Monday, 4 June 2012

Why I no longer buy my camera gear online

Guest blog by Aleisha Hudson
I love the tech savvy world in which we live for many reasons but one of my favourite things would have to be that ability to buy nearly anything with the click of a button. I have bought everything from vintage cigar boxes to gazebo umbrellas using online shopping and 97% of the time I am happy with my purchase - especially the number at the end of the dollar sign. Now I consider myself to be pretty good at doing my research before purchasing from sites especially international ones. Some of the key things that I look for before making a purchase are is the store legitimate, are the products in good/new condition and the big one are the products genuine/authentic brands? Another big question (with a couple of spin offs) is does this item have a warranty/guarantee and if so how do I redeem it if I have a problem, where do I send it and at whose expense?

Many websites say they're Australian/Australian owned but if you go through and have a look at the fine print more often then not the company is based overseas usually somewhere like Hong Kong or China where knock offs are abundant. Just because the company say they are selling "genuine" products does not mean they are genuine distributors for that company. I often hear "It all comes from the same factory just a different label." now it may come from the same factory but that doesn't mean the parts are the same.

We have a family friend who does the electrical side of things for a large building company and they sent him to Hong Kong to inspect and choose what parts to order. He was taken to a large factory and presented with containers in front of him filled with parts, for each item they had three-four "identical" types each varying in price - same factory, same look, DIFFERENT quality. And sometimes they don't even bother with the parts to make it look authentic - some just have the audacity to sell you junk and there isn't anything you can do about it.

Now why as an avid online shopper am I personally against buying my camera gear off the Internet/Internet based companies? Simple answered I've been burned - by more then one site.
There are a couple of experiences I've had with filers for lenses all looking like they were the real deal until you use them or have a very close look and realise you may as well use them for drink coasters because the quality is atrocious especially when it comes to polarizers. The worst experience I have had is with a flash unit that I bought from overseas it would last about five shots and then die but that differences weren't just mechanical, when I had a chance to look at a genuine model next to my import the difference in quality was notable even from the outside including screen colouring. When I emailed the company in regards to mechanical warranty I was informed they would have to check it out but the only way for that to happen was for me to post it back to them registered post at my own expense (over $100) - it simply wasn't worth it.

I want to clarify there is a difference between shopping from an online store like eglobal digital and shopping from a tangible store that has an online option such as camera pro or teds.

I can't say I wasn't warned about shopping online for camera gear but as a 23yr old with all my infinite wisdom I clearly knew better - WRONG! I had even heard other stories but I figured I had done my research and I'm sure xyz from Hong Kong only has my best interests at heart and was really just trying to help save my bank account. When it comes to online camera gear there is a direct correlation between price and quality.

So at the end of the day I'll continue to buy my nik naks and iPhone covers from online but if I want quality and reliability I'll head on down to the camera store and save myself the money in the long run.

 Aleisha during the Bluedog Photography Outback Tour


Anonymous said...

aleisha - thanks for your honesty and you rhumility in sharing your experiences. The points you raise are good and many I wouldn't have thought of. Online shopping can be seductive and sometimes I've been tempted by a lens not being immediately available here but yes available online for at least 2/3 the price. Ivebeenlucky so far but like you I've realised that genuine, quality, reliable products are worth waiting for and worth paying for. Like you I am now seeking an ongoing relationship with a quality dealer in SE QLD. tanks again. C

Robert Gorial said...

I know where your coming from, but i've purchased most of my gear online and has saved me a lot of money but quality has all been the same thing