In the years that I’ve lived in Hong Kong, I’ve bought loads and loads of equipment here including my first DSLR camera. Shopping amongst all the camera shops for equipment in Hong Kong can be a confusing experience. There are so many shops with a wide range of pricing and customer service.
Here is how I look at the different types of Hong Kong’s camera shops and electronics districts:
Examples: Wan Chai Computer Centre, Mong Kok Computer Centre.
The large handful of small camera stores nestled within the computer malls tend to have some of the lowest pricing for camera bodies and lenses. Staff usually includes pubescent teenage boys with dyed hair, or apathetic, surly old men – usually both. At any given time of day they are likely to have a takeout rice box in front of them. Needless to say, shopping here is not for the faint of heart. That being said, if you already know what you want, you might be able to save at least a couple hundred HK bucks by buying here versus some of the larger camera stores in Hong Kong. I recommend the following when shopping at these stores:
- knowing what you want, getting a few differences prices at stores within the same mall, and most importantly knowing your price (more on this in a separate blog post)
- knowing what warranty you are getting (more on this in a separate blog post)
- inspecting equipment: checking if gear looks new, lenses autofocus and work at different apertures, serial numbers match the box and the warranty certificate
- paying in cash, credit cards usually require a 2-3% fee. Sometimes you can get away with paying in EPS without additional charge but don’t count on it.
If you are wishy-washy in what you want or appear like you are seeking advice, they will likely start to upsell you on third-party extras like camera bags, batteries, memory cards, or lens filters that you either don’t need or are better off buying separately anyways (I am 99% sure that that is where stores like these make all their margins).
Larger camera specialty shops
Examples: Tin Cheung, DC Fever, Cam2, to some extent the stores on Central’s Stanley Street.
These stores are the closest retail outlet to New York’s B&H and Adorama that Hong Kong has to offer. Although not quite the same “SuperStore” experience, stores like Tin Cheung and DC Fever offer respectable store showrooms (usually with 2-3 store locations in HK), decent inventory stock and reliable customer service. I prefer these stores for hassle free shopping (particularly when I am buying less expensive equipment in the HK$500-$2000 range where the price difference from the computer malls is not as drastic), and I highly recommend them for the less experienced buyer that values a less biased sales opinion. A bit of an outlier is Stanley Street in Central, with stores run more like a “mom and pop” which I know less about but categorize with stores like Tin Cheung and DC Fever. Prices here are never the cheapest overall in HK but from just walking in and out quite often they always seem to be polite in handling the dozens of tourist customers that must go in and out of their stores everyday.
Examples: Broadway, Fortress, Citicall.
These stores remind me of the big box electronics stores in the US like Best Buy and Circuit City – non-nerdy sales staff and inflated pricing. In fact they likely have some of the highest camera pricing of all the camera shops discussed in this blog post – somewhere in the area of HK$500-$1000 more than computer malls for entry-level DSLRs.