When purchasing used view cameras is it wiser to look to look at selections available at online sites(Badger graphics,KEH,etc.).Ebay normally has a fairly large selection also.What are the traps to watch out for?I'm considering stepping up from 4x5 to 5x7.I've used KEH for some medium format accessories and had no problems at all,but i've never purchased any large format equipment sight unseen from anyone.Any advice on this subject would be welcome......thanks..
I have had some good and bad dealings at E bay. So if you decide to buy an E bay item from a private person here is what I recommend you do.
Under no circumstances pay cash, E bay will not give you fraud protection if you pay cash. If you have to go this way then you will loose certain amount but you will get most of your money back, so pay with MO, Check.
Print and save the add you bid and won, E bay will ask you for this if you have to ask for fraud protection.
As to the cameras, I would first ask the seller if he has a return policy, I stay away from the "as is" sales.....to me "as is"= you are stuck with the item!
Sometimes the sellers are cameras stores. If this is the case you might have to fight a little but most of the time the stores selling are reputable and you wont have a hassle with defective items.
OTOH dont get too demmanding, I bought my Korona at E bay from a guy who had no experience with this type of cameras, althought the camera outwardly looked in excellent shape, when I removed some of the metal parts it had a little bit of wood rut. I imagine someone in the past polished it with liquid polish and it got inside the metal parts. This to me was no big deal, a little bit of wood filler and patience fixed the problem. So sometimes someone will describe an item as excellent and due to ignorance it turns out not to be so, if it is in good faith, relax, talk it over with the seller and most of the time you can come to an agreement. In my case the person who sold me the Korona was a pretty nice guy and for 10 bucks I spent fixing I did not even bothered him.
IOW use good judgement, check the sellers feedback and ask for return policy.
Add 'what you see is what you get' to the list of deals that smell. Other than a few items I have been generally satisfied with my dealings on ebay, and the money that I have saved from not buying from dealers more than makes up for the bad ones. If you are buying from someone that has alot of good feedback and accepts returns, your risk is almost nill. Also, have every item insured, it creates a paper trail that protects both you and the sender.
Jeff, for the past twenty-two years, I 've been buying (and selling) large format supplies and equipment either by phone, or over the internet. I seldom, if ever, shop in a camera store, anymore. I buy my supplies from B&H. The most important lesson I've learned when buying used equipment is to find a salesperson who is trustworthy and knowledgeable. I've developed a personal relationship with a few honest, knowledgeable people, over the phone, and have seldom been disappointed. Once, or twice, I have returned a piece of equipment for an exchange, or refund. No questions asked. No strings attached. Of course, a credit card purchase over the phone or a mailorder came with that stipulation, and I had to pay the return shipping cost. As far as E-Bay- it's a gamble, to say the least. I know that some claim they can get a bargain buying used photo stuff on E-Bay. I guess I'm not that lucky. K.E.H. is OK for some things, but I find that their large format equipment is over-priced and over-rated, for the most part. During the last year, or so, I have been buying my equipment (including seven Fuji lenses, both new, and used) from Jim, at Midwest Photo Exchange. Although I've never met him in person, he is really great to work with. Jeff, at Badger Graphics is also very helpful, although he doesn't handle very many used items. Another knowledgeable LF sales guy is Rod Klukas, at Photomark, in Phoenix. I have also bought and sold equipment through the classified ads in View Camera magazine. Good experiences there. Not so good experiences with Shutterbug, however. Your experiences will be different than mine, but trusting the seller is the key to success.
Thanks very much for the replies to my question.I'll pick up an issue of View Camera Magazine and check the dealer and classified ads.
Jeff, also check the viewcamera.com website. They post the classified ads there and keep them posted for a long time period. Good luck!
I use the adds in Shutterbug as a guide for what to pay on Ebay. Places such as Midwest Photo Exchange, Badger Graphics, Lens and Repro always have great reviews for their knowledge, service and return policies. So unless the price is somewhat less then these vendors I would buy from them.
I have never had a problem with purchasing on Ebay. Some guidelines to follow:
Always buy from someone who has a return policy or a trial time for the item. You will have to pay shipping to return, but that is a normal cost .
Always buy from someone who has had a good number of transactions and has positive feedback. I am leary of buying from first time sellers and never buy from anyone with more than one negative feedback in the last month.
Don't buy from overseas unless you understand the possible additional costs that may be involved with taxes, import duties etc.
Always email the seller with any questions no matter how trivial.