The Dodgy Camera Trade

_dsf0530That might sound like a dangerous title for a weblog column from someone who was selling cameras at a retail counter a year ago – and who currently still sells copy and images to the same firm. What revelations can I make? What dirt do I know? Will I be silenced by the Secret Society of Shutterbugs?

Relax. Nothing of the sort. I am only going to tip a cautious warning to the tourists of 2017.

The warning is: You may think of yourselves as much more sophisticated than the tourists of 1967, but the dodgy camera stores of the world know different. They did you then and they are in business to do you now.

We saw the effects of this as tourists and migrants came through the Suez Canal on the way to Australia and called in at Aden. They bought souvenirs and ” duty free ” goods. Whatever the duties that the camera sellers in Aden were required to observe, duty of care and honest dealing were not amongst them. The emptors never seemed to exercise effective caveats and no end of shoddy rubbish was foisted on them.

We saw the results here in Western Australia when people tried to plug slide projectors in – goods that had been sold without mentioning that they were wired for 12v DC. We are 240v AC. Boom was the word.

Tourists brought in Halina Paulette cameras with extra lenses that they expected to be able to mount.

Leather goods that had been stored in ship’s holds for decades were sold as fresh.

We had people arrive with standard 8 movie cameras and Super 8 cartridges. There’s a conversation you want to have with a Yorkshireman when the temperature in the non-air conditioned shop is 98º…

Bad old days? Yep. Gonna stop at Aden anymore? Nope. Gonna go up to Bali or KL and try to deal with the pop-up shop cheapies? Yep. Gonna get reamed again? Well…

Tiny cheap out of date video cameras. That’s the go for separating the round-eyes from the Ringgit or Rupiah. The Dodgies buy ’em off the back of a rickshaw in China and sell ’em to the suckers. The ones in the shop work – after a fashion. The ones in the duty free bags don’t…and the wonderful thing is that by the time the mark finds out that it is dead, they are back in Perth. When they take the orphan Zippoflex V8 to the repair shop they are confronted with either a swingeing quote or no repair possible. But the Dodgies are still in Bali or KL and Perth is a thousand miles away. Win.

Substitute screw-on lens adapters, video lights, drones, and anything else they have an excess of for the video camera and you have an ideal recipe for profit at the expense of the gullible.

Answer to the problem? Buy your camera in Australia before you go. Make it work properly here and now. Even with the least attractive retail outlet ( And we have lists…) you are protected by powerful consumer laws and warranty periods.



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