I am not like e-bay, let me tell you why


by Bellamy /

4 min read

I am not like e-bay, let me tell you why
I am sure that you are all familiar with e(vil)-bay, it is huge and everyone and their great aunt uses it. But I wanted to take the chance to point out a few differences between the service that I offer and that well known auction site.

Just recently I have been hearing “I saw that so and so camera costs this much on e-bay” or “the prices on e-bay are” and my personal favourite (as in I really hate it) “I can get it cheaper on e-bay”. E-bay should never be taken as a benchmark for prices on anything, as the prices vary so wildly that you cannot really compare. The thing is, e-bay and my service are very different and it pains me when people compare the two. Sometimes I have people asking me why they should buy from me and not from e-bay. Well, I am not your financial advisor, buy from wherever you please. But I will say, I think I am better and will give you security and peace of mind that you cannot find elsewhere.

I offer what amounts to a bespoke buying service, which I am aware is not for everyone. The system that I use is very simple and I am totally transparent about it. I will find or attempt to find the camera that you desire and I will charge you the price of the camera plus a finders fee that is based on the value of the camera/lens/accessory/anything really. I will attempt to find the very best item for your budget and I will work hard to make sure that you get what you really dream of getting. Some things are cheaper to get on e-bay or whatever, and I will tell you that if it is the case. I want you to get the best you can and if that is not through me then I don’t mind admitting it. But if it is through me then I want to make sure that I get you the best I can possibly get.

And this is why I am different from e-bay. That place is a total crapshoot. There are some good sellers on there, but they are massively overwhelmed by crappy sellers who are out to make a fast buck. Descriptions of items are beyond useless on there and photos are not just inaccurate, but sometimes fake. I have caught a number of sellers stealing images of my cameras or lenses and using them to sell items on e-bay. And when I asked them to remove the images they told me that “tough shit” or words to that effect. There is even a guy on there who is trading under a very similar name as me and trying to skim business from people that assume it is me. Unscrupulous barely describes some of these people.

I am very serious about what I do and I want people to understand that. On e-bay, you roll the dice and take a chance. If the price is too good to be true, then it usually is. If the pictures are overly bright to the point you cannot see the metal, then they are often hiding a multitude of sins. Compact camera and they don’t show you the lens? Then how do you know if it even works and how the lens is.

Yes, I am a little bit more expensive than getting something off e-bay. But many of my customers (I hope) will attest that I got them everything they wanted and sometimes more. I go out, buy the item, or order in Japanese, check the item and make sure that it is satisfactory and then I ship. I get my items from sellers that I have built a good relationship with and have a list of trusted suppliers. I will admit, there have been a couple of times when the camera has not been as good as I thought or expected, but I have endeavored to make it better for the client (sometimes at my own personal expense). If a warranty is available then I honour it. If not then I work with the customer to get the item repaired or replaced. I want people to come away happy and feeling like they got something special.

And the same stands for the items that I sell directly on my site. I check them thoroughly and they all come from suppliers that I trust. If something needs replacing or repairing then I do it. I describe them accurately and if anyone wants to see more pictures of the item all they need to do is ask. I have absolutely nothing to hide. I want to sell things that I would be prepared to own.

So that is why I feel that I am not like e-bay (or any other site for that matter). What I do is offer a unique service and I try very hard to make sure that it is the best service. I love what I do and I hope that you can see that when you get a camera from me.

Do you want me to find you a camera? Then help me to help you. Click here first of all, then give me as much detail as you possibly can about what you want and what your (realistic) budget is. If all you say “I want a camera for taking pictures of dogs” I cannot help you. What make? what model? What colour? What specs? This all helps me to give you a better service and then everyone is a happy camper. The quicker we can ascertain this, the quicker I can have your dream machine in your hands. So let’s see if we can make your camera dreams come true.

Thanks for your understanding and support

21 comments on “I am not like e-bay, let me tell you why”

    ZDP-189 April 6, 2013 at 11:42 pm / Reply

    I feel there is a little more to it than that.

    Bellamy’s not just a reputable western bloke in Japan. He doesn’t just go shopping and kick the tyres. If that were so, you could just find a reputable store’s website or eBay store and plunder direct from the seller.

    First, Bellamy is an expert. He knows his stuff. He’s the guy who’ll say, “nah, for what you want to do you’re better off with a late model 8-blade”. Stores may or may not give good advice. Very few stores carry every model ever made. They will sell you what they have, or what’s been sitting on the shelf for too long, or the consignmentitem that has a fat commission on it. Bellamy doesn’t carry stock, so you’ll get unbiased expert advice.

    Secondly, Bellamy knows every reputable source in Tokyo. He can find the really obscure cameras, even things that nobody’s seen. Don’t waste his time or your money on cheap, common cameras, the kind of thing that eBay is awash with, for example a Canonet 28 or a FM10. He’s not Japan Dumpster Diver. He’s the go-to guy for 60mm Hexanons, KE7A, stuff like that. He’s the advanced collector’s dream. 90% of what I ask him to find just can’t be found. It’s the kind of thing you don’t specify a price range for; “Just find me one”.

    Thirdly, Bellamy knows what gets broke on what camera or lens. He doesn’t just run through the shutter speeds, check the meter moves and the lens isn’t mouldy. He knows stuff like Contarexs’ helicoid oil goes bad and that can lead to friction welded focus mechanisms. Buy cameras and lenses from him that really need an expert to check and are valuable enough that it matters.

    Fourthly, he knows how to get gear fixed, tuned and customised. His M6 is so slick it’s stuck in my mind. I don’t even like the M6! Go to him if you don’t just want a run of the mill camera. Specify and pay for customisation. Want a really good repaint? Get him to find a donor and have it done right.

    Finally, he’s a good bloke. There’s no such thing as a warranty in this business and after sales follow up can be important. If you’re buying a special gift and worry if it’ll subsequently go wrong, it’s worth spending a bit more.

    So, in conclusion, he’s not the right buyer for every camera or camera buyer, but for some, he is a godsend. If you’re in doubt, why not ask him if the thing you’re looking for is worth his premium.

    William Kazak April 7, 2013 at 12:41 am / Reply

    The eBay experience is a crap shoot. Rip offs abound. If it has not happened to you yet, then you are lucky. Thanks for posting your take on this Bellamy.

    Troy Holden April 7, 2013 at 2:42 am / Reply

    Highly recommend Japan Camera Hunter. Bellamy was able to get my Ricoh GR1s fixed when no one else would . Complete transparency around price of repair, time to fix, and time to ship back to US. I believe he also got the foam inside the camera door replaced for me at no extra cost.

    Tom April 7, 2013 at 5:06 am / Reply

    The standard and abundance of second hand cameras in Tokyo is
    greater than any where in the world, Period. It’s mind boggling. Having someone with the knowledge and language capabilities to get the best is invaluable.

    You politely forgot to mention how (sometimes) difficult the dealers are in tokyo. That alone is worth it!

    Alessandro April 7, 2013 at 5:41 am / Reply

    Excuse me sir, could you tell me which name has that contax camera in the second picture? I’m in love with my g2 and that looks like a good mate for the future! :)


      Bellamy April 7, 2013 at 9:42 am /

      That would be the Contax S2. A very fine camera indeed.

    Brian April 7, 2013 at 4:27 pm / Reply

    There’s nothing better than working with people one can trust and building a solid relationship founded on mutual respect , both in business and personal.

    This comes across strongly in Bellamy’s post, and his testimonials back up his knowledgeable work ethos.

    Oh… and he comes across as a fun bloke.

    I have no relationship with Bellamy other than following this excellent website and submitting a ‘In Your Bag article’.

    Floyd Rocker April 8, 2013 at 2:20 am / Reply

    I agree with William The eBay experience is a “crap” shoot. One of the best things that happened to me was coming across Bellamy’s website.

    I have already purchased a camera through Bellamy and the service as well as the camera were both first class. I will continue to go through Bellamy for my camera needs. Thanks for posting this Bellamy. Keep doing what you do.



    Tobias W. April 8, 2013 at 2:39 am / Reply

    OK, about time Bellamy gets a reference from me.

    I have bought several items from Bellamy and he has been nothing but extremely reliable and transparent about everything. On top of that, since we both got unlucky with one of the cameras he sourced for me, he was very very generous to offer me a compensation in the form of a very generous discount on another item that I gladly purchased.

    He’s absolutely reliable and he wants his customers to have a great experience.

    I have bought two cameras and a lens from him as well as the film cases he manufactures. The only thing you need to pay attention to when you buy from Bellamy are import tax related as he’ll ship from Japan. This of course, is outside of his control.

    I will most likely buy again from Bellamy in the future. If you want a really well maintained, tested camera, get it from Bellamy rather than eBay. Bellamy knows his stuff.

    Ralph Hightower April 8, 2013 at 6:42 am / Reply

    I’ve only bought one camera related item from Ebay, but that was from a company sponsored store, KEH, and that was a utility item. I bought a used Canon FD lens from B&H Photo
    I would approach buying camera gear from EBay or Craigslist with great trepidation.
    Bellamy shows his dedication to carrying on film cameras by this web site. I will have to consider his services to add a second Canon body and my hopeful venture into medium format.
    It’s just that I don’t think in Yen.

    chrisj April 9, 2013 at 6:23 am / Reply

    Bellamy in essence is a specialty proxy shopper. You pay a little bit of a premium for his services but in exchange you basically get whatever you’re searching for.

    I recently did an economics paper on second hand camera markets, because there is so much supply in the Japanese market for speciality cameras a mint camera in Japan (taken into account the purchasing parity) is usually the same price if not cheaper than buying something off ebay in the US or a second hand camera store like B&H or Adorama.

    JCH is a guarantee you will get a great product.

    Alex chan April 13, 2013 at 10:54 am / Reply

    I agree, I use the service here because it gives me peace of mine instead of taking a chance on any auction sites which has little to none in terms of integrity.

    Neddy April 16, 2013 at 11:29 am / Reply

    I’d buy from JCH if it’s not EMS service. EMS in my country is terrible. *sigh*

    martin April 17, 2013 at 10:05 am / Reply

    Hi Bel ami, I’m with you, I appreciate you job with this site, is honest and useful. Your ideas are always clear and you’re touching interesting subjects in photography. For me is a kind of inspiration everyday when I check your site, that’s enough…
    Congrats & keep on!
    Martín from Argentina.

    Mat Thornton July 22, 2013 at 12:45 am / Reply

    Yep, totally agree, I’ve purchased a Contax T2 from Bellamy and it was probably the best service I’ve had regarding camera equipment. I could not fault it and the T2 was perfect. I’ve used Ebay extensively and had some real donkeys. I’ve also bought from supposed reputable secondhand camera shops here in the UK, and had some pretty dubious service to say the least—especially with used camera grading, and things not as they should be….

    I seriously can’t recommend JCH enough.


    passerby July 22, 2013 at 1:07 am / Reply

    During my 10+ years in Japan I grew to think classic cameras are something one can get in abundance from anywhere; same with lenses, knowledgeable repairers, films … anything, you name it! Especially if you speak the local language, I remember going just to get a family heritage camera repaired and ending up chatting with the guys in the shop for good 3 ~ 4 hours …

    Now in UK I can only groan in pain – nothing seems to be available and no one knows anything.

    So, is it better to buy from a guy who knows his trade and lives in the middle of the camera paradise or from an ambiguous seller who has found an odd rusty crap in someone’s attic and can’t tell you anything more about it than “me thinks it is camera”?

    Cameron Cooke July 22, 2013 at 10:09 am / Reply

    Sellers are out to make a quick buck? Who cares? Consumers get their prices at amazing prices. Crapping on to consumers that we should pay you more because you hate eBay doesn’t make me want to purchase anything from you.

    I’ve saved thousands buying gear on eBay, I’ve never had an issue. I will also continue to do so. What a pathetic rant.

      ZDP-189 July 27, 2013 at 2:09 pm /


      I’d agree with you that eBay should not be ignored. I also regularly buy cameras on eBay. I have bought far more cameras from eBay and other auction sites and forums than from this site.


      Like you, I am an experienced camera buyer. I know what to look out for, I know common faults with certain camera models and what questions to ask. Also, I tend to buy cheaper cameras than are worthwile bothering Bellamy for. All considered, eBay is often worth the gamble. However that logic doesn’t apply to less experienced buyers, people purchasing gifts, or rare and expensive cameras.

      I can see that what Bellamy was trying to convey was was that buyers would be mistaken to compare his prices to the bargains that can sometimes be had on eBay. For a start, Japanese camera stores charge a deserved premium. You wouldn’t walk into Grays of Westminster looking for a 6mm f/2.8 Fisheye-Nikkor and hope to negotiate based on a long closed eBay auction. You also wouldn’t expect an automotive engineer to inspect your prospective car purchase for free.

      If you, or other prospetive buyers, are considering buying on eBay, I have written an eBay buyer’s guide that weighs the pros and cons, highlights some of the common problems and offers alternatives. I wish you luck in your search and joy in your purchases, not matter where you find them.


    Shawn Young September 28, 2013 at 6:50 am / Reply

    No, this isn’t Ebay. Bellamy’s service is in many ways better.

    Bellamy replied to my initial mail promptly, stayed in constant contact and always provided an accurate description of the marketplace. His notes were always friendly and frank.

    The lens Bellamy found for me came in what was moderately better-than-advertised condition, and in far better condition than the goal I set for Bellamy. I was looking for “optically perfect, couldn’t care less about cosmetics” and what I got for my budget was “optically perfect, cosmetics near mint” on what’s very likely a 20-30 y.o. piece of glass. If I find the lens too tricky to use (Nikon noct 58mm f/1.2, all manual of course) I’ll be able to sell it on in my own country without loss.

    Which brings me to price. Even with Bellamy’s fee (effectively 10.5%), his eye for value and exceptionally reasonable shipping terms meant the whole ball of wax came in 10%-15% under what would have been a more nerve wracking experience on Ebay. I was willing to pay a touch over the odds for his hands-on inspection and assessment. That I got it all for less than I would have paid otherwise was a most pleasant surprise.

    The principal negative in this process was the Paypal system. We had a false start with the first lens on an auction site Bellamy suggested because my Paypal account wasn’t just right. This took me four business days to fix. Then, after I sent payment, the type of international payment I sent (e-check) was held up a further week to “clear”, even though the money had been withdrawn from my bank account the first day. Whose mistake this was (mine, my bank’s, PayPal’s, someone else’s…) I still don’t know. So there was an extra week’s lag there. Bottom-bottom, the PayPal experience took two weeks when I thought it would take 20 minutes. Regardless, given the exceptional value and service that Bellamy provided, it downgraded a 10/10 experience only as far as 9.5/10.

    I look forward to the time when I’ll have the opportunity to have Bellamy find me another piece of gear.

    Ntino Krampis August 12, 2014 at 12:38 pm / Reply

    I will tell you my sin: I trade cameras on ebay – a lot (have 1000 ratings or so). But now I read about Bellamy’s 10% fee. Why pay ebay the same fee and make rich the friggin upper class and the CEOs and the company stockholders?

    I’ll buy from Bellamy the next time, Bellamy wait for my email on sourcing the Pentax Espio Mini it is coming soon !

    Ntino the recovering ebay addict

    PS Tokyo sounds like a dream with all the used camera stores, unfortunately in the US we move “forward” (aka consume and trash the old stuff), so stores here always try to sell you the new stuff.

    Feliz G August 6, 2018 at 3:06 pm / Reply

    I am a broke ass student who’s currently saving some cash for my next film camera and when that time comes when I’ve finally reached it, I’d contact JapanCameraHunter to go and find me that camera. I hope he’ll still be providing his services by that time cause I don’t really trust Ebay sellers.


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