
Expats should not feel intimidated to walk into the reputable local stores as there are many salesmen that speak good English there. The trick is not to go there on a Saturday afternoon and expect good service since the place is busy as heck. Climber brought up Wing Shing telling him to f-off - I used to get a lot of camera gear from them. However, recently they have hired a bunch of young guys that are less than helpful. If I need to get anything from them I will go during the week, ask to speak to the camera dept mgr (I've been there enough to know the guys). But it shouldn't have to be like that, and I do see the benefit of Fortress' model for newcomers. Wing Shing used to be better at service (i first started shopping there 16 yrs ago on a business trip to HK, was recommended by a friend) but have been growing so the level of service has been watered down. They are still reputable though and will not sell you a grey market product as real. But fortunately, I have found another local store, that gives great service, no crap like not letting you try a lens on your camera body for fear of scratching the mount, great price and is willing to get stock from distributor for less popular items.
Last edited by threelittlepigs; 03-09-2011 at 08:04 PM.