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Thread: Thoughts on buying camera gear online both second hand and new from OS

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    Thoughts on buying camera gear online both second hand and new from OS

    Hello all,

    I am now looking at expanding my camera bag a little, i currently have a Nikon D90 with Tamron 28-200 and soon arriving is a Tamron 90 Macro.

    WHat i am not sure on and need you advice on is both buying second hand gear in the way of lens or alternately new from Hong Kong or the like online?

    Any advice on do's and dont's with doing this?

    I have purchased a Batt Grip and remote via online and very happy with this but for bigger expences such as lenes i am a little concerned on what i see is what i get?

    Any suggested websites i can purchase equipment from also.

    Looking for maybe a wide lens, something quick and also flashes for my D90? any suggestions.

    A lot of questions i know, i thank you for any input.

    Cheers

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    The thing i hear the most about buying OS is if the purchase is over $1000 you could get hit with GST, i've only ever purchased smaller items like you have.
    Jayde

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    Re: Thoughts on buying camera gear online both second hand and new from OS

    You generally have 2 choices with grey imports - you either get the package insured for the actual value, and you'll pay GST plus customs, or insured for $999 and unless you get random package checks will generally avoid the duties. The trade off is risk - if the package never makes it, you get $999 back no matter what the item cost. No advice here - depends on what your looking to pay for a lens - if it's $1100, prolly with it. DWI.com.au seems reputable, but I've never bought from them.

    Your other alternative us to find an Australain grey importer who handles the importing for you. NGP from the forums (and a sponsor for AP) stocks both local and grey import camera bodies - not sure about options on lenses tho. Drop him a line via the website and ask if ur keen.


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    I have purchased new and online from overseas (used mainly from Forums).

    Yes, you do have t pay GST if the purchase is over $1000.00.

    IF you do purchase something over $1000.00 be sure to get it sent by the country's postal system, if it is sent by one of the third party parcel organisations they charge you quite a considerable fee to pay the GST/duty for you, and there is no option of not doing it as their branches here are customs agents and it goes to their warehouse/depot, not to customs itself.

    If it is sent by post, it goes to the Australia Post depot and they contact you, and you pay the duty yourself, no agents fee.
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    What started as a short reply::::

    I agree with much of what everyone has said so far, I have purchased many things online, and face-to-face, internationally, and locally and honestly, I have not run into any major problems. However, it seems that the advice so far has been largely concerned with duty, insurance, tax, and of course risk.

    So far, it seems to come down the two old questions "Should I buy second hand?" and "Should I buy online/internationally?" but I think more meaning can be achieved by adding a little more detail to these broad strokes.

    I'll start with talking about buying new gear.

    Things I highly recommend that you buy online: Durable bits and pieces where few things can go wrong with them, flash diffusers, lens filters, lens hoods, (if they're not supplied, or you've broken one), cable releases/cable remote triggers, reflectors (if you're into the studio/professional stuff), even tripods, tripod heads, etc.

    If you're buying a brand of lens where quality control is... less than ideal.. or you are desperate for the "sharpest copy" of any lens that you can find... then you're probably better off buying it from a retail outlet where they'll let you try a few. This helps to make sure you get one that meets your expectations. Otherwise sending them back one after the other can be an expensive, risky, and time consuming exercise.

    If you're worried about the something going wrong beyond delivery, (the posts so far seem to centre on the stages up to delivery) the most important aspect to any purchase is the warranty policies of the shops and manufacturers that you're dealing with. Some shops have a 30 day, no questions asked policy. Others will only exchange if there's a manufacturing problem. Some will require you to send it back to them internationally, others may have their own local service centres. Also, some shops can provide you with a 3rd party international warranty with little or no extra charge. The great things about these is that many have service centres all over the world. Which for those lucky enough to be traveling is a huge bonus. Also, they can be run in addition to existing warranties.. but as always.. read the fine print.

    If I'm shopping online, I look for shops that do a LOT of business. I like to know that the places overseas/online are doing well and will be around long enough to at least help me with my warranty concerns. Also, bigger online sellers such as B&H, Amazon, are highly regarded by many for their returns/warranty policies and expertise.

    Buying things second hand...
    Many photographers understand the pain, sweat, tears poured into earning the cash to buy their gear. As such, they tend to treat their gear (and the stuff they've borrowed) with as much care and affection as a newborn child (perhaps more so). Consequently, there's a lot of good deals out there to save a few bucks.

    However, there are those who either don't know what they're selling, or they're less-than honest. Do your research if you're buying stuff online, if you can't see pictures of the product, then that can be a problem. I strongly suggest you ask the seller as many questions about the product before you make an offer. If they let you try it before you buy, GREAT! But online sellers won't normally offer this.

    Sorry for the long-winded reply.... if anyone has any major disagreements with what I've said, please feel free to correct me!
    Last edited by harmo; 22-03-2010 at 4:52pm.

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    Great response Harmo - my policy exactly. I've bought a couple of flashes and a macro lens from HK sellers - neither of which display much sample variation - but a couple of other purchases I've made locally (namely a Tamron zoom which was rumoured to have the odd issue).

    I don't think that anyone has any bad things to say about Citiwide, DWI or D-D: in fact there are a few threads around which specifically name those sellers, so do a search.

    Ultimately do your research on ANYONE you choose to buy from - there's no shortage of resources to do that. Some will be easy to research, and if they are not, then you need to question what price you put on that.

    The other thing to consider is the price differential - on that Tamron zoom I mentioned above the difference would have only been $100 - a no brainer for me to stay local, particularly as the best price was at a reputable B & M store (about 15 minutes drive from work) that I like to buy from where practical on the basis that they give good advice.

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    Hi,
    Can I ask if you don't mind how much you paid for the D90?

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    I honestly can not remember what i paid... I brought the body only as i already had the 28-200 on my 35mm slr. Keen to see if a dedicated digital lens performs any differently

    I think it was something like $1200 about a year ago

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    For used gear I have bought used gear from Nikonians, since they are a reputable forum also. At the time, and similar to now, the exchange rate was very favorable.

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    A buy from B&H in the US all the time. Bought my 24-105 from there, even with customs it was cheaper than here by a lot. Anything under $1k has no customs or tax on it. And lenses etc pretty much work out close to half price compared to Australian prices. Have not had an issue at all, and is always delivered within 4 days

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    I now have my 90mm Tammy and do love the ability to shoot in Macro. Glad i made the decision to go wtih a dedicated Macro lens...

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    For big stuff like camera bodies and lenses - I like to see what I buy - even if 2nd hand. Other stuff like memory etc. online.

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    Beleive it or not I have bought all my camera gear second hand. I have never bought a body or lens new (over a 30 year period). I have bought and sold many items on ebay, and i can guarantee any thing I sell on ebay is in mint condition. I have bought from other US based camera forums. In all cases I check feedback, I normally email the advertiser and get a feel of who the person is. I have never (touch wood) had a bad experience and i have bought and sold over $20K worth of equipment over many years. In the end i take a chance because I like to experiment with equipment. If i like it i can keep it, but if I find the equipement does not suit my needs, I can resell it at more or less what i paid for it (sometimes even making a small profit) which helps me fund my next purchase.

    There are some real bargains in the second hand market if you know your gear - most times a version 1 of a lens is good enough for us hobby photogs. A body a couple of years old may not have the bells and whistles of the latest bodies but it still is capable of doing the job it was meant for.

    Just my 2c worth of opinion
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    The good thing about buying second hand is that most serious photographers tend to look after their gear very well. So there is usually minimum risk that something has been mistreated and will break down on you.

    Ive bought lots of gear online and grey market imports, including lenses and an $$$ FF body .. no problems so far.
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildenikon View Post
    I have purchases all my gear plus and extra D90 and D700 for my son from the same shop in Hong Kong. I make payment into a Sydney bank account and they give free postage and uv filters for the lenses. They post via express international post so they all arrived within a week. Prices were always under anyone else on ebay. I email them direct. No duty or gst as they send all items in separate boxes and quote price as $5600 HK dollars. Maybe a little risky but I took the gamble and have been really happy. Have spent over $15000 dollars in the last 18 months.
    If you want to know who they are send me a pm and I'll give you their email address.

    Is it possible to give details of the HK seller.

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    PayPal is usually the safest option for OS transactions.

    Although, Ive done what widenikon says above, deposited large amounts of money into a bank account and luckily didnt have a problem. Its pretty nerve wracking waiting for the courier though I can tell you.

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    Well I myself has always used Paypal to pay OS sellers so far.

    But I am always looking for new seller to have some options.

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    Wow widenikon
    Are you allowed to give the link to this Hong Kong shop. Also if you only had one lens which would you chose fromyour big collection?

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