I was intending to mention the dealers I bought the second hand gear from, mainly because the descriptions and packaging were excellent and they deserve to be credited, but I’ve also been asked a few more general photography purchasing related questions today and so have decided to compile a list of all the places I’ve had good service from in the past:
Based in Scotland, and used multiple times by my Dad for 2nd hand Contax lenses and more recently by me for the Canon 5D body. Superb quality gear: I honestly couldn’t have said that the 5D was used until I spotted a small paint scuff on the flash hotshoe – and this wasn’t even the best quality level for 2nd hand goods.
This is where I got the used Canon 17-40mm F4 L to go with the 5D and again, even though it wasn’t the highest quality rating I simply cannot find any faults or markings. Excellent.
Local 2nd hand camera dealer: was happy to let me go and visit them one lunchtime to buy a lens rather than insisting I had to have it posted (they are an internet shop who visit some camera fairs and not a retail establishment). The Sigma 10-20mm was in excellent condition, and has been in regular use ever since with no problems.
The largest purchase from WE was my Tamron 28-75 f2.8, which was at an unfortunate time when the quality control at Tamron was going through a bad patch. As a result I needed to send back two lenses before I got one that worked, and I was initially rather disturbed at the returns procedure (no need for an RMA !), but there was never a dispute in sending out a new lens, and I also received a follow-up call one evening from a manager there checking up that the 3rd lens was indeed ok. More recently they had the Lowepro Slingshot AW100 on sale, and that arrived very quickly indeed.
Not used them myself, but my Dad did for his Sigma SD14 body, and they were very helpful on the phone and provided an excellent quality of service.
I bought my Tamrac Adventure 9, and also an Adventure 7 (a present: I don;t have that much of a bag fetish) from here, and the transaction was quick and painless. They even had no problems shipping to a different address after I’d faxed them a change note.
Again, not a shop I’ve used myself, but they come highly recommended from many quarters: would not hesitate to use them if they had what I wanted.
A Channel Islands-based retailer, who can live up to their name if you choose the free delivery option (ie: it takes 7 working days to arrive…) – in the interests of fairness I haven’t chosen the extra charge P&P, which they claim cuts out the delays of the free shipping. Have used them extensively for small-ish items such as NiCD batteries, chargers, LensPens, ND filters, CompactFlash cards etc. The one time I’ve needed to return a faulty USB memory stick there was no fuss, and the replacement was provided quickly and accurately.
A Hong Kong based camera shop, who also had an eBay store when I last used them. Not bought anything particularly expensive from there, as I was always wary about customs charges and warranties on grey imports, but they had the most outstanding prices on polarising filters (72mm for 30 UKP or so when shop in the UK were asking 120 UKP !), and the filters I have bought were all great, and delivered without any problems at all.