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2006.11.04

Has anyone noticed the huge price difference for digital cameras between Canada and the US? Its not just for cameras. Among other things: lenses, electronics and computer parts are frequently priced much higher in Canada, even though they neither come from Canada nor from the US.

Every time we post a review at Neocamera, we look for selling prices from reliable sources. Even considering the Canadian-to-US dollard exchange rate (roughly 1.13 CDN = 1 USD at the time of writing), digital cameras are nearly always cheaper in the US. Sometimes the difference is small, but most times it is not. Just earlier today, the selling price of the Canon PowerShot A640 was 483 CDN in Canada and 311 USD in the US. Since 311 USD equalled about 351 CDN, the A640 cost 37% more in Canada! For the Canon PowerShot A630, it was 33% more expensive in Canada. The Panasonic LX2, only 15% more expensive in Canada.

We are not talking about grey market items here. These are brand new products with full warranty from reputable sources. In the US, these are frequently from Amazon. In Canada, we have the major stores like Best Buy, Future Shop, Walmart and a few online fronts for camera stores.

Sadly Amazon will not let Canadians buy anything electronic, but there are a few US online stores which do ship to Canada. Not the cheaper ones though. When they do, shipping is usually expensive, so it defeats the purpose for small items. Then, there are duty fees, frequently 20-30%.

Perhaps we are looking in the wrong place? If anyone knows of a Canadian online store which closely matches the best US prices, let us know. Even if the selling price is the same, Canadians still end up paying more because local taxes are between 13%-16%. If you are lucky, ordering out-of-province items can save you the provincial task and you end-up paying only 7%. That compares to what US buyers pay in their own states.

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