The whole pictures thing is kind of interesting, based on my observations so far being new here. There are a number of different factors.
First of all, most people are not experienced photographers. They will tend to take so-so photos, usually with their phones. These generally are ok for a snapshot, but not great to get a detailed look. Some, of course, are just horrible out of focus pics that don't show much.
Second, pinball machines aren't particularly easy to photograph to begin with, for a number of reasons. They tend to be sitting in a low-light situation like a garage, and that doesn't help. With low light you will tend to open up the aperture and this will reduce the depth of field, which reduces the detail across the image. The playfield is under glass, and both the glass and the backglass tend to reflect and also will heavily pick up the flash. And when the lights are turned on, it plays havoc with the camera settings due to the spot brightness of the lamps.
Third, there is the reading of the pictures. This is one of the things that fascinates me when I read a lot of these threads. The more experienced people seem to be able to spot little things I would never notice in a million years. There will be some picture of a playfield that isn't even that great of a photograph, and someone will comment "I see that there is a scratch in the upper right corner under the plastic". I will look at it again, and even then just barely be able to see it. It amazes me how much the experienced people can recognize from these photos.
I got one machine where the seller sent me a lot of photos before I went and saw it, which was great. When I looked at the photos, I thought, well, the cabinet paint doesn't look all that great. But, that's OK, everything is as I expect for the price. Then, when I saw it in person, I thought, wow, that cabinet paint doesn't look nearly as bad as I thought, in fact other that some obvious scratches and such here and there, it actually looks pretty good. (It was even better when I got it home and cleaned it). So, your eyes can be fooled either way.
The bottom line, the pictures are very helpful, but an honest seller who supplements them with an accurate description of everything is the best. And in the end, seeing it with your own eyes first is probably the best of all, but not always practical. A good example is here, with the Mr Fox guy we all have a reasonable way to make purchases from each other across the vastness of the central valley between SoCal and NorCal. That expands the geography where we can make a purchase without having to pay a big shipping fee, but means we would need to rely on the seller for a good description.
For me, I make enough trips up north that I could probably go see one one without much problem if there were one up there I wanted bad enough.