geoff s

Internet camera sellers

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My son (lives in France) is looking for a Sony A6300 body and there are a number of places on t'interweb with prices that are significantly cheaper than

regular high street prices - slrhut, e infinity, toby deals to name a few, are £200+ cheaper.

I take the view that if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

But has anybody had a positive experience with any of them ?

 

Geoff

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I tend to stick with known local stores or their outlets that also trade on the internet such as those listed via Camera Price Buster, e.g. WEX, Amazon, Camera World and so on:

 

http://www.camerapricebuster.co.uk/Sony/Sony-E-Mount-Cameras/Sony-Alpha-A6300-Camera-Body

 

Personally I'd avoid the relatively unknown internet retailers. I did once use them - bought a Nikon V1 (remember them) kit and a second lens from digital rev.com (Hong Kong I think) when prices on that equipment had bombed. In fairness they were very efficient and obviously very price competitive but I wouldn't have risked buying my then Nikon DSLR kit or now Fuji X kit from them - but others will no doubt have done so and be pleased with it.

Edited by Gary Clarke
typo
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Can't comment on the specific sellers you have mentioned but I have bought plenty of gear on EBay. I always pick sellers with a high positive rating (something in the high 90's) and I've had no problems. Last purchase was a seller refurbished Sony A6000 from Argos. Not a mark on it, good price and I've been more than happy with it. 

 

Hope this helps 

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Bought my last two Sony cameras new from Internet sellers, no problems whatsoever. Also had work done under warranty to a lens bought that way.  Registered the last camera with Sony so, presumably, a pukka dealer, despite the competitive price.

 

For large value items I try to ensure that the sellers are UK based, or you could be hit with a tax bill, and of course look at the ratings.

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I bought a grey import Canon 5D3 from HDEW. I thought it was worth the risk to save £500 - after all, it's a Canon, it must be fine. There was a fault with the focusing so they replaced it. The replacement had the same fault but they told me that it must be user error and I would have to have it repaired. Canon UK wouldn't touch it. To be fair to HDEW they did agree in the end to give me a full refund but it made me think twice about taking a chance again. In future I will stick to known retailers such as those listed by Gary above - though I don't buy equipment through Amazon because it can be hard getting a VAT invoice.

 

Alan

 

Edited by Inchiquin

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My current DSLR is a grey import bought online from ProCameraShop who are sadly no longer with us. Probably purchasing from Panamoz next year. So long as you do the research it should be ok.

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Lots of reputable seller out there. If in doubt, google the name of a vendor and see if there are any reviews or comments in forums. 

Edited by vpics

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On 10/12/2017 at 10:51, geoff s said:

My son (lives in France) is looking for a Sony A6300 body and there are a number of places on t'interweb with prices that are significantly cheaper than

regular high street prices - slrhut, e infinity, toby deals to name a few, are £200+ cheaper.

I take the view that if it seems too good to be true it probably is.

But has anybody had a positive experience with any of them ?

 

Geoff

 

B&H Photo out of NYC is great to work with but then your son would have that nasty VAT to contend with I guess.  Still, it might be worth looking into.

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There are plenty on ebay.fr, in France and EU atm. Don't know if the prices are decent though. I always buy used off ebay as well. A good seller and a low shutter count- works for me.

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I've not had any problems with HDEW cameras or lenses, but as I mentioned on another thread, it is a good idea to collect the equipment at their warehouse in person, and inspect+ try it there. That way -> grey import internet vendor price+option to check equipment thoroughly=a bit more reassurance. I remember the box on a camera I bought there was, on inspection, missing the correct manual, and they did not hesitate to supply one there on site, plus the correct UK plug. I'm likely to get another body from them in the next few weeks. But I guess faulty equipment does slip through QC with most vendors, I've had to send lenses back from other non-internet stores before.

 

For UK based buyers, I guess there is a slight chance that now that (sadly, as far as I'm concerned) Calumet, Wex and Fixation are all under the same Private Equity roof (and rumour has it that Wex as the stronger brand might be pulled across for branding, but nothing has so far been announced), perhaps they might become a bit more competitive in their pricing, too. Perhaps...

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I often find Cameraworld to be more competitive.

 

You could always try mpb for s/h gear.

 

Allan

 

 

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1 hour ago, imageplotter said:

.......I guess there is a slight chance that now that (sadly, as far as I'm concerned) Calumet, Wex and Fixation are all under the same Private Equity roof (and rumour has it that Wex as the stronger brand might be pulled across for branding, but nothing has so far been announced), perhaps they might become a bit more competitive in their pricing, too. Perhaps...

 

The branding thing has already happened I believe - it's now called Wex Photo Video according to an email I received from them this week.

 

My fear is that their pricing might become less competitive - time will tell I suppose.

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On 14/10/2017 at 13:03, Gary Clarke said:

 

The branding thing has already happened I believe - it's now called Wex Photo Video according to an email I received from them this week.

 

My fear is that their pricing might become less competitive - time will tell I suppose.

 

Interesting, will check my spam folders re. email. The store front hadn't been changed yet as of last week, will be there some time later this week again. I hope they'll at least have the decency and move all account privileges over to the new system, as and when that is merged with Wex's. But they cannot really become much less competitive, competition from internet sellers and the grey market is too strong. If PE is involved, it'll become more price driven, less service orientated, err, that is the way they tend to accelerate growth in the business plan going forward, once everything has been slimmed down. Cost effectiveness my **se. I feel for some of the staff at Calumet, especially a couple of the young guys who were being trained half way properly still (rather than just being a blank sales robot with zero photography knowledge). The rental guys in Drummond Street in particular are friendly, hope that department will continue to exist. :unsure:

Edited by imageplotter

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31 minutes ago, imageplotter said:

I feel for some of the staff at Calumet, especially a couple of the young guys who were being trained half way properly still (rather than just being a blank sales robot with zero photography knowledge). The rental guys in Drummond Street in particular are friendly, hope that department will continue to exist. :unsure:

 

Oh dear, my experiences of Calumet are as different from yours as they were with HDEW! I've only dealt with them twice - the first was when I bought a scanner from Calumet through Amazon. The purchase and the scanner were fine, but Amazon told me that Calumet were responsible for issuing a VAT invoice (which I believe since Calumet were the UK supplier and the price included UK VAT), but Calumet told me it was nothing to do with them and was Amazon's responsibility. The second time I went to one of their stores with the intention of buying a camera depending on some info I wanted about it. I waited at least 20 minutes for a member of staff to become available, and although they had the item in stock he knew nothing about it and rather than try to find someone who did, he clearly showed his impatience and moved on to another customer leaving me just standing there. I bought the camera elsewhere.

 

On the VAT question I have to admit that had it been an unkown retailer I might have wondered if there was something fishy going on, e.g. selling through Amazon in order to pocket the VAT without having to account for it, but I couldn't believe that a company with the reputation of Calumet would do that.

 

Alan

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On 14/10/2017 at 13:03, Gary Clarke said:

 

The branding thing has already happened I believe - it's now called Wex Photo Video according to an email I received from them this week.

 

My fear is that their pricing might become less competitive - time will tell I suppose.

1 hour ago, imageplotter said:

 

Interesting, will check my spam folders re. email. The store front hadn't been changed yet as of last week, will be there some time later this week again. I hope they'll at least have the decency and move all account privileges over to the new system, as and when that is merged with Wex's. But they cannot really become much less competitive, competition from internet sellers and the grey market is too strong. If PE is involved, it'll become more price driven, less service orientated, err, that is the way they tend to accelerate growth in the business plan going forward, once everything has been slimmed down. Cost effectiveness my **se. I feel for some of the staff at Calumet, especially a couple of the young guys who were being trained half way properly still (rather than just being a blank sales robot with zero photography knowledge). The rental guys in Drummond Street in particular are friendly, hope that department will continue to exist. :unsure:

 

I'm not concerned about this. I would be amazed if Wex/Fixation were to change their business model of top quality customer service as this is what they are built on. I've never bought anything from Calumet so have no experience with them. I would never buy anything significant on the grey market and I'm happy to pay for top quality service. There are enough other official sellers to keep Wex competitive. For example, for new Nikon kit, Grays of Westminster are often slightly cheaper than Wex.

 

No the big concern really is BREXIT and its effect on the £££££ - 20-30% rises in new Nikon kit since June 2016 so far. That is the big OUCH.

 

Edited by MDM

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Good advice so far, Geoff.

 

For those of you who are looking to buy or sell used gear, I recommend MPB:  https://www.mpb.com/en-uk/

 

I've been selling my digital Nikon equipment to their NYC office in the past month (22 items) and found them to be efficient, honest, fair and pleasant to deal with.  Being here in NYC myself, I dealt with them in person but most of their business is done with boxes going back and forth.  https://www.mpb.com/en-us/

 

In days of old, when I traveled a lot, I bought most of my gear in Hong Kong or at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport.

 

Edo

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MDM, I wish I could agree but having worked for PE for many years in a previous life, this is what a PE parent does. But I will shut up about it now, have already commented in similar vein on other threads, so let's just hope it won't go the way I think it will. 

 

I've bought a lot of equipment, both camera gear, lots of lenses and studio lights and accessories from all three over the last 10+ years,as well as internet/grey vendors. Calumet/Fixation/Wex and also Park Cameras etc. are beautifully old fashioned in their customer service approach in-store, I applaud it. But it won't survive that type of acquisition. A trade deal would be different. I don't want to convince anyone of the merits of grey imports at all (it's what kills the high street retailers, hence I should't complain) but the quality is the same, as long as you know what it is that you need and you are able to inspect the gear. But then it all depends on your needs, my bodies don't tend to last much beyond 1-2 years and are in use every day, and they're being knocked about quite a bit. Any service they need is usually due to them getting knackered, rather than failure. The only failures I've ever had were the odd dodgy memory card and the newer generation Canon lens hoods, which stubbornly refuse to take the weight of my bum when accidentally sitting on them.  

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I have to admit (quite happily) that the inner workings of private equity firms is not one of my areas of expertise so I defer to your greater knowledge and I am sure you are not too far wrong in general. I do think though that if the new Wex loses the ethos of what the original success was built on - excellent customer service, competitive prices, reliability etc -  then they will inevitably lose business, so to my simple mind that doesn't make a lot of sense. In the case of Wex Norwich, there are always other places to buy from at similar prices - Park Cameras as you say are also excellent in my experience as are Grays of Westminster for Nikon. As far as  Fixation goes, this is an incredibly specialised business and I expect that to maintain their status as camera manufacturers' authorised repair centre, they will have to continue to conform to a high standard of customer service. So I am not too worried.

 

The elephants in the room (Brexit and the possibility of war in south-east Asia) are of greater concern to me although I am ignoring them as long as I can.

Edited by MDM

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Yes, agree that Brexit is the bigger elephant. Regarding ethos and customer service - yes, again agree they built their business model on that. But don't forget that it was built on demand from the traditional photo retail demographic of 40+ men (anorak optional) who are hobbyists with disposable income and will buy on recommendation and service, and a smaller % of pros who will need "stuff" here and there but will go to whoever gives them the best price for large ticket gear, or go directly via distributors (because pro photography isn't exactly a high paying industry as we know, in any of the disciplines). That demographic is changing along with the market overall. At the lower to mid price market end, people replace, not repair (sadly). Just like in other electronics categories. It's swim or sink. 

 

Neither is of concern to me personally, brutally speaking, as long as I can get the gear and it works, but I am a sentimental soul who loves good service and a chat. 

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3 hours ago, imageplotter said:

 I am a sentimental soul who loves good service and a chat. 

 

Same. But the chat would mean a phone call ever since a well known national company bought up or wiped out all the competition in town many years ago, went on to employ kids, concentrated on the digital compact and didn't see the smart phone coming and then went bust. I would have to travel 80 miles to London to the nearest camera shop in terms of time to buy a filter now if I needed one same day. I do enjoy an occasional drive to Wex where they have just about everything I could ever need (and don't need) in stock so long may it last.

 

 

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