The price drop would have come from the US importer - Bogen.
It will indeed be interesting to see if the price drop is just a lowering of the markup for the US market, but for the G1548 you use as an example, the current price from Robert White with the exchange rate calculator is $554.47. Even with a $60 shipping difference, that's still a $100 savings.
That figures. I purchase one from White to save money, and I did, and now I see what Mark has seen; a strange price drop at B&H. The G1227 is now listed for $440.00, it was $626.00 last month. (Adorama prices are the same $440.00.) Oh well, it was still cheaper at White's.
Actually, if memory serves me the price of CF Gitzos was closer to the newly lowered price and then skyrocketed a year or two ago. I hate to use the term "price gouging", but it seems that when the CF Manfrotto Carbon No. 1 series was introduced, Bogen raised Gitzo prices though the roof. This didn't happen in other world markets, hence the vast price difference between the EU and US.
This isn't strictly a function of exchange rates, either. For most camera equipment, folks in the UK find US prices to be less expensive. The exceptions that really stand out have been Gitzo and Mamiya. Mamiya's US importer has set US prices in some cases nearly double the rest of the world market, therefore a lot of buyers go to dealers like Robert White.
Why do they do it? Paraphrased from the punchline from a old dirty joke, "...because they can". Or at least they could. Perhaps now Bogen is realizing how buyers are finding cheaper ways to buy Gitzo. Besides overseas dealers like Robert White, there are several small US enterprises that appear to be bringing in grey market Gitzo gear and selling it at a lower price (but still higher than buying direct from the UK). Here's one:
I ordered a center column for my 1348 from Tranquility Images a week before these price drops. Their price was higher than Robert White, but the shipping made up the difference on a relatively lower price order. Niche businesses like this will be affected most by the lower US prices.
I can't see anything that could go wrong with the Gitzo tripod. If it is ok when first purchased, it should last for years. If you should damage it due to an accident, then the warranty would be no good anyway. My Manfrotto tripod and head that I just sold, was six or seven years old and except for some scratches, it still operated as when brand new.
There were some leg bonding problems that I read about for some early CF tripods, they've had years to work out the fine points of the materials. I figure if the tripod passes a close inspection upon arrival I'm at very low risk of needing warranty service. The over $400 difference was, at the time I bought my 1348, a tad steep to rationalize buying a US import just for warranty coverage.
Now if the tripod's CPU or memory get fried, I could be sorry down the road
Doug I noticed in your profile that you have a MF-28 for your Nikon F5. Is that the back that can imprint your name or other information in between the 35mm negatives? If so is this option very useful? What do you use it for mainly? Is it worth the approximate $900.00 price tag? If I may be so bold how much did you pay for it? Where do you recommend I consider purchasing it from? Are there any real benefits that I would gain through its purchase?
Bogen Photo Corporation, who is the U.S. distributor for Gitzo tripods annnounced that there will be a 30% price drop across the board on all Gitzo tripods to the Dealer. This is an attempt to increase sales to the Pro's and serious Photographer alike by making their tripods more affordable to the customer. The price drop went into effect as of June 1, 2002. As we all know, Gitzo's prices all astronomical and most of us could only dream of owning one. Perhaps with the new pricing structure this dream can be a reality for more photographers.
So by extrapolation, when Bogen raised the prices by approximately 30% at about the time the Manfrotto Carbon No. One units came to market (a couple of years ago), they must have been attempting to decrease sales to pros and serious photographers alike by making their products less affordable to the customer.
I think a more reasonable question for Bogen is still why European photographers can buy Gitzo CF tripods so much cheaper...
It was insane, that before Bogen dropped prices by 30%, that a G1548 was twice what Robert White, for exapmle, seeks the same tripod....
And new, we hear the same garbage warnings..DO NOT BUY foreign Gitzos...Wow..just like Nikon USA telling you not to buy import Nikon products...as if the F5 made for the UK market is somehow inferior to the F5s made for this market....
I stll wonder if Bogen dropping the Gitzo prices in in response to people like B&H, Adorama, etc calling Bogen and complaining that they are losing sales to overseas....
I sent an e-mail to noted bird photographer, Arthur Morris, about a warning he put on HIS site about not buying foreign Gitzos and warranty issues....His response was a catty and arrogant e-mail that his tripods are falling apart..I told him that a number of Gitzo users had never had problems..that elicited another arrogant statement....
I guess that simply beats the hell out of them....his e-mail, as well as with other discussions, now makes me think that most Canon users are arrogant dorks..Ach...that does not belong here.
I'm in search of a good tripod and have been reading pretty much all the posts on this forum. Can someone please send me the information on this Robert White guy. It seems like he has the cheapest prices and I would like to give it a shot.