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09-10-2015, 08:43 PM   #1
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The big auction site...internationally

Roaming around the big interweb auction site, I see a lot of tempting items from other countries, particularly Japan.

Do any of you have experience with the international sellers? All smooth? Big red flags? For some reason, I'm a little leery, but I have zero hard evidence to tell me I should be.

(FTR, I'm not picking on Japan here. My question applies equally to Denmark, Botswana, or wherever. I just seem to see more Pentax items from Japan than anywhere else. You know, the place where they made the stuff I'm looking at.)

Anyhoo, your input regarding international sales would be appreciated.

09-10-2015, 08:57 PM   #2
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Japanese dealers tend to be very professional and reliable - on average, better than US dealers. I've bought two or three lenses from Japan, and everything went very well - in one case, I had the lens by the end of the week - with candy! This question comes up from time to time on PF, and the consensus is usually quite good.

I've generally had good experiences with international sales - the problems are usually where you would expect them to be (if you read enough auctions, you see sellers list the same countries again and again as places that they won't ship to). Just take that into account when figuring how much you are willing to lose if things go completely to pieces.
09-10-2015, 09:05 PM   #3
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QuoteOriginally posted by THoog Quote
Japanese dealers tend to be very professional and reliable - on average, better than US dealers. I've bought two or three lenses from Japan, and everything went very well - in one case, I had the lens by the end of the week - with candy! This question comes up from time to time on PF, and the consensus is usually quite good.

I've generally had good experiences with international sales - the problems are usually where you would expect them to be (if you read enough auctions, you see sellers list the same countries again and again as places that they won't ship to). Just take that into account when figuring how much you are willing to lose if things go completely to pieces.
Thanks. I will say that the ads from the Japanese sellers -language barriers aside- seem to be more carefully prepared than many of the domestic auctions. The photos are top-notch, and the descriptions seem honest, as far as auction descriptions ever are, at least.

What I don't see from the international sellers is the ubiquitous American post with three blurry pictures and reading entirely as follows: "Pentax camera with three lenses and a strap." Then you get two pictures of the strap, and one shot of what matters from 629 feet away. Not that I'm bitter.
09-10-2015, 09:13 PM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by Lenscap Quote
Not that I'm bitter.


09-10-2015, 09:25 PM   #5
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I have bought a few Pentax items specifically from Japan over the last year. Perfect experience each time. Just last week I won a lens I had been looking to buy for the past four years. Won it on a Tuesday, paid $16 for EMS shipping and had it in my hands that Friday afternoon (to be clear, that is the quickest I have ever received something so might not be typical.)

I don't recall if I have ever bought anything else internationally... maybe a few adapters from Hong Kong... my experiences have been positive though. There might be some places I would be more hesitant... not so much even due to sellers (as you can see feedback and make some solid judgments on that,) but he mail service in certain areas of the world is not as reliable.
09-10-2015, 09:34 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by sunny16 Quote
I have bought a few Pentax items specifically from Japan over the last year. Perfect experience each time. Just last week I won a lens I had been looking to buy for the past four years. Won it on a Tuesday, paid $16 for EMS shipping and had it in my hands that Friday afternoon (to be clear, that is the quickest I have ever received something so might not be typical.)

I don't recall if I have ever bought anything else internationally... maybe a few adapters from Hong Kong... my experiences have been positive though. There might be some places I would be more hesitant... not so much even due to sellers (as you can see feedback and make some solid judgments on that,) but he mail service in certain areas of the world is not as reliable.
The Japanese sellers I've looked at have all had feedback at or near 100% positive.

My hesitancy may just arise from the fact that if a sale goes wrong stateside, the worst-case scenario leaves me dog-cussing the seller in his own language. I can't effectively dog-cuss someone in Farsi or Mandarin or Polish, and that's a weak reason to pass on an item.

I'm getting a better vibe about snagging some gear from abroad.
09-10-2015, 09:39 PM   #7
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I've bought items from all over as well. Czech republic, Slovakia, the UK, Ukraine, China, Korea, Japan all in the past year. I just purchased my MZ-3 about 2 months ago from a Japanese seller on the 'Bay - went perfectly. EMS shipping from there is ridiculously fast considering the distance. The seller's English, as you've noted, wasn't the best, but he had loads of feedback and the item looked legit (e.g. not just stock or reused photos). It arrived in perfect condition. Top notch, really.
Again, check the feedback - I'm always leery about purchasing anything from a seller with poor or, even moreso, very little feedback regardless of their location. Come to think of it, in the past year or so my only two negative experiences (which I'll not get into) were both from US sellers, one (to my dismay) which had very good feedback. You never can tell for certain. Just be cautious and ask questions. But yes, overall, there is nothing scary about Japanese sales - just a slight language barrier and a longer wait for items (and a bit more shipping costs).

*You also run a good chance of getting something packed with a Japanese newspaper for packaging/padding which (to me at least) is always kinda fun when you're opening it.
09-10-2015, 09:47 PM   #8
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European sellers usually speak English, which is close enough to American for us to understand each other. My Carl Zeiss Jena 'zebra' lenses came from Germany, Poland, or Czech. Shipping tends to be high from western Europe and the UK - keep that in mind.

For Asia, Hong Kong sellers are more likely to speak English (and ship faster) than sellers in mainland China. If I get anything from Guangzhou or Shenzhen, it's usually in the "don't care when/if it shows up" category - although I think it always has gotten here eventually.

Like I said, I've gotten a few things from Japan, and they've been first-rate. Ditto for Korea (Seoul).

09-10-2015, 10:20 PM   #9
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A lot of Aussie sellers are guilty of the "3 blurry pics" thing, but so far I've found them all honest.

Regarding the Japanese ones, they're good and bad, my father has purchased a few cameras from a few of the Japanese sellers.


So far two cameras to my knowledge have arrived not quite as described.
One was a Pentax 6x7, visually it is the one from the advert, and the serial number matches too. The advert said it was fully functional etc.

Unfortunately, it seems to have an issue with the film winding, while it will indeed wind, it doesnt seem to do it quite right (we followed the instruction manual but having never used a 6x7 dad and I may have been doing something incorrect)

The next item was a TTL prism for the same camera, it doesn work at all. Needle wont move. In saying that, perhaps the 6x7 body has an electrical fault? since we dont have a spare 6x7 around to test we assumed it was the body not the prism that has the issue.


The last one is a 35mm Pentax Super-A that dad got me as a gift.
While I havent finished the roll in it to test with it all looks fine. Visually good (minor leather peeling) lens is great.
The only fault I can find is that the film counter is stuck at 36, minor problem, but at the same time not described in the ad.



For what it's worth, the service provided by each seller has been brilliant and prompt, and the cameras have always arrived about 98% as described, it's just those few tiny things that seem to get missed.

For the Super-A I'll assume that it was just an oversight (easy to do)
For the TTL Prism the assumption is that the body is the issue instead.
For the 6x7 it may have been user error on our part (although I am quite confident we followed the manual 100%)

My advice would be to bid away, but at the same time make a point of leaving enough headroom on your price to take into account some minor faults that might not have been noticed at their end.



My own personal ebay purchases have always been Aussie sellers (I dont use paypal, and dont have a credit card)
The only faults i've had from the stuff I;ve bought is one lens with some minor fungus, one with a missing set screw on the focus ring (both from the one bulk lot I bought) and one completely stuffed rangefinder (which was advertised as such, and priced as such)



edit:
Should probably add that I'm Australia based, so we probably get stuff shipped from Japan faster than say the US since we're a lot closer
09-10-2015, 10:32 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by hks_kansei Quote

The next item was a TTL prism for the same camera, it doesn work at all. Needle wont move. In saying that, perhaps the 6x7 body has an electrical fault? since we dont have a spare 6x7 around to test we assumed it was the body not the prism that has the issue.
A little off-topic, but did you ensure you didn't have a lens mounted on the 6x7 when you added or removed the prism or finder? There's a chain that registers aperture changes from the lens in the prism metering mechanism. (It is at the very front/top of the camera body - a small channel runs horizontally right at the top of where the prism/finder mounts and the chain lies inside it. You might check that it isn't broken. (It can break if you mount/dismount the prism without first removing the lens. (Mine is broken) You might also make sure you've a fresh battery (at the base of the camera body). You might also know all of this already but I thought it was worth mentioning.

** more info - https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/48-pentax-medium-format/271348-broken-chain-67-a.html

Last edited by chickentender; 09-10-2015 at 10:40 PM. Reason: **
09-10-2015, 11:27 PM   #11
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I have bought two bodies, 2 lens and a Pentax flash unit. Every item was mint. If I did not know they were used I would never have believed it. I have found that they are very accurate in describing their items and have come to prefer buying from Japan if I am buying used.
09-11-2015, 12:06 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by chickentender Quote
A little off-topic, but did you ensure you didn't have a lens mounted on the 6x7 when you added or removed the prism or finder? There's a chain that registers aperture changes from the lens in the prism metering mechanism. (It is at the very front/top of the camera body - a small channel runs horizontally right at the top of where the prism/finder mounts and the chain lies inside it. You might check that it isn't broken. (It can break if you mount/dismount the prism without first removing the lens. (Mine is broken) You might also make sure you've a fresh battery (at the base of the camera body). You might also know all of this already but I thought it was worth mentioning.

** more info - https://www.pentaxforums.com/forums/48-pentax-medium-format/271348-broken-chain-67-a.html

Yep, lens removed when fitting prism.
Chain is intact, and does move back and forth as aperture is changed (checked it with the prism off)
Battery was fresh out of the packet.

it all seems to attach fine and work, it's just that the match needle does nothing. I'm not sure though if it's a matter of the meter not working, or that the body has a fault and the prism is not getting any power (since the body powers the prism)


Thank you for the suggestions though.
09-11-2015, 03:27 AM   #13
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TWO in my opinion important tips :

1) Always check not only the 100% rating but also set the feedback page to show feedbacks only for sales (and 200 per page), and go through pages quickly until feedbacks are year or more old.. This can reveal some negatives that were left over a year ago which eBay is hiding from buyers (for obvious reasons).

2) always see how many feedbacks are REVISED ( tiny text to the right, on the main feedback page) - for me anything more than 1-2 rises some red flags (I would put an extra effort to scroll through seller's feedbacks).

These two mechanisms : older than a year negatives and revised total number of feedbacks will help you determine with better accuracy what kind of seller you are dealing with. Also important are 5 star rating for item as described (ideally should be 5) and similar for communication.
09-11-2015, 05:11 AM   #14
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My experiences

I've bought lenses and accessories via auctions on the internet and my experiences have been positive. The one lense that was defective I was able to return with no problems for a refund of the purchase price and shipping. The auction site does have a dispute resolution process.


I do prefer to buy from business as opposed to individuals. And as the earlier comments have advised check the ratings. Good hunting.
09-11-2015, 05:38 AM   #15
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If you are buying from Japan, Australia or western Europe (and probably a few other places), the chances of being defrauded are the same or less than a local purchase. For other locations, I would only take the gamble if it was a great deal, a long time ebayer, and it was an amount of money I can afford to lose.

If someone has been selling online for four years with great feedback, probably a good risk. A 3 month old profile or even a few recent red marks, I'd take a pass.

Also, read the bad reviews. I've seen some that say something like "I never received the item", and the buyer's response is "you never sent payment", and I've seen others where the buyer was clearly being ridiculous, but the seller gets negative feedback anyway.
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