cameras and knowledge

Well, that certainly escalated fast…


For this year, it was my job/role/position to line up the “program speakers” for the Minot Camera Club. We have a short business meeting and then an educational program or presentation of some kind on the first Monday of every month.

The club is evenly split between the people who not only take photography and competition seriously but also gave lessons to Mathew B. Brady, Eastman and Kodak and the other half of us who are still learning to operate our first DSLR (digital single lens reflex camera.)

I especially like the hands-on projects where we actually use our cameras and do *stuff* at the meeting. I was able to line up one hands-on presentation on making use of the available light for people pictures and portraits this fall…and it rained. We did not have the same results inside the building that she had planned for using outside. Weather is never guaranteed, so that stuff happens.

I lined up two presentations where they showed us pictures and explained how they got them and what kind of different ideas we can try next time.

I wanted a presentation on lenses. I have read all sorts of reviews on different lenses. I have looked at several. I have clicked “add to cart” more than twice…but never pulled the trigger.

One person (from the experienced side of the club) who I spoke to thinks it is a silly idea for a program, but he already has more lenses than he would ever be able to carry to a single event. He scoffed at the idea of us poor beginners ever buying a serious lens. As I actually know people who put a Sub-Zero refrigerator and a Viking range in their kitchen and only use them to heat up pre-packed Lean Cuisine frozen dinners, the argument that we beginners would refuse to spend a chunk of change on a good lens does not hold water.

We do, however, need some education to know what we are buying!

I wanted a knowledgeable retailer to come in with a selection of lenses to present and explain. This is what we carry, this is what we can order, these are really a great deal for the price, these are extremely expensive but worth every penny, these are overpriced and over-rated….

You know…information.

The first choice for me was the place where I bought my camera, but he was not available for the dates I needed to fill.

So I started looking around for retailers that sold both Canon and Nikon camera lenses. The best local selection seemed to be at Best Buy, so I talked to the assistant manager there. He seemed agreeable, but said he needed permission from “corporate” because the guy would have to be “on the clock” or he could not ask him to do it.

OK, that makes sense. For him to remove the lenses from the store, he would need to be on duty.

Yesterday, I went over to check back in with the assistant manager I had spoke to and make sure it was approved. He said sure, no problem. Then he added a bombshell – since that would be considered a branded Best Buy Service Call, there would be a “small” service charge of $100.00.

Ummmm – no.

I am not going to pay you to make a sales pitch of your products to a captive audience. Aside from the fact that the camera club does not and cannot pay for speakers, I personally refuse to pay for advertising.



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