03-03-2017 12:16 PM
It's worth something to have it in your hand first.
It is, but I think that value tends to be exaggerated. Once you learn to pay close attention to the descriptions and the technical specs, and to read between the lines where necessary, you should be able to avoid being fooled. Once or twice I've sent something back to B&H that I wouldn't have bought if I'd seen it first, but it happens so rarely as to be insignificant.
03-13-2017 12:24 PM
There are some things that I am willing to buy online... but there are other things that I really WANT to see in real-life before I buy.
You might think I'm referring to the cameras or lenses... but I tend to trust buying those online. When I buy tripods, light stands, and the countless numbers of adapters that will let me connect "this part" to "that part" ... I want to SEE the thing in person. I find the photos of the parts online just don't give me a sense of build quality nor even of scale.
There is a very good camera store and it's not too far from my home and easy for me to get there.
The tax implication of buying local vs. online has dimished a bit... Adorama blew the same order three times in a row and I ultimately returned the order and bought it somewhere else (who got it right the first time) so I no longer buy from them. Amazon has local presence in my state so all Amazon orders are taxed as if local. That pretty much just leaves B&H. I still shop at B&H but I also buy from my local camera store.