B+H or Adorama?

Discussion in 'Lighting' started by CraigK, Jul 6, 2006.

  1. CraigK

    CraigK Member

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    While I usually buy locally from the bricks and mortar shops in town, the price of some lighting gear has me shopping on line.

    Both B+H and Adorama can save me enough money (over 2K) to justify taking my business, at least for this transaction, out of town.

    So, which one to use? B+H or Adorama?

    P.S. I am in Canada, if this makes any difference.
    Oh, and I did check with apug sponsors first but they do not carry the items I am looking for.
     
  2. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    B&H. If for no other reason shipping issues. I think Adoroma changed thier shipping to Canada awhile back. B&H will ship UPS air 2nd day for about the same price of USPS. Some times even cheaper.

    Other then the shipping issues B&H seems to keep the website better updated on stock issues. The few times in the past I've ordered from Adoroma at least one item was out of stock when the order shipped. Hopefully they've improved.
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    Okay I checked again and it seems Adoroma has changed shipping again. It looks better now.

    Oh well back to the coin toss.
     
  4. reellis67

    reellis67 Subscriber

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    I usually put everything I want in the shopping cart at both places and whoever has the lowest total price with shipping gets the order. I've never found any reason to favor one over the other though, but I only use them for things I can't get locally or from Freestyle and J and C.

    - Randy
     
  5. TheFlyingCamera

    TheFlyingCamera Membership Council

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    B&H hands down - while their customer service folks won't win any awards for charm and social grace, they're a whole league better than Adorama. They won't give you the runaround, and they will let you know if they're out of stock on something, and how long they expect it will take to get it in. They also don't specialize in bait-and-switch like Adorama can do.
     
  6. david b

    david b Member

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    I think you should do a search here and on photo.net about adorama, before buying from them.
     
  7. roteague

    roteague Member

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    I would use B&H, I've had too many instances where Adorama website listed an item as in stock, only to find out it wasn't. They lost a $2k sale from me last year because of this. The other place I would recommend is Calumet (although their website seems to be down right now) - they have stores all over the world, so they do a lot of international business.
     
  8. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Given the choice, I lean toward B&H.
     
  9. wilsonneal

    wilsonneal Member

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    B+H, without doubt. I work DIRECTLY across the street from Adorama, but I will still travel up to 34th and 9th to buy anything except the cheapest commodity. B+H Customer Service has done the right thing again and again by me, whereas Adorama has always disappointed me.
    Neal
     
  10. Lopaka

    Lopaka Member

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    Adorama's website has two flaws - the web inventory is not updated during the course of the day as orders are received so an item showing as in stock may not be. THe other is items that are drop-shipped from the distributor are not identified as 'drop-ship' - on those items the website assumes the distributor has it in stock, takes your order and your money and then you wait. I once had an order drag on for 3 months while I tried to figure it out...The answer is if you use Adorama, you have to call and ask - if it is a drop-ship item, you have to call the distributor to find out availability (this is necessary if the product comes from Europe or Asia). I think many of the large items (meaning package size) and almost all darkroom equipment now is drop-ship at Adorama. BTW, the only reason I got stuck with the 3 month deal, is after I placed the order, B&H ran out of stock, so I still had to wait for the distributor to get the sea container loaded, shipped, cleared, unloaded and delivered. I don't do a lot of business with them anymore.

    B&H is more reliable on stock and drop-ship identification. If you need to talk to them, just don't let the 'New York manners' bug you.

    Bob
     
  11. wfe

    wfe Member

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    B+H for sure. When I was first purchasing my darkroom I went to Adorama first and they would not even answer a question so I purchased it from B+H. That was four years ago and I feel like I now own part of B+H given the amount of money I have spent there. I had a problem with an item once and they not only took it back and sent me a replacement but paid the shipping both ways.

    Regards,
    Bill
     
  12. c6h6o3

    c6h6o3 Member

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    I will never, ever spend another dime at Adorama for any reason. And I don't speak with that kind of finality very often.
     
  13. david b

    david b Member

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    I was being polite.

    Adorama will never get another dime from me either. I won't go into the details, but I was treated rather poorly when I complained about the expired film they sent me. Okay, I went into some of the details.
     
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  15. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    This has been very interesting to read. Living (in part) in NYC I tend to shop these two places in person. I usually gravitate to Adorama, partly because it is a little easier to get to from my east Midtown office and partly because it's a bit easier to "navigate". By that I mean that B+H (the store) has been evolving into a kind of Best Buy (I'm waiting for them to bring in the appliances!) such that I don't feel like I'm in a camera store anymore.

    Apparently it's a totally different experience when dealing with the mail order side of these two operations. Good info to know. I'll no longer be so quick to recommend Adorama to folks after what I've learned here.
     
  16. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member

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    Also shopping locally, I just avoid the more generic electronics at B&H, unless of course I'm purchasing some generic electronics, and if I actually need some assistance, I've come to recognize some of the staff who are actually knowledgeable (usually the older guys).

    Adorama is okay, I find, if I go in the morning when it's not too busy, but if they're trying to move customers through their small space, they can be a bit gruff.
     
  17. naturephoto1

    naturephoto1 Subscriber

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    Over the years I have generally had very luck with both stores. I do purchase more from B&H. However, there are certain things that B&H does not stock while Adorama does. Though when I placed the order they were out of stock, Adorama lists the Lee filters as an example in the Cokin P size. I had to wait a couple of weeks, but service was still good. They have also been very good for film shipment. As to the Lee filters in the Cokin P size, B&H does not even have them anywhere on their website.

    Rich
     
  18. DBP

    DBP Member

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    B&H. I had a horrible experience with Adorama customer service and will never go back. The short version is that they shipped me a defective new Bessa R, gave me all sorts of hassles returning it, then shipped the same one back to me as a replacement! Never again.
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    At the risk of sound like a "me-too" message, I'll throw in my vote for B&H because I've had an experience or two where Adorama's Web site has indicated that an item has been in stock, when in fact it isn't. This is most annoying, particularly when you want to place an order for a bunch of small things all at one place to minimize shipping costs.

    That said, B&H has the annoying problem that they won't ship certain items at all, such as Rodinal or about half the Kodak color chemistry. If I need such items, I generally order from Adorama or Freestyle, depending on what else I need and whether cross-continent ground shipping is acceptable to me for that order.
     
  20. david b

    david b Member

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    I would like to note that all of my money now goes to Freestyle.
     
  21. Peter Williams

    Peter Williams Member

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    My wife had the same problem with Adorama last year when shopping for my birthday. She had decided to go all out and ordered four lenses for me. They eneded up not coming through on any of them. When the day rolled around and she had nothing to give, she blacklisted Adorama for good.
     
  22. Oren Grad

    Oren Grad Subscriber

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    Neither is perfect, but I prefer dealing with B&H if they have what I need.

    I really appreciate the accurate, up-to-the-minute stock information at B&H, and for the most part I've gotten good service from them. The worst experience I've ever had with B&H was ordering a 5L bottle of Ilford Hypam along with a bunch of lighter, more fragile darkroom stuff. I'll think twice about doing that again - they tossed the whole mess into a flimsy box with grossly inadequate filler. The box arrived mostly shredded; it was amazing none of the contents was missing or damaged. A minor peeve is that recently they've started sticking big, obnoxious bar code stickers on the merchanidise you order; if you like keeping your precious jewel in a pristine manufacturer-issue box you can forget it.

    My experience with Adorama is mostly limited to used merchandise. I've gotten some good deals, but you have to pay close attention and ask questions if anything seems the slightest bit odd, because they seem to have a relatively high rate of misidentified items. It doesn't appear to be intentional, because it's not systematically in a direction that jacks up the price or makes more money for them. Rather, it just looks like plain old sloppiness.
     
  23. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Member

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    Yup. I totalled up what I have spent at B&H in the past few years and was in shock for a bit. I do order from Adorama, and it is when I need a chemistry item that B&H wont ship. Usually, there are a couple trivial bits that have been in the wish list added to that also. There were a couple times that B&H did not have a film in stock that the order also stocked up on chemistry while I was at it. No great preference, but I have had flawless service from B&H.
     
  24. ampguy

    ampguy Member

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    I prefer B&H

    Actually, I prefer OneCall, but of the two you mention, have had more success and less hassle with B&H over Adorama.

    YMMV, just my .02.
     
  25. MikeM1977

    MikeM1977 Member

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    My last three orders from B&H were poorly packed and resulted in damage to 1 or more items. Of course they've replaced every item, but this is getting a bit annoying.
     
  26. MikeM1977

    MikeM1977 Member

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    I've had nothing but positive experiences with Freestyle. If only they could compete with prices on color film.