Buying from KEH question?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by BennyK, Apr 2, 2012.

  1. BennyK

    BennyK Member

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    I've posted a couple of threads on the forum asking about buying. My search on Ebay has left many questions with specific items every time. So I was thinking about buying from KEH which I've seen nothing but good reviews. The thing is it would be far less than a crap shoot for pretty good priced items. I've bought a lot of things off Ebay but never cameras/lenses for hundreds of dollars.

    Questions: 1. In the experience of those that have bought there....If you saw a camera body you wanted and a separately listed lens would they maybe give a little break on price if you bought them together? Is it worth asking?

    2. I heard that they grade conservatively. Are the cameras they have for sale gone over by them to check functionality etc. (sorry if redundant).

    I just didn't feel right about the couple of 645E set ups I saw on Ebay. Even if they offered a 7 day return policy (most did not) I may not have time to get a couple of rolls through a camera and developed in 7 days, so KEH seems like the safer bet seeing I don't buy equipment that often.

    I have also heard that KEH has many more items than they can place online so I should maybe call if want something specific as it may not be on the website.

    I wanted to get objective opinions, not the party line from them

    Thanks
     
  2. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    Call them (KEH). They're good people. :smile:
     
  3. Terry Christian

    Terry Christian Subscriber

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    1. I seriously doubt it. KEH is a seller, not a haggler. If you want a price break, go with BGN or UG grade.
    2. Yes, they do grade quite conservatively. I've personally bought BGN equipment that I'd grade as EX, UG that I'd call BGN, etc. KEH does guarantee their gear to work and generally they do go over everything beforehand. However, they can't go over everything with a fine-toothed comb and sometimes you can get hold of something that looks okay but doesn't function as it is supposed to. I've had to return items because of that before, but they've always been great about it and paid for the shipping back and the shipping of a replacement. That said, they're about as perfect as one can expect a gear seller to be, at least in my experience.

    Case in point: Last fall, just before going on a trip to St. Louis, I bought from them a BGN grade Minolta X-570 (35mm SLR), and an UG grade motor drive. The camera worked fine except that the frame indicator didn't advance on the camera; on the motor drive the shutter button worked but didn't advance the film. After my trip I called them, they set up a replacement order, and arranged for me to ship back the items for free. The replacements were shipped to me for free as soon as they received my package, and they were in perfect working order.
     
  4. Wolfeye

    Wolfeye Subscriber

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    You're better off buying from eBay, Adorama, or B&H than KEH. Both Adorama and B&H have professionals who monitor this site and photo.net and try and work out any problem, even if it happened weeks ago. Ebay now has a 100% buyer satisfaction policy that guarantees your purchase price plus shipping back. KEH doesn't fully test their items and as such, you'll go to use some feature and it won't work. Happened to me many times. I'd much rather buy from an individual that knows his gear than the KEH appearance-graded items.
     
  5. Shootar401

    Shootar401 Member

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    I'd much rather buy from KEH, than ebay, Adorama and B&H, no matter what the price or condition. I've bought over $15,000 in equipment from KEH over the past 3 years, not once have I had an issue. I don't know why you are bashing KEH, they do test all of their used pieces and grade based on function AND appearance.
     
  6. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    FWIW... I bought a pricey Nikkor lens from KEH a couple years ago. It arrived the the faintest whisps of cleaning marks in the front coatings that were not in the description. These were not enough to affect image quality in any way but did affect lens value. They refused a partial refund but allowed a return with a complete refund of the purchase price. I was out the cost of shipping and, in retrospect, I might as well have kept the lens. The bottom line is they did back their product. In years past... many years past... I bought other items from them at competitive prices with no issues what-so-ever and customer service was great.
     
  7. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    KEH is excellent. I buy from them all the time. I use ebay as well, but absolutely NOT for lenses. I've got burned one too many times trying to save a few bucks rather than just buy a used one from KEH. I have to strongly disagree with Wolfeye, all of their items are tested. Go for lenses in EX condition or better and cameras you can even get away with BGN condition and they will maybe not look the best, but will work fine. If a feature doesn't work, they will fix it. Their gear is warranted for 60 days and you can return it no questions asked within 14 days. Just buy from them, you will not regret it.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  8. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I have good experince with KEH,

    Jeff
     
  9. paul ewins

    paul ewins Member

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    KEH vs eBay is no contest - I've never got a lens with fungus from KEH. From time to time KEH will make mistakes, but they will also remedy the mistake. Despite buying lots of BGN equipment from them the only problems I have had is a couple of mislabelled items which they refunded without a quibble. From the sound of it you may be better off buying EX graded equipment which should be mechanically and optically (near) perfect and perhaps have a few very minor blemishes.
     
  10. paul ron

    paul ron Member

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    I've reapired way too many cameras bought from fleabay n can tell you they are mostly junk dealers, not professional sellers like KEH.

    KEH equipment is generally better than it's ratings and if you think it is not they will exchange it no questions asked. KEH also has a great return policy without any arguments as you would definately get from Adoroma n B&H, seen too many bad experiances with those guys.

    B&H is a great place to shop for new stuff but their used equipment seems more like referbished garbage finds.

    .
     
  11. sdotkling

    sdotkling Member

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    I, too, have nothing but good things to say about KEH. They're like an old-fashioned camera store, in that they treat you like you'll be a valued long-time customer. My BGN Summicron was shockingly handsome. My Pentax 6x7 stuff likewise.
     
  12. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    I have had nothing but great luck with KEH for more than 10 years including a few UG lenses that were really quite nice. BGN ones that we better than most "MINT-" ones i see on ebay. I've only bought a couple of bodies from them, one a Nikon N60 years ago, a Contax RTSII a few months ago, and another a Leica IIIa bought quite recently. All were perfect. With the 7-day no-questions-asked return policy and a 60-day warranty you got little to lose. IMO, unless I can get something off eBay for at least 30% less than KEH I go KEH every time.
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

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    I consider KEH as an honest business. That said, they do make mistakes every now and then and I had a few instances where it took a while to get it right. But, all through the process, they were courteous, understanding, and in the end, things were righted. One time, I was treated rather curtly over the phone but it was just one incident. Perhaps that particular rep was having a bad day.

    Buying used anything, having a reliable business on the other end is worth more than a little saving for me. Like anything, opinion varies all over the place depending on individual experiences. I continue to buy from KEH.

    Concerning ratings, it range from conservative to about-right depending on the piece. Would they deal on prices? Probably not but never hurt to ask. All they can say is no.
     
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  15. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    The only qualification I would put on my recommendation for KEH is that the 7-day (EDIT - actually 14 days!) no-questions-asked return policy isn't meaningful for those of us outside the USA - the 7 days (EDIT - actually 14 days!) starts from date of invoice. So as long as I don't approach KEH as a "try before I buy" source, I'm completely happy.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  16. Old-N-Feeble

    Old-N-Feeble Member

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    Matt... Email before you buy. My guess is they'll cut you some slack on return time.
     
  17. Peter Simpson

    Peter Simpson Member

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    I'd take KEH over eBay any day. I have several Nikon cameras and lenses bought from KEH which I consider to have been very good buys. When I did get a lens for my Bronica SQ-A with a defective shutter (didn't check it, ended up with half a roll of blanks!), they gave me no hassle and even held another one for me until the return reached them. This was right on the 7-day return limit, but as it was defective (everything BGN or better is guaranteed functional for 6(?) months now) it probably didn't matter.

    Nice people. You won't get the best price selling to them, but their gear is fairly priced and as others have said, conservatively rated.

    I have a very nice FM2n I got for $42 out of their as-is bin. Small amount of corrosion where the rubber eye piece used to be, but otherwise works great.
     
  18. Mark Fisher

    Mark Fisher Subscriber

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    I've probably bought 20 things from KEH and all but one were as described or ,more often, better than described. The one time I did end up returning it because it actually was what their "bargain" grading describes. I was used to so much better!
     
  19. Johnkpap

    Johnkpap Member

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    You really can't lose buying from KEH

    Every thing I have bought has been "Better than Expected " Even UG, BGN and AS-IS My best buys have been, a AS-IS Nikon FE Black for $13.00 !!!! Just needed new Foam and Battery's and it is Like New (less than a roll of film and proccessing), I also bought a UG bronica ETRS 50mm lens....Nothing wrong with it -> looks almost new and was only $33.00

    If I buy cameras on Ebay I make sure the seller has 100% feed back and has been a member for 5 or more years, stay away from High priced BUY NOW...Make a Offer...... You can bet they are Dreaming !!!

    I would just Buy from KEH, Even with the Shipping $$$ to AUSTRALIA I still end up in front.

    Best of luck

    Johnkpap
     
  20. PaulMD

    PaulMD Member

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    Conversely, my only experience with Adorama has been buying a lens that was mislabelled on their site (as a far cheaper, inferior version), and it required almost the full warranty month for them to "figure out what had happened". KEH has always come through on returns, if you can demonstrate that it was their mistake they will even cover shipping. Their new warranty coverage is only the icing on this cake.
     
  21. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Member

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    Another good point about KEH vs ebay is that KEH's prices are right on what similar items on ebay are going for. ebay may sometimes be lower but I've also seen items sell for higher than what KEH is selling them for. But the best part with KEH is that there is no risk. Pricing is the number one reason I buy from KEH, very reasonable pricing. Adorama's prices are very similar, but I had a bad experience with them and have heard horror stories from others. B&H is great for new items and I should own stock in them for all I buy from them but their used prices are too high.
     
  22. Leigh B

    Leigh B Member

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    I've bought quite a few things from KEH, and returned a couple for various reasons. Excellent company to deal with.

    Every transaction was smooth and professional. Refunds are prompt, usually the day they receive the item.

    I haven't bought anything on the bay since they implemented the paypill requirement, and never will as long as that's in force.

    Definitely go with KEH.

    To answer the OP's original questions:
    1. Doubtful. They offer complete camera 'outfits', which include lenses. I doubt they would make up a special outfit, but doesn't hurt to ask.
    2. Their grading is quite conservative. I've always bought EXC or better, and the items all look virtually brand new.

    BTW, the no-questions-asked refund policy period is 14 days, not 7.

    - Leigh
     
  23. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    keh kicks butt...true datt!!
    best, Peter
     
  24. MattKing

    MattKing Subscriber

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    You are right - I've inserted a correction into my earlier post.

    Thanks
     
  25. andrew.roos

    andrew.roos Member

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    I bought my first film camera (Bronica ETRSi and lens) in about 25 years from KEH in December. I bought from them because of the reputation for accurate equipment grades. I live in South Africa so the cost of returning an item that I was not happy with would probably be more the the item was worth. I bought EX grade for the same reason.

    The sales representative I dealt with (Sean McCreery) was very helpful with my request (payment by international credit card - from Africa no less - but shipped to an address in the USA that did not match the billing address of the credit card). The goods were shipped in good time and were excellently packed in individually sealed plastic bags (which should minimise the possbility of deterioration while in the warehouse). All items were as described and in at least as good condition as advertised - I actually think the 40mm lens I bought would probably have been rated "Like New" anywehere else.

    They're not the cheapest but if you value a hassle free buying experience then, in my opinion, they are a great choice. I will certainly buy from them again.

    Andrew
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 3, 2012
  26. LyleB

    LyleB Member

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    I've bought from KEH and eBay many times. I've had all good experiences for the most part. I do not hesitate to deal with KEH, I'm selective when dealing with eBay. Knight Camera, Shutterblade seem to be reliable, professional re-sellers. Have been impressed with Unicphoto offerings, but they are a bit pricier, have very good feedback. Have also bought from private individuals with good results, but consider this a bit riskier.

    I recently bought a very nice-looking FE2 from KEH via the auction site. It was stated in the description that the camera was actually the one in the multiple photos. It was stated that this was a very nice, BGN grade body. When I received the camera, it was not the same one as the photos. Had substantially more brassing, but everything else seemed in good shape. I contacted KEH, and received an email back stating that when being examined just before shipping, some substantial defects were found in the offered camera. They selected the best looking, BGN grade camera they had in stock to ship. While I was somewhat disappointed and suspicious, I turned down their offer for a refund, and kept the camera, and decided to give them the benefit of the doubt based on all my previous positive dealings with them. I have found no deficiencies in the camera they sent.

    I purchased a Yashica D from Knight Camera, but when I received it the shutter did not work. I ended up sending it in for a CLA. Had some difficulties getting a response from Knight Camera when I contacted them, but eventually made contact and they offered to reimburse me for half the cost of the CLA, which I was happy with.

    I have also bought one used lens from Adorama. When I got it the zoom mechanism was not smooth, would "catch" in a certain range. I contacted Adorama, they refunded my money and paid for the return shipping, no further questions asked and apologized for the inconvenience. I wouldn't hesitate to deal with them again.

    My position is that we are dealing with very old, used equipment. Sometimes things get by on an initial exam. As long as the seller stands behind their offerings, I am happy.