B&H Photo, A Great Place to Buy a Camera

A photo I took last night with my brand new Canon EOS 5D camera purchased from B&H; Photo

Well the inevitable finally happened. The EOS 5D dropped below $3,000 at B&H; Photo. So after my fiasco with PriceRitePhoto trying to buy my 5D I learned a valuable lesson. You should take more care in who you deal with online. One name that came up again and again as a reputable dealer was B&H; Photo out of New York. So after watching B&H;ís price on the 5D and waiting for it to drop below $3,000 it finally did. Thanks to Sam Bloomberg-Rissman for the heads up when it dropped. So I went online and placed an order with them for the camera, a 4 gig Sandisk memory card, as well as a 135mm L series lens.

The results? I suppose about as good as could be expected. B&H; says that if you order before 3:30pm they can get you the camera out the same day. I ordered it on Friday and received an email from B&H; on Sunday saying that they could not process my order. They said that they were unable to verify some billing info on my credit card. I called on Monday a.m. and spoke with Ivan. Ivan said that American Express could not verify the phone number that I had given them with my order. (When I called American Express later to inquire about this they told me that they did not have a business phone number on file for me so I updated my records with them).

Ivan agreed to phone me back at my work number to verify it, the number that I provided in my order, and then when I answered he agreed to ship the camera that day. I found Ivan to be a very polite and helpful sales clerk. Ivan did in fact send it Fed Ex on Monday but I didn’t actually get it until Wednesday. Fed Ex claimed that the public transit strike in New York held it up a day. And then yesterday (Wednesday) it was here. I did not mention to Ivan that I was a blogger or would be writing about my experience.

The camera is really pretty amazing and I feel pretty lucky to be able to have the luxury of buying it. I take photos every day and it is a passion of mine so part of my justifying the amount spent was that it will have a good home and get lots and lots of use. I’m going to write a review on the camera later but I took it out for a spin late last night and it truly is a fine piece of equipment. I took the photo above with the camera last night.

All in all I have to say I was pretty pleased with B&H.; As my order was a larger order I could understand where they’d want to double check and verify my info and work/shipping phone number and I can’t really blame Fed Ex on the one day delay due to the transit strike. There was no hard sell to buy extra accessories at B&H; and I received the camera that I orderd in excellent condition, well packed, for a great price. I will definitely be buying more things from B&H; Photo in the future and am very happy about my experience with them.

Although my entire fiasco of trying to buy my 5D through PriceRitePhoto left a bad taste in my mouth, I think it was a good learning experience in the end for me. And my subsequent positive experience with B&H; goes to show you that not all online retailers are bad guys and that you just need to do your homework and be warry of a company’s online reputation when ordering. Certainly one of the reasons that B&H; is as succesful as they are is because they do in fact care about their reputation — no other camera dealer received more positive praise when I started blogging my woes regarding PriceRitePhoto. This in part is why I chose them to buy from them and why I’m sure I will buy more from them in the future.

Thanks B&H; for a great camera and a great online buying experience.

Update: Joe Wilcox: Miracle on 34th Street Well I have to say that I really do love my Canon 5D and again want to thank the folks at B&H; Photo for providing me a very positive buying experience. The camera is fantastic and I’m really enjoying it. I feel like I got a great deal from B&H; as well.

Joe Wilcox also has a post out praising B&H; Photo and recounts a story where when they were out of stock on an item they actually referred a friend of Joe’s to a competitor, Adorma, who had the item in stock. It’s this kind of service that will keep the repeat business coming back again and again.

I also received a note today from one of my Flickr contacts, DCVoyager, who wrote in part, “After reading your story about B&H; and DPR’s review of the 5D, I moved on it. Considered buying it at full price at Penn Camera because they are local and very reliable — and because I could have the camera today. Then I thought about the sales tax vs. shipping and called B&H.; Great to deal with. Very straightforward and professional. Didn’t try to sell me anything I hadn’t asked for.

It arrives Friday.”