Friday, January 12, 2007

Adorama is a great resource for photographers

You've no doubt seen the Adorama links and banners on; Adorama is a trusted merchant that not only sells great photography equipment and supplies but also is a fantastic resource for photography knowledge. They have a wealth of resources for hobbyist and professional photographers.

Today, I'd like to talk about a recent experience I had with Adorama. As you might know, especially if you print a lot of your own photographs, today's inkjet printers offer high-quality, low-cost prints. However, ink does run out, and when you go down to the local office supply store or big box electronics megalo-mart, you often pay prices that are, to put it gently, a little on the high side.

So I looked for some better prices online. I have a Canon PIXMA printer, which contains 5 inkwells: Black, photo-Black, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow. After experimenting with both Canon inks and so-called "compatible" inks, I can say that by far the best output is generated with genuine Canon ink. Canon's web site offers the inks at the retail price of around $12 per color. I found some merchants offering the inks at around $6 per ink. However, their shipping policies were a little silly: $6 per ink plus $5 or $6 per ink, effectively making the inks as expensive as the manufacturer's retail price.

When I looked at Adorama's web site, I found a little higher retail prices than those at the discount e-stores, but the shipping was much more reasonable: $6.95 per order. Since I run through ink so fast, I generally buy 4-6 ink cartridges of each color at a time. This shipping fee effectively adds only a bit to the cost per cartridge. Adorama lists Canon inks at around $11. Not a huge savings over the manufacturer's price, but every little bit counts.

Adorama's customer service really is second to none. They're on the East Coast and I'm on the West Coast. I ordered my ink on January 5 and got it on January 11. Certainly no speed record was set, but still this is a very reasonable delivery speed.

They offer toll-free ordering and customer service, they buy used equipment, and they have a wealth of helpful links, including FREE photo lessons.

BONUS TIP: Buy from Adorama through Amazon. For my ink order, I actually purchased through Amazon because I was able to get my inks for around $8 each with a flat shipping charge of $7.95. My order of 12 inks came out to a little less than $103, or $8.54 per ink, far less than regular retail. Two other important notes. First, I received genuine Canon ink. As I stated before, this is very important. Second, shopping through Amazon is a truly easy, fast, secure, and enjoyable experience.

Adorama and Amazon make purchasing photo equipment and supplies a wonderful endeavor. Best of all: I didn't have to leave my house.

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