Lens from KEH

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by rob_garsson, Jul 28, 2011.

  1. For those with experience buying from KEH how good/bad are their BGN lenses? I once heard someone say to buy EX camera bodies but BGN lenses were ok, any truth to that? Looking at a Hassy outfit and don't want to break the bank too much. Thanks.
  2. My luck with KEH bargain items has been very good, but others report having less luck. One good thing about KEH is that they have a very good return policy if you're dissatisfied with what they send you.
  3. I've bought 4 or so excellent grade lenses from Keh, and they've all been almost like new. I recently bought a bargain Nikkor 135mm f/2.8 AIS, and it had scratches and wear on the lens hood/body, but the glass was perfect. I'm very pleased with the lens.
  4. I bought a 200mm f/4 Nikkor, AIS, that was BGN. It looked like brand new when I got it. I've also purchased some BGN Leica gear that was not as Mint as the Nikkor, but quite excellent.
  5. Bought a couple of lenses from them, and some camera+lens kits. All good. I think they're great.

    If you do buy something and it's not right, you can return it.
  6. I have noticed KEH ratings have been a bit softer for certain items.<p>
    I bought a BGN Canon LTM that had some serious haze (to me). KEH says I should expect to see this in their BGN Canon LTM lenses (?) Granted, haze is fairly common on these lenses but prior multiple purchases (~5 yrs ago) in the same "condition" had perfect glass.<p>With that said, most BGN purchases have exceeded my expectations and still do.
  7. In about ten purchases from them, I've never bought higher grade than bargain and I've judged them all to be short rated....that is, I would have called every one as excellent or higher. I will continue buying from them in the future. By the way, their repair department has also been outstanding in my experience.
  8. I've bought a couple of lenses from them, both rated EX+, as the price difference from the only other grades available wasn't much more that the cost of the included lens caps. :) As far as I could tell, the lenses were in LN+, except for a couple of slight scuffs on the plastic lens caps.
    Highly recommended.
  9. Everything I've bought from them has been bargain grade or worse. I've yet to receive a lens that I was disappointed with.
  10. Beware of one issue with KEH: your 14-day return privilege starts when you order the item, not when you receive it. For example, if you get an itch to buy something on Saturday night, the product MAY ship out on Monday. Unless you pay a big fee for faster shipping, let's say you get it the following Friday. That leaves just 7 days (you'd have to call for return authorization before the next weekend starts). Not enough time to shoot and evaluate chromes to judge shutter accuracy.
    Because all the shippers now have easily-obtained information (often automatically emailed to both parties) about delivery status, I'd hope they change their policy to 14 days from date of delivery so that one can fully test a piece of equipment in different situations.
  11. Hmm, I'm not so sure how strict they are about that Scott. I called to return a camera recently that I had had in my possession almost 2 weeks, and
    they were OK with me shipping it back ground the following day. In your example, I don't believe they'd even process the order until Monday. Best would be for the OP to call them and ask. That said, I do prefer using something
    like a 2 day delivery for initial receipt of the item.
  12. I have ordered five lenses from KEH--four for my RB67, and a 90 mm Elmarit (1st version) for my Leica M3. All were rated in Bargain condition.
    Three of the four RB lenses were in good shape on initial inspection and use. I did discover that one of those three lenses, my 90 mm, had a problem with an intermittently faulty sync socket and after a few weeks use, the lens itself stopped working. It turned out that two screws had worked their way loose inside the lens--the previous owner had apparently never had it serviced but, as the lens was probably a workhorse, they had little need to, really--and the repair was trivial and fairly inexpensive.
    My 50, however, was not working well on arrival. A sticky shutter blade was causing the shutter to hang in the open position. As I had bought the lens while I was in the US and carried it back to London with me before discovering the problem, I concluded the simplest expedient was to have it repaired over here--again, not a terribly expensive option and one which saved a lot of hassle.
    The 127 and 180 lenses I bought from KEH have functioned perfectly since purchased, and both looked to be in excellent condition despite KEH's Bargain rating. And even the 90 looked good, I really can't fault them at all on the loose screws thing--although with a little testing, the sync problem would have shown up. Some have written that KEH appears to inspect items cosmetically, but probably does little testing of the mechanics, and I would tend to agree with this.
    The 90 Elmarit was a slightly different proposition. The front coating had several little flaws, and one larger scratch in the coating. I could have returned it but, once again, I was only in the US briefly, the price for the lens was at that time so good (just a little over $200), and the picture quality seemed fine, so I determined to live with it. (And Leica lenses of that age almost universally had soft coatings and show at least some minor problems, so I figured that it wasn't unreasonable for Bargain standard for one of them to be different than that applied to more modern lenses.)
    So KEH's rating system is, in my opinion, quite good--although not perfect, obviously. If you are living in the US, where you can easily return items that don't meet your expectations, using KEH is really a no-brainer. Their prices are reasonable, their return policies are very good indeed, and normally the gear is in at least as good condition as advertised (and ofttimes better). You're certainly running far less risk in buying from them vs. eBay or certain other online retailers.
    Even with the minor problems I've had above, I won't hesitate to buy from them again--and am already planning out what I'm going to purchase from them when I'm back in the US for a couple of weeks next month!
  13. I have been a customer for a long time for both work related purchases as well as personal purchases. I have purchased many items as BGN condition. These are normally great deals, with the lenses I have purchased in such nice condition that I suspect this rating system may be more related to the collectible market than to people who intend to use the lenses daily.
    The same applies to camera bodies and accessories.
    I have only returned items twice in the almost two decades of buying from them. This span is for a few dozen separate orders and too much money to admit to. Both returns were not for inaccurate descriptions either, just I had become accustomed to stellar items being listed as bargain.
  14. When I started buying from KEH, I selected EX at a minimum. Then, I ordered BGN Hasselblad 60/3.5, and the condition: just as advertised, three tiny marks on the front lens, no marks on the rear lens, some wear on the barrel paint. The lens makes excellent pictures, I kept it. If there are a few tiny marks on the front of any lens, the image will be fine. I am convinced, and it saves me money over the high priced EX lenses.
  15. thanks, reassuring to hear such good news =)
  16. I bought a BGN Zuiko 180/2.8 for my OM system some time ago. It arrived like brand new. not a visible mark anywhere, clean and tight. Very pleased. Bought some other stuff as well, OM motor drive, focusing screen for Hasselblad etc. and all was in very good shape. Will shop again at KEH.
  17. All of my buying experiences with KEH have been top-notch. I would suggest calling on the phone rather than buying from them online if getting it shipped quickly is important. Sometimes the web orders take a while to ship but my phone orders tend to go out that day.

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