Bought one bgn grade lens from keh after several ex and ex+ ones. Zero complaints on the bgn one and it may have cost more than all of my other glass purchases combined, and may even be more than everything else combined. A couple of small marks on the barrel, with perfect glass. Two thumbs up.
BGN stuff always has faults. Sometimes, they're tolerable; sometimes, they're not.
I've done well with BGN bodies, less so with BGN lenses. But when possible I buy EX or higher now.
Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.
Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?
I would not count that each BGN = EX like condition, especially for more popular items where they have a lot in stock.
However If you can accept that BGN most likely wont be in EX cosmetic condition (but you may be lucky), you have 14 days to return it and I think that return shipping is free of charge if the item is defective.
Plus you have 6 month warranty.
BGN bodies typically can vary. The two BGN grade F4's I've owned have been somewhat worn. One of them did have a mode switch issue that they gave me a $30 price adjustment, since I had no guarantee that the replacement body would be a later body, less likely to be flaky. The other works perfectly, just has some wear on the dials, etc, and the body finish isn't matte black anymore, instead, it's rather shiny. I've also owned a BGN grade F2A that, except for a couple tiny dings, would be very close to what I'd think they would call EX grade. Very tiny amount of brassing.
Lately, I've been enjoying buying AS IS gear off their eBay page. Got a lot of six supposedly dead Nikkormat FT's and Nikomat FTn's. Only one was truly dead. The rest did fire, and two FTn's had properly working light meters as well. Kept those, and got rid of the rest. One will be used as a donor camera for my Nikomat FT2 that needs an overhaul, and the other is loaded up with a roll of Ektar 100 as I type this.
APUG: F3P, F2AS, Nikomat FT2
Nikkors: 18-70/3.5-4.5G AF-S DX (f/D2x), 20/3.5 UD, 24/2 AI, 35/2 O, 50/2 H, 50/1.4 S, 85/1.8 K, 105/4 Micro AIS, 180/2.8 PC
'tax gear: Spot II, 55/1.8 Super-Multi-Coated Takumar
- My flickr stream
I am surprised that KEH labels one's gear strickly based on their appearance. I hope they must check out the gear's mechanism as well and I guess they do.
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I was told by more than rep that they DO check for functionality - however, the grading is based on appearance alone. I was told, unless AS-IS or mentioned in the listing, all features should be present, functional, and usable.
That said, I stay with EX or higher for most things.
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Generally they work well and look at lot better than BGN to me. I've bought several over the years. My last M2 was a BGN lever rewind. It was very nice looking to my eyes and worked fine. It actually turned out to be a KS15-4 (basically an M2 with the M4 film load kit and extra dust seals -- an M2R really) but without anything on the outside to indicate that. Strange you'd think that they'd want more for that since lots of people like the M4 loading spool. But I've never been disappointed with BGN gear from KEH. I've never gotten a bad deal from KEH for gear of ANY quality level really. And they're only a couple of miles from where I live and work so I can actually go pick it up if I ask real nice.
I only buy Ex condition lenses from KEH these days.
"Life moves pretty fast, if you don't stop and look around once and a while, you might just miss it."
I got a Canon FL 55mm f/1.2 that was BGN — glass was almost pristine (just dust), with patina on the barrel.
I have a BGN grade MB-23 grip on my F4. It's got a great war correspondent patina, but other than that, it works perfectly. I'd certainly take a punt on BGN gear, as long as it wasn't too pricy.
There is nothing, absolutely nothing, half so much worth doing, as simply messing about in boats