Where buy used cameras

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by Thomas Bertilsson, Sep 26, 2005.

  1. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Hello,

    I have heard people mention a couple of mail order businesses which have used cameras for sale. I'm not confident gambling on eBay, so would like to acquire a camera from a more reputable photography business.
    I live in the North Midwest, and know about National Camera, and West Photo. The F-stop swap is coming up too, but I am not knowledgeable enough to know whether I'm buying a dud or not.

    Any recommendations appreciated.

    - Thom
     
  2. SuzanneR

    SuzanneR Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Apug sponsor KEH.com!
     
  3. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    For medium and large format, don't forget Midwest Photo Exchange. www.mpex.com
     
  4. Paul Howell

    Paul Howell Member

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    Try RITZCAM.COM, focus is on collectables, but they have a very large selection of users, easy to use web site. It is a real store here in Phoenix.
     
  5. MattCarey

    MattCarey Member

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    Strong second.

    Also strong second to Midwest photo.

    Both are excellent organizations.

    Matt
     
  6. laz

    laz Member

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    Have you posted a WTB here on APUG?
     
  7. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    KEH. Depending on what you're buying it may even be cheaper then Ebay.
     
  8. Grady O

    Grady O Member

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    I'll have to say KEH again, I've had very good experiences with them.
     
  9. Gerald Koch

    Gerald Koch Member

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    Nothing beats buying locally where you can actually tryout what you're going to buy. Checkout local camera stores, local paper, thrift stores, etc.
     
  10. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I'll put in my 'vote' for KEH as well... I just purchased the (wrong) eye-level finder for my Hassy, gave them a quick call explaining my mistake & telling them the one I should have ordered. They were wonderful! They even discounted the eye-level finder (the right one) shipping for me!!! :D

    Not to mention the fact that I bought a "Bargain" graded finder whose glass is absolutely spotless! Dang! :surprised:
     
  11. jmdavis

    jmdavis Member

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  12. Peter Williams

    Peter Williams Member

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    Anothe vote for KEH. I just bought an eye-level finder from them a couple of weeks ago. It was rated as 'bargain', and was a little worse than what I was looking for. They took the return with no hassel, I used the credit for a new in box bellows for a 35% savings over B&H, and THEY paid the shipping for the bellows - 2 day air! Now that's service.
     
  13. BradS

    BradS Subscriber

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    KEH and MPEX. Hands down. No need to look any further.
     
  14. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    I find that I turned into somewhat of a scavenger - I look everywhere - garage sales, pawn shops, etc. And by the way - several times on eBay. Have not found it a gamble yet, provided you use common sense and aks a lot of questions.
    Having said that... the KEH price list - WOW! It is true - many a time it will actually beat eBay. If I needed a camera tomorrow, I would talk to them for sure. As it is - I make long range plans and sit in ambush for an amazing deal. Usually, it comes along!

    Peter.
     
  15. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Folks, the original poster wrote "I am not knowledgeable enough to know whether I'm buying a dud or not." This rules out the usual cheap and chancy sources of used cameras such as thrift shops, pawn shops, flea markets, eBay, ... that many of the replies have suggested.

    He's best off buying from one of the dealers mentioned. The all offer at least short term guarantees. But he does still need to know how to do acceptance testing on a newly arrived camera.

    Cheers,

    Dan
     
  16. Terence

    Terence Member

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    KEH, without a doubt. Go for "bargain" grade on everything but film backs. The grading is consistent, but film backs can be finicky and you're better off with an "excellent" grade one. KEH's bargain-grade is better than most other places excellent grade. My glass has been flawless.

    MPEX is a strong second, but KEH tends to have better prices and a slightly better return policy.

    My experience with Ritz has not been as good. Many of their older items seem to be graded based on their cosmetic/collectible condition and not necessarily their functional condition. I have returned three (out of four) cameras to them. One had a bad shutter and two had lenses with enough haze that it was apparent in the negatives. All three had been rated as excellent condition. The fourth, admittedly, was beautiful.

    Depending on the make, swap meets can be great if you research exactly what you're looking for on the internet. For example, there were fairly comprehensive lists of what to check for on Rolleicords/flexes and Hasselblads in photo.net archives. Anything with electronic components might be a bit tougher. That said, I have easily gotten my best deals at the NJ Second Sunday camera show, and I wouldn't even classify it as a big show. Unlike KEH and MPEX, however, there's usually not a return policy.

    B&H usually has nice stuff, but the prices don't reflect market conditions (at least not those of this decade). However, they often have hard to find bits and pieces. These don't show up on their website, but their magical back room has turned up answers to more of my odd requests (strange caps, oddball adapters, etc) than my bank account would like to admit.
     
  17. gnashings

    gnashings Inactive

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    Good point - I think I am guilty of "I'll answer no matter what the question!"
    And I hate that...sorry. Didnt mean to. But you know, sometimes you learn a gret deal through sifting junk - often lessons youwold not try with a more expensive, properly purchased item...
     
  18. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Although I think sticking with KEH is the wisest choice, I have to agree with Mr Gnashings a little. It's only by making my mistakes with buying some cheap junk (which occasionally worked) that I was able to fully appreciate the cameras I use now. Just remember to stick with cheap junk (an Isolette with a pin-holed but repairable bellows) and not expensive junk. But, being an engineer, I've always been a bit of a masochist.
     
  19. Robert Budding

    Robert Budding Member

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    I've purchased many items from KEH and have always been very happy with both the gear and the prices.

    RObert