Why the big price increase ? I've been reading the various reviews of different cameras over a couple of weeks as I could not seem to decide yet. I just noticed the increasing price of the FZ150 in Amazon. A couple of weeks ago, it was only about $435 and then last week, it went up to about $469 and today I noticed it's $499.
I received mine over the weekend from Amazon, but have done similar research as you did for over a week. I've noticed the same thing as you do on the price increase. IMO I chaulk it up to supply and demand. I shopped around and found the prices to be generally very close amongst online stores, and no more $435's available except at one reputable NY store selling it at $439 just the other day, and is back-ordered. The thing is that with Amazon there aren't even other vendors selling this camera at any price, so it's completely up to Amazon to charge what it thinks is appropriate. Even the used prices (which are mostly by Amazon in this case) have risen by a large margin.
However, the camera is fantastic! So it's still a value proposition in my case. Since I sold my M43 gear, this $500 price tag is downright low. Look at it another way, there are no M43 or DSLRs (bodies only) that shoot at 5.5 FPS with autofocus or 12 without that come in at less than a grand. The lens range and aperture are in the same situation, there is nothing in the inter-changeable lens world that come close without costing multiples of this FZ150. Seriously, an Olympus 28-200'ish mm equivalent M43 lens runs at $450; a Nikon 18-200 VR for APS-C sensor is at approx $900; a Nikon 28-300 VR for full frame is about $1k (while non of these open to f 2.8). True, those cameras have larger sensors and the lenses are quality stuff and can do different things (we're not totally comparing apples to apples here), but if this camera is right for you for what you do as it does in my case for what I intend it to do, which is for travel (light) and take photos of my son at baseball games, the price is a steal. Frankly this camera out guns my DSLR by a large margin and does 1080P video with fast accurate auto focus at 60p :) I cannot do manual video focus of sports - at any price!
On the other hand, other options may be to wait and see, or buy used. I checked out eBay, no luck there (but Amazon pricing staff already know that).
I contacted BH (yesterday, I believe) when I saw the notation on their website that the DMC-FZ150 camera had been discontinued. In once instance, if you click on the box with a question mark, it states the model has been discontinued "by the manufacturer". I thought that couldn't be right and pulled up a live chat box with their customer service. I asked if they were sure it had been discontinued, CS said they would check, were gone a few minutes and then replied it had been discontinued by the manufacturer!
I still couldn't believe it, so I went to the Panasonic website and pulled up a live chat with their CS. I told them a vendor said their Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ150 had been discontinued and asked if that was true. They said no, it had not been discontinued. I was a little surprised they didn't ask me which supplier told me that (I didn't offer up BH in the initial query). If I was the manufacturer, I would be more than a little upset.
Now, here is a kicker. On BH site it shows as DISCONTINUED! So what's the replacement if it's the case? I was hesitant to pull a trigger a couple of weeks ago when price was around $435 and obviously have missed the opportunity. However, if this is already an old model, I am very interested in a replacement.
Holy guacamole discontinued at B&H already!? Cannot even imagine what the replacement will do as this guy is really advanced (well maybe wi fi or other fufu stuff). More reason to get the camera with the right feature set to take care of your needs for a while. Checkout Digitalcamerainfo dot com has a great review also which rates this highest amongst Extended Zoom category. PS. 42nd street video has it for $459 today.
Well, I'm still interested in buying but for no more than $435. I can live with what I got so far. For the same current price I will be able to buy a new model, whenever it comes out. Just not worth paying full retail for a not the latest model.
I understand, Blue Diver. I'm torn because I'm traveling along the Rhine River next month and really wanted to upgrade to the FZ150, but in the end I will probably just stick with my FZ35 which does a good job.
Many companies have deals with panasonic for discounted pricing. I work for one of the automakers, which to my surprise allowed me to by direct from panasonic for 374. They charged sales tax, but free shipping. Can't wait to get it.
Blue Driver, I was checking the price again this morning and discovered it had gone up by $10! Geez! Then, not sure why, but I checked the Used models. Many times there isn't much difference in price on one categorized at "Like New" or even refurbished (which I don't want). When the list actually popped up, there was one in the "Like New - box opened" category..for $347!!! It was from a company by the name of Blinq. (As in blink and it's gone) I thought surely it was refurbished and checked the wording carefully, but it didn't appear to be. It also stated the one year warranty was available. I went to the company's website and saw a lot of good bargains. Majority of reviews about the company on Amazon were favorable, so I bought it. I'm apprehensive, but I'll post here when I receive it to let folks know if it turns out to be as advertised or if I have to return it. Too many times "bargains" are just headaches in disguise.