Why are these prices for a new lens so dramatically different?

If you find a lens for cheaper than B&H or Amazon sell it for, be very skeptical. Like Johnboy said, it's up to you to decide if it's worth the risk. Tri-State seems to be a little better than the usual bait-and-switch sites out there, but I would still proceed with caution (and at your own risk).

I never buy from anywhere other than B&H or Amazon. If $$ was a concern I would look at used items from reputable members on sites such as FredMiranda before I took my chances with sketchy online sellers.

For example:
FS: Tamron 28-75mm Nikon mount - FM Forums

Just the difference in the amount of profit each seller determines he has to make in order to stay in business and get a return on his investment. Your choice who you buy from.
Another thing I noticed with them is that they are selling Imported/Grey Market lenses without specifying anywhere within the item description that you aren't getting US models.

Quite a few bad reviews too.
Reviews can be hard to read as many shops realise about reseller ratings and will spam a load of 5* reviews to boost their image. Generally speaking read through the reviews and keep note of a few things

1) Grey import - shouldn't be a problem manufacture wise (its the same product) but can affect your warranty cover and support (pretty much anything that isn't a canon lens has regional warranties so that means a major pain to get anything fixed under it).

2) Bait and Switch - if you start reading of cold selling through the "phone to confirm" or even worse the dreaded bait and switch operation just don't bother dealing with the store. Bait and switch isn't chance; it isn't like getting a slow delivery - its a blatent scam to get you to part with more money than you intend and often as not you'll end up paying as much or more than a legit dealer like B&H - whilst if you don't jump through their hoops you'll find your order on backorder and they'll either leave you like that till you cancel or they'll say they've got not stock and cancel the order themselves.
Tri-State in my own personal experience is one of the best of the low-price dealers in the USA. Grey market items abound there, but they have,and can, actually deliver merchandise at their advertised prices. The super-mega stores are no longer automatically "the lowest-priced dealers" in the USA. Look around the Lensrentals.com web site for confirmation of that fact; the lens selling marketplace has changed over the last few years. It is possible that the price at one of the New York City mega-stores will be slightly higher, to substantially higher, than at a a store in say, Houston, or Seattle.
I found the best way is to use Google shopping. You put in the product then it shows every website the carries that product, the websites rating from customers, and the price of it. And you can sort it by price. I have used it countless times. Google Product Search :thumbsup:

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