mydigitaland.com camera store review: buy local
As an independent mirrorless camera reviewer, I’m always looking for the best prices for high quality camera equipment. Google directed me to a site called mydigitaland.com as the cheapest price available for my camera of choice, an Sony A99 II. A quick google search resulted in a bunch of mixed reviews on this seller, but since the price was so low, I decided to give it a long term (1 year review). What follows is my personal experience.
Ordering and delivery
The ordering process at mydigitaland.com went very smooth. I opted for a PayPal checkout, thinking that in case of trouble I could count on their insurance. Delivery timesat digitaland are quite long, between 1 and two weeks, but at these prices who can complain. I later found out that these goods have to be imported to the United Kingdom from Hong Kong first. Hong Kong used to be a commonwealth protectorate and apparently the treaties in place still allow some native born locals to conduct business inside the UK without having to pay for import taxes and such. Since the UK is still a part of the EU (for now), shipping these items to any EU country is not illegal. Although perhaps not morally right, legally they are not breaking any laws.
Arrival and condition of goods
As I already mentioned, delivery can take up to two weeks because of the process involved, but the camera arrived safely and it new condition. The box appeared unopened and the camera unused. The Sony A99 Mark 2 was not the European model per sé, but except the PAL/NTSC standards and sometimes the operating language, there is no difference between models anymore. It was possible to change the standard English menu system to my native ‘Nederlands’ by the way, but I prefer to leave everything in English, in case I need to look something up online or even read my own guides as a refreshment course.
This is where it gets tricky. Stores like mydigitaland.com offer a limited one year warranty, and as I would discover even getting support for a year is at times problematic. Even though my camera arrived in a new like condition, after around ten months it started to develop an issue where every time I try format an SD card, I get the warnings “Image Database not ready”. Check this video:
So I contacted Digitaland. They suggested that I would take my camera to a local repair center to get this fixed. They would in turn reimburse me for the cost of the repair. My local repair center actually refused to repair the camera because it is what they call a grey import and Sony does not support this type of purchase. I contacted mydigitaland.com again and all they asked me to send the camera to their Hong Kong warehouse at my cost, with the warning that they would decide if this was something covered by their warranty or not. I think I am smart enough not to go this route and instead write this piece to warn my readers not to purchase anything at mydigitaland.com
Even though you might be seduced by the prices of online stores like mydigitaland.com, you should remember that European or US laws do not apply when purchasing cameras, lenses or any other electronics from these stores. You are stuck with their own proclaimed warranty, and I believe it would be hard to even enforce that. You should also remember that these are what they call grey import items and are being imported through various schemes from Hong Kong without paying the normal taxes. Although these companies are not doing anything illegal, your local camera distributor and the international brand will not support you in any way.
I even had a case where I had a problem after 10 months and my local camera repair store would not even repair these grey import items! I was left only with the choice of sending my expensive Sony A99 II to Hong Kong, where mydigitaland.com would decide for themselves whether or not this would be repaired under warranty. Potential customers: be warned and think twice before buying here!!!