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MF direction

aztwang

Member
How many dealers do you know would get on a plane with twenty digital backs and a ton of Alpa gear to let you play for four days in a beautiful scenic spot?

There is a photo of me online with my tripod and an IQ300 surrounded by a rising tide. Do you think that was my digital back?;)

When was the last time anyone from B&H has offered to do anything for you but offer free shipping?

Think about it.

In hindsight it's easy to offer conjecture about these things. If you weren't at the event. Then perhaps it's a bit difficult to see what exactly happened.

I mean this with all due respect to everyone.
Well said Jeffery. In regards to dealers using the forum....I just had a conversation with Brad from CI this afternoon about the dealers role in MFD. When you buy MF you NEED a dealer...Unlike 35mm which you reach out to someone in India to field a technical call for an issue you may have, your MF dealer provides updated information, technical issues that certain MF components may be experiencing, extensive testing of MF equipment, liaison to the manufacturer and sales info..NEW GEAR!!!LOL.... This just does not happen in the 35mm world. SO WHY would someone pick on a dealer for their presence, replying to a post, offering up comments or maybe announcing a sale they're having on a forum.....Why?
 

jerome_m

Member
When you buy MF you NEED a dealer...
I have not needed a dealer in the five years I used MF cameras, expect to have my first MF repaired. But then, I also need to go through a dealer to have any camera repaired (including 35mm), so I see no difference.

I also rarely participate in group events and marketing fairs. As I already said, from personal experience, the marketing in equipment fairs is a bit too heavy on the "we all belong to the same exclusive club" stance for my taste.

(Note that I never picked on dealers in this forum. As long as they clearly identify themselves as dealers, I have no problem with them participating in the discussion.)
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
I have not needed a dealer in the five years I used MF cameras, expect to have my first MF repaired. But then, I also need to go through a dealer to have any camera repaired (including 35mm), so I see no difference.

I also rarely participate in group events and marketing fairs. As I already said, from personal experience, the marketing in equipment fairs is a bit too heavy on the "we all belong to the same exclusive club" stance for my taste.

(Note that I never picked on dealers in this forum. As long as they clearly identify themselves as dealers, I have no problem with them participating in the discussion.)

You've been fortunate, Jerome. And not to imply that you are an extremely rare bird, most users carry along perfectly fine without a hitch. But many do encounter - something. The majority of our supportive time and efforts as a dealer are spent troubleshooting, diagnosing, testing, inspecting, confirming, etc. This goes for software, as well as hardware. All these elements come into play not just when one of our clients contacts us with a problem, but also, at least the testing/inspecting tasks, occur before you even receive your equipment from us. And also before you receive your repaired equipment. Are you getting a good lens? Are you getting a good sensor? Has the repair really resolved the issue? Yes, we've seen a repair come back and right out of the box, the same exact thing it went in for is still occurring. We've seen issues with both new out of the box and gear coming back from repair. Rare, but we've seen it, and common enough that we don't want a client to encounter that, hence the degree of hands-on we perform.

This idea that all a dealer does is send a piece of equipment to the manufacturer so the manufacturer can fix it is - in our case, anyway - extremely inaccurate. It relegates the dealer to the level of the postal service. I don't have a strong relationship with anyone at the post office, they just deliver my mail. But i do have a number of strong and trusting relationships with various other vendors that I personally do business with. I trust these individuals on a professional and even personal level. And I might not need them beyond what I have paid them to do, but I have chosen them because in the event I do have to trust, I want to be able to trust them. It feels like an advantage to me. And it means something to me to know that I have a good feeling about this person or company that I am giving my money to. I feel better about giving it to them, and I don't (potentially) feel like a fool for having given it to someone else.

But I'm fully human. Sometimes a box will show up at our office for me from Amazon. And the team gives me a hard time about it, and I'll say "I know, I try not to. I'm not proud about it.", and they laugh.


Since when does not needing something mean that it isn't good to have? My wife Rachel doesn't need a new lawnmower, but yes, she surely would take one. You might not ever need a dealer. Then again, you never know. It's natural to feel like a product should just do what it is supposed to, and if it doesn't, it gets fixed. But it doesn't always work out that way. As a consumer, I don't need a dealer, but if something happens, I want one, and I want the best one.



Steve Hendrix/CI
 

349a

New member
Lurk mode off.

Steve Hendrix is the best in my experience. Experience, knowledge, follow up, ease of communication (even on Easter Sunday eve!) and all around good guy. While I have yet to need any repair work, he is always there to answer questions and make suggestions. Even if my thick head doesn't always take his perfect advice.

PS- no matter how many people come here to piss in my MF cereal, you won't convince me your 4,000,000 MP 135 camera is in the same ballpark as my MF gear. Anyone with eyes rather than test charts can see this. Is 135 improving? Sure. Does it have advantages? Sure, always has even in film days. Does it provide the same level of emotion, connection and wow factor? Not a chance. Will it catch up with MF? Physics is physics, sensor size is sensor size, no replacement for displacement.

Jonathan

Lurk mode back on.
 

jerome_m

Member
You've been fortunate, Jerome. And not to imply that you are an extremely rare bird, most users carry along perfectly fine without a hitch. But many do encounter - something. The majority of our supportive time and efforts as a dealer are spent troubleshooting, diagnosing, testing, inspecting, confirming, etc. This goes for software, as well as hardware. All these elements come into play not just when one of our clients contacts us with a problem, but also, at least the testing/inspecting tasks, occur before you even receive your equipment from us. And also before you receive your repaired equipment. Are you getting a good lens? Are you getting a good sensor? Has the repair really resolved the issue? Yes, we've seen a repair come back and right out of the box, the same exact thing it went in for is still occurring. We've seen issues with both new out of the box and gear coming back from repair. Rare, but we've seen it, and common enough that we don't want a client to encounter that, hence the degree of hands-on we perform.

This idea that all a dealer does is send a piece of equipment to the manufacturer so the manufacturer can fix it is - in our case, anyway - extremely inaccurate. It relegates the dealer to the level of the postal service. I don't have a strong relationship with anyone at the post office, they just deliver my mail. But i do have a number of strong and trusting relationships with various other vendors that I personally do business with. I trust these individuals on a professional and even personal level. And I might not need them beyond what I have paid them to do, but I have chosen them because in the event I do have to trust, I want to be able to trust them. It feels like an advantage to me. And it means something to me to know that I have a good feeling about this person or company that I am giving my money to. I feel better about giving it to them, and I don't (potentially) feel like a fool for having given it to someone else.

But I'm fully human. Sometimes a box will show up at our office for me from Amazon. And the team gives me a hard time about it, and I'll say "I know, I try not to. I'm not proud about it.", and they laugh.


Since when does not needing something mean that it isn't good to have? My wife Rachel doesn't need a new lawnmower, but yes, she surely would take one. You might not ever need a dealer. Then again, you never know. It's natural to feel like a product should just do what it is supposed to, and if it doesn't, it gets fixed. But it doesn't always work out that way. As a consumer, I don't need a dealer, but if something happens, I want one, and I want the best one.
I just said that I have not needed the extra services of a dealer in the last five years. That is a simple statement of fact, not a criticism.

As an answer, I have what? The thinly veiled suggestion that I am, to say the least, foolishly underestimating the risks. I also get two full paragraphs on the ethics of buying cameras, complete with a suggestion that I should not be proud about my behaviour.

As I already said: I shall probably never need your services, for the obvious reason that I live on another continent. Therefore, I have no knowledge of your business and I'll refrain from commenting on it. But there is one thing I shall say: would I live in the USA, self praise and thinly veiled insults would not convince me to enter in a "relationship" (as you call it) with your business.
 
Funny, how many posters feel the urge to defend the(ir) dealers. Isn't that the essence of a dealer: to be a nice, knowledgeable, customer oriented guy? I am sure the dealers who post here are the best in their fields, but that isn't really the point …

The point is that the MFD cameras are very expensive and that rises the questions and doubts of the OP. Why are they so expensive: high RD and general overhead cost in relation to productions numbers, higher costs of labour in Europe (here a small advantage of Pentax) and different marketing and customer service models. Whereas the first points are difficult to overcome (Sony not included), the last one is variable and handled quite differently by PhaseOne, Hasselblad, Leica and Pentax, being PhaseOne the most luxurious. If a dealer states that these "few days where good friends and clients get together to play with the latest photographic gear" where the "ridiculously small fee of $349 doesn’t even come close to covering the expenses of the event", what he says is that there is a heavy subsidy employed which is payed either by the dealer or by PhaseOne/Alpa .... This means that it has to be covered in another way: the price of the product. I would be really curious to know which are the differences between Hasselbald, Leica and PhaseOne as regards dealer margins, maybe CI can give us a hint as they deal with all 3 brands.

If you like this kind of events and also like a tailor-made customer service, this business model is fine, and it should be as you have already payed for it, if you use it or not. I personally don't like to pay for services I may or (probably) may not use.

If I had a problem with my Leica S, I would contact directly the customer service at the Leica headquarters in Wetzlar, no need at all to deal with my dealer.

And if I needed the extra customer service, I would buy the "Leica Protection Plan" (24 hours exchange), which - by the way - is nearly 20% of the equipment cost.
 
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Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
I just said that I have not needed the extra services of a dealer in the last five years. That is a simple statement of fact, not a criticism.

As an answer, I have what? The thinly veiled suggestion that I am, to say the least, foolishly underestimating the risks. I also get two full paragraphs on the ethics of buying cameras, complete with a suggestion that I should not be proud about my behaviour.

As I already said: I shall probably never need your services, for the obvious reason that I live on another continent. Therefore, I have no knowledge of your business and I'll refrain from commenting on it. But there is one thing I shall say: would I live in the USA, self praise and thinly veiled insults would not convince me to enter in a "relationship" (as you call it) with your business.

I'm sorry you took offense Jerome. You posted a reply to someone who recommended having a dealer, and went into some detail about why he felt this. And you responded that you had not needed a dealer in 5 years seemingly as a sort of rebuttal. I guess if you didn't mean it as a rebuttal, you would have said something along the lines of "And I've had the benefit of equipment that hasn't brought me any trouble" or something along those lines.

But you didn't, your point seemed to be aimed at diminishing the importance of a dealer because you had not needed one in 5 years, and I don't think you can call foul when you make a statement like that ... to make some point, seemingly, and then have an issue with me providing context on what a good dealer (sorry if you think I'm self praising) does beyond handle the administrative processing of a repair. I espoused the benefits of having a good dealer, or of having trusted and valued relationships with any vendor, and I believe that professionally and I believe that personally. I have as much legitimacy at expressing that opinion as you do yours.

My reference about pride was meant humorously and ironically (and to actually point fun at me), which seemed to escape your notice. It certainly wasn't pointed at you or anyone else, and I didn't mean for it to be taken that way.


Steve Hendrix/Ci
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
Funny, how many posters feel the urge to defend the(ir) dealers. Isn't that the essence of a dealer: to be a nice, knowledgeable, customer oriented guy? I am sure the dealers who post here are the best in their fields, but that isn't really the point …

The point is that the MFD cameras are very expensive and that rises the questions and doubts of the OP. Why are they so expensive: high RD and general overhead cost in relation to productions numbers, higher costs of labour in Europe (here a small advantage of Pentax) and different marketing and customer service models. Whereas the first points are difficult to overcome (but for Sony), the last one is variable and handled quite differently by PhaseOne, Hasselblad, Leica and Pentax, being PhaseOne the most luxurious. If a dealer states that these "few days where good friends and clients get together to play with the latest photographic gear" where the "ridiculously small fee of $349 doesn’t even come close to covering the expenses of the event", what he says is that there is a heavy subsidy employed which is payed either by the dealer or by PhaseOne/Alpa .... This means that it has to be covered in another way: the price of the product. I would be really curious to know which are the differences between Hasselbald, Leica and PhaseOne as regards dealer margins, maybe CI can give us a hint as they deal with all 3 brands.

If you like this kind of events and also like a tailor-made customer service, this business model is fine, and it should be as you have already payed for it, if you use it or not. I personally don't like to pay for services I may or (probably) may not use.

If I had a problem with my Leica S, I would contact directly the customer service at the Leica headquarters in Wetzlar, no need at all to deal with my dealer.

And if I needed the extra customer service, I would buy the "Leica Protection Plan" (24 hours exchange), which - by the way - is nearly 20% of the equipment cost.

Sure, traditionally, a dealer may be nice, knowledgeable, customer-oriented, but these are vague generalities that have quite a range of variance in terms of performance, execution, and dedication. And when combined with high end and modular systems, just being nice and customer oriented isn't good enough. IMO. If you're in a part of the world where you have the option of dealing directly with the manufacturer, that's great. Typically dealers have more contact with end users (at least we do), can identify and solve more problems, and remove the option of the manufacturer denying there actually is a problem. And yes, we've encountered this at times with every manufacturer you mentioned. Also - keep in mind, the only thing the Protection Plan does is provide extended warranty service for a defective component. Believe me, if that was all that our tech team needed to take care of, we'd shave 65% off our service/tech workload.

The Carmel Workshop is actually a unique event in the context of the type of events CI produces. The point of the workshop really is to create "a few days where good friends and clients get together to play with the latest photographic gear". Dave, Ken, and Don get together every year to create this event, and the majority of attendees are in fact, repeat attendees, with a handful of newer attendees. Dave loves doing them, it is a good time. We receive no compensation from Phase One or anyone for the production costs and expenses.

Our typical workshops of course have a much higher entry fee, but usually that also involves bringing in paid for presenters/photographers, and often includes lodging, and other expenses, etc. The point of those workshops is certainly to break even, and then if any attendees do decide to make a purchase at some point, hopefully that happens enough to make it a worthwhile and profitable venture. Just being able to have face to face with clients and end users is as much a driving force as anything else. You have to keep in mind that the main office for Capture Integration is in Atlanta, which is a fine place, but hardly the center of the photographic universe. We have a few locations. But we rarely have any direct in person contact with the majority of our clients. This is a downside to modern remote technology. And Dave and I (and Chris) all come from backgrounds in our past where we spent 3 out of 4 weeks traveling, knocking on studio doors to see what problems we could solve. Actually, there are upsides to modern remote technology too! :)

But we do miss that direct in person contact. And the workshops are very much a result of that driving force. But any expenses for a workshop are incurred only by Capture Integration (other than travel expenses for any manufacturer personnel who may participate). We're subsidized nothing.

As far as Hasselblad, Leica, Phase One are concerned, this is not unique to Phase One dealers. There are workshops that are hosted by Leica dealers, by Hasselblad dealers.

http://leicastoremiami.com/collecti...ly-with-adam-marelli-fri-may-6-sun-may-8-2016

http://www.peterlorber.com/#!future-workshops/c1kje

But there are relatively few product or category specific dealers vs the more generic, we sell everything camera store/dealer, so it is natural that a category specific dealer would invest more in workshops that support the adoption of those products, whether featured manufacturers contribute to expenses or not.


Steve Hendrix/CI
 

Jeffrey

Active member
Sounds to me like everyone needs to turn off their computers, take their favorite camera(s) and go shoot. Goodness!
 
Also - keep in mind, the only thing the Protection Plan does is provide extended warranty service for a defective component. Believe me, if that was all that our tech team needed to take care of, we'd shave 65% off our service/tech workload.
My point here was, that even an extended warranty scheme, including exchange of defective parts within 24 hours, costs already 20% of the equipment price (and only for 3 years in case of Leica). Imagine the extra cost of additional expert services which you provide every day "for free", so to say.

I personally am very attracted to PhaseOne products but would not buy them because of the included service costs. Another thing would be if they lower the price, say by 35%, and offer an extra "PhaseOne Protection Plan" and a second "Dealer Expert Package", say on an annual basis, which I could buy as an extra.

But I fear, this will never happen.
 

jerome_m

Member
I'm sorry you took offense Jerome. You posted a reply to someone who recommended having a dealer, and went into some detail about why he felt this. And you responded that you had not needed a dealer in 5 years seemingly as a sort of rebuttal. I guess if you didn't mean it as a rebuttal, you would have said something along the lines of "And I've had the benefit of equipment that hasn't brought me any trouble" or something along those lines.
I posted a reply to:
When you buy MF you NEED a dealer...
which I explicitly cited. I also said that I had no problem with dealers participating in the forum.


But you didn't, your point seemed to be aimed at diminishing the importance of a dealer because you had not needed one in 5 years, and I don't think you can call foul when you make a statement like that ... to make some point, seemingly, and then have an issue with me providing context on what a good dealer (sorry if you think I'm self praising) does beyond handle the administrative processing of a repair. I espoused the benefits of having a good dealer, or of having trusted and valued relationships with any vendor, and I believe that professionally and I believe that personally. I have as much legitimacy at expressing that opinion as you do yours.
You certainly have as much legitimacy at expressing your opinions as I do, but maybe I should explain my opinion a bit better because apparently it was not fully understood.
Some photographers need the services a dealer can provide, some don't. Conversely, some dealers provide good services, some provide service that rather systematically pushes their customers in the direction of maximum profit for them. And I am free to say that in a discussion with you, because I never use your services, so you should not construct that sentence as a criticism of your business, because I simply do not know anything about you and your business. So I cannot be talking about you.

In the context of the cited discussion, I felt it was important to remind the readers that not everybody may need the services a dealer can provide. For example, one can simply buy a used camera from another user and be happy about that. That's what I did. And no, I did not buy my camera from Amazon: Amazon does not sell MF cameras in Germany.
Of course, when one does not bring his or her business to a dealer, one should not expect to (ab)use their services: I don't pester my local dealers with requests for firmware, demo camera or lenses, courses, etc... Conversely, some people may prefer to get this kind of service and then choose to buy their camera from a dealer. It's one or the other and I have no problem either way. But in the context of the discussion above, and taking into account that getdpi is an international forum and that not all members have access to the services typically provided by dealers, I felt it was necessary to express that alternatives exist.


My reference about pride was meant humorously and ironically (and to actually point fun at me), which seemed to escape your notice. It certainly wasn't pointed at you or anyone else, and I didn't mean for it to be taken that way.
Then I simply suggest that we consider the incident closed and leave the discussion at that.
 

Steve Hendrix

Well-known member
I posted a reply to:

which I explicitly cited. I also said that I had no problem with dealers participating in the forum.




You certainly have as much legitimacy at expressing your opinions as I do, but maybe I should explain my opinion a bit better because apparently it was not fully understood.
Some photographers need the services a dealer can provide, some don't. Conversely, some dealers provide good services, some provide service that rather systematically pushes their customers in the direction of maximum profit for them. And I am free to say that in a discussion with you, because I never use your services, so you should not construct that sentence as a criticism of your business, because I simply do not know anything about you and your business. So I cannot be talking about you.

In the context of the cited discussion, I felt it was important to remind the readers that not everybody may need the services a dealer can provide. For example, one can simply buy a used camera from another user and be happy about that. That's what I did. And no, I did not buy my camera from Amazon: Amazon does not sell MF cameras in Germany.
Of course, when one does not bring his or her business to a dealer, one should not expect to (ab)use their services: I don't pester my local dealers with requests for firmware, demo camera or lenses, courses, etc... Conversely, some people may prefer to get this kind of service and then choose to buy their camera from a dealer. It's one or the other and I have no problem either way. But in the context of the discussion above, and taking into account that getdpi is an international forum and that not all members have access to the services typically provided by dealers, I felt it was necessary to express that alternatives exist.




Then I simply suggest that we consider the incident closed and leave the discussion at that.

Thank you Jerome (and Siddhaarta).

I think for the sake of the forum, it's not necessary to carry on further. I understand your perspectives.

Really, given that this thread had such a rocky start to begin with, I feel that if there are some legitimate elements from the OP that there is interest in discussing, it might serve everyone better to pull one of those that are near and dear to you and start a new thread with that topic.



Steve Hendrix/CI
 
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