Quote Originally Posted by BradS View Post
It depends.
For LF Lenses, their BGN rating is usually pretty darned good.

For 35mm bodies, it can make a big difference. They also seem to grade 35mm bodies on cosmetics ONLY. Therefore, a body graded EX will look good but may very well have a mechanical problem. Maybe, it depends on brand. I've never had any luck trying to buy used Nikon Manual focus 35mm bodies from them and, believe me, I have tried many times. I have given up and will not buy 35mm gear from them - nothing but trouble and endless mailing stuff back and forth.
I have used KEH for many, many years. I've purchased all kinds of gear, bodies, accessories, lenses ranging from 35 to 8x10. If I had to rate them I would say they are a reliable dealer and always aim to please. With that said, I have had problems with some gear and it has always been with 35mm. I agree that their cosmetic ratings are very conservative and generous. Mechanically is where I have discovered issues. Being that they deal with so much equipment it is easy to understand that pieces with mechanical flaws can slip through the cracks in the inspection process. My last experience involved a Contax AX autofocus body. I went through three of them on exchanges because of focusing or firing issues. I believe the camera was too sophisticated for the average repair tech they use to properly evaluate and test the focus system on this unique 35 body. Two of the bodies were not focusing at infinity, the split image was slightly off from alignment at infinity with several Zeiss lenses I tested. The test images were slightly soft, not a trademark of Zeiss glass. KEH immediately granted a return approval on each body. One body was just like new, like it just came out of the box. That body was the one I wanted and they had to send it back to Japan for proper repair. They were supposed to notify me when it came back and they never did. Anyway, I eventually obtained a couple that are fine. I do believe the more sophisticated a piece of equipment is the greater the risk of running into a mechanical or electronic issue. I agree that 35mm is their weak spot in quality control but I also can understand why. I am not making excuses for them but I can also understand that it can be extremely difficult making certain every item is operationally perfect. Buyer beware, thoroughly test upon receipt and just send it back if there is an issue. They are always very receptive to returns. I rate them highly overall. I still think buying at shows in person is the best way to go.