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Best/Worst online camera retailers?


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31 replies to this topic

#1 of 32 Paul McElligott

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Posted June 20 2006 - 04:52 AM

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.

R.I.P. DVDSpot

#2 of 32 Bryan X

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Posted June 20 2006 - 12:44 PM

Check out this website:

http://www.resellerr...seller1995.html

That link will take you to the rating for Broadway. You can search on the others as well. Good information.

#3 of 32 Scott Merryfield

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Posted June 21 2006 - 12:56 AM

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 of 32 Bryan X

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Posted June 21 2006 - 01:00 PM

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 of 32 Scott Merryfield

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Posted June 21 2006 - 01:32 PM

Quote:
I just bought a Canon EOS Digital Rebel XT 350D today.

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. Posted Image

#6 of 32 Jeff Ulmer

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Posted June 21 2006 - 03:21 PM

Quote:
This hobby can be as expensive as home theater.
Or more so if you discover L lenses and like 'em long and lean...

#7 of 32 Cameron Yee

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Posted June 21 2006 - 04:34 PM

I've ordered from Adorama a couple of times and it went without a hitch.
One thing leads to another at cameronyee.com

#8 of 32 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted June 22 2006 - 05:15 AM

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.
Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#9 of 32 Chas_T

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Posted June 22 2006 - 07:42 AM

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 of 32 Bryan X

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Posted June 22 2006 - 08:54 AM

Quote:
Now, get ready to spend even more money on lenses.

I hear you. I bought just the camera body and then bought the Canon EF-S 17-85mm IS. That was about as much as the camera.

Quote:
Or more so if you discover L lenses

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.... Posted Image

#11 of 32 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted June 22 2006 - 09:18 AM

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. Posted Image
Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#12 of 32 JohnRice

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Posted June 23 2006 - 05:48 PM

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.

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#13 of 32 Scott Kimball

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Posted June 24 2006 - 02:12 PM

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 of 32 Bryan X

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Posted June 24 2006 - 03:14 PM

Quote:
I wonder why they claim an affiliation with Maine after all these years away.

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 of 32 Sam Posten

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Posted June 26 2006 - 04:07 PM

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

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#16 of 32 Ronald Epstein

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Posted July 02 2006 - 12:47 AM

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....

Ronald J Epstein
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#17 of 32 JohnRice

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Posted July 02 2006 - 01:23 PM

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

The Hybrid System

The Music Part: Emotiva XSP-1, Thiel CS 3.6, Emotiva XPA-2, Marantz SA8004, Emotiva ERC-3, SVS PB-12 Plus 2

The Surround Part: Sherbourn PT-7030, Thiel SCS3, Emotiva XPA-5, Polk & Emotiva Surrounds.


#18 of 32 PerryD

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Posted July 03 2006 - 09:21 AM

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 of 32 ManW_TheUncool

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Posted July 03 2006 - 11:27 AM

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_
Just another amateur learning to paint w/ "the light of the world".

"Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things..." (St. Paul)

#20 of 32 Holadem

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Posted July 24 2006 - 07:59 AM

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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