KEH Used Camera Equipment

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by fotograf, May 27, 2009.

  1. Has anyone had experience with this Georgia online camera company? I was interested in purchasing a used Canon lens but similiar to Adorama, they have a warehouse which has the lenses, etc. but when you call to order something, the actual lens isn't in the store. My concern is their grading of equipment and if it is fairly precise to the actual condition of the lens being sold. I had a nightmare with Adorama last year and a lens described as "demo"(near new, by their definition), and the auto focus and manual focus did not work on this L lens I received.
  2. KEH is reputed to have a fairly conservative grading standard.
    Based upon my personal experience (and apparently yours, too), Adorama does not.
  3. Well, I was taken back that none of the lenses are available for a salesman to pick up and give his own opinion over the phone. I'm considering buying a lens from this company, but haven't made up my mind yet.
  4. Hi,
    I have done business with KEH for several years. I have found that their grading system favors the buyer.
    I have purchased several items from them including lenses and have never been disappointed. The equipment is usually in better condition than their rating.
    While the items they have are not in the office, I would trust the grade or rating they give to be correct or better.
    BHPhotoVideo also has 'some' used equipment and their grading system also has always been accurate also.
    Harold Motte
  5. At, KEH has a lifetime rating of 8.17, which is good. Their six-month rating,is only 5.0 (but only 3 ratings).
    Adorama has a lifetime rating of 8.6 and a six-month rating of 9.31 (718 ratings).
    All ratings as of as of this time May 27, 2009.
    My impression is that people here at who have dealt with KEH generally seem to be happy with them, but obviously so are most people happy with Adorama. I know that all my dealings with them have been positive. I also like B&H (9.53 lifetime, six-month = 9.73 with 1684 raters).
    Any vendor will have some problems, sometime, somewhere. I think it's important to give them a chance to make it right when it does go wrong. For me, that's usually worked out in the end.
  6. Any vendor will have some problems, sometime, somewhere. I think it's important to give them a chance to make it right when it does go wrong. For me, that's usually worked out in the end.​
    My first Adorama order last year, and returning a defective lens made me not want to order from them again. If I had bought several items in the past and this was the first defective lens, I might be more forgiving. But the lens was clearly broken and it wasn't caused by shipping. I even saw the same lens that I returned put up on EBAY recently and Adorama described it as not being able to focus neither auto nor manually. I guess they wanted to make any amount of money on a lens that would cost more to repair than its worth.
  7. I have made a number of purchases from KEH, none in the past 3 years or so, though. I was completely satisfied each time. Even when the item was not as expected (rare), they quickly resolved the issue.
  8. They are an excellent seller, I have purchased many items and have never had a problem; they also have a 14 day no question asked return policy, which I have used, and they stand by their word.
  9. I have bought used equipment from KEH several times, and sold equipment to them as well. I've been pleased with every transaction so far.
    Brian, part of your confusion may be due to the fact that KEH is not an actual retail store. It's basically a big warehouse with lots of people to move gear both in and out. I've been there, and can testify that it's a clean, well run business with a professional staff.
  10. I have done some used business with KEH. For each of my transactions I can rate them highly. Good prices, quick service, excellent packaging. Condition of goods received matched condition described on website. I almost always check before I make online purchases to see what kinds of experiences others are having with retailers. Here's the link for their KEH ratings:
  11. I've bought 4 lenses from KEH and have been very happy with the price I paid for the condition they were in. I ordered a fifth lens, a Leica APO-Elmarit-R 180mm f/2.8, and when it arrived it turned out to be the non-APO version, worth ~25% of the APO version. I called and explained their mistake and they replied, "great, send it back", which I did and got a prompt refund.
  12. Over the years I have bought several dozen used lenses from KEH. All were in condition better as described. In fact, I have repeatedly bought 'bargain' grade lenses from them, and was not able to find any reason they were not described as 'like new', because I simply could not find any fault with them. The reason I bought so many lenses from KEH is that I purchased a number of them for re-sale. Occasionally their prices are well below what one would expect to get on eBay. I was eventually able to afford a 100-400L by buying off brand 100-300 lenses from KEH, and selling them on eBay ;-)
    Only on one occasion did I receive an item from KEH that did not meet my expectations immediately - a bargain rated off camera shoe cable 2 that was not working. I called them on the phone about the problem, and was told to keep the non functional cable, and a 'ex' rated one was shipped to me, no questions asked. You can not beat this sort of customer service! When it comes to used equipment, I prefer to buy from KEH well ahead of any other vendor - and I also purchased from them when I bought my DSLR.
  13. I have made several purchases from KEH and will buy from them again. Ratings have turned out to be either accurate or conservative (i.e. you get better than you expect). The only problems I have had are: 1) lens advertised with caps came without caps; 2) body had been "upgraded" (original sticker "bad foam" covered with 2nd sticker with no mention of foam problem).
    I would not buy a current EOS lens from them just because the discount compared to new is not that great.
    PS regarding the resellerratings ratings, those for Adorama and B&H probably reflect the new equipment side of those companies, whereas KEH is almost entirely a used equipment store. So not an apples to apples comparison
  14. I too have bought a handful of things from them. I agree with the general conclusion that the rating system is accurate and tends to favor the buyer, even in little things like lens hoods and filters.

    FWIW, I just bought an 'as-is' off brand lens for $8ish (for the mount - an FD 500mm conversion) and it was listed as 'locks camera.' It had its issues, yes, but for $8, there was a whole lot of life left in the lens and I almost hesitated to cannabilize it.
    I will definitely keep using KEH.
  15. I'm a happy KEH customer. I wouldn't hesitate to buy from them again.
  16. I have fairly mixed views of KEH. Their rating system seems to be based on a visual inspection of the lens only with not much testing. I bought a lens from them a month ago, rated EX and it looked very good but was horribly and unusably soft in use. Bad softness could be seen in normal on-screen viewing on a 15 inch laptop and even on the camera LCD when zoomed in. The manual focus ring also suffered from a weird variable stiffness, unlike any Canon USM lens that I have used. It would get stiff over part of the focus range but this stiffness would move.
    I sent it back to them at my expense, and upgraded to an EX+ rated one which was much better optically but ironically cosmetically slightly worse - some minor scratches on the painted on lettering.
    In speaking to them though about the lens I returned they said their technician "could not replicate the problem". This indicates to me that they can't spot a lens that is so soft to the point of being defective and that they have no idea what the focus ring on a Canon USM lens should feel like. Presumably they put this lens straight back into circulation.
    While they are very nice people to deal with over the phone, they do not respond to emails. I asked them about this and they said they get so many emails that it is best to phone. They didn't even contact me when they recieved my returned lens and were basically waiting for me to call up and ask whether they had got it. This was pretty painful to deal with being in Australia and having to phone several times at 11.00 pm local time and paying international call rates, often being put on hold for 20 minutes.
    While in the end I got a lens that was cheaper than new, it took a month to sort it all out and wasted several hours of my time. While I expect that the older gear they have in stock has probably been traded in by people who are upgrading, I also suspect some of their newer stuff would be from people offloading soft lenses.
  17. I have been more than happy with my KEH purchases.
    If you have a problem, send it back.
  18. I have dealt with KEH for about 12 years and have never had a bad experience. Only 2 items have been an issue - both bodies. One was a Canon T90 described as EX+ but actually in new physical condition - the issue was that the display did not work very well - the refunded it with no questions. the other was a Contax G2 EX where there was dust in the rangefinder window. Again the body was in immaculat condition and the suggestion from KEH was that the dust must have been missed on their inspection but was dislodged in transit - they replaced it immediately. All other dealing have been without issue. They tend to grade much more conservatively than Adorama or B&H - anything from EX upwards will be in great condition and despite what they say most of the LN- items I have bought have been boxed and unused (usually form Europe or Japan). I have probably bought over 100 items from KEH so two return is not bad. As I say their EX would be a 9 rating at Adorama or B&H. You will pay more but will not regret it. On EF lenses the used pice is often close to new so you may just want to pay the extra. Finally contrary to one of the above posts they do actually sell new equipment and are usually the same price as Adorama or B&H
  19. I recently sold equipment to KEH and bought my 5D2 from them. Very good service and prompt communication via email and phone. I would recommend them with-out hesitation.
  20. The reseller rating for Adorama and KEH are relly comparing apples and oranges. If there were ratings that were only for Adorma's Used department, it would be a more apt comparision.
  21. Just out of curiousity, does anyone who has sold equipment to them have any idea what their general markup is?
    I guess what I'm asking is: I think they sell good gear, but at a premium price for used equipment. Do they pay a fair amount for the stuff, or do they just pick up the bargains and resell them?
  22. I echo the folks who give these guys positive reviews. Their grading system is excellent, and the stuff I've bought from them has generally been in better condition than I expected.
  23. Keith: I've sold gear to KEH before, and it seems that they generally buy equipment (as long as it is in good condition) for about 50% or so of what they sell it for. I think I sold them an old Pentax k1000 for about $60 and then they put it on their website at $120.
  24. Brian,
    All the equipment that I have bought from KEH has been as described. What I like most is their return policy and customer service. I always deal with KEH over the phone and find them to be very helpful. I have also sold/traded equipment and appreciate the added 10% towards a trade. It at least covers the shipping if not more. However, I wouldn't count on getting nearly as much as if equipment were sold via an auction or other method.
    I have also purchased from Adorama and BH Video. I prefer KEH because they offer more "bargain" equipment. Also, for what it's worth I like KEH's method of grading equipment as opposed to the numbering or lettering system. I know, it's a personal thing, but I feel like I have a better understanding of the equipments' condition when it's listed as Excellent, Bargain, etc. Again, just a personal thing.
    One last item of interest regarding KEH. Browsing their website, I found a Stroboframe bracket (Pro 66) for $14.00. Others were at around $40.00 or more. I called only to find out that it was a mistake on their part. The item had been incorrectly priced. To my surprise they said that I could purchase the Stroboframe for the advertised price. In fact, they had two of them at that cost. I was extremely thankful and purchased one as well as a filter. They certainly have my business!
    Good luck!
  25. I have seen no issues with their grades and their "BGN" is pretty phenominal frankly, better than many so called "mint"s I've bought off of eBay.
  26. I've purchased lots of gear from KEH. I only had problems with one item, a medium format back that had spacing issues. KEH swapped it out without any problems. Excellent company.
  27. I had two good experiences with Adorama, just for the record.
  28. I just received my third purchase from KEH last week-end. The lens arrived in less than two weeks, into Canada. I have bought their "ugly" and "bargain" lenses and have been extremely happy with them. Service has always been quick and my purchases have been made over the past three years.
    I have bought from Adorama too, and although I have had some difficulties with them there customer service always makes good on any problems.
    I would buy from either one without hesitation. Generally speaking keh has better pricing.
  29. KEH has always been great. Their rating system is top notch and very reliable. Their BGN grade is what other sellers might call "very good" or "excellent".
  30. I have purchased several item from KEH and they are probably the most reputable in the used equipment business; can't say that about Adorama.
  31. All of my used equipment have been sourced from KEH - bunch of different 135 gear, MF cameras and lenses, etc. I have had to return a lens once, and had no problems with the process.
    On average, KEH prices are maybe a bit higher than what can be done on the open market, EBay, craigslist, etc. The slight premium is insurance for being able to return unsatisfactory equipment.
  32. Long AGO; back when the earth was cooling; KEH had a retail store in Atlanra; one coiuld examine the stuff they sold used on the Yellow rag paper; ie shutterbug. They also had a store in Dallas once for a spell too!
  33. Keh is the best, hand down. I have bought used from many online stores and as many above have said-they are very conservative in grading and the bargain items are usually nearly new. Out of maybe 25 order, one was a mistake and sent back.
    Sometimes they are a tad slow on ground shipping-taking up to 3 weeks, but the items are great.

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