Why Buying a Camera From Wish Is a Bad Idea

Wish is a great place to go shopping if you’re looking for an odd assortment of Nicholas Cage themed home items, but it may not be the best place to go shopping for cameras, even in 2020 when cheap cameras should be a thing by now.

British YouTuber and technology comedian Ashens purchased four “cameras” off of shopping site Wish to give them a spin. Wish is home to some of the cheapest deals out there for pretty much everything out there, with the caveat that you’ll have to wait weeks for shipping, or in this case, seven months. The cameras ranged in price from $33 to $95.

Was it worth the wait? Sadly, no, the cameras were not. While the companies making these plastic pieces of junk seemed to style the cameras like mini versions of Canon or Fujifilm cameras, that’s where the similarities ended. Even then you’d only confuse these cameras for the real thing if you were extremely drunk and then some.

While the boxes boast “16 Megapixels” and a host of other features such as Full HD Video and White balance/explore/resolution (whatever that is), the only selling point that actually seems to be sort of true is the “webcam function,” in that the cameras are likely plastic shells built around low-rent webcams. The manuals offer a mix of bad English translations and outright wild lies and oddities (such as referring to an SD card as a “game card”).

Ashens points out that even his 2011-era Panasonic consumer-grade camcorder can outshoot these cameras that were purchased in 2020 from Wish. A quick disassembly of one of the cameras at the end of the video confirms the humble webcam origins of the camera and the mostly empty space inside the most SLR-looking model of camera.

The most expensive camera did seem to have a little more heft to it than the others, and it did actually shoot at the resolution it claimed (2.7K) but quality still was leagues behind a camera from a reputable brand like Panasonic, and it’s possible to purchase one of those on the used market for about as much money.

I’ve been able to find Panasonic mirrorless cameras for well within the range spent on these four cameras, and frankly, I’d take my Panasonic Lumix G1 over any of these cameras any day, even without the video.

I’ve seen these types of cameras as giveaways (my parents got something similar to the cheap camcorder-type model when opening a bank account) but it’s not quite clear who’s actually buying these cameras.

Maybe these are the new digital equivalents of Holgas, cameras that are loaded with limitations in the name of chasing art? I doubt that any of these cameras will last as long as a Holga though, given what’s seen on the inside. I could see it as a fun experiment, however.

Have you ever bought a camera from Wish? Leave your experience in the comments below.

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Alex Reiff's picture

I wouldn't put much faith in any electronics from there, but I have been browsing for wardrobe pieces for a shoot. Anyone have experience with their clothes?

Joe Svelnys's picture

"All these sexy, sexy, lies..." Yup that about sums up Wish. haha

David B's picture

I've never used Wish, but is there anything actually worth getting?

Wasim Ahmad's picture

Party decorations purchased off Wish were alright. I once bought a set of Bluetooth headphones for $20 that I would describe as "OK" as well. The big issue is that you really can't trust anything on there - it's like rolling the dice with each purchase as to whether you'll even get it. At least that's been my experience.

Derek Madge's picture

Absolutely a roll of the dice. I have bought a couple of items after careful reading. Best was a Seiko self winding watch that I guess was a factory second as everything was fine but the mechanical date was slightly misaligned. 25.00 Cdn. Shipping...uh, 25.00. Cracked the crystal about a year later. 50.00.
Worst was a Chromecast device. Official packaging. 100% cointerfeit and sort of worked sometimes.

Why did I delete Wish? I had earlier searched for camping tent ropes. A few days later, checking information on my phone in front of a client...Wish ad pops up for ropes. Sexual bondage ropes. Kept popping up for weeks.

Catherine Bowlene's picture

Some interior things like photo frames or candles or something like that are okay. Cosmetics is awful. Clothes isn't really good either but it's a lottery. Also I've bought a stack of DVDs from there and tried to burn by Smartshow 3d slideshows to them but they were all declined. Idk what the real reason was but I didn't risk buying any electronic devices from Wish any more.

Michael Krueger's picture

The first time I heard of Wish I took a look and quickly said no. They were selling 1Tb micro SD cards for less than a 32Gb would cost at Best Buy, not to mention 512Gb cards didn't even exist yet. Took a look at some camera gear and it was obvious items were low spec knock offs. Haven't bothered looking at the website since.

Deleted Account's picture

I'm reminded of a review I once read about an inexpensive drill press someone bought. He described it as "a collection of parts resembling a drill press".

Tom Reichner's picture

I had never heard of "wish" before in my life, until I came across this article.

Is Wish really a place where very serious photographers go to buy their gear? If so, that would surprise me, because I spend hours and hours every day reading about photography on the internet, and I have never ever ever even heard of Wish until now.

Seems odd to go buying camera gear from a place that isn't known to be a top retailer and is not known to have a stellar reputation for such in the advanced and professional photography community.

Alex Reiff's picture

No, Wish is really just known for selling all sorts of low cost, off brand merchandise from China. I have seen a couple YouTube videos where people buy photography gear from there just for the sake of novelty.

Kim Ginnerup's picture

Wish has very strange way of handling customer complaints. I ordered a product and it was delyed 3 months. When it arrived it was broken I raised a complsint at customer support. They told that my right to complaint was to late based on their EXPECTED delivery date. This means that your right to complan is none existing, because they decide when they expect the product to be delivered. I have never experienced something like that. So no Wish from me, and I tell the story everywhere I can.

Mark Stutzel's picture

Reading some of these experiences using Wish makes me wish we had that laughing face icon. I've never tried or heard of wish, but it kind of sounds like a Russian roulette version of shopping!

C Fisher's picture

I never thought I'd see Stuart here hah!