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Thread: Alpa pricing from dealer

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    Alpa pricing from dealer

    Quick question for Alpa users. When getting a quote for an Alpa bodies or lenses is it reasonable to expect pricing to reflect the prices that Alpa has on their website and then account for the exchange rate between CHF and USD? Are Alpa dealers expected to have the same pricing across the USA? Thanks.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Hi Aravind -

    On their website, ALPA make it clear that their prices are ex-works. I would imagine that any "list" prices for ALPA products at dealers would take into account of any shipping, customs and local sales tax applicable.

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    I just checked prices with Fotocare in new york, they are the Alpa dealer here. Seems they have increased prices two weeks ago, citing "currency valuation". The rosewood grip for TC which cost 1k before is now 1200. The TC body itsellf is $2400 (from $1995)

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Yea this is what I'm wondering about. The TC for example is listed at 1920 CHF on Alpa's website. Looking at the current exchange rate its about 1 CHF = 1.08 USD so I would expect a TC to sell for around $2075 and not $2400 which is a 16% premium and not explained by any currency valuation.

    However I did go look up the US import customs and duties for camera products from Switzerland and depending on the item the duties range from 2.3% - 5.6% so that is at least part of the explanation.

    Just to be clear, I'm not complaining or accusing dealers of anything, just trying to understand how the pricing works. This is new to me coming from Leica land where Leica USA sets USA prices and its very clear how much stuff should cost at any Leica dealer.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    You don't get the exchange rate as there are fees on that. And the exchange rate fluctuates. It is not as simple as looking up today's rate on the internet.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    yeah, I think the authorized dealers are honest. They won't try to skim you on a few hundred bucks as they are in the long term business and have their profit margins built in. Too bad that alpa raised prices. Just wait until the USD appreciates or buy a used one from someone who's not aware of the price increase yet

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    The exchange rate for Swiss Francs to USD has been fluctuating this year on the order of about 3%, though from about mid last year the Swiss Franc has gained about 8% which might explain the increase that mmbma mentioned. As for fees, the upper bound on that is about 3%.

    I'm not as interested in price increases as I am in determining if there is any predictability in pricing from dealer to dealer.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Thanks mmbma, like I said I'm not as concerned about the prices themselves as I am just ascertaining whether dealers simple set them arbitrarily. It sounds like that isn't the case, and I should find the dealer with best service and go with them. Thanks all!

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Most dealer contracts limit what they can charge for a product--both in adding to and discounting the price. That is one advantage to a dealer.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Most other photographic companies (actually every other one that I can think of, but maybe there are a few I'm unaware of) price their products in USD and make list-price adjustments once or twice a year to account for currency fluctuations. This leads to greater price stability, more direct/intuitive pricing between dealers and across time, and reduces (but does not eliminate) the issue of having an item on the shelf for a month and having it's relative value fluctuate during that time.

    Alpa requires all purchases by the dealer to be done in CHF which means if you get a quote from a dealer on Monday and the currency fluctuates 3% in the week or two you take to make a decision then that dealer is stuck (or blessed) with the changed margin.

    Frankly I think it's a very strange pricing model and it's one reason why both dealers I've worked with do not sell Alpa.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Not everyone lives in the US Doug.

    Fixing a price in USD won't stop fluctuations for people (be they dealers or the public) shopping in Switzerland, or Europe, or the UK, or Japan, or etc etc etc.


    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Most other photographic companies (actually every other one that I can think of, but maybe there are a few I'm unaware of) price their products in USD and make list-price adjustments once or twice a year to account for currency fluctuations. This leads to greater price stability, more direct/intuitive pricing between dealers and across time, and reduces (but does not eliminate) the issue of having an item on the shelf for a month and having it's relative value fluctuate during that time.

    Alpa requires all purchases by the dealer to be done in CHF which means if you get a quote from a dealer on Monday and the currency fluctuates 3% in the week or two you take to make a decision then that dealer is stuck (or blessed) with the changed margin.

    Frankly I think it's a very strange pricing model and it's one reason why both dealers I've worked with do not sell Alpa.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    A fair point and of course the pricing model does have some advantages or they wouldn't use it.

    But its worth noting that most companies price in the local currency in any given country. Not just the US. By pricing in the origin currency you increase the volatility to the end buyer, and there just aren't a lot of goods that consumers are used to seeing fluctuate on a daily/weekly basis. Gas/petrol come to mind.

    Anyway, if my post sounded overly negative I apologize. Alpa is of course free to charge however they want, but for the OP an understanding of how they sell to dealers is likely informative regarding the variations he is seeing.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    No, by pricing in the origin currency, you potentially increase volatility to the dealer. Not the end consumer.

    If I was living in the US and looking to buy ALPA kit, I certainly wouldn't expect my dealer to quote me a different price depending on the day of the week, and I rather suspect that's not what ALPA dealers do. This suspicion is supported by published prices on dealers' web sites that I've seen, and also by the third post in this thread.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.
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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Btw, I would expect there to be some difference depending upon whether the item is held in stock at the dealer or ordered/shipped from Alpa.

    My experience is that the price is fixed at order time (with established dealers) and then they take the currency risk. I think that as Doug mentioned it explains the small number of active dealers. I know my original dealer was getting it in the shorts when the CHF was strong and volatile to the USD.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    When I was in the process of buying a technical camera, I just couldn't get any accurate product information from Fotocare. I relied on an individual from Alpa who was based in Europe and who was representing them on this forum and who no longer works for them.
    I found Doug Peterson, who at the time worked for CI and he was a very responsive source of information; culminating in my purchase of an ARCA SWISS RM3Di.
    The Arca was less expensive; allowed tilt on every lens, used the same lenses as ALPA (Schneider and Rodenstock) and offered knowledgeable service. Later I discovered Rod Klucas (the US representative for Arca Swiss) who answers the phone immediately when I have a question and who is an oracle on Arca Swiss products.
    Subsequently I have purchased five lenses from CI (32 Rodie, 46 Schneider, 72 Schneider, 120 Schneider, and 210 Schneider).
    My Hasselblad dealer tells me that I am anal regarding my desire for the ultimate in detail in my images, and I think he is correct.
    I can't describe how much I enjoy working with this wonderful gear!

    Stanley

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    /note to self

    Await thread where someone asks about Arca-Swiss pricing, then pile in and write a few paragraphs on how great my ALPA kit is and what amazing service I've had from the company.
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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Gee. Didn't Capture Integration sell ALPA once upon a time? I know I bought an ALPA/Phase back adapter from them.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    /note to self

    Await thread where someone asks about Arca-Swiss pricing, then pile in and write a few paragraphs on how great my ALPA kit is and what amazing service I've had from the company.
    I don't represent any company- I am only a satisfied customer- I am sure Alpa gear is terrific and trust me I tried to buy it from Fotocare-but after many phone calls without any satisfactory answers, I just gave up.
    Although the Arca Swiss price was lower, at the time I was focused on Alpa due to a video on luminous landscape where Alpa is held in the highest esteem.
    Stanley

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by gerald.d View Post
    /note to self

    Await thread where someone asks about Arca-Swiss pricing, then pile in and write a few paragraphs on how great my ALPA kit is and what amazing service I've had from the company.
    Gerald,

    I notice you are a senior member.
    How do I become a senior member? I will be 74 in a few months
    Stanley

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by stngoldberg View Post
    Gerald,

    I notice you are a senior member.
    How do I become a senior member? I will be 74 in a few months
    Stanley
    I think it's just based on the number of posts Stanley.

    Kind regards,

    Gerald.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    I've had very good and prompt service from FotoCare (Jeff Hirsch). Their prices are reasonable, on average 10-12% above the directly converted price into US$. Some items are cheaper others a bit more. This was also the experience I had with Optechs Digital.

    Cheers,

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    I was at Bear Images on Tuesday and Jim Taskett couldn't have been more helpful. Similarly Dennis Semick at Dodd Camera although I found that they had challenges with getting me accurate pricing. Fortunately for many of the Alpa users here the bar was set by Paul Slotboom at Optechs Digital - and I think that we all miss them. When it came to Alpa you couldn't find a more helpful and knowledgeable dealer. Jim at Bear is also very knowledgeable but the buying experience is different. Walking in with a backpack full of gear gets their attention but I do agree that it shouldn't be like that.

    Regarding happy Arca-Swiss users - well, no doubt - when you finally get it! Once you order Alpa gear it does at least turn up as quickly as they can ship it.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    When Paul announced that he was retiring, I think I went through the five stages of grief.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    how about this: price of the camera is what the dealer pays for it plus some percentage?

    That would take the risk out, and help with European companies that sell to the public at a price close to what they charge US dealers. Of course, this assumes a customer can cope with the idea of a markup and wouldn't go do an end run and buy direct. They wouldn't do that, would they?

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    That's pretty much how Dodd priced things for me first time around - exchange price plus shipping. Other more established dealers calculated a price up front or got an update from Alpa and shared that with me prior to shipping.

    Ultimately though if you talk to non-Alpa dealers they'll happily tell you that the way Alpa does business puts a lot of risk on the dealer which actually I don't really think is a good way of doing business. That said, I do understand Alpa's position because their list prices, ex-factory, are available for all to see in CHF on their web site.

    If it's any consolation, what you get even has Cambo and some Arca folks swooning over it with oooo's & ahhhh's (Ken). Not to mention that I think that every single Alpa guy here on the forum has put up an image of it at some point on this web site.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 22nd February 2013 at 23:01.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Although I ended up buying a Linhof Techno, I had great dealings with Linhof and Studio:
    Linhof & Studio Ltd. - Alpa - 12 SWA, 12 WA
    I was really wanting to get into the Alpa system and Paula was ultra helpful and very upfront and prompt with answers to questions and quotes. For those not in the USA, as a satisfied customer, I recommend asking her if you aren't getting luck elsewhere.

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    I was at Bear Images on Tuesday and Jim Taskett couldn't have been more helpful. Similarly Dennis Semick at Dodd Camera although I found that they had challenges with getting me accurate pricing. Fortunately for many of the Alpa users here the bar was set by Paul Slotboom at Optechs Digital - and I think that we all miss them. When it came to Alpa you couldn't find a more helpful and knowledgeable dealer. Jim at Bear is also very knowledgeable but the buying experience is different. Walking in with a backpack full of gear gets their attention but I do agree that it shouldn't be like that.

    Regarding happy Arca-Swiss users - well, no doubt - when you finally get it! Once you order Alpa gear it does at least turn up as quickly as they can ship it.
    Not sure how you walked in there with a backpack full of gear; I can barely squeeze between the boxes and the wall!

    I like my Alpa. I like Fotocare. They are fair and honest and we work well together.

    I am glad there is more than one choice for MF tech cams. This is good for the market and the users. I think what you choose and use is a very personal matter comprised of many factors, some of which are being discussed here (dealer relationship, how you like to work, perceived utility, etc.).

    I don't think one system is head and shoulders above another; it's just different and better for some users than others.

    Over and out!

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by rga View Post
    Not sure how you walked in there with a backpack full of gear; I can barely squeeze between the boxes and the wall!

    ...

    I don't think one system is head and shoulders above another; it's just different and better for some users than others.

    Over and out!
    That's funny. Anybody who's ever visited Bear Images will be able to relate. I was only able to remove the pack after walking in and following the single track to the back, via the Alpa/Phase cabinet and back to the front of the store. Luckily nobody else was in the store otherwise I might still be stuck there. The aisle was too narrow to turn

    Regarding the tech cams, I totally agree that they are ALL great. I love my Alpa but I'd be happy to own an Arca-Swiss, Cambo or more traditional Techno. At the end of the day it's all about the glass and getting the sensor in the right place. Everything else is just flavours of camera.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: Alpa pricing from dealer

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    ....

    If it's any consolation, what you get even has Cambo and some Arca folks swooning over it with oooo's & ahhhh's (Ken). ....
    Guilty.

    ken

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