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Buying a DSLR mailorder - any tips


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#1 Miloe

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 12:12 PM

Has anyone out there bought their DSLR via mailorder?
Could you spare any advice/tips/thoughts for someone who is getting ready to take the plunge?

I'm leaning strongly towards a Fuji S2 if that makes any difference on questions to ask the vendor before the cc# changes hands.

Thanks
Gary

#2 diverhead.com

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 12:36 PM

Hey Miloe,
I recently bought my Fuji S2 body and a few lenses from B & H Photo. I would recommend them based on my single experience with them. I will say though, the order verification was pretty interesting. Placed order on the web, received phone call saying I needed to verify by calling a 1-800 number. Called 1-800 number and verified that I am me. Turns out, you need to verify from a phone number that is "published" or something. Anyway, they have to put those hoops in place to protect us and them from the jerks that buy photo gear online with stolen credit cards. All in all, I got a good deal and got exactly what I ordered.
Make sure the vendor actually has stock of the item(s) you wish to buy before giving them your CC#. Also, a good place to shop is Price Grabber. You can compare different prices from different vendors for the same product side by side. Also, there are reviews posted on each vendor so you have a good idea as to what level of service you might expect. I have heard you should be wary of some NY based photo vendors. A good rule of thumb is, "if it sounds too good to be true... IT IS!" When buying tech products, I avoid buying the absolute cheapest unless I can verify the business is reputable. I have found although there are some great deals out there, you usually get what you pay for. Anyway, I hope this helps you out!

#3 Miloe

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 12:40 PM

Whoops, sorry about the multiple posts...
I hit submit and get an email failure so I try again, etc.

#4 jimbo1946

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 01:51 PM

I can't say too many good things about B&H Photo. We have bought all of our photo equipment (including my D100) from B&H for the past 7-8 years, and they are super. We've never had the telephone verification, but that's probably since we have been shopping there for so long.

The prices are as low as you'll find anywhere, and they always ship within 24 hours, often the same day.

Highest recommendation!

The only caveat is that they do observe Jewish holidays, so they are closed sometimes, but they always post their schedule well in advance.
Jim Chambers
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#5 sethgold

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 02:39 PM

Ditto on B&H.

#6 wesley

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 03:18 PM

Band H is definitely great but the phone verification is a pain and can be slow in coming. Calumet is who I have been using and they are fantastic and actually have regional stores if you have problems.

#7 jimbo1946

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 05:01 PM

The B&H phone verification does sound like a real pain, especially if you need something now, but I think after the first purchase, that probably goes away.
Jim Chambers
Tucker, Georgia

Nikon D300 in Aquatica housing with housed SB800 flash.

#8 marriard

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 05:26 PM

B&H always seems to be delivering something to my house (come to think of it I am waiting for a few items right now).

Focuscamera.com is another one I have had success with (used to buy bulk film from them).

For the DSLR camera itself you may also want to give Alkit Camera a call - www.alkit.com. They are awesome - I got my last couple of camera bodies from them and I also rent lenses for them when I am off on safari. At one point I also rented a bunch of DSLRS from them for a week to test them all out.

(btw, the results of the DSLR test made me buy the Fuji S2 :-) )

M

#9 marscuba

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Posted 14 July 2003 - 09:25 PM

The set is $2199.95 at Adorama:

Fuji S2 SLR Package

Adorama is the other "good guy" of the NY biggies.

See more on this subject:

Where to Buy - photo.net

I have purchased from both and have been very satisifed.

#10 chkls

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 09:38 AM

I would suggest that you start at www.pricegrabber.com - it provides a relatively easy way to sift through prices (include shipping costs calculated using your zip code). It also provides reviews and ratings from previous customers of vendors listed so it may be able to help you avoid problems with specific businesses prior to ordering from them.

That being said, based on my limited purchase experience from B&H (2 Canon SLR lenses) they seem to be a pretty safe bet and they have reasonable prices as well. On neither order did I receive any "confirmation" calls. The fact that the number I provided was a land-line which is listed in my name may have been a factor in that however.

#11 MikeO

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Posted 19 July 2003 - 05:09 PM

Another plug for B&H. They have always proven reliable and cost-effective -- haven't had to verify a credit card with them for as long as I can remember. I've had good luck with Adorama as well. I'll also add a recommendation for http://www.pictureline.com. They are a pleasure to deal with. When I wanted to order my EOS 10D, they actually had it in stock and shipped it the same day! And don't forget, Ritzcamera sponsors this site . . .

Mike

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#12 Miloe

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:00 AM

Thanks to all for the advice/replies.

I just went ahead and bought the camera local, it ended up rather close to the mail order price anyway. Plus, I got a new toy right then, no waiting on UPS.

Now to find some memory of my own. The 64meg card I bummed from a buddy is getting really annoying (shoot - run to comp - shoot - run to the comp).

Thanks

Gary

#13 CDesperado

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:21 AM

I just checked out Pictureline.com and WHOA!

I am impressed! I typically use B&H, but I may float some money towards Pictureline if they are doing same day shipping with those prices! (same as B&H!)

#14 CDesperado

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:24 AM

Now to find some memory of my own. The 64meg card I bummed from a buddy is getting really annoying (shoot - run to comp - shoot - run to the comp).

Gary... check out the prices for memory cards on pictureline.com (link below) - those are pretty good prices. Personally, I am leaning towards the 512 for $200, but 256 is plenty of storage space for a mere $100.

http://www.pictureli...mory/index.html

#15 CDesperado

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 06:24 AM

Ooops... go to the Lexar page.

http://www.pictureli...xar/dlexar.html

#16 bobjarman

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Posted 21 July 2003 - 11:26 AM

Bookmark this site:

www.resellerratings.com

It is the best site to look at what other users actually think of a mial order house. I won't buy anything from an iinternet retailer without reading these reviews first.

Bob

P.S. ANOTHER BIG THUMBS UP FOR B&H