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Thursday, 02 December 2010

Comments

I've bought quite a lot of photo gear on Ebay, and haven't happened to buy any from KEH yet; but I second what Mike says here. KEH is a major powerhouse in used equipment sales.

Do remember, on Ebay, that despite some people are asking outrageous prices, you can also find good prices. You're dealing with each individual (or business), not with Ebay itself, so there's no overall consistency of pricing.

What I really like, though, is SELLING used gear on Ebay; there seem to be buyers to go with those optimistic sellers.

You are spot on. Anything from KEH that is graded EX- or above is going to be just fine.
I bought a meter for my son that was graded BGN and couldn't find anything wrong with it beyond two very slight scratches.

If you want business with them, maybe you should link to them.

With your unlinked URL, they won't notice who sent the hordes of new customers. With a clickable URL, even though they don't actively promote affiliate programs, their webmaster can see from the logs where customers are coming from, and if they have good business sense (and your readers buy lots of stuff from them), that might get you noticed.

And while they may not do affiliate programs, they might be interested in running an ad or two.

I think one reason Ebay sales prices can be higher is due to buyers from outside the USA and Canada. In many European countries as we all know, there are high taxes and duties on new photo goods. So really, KEH represents a more realistic price for used equipment in USA. If you're a seller however, Ebay will likely get you a better price, but at higher risk. Sometimes much higher risk.

I'll second that!

Hey Mike - KEH has pretty good descriptions of their gradings online if you simply click the grade itself for a given item. (The grade explanations pop up in a new window.) For instance :

"EX+ : Excellent Plus" 90-96% of original condition. Exceptionally nice. May have slight wear on finish but visible only under close inspection. Glass very clean*. "

I love KEH.com. I've been buying and selling gear with them for over twenty years, and I've always felt like I got a great deal. Often I'll buy Bargain grade gear, since it works and I don't care about the cosmetic condition of my gear.

David,
Ah, so that's where it is. Makes sense.

Thanks.

Friedrich,
Meant to do that. My cold medication has me woozy. Thanks for the reminder.

Mike

Wow, great tip. Never mind the price, they've got FOUR Zuiko 21mm f2's!!!

And good advice it is Mike.

I have both sold and purchased through KEH. Selling there is just about as easy as buying, and just as risk-free. A very interesting place, one of the few stores that discourages customers on premises in favor of their web and phone connections.

Del

Yep, you're right here. I have an axe to grind with KEH.

I had a bad experience with them on two of the three occasions that I bought cameras from them, and it end up costing me financially and in terms of frustration.

So naturally I am irked to see you post singing their praise. But even more, I suppose that I'm offended to see you announce in your post that you "don't care" about my opinion before even hearing it.

After many transactions with KEH--buying, selling, trading, I fully agree with Mike.

They are the first place I check, and I very rarely buy from anyone else these days.

One more vote for KEH.com, have dealt with them for almost two decades and almost had a problem once, but didn't. Ordered an M4-P and, when it showed up, the focusing mechanism was out of alignment. I called, they had another, which they overnighted to me, before I'd shipped the bad one back.

Fantastic customer service.

Their repair service is also pretty good.

Yeah Mike, pretty much the Holy Grail of equipment buying is B&H for new and KEH for used. I have nothing but praise for both companies.

Hope you feel better soon.

I've had good luck with eBay, only once bought something that didn't work. But KEH is gold.

g,
Any business has dissatisfied customers. I'm sorry to hear that you're one of KEH's. But the important thing to me is whether the bad experiences are characteristic, or anomalous.

I once worked for a business where the owner would regularly--I mean ALL THE TIME--tell people who were complaining that in all his years of business, no one had EVER complained. All of us who worked for him knew this was a lie, but I got curious as to just what the percentage was, so just for fun I started keeping track. My conclusion was that something like SIXTY PERCENT of his customers complained. So how could he get away with telling individuals who were complaining that no one else had ever complained? Only because they could not gainsay the claim. They didn't have access to other complainants. All they could go one was their own personal, private experience. As a result, their complaints were literally dismissed, and not given the weight they deserved.

The internet turns that situation on its head. Every business knows that customers who are unhappy are much more likely to want their opinion aired than the people who simply go away happy. So internet feedback draws the unhappy customers disproportionately. On the internet, the people who have complaints are given TOO MUCH weight. Those with adverse opinions are simply much more motivated to air those grievances, and to express their opinions more strenuously.

Part of what I've done for a living for the past 16 years or so--roughly included under the rubric "editing"--requires evaluating the overall trends and tendencies in many different kinds of situations. Editors are responsible for certain aspects of presentation, as is well known, but they're also responsible for truth-value over a broad range of claims and issues. On several occasions, for instance, I've held off publishing glowing reviews because of an almost intuitive glimmer of reports of problems. Time has frequently proved these instincts correct. Sometimes I do get it wrong.

I'm sure that KEH has people like you who were not happy with their experiences. How could it be otherwise, when the business we're talking about is brokering used equipment of the complexity of cameras? But I really do believe that these experiences are not characteristic. So it's not so much that I don't care about your experience, as that I don't think it's typical--that is, I don't think that anything similar is very likely to happen to anyone who heeds my recommendation here.

Of course, bad things *will* happen, even if infrequently, and that's never good.

Mike

I bought a UG grade Yashica Mat from them - I couldn't see why it wasn't at least a bargain or better grade. Mind you, it did have a frame counter problem, but they couldn't have diagnosed that without shooting a roll, so no blame there. I didn't know about their repair/return policy, so, thanks for pointing that out, Mike.

Even their "As-is" (= broken) was pretty and clean. A fine source for parts for projects.

The only thing I've consistently had problems with is finding filters and accessories. Cryptic descriptions and inconsistent search results in those categories are not helpful. As I recall, trying to find a bay-1 rubber hood was difficult, but there were assorted "medium format rubber hoods" size and threading unspecified. Who buys those? Trying to drill down to only show 52mm 1+ diopter macro filters was also really odd. I can't really blame them for not spending more time on their low-value products, there are only so many hours a day.

I do think it's worth mentioning that their site does hiccup pretty regularly. I mean that it forgets my login, searching in two different tabs for two different things gets you one set of results, occasional database timeouts.

Mike I would echo what you have said although given my location I would favour https://secure.ffordes.com they sell a mountain of used equipment I have just purchased a used pentax 35mm f2 smc lens for £95 and £6.00 p&P its condition is slight signs of use. On flea bay that would have commanded a much higher price. Like you I have purchased a Penatx K5 together with the 18-55 kit lens (this gets me a refund via Pentax for £120) the 16-45 and the 50-135 all of which I sourced from camera stores at far less than I would have paid via flea bay.

It does always pay you to check out via Google shopping what you are after before assuming it will be cheaper and better on the site mentioned.

A further proof if needed was a recent purchase of a 2010 Kona jake cyclo cross bike ebay £650, I found a cycle store in UK via Google shopping £550 including delivery next day.

The K5 by the way is simply stunning.

Mike -- this phenomenon has puzzled me too. Overseas buyers on eBay may be part of the issue, but I think it's mostly because people don't know about KEH.

And I would second the recommendation about BGN-grade gear. I bought a BGN Nikkor 24mm AF-D lens from them a few years back -- except for a tiny scuff on the focus ring, it was in excellent condition, and the glass was in beautiful shape.

Love KEH - the quality of both their goods and their service are great, and their catalog is the closest thing to the good old Sears Wishbook that I've found in the internet age.

I guess I'm approaching thirty years? of buying from KEH with very positive results. My only complaint is that many years ago I was in Atlanta, went by their store, and they wouldn't let me wander up and the storeroom to look at their stock! I guess thats a good thing, if they had I probably wouldn't own a house today!

ebay is all about winning and people like to win. People also drink and click when shopping online. In bricks and mortar stores it is only the very wealthy who are plied with champagne while pawing things they don't need. The web has leveled the paying field here too.

One of my gripes about internet "reviews" or complaints is that they are almost always one sided. I think if companies actively allow user feedback online, they should at least address these people and said problems online as well for all to evaluate. Some companies do it but more should.

KEH needs a new website!

I purchased a used Nikon D700 from KEH. Within 100 frames the top LCD quit working. I called them and they said send it back and they will replace it. What I got back was a BRAND NEW NEVER USED D700.

I have been a long time customer of KEH and have given up on eBay totally.

Mike,

One minor correction. KEH does sell new equipment, but their reputation is, obviously, in used equipment.

My only beef with KEH - and it's a minor one - is that they charge a handling fee no matter if you pick up the item in person or have it shipped. Being in Atlanta, I'm in their backyard and it's easy for me to get to their "store". So, I was a little shocked when, several years ago, I bought my new D70 and found that on-site pick-up resulted in the deduction of the shipping fee, but not a deduction of the handling fee.

Still - they're local, very knowledgeable and honest folks and I enjoy doing business with them.

I have had excellent results from KEH. The time I did receive a dog from them I carelessly waited 6 months to return it. They took it back no questions asked and gave me a full refund (less postage). I was astounded and have bought from them since without a bad egg in the basket.

Just had a look on their site and they do look like they've got excellent stock and prices -- they are going into my bookmarks (I've recently been working eBay pretty hard to buy what I hope will be my final set of film gear for a while -- but KEH looks like a viable option).

Somewhat off-topic: Here's an anecdote for you on B&H (which others have mentioned here): I bought some gear from their New York store and they took down my address. Last week, I received a large postal bag from the UK -- about 1 metre across and 2 metres deep -- with their latest catalogue in it! The address label was hand written. I find it incredible that they would even bother to send a catalogue overseas, let alone by HAND!!

Pak

Sold lots of stuff over the years thru KEH. Incredibly fair and honest I thought. As in I would say the condition I thought the item was in, and after it arrived at their store they would tell me it was in better shape than I described and give me more $. If they had not said anything I would be none the wiser or richer. Plus the check arrives very fast. Many times I have sold items for more than the price they were going for on ebay, with the added advantage of not having to deal with the sometimes troublesome ebay customer.

Thank Mike. I have bought dozens of items from KEH over the last 8+ years, and I have ALWAYS been pleased. They also come to a hotel in my town once once a year to buy used equipment, and I found their buyback prices to be fair, but obviously much less than their selling price. (Which is fine by me when I have six or seven things to sell all at once).

BUT . . . every camera that I buy from them has, thus far, been only film. I have some comfort believing that a film camera will be graded correctly. I have not purchased any digital cameras from KEH. I worry about grading of digital cameras due to undiscovered and not easily noticeable software glitches.

Does anyone have some specific experience purchasing digital cameras from KEH? Does their grading system hold up in digital?

I've bought dozens of items from them and never been dissatisfied.

Above EX, the item is pretty much like new except for some cosmetic signs of use. Mechanically and optically they're perfectly fine with the proviso that they have used up part of their fatigue life (they're not new after all).

BGN is a bit of a lottery but the best deal going at KEH. I have not been able to differentiate many of the bargain condition items I have purchased to ones rated EX. If you're not as lucky, they will have more ugly cosmetic damage, perhaps a scratch or dust in the lens. But still perfectly usable with no resulting issues in the photo.

marek

I suppose this is fair...you writing about my personal secret. I have a weakness for stuff. Fortunately for me "Stuff" is usually film cameras or iPhone Apps each of which may be purchased repeatedly on a small income. I usually grab old cameras for a song...or else purchase from KEH. They're quite good and if by chance an item isn't to your liking a sales rep will often personally chose a replacement for you. eBay on the other hand is a lot like playing 3 card monte in Times Square hoping to get lucky.

I've had great buying experiences with KEH but have not observed them to be cheaper than eBay prices, but haven't checked recently.

Even B&H, who I consider the gold standard for new photo equipment has grading for its used equipment that I've found cause to argue about. Not so with KEH.

However, if you are selling good equipment with a good reputation, I'm also confident you can do better as a seller on eBay than selling to KEH, but that's to be expected and selling isn't everybody's cup of tea.

Severian

About the internet accumulating complaints...I have a tendency to drive over curbs, which have a tendency to be much sturdier than my car, so a couple of weeks ago I took the car to a dealer and asked them to recommend a body shop, which they did. I took the car in, and two weeks later (I was traveling) got it back in perfect condition. But when I googled the body shop to look up their phone number, to make arrangements to pick up the car, I saw that they had several reviews and their overall average was 2 1/2 stars out of five. I thought, "Oh, no," and went to the reviews. It turned out that none of the bad reviews were about the work itself, that all of them were about the time it took to do the work. I can see that -- people need to get their cars back. But I also suspect that businesses don't want to take any more time than they have to, to complete work, because if they could make the time shorter, they could either do more work, or hire fewer workers. When I got my car back, the work was beautifully done...but it did take a while. So, do you want good work, or fast work? (I guess good, fast work would be another alternative, but try to find it.) This place did really good work, but those very uninformative stars were accumulating on the net, and will probably never go away.

JC

I believe the man who sold you his Leica on Ebay has a fine career as a stock analyst in front of him.

I BGN large format lens that was basically new. KEH rules.

Mike, I've been using KEH for more years than I care to admit. Their grading system is very very conservative. I've bought things from them that were graded "Ugly" which looked brand new. They are a class act and are excellent to deal with.

As for their grading system, you can find out what the grades mean by clicking on a grade next to an item. It'll open a pop up window with all their grades in it. Or go here:
http://www.keh.com/PopupGrade.aspx

You misspelled *VERY* in the sixth paragraph when you said that "they grade very conservatively."

In this context, the proper spelling includes asterisks, bolding, and all caps. I'm pretty sure Strunk and White covers this.

My take on KEH? Great stuff, crappy website. Really horrible usability and bugs that have interrupted 2 or 3 of my last purchases there. Their customer service is fine when you get them on the phone, they'll call you back and make most things ok, but that doesn't really help if what you wanted is no longer in stock.

I'm a developer, mainly web stuff. I know questionable usability. (KEH Search, I'm looking at you) I know bugs. Their bugs are in the Shopping Cart->finishing the order phase. The point where if you're running the store, you want _everyone_ to be able to complete, because they're ready to shovel money at you.

I've recently, and mercifully, finished a buying campaign targeted toward a very particular line of cameras. (I hope to prepare a small TOP write-up soon on this project.) It was during those months that I spent my first serious time on KEH. I ultimately did not buy from them due, in this case, mainly to better and more abundant opportunities on eBay and elsewhere. But I discovered that you can sure spend a lot of time browsing their stocks. (My own nit with them is that their search facility is medieval and far, far too limiting. I'm certain it's costing them a great deal of business each day.

It's also worth considering them as a buyer of your treasures, eh?

One note. Mike wrote, "I'm also not saying KEH will always have what you need ...". I doubt that KEH sells anything that anyone really needs.

Keh rocks. Bought from them on many occasions, almost always got exactly what I expected - or better. On the very few occasions when the item had an issue or another, they took it back immediately, with apologies. I heartily recommend them.

And, I do _exactly_ what Mike says, I always check keh before any final bid.

Nothing more that I can add about the quality of KEH. I bought a Minolta 50mm 1.7 last year and a "beer can" 70-210mm this year. Both were graded EX and were in perfect condition. Will probably get the 24mm 2.8 with the next $200 I can round up.

For readers in the UK, I'll second what Martin Yeates says above, about Ffordes of Beauly. And luckily for me, they're only about ten miles from home. No doubt they'll be working on a MUCH smaller scale than KEH, but I'm often surprised by the variety of items that appear.How on Earth did they get hold of old NASA; NYPD; and National Guard Nikon gear? Especially as they're based up here in the Scottish Highlands!

They also sell a lot of new bits and pieces via e-bay too.

As a frequent buyer of used equipment, I concur with Mike's assessment of KEH. Good selection; knowledgeable sales people; accurate and consistent condition ratings; low cost shipping; grief-free, no questions asked returns; and prices typically below ebay. And, I'd like to add, beware of ebay. I know from bitter experience that the so-called "Buyer protection" is a sham. If an unscrupulous seller choses not to honor promises made (accepting a return for an inaccurately described M4 body, for example), there is absolutely nothing ebay or paypal (owned by ebay) will do about it, apart from writing you form letters encouraging you to communicate with the seller.

I wholeheartedly agree with this suggestion. I have never had any problem working with KEH, they grade very conservatively and are a joy to do business with.

Yes, I agree. I bought the lens which I use everyday from them (28mm F 2 Summicron) and I saved $1,000 compared to the B&H price. It was in mint condition...

NEW
As packaged by manufacturer complete with manufacturer's USA warranty. Not previously owned or used by a consumer. *You have probably seen the words "NEW" or "LOWER PRICE" listed online or in our catalog where prices usually appear. Due to certain manufacturer's minimum pricing requirements, we are not permitted to publish the price if we sell it less than the manufacturer's Minimum Advertised Price (MAP). While these listings may seem inconvenient, it is our way of letting you know that when you call or click-through on the website, you will be quoted the lowest pricing anywhere for comparable items.
DEMO
As packaged by manufacturer complete with manufacturer's USA warranty. Never owned by a consumer but used for demonstration.
LN
"Like New" 99% -100% of NEW. Includes original box and instructions.
LN-
"Like New Minus" 97-99% of original condition. Extremely slight wear only seen upon very close inspection. Box and accessories usually not included. Glass perfect*.
EX+
"Excellent Plus" 90-96% of original condition. Exceptionally nice. May have slight wear on finish but visible only under close inspection. Glass very clean*.
EX
"Excellent" 80-89% of original condition. Shows moderate wear. May have small dents and/or dings and slight finish wear. Glass may have slight marks and/or blemishes that will not affect picture quality*.
BGN
"Bargain" 70-79% of original condition. Shows more than average wear. May have dents, dings and/or brassing and finish loss. Glass may have marks and/or blemishes that should not affect picture quality*.
UG
"Ugly" Very rough looking. Multiple impressions in metal, excessive finish loss and brassing. Glass will have marks, fungus and/or haze which will affect picture quality.
AI
"As-Is" Usually to be used for parts only. All equipment sold in As-Is category carries no warranty nor return privileges. The equipment most likely doesn't work and may have missing pieces. Defects will include, but are not limited to the problems listed on the description.

EBay is about the last place I'll go for used equipment. KEH is my first port of call, I've bought stuff from them maybe a half dozen times now.

Only once, on the very first time I ordered from them, did I have a problem. I bought a flash that was DOA and they sorted it out quickly. First impressions last, as they say.

Once I found KEH, I just stopped using e-bay. Good service, etc. I had a problem once, it was immediately taken care of.

Also, KEH doesn't make you use the dodgy paypal system.

Another plug for KEH. Aside from the occasionally unresponsive website, I can't think of any complaints. Prices aren't always cheapest, but on many things you'll be hard-pressed to do better.

I have bought 6 or 7 lenses from KEH, and the only problem I've had is that with old Nikon lenses(the ones that are 20 or 30 years old), KEH does not take into account the condition of the lubrication in the focusing mechanism. Most of them I've gotten from KEH were cosmetically and optically fine, but needed a complete re-lubrication job--easily a $100 to $150 job where I live, and not, by any means, a bargain.

"On the internet, the people who have complaints are given TOO MUCH weight......" Well, maybe. Turns out that when it comes to Google search rankings it really does look like there is no such thing as bad publicity:

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/28/business/28borker.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=business

Keith,
Yes, but that's certainly a problem on Ebay too. I've even gotten "dry" Nikkors from Ebay sellers after specifically asking about it.

Mike

StevieRose,
I read that the other day. Totally appalling. That guy's a sociopath.

Mike

I've never used KEH but I've had good luck with the Fred Miranda "Buy and Sell" forum. I've bought two lenses, a tripod and a high-end ball head without a hitch. I am waiting to purchase a 5D2 after the replacement model comes out.

I Love KEH !! Their grading system is accurate. And I'll also add a plug for their repair department -- reasonable prices, excellent work and great communication via phone or email to discuss findings & details of repair before proceeding. Nikon Service could definitely learn a thing or two about communication with the customer from KEH.

I bought once or twice from KEH, and ever since have received their catalog in the mail. And even though I have close to zero lens lust on any other day, when it comes, I can't resist it.

My purchase experience with KEH has been first-rate, but I think it's worth pointing out that KEH is somewhat USA-centric, which is perfectly understandable considering that's where KEH is.

I've politely pointed out to KEH from time to time that their insistence on using Fed Ex can be very costly to Canadian customers. For example: $49 in Fed Ex "brokerage fees" on a $195 camera purchase. However, I recently phoned in an order and pointed out that KEH was shipping KEHOUTLET (on eBay) items to Canada by US Postal Service. Son of gun, the customer service person actually said that USPS shipping would be possible! Hallelujah, hallelujah! I urge fellow Canadians to place their orders and request USPS shipping in order to establish USPS shipping as a standard option

I'll have to try KEH. One of my photo buddies is a longtime KEH customer and he's never had a problem. Ebay? Bleh. I've been ripped on at least half of my purchases.

Mike - I agree with you on KEH - several good experiences and only one faulty item that was quickly accepted back for a full refund.

I would add that I personally have had multiple good experiences with both Adorama and B&H for used items too. The Adorama selection is large (though not as large as KEH) and the prices are in-line with KEH and cheaper than many e-bay auctions.

Since starting in large format last year (4x5), I was able to acquire most of the lenses in the focal lengths I was seeking from KEH. I was also lucky to have stumbled upon a mint condition Cosina Voigtlanger Bessa 3M body w/ 50mm Heliar 25th anniversary edition in mint+ condition.

So far, I've had no complaints. As this post states, some people will have an axe to grind, but all in all KEH has great gear at value prices. Since discovering KEH, if I'm in the market for camera gear or accessories, I always check what they have.

KEH has great products at great prices. Their website, however, has NEVER worked correctly for my with any computer or browser I have used. For example, I was completely unable to use the shopping card to buy a Tamron 200-400/5.6 Minolta Mount for my daughter's Christmas present and had to resort to the phone.

I'd strongly urge them to invest some money in getting a better shopping cart / ecommerce system in place soon.

This is a "plus-100" for KEH, practically never have a problem with them, and have bought more than a few 120 cameras and lenses from them in extremely usable condition. Agreed on the pricing thing, if a fleabay transaction gets within 75% of KEH, I bow out, not worth the hassle...

I've been screwed more times on fleabay than I've been successful. Can't tell you how many times I've bought lenses with a little "dust" in them which turned out to be massive amounts of dried fungus, and not been able to get a return as they "stated what the problem was", which it was not; more than once from many different sellers. Got a "mint" Nikkormat on fleabay once that needed $150.00 worth of work! Now I try to never buy any photo items on fleabay from anyone who doesn't sound like they have photo experience, and I NEVER buy any lens from anyone in the southeast or Florida, almost garrenteed that it'll have fungus.

BTW, that KEH catalog? Best bath-tub reading ever, with the possible exception of the Collectors Choice CD catalog...now if I can only figure out how to vent the cigar smoke out the window in the winter?

The reason why KEH has such good stuff at good prices is they expend some effort buying. Here in Colorado, a long way from Atlanta, they regularly show up at swap meets and local camera stores to buy (never to sell). The sellers are lined up with their equipment. These days, unfortunately, many people are forced to sell, and KEH is always buying.

(Add me to the list of very satisfied customers, over the last 15 years or so.)

--Marc

KEH is the bomb. Can't say enough good thing about them. Hint... Buy camera lenses in Bargain or Ex. Buy camera bodies in Ex or Ex plus. The one time I needed to return an item the folks at KEH made it easy and refunded my shipping as well. Polite too.

I've had mosty good experiences on Ebay. Look for someone who frequently sells photo equipment and has a good track record. Run from anyone who sold 10 $5 baseball cards and now wants to sell you a nice M7 :0

Suspect we've all had different experiences with major on-line and postal retailers. KEH, B&H, Adorama, all have one major disadvantage!
They are in a foreign country, to me. Yes there is duty and taxes at the international border and if something were to be wrong with the purchase, returning it would be fine however getting back money from the rock known as the government; that is another story.

Then too if I were purchasing something new, warranty applied would be USA valid only, not valid for normal Nikon, Canon or similar service here in Canada.

I have friends who've purchased from KEH and others and no problems. Me? well More gear I don't require. Money is tight enough these days thank you!

KEH, B&H, and Freestyle. Three online retailers I trust completely. Service without drama, so good it's boring.

KEH used and B&H new... always a good experience. Both companies always exceed my expectations. Freestyle is another amazing place. While buying some film in the Hollywood store, a salesperson actually talked me out of buying expensive boxed rolls of 35mm Velvia. Gotta love it when a company goes out of its way to save me $3 a roll!

With all these low prices and excellent condition of used equipment, how do they make money? Try selling them your equipment -- yes, their service is good, it lessens the pain when you have to part with your gear when they yank your arm away at the same time. Ebay is a frustrating experience, and that's how you get better money out of your used gears. Buy from KEH, sell on Ebay.

I agree one hundred percent with this post and with John Robison's featured comment. I've bought a lot of stuff from KEH and all of it has been way way nicer than I expected. I'm usually buying the ugly and bargain stuff and not once has ebay ever provided me with anything in better shape regardless of what the sellers claim.
And B&H and Freestyle are really the only other online retailers I trust for photo/darkroom stuff.

Everybody sings KEH's praises. I am sure that they are rock-solid in terms of their offerings and grade conservatively. However, their prices reflect that, and you often end up paying *substantially* more than equivalent used gear from B&H. I purchase all my used gear from the likes of the FM gear boards and have never been disappointed, either in terms of quality or price. I have bought ONE lens from eBay and it was not as described. I will never buy a lens there again, though they are a great place to sell --- auctions rise to unbelievable levels.

I've been searching for a Hasselblad adapter ring 40344 to let me use my early Pro-Shade on the B60 filter mount. Finally they had one, which I paid for. When it arrived I found that although the packaging indicated adapter 40344, the ring inside was actually a screw-in adapter for the early 50mm Distagon lens. Grrr. Double annoyance because I'm in Australia and return postage isn't cheap. I contacted KEH, and they accepted full responsibility for the error, refunded my full payment and told me to keep the ring. Top marks. Now I'm still looking for that 40344 adapter ring.

KEH are a Godsend to we down-belowers. I've remade my Mamiya RB 67 via them (like the axe: only one new body and several new lenses, as good as the day I bought it at a camera fair in Sydney Australia.)

On thing "H'" is pronounced "aitch" by Protestant Australians and "haitch" by Catholic Australians (or so they say)

Regards - Ross


Haven't bought from KEH in a while, but they were good to deal with 15 and more years ago, and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them.

Selling to them is another story. I've brought decent popular items to them for a quote at a few trade shows they often show up at. Their purchase prices of your equipment is extremely low.

eBay has changed considerably over the years. Recently I went to place an item, and found out that if I sold it eBay would get about 10% of my sale. I have no choice but to go through their company PayPal for another ~3%. Compared to years past, 13-14% of my selling price for my item is high, I can't accept other forms of payment, and I can't ask the seller for recovery of PayPal fees. I'm sure this higher transaction cost foisted on the seller is part of the reason for the inflated asking prices.

Rather than predatory commercial websites, I tend to favor craigslist more and more- as long as you have the leisure time.

I used KEH when I lived in the US and couldn't agree more with all the praise here, specially regarding how conservative their grading system is and their excellent customer service.

I bought a M6 and a Summicron from them (EX I think, so price was quite good). Before I bought it I had someone go fetch the camera and lens and describe their condition for me on the phone. When they arrived a few days later I was happily surprised to see that the camera was, minus a tiny scratch, like new.

Which reminds me I have to check if they deliver to Asia.

@Jeff K. : you know, we have over 25,000 units in the Adorama 'used' warehouse!

Helen Oster
Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador

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Interesting discussion. I want to thank everyone here who took the time to report their positive experiences with us. Very gratifying and much appreciated.

--
Henry Posner
B&H Photo-Video

Henry, thank you. Your ongoing personal interest in internet customer service over the last 25 years is a big part of B&H's success and good reputation.

Mike,
I'm a little late to this post, but anyhow, KEH is one of the first places I go when I need a piece of equipment. The used stuff I've purchased from them has always been as good or better than described and if you want your stuff as soon as possible, call on the phone and place your order. Very courteous and helpful. Another place that I always check is a small local camera shop in Seneca Falls, NY called the Village Camera Shop. It has a very plain storefront with a simple sign above the door that says "Camera Shop". It's very easy to drive by it and not give it a second thought but if you love cameras you'd be amazed at the inventory. The shop has been open for around 30 years and simply has an unbelievable variety of used gear going back to the early part of the 20th century. I've gone there over the years looking for used stuff, say, an old Takumar lens, a Minolta Autocord camera, etc, and when I ask Bob if he has the item he'll usually look over the top rim of his glasses, give it a quick thought, and most likely produce a copy of the asked for item on the countertop in a minute or two. A lot of their used inventory is now sold on eBay. The seller is rnovosel. Definitely worth a look!

KEH is the gold standard. I have never been disappointed. Their incredibly user friendly ratings are exceeded only by their honesty.

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