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Thread: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

  1. #1

    Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    I was wondering if its safe to order a lens or expensive SLR online as suppose to going to the store and getting it? I am planning on ordering around $12.000 worth of gear, a very long time ago I worked as a truck loader and I saw how boxes are treated. I was just wondering if it makes a difference, I mean I ordered everything online before but this is the first time ordering lenses and a SLR online...I was wondering if shacking and box throwing would affect the lens construction...but all the lenses I am getting are over 2000 bucks ......

  2. #2
    Moderator Dave Humphries's Avatar
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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Not a problem I'm ever likely to have

    My main concern would be whether you ought to be trying out the ergonomics of the camera and lenses in a shop first.
    Camera ergonomics aside; if you can afford the best and are going for say Canon L glass, then that's what you want - there is no alternative, so the decision is made.

    I think it unlikely they would be damaged in transit, but it is a possibility and one should carefully check on arrival and in first use that all is well. Disclaim any inspection upon receipt 9to soon to say) unless the box is obviously damaged, in which case; refuse delivery.

    Good luck,

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    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    They get thrown about in shops as well. It is a good idea to only use insured post with guaranteed next day delivery then check the packaging hasn't been damaged ect ect.

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    My worst case was the 400mm Soligor. This is a BIG lens, about the same size as my 60" tripod, when collapsed. The box was pretty badly battered when it arrived, but the driver had me open it. The lens itself had been packed in one box and that box in another. Each box had padding, bubble wrap and Styrofoam pellets. The lens was fine.

    I have about a dozen lenses and 5 cameras which came in to my address with no damage. The last time I had damage to something coming in from an online seller was the shotgun reloader. One little plastic piece was cracked. From the looks of it, the shipping department got a little carried away in taping it up with protective material. The seller shipped a replacement without question.

    If you are careful in evaluating the seller, you should do just fine. Look for money back warranties, examine the package upon receipt and test the item immediately.

    Pops

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    I do - but - ...

    ... oops, make that BUT ... you have to be careful who you buy from. There are stores like B&H Photo Video where trust and integrity are their middle names - there are also stores like Sonic Cameras where not only couldn't they even spell trust or integrity, they wouldn't know what the words meant either. Check out http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Sonic_Cameras to see what I mean.

    If you're about to spend 12k on gear - PLEASE - let us know who with first so we can at least do some kind of sanity check for you.

  6. #6

    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    I guess from your screen name that you live in the US? Here in the UK I have ordered most of my gear on-line, and most of it from Warehouse Express who are brilliant. http://www.warehouseexpress.com/Home/default.aspx You need to try the gear first. Go to a camera shop to try it, or a camera show, but also say how much you can get it for on-line. Quite often they will reduce the price to get your custom. If you use on-line make sure it's a reputable company, that it is sent special delivery and is insured. My stuff always comes really well protected (usually wrapped in air-pocket wrap).

    I have also ordered used gear on-line (without seeing it) That was a used Canon 5D - again, there were no problems, but you need to make sure it has a warranty like new stuff does. When paying for it, make sure the sellers server uses a secure encryption service for the credit card payment - the little padlock symbol.

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    If you are in the US, is it an issue of saving sales tax or just a lower price? I have always tried to support my local shops and give them the opportunity to come close to price matching. My local shop is where I go to see and "play" with the equipment and get there professional opinions before I buy it. So if the shipping costs are close to the sales tax, I would buy locally. If we do not support the local shops they will soon be like the dinosaurs.

    When I have purchased via the web, I have used Adorama and B&H. Both have been stellar with there service and how the products have arrived.

    Good luck with your purchases.

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Larry,

    In New York State Sales tax would be an issue even if you went to another state and purchased the item in a brick and mortar establishment. If the state where the purchase occurred didn't have a sales tax then you would owe the NY sales tax rate when you bring the item back home. The same would apply if purchasing online.
    Quote Originally Posted by ldunnvt View Post
    If you are in the US, is it an issue of saving sales tax or just a lower price? I have always tried to support my local shops and give them the opportunity to come close to price matching. My local shop is where I go to see and "play" with the equipment and get there professional opinions before I buy it. So if the shipping costs are close to the sales tax, I would buy locally. If we do not support the local shops they will soon be like the dinosaurs.

    When I have purchased via the web, I have used Adorama and B&H. Both have been stellar with there service and how the products have arrived.

    Good luck with your purchases.

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Even more reason to support the local camera shop.

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Quote Originally Posted by ldunnvt View Post
    I have always tried to support my local shops and give them the opportunity to come close to price matching. My local shop is where I go to see and "play" with the equipment and get there professional opinions before I buy it. So if the shipping costs are close to the sales tax, I would buy locally. If we do not support the local shops they will soon be like the dinosaurs.
    Hi Larry,

    I've found "local camera store" issue to be quite an interesting dynamic to follow over the past few years. Personally I find it's great to be able to just pop into town and grab something - unfortunately - increasingly, they seem to be becoming HOPELESSLY uncompetitive ... and I suspect in financial difficulty.

    A good case in point - I got a boom arm through my local store not too long ago. It had to be ordered in from a national distributor, but arrived promptly and I'm happy with it. It was made in China, and cost me $600. I ordered one online - turned out to be a slightly lighter degisn, but still fine for my heavy lights - also made in China - also arrived in about the same time frame - and cost $160. I've since ordered 2 more of the (so 3 in total) and I'm still ahead over my original $600 purchase. Go figure.

    Often I will ask my local store about a product - since I work exclusively with high-end equipment, often they haven't heard of it - but they none-the-less look it up and give me a price that's usually somethere between 30% and 100% more. When I mention what I can get it for elsewhere, and ask why I should pay more to get it through them, the standard answer is "if you buy it through us then you get our service & support"; but the problem with that answer is (a) usually they'd never even heard of the product until I asked about it, and (b) I know a lot more about it than them - so if anything, I'd be in the better position to offer service & support to them!

    The irony is that I'm finding that a lot of the time that not only do online retailers operating through national or international auction sites have MUCH sharper prices, they also have better service. Obviously this is a problem for people who have leases to pay for their retail premesis - and staff wages etc - but unfortunately I feel that the dynamic is changing (or has changed even), and many ARE going the "way of the dinosaur" - but honestly, the hard question to ask is "is this a bad thing" - in my opinion, a business is simply a goods and service delivery mechanism - if it's no longer needed then there's no shame in just shutting it down and moving on to something else; unfortunately, too many try to hang on to it until it's too late - and it drags them into financial ruin.

    In my opinion it's just like the words from the Kenny Rogers song "The gambler" ... "you gotta know when to hold em ... know when to fold em ... know when to walk away ... and know when to run!".

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    It is good to look everywhere; not only search engines who are paid to put things first. I was looking for a scanner printer and different league here I know but full price 84 online 44 and high street store on special offer 36.

    Just check all the prices and if you have a credit card verses debit card use the credit card, always check if it is https and the license by clicking on something to the right of the address, it should be the same.

    It is also better or essential to use a well known reputable trader, they don't like losing business so will go the extra mile to ensure your happy with the product, including a name and business address on the webpage. cheers

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Colin,
    I did not mean to get this thread hijacked to a discussion of brick and mortar vs internet.

    I agree with you that if the local shop does not stock the equipment, has no knowledge of the equipment and can not give the required service, thenm they are useless nad do not warrant your patronage. I seem to be fortunate that there is a local camera shop here in northern VT that is run professionally and warrantes my patronage. However, there have been times when there price on products, that they stock, are significantly higher than offered by internet sources, even after taxes and shipping. At those times, I have ordered from the web.

    This is not just a photography issue. I find the same thing in one of my other passions cycling. But I have also seen where a business who specializes in very high end bicycles, from small custom manufacturers, has been able to thrive and grow, even charging list price for componentry and parts, because of the service they give their clientel, most of whom drive more than 200 miles to et to the shop (I did before I moved to VT, now they are only 45 miles away).

    Consumers vote with their dollars, pounds, euros or whatever their currency is and if a local shop does not measure up and goes under, but is Darwinism at work, survival of the fittest.

    Take care,

    Larry

  13. #13

    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Just curious, what are you planning to buy that costs 12k? 14-24, 24-70, 70-200 and Canon Mark IV?

    I would just like to inform you that you should also buy books, softwares and workshops in addition to support systems, flashes, lenses and bodies. Bear in mind that you may have a phobia of bringing along such expensive equipment or fear of damaging them. The weight of expensive equipment (if you're a nature photographer or backpacker) will also be a big hindrance and a major disadvantage for traveling. Also remember that expensive equipment does not equal to good photos.

    Do read up these articles!

    Blame the equipment


    1. Upgrade the photographer. Technique has the biggest and most observable impact on results. Want to be the Perlman of Pixels? Practice, practice, practice (studying at Julliard doesn't hurt, either).
    2. Upgrade the support and shot discipline. You can't maximize what you get out of the pixels if the camera is shaking for any reason. Just having a tripod isn't enough; it has to work and you have to know how to make it work.
    3. Upgrade the lens. Having shot thousands of test charts--maybe more, but who's counting?--and examining the results very carefully, the difference between a bad lens and a good one is as night and day as shooting those charts with a good lens and a 6mp and 24mp camera.
    4. Upgrade your understanding. Complaining about dynamic range of your current camera but not using UniWB? Oops. You may not actually know what the real dynamic range of your camera is. Ditto for sharpening, contrast, gamma, color, and noise. You're not ready for an upgrade to the camera until you've actually maximized your efforts on the current one.
    5. Upgrade your camera. If you've hit the limits of all the above, then it may be time to find a better camera (but that requires that you know how to do #4 and have state of the art #2 and #3). Note that it also may mean you need to move up a format to get a large benefit (e.g. 4/3 to DX, DX to FX, FX to MF).

    Weighty advice.

    Sorry for hijacking the thread and flooding it with nonsense! I just couldn't stop myself.

  14. #14
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    I do not know the true dynamic range of my camera; I used to think it was 7ev then I bought some software (paying for things is against my principles) and found I could easily get a good image out of pics greater than 7ev.

    This is a bit embarrassing since I used HDR and now just wonder; if I only slightly blow the pic and clip on the black end will it turn out. But I got a plan and I take three anyway.

    Expensive camera= expensive lens= expensive tripod and expensive computer to process everything.

    I'm thinking Tokina 12-24mm f2.8 the latest anyway, good for a cropped camera but crap for a full frame. This is a problem for me, I could save longer for a used 5D and use my nifty fifty on it since my 28mm would then be so much junk, or get the Tokina meaning I would have to put up with cropped camera's for ever.

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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Steve,
    Is 2.8 a must? If not,maybe look at the Sigma 12-24.

  16. #16
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    cheers; I will have a look but don't think I will buy it over the Tokina unless it works on full frame camera's leaving my options open. Can't sell anything on Ebay since I don't have a landline, I use a skype phone that works the same, looks the same, I can be phoned from any phone exactly the same, but calls are free to landlines most places.
    Ebay want a geographical number to match my address and my number is for a place a hundred miles away.

    Never mind I can do without the hassle anyway.

  17. #17
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Yep,Sigma 12-24 works on FF.

  18. #18

    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim B. View Post
    Yep,Sigma 12-24 works on FF.
    I'm never sure about this (generally I mean) I have a Tokina 11-16 which is made for an APS-C sensor. Then I read that it will work on FF but only at 16mm - less than that and you get shadow around the edge. I tried it on the FF and it does work. I've heard in the past that you can damage the FF mirror by using some APSC lenses on them. But I 'm not really sure what is safe.

  19. #19
    Jim B.'s Avatar
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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    I have the Sigma.It's made for FF.Just getting started with it on my 5DII.It vignettes below 15mm unless you stop it down to 7.1 or smaller.Even wide opened at 12mm the vignette isn't too severe.Easily fixed in PP.Problem with the Sigma is copy variation.The 1st copy I bought had a soft zone.Exchanged it and the 2nd copy is a good one.

  20. #20
    arith's Avatar
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    Re: Safe to Order Lenses/Cameras online?

    I've just seen CA but I've seen another Sigma which looks above nyquist but it is a prime and costs more. It is a hard life.

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