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Best/Worst online camera retailers?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Paul McElligott, Jun 20, 2006.

  1. Paul McElligott

    Paul McElligott Well-Known Member

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    Just wondering if we could exchange information on how we've fared with various online camera sites.

    I've had decent luck with B&H but other sites have lower prices. What do people think of:
    • Adorama
    • Beach Camera
    • Broadway
    • Unique Photo
    • Abe's of Maine
    • etc, etc.
     
  2. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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  3. Scott Merryfield

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    Based on the resellerrating comments, Broadway appears to be one of the many New York-based ripoff dealers. I ran into a similar type company (can't remember the name) when I attempted to buy a Canon PowerShot G2 a few years ago. I placed the order, then received an email stating that I had to call them to "confirm my order". Well, that turned into a conversation stating that the lower price was for a grey market camera with no warranty, no battery, etc. and I would have to pay extra for a camera with a U.S. warranty. The warning flags went off, so I cancelled the order and bought the camera from B&H.

    There are many similar accounts from others on the photography forums. I cannot believe that these types of companies are allowed to stay in business.

    Anyway, I can personally vouch for B&H Photo. I've used them numerous times, and the service is always first rate. Supposedly, Adorama and Beach Camera are also legitimate businesses with good service, although I have no personal experience with them.
     
  4. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I know a few people who've ordered from B&H and they've had excellent experiences. I just bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT 350D today. I ended up going through Amazon.com as they were as cheap as B&H.
     
  5. Scott Merryfield

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    I'm sure you'll enjoy that camera, Bryan. I bought the same model a few months ago and have been very pleased. Now, get ready to spend even more money on lenses. This hobby can be as expensive as home theater. [​IMG]
     
  6. Jeff Ulmer

    Jeff Ulmer Well-Known Member

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    Or more so if you discover L lenses and like 'em long and lean...
     
  7. Cameron Yee

    Cameron Yee Well-Known Member
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    I've ordered from Adorama a couple of times and it went without a hitch.
     
  8. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    B&H is probably the best by a fair margin although their prices are rarely the best -- often, it's competitive enough though. If you're ever in NYC, I recommend making a trip to the B&H store itself.

    Never actually bought from Adorama, but seems ok enough -- one of these days I'll finally get around to ordering some prints from them. Beach Camera (and their alter ego BuyDig.com) is pretty decent also. Abe's of Maine might be a notch behind, but should be ok also although I did not find my one in-store experience to be all that reassuring about their business operation even though service was hassle-free and friendly -- I had to make an emergency purchase of a Nikon D50 before heading off for vacation.

    Definitely avoid Broadway's online operation although the store in Manhattan didn't seem bad to me when I visited it several years ago. Never heard of Unique Photo.
     
  9. Chas_T

    Chas_T Well-Known Member

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    John,

    I've ordered a Canon G-6 from Beach and there were zero problems. I've also used Dbuys and had the same experience.

    Dbuys from what I understand is also under various names. Their prices fluctuate under different names, so I'd suggest watching the item you are purchasing for a week or so to get a feel for pricing.

    B&H in my experience is probably the best vendor on the net if you are pensive about purchasing high dollar camera items online. However, their prices with the items I've purchased were higher. There are always exceptions to the rule!

    The "L" lenses can break the bank for most folks!
     
  10. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I won't be dropping any coin on the L lenses. They are fantastic, but too much for me to justify.

    I'm just getting back to SLRs. I had a Minolta Film SLR up until about 5 years ago when I went digital and bought the Sony DSC F-717. Great camera, but now that DSLRs are getting reasonably priced, I decided to jump. Also, I'll be in Yellowstone this year and really wanted a nice camera to get some great shots.

    Sorry for the thread hi-jack.... [​IMG]
     
  11. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    The Canon 17-40 f/4L and 70-200 f/4L are not terribly expensive -- not much more than that 17-85 IS. Those two L lenses have been quite popular although recent releases of wide-zooms both Canon and 3rd parties have been eroding some of that popularity for the 17-40L. The 70-200 f/4L is popular mainly due to its much more luggable size/weight vs the various 70-200 f/2.8 zooms although it doesn't sport the IS that certain other Canon telezooms offer.

    For myself, I've been fighting the urge to drop the $$$ on Nikon's own "L level" pro lenses for the past 2 years. Still resisting their 70-200 f/2.8 VR though I almost bought it on a couple occasions -- the D200 (from my wife) plus some carbon fiber legs helped reduce that urge over winter, but it's probably just a matter of time before I can no longer resist. [​IMG]
     
  12. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't touch a single one of them except B&H and Unique. At least Unique used to be a legit stockhouse, but I have to wonder about them anymore. I thought they were gone, so they may have actually been bought up by someone new.

    In the end, the only ones I would deal with are B&H and OneCall, which you didn't mention. OneCall often has the best price of any legit retailer, and they definitely are legit.

    Ones like Adorama, Abe's and Beach have been pulling their little scams for decades. You may end up fine, and you may not.
     
  13. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Well-Known Member

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    If my local shop can't get something for me, I shop B&H. I've found them to be very reliable. Whenever I'm in NYC, I make it a point to get lost in their store for a couple of hours.

    Back in the late 70's and early 80's, Abe's was actually in Maine, a half hour drive down the coast at Old Orchard Beach. I didn't do business with them then, as they were strictly a tourist shop. I wonder why they claim an affiliation with Maine after all these years away.

    -Scott
     
  14. Bryan X

    Bryan X Well-Known Member

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    I always just figured it was because Maine gives them a more down-home, honest sounding ring to their name. Many people expect to get ripped off by a New York outfit, but Maine doesn't have that negative bias.
     
  15. Sam Posten

    Sam Posten Moderator
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    I deal with Beaches retail store from time to time, they are fairly strange but I've gotten good deals from them and never a hassle.

    Sam
     
  16. Ronald Epstein

    Ronald Epstein Administrator
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    B&H and J&R are the two best I have dealt with, hands down.

    Stay away from BEACH and ABES OF MAINE. Everything I have
    read about them on the Internet points to them being rip-off artists.

    It's the old addage of if the prices seem too good to be true....
     
  17. JohnRice

    JohnRice Well-Known Member

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    I had forgotten about J&R, who seems OK. They just never seem to be all that competitive on price.
     
  18. PerryD

    PerryD Well-Known Member

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    I had a good experience with Buydig.com, they had a great price, and when I had second thoughts a couple hours after ordering, I tried to call and cancel the order, but it had shipped already! They told me to just refuse shipment and they would refund my order, I don't think they mentioned any restocking fee. In the end, I kept the camera though.
     
  19. ManW_TheUncool

    ManW_TheUncool Well-Known Member

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    BuyDig.com = Beach.

    I really don't think Beach should be considered scam artists nor Abe's of Maine. They are probably just small businesses that can't really compare to B&H in terms of good service and such and might be a bit more prone to making errors. I've seen plenty of forum posters (mainly over on dpreview.com) have good results buying from Beach/BuyDig.com and have seen zero actual scams involving them, and I've bought a few items from them myself. I haven't seen as many comments on Abe's (and have only bought 1 item, a Nikon D50, from them myself as noted earlier), but customer ratings over on pricegrabber.com look fine to me. Yeah, I've seen some posts suggesting that Abe's might not be very honest, but I have yet to see any substantiated or verifiable first-hand reports about problems buying from them.

    And personally, I'd sooner order from Beach/BuyDig.com than J&R.

    _Man_
     
  20. Holadem

    Holadem Well-Known Member

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    What would be the best B&M in the NYC area? Can they compete pricewise with online legit retailers? I realize they are often the same stores (B&H, J&R), just wondering if there is anything to gain by going to the actual store. Hard to imagine, with 8.25% NY tax.

    --
    H
     

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