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  1. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Posts
    55
    Yes, don't lump B & H (or Adorama, for that matter) with those shysters at Brooklyn addresses, who make it hard for any legit net business in Brooklyn to avoid being tainted by the shyster vibe. Totally different animals. As a NYCer I've used B & H for decades without a single issue. Plus I've had many very informative conversations with salespeople there over the years. You can't go wrong with them IMHO. Their catalog is awesome potty reading. I've used Adorama for a few things uneventfully as well, but didn't get the sense that there were too many photographers working there. But have always been treated fine.

    I would also echo the sentiment about Buydig. When something from them pops up on the net specials radar I occasionally pull out my credit card, and have never had a problem.

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    2,251
    Quote Originally Posted by DonSchap View Post
    If you want to go with the "non-negotiable" route, you can always try Calumet Photographic (<- click for website), with representation internationally. Their prices are unfortunately written in stone, so be sure you know what you want and don't expect a discount, no matter how much stuff you buy. This will hardly be the personal touch, but their inventory of equipment is enormous. If you cannot find it, go here, then somewhere else.
    Calumet does offer an education discount, but their prices are a bit high to start with so....
    Adam
    -------------
    Canon 60D & lenses & flashes & stuff
    A bunch of cheap vintage film cameras


    My Etsy store

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    10
    Just to update, ended up simply going through B & H online. The price was not the lowest on the Net, but I was not going to risk bad customer service or other nonsense just to save $50.

    Entered my card info online, sale went through, tracking number given, and it will arrive on January 16.

    All in all a stress free transaction.

    In the interim I was cruising around Craig's List photography section. Picked up a nice Canon Powershot A710 IS for a friend whose camera went on a permanent fritz. Got it with the box, CD, manuals, cables, etc. for $150.

    Wow, just like the review on DCR, that is a really nice camera. Takes AMAZING pictures. Kinda want it back from her, makes a nice backup camera to take on "shoots." But she was so happy guess I can't steal it in the dead of night. Oh well.

    P.s. Thanks for all the help and comments. I went with B & H because I am wise enough to listen to the pros.

    Sidenote: Man there are a lot of crooks on eBay and the Net. What a pain in the butt it was researching for the past month. The biggest "red flag" that sellers were cheesebags was when they had prices about $100 lower than the legit houses.
    My 15 minutes of fame was an appearance [and SUPERB "performance"] on COPS.

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    San Francisco
    Posts
    10
    Quote Originally Posted by AdamW View Post
    Calumet does offer an education discount, but their prices are a bit high to start with so....
    I teach part time at a local university. You are right. On hardware or devices where I can get an educational discount, the prices are high to begin with, so the discount is not all that significant.

    But on software, my education discount can't be beat. For example, Photoshop CS3 for $90.
    My 15 minutes of fame was an appearance [and SUPERB "performance"] on COPS.

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    10
    I ordered my camera from ritzcamera.com 1.5.08, they shipped 1.7.08, and I received it 1.9.08. I cancelled the first order w/o a problem.

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Posts
    1

    As a former employee...

    After losing a website design job I lost and not being able to find a job like the one I lost or related to it, I decided to get into retail. I was kind of excited to get a job with wolf camera(owned by Ritz camera). I have quite a bit of experience in the photography and photo lab field. Everything felt pretty good about the store I worked at at first. We had a very good lab manager that printed very well and trained everybody how he printed because customers liked the way he printed and it pretty much fallowed what I had learned about printing. I soon realized that our store was the only store that took pride in printing and pleasing customers. I found out other stores just ran the machines on full auto just like at Wallmart and Wallmart's prices are much cheaper. Toward the end of my employment, our store was managed by a manager that Ritz Camera wanted to be the model of what they wanted as a manager. For all the stores to print on full auto. However, I did not fallow these new guidelines because I could not let crappy photos leave the store in our customers hands. I just could not believe how bad the printing got at our store. The new manager and I could not see eye to eye on anything. So with the poor quality and poor customer service practices with the new manager I soon left.

    Now let's talk about a few things in sales. At first I thought things felt pretty good. I did like how we tried to sell a total photo taking package, but some of the stuff we were supposed to push was a joke. Quantaray lenses. These lenses are so slow at focusing you might as well have a point and shoot camera. Quanteray filters put on 1,000 dollar+ lenses. I guess if you want all kinds of strange colors in your photos and to override special features these lenses have to make sure you don't get strange colors and to make your photos not as crisp and sharp. Don't get me started on the "Digital Xtra Package" They say it's worth 380.00 dollars, its full of useless software and coupons most people don't even use. Free printer after rebates. What a joke... most customers had problems with the rebates and it would take for ever to get their rebate check. Company policy states no returns on these printers... we we're not supposed to return these, but I did to make the customer happy. So I think you're getting the just of what I'm talking about. "Mindless Up-Selling" to make your sale look good to all the chain of command, but not thinking about the customer. The last thing. Expanded Service Policy"(ESP) What it was designed to do is a good idea if a customer wants the piece of mind that if something goes wrong with the camera it will be fixed or replaced if it can't be fixed. Well, in the real world there's some problems with this. Way too many times it took months to get cameras back or to figure out what to do if the camera needs replaced. One of our best customers was without a camera for 6 months. 6 fricken months! She ended up buying a camera at Best Buy before she got a replacement camera. Many times during this 6 month period I tried to pull some strings to give her a replacement camera, but I would put myself in a position which could get myself fired. However, I did loan her a camera time to time which I could have gotten in trouble for, but I just felt so bad for her. This was not an isolated issue. It happened to more customers at our store and many other stores. Another thing is, many times the cost of the policy was more than sending the camera in to be fixed with out a policy.

    Ok, I'm going to stop now because I could wright a book about all the wrong things with Ritz Camera stores.

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Formerly South Wales. Now South Carolina.
    Posts
    7,146
    Heh. My local Ritzes (both of them) have closed. The one in the mall closed - probably because the staff knew nothing about cameras and couldn't care less about customers. The local one was pretty much that way but did improve toward the end. I popped by to see if they had any disposable cameras but they were gone - the shop vacant, the sign gone and a for rent sign up.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Des Plaines, IL
    Posts
    9,560

    Angry An all too popular truth in modern Photography

    cyberbri ...

    I would like to take a moment and say "thank you" for your anti-corporate monkey attitude towards customer service in the field of photography. I echo your interest in these retail stores providing reliable and solid support, much like the brick & mortar shops of the past ... because, when you bought your gear ... these people were honestly happy to have you (and your wallet) back as a return customer.

    Today's internet sales have virtually (pardon the pun) eliminated any aspect of personal service and the chances are ... each piece of gear in your collection came from nearly as many different vendors. There is no "loyalty", per se, to any one store unless you know for a fact that they provide you with the lowest price/best reliability.

    So goes the response. What do they care if they provide you with prompt or even accurate service? You (judging by the odds) are probably not coming back to them for anything else. So ... overall Customer Service suffers ... as we all do.
    Last edited by DonSchap; 08-18-2009 at 08:49 AM.
    Don Schap - BFA, Digital Photography
    A Photographer Is Forever
    Look, I did not create the optical laws of the Universe ... I simply learned to deal with them.
    Remember: It is usually the GLASS, not the camera (except for moving to Full Frame), that gives you the most improvement in your photography.

    flickr & Sdi

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    1
    B & H is great

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