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Reader Comment: Adorama vs B&H Photo In-Store Experience

B&H Photo is surely under pressure from Amazon and the like, but in my view is best in the business for selection, pricing, committment to mission and knowledge.

A decade ago on this site and at MPG, I made the choice to work only with the best vendors in their respective industries. That is why this site works exclusively with B&H for photography products and exclusively with OWC / for Mac computing products here and at MPG.

Martin D writes:

Went to Adorama yesterday for help with a copy stand. I got bounced around and nobody could help me. They don’t know their own stock. Seems they are selling consumer electronics and scuba gear these days. Their rental outfit may still be fine, but Adorama itself is clearly no longer a camera store.

Went to B&H today and had a very good service experience. I was bounced to the right person the first time, and he took care of everything. B&H still seems to be a camera store, although a lot has changed. I didn’t have time to wander all over the store, but I’ll try to do so some time soon.

DIGLLOYD: the internet age pressures every vendor.

Helen O, Adorama Camera Customer Service Ambassador writes:

I was concerned to read this comment on your blog and would welcome an opportunity to reach out to the customer to correct his misconception. Adorama's sister company, has been selling scuba gear for over 15 years, growing out of our underwater camera business. If Martin D only saw consumer electronics and scuba gear, then I can only think he was in the wrong part of the store!

DIGLLOYD: message forwarded to Martin D, it's now his option to discuss or not.

Don H writes:

I just saw your entry about B&H’s commitment to the camera market (2017-11-07), and offer one other reason to purchase from them. We set up an extensive security camera network on our property, and rolled our own solution for cameras, gate intercom, and Mac-based video recorder. Research and shopping for security cameras is a nightmare for newcomers (for many reasons I won’t get into here), but one aspect that is almost unavoidable is that most cameras now come from China, and as such might be manufactured for the China/Asia market instead of the US or elsewhere, with configuration and maintenance ramifications as a result.

Some unscrupulous vendors purchase discounted security cameras in China and then reconfigure them with an English interface to be sold in the US before repackaging. That in itself isn’t terrible (usually it’s just an up-front configuration setting), but in the process they might change the administrator’s password, IP address, or other setting that then makes further administration of the camera problematic. Worse, however, is that sometimes the China-market cameras cannot receive US-targeted firmware updates, or the admin password becomes unrecoverable if the camera is reset to factory settings

It’s bad enough that the instruction ‘pamphlets’ (with tiny print, thin paper, and ambiguous Chinese-to-English translations) are of little help when troubleshooting these things, but then the support web sites are likewise confusing or simply wrong about essential information. So add on top of that some hardware that was never intended for the US getting manhandled and resold through discount vendors and you’ll have a brick on your hands by the end of the day. Good luck with their returns department!

As far as I can tell, B&H does not repackage non-US cameras and resell them. I haven’t seen it explicitly addressed on their site, but it’s the sort of thing an honest vendor wouldn’t even think to have to explain, until other vendors make this practice a problem for everyone. Also, they stand by their returns, so even if one receives an unworkable camera they have some recourse.

It would be great if this wasn’t even a problem, but now that complex electronics are globally-sold products the buyer needs to beware more than ever. Having reputable vendors around takes some of the risk out of expensive and time-consuming purchases.

DIGLLOYD: price only correlates with value. Deal with reputable vendors, always.
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