I also freaked out when I attempted to purchase a camera from the place that had it listed at the cheapest price. I read their feedback and it was a scam - they’d tell you it was out of stock and then ding you with a more expensive camera. I went with a place called Willoughby’s in NYC - they never called and the camera arrived as promised, no probs.
I always order from B&H. They’re not quite the super-discount store some of these shadier places are, but their prices are very good and their service is excellent. They have a great reputation for a reason.
Mr. Athena - a camera nut - orders a lot from B&H. Decent prices, great service.
From what I understand, you really have to watch out for the discount places. Even if they don’t try to upsell you, they still pull shady deals. One thing I remember him telling me that you have to watch out that you’re not getting a version of the camera meant to be sold in Asia or Europe; the camera itself might be identical to the US version, but the warranty is based overseas, and if you need/want work done on it, the US outlets don’t honor the overseas warranty. Or something like that.
I bought a digital camera last year through buydig.com with very little hassle. The only problem was the delivery, but I think that had more to do with FedEx than the dealer. I recommend the site to friends and coworkers who are looking to buy digital cameras.
I bought a Panasonic AG DVX100A digital video camera from an online place. The first place I checked wanted to up-sell me the U.S. version. (I don’t really have a problem with grey-market cameras.) They told me the cheaper version was marked in Chinese. :dubious: I didn’t like their attitude so I went elsewhere.
The place I bought a U.S. version from used a shipping scam. Instead of charging around what it would cost to ship, they charged a percentage of the price. :mad: I ended up paying almost what it would have cost through B&H. I had to have the camera that weekend and I was under time pressure. B&H would have cost a little more and they could have gotten it to me just as quickly. The camera is great, but the lesson has been learned.
Don’t dick around. Just get it from B&H. Excellent customer service.
Another recommendation for B&H, both from me and a from photo-journalist friend - not the absolute rock-bottom internet prices, but decently low prices and you have the peace of mind of dealing with an established firm with a good reputation and an actual physical store ( which means they aren’t fly-by-nighters ).
This is exactly right. Make sure you ask the question: is this a gray market camera or a U.S. version? I got a decent deal on my Nikon D100 from an outfit in NYC. They did try to sell me additional memory cards and a card reader (which I bought), but there was no pressure.
I bought my digital camera through MP Superstore. I didn’t get any callbacks, but the sales person really put the pressure on me to buy a UV filter, extra batteries, SD card, camera bag, and a tripod. Then he tried to get me to buy a warantee for $100, then $70, then $50. I didn’t bite on anything and he put through my order. My camera came in with everything it was supposed to have and I’ve been very happy since.
I purchased a camera from Butterfly Photo. I was a wee bit nervous, but it all worked out just ducky in the end. They did try to sell me a card and when I told them I found it cheaper somewhere else, they tried to match the price.
I usually buy from Henry’s, a Canadian franchise, and have had no issues, outside of occasional long waits for out-of-stock items.
I also sometimes buy from Adorama, usually used SLR lenses or other accessories, and I do get calls or emails trying to sell me extras like filters or lens cleaners, etc. It’s not a big deal, though, I just say no thanks and they process the order as I originally placed it.
I pop into B&H once a month or so… I’ve never bought anything from them online (why bother waiting for shipping?), but I can affirm that they’re legit and very helpful. They’ll try to get you to get accessories if you’re in the store, but there’s no pressure, and you can haggle.
However, keep in mind that B&H will sell the grey-market Eurasian versions of products as well as the US version - they differentiate on the website.
For example: here is a US Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 USM lens. Here is the grey market version for 10 bucks less. Even the URL contains is=USA or is=GREY, and the page says USA or Imported. If you click on USA or Imported, they explain the differences and pratfalls - I think it’s nice that they’re over the table about it.
A rather large store, at that. IMO, B&H is the best online source for camera gear.
As dasgupta said, they do sell grey-market goods, but are painfully candid about it.
Other less-reputable shops will skirt the issue. Whenever a dealer says the item has a “store” warranty, or “the warranty is from us,”, you can bet that it’s grey-market. This means, if it breaks, you have the option of shipping the thing back to the store and they ship it overseas, or you can ship it overseas yourself. Either way, you’l be waiting a long time.
I’ve also bought from Adorama, and their add-ons are benign and of the “Would you like fries with that?” sort opposed to the hard-sell tactics of “You’ll need the accessory package” and the accessory package contains all the stuff that’s included in the USA version for free, like the battery, lens, instructions, etc. Last lens I bought from Adorama, I think they may have asked if I wanted a UV filter for it. Why yes, actually and thanks for reminding me. Just good salesmanship, compared to extortion from some of the other shops.
'Bout 4 1/2 years back. Can’t remember the darned name of the store, but I got a refurbished Nikon 990 and couldn’t be happier. At the time it saved me about $300 and the support from Nikon is fabulous!
I coulda sworn I posted a reply to this thread, but apparently it never went through.
I do not trust places like Royal Camera or Best Price Cameras Direct or any of their ilk. I have never heard of anyone actually getting the product they requested without either the company selling them crap the camera is supposed to come with (which then brings the price over the average retail price) or by the company playing the customer with delay tactics.
Do a search for “Royal Camera” or “Best Price Cameras” and see what a bunch of liars and crooks they are for yourself.
I found out about these guys when I was in the market for a Nikon D2X. They were selling the product for $2000 (!) under what B&H, Wolf, Helix, or Calumet offered. This raised all sorts of red flags and a little Google Fu later, I came up with mounds and mounds of links of dissatisfied customers.
I buy grey market goods all the time; that does not bother me. It’s just the warranty that’s different, but I’ve yet to use a manufacturer’s warranty on any products I’ve purchased. I would gladly pay $3000 for a gray-market D2X. But that’s not what’s going on here. It’s a flat-out scam.
I found that B&H and Wolf often have the best prices. In fact, I bought a D70 from Wolf in April for $750, which came with a free Epson printer (after rebates.) I sent in my rebates, sold the unopened printer on eBay for $140, so in the end I got a D70 that was retailing for around $850 at most retailers at the time, for $610, through completely legitimate and trustworthy channels.
I shop at the B&H and Adorama stores in NYC. The only ‘problem’, besides the fact that I want to buy more than I have the cash to do so, is that both of those stores are run by Jews. Not a big deal, unless it’s Friday and you need film and they close early and are not open on Saturday at all.
Also the B&H store has this extreme inventory control system. You do not take any item to a register. None, not a roll or film or roll of background paper, not a light bulb or a complete light kit. You select an item and a clerk puts it in a computer system. You get a printout and you go to the register. You pay and then go to a pickup counter and get your items as you leave the store. But the staff is helpful and very knowledgeable.