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Question: An online factory presence where you can request your own RMA and handle repairs.
Yes, I see the added value and would use this - 36 (57.1%)
No, I don't see the need and would prefer using dealers only. - 27 (42.9%)
Total Voters: 58

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Author Topic: MFDB Factory Store & manufacturer presence  (Read 6935 times)
Dustbak
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« on: April 22, 2010, 10:41:02 AM »
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I have long wondered why the online presence of MFDB manufacturers is rather passive where it is also an excellent place for real communication and interaction with their customers. For a lot of things I get redirected to a dealer. In most cases I find this an extra layer that has no real value to me and I wish I had an alternative. Nowadays some manufacturers actually communicate really well with their clients (us photographers) at various levels but it seems very difficult for them to go all the way.

I want to be able to buy directly from the factory. Equipment for a sharp price without dealer support but only factory warranty. Do mind that buying from this factory shop means you have NO dealer support and you will be billed whenever you do require help or assistance from a dealer.

I also want to go to a website, log in, request a RMA for a piece of equipment. Send it to the manufacturer, get a price quote, get it fixed and returned.

I am not advocating to get rid of the dealer but to have an alternative next to the dealer system.

I wonder how many people are interested in having an alternative like this? Or not.
« Last Edit: April 22, 2010, 10:42:40 AM by Dustbak » Logged
Joe Behar
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2010, 09:06:08 PM »
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So...Just a couple of quick questions.

Lets say you're interested in buying a medium format back. You've read the reviews and narrowed your choices down to 2 different models. Now, don't you want to actually touch one and maybe even take a few shots before you write your cheque? How can you do that if you don't have a dealer?

Are you really prepared to fly to the factory to test a back?

What happens if you decide you want to do a second test?

Are you really prepared to lay down somewhere between $10,000 and $40,000 without ever actually testing the product you're going to buy?

Even if you don't want the support after the sale, are you really prepared to have no support BEFORE the sale?



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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2010, 10:05:26 PM »
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I haven't posted until now because it's just too obvious for me - as a dealer. Oh, there goes Joe, and there goes Steve to defend themselves and their interests.
Dealers always make arguments like "what about support", etc, etc. Been there, done that.

But EDP makes a good point - what if one knows exactly what one want to buy, doesn't feel they need any pre-support, maybe the dealer thinks they do, but they feel they don't. Should be their right to prove themselves correct.

And Joe makes a good point, many do not know exactly what they want, and dealers help educate about the choices.

But, the problem is...

While I can see where an end user would like at least the option to buy direct or from a dealer, it doesn't generally work out like that. Once a manufacturer goes direct, the dealers are done. And they have to be. If a manufacturer goes direct, they have to implement the infrastructure to provide sufficient pre and post sales and support. Why can't you just have both? Well, you could, but the direct to manufacturer route couldn't be priced lower than the dealer route, otherwise the dealers would bail. And support would tank, unless the manufacturer increased resources, which would increase prices...So, there wouldn't be a price advantage with the dealer and manufacturer both in the game and with only the manufacturer I don't believe there would be either.

Take Phase One as an example. If all their dealers went away, end user sales and support resources would need to be increased dramatically. And there is a substantial cost to this. And I don't think the savings to the end user would be that significant, if at all. Phase One relies on their dealers to help sell and support their products. They pay dealers a relatively modest amount for providing this service. Much of this amount (or even more) would have to be invested in their own infrastructure to maintain a high level of service. A 5% discount is scoffed at? Digital back margins have tumbled in recent years. A 5% discount is a significant block of profit given away. The guy that did 15%? I have no idea the level of service he offers nor the resources he maintains for those services, but you told him hey - here's a bluebird and 5% didn't get it done. Want a freebie? So, he did not make much, but he certainly didn't have to do much either, just take your money. How nice, good luck.

Another issue is one of product quality and support. We like to think that these products work as advertised and the only support you need is for when they break. Unfortunately, it is rarely so black and white.

Yesterday a thread was started on another forum about an issue of different color response with 2 different software versions. The manufacturer responded that they couldn't see any difference.

Today Dave Gallagher and I spent a LOT of time looking at images shot with a P40+, P45+, P65+. Between shooting them last night and reviewing and comparing them today we put in about 7 hours on just this one instance. We were noticing very interesting things about how differently each of them was handling scene detail and color under the same lighting conditions, exposures, white balance. The differences could easily prove critical to anyone considering purchasing these products.

As well intentioned as manufacturers may be (insert smiley face), if you prefer to go it alone and accept their judgement on whether you have a problem or not, whether a critical feature is implemented or not, whether a product is suitable or not for what you do, then my you do like stepping out on that tight rope alone.

I can tell you that no photographer I've ever met understands the differences between these products and how they operate as well as we do. No offense intended, but very very few photographers are as plugged in to what the current state of things are not just on competitive products but even their own product. On a daily basis we handle and compare current and up to date versions of these products and that knowledge is accumulated over years and years and generation upon generation. We know about differences you wouldn't even think to ask about. You want to rely on a manufacturer, who only gets paid when you buy his product, to tell you the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about their product? How is their track record so far?

As a consumer, I like having options. But if it all went direct you wouldn't have any. You have options now. You have very good dealers, average dealers, and not so good dealers. Choose wisely.

When I saw this poll I expected it to be a slam dunk for going direct. I'm surprised that it has been more even. Perhaps experience is talking here?


Steve Hendrix




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Steve Hendrix
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MFDB: Phase One/Leaf-Mamiya/Hasselblad/Leica/Sinar
TechCam: Alpa/Cambo/Arca Swiss/Sinar
Direct: 404.543.8475
pixjohn
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2010, 11:40:25 PM »
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Lets talk dealer support! I bought my Leaf back from Calumet and got 0 dealer support and nobody had a clue how to even use the item they sold.. Lets talk manufacture support, I got 0% manufacture support. I had nothing but problems with my Leaf back and bad software.

I am buying a new back now, and could careless about dealer support. I would rather get the best price I can. I was going to test with a local dealer but when I talked to the manufacture the dealer skipped out on doing the test with me? They said we will let the rep test with you. So why would I bother giving them my business. I would rather shop for price.

If any dealers in the US want to give me a great quote on an H4-50 please feel free to drop me a line including my local dealer.
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DesW
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« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2010, 12:33:13 AM »
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Oh yes OK-- how is it RED sell direct and are garnereing some of the best reputations in the industry-- we have RED's and their direct service/backup /etc would blow any other of the Planet!


DesW
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 12:36:42 AM by DesW » Logged
jimgolden
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2010, 12:56:20 AM »
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oh man, I dunno. I've had great dealer support from 1. the place i bought (PPR/Steve), 2. my local shop who has stepped up in a pinch numerous times, once with a long term solution (3 weeks, PPS, Portland) and 3. From Hassie - Per and Paul. All this and it was a refurb H3D-22...seems like a pretty good deal to me if you play your cards right AND have the support in place. Everyone above seems to have had a raw deal, but I don't think thats the norm. BTW, I consider Calumet to be B&H, not a real dealer...
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Dustbak
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« Reply #6 on: April 23, 2010, 01:14:20 AM »
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Sure Steve makes a good point. But mind you Steve I was going to buy things from you when you were at PPR instead of buying locally. Why? Because dealers over here really stink and don't add anything in general. You cannot shut your eyes for all the lousy dealers out there.

At least I want to have the option not to be depending on a dealer.

From the poll you can see that there are people that will still go via the dealer. I guess it will be safe to say there is room for both dealers as well as a more direct route.

Joe, yes I would be willing to pay that amount of money before testing. You know I have been using these things since 2002 and work with them almost daily from early morning to late in the evening often.

I would be happy to fly to my manufacturer to meet the people over there that are willing to help me out in a day everytime again where several dealers simply never respond. I would not be going there to test equipment.

I don't need 'support' before the sale.

I wonder why I 'need to be protected' from myself by forcing me to go to a dealer.

Again, I have nothing against dealers. Not the ones that are a real asset.  I do want another option because I want to be able to choose paying for 'service' instead of being forced into it.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 01:30:28 AM by Dustbak » Logged
Joe Behar
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« Reply #7 on: April 23, 2010, 07:52:49 AM »
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Quote from: Dustbak
Joe, yes I would be willing to pay that amount of money before testing. You know I have been using these things since 2002 and work with them almost daily from early morning to late in the evening often.

I would be happy to fly to my manufacturer to meet the people over there that are willing to help me out in a day everytime again where several dealers simply never respond. I would not be going there to test equipment.

I don't need 'support' before the sale.

I wonder why I 'need to be protected' from myself by forcing me to go to a dealer.

Again, I have nothing against dealers. Not the ones that are a real asset.  I do want another option because I want to be able to choose paying for 'service' instead of being forced into it.

Dustbak,

So, you're willing to pay to travel to the factory to get a discounted price..I guess the discount had better be pretty big if you're getting on plane, travelling to Denmark, paying for hotel, food and taxis....assuming you only have to do that once. Why do so many people believe that dealers have a gazzilion percent margin on ANY photo gear? Its just simply not true.

The "before" sale support I mentioned is simply the fact that you can walk into Vistek, as an example, and shoot with 4 different Phase One backs to compare. You can come in and do that 3 times to complete your tests. You can come in and rent the back that most interests you for a weekend, and if you decide to buy it, I'll refund your rental cost.

As far as having another option, like Steve mentioned, find the guy that gives you a 15% discount..there seem to be some of them out there. There also seem to be quite a few people that buy to get lowest price only and then end up calling, posting to forums and writing e mails for help when they have a problem. Strangely enough, they tend to get answers from people such as myself, Steve Hendrix, Doug Peterson and the Hasselblad rep here (I think its David Grover, please excuse me if I have that wrong)

Don't get me wrong, I won't stop answering questions, even if they come from that guy that bought from some anonymous website that is sitting in his studio with a $20,000 system that he can't get to perform as well as he thinks it can or is having some sort of problem with a client due there in 15 minutes. I'll give you odds that he'll be back to do more business with me in the future.

Have a look through these very forums. How many times have you seen questions on software, hardware, OS compatibility or a host of other topics? Usually an answer comes from either a dealer or a very experienced user. Those very experienced users (who are a great asset to the photo community because they share their knowledge) had to learn somewhere. I can almost guarantee you they learned from a dealer when they first became early adopters.

Its been a long week.....

End of rant.
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 07:55:33 AM by Joe Behar » Logged
Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2010, 08:20:40 AM »
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Quote from: Dustbak
Sure Steve makes a good point. But mind you Steve I was going to buy things from you when you were at PPR instead of buying locally. Why? Because dealers over here really stink and don't add anything in general. You cannot shut your eyes for all the lousy dealers out there.

At least I want to have the option not to be depending on a dealer.

From the poll you can see that there are people that will still go via the dealer. I guess it will be safe to say there is room for both dealers as well as a more direct route.

Joe, yes I would be willing to pay that amount of money before testing. You know I have been using these things since 2002 and work with them almost daily from early morning to late in the evening often.

I would be happy to fly to my manufacturer to meet the people over there that are willing to help me out in a day everytime again where several dealers simply never respond. I would not be going there to test equipment.

I don't need 'support' before the sale.

I wonder why I 'need to be protected' from myself by forcing me to go to a dealer.

Again, I have nothing against dealers. Not the ones that are a real asset.  I do want another option because I want to be able to choose paying for 'service' instead of being forced into it.


That's my point, though. I don't feel there will be an option. At least not one that results in lower costs for the end user. You will be paying for service or receiving less of it. If manufacturers sell direct at lower prices than dealers, then dealers will go away. And 2 things will happen, either support will suffer or prices will rise. And I think in either case, support will be worse than from a good dealer.

I understand the root of this desire. I just don't think it's that simple. And the solution won't take the form that one would hope. Does Red do a good job with technical support? I have heard that they do, but they began that way. They already have the infrastructure in place from the beginning and there's no telling how the pricing might have been different with dealers in place. Maybe it would be less, maybe more. Be careful what you wish for. You have a problem, the manufacturer says sorry. No recourse but your lawyer. It's still early, but Red is already starting to go down that road of promised products and upgrades....

As a dealer, we can't solve every problem that the manufacturer has created. We can't resolve every conflict between an end user and a manufacturer so the end user is happy. But we do take care of and bring a satisfactory result to many end users in many cases that did not appear to be heading in that direction initially. Not in every case, but many. We make a difference, we advocate, knowledgeably, from the end user's perspective and position. Not having that option and not gaining any traction in cost reduction is the result of a manufacturer direct channel IME and IMO.

While we (Capture Integration) benefit from the lack of good dealers, unfortunately end users who use those dealers suffer. Manufacturers should provide better dealer choices for end users. I would have been more than happy to sell to you Ray (and would be today). If manufacturers don't present good dealer choices, end users should (and many times do) have the option to purchase from a dealer they feel more comfortable with.


Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #9 on: April 23, 2010, 12:07:10 PM »
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I can only talk about Epson. I paid a dealer to use my cash to drop shop a 9880 from the central warehouse in the States. When I ran into a few problems I tried using Epson's assistance but was unable to understand their out sourced English. I was very lucky that on a earlier trip south I came across a distributor who specialized in Epson products. Ink in stock on hand and any paper I needed shipped to my door in less than 24 hours. They don't mind answering technical questions and speak English.  I immediately transferred all my purchasing though them because they know the product and took care of me. No crap, no BS, they now have sold two other printers to photographers because of their sales and service to me. Those clients experienced an aftermarket care that went far beyond anything ever experienced with the majors.

As for the original dealer who is a major player in the Canadian market, they have lost me as a client, not because they did any thing wrong, they were unable to capture me as a client due to their customer service.

Lesson learned, the small specific shops that cater to my needs get my cash. The next back will not be through the major dealership because of their customer service, the small guys are just way way better. The big guys seem to feel that they have all the cards in the deck and offer a deal they feel is fair. The small shop offered up near the same deal a few pennies different but their customer service has me captured.

I need my dealership, I need access to their skill set and knowledge. I don't need to talk to machines or wait for an operator to connect me. Look to my needs and I am a client even when things go south, I am still a client.

Last point, If a problems develops with NX it can be more than frustrating attempting to find an answer in the Nikon site. Capture on the other hand allows individuals to create a working file that Capture One will answerer in my experience within 24 hours. NX may be a better converter for the nef files but since I use a MF back for 80% of my shooting I have learned to work with nef files because Capture One is my main converter. Customer service is what captured me again as a client.


Mark Prins
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pixjohn
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« Reply #10 on: April 23, 2010, 02:04:05 PM »
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Wrong I bought from my local calumet and got zero help. Why should I buy from another local dealer who I don't see any added value or like doing business with them in the past?

Quote from: Joe Behar
Dustbak,


As far as having another option, like Steve mentioned, find the guy that gives you a 15% discount..there seem to be some of them out there. There also seem to be quite a few people that buy to get lowest price only and then end up calling, posting to forums and writing e mails for help when they have a problem. Strangely enough, they tend to get answers from people such as myself, Steve Hendrix, Doug Peterson and the Hasselblad rep here (I think its David Grover, please excuse me if I have that wrong)

End of rant.
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #11 on: April 23, 2010, 02:04:41 PM »
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Quote from: EPd
Steve mentioned that even the experienced users must have gotten their knowledge from somewhere, likely being dealers. My experience: most of the time I am explaining to dealers what they should be explaining to me. They drive me crazy with their ignorance about the products they sell and their general lack of logical trouble shooting.

In the example of my previous post (which was NOT a digital back, but highly professional sound gear), I wasn't even able to get a demonstration if I had wanted it because none of the available dealers had the equipment in stock, not even the importer. I had made sure that I read everything I could find about this gear and at the time of purchase I had not one question to ask to the dealer except for the price and estimated delivery time. This is my usual way of working when buying expensive goods that I need to rely on in my business. Check my posting history on LL and you will find that I have hardly ever asked a question for any kind of support (possibly none at all). There is no way that I can rely on the knowledge of dealers as I have learned over the years and so I do my homework meticulously. Dealers will never suggest you to buy something that they do not have on offer, even if it would be a much better option for your situation. Would I have the experience that dealers had some real added value I would be happy to pay the extra fee for their help. But I hate to pay a premium for someone just being a proxy between me and the manufacturer, slowing down everything surrounding the purchase and possible warranty service.

Question: does anybody in Europe have the experience of really outstanding dealer support, even when you have a lot of knowledge yourself? (Of course, there are always those who are ignorant themselves and any "help" from a dealer must be great for them. I've met many of such colleagues and until I came into their life they thought they had gotten great service from their dealers. Now they phone me in the middle of the night if they have a problem.)


EPD

I think you're getting me mixed up with Joe. I didn't state this.

I guess the dealers suck where you are. Again, my point is users need better dealer options. Or more of them. I don't believe the premium for the "dealer proxy" will go away if dealers go away.

There must be some dealer in Europe worth their salt.


Steve Hendrix
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MFDB: Phase One/Leaf-Mamiya/Hasselblad/Leica/Sinar
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Dustbak
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« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2010, 03:13:05 PM »
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Quote from: Joe Behar
Dustbak,

So, you're willing to pay to travel to the factory to get a discounted price..I guess the discount had better be pretty big if you're getting on plane, travelling to Denmark, paying for hotel, food and taxis....assuming you only have to do that once. Why do so many people believe that dealers have a gazzilion percent margin on ANY photo gear? Its just simply not true.

The "before" sale support I mentioned is simply the fact that you can walk into Vistek, as an example, and shoot with 4 different Phase One backs to compare. You can come in and do that 3 times to complete your tests. You can come in and rent the back that most interests you for a weekend, and if you decide to buy it, I'll refund your rental cost.

As far as having another option, like Steve mentioned, find the guy that gives you a 15% discount..there seem to be some of them out there. There also seem to be quite a few people that buy to get lowest price only and then end up calling, posting to forums and writing e mails for help when they have a problem. Strangely enough, they tend to get answers from people such as myself, Steve Hendrix, Doug Peterson and the Hasselblad rep here (I think its David Grover, please excuse me if I have that wrong)

Don't get me wrong, I won't stop answering questions, even if they come from that guy that bought from some anonymous website that is sitting in his studio with a $20,000 system that he can't get to perform as well as he thinks it can or is having some sort of problem with a client due there in 15 minutes. I'll give you odds that he'll be back to do more business with me in the future.

Have a look through these very forums. How many times have you seen questions on software, hardware, OS compatibility or a host of other topics? Usually an answer comes from either a dealer or a very experienced user. Those very experienced users (who are a great asset to the photo community because they share their knowledge) had to learn somewhere. I can almost guarantee you they learned from a dealer when they first became early adopters.

Its been a long week.....

End of rant.


I just noticed your reply.

No! I would not go there to pick up equipment. I would have it UPS'ed to me. Much simpler. This is also how I currently send and get my equipment. How do you know I would go to Denmark?  I would go there to meet the people not pick up equipment. Eg. in that case I would be more interested in the social aspect of my visit. I thought that was pretty clear from my remarks.

In the almost 10 years I use MFDB I have never ever had any support, I did not need it, did not ask for it. I consider myself a very experienced user and I can guarantuee you I am autodidact.

Anyway. It seems you are not understanding what I am saying or only looking at it from a fairly narrow perspective but it seems you are completely dismissing the existance of people that do not need or want dealer services.

Maybe we should have an European factory online store first
« Last Edit: April 23, 2010, 03:14:30 PM by Dustbak » Logged
Joe Behar
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« Reply #13 on: April 23, 2010, 03:32:05 PM »
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Quote from: pixjohn
Wrong I bought from my local calumet and got zero help. Why should I buy from another local dealer who I don't see any added value or like doing business with them in the past?

Pixjohn,

I am very sorry to hear that you did not get the level of service you expected from your dealer. I'm not going to make any excuses for them, but here's my $0.02 worth of advice.

When you negotiate with your dealer for a purchase, make it clear what your expectations are and then hold them to it..even if it means putting it in writing.

I have no fear of that as a dealer, because I know I can deliver. Hold their feet to the fire if you're not getting the level of service that you either expect or were promised. It would be nice if everyone, clients and dealers alike went above and beyond the call of duty, but sometimes you have to remind them.

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Joe Behar
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« Reply #14 on: April 23, 2010, 03:38:30 PM »
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Quote from: Dustbak
I just noticed your reply.

No! I would not go there to pick up equipment. I would have it UPS'ed to me. Much simpler. This is also how I currently send and get my equipment. How do you know I would go to Denmark?  I would go there to meet the people not pick up equipment. Eg. in that case I would be more interested in the social aspect of my visit. I thought that was pretty clear from my remarks.

In the almost 10 years I use MFDB I have never ever had any support, I did not need it, did not ask for it. I consider myself a very experienced user and I can guarantuee you I am autodidact.

Anyway. It seems you are not understanding what I am saying or only looking at it from a fairly narrow perspective but it seems you are completely dismissing the existance of people that do not need or want dealer services.

Maybe we should have an European factory online store first

I understand what you're saying..I think.

You have 10 years of experience, you don't need tutoring and your main concern is the best price possible. As I said to Pixjohn, make that clear to your dealer. You might be pleasantly surprised, but don't expect them to fall all over themselves when you do need help.

Also, I understand about UPS and other couriers, but my question was more along the lines of would you commit to a $20,000 back without actually shooting with it?

I'd be really interested in finding out just how many people on these forums would write a cheque for $20,000 for a digital back they have never touched, let alone shot with and evaluated.

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pixjohn
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« Reply #15 on: April 23, 2010, 03:48:07 PM »
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Thank you, but its been a tough road. If you look up my post you will see the nightmare with
Calumet and LEAF. I bought from Calumet because they where a big company, but never got anyone to help solve my problems. I ended up being ignored by LEAF and went through 5 backs.  The end result, I never had what was promised from Calumet or LEAF. I am very hesitant buying another back but the Hasselblad H4-50 is on top of my list. I would have liked to have a good local dealer, but when my back kept being sent back to LEAF, calumet offered to rent me another back! The leaf Aptus and software works great for some application, but was a total lemon for me.

I would be just has happy to buy from Hasselblad at a fair price. With todays technology you see a lot of companies selling direct. The company makes more and the customer gets a better price since they don't have to pay the middleman.

Quote from: Joe Behar
Pixjohn,

I am very sorry to hear that you did not get the level of service you expected from your dealer. I'm not going to make any excuses for them, but here's my $0.02 worth of advice.

When you negotiate with your dealer for a purchase, make it clear what your expectations are and then hold them to it..even if it means putting it in writing.

I have no fear of that as a dealer, because I know I can deliver. Hold their feet to the fire if you're not getting the level of service that you either expect or were promised. It would be nice if everyone, clients and dealers alike went above and beyond the call of duty, but sometimes you have to remind them.
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TMARK
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« Reply #16 on: April 23, 2010, 04:22:13 PM »
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Joe,

No need to spend $20K to get hands on or go through a dealer.  

Weekend rental on your dime, or renting backs for jobs.  Everything I learned about MFDB I learned from renting them for jobs.  Techs and friends at studios gave me the lowdown, not just as a buying aid, but primarily as a way to avoid disaster on a paying job.  



Quote from: Joe Behar
I understand what you're saying..I think.

You have 10 years of experience, you don't need tutoring and your main concern is the best price possible. As I said to Pixjohn, make that clear to your dealer. You might be pleasantly surprised, but don't expect them to fall all over themselves when you do need help.

Also, I understand about UPS and other couriers, but my question was more along the lines of would you commit to a $20,000 back without actually shooting with it?

I'd be really interested in finding out just how many people on these forums would write a cheque for $20,000 for a digital back they have never touched, let alone shot with and evaluated.
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Joe Behar
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« Reply #17 on: April 23, 2010, 05:56:58 PM »
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Quote from: TMARK
Joe,

No need to spend $20K to get hands on or go through a dealer.  

Weekend rental on your dime, or renting backs for jobs.  Everything I learned about MFDB I learned from renting them for jobs.  Techs and friends at studios gave me the lowdown, not just as a buying aid, but primarily as a way to avoid disaster on a paying job.

Yup, that works...It might be the somewhat slower way, but it definitely works.

As long as you have friends and techs that are willing to share.

May I ask how many total days did you rent a medium format back? If you add up that total, did you still save money? Do you think that if you had the help of a good dealer, got a couple of free demos and then rented a back and got the rental refunded towards your purchase the cost would have been evened out?

These are not meant to be leading or controversial questions, I'm asking sincerely.

After all the main crux of this discussion is bypassing the dealer to save money.
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TMARK
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« Reply #18 on: April 24, 2010, 12:12:56 AM »
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Editorial clients like Conde Nastey, Hearst, hachette filipacchi, and commercial clients like Verizon paid for the rentals.  I took one out for a weekend rental from Calumet because I wanted to shoot Phase, and they cut me a deal, so it was $250.  I also know, or knew, lots of techs at Splashlight and Pier 59.  Later Fast Ashley's/IC Color.  Conde had a deal with Fotocare, so I only rented Leaf for a long time.

So all in all I probably had one in hand for 30 or so days before buying my own.  



Quote from: Joe Behar
Yup, that works...It might be the somewhat slower way, but it definitely works.

As long as you have friends and techs that are willing to share.

May I ask how many total days did you rent a medium format back? If you add up that total, did you still save money? Do you think that if you had the help of a good dealer, got a couple of free demos and then rented a back and got the rental refunded towards your purchase the cost would have been evened out?

These are not meant to be leading or controversial questions, I'm asking sincerely.

After all the main crux of this discussion is bypassing the dealer to save money.
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Joe Behar
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« Reply #19 on: April 24, 2010, 07:47:54 AM »
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Quote from: EPd
How about when your dealer cannot even demonstrate the product to you? Or when you cannot even rent what you want to buy? Or when you cannot compare different options by doing a side-by-side test between different brands because dealers won't allow you to? I have NEVER in my life had a chance to do any of these things before making a really costly purchase. The only pre-purchase handling that I had in some cases was at trade shows or with stuff owned by others. OK, I may have a boutique taste for unusual equipment, but what is the purpose of having to deal with a dealer if he cannot provide any of the "services" that he is supposed to provide you with? For me the internet has changed my world as now I am at least able to communicate with others about their experience with certain products, or I can read in user groups. It's a daunting task to browse through thousands of posts sometimes and try to filter out useful information, but it is better than getting no information at all or information that is primarily aimed at trapping you into a sale. After I have done all that work myself I would like to be rewarded with a lower price as well. I can't see how a direct outlet would be endangering the dealer system, other than when they have no real added value to the buyer. If there is a real value any professional user will be happy to pay something extra for it if it is going to benefit his strength in business.

EPd,

I hear you loud and clear....and I agree with some of what you say.

I think Steve said it a while ago. "it sucks if you don't have a good dealer nearby" and it appears you are in that situation.

I said something earlier and I stand by it. If your local dealer does something a s stupid as not allow you to test two cameras that they sell side by side, you have to tell them straight up that's the only way they will get you business. If they still refuse, vote with your feet.

Rentals are a little different, some dealers are just simply too small to have a rental department, but they should be able to either do a demo for you or come to your studio to do it.

The internet has truly changed things. Research is easy, everyone has a voice and you can indeed find most of what you need. I'm at least happy to read that you believe that there is real value proposition to be had with a good dealer.

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