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Old Sep 21, 2007, 11:27 PM   #1
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Does anyone have any thoughts on buying refurbished cameras?
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Old Sep 22, 2007, 5:45 AM   #2
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Everything has a MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) and a MCBF (Mean Cycles Between Failures), so the longer something has been used, and the more frequently something has been operated, the sooner it will fail. A good refurbishing will replace all the components that are most likely to fail in the near future, but for others, a refurbished camera is just that much closer to a major failure.

On the other hand, putting something through a thorough Quality Control check after it has been in use for a while is a good idea too.

I would certainly put a higher value on a refurbished camera than I would on a used camera (depending on who did the refurbishing), but refurbishing also just prolongs the inevitable: Obsolescence. Film cameras have had a substantial useful life. Many 20 year old, even 50 year old 35mm cameras are still in use today. What we don't know is how long digital cameras might last, not just in terms of how long they will last, but how long someone will want to use them, or even how long they can use them. 35mm film has been around for a long time and is likely to be around for a while longer; how long will CF and SD cards (or xD Cards or Memory StickPRO Duo) be around?

If you plan to be using it in 10 or 20 years, buy a new one. But if you'll be replacing it in a year or two, buy refurbished.
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Old Sep 22, 2007, 3:27 PM   #3
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Personally, I've had good luck with factory refurbished gear. I bought a Nikon camera that way some years back (directly from Nikon USA via their http://www.nikonmall.com web site), and it arrived in perfect condition. I could not tell that it had ever been used at all (it appeared to be brand new, and even the manuals appeared to be new and shrink wrapped).

I bought a Dell PC that way (factory refurbished). It also arrived in perfect condition.

Ditto for lenses. I bought a Minolta 28mm f/2 AF lens in factory refurbished condition. It arrived looking and working like new. The only "give away" was the Minolta box it came in (it was stamped factory reconditioned). I even bought my current cordless phone system that way. lol

So, I personally wouldn't hesitate to buy genuine factory recondtioned gear. The only downside from my perspective is that the warranty period is typically not as long (most of the time you only get a 90 day warranty on reconditoned gear). But, even that is not always true (for example, I got the same warranty on my reconditioned Dell PC that they offer on new models).

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Old Sep 22, 2007, 4:09 PM   #4
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JimC wrote:
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I bought a Dell PC that way (factory refurbished). It also arrived in perfect condition.
Dell's Outlet Store is a great resource, isn't it? I get all my computers from there. I saved about$1,000 on my last server!

I've even guided some of my customers through purchasing multiple computers from there. One client needed 10 computers fast, and that's where we found them, and at a considerable savings too.


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Old Sep 22, 2007, 4:54 PM   #5
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Yep... I practically stole the PC I bought from Dell Outlet.

But, I took advantage of some coupon deals and weekend specials they had at the time, too. It was listed in reburbished condition for $1,029 at the time (which was a huge discount over a new PC like it at the time). But, after the specials and coupons, I got it for $479 delivered. lol

See my post about it in this thread from 2004:

http://forums.steves-digicams.com/fo...amp;forum_id=2

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Old Sep 22, 2007, 6:29 PM   #6
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October '04? You're about due for a new one aren't you?

Computers have a useful life of about 3 years, unless you do upgrades along the way.
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Old Sep 22, 2007, 7:33 PM   #7
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That depends on what software you use. ;-)

I've done a few upgrades. But, it's the same motherboard and CPU and I really don't need anything faster. I don't do gaming and I run Linux most of the time. It doesn't hog all of the resources the way Windows does and seems to work quite well using some of the newer kernels.

I run a 2.6.22.3 SMP (Symmetric Multiprocessing) kernel with it under Sidux 2007 (based on Debian Sid/Unstable) and a 2.6.22.1 SMP kernel with it under the SimplyMEPIS 7.0 betas (based on Debian Etch/Stable). They both handle threading quite well, even though my CPU is using Hyperthreading versus true dual cores.

I even keep Apache, PHP, MySQL and more running some of the time, too (and still have very little CPU resources being used unless I'm doing something that really taxes it).

I've still got some slower boxes I use from time to time, too. There are probably 4 or 5 PCs sitting within about 10 feet of me right now. lol

If you think my 3Ghz P4 based Dell is outdated, my wife is still using a 300mhz Pentium Mobile based laptop. She uses mostly Firefox and Open Office, and I rarely see RAM usage go much over around 100MB. I'm running her laptop under SimplyMEPIS 6.04 Beta 4. I only paid $112 for this laptop (over 2 years ago now).

It seems to do OK for her needs. But, I may ask her if she wants to try the new community developed SimplyMEPIS "Anti-X" on it, which uses a lighter Window manager. On my PC, it seems to only use around 40MB (that's four zero, not four hundred MB) of RAM total running from a Live CD and very little CPU is being used by the Window manager. I haven't tried it on her laptop yet.

The SimplyMEPIS 6.04 Beta 4 I've got on her laptop is a bit of a memory hog. With Firefox 2.x showing a page with Flash 9 Content on it, almost 100MB of RAM is being used. I think newer versions of Firefox are getting bloated, as the OS and applications loaded at bootup run in around 67MB without Firefox. ;-)

The older 3.3 version of SimplyMEPIS would run in 64MB of RAM on it, and I could even get older versions of Firefox, Open Office and the Gimp running at the same time in 64MB (although it was swapping to disk a lot until I upgraded her RAM). I've got 256MB in it now.

I guess I could disable some of the software running on it to get better performance on her laptop. For example, I've got virus protection, software update notification programs, weather applets and more started at bootup (that I could probably disable to save CPU resources). She's got plenty of RAM for what she needs though.

Here's a screen print of it from earlier in the year after I installed the beta she's still running. You can see the memory being used on the little sensor app I've got loaded showing Firefox with Flash 9 Content playing in 99MB of RAM. Click on it to get a larger size.




But, we're hijacking the thread, since the OP is probably only interested in refurbished camera gear. ;-)

So, we should quit with the PC discussion to keep the thread on topic.



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Old Sep 22, 2007, 9:34 PM   #8
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JimC wrote:
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If you think my 3Ghz P4 based Dell is outdated, my wife is still using a 300mhz Pentium Mobile based laptop. ...
:shock:The batteries for laptops only last about 2 years, and get harder and harder to find as time goes by. Maybe it's time to upgrade her to a Pentium III? [suB]:-)[/suB]
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Old Sep 23, 2007, 4:53 AM   #9
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Jfserama wrote:
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Does anyone have any thoughts on buying refurbished cameras?
My own experience has been positive. Since the camera has had to be returned for some reason, it has gotten a more thorough testing and inspection than normal quality control. Though there can be problems which are missed, you have at least as good a chance of getting a good unit, as if you bought new. As a rule, refurbished cameras have a shorter warranty period than new ones, though. If you are someone who normally buys extended warrantys, then a refurb is not for you.

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Old Sep 23, 2007, 8:21 AM   #10
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I have purchased refurbished cameras and lenses through Cameta Camera. The DSLR had about 2800 shutter activations (the model is rated to 100,000). No problems or issues with the unit. Some of these may have been demos toted around by sales reps to camera stores. Cameta offered a limited warranty and opportunity to purchase an extended one. Haven't needed either. Same with the lens. Basically, look for a seller that offers a disclosure of any cosmetic flaws and offers some type of warranty period for you to check out your purchase. Another thought on refurbished; often a returned unit goes back to be reconditioned and the technician has no idea what the original problem, if any, was. That means they have to look at EVERYTHING on that camera and make sure it's up to factory specs. Some new units don't get that kind of attention.
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