Reading through some of the posts on the photography forum in OCAU alerted me to the existance of Photo Continental at Mt Gravatt so I thought I’d scooter over there today. I was expecting the usual small camera shop nestled in a shopping centre somewhere but was excited to discover it is so HUGE that it has it’s own shopping centre size car park!
They have a great range of cameras, a tonne of photo frames and even professional stuff like lights. The comment that made me visit was that they give good service and I definitely experienced that. They section their cameras in to megapixels and there was a large group of people in front of the 5 megapixel section that I was interested in. We hovered for about 4 seconds thinking that we were going to have to wait and battle our way through when Jenny appeared from nowhere. She pulled all the cameras we were interested in out of the cabinet and showed off their features. They didn’t have the Casio Exilim in stock that I was interested in but I did play with the Canon which had a bit of an overwhelming menu. She showed me a Pentax but I didn’t care for it’s lcd screen. We asked if she had any other ultra compacts and it was then she pulled out the Sony T7. Sharp intake of breath because this thing is so thin it is the same size as my credit card holder. The lens doesn’t poke out and it has a huge lcd screen. It also has a huge price to go with it. The Sony rep noticed we were checking it out and raced over to do a feature battle against the pentax. They were pretty comparable but the sony just shits over everything else with it’s petite size. I’ve since read that it’s battery life isn’t great and it’s not that good in the dark. At least the price will probably drop now that Sony is releasing a T5 in the next few months.
The other camera she introduced us to was the Fuji Finepix Z1. It’s about the same size as the Canon and Pentax but it’s design is quite boxy but feels really nice. It comes in black which looks pretty cool. Supposedly the menus are hard to understand but as a current Fuji Finepix owner I had no problems with it. The existence of this camera is annoying as it adds a new camera to my list of ones to consider.
Ultra Compact shopping over after she gave me some brochures to take home, we asked if we could have a look at the digital SLRs. I wanted to check out the Canon 350Ds that everyone drools over and I was surprised to discover it wasn’t as heavy as I thought it would be. Even if you took away the excellent zoom lens you’d still be able to tell that it is the start of the prosumer range as it has a small mono lcd for important status info as well as the lcd screen. At the moment Canon is offering a $150 cashback which makes it very appealing but it still comes nowhere close to being under the $1000 mark. I’d love to get the quality and zoom of an slr with the portability of the ultra compacts but that isn’t happening anytime soon. At the moment the scooter is dictating my requirements and since I don’t have a tripod on the handlebars I’m going to have to settle for the ultra compacts.
I can’t emphasise how impressed I was with the service I got from Photo Continental – especially considering that it was a busy Saturday. I told Jenny that I was impressed with the information and attention we were given and I understand why the company has been in business since 1951. I’ll definitely be going back to purchase the camera I decide on (unless it’s the Casio). I may bitch about some of the places I get bad service in (most recently Footlocker in the city – what service?) but I’m very happy to recommend the places that do go that extra mile.