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DPChallenge Forums >> Photography Discussion >> B&H Camera: It's like I died and went to heaven...
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03/16/2006 01:42:45 PM · #1
But then they decided it wasn't my time so they sent me back to a REALLY awesome camera store.

I moved to NYC about two months ago and just yesterday managed to visit B&H photo (I have a big shoot coming up and needed another memory card.) I walked in and was shocked at how HUGE it is and how many different things they carry!

One could say, "Oh, I need two backdrops, an enlarger, a par-can, three fresnals, a computer, an underwater housing for my camera, a reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeaaaaallly long zoom and a tripod." And BAM! All right there-- in different departments, but still.

The prices were actually very reasonable, too. So reasonable, in fact, that in addition to the 1 gig memory card, I bought a 32" 5-in-1 reflector, a Canon 50mm 1.8 II lens, and a new camera bag, with a grand total of about $200. I almost talked myself into buying a simple light set-up as well, but when I thought about lugging it home on the subway, reason prevailed.

Something that was strange to me, though, but very handy, was the way sales worked. When you select something, they give you a slip of paper with a barcode on it. Then they put your item under the counter in a plastic bin, where a conveyor belt (or perhaps tiny elves) takes it up to the front. The next product you choose (in a different department), the employee takes your slip and gives you a different one, showing your new total and then that item goes up front. When you're all done shopping you take the slip of paper up to the cashier, pay, and they hand you a bag with all your stuff in it. It's pretty awesome-- and helps cut down on the "oh, I'll just toss this in the basket, oh, I need this and that-- oh my god, I spent $500?!?" because you know how much you've spent at each step along the way.

The only thing I didn't like about it is that you have to know what you want going in... like, instead of being able to look at shelves of memory cards and determine what was the best option for me, based on size, speed, and price, I had to go to the counter and tell the man what I wanted, which kind of came out like, "Uhhhhh... 1 gig, I guess?"

In the end, the hardest part was keeping myself from buying everything I want for my dream studio... oh, and not drooling on the Canon 1ds Mark II. Picked it up and held it in my hands and boy did it feel nice.

Beth
03/16/2006 01:45:52 PM · #2
lol I know how that store is, I try to keep myself from going in there, so much stuff and so tempting to buy something else. I love the store, peps are very helpful but its just to many camera's and accesories its like a little kid in a candy store when I am there.
03/16/2006 01:57:51 PM · #3
B + H has great prices. Their brick and mortar store is great. Their online store is virtually unmatched on the Internet.

I had a horrible experience with them this past September unfortunately.

My wife bought me a lens (over the phone) for my birthday from B + H. She paid with her credit card in her own name. For some reason they emailed me a confirmation of the purchase.

So much for the surprise.

When she called they told her it was her fault. She mentioned to them that they assigned her card to my name/email, without her permission. My name isnít even a verified user on her card. They didn't see to care.

They have great prices and their store is wonderful. However I refuse to use them anymore just for "rudeness"/security reasons. If you can manage their abrasive customer support, B+H is wonderful.

My two cents.


Message edited by author 2006-03-16 13:59:59.
03/16/2006 02:11:46 PM · #4
I DO NOT want to set foot in that store, I get my poor checking account into enough trouble on the web site.
03/16/2006 02:21:33 PM · #5
Originally posted by mosall:

If you can manage their abrasive customer support, B+H is wonderful.


NYC.
I was in the mailordre biz for 10 years, and just about everyone from NYC/northern NJ came across that way. i worked for a guy from Yonkers - he could be nice, but he could be the biggest a@@hole i've ever met.

On the good side, you can tell them off and they don't seem to mind LOL
03/16/2006 02:22:00 PM · #6
Fotomann- while I was upstairs in the used department, I mentioned to the older man at the counter how wonderful the store was, what a great selection. He replied, "Oh, that's nothing. You should check out the naked dancing boys downstairs!"

It took me a second to realize he was joking, so I just kind of stood there, wide eyed, until he started laughing.

I actually thought to myself, "Wow, if there really were naked dancing girls, Fotomann would be here in a New York minute." Sign #1523 that I think about DP challenge *far* too much, especially for someone who's only submitted to four challenges.
03/16/2006 02:23:58 PM · #7
Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I DO NOT want to set foot in that store, I get my poor checking account into enough trouble on the web site.


I want to SEE the store, but prices (w/ shipping) are cheaper for me if I order online: $50 in NY taxes vs. $10 in shipping for my Nikon D50.
03/16/2006 02:24:52 PM · #8
I've been in the store twice. It's like massive sensory overload. You just don't know what to look at next. As said before, you should know what you want before you go in. I've been so confused when I've been in there, all I've ever walked out with was a filter wallet and a case for my point & shoot. Oh, and the free magazines. Be sure to pick up your free copies of Photoshop User and Layers. Oh, and the candy, snacks and sodas. Gotta love the free food while you shop!
03/16/2006 02:32:20 PM · #9
Someone needs to persuade them to set-up a UK operation - half the photographers I know here already use them on-line and pay the import duty anyhow. We have 'warehouseexpress' who are pretty good on-line, but there's no London mega-store that I know of.
03/16/2006 02:34:58 PM · #10
I bought a used flash from B&H recently. It is an off brand, but said it was meant to work with Olympus digital. I called the store and asked, "Will this flash work with the E-300?" Well, the flash works... sort of. It misfires a lot, sometimes won't work at all, is generally tempermental. So, after MUCH searching online I found out that the flash was meant to work with Olympus' C-cameras, not the E-series. So, I called and asked for a refund, and they said no. Grrrr... But, I do like to look at their website and drool. They just don't have the camera I really want at a price I want to pay for it. There's a camera store in Amityville that my brother deals with sometimes. He says they generally can't be beat for price. He just bought a Nikon D2X from them for about $500 less than he saw it anywhere else. I'm trying to convince him that he really wants to give the body of his D70 to his favorite little sister. :) Actually, I told him he should keep it as a back-up.
03/16/2006 04:51:03 PM · #11
Originally posted by _eug:

Originally posted by fotomann_forever:

I DO NOT want to set foot in that store, I get my poor checking account into enough trouble on the web site.


I want to SEE the store, but prices (w/ shipping) are cheaper for me if I order online: $50 in NY taxes vs. $10 in shipping for my Nikon D50.


They usually let you make two purchases if you buy expensive stuff, cheap items you want/need now can be bought in the store and the rest is treated as a mail-order and shipped to you.
03/16/2006 04:53:34 PM · #12
we have a store like that in toronto called vistek... not sure if they have conveyer belts though.

Message edited by author 2006-03-16 16:53:49.
03/16/2006 04:57:52 PM · #13
Originally posted by e301:

Someone needs to persuade them to set-up a UK operation - half the photographers I know here already use them on-line and pay the import duty anyhow. We have 'warehouseexpress' who are pretty good on-line, but there's no London mega-store that I know of.

That WOULD be nice!
Just for info, though not in same league by a longshot - Jessop's have their flagship (largest) store on New Oxford Street in London and although their prices are higher than warehouse express they are very good at pricematching.

But it WOULD be nice to have a B&H like chain here ...
03/16/2006 05:27:24 PM · #14
Yeah, I know what you mean about B&H. I had the same wide-eyed reaction to it the first time I walked in. And the second. And the third...

It's a good thing I live and work in Brooklyn, or I'd be there all the time. :)

A little tip for those of you who order from them online or call them up to have stuff shipped to you. I'm not certain if this still works, but it used to be that if you have a membership with NAPP (the National Association of Photoshop Professionals) that you could call up B&H to place your order and get free shipping on it. I've done it on a few occasions when I knew exactly what I wanted and didn't need to look at the item first. I sure wish I could save on the tax, too, but I'm willing to pay it since I know I can bring the item back without any hassle if I have problems.

Anyway, for those who might be interested in joining NAPP:
//www.photoshopuser.com/

I would make sure that they still have that relationship with B&H if that's the main reason you're joining, though. It's been a while since I tried it.

Liz
03/16/2006 09:08:24 PM · #15
Thats a good tip liz, I'll have to check that out.
03/16/2006 09:09:47 PM · #16
Good thing I don't live anywhere near there. I'd have to get a second job and a second mortgage
03/16/2006 09:28:59 PM · #17
Originally posted by GentleSoul:


Anyway, for those who might be interested in joining NAPP:
//www.photoshopuser.com/

Liz


Love that magazine...
wish it was cheaper..LOL
03/17/2006 12:07:58 AM · #18
I really like B&H also and I have never visited one of their showrooms... I would almost be afraid to. It would be more worser than when I go to Best Buy or Barnes & Noble :)
03/17/2006 01:30:12 AM · #19
Originally posted by JRalston:

Originally posted by GentleSoul:


Anyway, for those who might be interested in joining NAPP:
//www.photoshopuser.com/

Liz


Love that magazine...
wish it was cheaper..LOL


Hehehe - yeah, I know! That's why I ended up becoming a NAPP member. You get the mag subscription with membership. If I remember correctly, it only ends up being a little more money than if you were buying the magazine on the stands for the full year, plus you get the extra editions they publish, such as a tips/preview edition when a new version of Photoshop comes out. So, by itself, the magazine is quite expensive. But when you have the membership with all the perks that it brings, it seems to be of good value to me.

Now, if only I could find the time to really learn Photoshop as I'd like to... :)

Liz
03/17/2006 01:43:54 AM · #20
I tried to visit once, but heaven is closed on Saturday
03/17/2006 01:55:24 AM · #21
If you want large for Camera store Yodobashi Camera in Osaka is geenormous
03/17/2006 09:18:56 AM · #22
I like their online price and selection, but honestly I prefer if at all possible to support my small local store. For small stuff, I just go local and don't even consider mail order. For larger things, I will check places like B&H for prices and then see what the local guys can do to come close. I will tell the local guys what I found online and that I'd prefer to buy from them if they can come close, match, or even beat the price. If I can get something expensive within $50-100 or so locally, I go locally.

Otherwise, the local guys cannot compete w/ the mail order megastores and eventually go out of business. It is like what happens when WalMart comes to town.
03/17/2006 11:22:22 AM · #23
Originally posted by GentleSoul:


A little tip for those of you who order from them online or call them up to have stuff shipped to you. I'm not certain if this still works, but it used to be that if you have a membership with NAPP (the National Association of Photoshop Professionals) that you could call up B&H to place your order and get free shipping on it.
Liz


Yup....still works. I just joined the NAPP a few months back and it's listed as one of the perks still.

03/17/2006 01:44:18 PM · #24
It's starting to sound like the photographer's Paris.
Next challenge, post a picture of yourself with the B&H store! :)
03/17/2006 03:39:28 PM · #25
Originally posted by mosall:

If you can manage their abrasive customer support, B+H is wonderful.

I called their customer support a couple months ago to inquire about a product detail. The rep didn't know the answer and when I asked him if he could find out from someone else who might know, or if there was anyone else I could talk to (e.g., someone who handles stock or shipping) he just said "no" and that's it. We hung up and I bought the item somewhere else.
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