Problems in buying "odd" M4/3 lenses in Australia

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Tom Caldwell
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Problems in buying "odd" M4/3 lenses in Australia
4 months ago

As far as M4/3 lenses are concerned anything out of the usual is very hard to get in Australia.. This applies to both Olympus and to Panasonic. It seems that we are a very basic mob who just want basic gear.

This may in part be because our dollar has been very high against world currencies for a number of years and we have a 10% GST impost for locally bought and "GST free" on self imports valued at less than $1,000. Therefore there has been some merit in buying overseas even though wholesalers have the same buying advantages. However the end user would always prefer to buy locally for the comfort of a proper warranty and also naturally to support local business. But if local business will not rise to the occasion then they cannot really sit and cry about the "avoidance of GST" as causing all their problems. In a competitive world Australian prices are more than the overseas price plus 10%. I would gladly pay 10% more for the convenience of buying locally.

I set my heart on an Olympus 12mm f2.0 in the limited black edition (yeh, it is quite a lot more, but what the heck ...). Advertised for sale in Australia at a competitive price so I tried to buy one. Retailer kindly rang to say that they had none in stock and would get one from the distributor - estimated five days to the retailer and one day freight to my premises. Plenty of time for an "awake" distributor to get one unit of this expensive version of the lens direct from Japan. Two weeks later I contacted the retailer, they had no response from the distributor except that it was on "back order" and on a direct contact they could not give an aticipated delivery date. So what do I do? Cancel the Australian order and buy direct from a Japanese retailer for much the same price and it was delivered to my door in five days.

I have had a Panasonic Nocticron on pre-purchase in Australia since 15 January. Original estimates for release (anywhere) were late March, early April. But they have been available for anyone to buy in Japan since 13 February and in the USA and Europe since 27 February and pre-orders were shipped on that date. Howeevr in Australia the vague estimate of second half of March has slipped out to equally vaguely "early April".   Even  at this late date in March the expected date remains so vague. Now I realise that I should have given local purchase a complete miss and just bought at my best price from overseas. So what message have I understood?

If these distributers cannot meet the market's expectations then it is not the GST impost that is causing it, it is simply (a lacking of) stocking judgement problem.  It becomes a self fulfilling prophesy.

Years ago when I wanted a rare Canon EF 180mm f3.5 macro the local canon distributer scoured the world for one and imported a single lens to satisfy my need.

All Australian distributers are not so lax. CR Kennedy who supply Sigma lenses for M4/3 are not only world competitive in their pricing but carry their range in stock and can supply by overnight delivery to your door and it is sent freight free.  Panasonic and Olympus distributers should  take note.

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Tom Caldwell

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