LX3: Top secret Panasonic battery sale!

Started Sep 14, 2008 | Discussions thread
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Tom Hoots
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LX3: Top secret Panasonic battery sale!
Sep 14, 2008

Folks,

Well, instead of just spilling the beans all at once, let me tell it to you in the form of a little story.....

As you might have seen elsewhere around here, I ordered an LX3 from 17th Street Photo on Thursday night, requesting next-day shipping. I got a confirmation call from them on Friday morning, and the man said that it would be out the door that day, and should get to me on Monday. So, this is Saturday, where about all I can do is mope around the house and wait for my new LX3 to arrive.

Well, though, I suppose I could do better than that -- let's jump in the car and see if I can't find an extra battery or two. I absolutely avoided ordering anything but the camera in the first place, to make sure that no "accessories" wound up delaying the camera itself -- I could always get the other stuff, later. I'm usually the most comfortable with three batteries in total -- I've really never used more than two in any camera on any given day, and that would only happen during an extraordinarily busy shooting session, like at the auto races, at an air show, etc. So, three gives me just that one extra battery to make sure I never have to stop shooting -- a couple of 8-gigabyte SDHC cards taking care of the "unlimited capacity" on the other side of the coin.

So, figuring that finding a real, live Panasonic battery in the local Best Buy or Circuit City store was downright impossible, I headed up the freeway, towards the only Fry's Electronics store in our neck of the woods. Maybe they'd have something.

So, I looked and I looked and I looked and I looked, but I sure wasn't finding anything. I actually grabbed a third-party battery, and started looking for equivalents from the three or four other brands they had, when I stumbled onto a few Panasonic "Accessory Kit" boxes. A couple for the TZ5 -- nah. One for something that took AA rechargeables -- naah. Then I checked out one for the FX07/FX3/FX01/FX9 and FX8. It's a little kit with a nice little leather case, plus a CGA-S005A/1B battery. JACKPOT!!

The official product number for this thing is the DMW-FXACKIT -- this thing:

http://www2.panasonic.com/consumer-electronics/shop/Supplies-Accessories/Cameras-Camcorders/Digital-Camera-Accessories/Other/model.DMW-FXACKIT_11002_7000000000000005702

OK, so big deal -- check out that price. $69.95. The same going rate for the battery itself, on Panasonic's site. I guess the thing goes for around $40 in the online stores, right?

Well, the price on the little kit at Fry's was $19.90 -- THAT is the "jackpot!" It's basically what you'd pay for a third-party battery, except this is the genuine thing, with one of those neato little plastic Panasonic battery cases. Of course, they only had the one kit -- and I grabbed that thing and headed to the checkouts.

So, that got me thinking -- I remembered how I got all of the extra batteries for my TZ3 camera, though similar kits I found "on sale" for good prices -- at Circuit City. My next stop was a mall that had a Circuit City store nearby -- first things first, I headed straight there. So, I started looking around, found a kit for the TZ5, at around $69.95 -- yikes! But then, right below that, MY EYES UTTERLY BUGGED OUT, as there was my little kit -- on sale for $8.88! DOUBLE SCORE!!

So, that's two real Panasonic CGA-S005A/1B batteries, for the grand total of $28.78 -- not bad, I'd call it!

So, the moral of the story? GO FORTH AND LOOK FOR THIS KIT!

Definitely, hit any Circuit City or Fry's Electronics stores you might have in your area. Perhaps check online -- presumably, these have been "discontinued" or something to that effect by Panasonic. There's nothing like the smile you'll have on your face if you manage to grab one of these from Circuit City for only $8.88!

Oh, and one final word of advice: If you find one of these kits in a store, check it out thoroughly. These Panasonic kits might be poster children for "why everything is packaged in those indestructable plastic packages" nowadays. These Panasonic kits are just little boxes with a little plastic dot "sealing" them closed -- oh, how easy it would be to just zip that open, extract the precious battery from inside, pop it into your pocket, and put the package back on the shelf!

My Fry's box had obviously been opened and re-sealed with a bunch of tape -- I made sure to open it at the checkstand to make sure there was actually a battery inside, before I bought it. The two TZ5 kits they had actually had stickers on them saying that they were "missing the batteries." So, again, just pay a lot of attention to whether the box has actually been opened or not, and make sure before you get out of the store with the thing if indeed you see anything suspicious.

But I'd sure recommend going out and having a look for these kits as you go through your daily shopping -- I doubt you'll find a better price anywhere else!
--
Tom Hoots

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