View Full Version : Dealer Ratings for Returns?

05-23-2005, 14:40
Hi all, I'm new to this forum and contemplating buying an Epson R-D1. Bought a Panasonic Lumix DMC-LC1 (Leica Digilux 2's brother) over the weekend but was very frustrated with the videofinder, but more importantly, the "usable" ASA100 is quite limiting, being that I like to take available light pictures of subjects that "move". The lens is beautiful but being forced to use ASA100 is almost impractical for me. So I am returning it.

Sigh. Now once again considering the R-D1. Of course, price has been the main reason of hesitation, crop factor second. But I've got a shelf-full of great Leica glass which I'd love to use when I'm off duty (I'm a news photographer by profession) and leave those beastly Canon 1d-Mark 2's in the corner.

After having gone through the threads and understanding that rangefinder alignment, hot pixels, and other issues may prompt a return, I wanted to ask which dealer is best at handling these returns -- B&H, Wolf Camera, Calumet ?

Thanks for your input.


05-23-2005, 15:07
I was in the same situation as you. I really liked the analog feel/form factor of the Panasonic/Luminex LC1 and the Digilux 2, great zoom Leica lens, and price point. But one demo with both cameras, and they were quickly ruled out. I like to manually focus, and those electronic viewfinders were awful. There was no way I could survive manually focusing with the EVF. So those were ruled out.

Back to the R-D1 saga. A real rangefinder, with interchangeable lenses, and best, optical viewfinder. Unlike you, I had no Leica or equivalent mount lenses, so I really had to start from scratch. So I bought it, but not until I ruled out every other option several times over (I considered DSLR's, but they are bulkier and while you can manually focus them, they are more geared towards auto-focus use).

The R-D1 is great, I'm glad I got it over buying a film camera and scanner. It's perfect for my workflow, and it is built like a tank. Even though many compare it to the $600 Bessa-R cameras in terms of build, it's a well built camera in the digital era. And I honestly forget it's digital when I use it - which I love, brings me back to my days shooting an all manual SLR.

As far as returns, with my experience, B&H is good with them. I've returned equipment there before and they've always been good about it. Keep all the packaging, and of course, don't scratch anything - I don't even remove the plastic from the camera until I know I want to keep it. And don't fill out any registration. B&H gives you 1 week to return digital equipment.

If you buy the camera in person, be sure to have it brought up and look at the box. It should come in a cardboard box sealed with Epson tape, then the black box inside should be shrink wrapped. My first one wasn't sealed at all, and I demanded an exchange, as I knew (from my readings here) that it should be double sealed.

Happy pondering -----


05-23-2005, 15:17
Thanks James. I've dealt a lot with B&H also (when I lived in NY and now in DC where I get to save on tax) so I am leaning towards getting the camera from them. Since they deal with such large volume I will assume every unit they are shipping out is brand new and factory sealed (and not something they turned around from a possible return).

I think I may take the plunge. After scouring the forums and trying to find any hint of any other digital M-mount camera that may come out (Zeiss-Ikon, Leica, etc.) it really seems to be a sensor issue. I guess a higher resolution APS-sized chip can be put in (8mp, etc.) or even a bigger 1.3x Canon type chip, but the vignetting issue will still exist. Seems as if a totally new sensor needs to be developed to address this issue.

I was going to give it another year before I start selling off the Leica glass, but I just want to use it NOW!

The Lumix/Digilux 2 was SUCH a disappointment. Great lens. Too bad they put too much noise removal in the software at ASA200-400 which obliterates all the fine qualities of that lens.

Regards, Charlie

05-24-2005, 07:12
Be sure if you order it, that when the R-D1 comes, it is sealed. As I said, my 1st one looked like a return - low serial number, and the plastic cellophane was not on the inner box. Even the camera itself was 'upside down' in its box. I exchanged it for a fresh one - at $3,000, I want it factory fresh.

I agree, there are of course going to be higher res sensors and possibly larger size ones, but for what I do, this is fine. I used a 3.3 mp camera for almost 5 years, so 6.1 is a good jump. And I don't make large prints - I know some people who do, and for them, a Canon Eos-1d MK2 is more appropriate. But for what I do, the R-D1 is great -- the form factor is important to me, and it delivers the goods I need.

Jim Watts
05-24-2005, 09:31
Given that there are some QC problems with the R-D1 that do not yet seem to have been fully resolved, unless you are forced to Mail Order, I wouldn't be too bothered about ensuring that the camera comes in a sealed box. My preference would be to check out the actual camera I was getting in the dealers before purchase for the more obvious problems that have been noted in this forum, that way you avoid having to return it (up to 4 times in some cases). It should be obvious if the camera shows an undue signs of use.

I think some R-D1's with low serial numbers "refurbished" by Epson are appearing even in Epson sealed boxes as this is how a friend got his last week and his serial number is lower than mine, which I purchased last December. And he had to return it as the rangefinder spot was at an angle to the framelines.

05-24-2005, 10:01
Thank you all for your answers. I will be mail ordering the camera in order to save on tax.

You have mentioned cases where buyers got Epson refurbished cameras in sealed boxes that needed to be returned (this in itself is worrying, since it is supposed to have been fixed). Also a case where a camera came in an unsealed box.

Could you divulge the dealers? I need to know who would be better to order from. I'd hate to think B&H is turning around returned goods.


05-24-2005, 10:56
I bought my R-D1 from Dr Joseph Yao in Hong Kong. I was, too, a bit fearful of the mentioned issues and asked Dr Yao if he could check out the camera before shipping it. This he did willingly. He informed me that my R-D1 is a late production, produced last April, and that it left a better impression with him than his own (early) camera. It seems that Epson might have addressed some or all of the issues in their latest batch(es) of the R-D1. I haven't received the camera yet (it's in hands of the Customs officers right now, so G only knows when they'll release it) and I'm not expert enough to fine test it like some of you. However, I'll try to give my impression of my camera when I've used it for a while if anyone is interested. :)

Jim Watts
05-25-2005, 02:33
Could you divulge the dealers? I need to know who would be better to order from. I'd hate to think B&H is turning around returned goods.

My R-D1 and that of my friend were purchased in the U.K. and as they are more expensive here than in the U.S. the dealer is not really relevant to you. In fact the dealer was not the problem as the box was sealed. He got a replacement yesterday, with now a much higher serial number than mine, which he checked out at the dealers and so far can see no problems.

If you are going to Mail Order, RML's idea of getting the (hopefully knowledgable) dealer to check it out seems like a good one. Hong Kong prices are very attractive to, if you are getting a checked camera.

Sean Reid
05-25-2005, 04:35
I would tend to say B&H because I've done many returns/exchanges with them and have never had a problem. Calumet, when I bought the camera, had a "no returns" policy for that item. Not sure about Samys.



05-25-2005, 08:54
Thanks all. The info I needed. I will buy from B&H and let you know how it goes!

Will get me a 21mm-D finder from cameraquest and I'll be good to go.

Regards, Charlie