Photographers set to splash out on new camera gear are urged to buy this side of Christmas to avoid price increases in January.

It seems many manufacturers are set to pass on the 2.5% VAT hike to UK consumers rather than absorb the rise which takes effect on 4 January 2011.

Amateur Photographer asked key players in the UK photographic industry whether they are poised to increase the price of cameras and lenses.

Sigma Imaging UK?s general manager Graham Armitage confirmed that Sigma will issue a new price list, effective from 4 January, and warned consumers not to wait for bargains in the January sales.

?In theory all SRPs should increase by 2.1% but we have taken this opportunity to rationalise the price list, regaining some key price points and removing some anomalies,? he said.

?In many cases we have sacrificed our own profit in order to achieve this.

?In the past many customers have waited to buy until after Christmas to benefit from the special prices in the January sales.

?This year postponing a purchase until after 4 January 2011 may prove a costly mistake.?

Armitage said Sigma has recently reviewed its prices to also reflect the ?considerable currency fluctuations? since the firm last raised prices in February 2009.

?The Euro zone and US dollar zone have both seen serious price increases, which reflect their latest exchange rates against the Japanese Yen.

?Our design and manufacturing facilities are completely Japanese based and it has become necessary to increase the supply price of a small quantity of our products.

?We have endeavoured to minimise the effect of these changes but in some instances price increases are unavoidable.?

A spokeswoman for Sony, which is running a highly publicised ?VAT Back? scheme until Christmas Eve, confirmed it has ?no further plans to extend this?, telling us ?retailers are free to set their own prices?.

This stance is echoed by Canon whose spokesman said: ?As per the HM Revenue & Customs directive, Canon will adopt the increased VAT rate of 20% on 4 January.?

Mark Thackara, national marketing manager for Consumer Products at Olympus UK, told us: ?As the change happens in January there will be new products where the VAT will be factored into pricing.

?On existing products we will be reviewing individually to establish what effect it may have.?

A spokesman for Pentax UK said ?discussions are ongoing? regarding the effect of the VAT increase.

Nikon and Leica had yet to respond to our request for comment at the time of writing.

Picture used for illustration purposes only