Since becoming more interested in photography a few years ago, I have started buying more and more toys. Prices in stores in Australia have always been too high for me. I used to buy gear from Cathay Photo on trips to Singapore. However, this didn’t happen that often and usually meant I didn’t get Australian warranty.
And so I stumbled across eBay shops one day, and DigitalRev, in particular. DigitalRev (http://www.digitalrev.com) is one of the online eBay shops specialising in photography gear. I was attracted to the fact that since it’s on eBay, I could read reviews of previous transactions and I could use any protection provided by eBay for my purchases. These definitely helped me decide on DigitalRev as one of the first eBay shops I’d try.
So how does it work?
1) I assume you’re signed up for eBay – if not, sign up
2) You buy your gear from DigitalRev through eBay using “Buy It Now”
3) You pay for it through eBay (I like PayPal for the protection)
4) Once they receive and acknowledge payment, they’ll send it to you
5) Then you wait patiently for a week for it to turn up 🙂
DigitalRev seems to be one of the more reliable and better rated stores on eBay. It has a great range, their prices are competitive and I have had pretty quick responses from them. I can also vouch that their return process works too (see below). You don’t really have to worry about them not sending you your item as there is eBay buyer’s protection and they wouldn’t want negative feedback anyway!
I’ve since purchased many lenses and camera bodies from DigitalRev and been very happy with the results. The main reason I like DigitalRev and eBay shops is the price – it’s much cheaper than buying gear from a store here in Australia. Also, there’s more range and there’s no salesman forcing you into a purchase.
However, buying online means you don’t get the gear straight away. So if you really need it for a client job, you either have to plan ahead or buy it from a local store.
Also, the lenses that DigitalRev are not covered with an official manufacturer’s warranty as they are “grey market lenses” (see this blog for a good description – http://jimdoty.com/Tips/Equipment/gray_market/gray_market.html). What this means is it’s not distributed through the official local channels and doesn’t come with local manufacturer’s warranty. You’re basically bypassing the Nikon Australia and Australian store markups. What DigitalRev does is provide a dealer’s warranty. So, if something goes wrong, they will replace it for you themselves. DigitalRev will even reimburse you for postage. But in the end, a similar arrangement to when I used to buy gear from Singapore. If something went wrong, I knew I’d probably have to send it back to Singapore.
Be aware, that if buying things over AUD$1000, the item may be stopped at customs at which you have to pay GST on it to collect it.
For us in Australia, DigitalRev has an Australian agent – basically, someone in Australia that you can return the faulty equipment to and they’ll arrange a replacement for you (presumably from Hong Kong). When I bought my Nikon D80, I found a stuck pixel on the LCD at the back – I shipped it to the Australian agent and they arranged a replacement for me. I got it the new one within a week. There is much talk on the net about whether it’s a good idea or not to buy precision optics with this type of warranty/service.
I don’t think there’s a single answer for everyone, it really depends on your situation and budget and how much risk you can afford. For me, being a hobby and price being everything, saving the money was the priority and luckily I haven’t had any problems. I’ve recommended DigitalRev to a few friends and they’ve had no problems either.
That said, I bought my latest toy from B&H Photo Video, for even cheaper than DigitalRev and it’s NOT grey market! But that’s another story..