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Buying a Camera & Lenses: Online vs. In Store

The way we shop has changed in the last few years. The convenience of online shopping has saved people time, and is a great way to purchase a variety of products.  However, many people still prefer to make certain purchases in-store so that they can touch it, try it, ask questions, and get follow-up support.  
A large percentage of customers at Horn Photo have done their research online prior to deciding which camera and lens to buy. But they still come into the store so that they can further their education regarding cameras, by talking to our knowledgeable staff.  We provide our customers with hands on demonstrations of any camera in our inventory. Our staff knows the right questions to ask the customer, so that we can determine what features and qualities in a camera will be the most appropriate for our customer’s needs and lifestyle.  
Keep In Mind Horn Photo sells on-line 24-7. You can always get more info about cameras & lenses at We want our customers to be head over heels in love with their purchase.  It’s good for our customers and it’s good for us.  
Here are the most commonly asked questions we hear regarding purchasing cameras online vs. in-store:

1. Is it bad to buy online?

No.  Normally, there’s no difference between buying online and in store, as long as you buy from an official dealer.  Watch out if the price is too low.  Remember:  If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is too good to be true. Here’s an example:  At the time of this blog post, a Canon EOS R is $1800 on and is $1800 on Canon’s website, and$1800 on B&H.  However, on the 42ndStreet Photo website, the same camera is listed for $1500.  This means that they are not an official Canon dealer, and the EOS R is most likely a GREY Market product.
What is a Grey Market camera or lens? That’s when a camera is imported to the United States from a country like Singapore or South Africa and not directly from the manufacturer in Japan.  This means they paid less and can sell for less because it has NO USA WARRANTY. If you have a problem with these cameras or lenses and send it in for repair, Canon, Nikon, Sony, etc., will not work on it.  They will just return it with the explanation that the serial number reveals that the camera in not a USA product.  Sometimes, when purchasing a Grey Market product, the customer finds that the accessories that should have come with the camera, are removed, or swapped out with a cheaper product.
Please beware of Grey Market photo equipment.  We have seen lots of people with very frustrating and sad stories.  They innocently get sucked into the internet scam just to save a few bucks. Here is an article you can read in Forbes: LEARN MORE about Grey Market Cameras.

2. Does Horn Photo match free stuff offered by B&H?

We prefer to sell you the proper gear rather than giving you low quality freebies.  
Horn Photo provides hands-on assistance to aid you in getting the right camera for the first time, with everything you need and want to go with it.  We offer you continuous service throughout the entire use of your camera in all your photography needs.
When there are promotions available, we will have certain quality items included with your purchase.
Stop by to touch, feel and shoot before you buy.

3. Is financing available?

For any purchases $599 or more, Horn Photo offers six-month deferred interest financing through Synchrony Financial, depending upon approval of credit.  You pay $0 interest providing you meet the terms of the contract. The whole process of finding out what amount you are approved for takes an average of 15 minutes.  

4. How can I trade my old camera in on a new one?

Bring in your equipment, and our trained and knowledgeable staff will evaluate it, and give you a no-hassle wholesale trade-in offer.  If you accept our offer, you can put your trade-in value toward the purchase of anything that we sell, including a new camera and/or lenses.  For more information on trading in your camera equipment, please see our blog:

5. What is Horn Photo’s return policy?

We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase but understand that sometimes an item needs to be returned or exchanged.  If you are not content with your purchase, you can return it within 14 days of the purchase date.
You have the option of exchanging the item(s) or receiving a refund for the full amount of the item purchased.  Refunds on returned items will be issued in the same payment form as tendered at the time of the purchase.  
All returned items must be in new condition, in their original box and must include all packing material, blank warranty cards, manuals and all accessories.  If items are not in new condition, we reserve the right to refuse the return or to charge a 15% restocking fee.

6. Can I get an extended warranty on-line or in-store?

All new cameras and lenses include a one-year manufacturer’s warranty, protecting the equipment from any initial defects. Horn Photo offers a protection plan warranty that protects the equipment from any drops, spills and damages, excluding fire damage and theft.  Protection plans are available for purchase online at the time of the camera/lens purchase, or in-store within 30 days of the original purchase date.

7.  Do I have to pay California sales tax?

Unfortunately, that ship has sailed.  Any and all online companies are now supposed to be collecting State sales tax.  Horn Photo and all reputable stores in California, must charge sales tax.  
Sometimes we offer a “we pay the sales tax sale” for a weekend.  This is when we get together with a company like Panasonic, and cover the tax for you.  We still, however, pay the sales tax to the State of California on all of those sales. 

We cannot…..

sell everything. There are some brands that a store like Horn Photo may not sell.  Examples are: Pentax and Manfrotto.  The only way for you to purchase one of those products is on-line.   
Thanks and Happy Shopping, Fresno!

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