B&H still a good online seller?

Discussion in 'Nikon' started by chuck, May 12, 2015.

  1. I am looking to get back into photography after 10+ years. I am looking to buy a Nikon D810 and a set of fast zooms. When last I
    shopped for equipment B&H had a sterling reputation. Now I see some highly negative reviews of B&H. Is B&H still a good online
    seller? Is purchases online through B&H still tax exempt?

    Thanks.
     
  2. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator Staff Member

    Is purchases online through B&H still tax exempt?​

    Depends on your state laws.
     
  3. If you're concerned about the reviews, just buy from Adorama or Cameta. Same prices. But I wouldn't put much faith in online reviews.
     
  4. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    B&H is still an excellent mail order house. Adorama has improved in the last decade and is essentially just as good now. I also have great experience with Amazon.com.
    The very best stores are going to get a few bad reviews. I wouldn't worry about it.
     
  5. B+H has to be one of the best, if not THE best ever. Fair prices, great shipping. And a visit to the NYC store is a real treat! I'd not hesitate to order from them again.
     
    John Di Leo likes this.
  6. Tax collection varies between states. I'm in
    Texas. All the major online retailers collect
    state sales tax now for Texas. Suits me. Public
    services aren't free. And it puts local
    retailers on equal footing for customer service.
     
  7. BTW, shipping is a major factor in my online
    purchases now. B&H, Adorama and Amazon often have
    the same prices. So I go with the one that offers
    free shipping. Easy returns are a factor too,
    although I rarely return anything.

    I'd say my experiences with those Big Three are
    about the same overall. All good.
     
  8. B&H has been uniformly good every time I've used them which I will be doing again in a week or two. Not knocking Adorama at all, just my experience.
    Rick H.
     
  9. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    BTW, Chuck, I just notice that I indeed hadn't seen your name here much in the last 10 years or so. I remember that you used to be a frequent participant here. Welcome back to photography. Hope to see you post more often again.
    Yes, B&H is still good, so is the Nikon D810. However, whatever compact flash memory cards you may still have from a decade ago are going to be very slow on the D810. I have an old card that can hold a grand total of 3 RAW files, after reformatting on the D810. Technically it still "works," but you need to change cards a lot more frequently than changing 36-exposure film.
     
  10. B&H is one of the most reliable companies out there. I mostly buy used stuff from ebay now and save tons of money, but when I buy something I can't find at a reasonable price used, I generally buy from B&H. I agree that Adorama has drastically improved and now consider them reliable as well.
    Kent in SD
     
  11. Been a loyal customer since 1992. No other place I'd do business with (especially since now all the camera stores in Chicago have closed: Calumet, Helix, Ritz, etc.).
     
  12. B&H and Adorama are both great
     
  13. Never a problem with B&H.
     
  14. When I can get free shipping and comparable prices, I go with B&H. Otherwise, I go with Amazon and sometimes Adorama.
    For used equipment, I go with KEH and eBay.
    It is hard to recommend B&H too highly, in my opinion. It's still the best, I think, but the margin has been affected by free shipping through Amazon Prime.
    --Lannie
     
  15. The best!
     
  16. I've never had a single issue with B&H in many many purchases, both personal and business, for over 20 years. They are probably the best online retail business I've ever dealt with. I've shopped in their store, too, and it's equally great.
    Adorama is also great, although I haven't bought from them quite as much.
    Amazon is good, but they don't always ship the same day I order.
     
  17. Perfect! I don't buy from anyone else.
     
  18. I had recommended B&H, Adorama, Amazon, and KEH to a new photographer. During a recent trip to New York, she went shopping at B&H. When she return to Chicago, she reported to me that she was very pleased with her new purchases and the personal service she received at B&H.
     
  19. B&H is excellent. I've been buying from them for probably 20 years. Never ever had a single problem.
     
  20. I've done quite a bit of business with B & H recently and the experience has been flawless.
     
  21. Here's the deal. Anybody can sell you stuff. B&H is good about taking stuff back and immediately replacing it if there's a problem. They have a huge inventory so they're good on this. Good luck.
     
  22. B+H has to be one of the best, if not THE best ever. Fair prices, great shipping. And a visit to the NYC store is a real treat! I'd not hesitate to order from them again.​
    Thank you and the many others here kind enough to speak well of us. It's very gratifying.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  23. Tax collection varies between states. I'm in Texas. All the major online retailers collect state sales tax now for Texas. Suits me. Public services aren't free. And it puts local retailers on equal footing for customer service.​
    B&H Photo collects sales tax for in-store purchases if you take your merchandise with you and we collect sales tax for any order shipped to an address in NY state. For orders shipped to any address outside NY state we do not (and may not) collect sales tax. That includes Texas.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  24. Nothing but good experiences with B&H.
     
  25. Add me to the list of B&H fans. The big difference between them (and some of the other real photo stores like Adorama) compared to Amazon, is you can call/email and get good advice from the former.
     
  26. I have used B&H for years, I easily recommend them for excellent handling of all matters. Even the smallest details of a
    missing data card was sent next day.
     
  27. "For orders shipped to any address outside NY state we do not (and may not) collect sales tax. That includes Texas."​
    Hmm... I must be disremembering. I do recall Adorama collecting sales tax, but now that I think about it those purchases were through their Amazon outlet.
    Anyway, I know the state sales tax collection thing is a complicated issue, as some of my friends who run small businesses that depend on online sales remind me.
     
  28. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    Lex, Amazon is collecting sales tax on a number of states now, including California. Adorama has some warehouse/location in New Jersey, so they collect sales tax for shipping to NJ in addition to New York.
     
  29. B&H and ADORAMA are THE BEST and in fact their prices almost always match for items. They also have terrific return policies.
    For any 'bad' review you may see for B&H or ADORAMA, there is likely a few thousand or more 'good' ones, so take any bad reviews with a grain of salt.
    I have used both exclusively for a long time and would not even consider going elsewhere. As far as I am concerned, they are both interchangeable stores.
    By the way, both are FAMILY owned and run and are old, established stores.
     
  30. B&H: The first item I remember buying from 'em was an import Nikkor 300 2.8 AIS new for 1200 bucks in May 1983. I've been buying from 'em ever since. I feel like I know the owner personally after all these years and it's good feeling for me and for B&H. It's been amazing to watch B&H grow from those small ads in the photo mags to be king of the hill.
    However, the king has a pea under his mattress these days and seems to have taken a lesson from Amazon is stupid packing of expensive items for shipment by putting folded bubble-wrap on top of the item, and then leaving the bottom and sides totally unprotected against shock. B&H should change the B-W machine and have the item placed between the bubble-wrap at the minimum. They way it is now, you better pray the manufacturer does a good job in protecting the items with their packing. I get quite a few items with the box partially crushed even when the outside box is undamaged. How many G's does it take to crush the corner of a box inside an undamaged outer box?
    I still won't stray too far from B&H, but I will stray Adorama's way.
    Adorama: They always used to be second fiddle to B&H, but I agree that over the last several years they have really upped their game to a high level resulting in becoming a viable alternative to B&H. It's good for both Adorama and B&H to have strong competition between them.
     
  31. They way it is now, you better pray the manufacturer does a good job in protecting the items with their packing.​
    In fact the manufacturer's packing is so good we could wrap their carton in Kraft paper, slap a label on and ship that way without hesitation. The proof?
    • Manufacturers and US distributors ship to us that way and the merchandise arrives here unscathed. It's actually kind of neat to open a carton and see it packed edge to edge with individual camera or lens boxes like sardines.
    • We ship thousands of packages per day and the number returned to us due to damage, (in-transit or otherwise) is miniscule. If this were an issue we'd have addressed it long ago.
    But, customer satisfaction is paramount. Right now we're clearing space in our warehouse in which we will soon install a custom packaging machine (device?) which will create a unique package for each shipment. I'm looking forward to seeing the results.
    Henry Posner
    B&H Photo-Video
     
  32. Yeah, packaging is practically a non-issue, both from the manufacturers and the retailers. The manufacturers seem to do their homework based on realistic testing and use sensible packaging without going to excess that would be cost-ineffective and wasteful. I was a bit skeptical of some packaging I've seen that included thin foam sheets and folded cardboard, rather than lots of styrofoam and bubble wrap. But nothing I've ordered through B&H, Adorama or Amazon has arrived damaged, including cameras, lenses, hard drives, etc. Even when the manufacturer's box was sliding around a bit inside the exterior shipping carton, there was still no damage.
    The only damaged packages I've received in the past few years were things that couldn't really be damaged, like pet food from Amazon, delivered by USPS. The post office has a knack for knowing what's actually inside those anonymous Amazon cartons and know which boxes they can abuse and which need to be handled more carefully.
    The last time I saw consistently inferior packaging was in the early days of trade with China, the late 1980s-early '90s, when their factories seemed to ship fragile goods in cartons made from typing paper. I worked part time on a freight loading dock, loading and unloading trucks, and it was impossible to quickly load cartons of Chinese made glassware without a lot of breakage. But that was decades ago and not at all like the current higher standards.
     
  33. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Moderator

    By chance I just received a package from B&H today. It is in the usual cardboard box. There is bubble-wrap around manufacturer boxes. The SD card inside is clearly not as easy to damage in its little plastic box. I also ordered a more vulnerable computer hard drive, and that is also fine.
    The only time B&H's packaging is more simple is when I order memory cards only. Those are thin so that B&H doesn't always ship inside a box. But memory cards have their plastic casing, and usually you can't damage them by dropping.
     
  34. Yes, and they've gotten better over the years. The ordering system is flawless, returns extremely easy, their online system is the best on the Internet, the telephone support is far nicer to deal with than it used to be (NY brusqueness has been toned down), and they're one of the very few places that still do a 30-day return period. And they clearly the widest stock of any single camera store.
     
  35. per JAY
    --- a lesson from Amazon is stupid packing of expensive items for shipment by putting folded bubble-wrap on top of the item, and then leaving the bottom and sides totally unprotected against shock. B&H should change the B-W machine and have the item placed between the bubble-wrap at the minimum.
    Jay I have always been really aggravated to receive packages in that manner, but so far no damage. The worst time of year is the holidays when UPS, FEDEX hire part timers who could not care less how they handle deliveries. But as I stated - so far no damage.
    All the stores do it -- B&H, ADORAMA, AMAZON, many others. Frankly I cannot and never do pack boxes like that. My shipped items are always packed in the center of a 360 degree foam / peanuts / cushioning, surrounded by at least 3 inches of protection.
    I am surprised but also pleased to read Mr. Posner's comments on the miniscule returns for damage.
    One bad thing that really got my ire up recently was a few months back when I ordered a lens filter and it arrived in what amounted to a hermetically, vacuum sealed 8 X 10 or so, very tough plastic envelope. It was so difficult to slice that never-meant-to-be-opened package open that I came close to returning it partially sliced open with the nastiest letter ever written by man. I forget whether the filter was from B&H or ADORAMA but it was 95% most likely ADORAMA as that is from whom I have been getting most of mine.
     
  36. Regarding packaging, I just received a cleverly
    packaged item from Adorama. It's a little WD
    Passport Ultra, shipped in a foam lined plastic
    envelope. The envelope was inflated and heat
    sealed to retain the air. It created its own
    bubble wrap. Made it perfectly intact that way.
    Probably more efficient for the seller too.
     

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