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Author Topic: The price of Canon lenses in Europe  (Read 2599 times)
niznai
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« on: November 20, 2012, 08:42:18 PM »
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Just a quick one for our northern hemisphere old world friends. I am going to be travelling to Europe shortly and would like to know if there is any chance of saving some money on lenses if i buy over there. In Australia I can get the 2.8 70-200 IS USM II for about 2500A$ (if you don't know the exchange rate, just say it's pretty much equal to the Swiss franc right now, or about .81EUR - say I would lose something int he exchange rate plus fees) - approximately 2025 EUR, the T/S 24 lens for about 2500A$, and the 24-105 L lens for about 1200A$. This is in retail shops, not internet - which is mostly ex HK - so would like to keep these out of comparison if possible.

I will travel around central and northern Europe (including UK, Denmark - Sweden) and have quite a fair bit of flexibility with my route so I can hit  Germany or as far south as Switzerland/Austria if you have prices from these countries.

I understand I can get some of the GST (tax) back when leaving Europe, from experience not all of 18% (as it is in Germany) but most of it. Don't know how much it is elsewhere.

And one last question. If I fly out of Europe from Switzerland do I get the tax back when I enter (prior to departure) Switzerland, or when I leave it (given that it is not EU)?

Thank you for your input.
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francois
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« Reply #1 on: November 21, 2012, 02:31:44 AM »
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For your last question (flying out of Switzerland), I think that it should work but you must fill out the papers and have the official custom stamp on them (ask at the airport, when you arrive in Europe).

You might want to read this: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/taxation/vat/consumers/buying_goods/index_en.htm

Individuals living outside the EU, and making purchases while visiting the EU, should inquire about VAT refund procedures at the time of purchase. Member State refund procedures differ, but chances are that forms will need to be filled out when the goods are bought

And more importantly: http://ec.europa.eu/taxation_customs/common/travellers/leave_eu/index_en.htm

Visitors from outside the EU are entitled to get a refund of VAT paid on goods they have purchased during their stay in the EU provided that the goods are produced to Customs on departure from the EU together with the VAT refund documents. These documents are normally prepared by the merchant from whom the goods have been purchased, and the refund is made directly by the merchant, rather than the customs service.

Generally, you need to send the completed, stamped, form and then get reimbursed later.

You must be cautious about VAT as it varies from country to country (something around 18% in Germany but over 20% in Italy and only 8% in Switzerland).

FWIW, the best prices I've found in Switzerland (VAT included):

Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8 IS USM II  CHF 2150.00
Canon TS-E 24 f/3.5 II                CHF 2150.00
Canon EF 24-105 f/4 IS               CHF  910.00

I hope this helps!
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Francois
niznai
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« Reply #2 on: November 21, 2012, 04:26:46 AM »
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Hmm. Those prices look almost too good to be true, Francois. Are you sure they are not internet only shops? I have seen those prices in Switzerland but they were internet only shops (which makes me think they are "grey imports", i.e. mail order only). If they have a pick-up point it would make it possible. Any links to shop webpages, please?
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francois
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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2012, 04:38:49 AM »
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Hmm. Those prices look almost too good to be true, Francois. Are you sure they are not internet only shops? I have seen those prices in Switzerland but they were internet only shops (which makes me think they are "grey imports", i.e. mail order only). If they have a pick-up point it would make it possible. Any links to shop webpages, please?

I don't know where you'll be entering Switzerland but in Zürich, I would try:

http://www.digifuchs.ch (real store with local pickup)
http://www.digitec.ch (real stores, local pickup)

I've never ordered from DigiFuchs as I live on the other end of Switzerland and like to "see" what I get. But I ordered several articles from Digitec.


You could maybe contact them and see the latest price and availability.

Edit: I don't think that Digitec or Digifuchs are selling gray market stuff.
« Last Edit: November 21, 2012, 04:46:07 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2012, 04:48:13 AM »
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I forgot another good shop: Microspot (http://www.microspot.ch).

There's two stores, one near Zürich: http://www.microspot.ch/microspot/pages/filialDetail.jsf

Good prices, not gray market (I got several lenses from them) but, as always, check availability.
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Francois
Fips
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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2012, 08:52:41 AM »
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If your destination is Zuerich and you don't mind riding a train for 45 minutes you could go to Konstanz in Germany. It's right on the border and there's a direct connection from ZRH airport. There's an awesome camera store, probably the biggest in the whole area. They have everything you can imagine including a Leica Boutique and tons of used equipment. The prices are competitive for a brick-and-mortar store. Unfortunately, their web site sucks (http://www.lichtblick-foto.de)
By the way, Konstanz is also a nice place to stay a day or two. Small city with a picturesque historic city center.

Philipp
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niznai
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« Reply #6 on: November 21, 2012, 08:17:54 PM »
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Ha! I do actually fly into Zurich (and out of it on the way back).

And I have been to Lake Constanz as a kid in 1979, have beautiful memories. Saw the first R/C boat on the lake there, and nearly made it across the lake in a contest with my brother on the blow-up camping mattresses my parents were looking for everywhere. Nearly froze our nuts off and then got a good old telling off from my folks for pissing off without saying anything. They thought they lost us, hehehehe.

Not sure I have enough time or am there (in Zurich) at the right hour and long enough to get to Konstanz (spelling?) and back in a few hours because I have to catch a connection from Zurich, but will give it a shot if I can. Plan B, will check out the local shops.

I might make it to the other end of the country though (I have a friend in Lausanne).

Thank you for bringing back  my memories of Lake Constanz, Francois. Got to ask my folks if they remember.

Give us a yell if you happen downunder at any time, I'll show you around this big desert.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 03:57:53 AM by niznai » Logged
francois
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« Reply #7 on: November 22, 2012, 03:39:52 AM »
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I might make it to the other end of the country though (I have a friend in Lausanne).

There's a Digitec shop in Lausanne (actually in Renens, just about 1.5 km from the center of Lausanne). If you're desperate in Lausanne, there's a well-known small shop (official Canon/Nikon/Leica etc. rep) that might give you good prices, although not as good as the ones from the internet or DigiFuchs/DigiTec/MicroSpot. It's just 300 meters from the train station.

If you can plan ahead, ask you friend to order from Digitec and have him pick your stuff up.

I live near Lausanne but I'm rarely there during daytime…
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Francois
niznai
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« Reply #8 on: November 22, 2012, 04:02:34 AM »
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Does this little shop have a name? Or can you link here a google map shot? My friend is commuting daily from Lausanne to Pully and catches the train in Lausanne.
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francois
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« Reply #9 on: November 22, 2012, 04:41:49 AM »
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Does this little shop have a name? Or can you link here a google map shot? My friend is commuting daily from Lausanne to Pully and catches the train in Lausanne.

OK, the "little" camera shop:

Photo Grancy
Boulevard de Grancy 58
1006 Lausanne
Phone: +41 21 616 57 51
Google Maps link: http://goo.gl/maps/oFSJz

Digitec is on the other side of Lausanne (vs Pully, where I live) and I was wrong, Digitec is still in Lausanne and not in Renens (just a matter of 200 meters).

Digitec SA
Rue du Grand-Pré 2B
1007 Lausanne
Google Maps link: http://goo.gl/maps/5UVJs
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 05:04:21 AM by francois » Logged

Francois
niznai
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« Reply #10 on: November 22, 2012, 05:04:24 AM »
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Ha! Everybody lives in Pully in Switzerland?! Next we're going to find out you're my friend's half brother's niece brother in law.

I'll see if he wants to move his arse 300 meters on the way home.

Thank you.
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francois
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« Reply #11 on: November 22, 2012, 05:18:12 AM »
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Ha! Everybody lives in Pully in Switzerland?! Next we're going to find out you're my friend's half brother's niece brother in law.

I'll see if he wants to move his arse 300 meters on the way home.

Thank you.

 Wink

It's a small world!
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Francois
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« Reply #12 on: November 22, 2012, 06:42:18 AM »
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One thing you should be aware of is that when you claim your tax-free cash back at the airport or buy expensive stuff form the airport tax-free stores when exiting a country they might inform the customs at your destination that you are coming in with tax free purchases of certain value. They want to see your passport and/or boarding pass in the shop, and copy the information. This happened here in Finland a few years ago when a certain gentleman (soon after the incident named Nokia CEO) bought an expensive watch at Zürich airport, tax free, but failed to declare it at the customs. Customs officers knew he was coming home with it as the information came (automatically?) to them from Swizerland, but did not say anything at the border letting him walk through the green channel. Instead they followed him home, rang the doorbell and asked him to show his new timepiece. Big fine + double taxes + nice story in the papers about the dishonesty of the ruling class.

Prices here are higher, no point coming to Helsinki to buy Canon lenses.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 09:55:30 AM by Petrus » Logged
niznai
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« Reply #13 on: November 22, 2012, 07:28:27 AM »
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Ha! Thank god I am not ruling anything. Hope my wife doesn't see this, though.

Actually Finland is high on my must visit list.

But here in Oz we don't really do that kind of stuff. On the contrary, I have noticed on a couple of occasions you get quicker through customs if you declare something. Doesn't matter what, just as long as you have something you declare, they put you through another gate where the queue is non-existent and most of the time don't slap any taxes on you (I think the customs officers have some latitude). Perhaps it helps if they think the trouble of filling all the forms is not worth it.

Wink

It's a small world!

You should visit Australia some time.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 07:31:42 AM by niznai » Logged
francois
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« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2012, 10:00:58 AM »
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You should visit Australia some time.

Yep, you're right!
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Francois
niznai
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« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2012, 10:22:30 AM »
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Don't forget to bring water.
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francois
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« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2012, 11:03:41 AM »
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Don't forget to bring water.

So, my experience of southern Arizona will finally be useful! In Switzerland, water is everywhere. A filter can be handy, though.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 12:49:59 PM by francois » Logged

Francois
niznai
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« Reply #17 on: November 26, 2012, 09:07:43 PM »
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So, my experience of southern Arizona will finally be useful!

[...]


Not sure. How much water did you have to carry there?
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francois
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« Reply #18 on: November 27, 2012, 05:18:30 AM »
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Not sure. How much water did you have to carry there?

For a half-day out, in summer, it was easily something 4 to 5 liters (and staying out of direct sunlight as much as I could, low exertion). Sometimes, it was not enough…

Right now, in Switzerland, you would need to get that much water out of your boots…
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Francois
niznai
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« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2012, 07:42:01 PM »
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For a half-day out, in summer, it was easily something 4 to 5 liters (and staying out of direct sunlight as much as I could, low exertion). Sometimes, it was not enough…

Right now, in Switzerland, you would need to get that much water out of your boots…

Well, that makes it easy. Bring your boots along!
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