Monday, July 28, 2008

Check out the size of this mama, 40D?

Its finally here, what I've been waiting for all week and by extension more than 5-years in the should-I-department and a decade in the wish-I-had-one-department.

Of course after a few years of wanting a film SLR it made more sense to get a DSLR and avoid having to process my own film -- not that it would stop me if I find the need for film in the furtherance of my photographic hobby.

So going back, the journey of actually choosing a Canon 40D was really arduous. Ask Yna and she'll tell you of sleepless nights reading up on similar (and perhaps better in some opinion) offerings like the Nikon D80 and the awe inspiring D700. I chose for familiarity based on my mom's older SLR which was a Canon (and she's still waiting for that telephoto lens from her friend in Japan these past few decades). The smaller Canon Rebel models are alright but the solid magnesium alloy base and weather sealing sold me. Against the 5D it was a matter of price, even more so considering Mark II's that I would perhaps never be able to handle easily on a trip or safari -- someday.

When ordering online I would vouch for Amazon as the place to go and their partner price offers. I did it all, by the way, looking at online prices from Google and Live Seach and even eBay (best tip, don't blindly go for seller rating but also investigate BBB feedback). From here I settled on the best choices like JR or B&H or Adorama -- all of these are well known to Canon USA as authorized sellers (a fact I found out when I double checked on rebate eligibility). Canon had a promo going and so I waited on the last day to decide. Unfortunately B&H online store was closed on a Saturday so it was Adorama, settled.

And this is where the pain starts.

My order was transacted the afternoon of a Saturday and according to Amazon the Free Shipping from its sellers would be about 3-5 days. Adorama's site claims the same and I took it at that face value. Since I was supposed to be at Huntington Beach the weekend after the camera should arrive via UPS no later than Friday. Since Adorama customer and store support is closed on a weekend I figured a Monday call would suffice and I could pay the difference of 3-day priority shipping. I know Adorama is in the East Coast and my call was around 11am Pacific. The CSR on the other line assured me that the item would arrive for sure on Friday if not Thursday and that there is no way for her to change the shipping option as it was already out for shipping. And here's where having an account with UPS counts, I called them and got all the relevant details and found out that Adorama actually sent the shipping instructions only by 7pm and that the package was only then picked up from them by 10pm Eastern. WTF?

Just remembering gets me worked up. The line "escalated to my supervisor" simply means I read your email and I'm going to ignore it. There was a full working day (8-hours) where Adorama "could" have done something for what it was calling "Valued Customer" but apparently the meaning stops on email and no amount of follow-up has lead to any form of compensation. Why you may ask? I MISSED MY TRIP TO SoCAL. The rule for UPS is to attempt delivery thrice and return the item after that. No way am I having to deal with missing 2 grand in merchandise given the difficulty of Adorama's process!

So I waited, and just as expected I got a package with makeup. By that I mean that the enclosing packaging was perfect but take a look at the item box for yourself. I am not even going to imagine what kind of blow to my item could cause the box damage (and here's a good thing that I opted for the Mack extended 3-year warranty package). I am not a professional photographer, have not had extensive experience with semi-pro DSLR's so currently have no way of knowing what damage was done. Am going to use the camera and learn about it and if something's up you betcha someone's going to hear about it and I've saved the EXIFF information on the photo to prove it (too bad no geo-tagging yet, but thats another story for later).

My next purchases will take a little more convincing and Adorama is now my 3rd option unless they improve their claims of 3-5 days (that line doesn't mean to use up the 5 days and more but to use LESS of it, hello?). Here are some other stories and recounted experiences of concern.

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