That's the gotcha I was talking about. Perhaps Dave could amend his post, where he says "One other thing to be aware of is that a used unit through a dealer will have a valid copy of C1 Pro or DB whereas the used software code usually does not transfer from and enduser. This could add $399 in cost to you later." and in a later post when he asks "Does it come with C1 Pro? Will it have a valid C1 DB code?" If a transfer of the license is possible an enduser could deal with PhaseOne directly. If the software with the back is the DB version, it does not matter, since it's free.
See this is the kind of "seems simple, but isn't" that can catch you off guard (and frequently catches people off guard; i know because I take those calls).
The copy of C1 Pro included with a Value Added P1 Digital Back, once activated by someone, is technically (TOS in the software agreement) not allowed to be "transferred" to someone else. Now in practice there is nothing stopping one from having the seller change the password linked to the activation and then giving that password to the buyer. However, in practice buyers don't generally know to ask these things, and sellers who wouldn't even know how to change the password linked to that activation even if they wanted to. I can tell you that I've personally taken at least 10 calls this year from buyers of private-seller digital backs which were originally purchased with a Value Added Warranty asking how they could activate their copy of C1 Pro that they assumed was included when they purchased it.
Also, there are still quite a few people using Capture One 3.7 DB (for any number of reasons including the inability to run 4.5 Pro on OSX 10.4 or on a Power PC). With 3.7 DB you DO need a license which is given to the original buyer (whereas with 4.5 DB you do not need a license).
There are six versions of Capture One still being used (4.5 Pro, 4.5, 4.5 DB, 3.7 Pro, 3.7 LE, 3.7 DB) and varying upgrade policies and activation methods. It sounds pretty complicated (more than it really is), and if you're new to MFD there are many things like this which are simply much more efficient to work through with a dealer than to research on your own. It's not that you can't easily find the answer to questions by googling, it's that there are questions you should ask a private seller that you don't even know you need to ask.
I would say it is similar to buying a house without a real estate agent. Yes you can do it on your own, and nominally you might be able to save money since there is no middle man. But unless you've bought several homes in the past and unless you are very thorough you're likely to end up missing something (software, upgrade privileges, missing accessories, worn out batteries/accessories, warranty, repair history, special features like Live View, platform-swap privileges etc etc) that could easily erase that price gap. Just as one of a zillion examples: a seller who only shoots landscapes may not know that their flash sync port or firewire port are non-functional. Plus, if you go through a dealer and there is a problem that they are slow to fix then you can hold their feet to the fire on a forum like this.
Just a few months ago we sold a used back to a customer who took a jewelers magnifying loupe to the CCD filter and noticed a very very small nick outside of the photosensitive area of the sensor (i.e. it could not effect the final image). The gentlemen was very nice and easy to deal with, and when he insisted that he receive another back we found him another back with which he was happy. A good dealer can and will do that because we genuinely want our customers to be happy and because our long term success depends on our reputation.
Anyway, I'm as biased as can be because
1) my salary comes from a dealer and
2) I end up dealing with the mess/anger/frustration left behind by botched private sales when the buyer ends up without software, or with two batteries that barely hold any charge, or a broken component, or a scratch on a CCD. We get a call like that at least once a month. It's not pleasant. Sure there is PayPal buyer protection, or you could sue the seller or whatever, but how much of a PITA will that end up being? Trust me, chatting with a friendly dealer is much more fun than filling out PayPal buyer protection forms :-).
-- End shameless plug for buying from dealers --
Doug Peterson, Head of Technical ServicesCapture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer
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