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Demos and Refurbs: To buy, or not to buy; that's my question.

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by wreckless, Oct 30, 2012.

  1. wreckless

    wreckless Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2011
    Anyone have any experience with factory demos, or refurbs, or certified used anything?

    What is your take on this kind of retail resale?

    Looking at a factory demo D5100 with a one year retailer's warranty.

    I hesitate because all experiences for me (well 90%, let's say) have been somehow or another bad.

  2. Promit

    Promit Mu-43 All-Pro

    Jun 6, 2011
    Baltimore, MD
    Promit Roy
    Assuming you mean Cameta, I've heard nothing but good things.
    • Like Like x 1
  3. littleMT

    littleMT Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 8, 2012
    Lucille Sanchez
    I bought a refurb 45mm lens from Olympus, works excellent.

    Two E-pl1's both refurbs from Cameta, again no problems.

    I think its a great way to save some money.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. greyelm

    greyelm Mu-43 Veteran

    Aug 28, 2010
    I recently bought a Fuji X10 refurbished by Fuji UK. Everything works OK and it has a 12 month warranty. The price was about 2/3 the going rate and in my mind it is a safer bet than buying from Joe Public.
    • Like Like x 1
  5. WT21

    WT21 Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Feb 19, 2010
    I always buy refurbs and factory demos, and I've not had any issues to date (probably have purchased 15 refurb units over 6 years of various items)
    • Like Like x 1
  6. Chronos

    Chronos Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 18, 2012
    Well... i certainly woudnt trade my OMD in for a refurbed... oh wait... oops.


    Its always risky, i have purchased several refurbed cameras and lenses over the years and so far i have not had any issues.

    My understanding might be off, but a "refurb" is just a returned item that was checked out by the manufacturer and it passed the examination, OR, it was a faulty unit that was repaired.

    I bought my ex girlfriend a Factory Demo olympus PEN and it looked brand spanking new. But the Factory Demo is not the sae thing as a retailer show room floor demo.

    You really have to look at all sides though.. Nikon lenses have a 5 year warranty, is it worth spending 1,500 instead of 1,600 for a refurb if it means the warranty shrinks to 90 days?

    I purchased a Nikkor 24-70 f/2.8 from B&H that was "refurbishedH and it tightened up at the 50mm mark and made a strange noise.

    just make sure they have a good return policy.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. drd1135

    drd1135 Zen Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Mar 17, 2011
    Southwest Virginia
    I buy these all the time, but from folks I trust, e.g., B&H, Cameta, KEH, Amazon Warehouse. . . It has worked fine for me.
    • Like Like x 1
  8. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    My experience with refubs has been 100% positive. I think most are demos or sometimes customer returns due to insignificant issues like "I didn't like the color." Some have probably received an internal repair and then been repackaged for sale.

    In many cases I have suspected that they were first quality goods that the manufacturer needed to move due to inventory being too high/optimistic production schedules or to clear out prior to a new model.

    I just bought a pair of refurb binos: ZEN ED2 7x36 Binoculars by Zen-Ray Optics that supposedly had "slight damage on the box." It was so slight I couldn't see it. I think they are moving an overstock. The "special deal" ended September 30, but I see that, Lazarus-like, it's now back, ending October 31. Another clue, IMHO, pointing to an overstock.

    Interestingly, I ended up returning them because they were a little too big for me as a traveling bino. So they will again be sold, perfect box and all, as a refurb. (They are spectacular performers BTW if you are looking for good binos. Check out the birders' reviews.)

    As someone already said, just make sure there is a good return policy. Then you really aren't risking much.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Fmrvette

    Fmrvette This Space For Rent

    May 26, 2012
    Detroit, Michigan
    I've had good results buying refurb'd lenses from B&H.


    • Like Like x 1
  10. wreckless

    wreckless Mu-43 Regular

    Jan 15, 2011
    This is indeed the case (in my inside experience). however the "check" we did for the products was little more than a function check with no real reference to customer complaint. So, for example, lets say they returned it because the screen goes white once a chip overheats. The customer returns it with the generic statement that it does not work correctly. We get it, turn it on, take photos, check functions and menus and slap a "factory refurbished" sticker on it, never getting it hot enough to discover the initial complaint. But note; my job was not for a camera retailer/seller nor was it for electronics, the above example was purely hypothetical.

    BTW: what racing have you done? Is that a F-Ford in your avatar or a F-Vee something?...

    DAMN YOU!.... you actually got me to laugh. :mad: 
    And your assumptions are correct as far as I can tell; see above reply.
  11. oldracer

    oldracer Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Oct 1, 2010
    I ran lots of stuff over about 15 years of racing. Started with a Shelby 289 Cobra (not the Mustang, the real one) in Vintage, but really couldn't afford to crash that one. So moved on. Lots of Formula Ford. That photo is my DB-1 Swift FF on the last lap, winning the race. To make the avatar I unfortunately had to crop out the signaling bridge and the checkered flag.
    • Like Like x 2
  12. lenshoarder

    lenshoarder Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 7, 2010
    Given the choice between buying new or buying a refurb at a substantial discount, I'll buy refurb each and every time. You just have to make sure it's a real factory refurb. If so, it'll be good as new. One good way to tell is if the warranty is the same as new. They wouldn't give out the same warranty if it wasn't as good as new.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Replytoken

    Replytoken Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    May 7, 2012
    Puget Sound
    I purchased a refurbished Oly E-PL2 kit with two refurbished lenses directly from Olympus America. There was a small scratch on the LCD screen, but it was otherwise fine, especially for the price. A lot depends on the company, so make sure you get a return period, and if possible, try and get a warranty from the manufacturer. A friend purchased a refurbished Nikon D40 with kit lens from B&H, and had a problem with the lens. B&H swapped out the lens for him at no charge, but I am not certain of the value of aftermarket warranties that many stores offer.

    Good luck,

    • Like Like x 1
  14. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    A fair point for Nikon lenses, but for most gear the difference in warranty is much less (e.g. Nikon bodies are only warranted for 1 year). It also depends if you expect issues to crop up after a while. In my experience either something works well from the start or it doesn't.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. Chronos

    Chronos Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 18, 2012
    True True! Sometimes the discount for a refurb is enough to make it worth the relatively low risk. :)  The new Pany 12-35 i just purchased from amazon was used, saved $200 and it looks brand new!
    • Like Like x 1
  16. jeffg53

    jeffg53 Mu-43 Veteran Subscribing Member

    Aug 22, 2012
    Sydney, Australia
    Jeff Grant
    I'm waiting for Cameta to come to life after Sandy so that I can get a refurb 14-35. It has been used as a demo in the store, and comes with a 12 month warranty at an excellent price. That beats the hell out of taking a chance on Ebay in my opinion.
    • Like Like x 1
  17. demiro

    demiro Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Nov 7, 2010
    Another thumbs-up for refurbs. I've had no issues over quite a few purchases. Just make sure the savings is worth it to you vs anything you have to give up with regard to warranty.
    • Like Like x 1
  18. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    I buy 'em when I can. When you're in business as a photographer, every penny counts. I go through a lot of equipment, and buy them from the cheapest source.
    • Like Like x 1
  19. LeoS

    LeoS Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 6, 2012
    Purchased two refurbed 14-150mm from Cameta (me and a friend), both were in like-new condition, except for the plain cardboard box.

    Also purchased a refurbed Nikon V1 from them, but this one has button issues (menu button seems to be dead/stuck). Still waiting for them to reply to my inquiry about it...
    • Like Like x 1
  20. Geoff3DMN

    Geoff3DMN Mu-43 Veteran

    I've had good experiences with refurb gear from Apple and people on here had been giving Cameta good reports (like new, only slight marks etc) so I ordered a EPM-1 from them.

    The camera works without issues but it looks fairly heavily used in my opinion because the paint around the shutter button is actually worn off to a distance of about half an inch. I've put many thousands of shots through my other cameras without that much wear.

    So even so it works fine (and not worth returning to the US from Australia due to the high freight cost) it's used rather than refurbished in my book and should have been sold as such.
    • Like Like x 1
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