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Re: filmscanners: Primefilm 1800i

As those who bother reading my comments know, I am an advocate of buying
used equipment and non-bleeding edge.  It saves money, it sometimes even
protects you from the "first buyer screw" which means you end up paying
the most for a product which isn't perfected, and end up playing beta
tester without any of the benefits, and sometimes that means being very
poorly treated by the manufacturer.

Having said that, I use ebay a fair amount (I do very much understand it
is difficult enough to do so if you live in Canada, and nearly
impossible if you are anywhere else, since it a very U.S.-centric
service).  However, based upon my experience, I would be very cautious
buying something like a film scanner (other than a new one with full
manufacturer's warranty) from ebay merchants.

Besides the obvious problem of buying something sight unseen (and with
slide scanners everyone seems to have a very different sense of what is
a defect) there is an even bigger problem.  Both the US (and Canadian,
for that matter) post office and UPS have no respect for parcels, and
most people selling on ebay have no clue how to guard their merchandise
from shipping damage.  Many simply don't care, thinking, hey, I got the
cash in my hands, I sent out the stuff, and it's "insured".  Well, be
forewarned, trying to collect on shipping damage, especially if the
packaging is considered inadequate, is nearly impossible, and it
requires a LOT of cooperation from the seller, and a lot of time and

I can say, without exaggeration, that well over half the items I have
bought via ebay have arrived damaged in some manner due to either poor
packaging, abuse of shipper, or a mixture of both.  Further, clearly
another 25% of the equipment was misrepresented in some manner in terms
of functionality or condition. And don't for a moment think this is a
cross border problem.  Many ebay sellers will not sell to Canadians due
to either inexperience with the documents or other factors, so I get
most of my larger purchases shipped to a US address.  The stuff arrives,
to quote the person who receives these items on my behalf as "lumps on
my doorstep".

Often, original packaging is long gone when people sell used devices. 
Also, some are just resellers who buy stuff at garage sales, auctions,
surplus sales, etc, and have no idea if the device is working or not. 
They try to find something resembling a box at their local grocery
store, and then throw some crumbled newsprint in and call that "well

So, in spite of fairly careful use of ebay, and acknowledging that you
can occasionally get very good "deals" (I also see things ending up
selling over retail new value, so research is critical!) personally, I
would NOT buy a USED film scanner unless it was VERY cheap, (or obsolete
and you really wanted it, like a Leaf scanner) and I could afford to
either have it serviced, or to toss it as a write-off, or if the seller
is very reputable and will agree to a money back sale if you are

Now, having said all that, there are many dealers on ebay who are
selling refurbished or new film scanners which come with full or partial
manufacturer's warranties, and these might well be worthwhile pursuing.

So, the "very old" 'caveat emptor' should always be in force with ebay


rafeb wrote:
> For those interested in buying their very first film
> scanner, or trading up from an existing model, I humbly
> suggest eBay as a source of very good deals, particularly
> at the moment -- where new market entries from several
> major vendors are causing a lot of turnover in equipment.


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