Buying Second hand equipment: The Pro's and Con's

Buying Second hand equipment: The Pro's and Con's

  1. Ian Grant

    Ian Grant Subscriber

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    Ian Grant submitted a new resource:

    Buying Second hand equipment: The Pro's and Con's - Buying Second hand equipment: The Pro's and Con's

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    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 6, 2016
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    My highest preference is KEH and Samys. I get to see and handle the equipment at Samys and I get the honor of paying state sales tax in lieu of shipping. There is the instant gratification factor and they are competitive or better than KEH prices. I have done well at KEH. Only one problem and that was resolved by them sending the replacement before I shipped back the original item.

    Close after KEH is B&H. I have only made a few purchases on APUG Classifieds and they have been good experiences, too.

    I have done well with eBay stores including KEH. I look for well known stores with good reputations. As always with any internet purchase look at the photos, read the details and ASK questions.

    I have had good experiences with individual eBay sellers by looking at ratings at or near 100. I tend to look at the sellers with the higher sales numbers. Every once and a while I find something that a seller with less than 20 sales with exactly what I am looking for. With those again I have had good luck and occasionally they will throw in some extras because I took a chance with them.

    My biggest problems have been caused by GAS pangs and the desire to get one more lens or accessory. I have found no solution to this problem and now I accept it as the price for the interest in photography.

    My experiences YMMV
    Steve
     
  3. mts

    mts Subscriber

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    I have bought a few small accessory items from e-Bay stores located in China, particularly adapter rings and the like. The prices were low enough that I took the chance to see if I would receive items, if ever, and if they would be acceptable. To my amazement, items from China with "free shipping" seem to arrive via US Post in a couple of weeks and the quality of adapter rings, etc. has been perfectly fine. I suspect most such items are made now in China anyhow even if one pays three or four times the price in a domestic store. In the US at least, there seems to be a decent connection between US Post and suppliers in Hong Kong and Shanghai. Amazing.
     
  4. clayne

    clayne Member

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    Not everything is made in China and they make PLENTY of knock-off copycat parts that are of dubious quality compared to the original.

    Additionally, for all the well-trodden trade routes that have been setup, consider that we have 20' and 40' containers PILED up at the port of Long Beach and stored around LA that were built just for shipping goods from China to the US and it's not economically feasible for them to ship it back and re-use it. So what do they do? They build more containers. Truly insane.
     
  5. GeorgeDexter

    GeorgeDexter Member

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    I prefer a store that stands behind their gear. Keh has always been good to me. eBay is alright, but let the buyer beware. Many sellers don't even have the expertise to guarantee an item. You have to read eBay descriptions like a lawyer. If it says "worked last time I used it, but that was a year ago.." or something like that, watch out. Also beware AS-IS and no-returns auctions.

    I've had some good experiences, but also some bad ones. Here's a list of a few bad ones: 1. Nikon 16mm F2.8 AF from a studio photographer in Cali. Wouldn't focus to infinity, which makes it pretty useless. He said it had just come back from Nikon Factory Service. He did accept a return, but gave me a real hard time about it, telling me I didn't know how to use it. 2. Tokina 70-200mm f2.8 MF with a broken bayonet mount. The seller refused a refund, so I had to send it to Tokina for repair. 3. A Nikon FM2 that was not in EX condition as stated. It had many wear marks. I kept it, and had to get the film transport worked on only months later, because it had ben used so hard. 4. An ipod that was supposed to be in EX condition. When I got it, it looked like it had been through a war. Twice. Seller was very difficult and I eventually had to threaten a chargeback on Paypal before he would accept a return.

    I like eBay much more as a seller than a buyer. If we could get rid of the bad sellers, it could be really great, but that will never happen, so Let the Buyer Beware.
     
  6. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Over the years I've developed good relationships with several excellent repair shops and technicians, like Marflex, Frank Marshman (CameraWiz), S. K. Grimes, and Precision Camera Works, and as I see it, this is key to making good deals from private sales and eBay. I also have a good idea for most of the items I buy, what kinds of things are likely to go wrong, and what will be an expensive repair, and would would be an easy fix or possibly something I could repair myself.

    I would rather buy something in non-working condition at very low cost from a private individual and have it brought up to spec by one of the best camera techs in the business, than to pay more for something in basic working order that may not have been serviced in a long time or not by the most qualified technician for that particular piece of equipment.

    It is pointless, for instance, in my opinion, to pay more for a large format lens in a "working" Synchro-Compur shutter that hasn't had a CLA in 20 or more years, than to purchase the same lens in a non-working Synchro-Compur shutter that probably only needs a cleaning, because in fact, both shutters need a cleaning--it's just not as obvious with the "working" shutter. Sometimes a non-working shutter is really broken and may need to be replaced, but in most cases, they just need cleaning, lubrication, and adjustment.
     
  7. Steve Roberts

    Steve Roberts Member

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    ....or indeed fix it or learn how to fix it yourself if you're that way inclined. I have picked up many bargains that way but my favourite was an Asahiflex that was nominally u/s and hence very cheap but only needed a spring re-seating.

    Steve
     
  8. Christopher Walrath

    Christopher Walrath Member

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    In the past I was a huge peruser of shuttlerblade.com (eBay store). Many here have reported problems with them, but I have but a lot of gear from them over the years and I would have to recommend them as reputable. Again, my experience and everyone has fostered horror stories, I don't care who they are.

    I got going with darkroom supplies primarily from B&H and lately with Freestylephoto.biz. I believe that starting this year, when I get my boon, I will be doing ALL of my shopping at my local camera shop. Well, they're over an hour away. But they keep chemistry on the showroom floor. They are my kind of shop and they are going to have my business from now on.

    They are Camera's Etc. of Newark, Delaware. Located just north of the U of D campus. 1-302-453-9400. The guys and gals are all side photographers. Mostly film. Perhaps more than a smattering of d*g*t*l. I don't hold it against them. They always have lots of great consignment gear at the counter. Can't say as I have seen anything LF ever but I'm sure they now who has items for purchase on the short.

    Just thought I would share.
    Thanks alot, Ian. Hope you're keeping up that Mediteranean tan of yours.
     
  9. budrichard

    budrichard Member

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    I never purchase from big dealers as they invaribaly sell the worst used equipment because they have to take things in trade or purchase heavily discounted and feel they can always sell to the unknowing. There are a few smaller Dealers in used equipment I have pruchased from.
    I typically look for lightly used equipment from the original purchaser on eBay, look at feed back and always establish a dialog and for large ticket items a phone coversation is a must. Pay with Amexo and always have items sent insured, with confirmation/tracking # supplied to me. So far, it has worked out extremely well. I never purchase junk as it will always be junk and the extra price to pay for Mint equipment is a small price in the long run.-Dick
     
  10. mikebarger

    mikebarger Subscriber

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    I've bought two items from Adorama on Ebay since Helen has been posting here. Both items were received in better condition than expected.

    Mike
     
  11. fotopom

    fotopom Member

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    I have bought many excellent items from E-bay, and several duds. However my worst experience was a silly 2pound adaptor from the uk that cost me around $30AUD postage and never arrived. The seller had a high feed back percentage but with over 11,000 items sold had rather a lot of negatives I never bothered to read before. Turned out he didn’t care about overseas transactions and retaliated with "bad buyer ... liar ... see other 11,000 positive feedback..." as standard practice to any problems. The item never arrived, after giving up on communication I left a negative feedback to the effect " ... see other negative feedbacks they do matter". The result was he reported me to E-bay square trade as having received the goods and claiming I hadn’t in order to get a re-fund... funny my small country post office hadn’t seen it either! To my absolute surprise, e-bay terminated our account despite a 100% positive feed back ... turns out sellers who turn a good volume over are more important to e-bay than honest buyers!!! I wouldn’t bother relating this other than it seems to happen rather often, and E-bay its self is such a giant it seems to be a law unto its self, with no accountability to anyone.

    Okay off the soap box. Look around charity shops, some of my best bargains have come from them, plus you can handle the items first. Also watch the for sale ad's in your local paper, if they are selling dark room gear, chances are they have an attic full of old camera stuff.

    Dan
     
  12. fotopom

    fotopom Member

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    I would also like to mention Camera Electronics in Perth http://www.cameraelectronic.com.au/, they are the last second hand dealer of camera stuff in Western Australia. They can be a little pricey but will move on price and have an in house repair shop so you know your in good hands. Some times I find its better to pay that bit extra and rest easy in the comfort of knowing the goods (like my Zorki 4K) will work correctly. Also if you like russian equipment these guys http://www.fedka.com are EXCELLENT!!
    Dan
     
  13. Cliffy13

    Cliffy13 Member

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    I have bought plenty of used gear over the years from shops Ebay and private sales with no real problems apart from an EOS 100 where the shutter started playing up after a month,my preference is from shops but that becomes more difficult as there are fewer shops doing used gear compared to say 10 years ago
     
  14. nsurit

    nsurit Subscriber

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    I've bought and sold several hundreds of items on eBay and the bad deals I've had I could be counted on one hand and have a finger or two left over. Early on I learned to ask questions about the items I'm interested in owning. That requires me to know something about themand know what questions top ask. I would never hesitate to buy from eBay. I do pay attention to feedback scores. Craigslist has generated some good buys, however in general my experience has been that buyers in aprticular or a little more flakey on CL. When sell, good pictures, good description and good return policy are essential. I've not yet had to take anything back that I sold on ebay. Remember, good pictures, good description and good return policy. Bill Barber
     
  15. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    I've bought two out-of-state items via craigslist and am very happy with both items. I found them with this excellent search crawler...

    http://www.craiglook.com/
     
  16. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

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    Great link Mike, but had tears in my eyes as I looked through all the wonderful stuff you guys in the US can pick up for such great prices!
    No chance of this in AUS, hardly ever see these bargains. And forget about Thailand - nothing, nada, nix. . . . . . .

    Missing my darkroom dearly. :sad:
     
  17. Mike1234

    Mike1234 Inactive

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    Nanette,

    I'll bet many craigslist sellers will ship to Ozzy Land. Just offer to pay the shipping and pay the seller with either an IPMO or a MG.