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StepheKoontz

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I'm a member of a couple of different vintage camera forums on FB and there are 2 or 3 people who regularly post about these unbelievable deals they got. Like "I found this mint 501CM with 2 backs, a 50mm, 80mm and 150mm lens set for $15 at a yard sale today". Then 2 week later they are posting about a Rollieflex f2.8C with a planar lens, mint condition they found at a thrift store for $10. Anytime someone else posts about a camera and mentions what I consider a reasonable price, they comment how they got ripped off and they just saw the same camera somewhere for 1/100 of that price.

I just don't believe any of that is real. I've been camera collecting for 30+ years and have never run across anything like this even one time. I may have stumbled upon some decent deals, but never a $2000 camera for $15. And while MAYBE I could see some once in a lifetime thing like that, but these same people are finding these insane deals weekly. Do any of you see this sort of thing happening and what is your take on it.
 

MTGseattle

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I think this sort of thing happens in any niche item collector's group. I too tend to call BS on 99% of the "amazing" deals that are reported. At any of my local Goodwill locations, even a beat up k1000 gets placed in the glass case up near the front. I think the people doing the sorting and pricing are fairly savvy.
Old bench vises are a "hot" item right now, with some of the desirable makes/models easily fetching $100's yet you still hear about people getting really rare or valuable ones for $20-50, or free because the person thought it was rusty and useless.
 

Ian Grant

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Because of people's ignorance and often the assumption that films are no longer available sometimes cameras and even complete outfits get sold for next to nothing. I went into an antique shop just before Covid asking if they had any cameras, they'd sold an M series Leica and lens in excellent condition for £20, they realised the'd probably made a mistake.

There are still bargains to be found, my most recent was a dirty brass lens for £30, from a dealer, it turned out to be an 1863 8" f4 Dallmeyer Rapid Portrait Petzval, they sell for around £800 - £2000 on eBay.

Ian
 

Timo Schön

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I'm a member of a couple of different vintage camera forums on FB and there are 2 or 3 people who regularly post about these unbelievable deals they got. Like "I found this mint 501CM with 2 backs, a 50mm, 80mm and 150mm lens set for $15 at a yard sale today". Then 2 week later they are posting about a Rollieflex f2.8C with a planar lens, mint condition they found at a thrift store for $10. Anytime someone else posts about a camera and mentions what I consider a reasonable price, they comment how they got ripped off and they just saw the same camera somewhere for 1/100 of that price.

I just don't believe any of that is real. I've been camera collecting for 30+ years and have never run across anything like this even one time. I may have stumbled upon some decent deals, but never a $2000 camera for $15. And while MAYBE I could see some once in a lifetime thing like that, but these same people are finding these insane deals weekly. Do any of you see this sort of thing happening and what is your take on it.

I would not believe those bargain braggers that find new insane steals every other week but those things actually do happen once in a while. One guy working in a film lab I use claims he found his Leica CL for 10€ at a villages garage sale and I believe him. The 10$ Leica is a thing after all!
 

mtnbkr

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It happens, but I've only found one crazy deal myself and that was a Nikon FE w/50mm & 35mm lenses at a yard sale for $15 back around 2006ish. I flipped it for about $120 a couple months later.

I've yet to see a decent camera in any thrift store or pawn shop. Either it's junk or way overpriced.

Other folks have internet access and know how to research as well as anyone here. If you do even a cursory search for "Leia", "Hasselblad", etc, you'll very quickly realize the value.

There are still deals out there, but mostly by folks who just want the stuff gone and don't bother looking.

Chris
 

Tel

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I think these great deals do happen--just not very frequently. Back when everyone was dumping their film gear, there were some amazing bargains to be had. In retrospect: now that shooting film is cool again, those prices have gone up again. Most of the cheap cameras I got were FSU gear, mostly motion picture equipment, and that window closed after a couple of years. These days, I find that I can get still cameras cheaply if they don't work. The trick is to look at a "broken" camera as a learning opportunity rather than a bad investment. I can do a lot of fixes (as long as they don't involve electronics) like shutter curtain replacement or lens cleaning, with time and patience. I don't even bother to go into thrift stores anymore, unless someone else drags me there--everything is overpriced these days, not just film gear. On ebay I look for "parts or repair" listings and often make offers on buy-it-now listings and save money that way. (You might be surprised how many offers get accepted.) As we've discussed here earlier, a lot of ebay prices are pure fantasy.
 

BAC1967

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A decade ago when people were dumping film cameras like trash there were a lot of deals. Goodwill and other thrift stores have wised up so you rarely find any deals. You can still find the occasional deal at garage sales and estate sales if the seller doesn’t know what they have. Companies that run estate sales sometimes over charge for cameras based on a quick eBay search.

I’ve had a few great deals but it’s rare anymore. I got a Contax-T for $5 at an estate sale, they kind of look like a cheap point and shoot. I got a Leica IIIc with a Summitar at a garage sale for $30, I don’t think the guy selling it knew anything about cameras.
 

momus

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I volunteer at a local Humane Society thrift store as their camera guy, and like to go 'round to the other stores to see what they have. Film gear of any kind is scarce, even craigslist has very little. In my experience, the best places to buy this sort of stuff in person are those lower end antique malls. Whatever you find will be way overpriced, but they expect you to bargain.

It won't happen in my lifetime, but in 20 years I could see things getting pretty crazy. They ain't making this gear anymore, and it's doubtful they ever will again in any quantity. Sooner rather than later it will all be used up.

In fact, our group here likes to sing and show off the quality of film shooting so much that it only encourages more people to buy more gear, which depletes the supply even sooner! I think we clearly need to reverse course on that, or we'll all end up shooting homemade film in a pinhole beer can "camera" duct taped to a tree. We are ignoring cause and effect, and will get what we deserve.
 
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Ian Grant

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I volunteer at a local Humane Society thrift store as their camera guy, and like to go 'round to the other stores to see what they have. Film gear of any kind is scarce, even craigslist has very little. In my experience, the best places to buy this sort of stuff in person are those lower end antique malls. Whatever you find will be way overpriced, but they expect you to bargain.

It won't happen in my lifetime, but in 20 years I could see things getting pretty crazy. They ain't making this gear anymore, and it's doubtful they ever will again in any quantity. Sooner rather than later it will all be used up.

In fact, our group here likes to sing and show off the quality of film shooting so much that it only encourages more people to buy more gear, which depletes the supply even sooner! I think we clearly need to reverse course on that, or we'll all end up shooting homemade film in a pinhole beer can "camera" duct taped to a tree. We are ignoring cause and effect, and will get what we deserve.

If you saw how many excellent film cameras there at are at the camera fair I go to you'd be surprised. It's the vast surplus that has meant almost no new film cameras are being made, except for large format.

Ian
 

cramej

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Bargain braggers of that type are pretty high up on the narcissist scale. They like to make others look bad so they look better. They enjoy hiding behind the keyboard and seeing all the response to their "deal". If you want to ruffle their feathers a bit, remind them that an object is only worth what you pay for it. Give 'em $30 for the 501 so they can brag about making 100% profit on their flip😄.
 

xkaes

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I found a few "incredible", "unbelievable" deals over the years, and I occasionally mention one -- when appropriate -- but I don't "TRASH" anyone for paying much more for the same thing. I only found these "treasures" by sheer luck, not any skill or brilliance on my part.

Lots of people -- whether working at GOODWILL, having a yard sale, or selling on EBAY -- often have no idea what they have, so they are happy to get anything. "Estate" sales are often good, because the young sellers just want to get rid of everything FAST so they can "sell the damn house".

A couple of years ago, I was at a local thrift store. Someone had dropped off a box of camera "stuff". Most was easy to distinguish -- lenses, flashes, cameras, filters. They priced everything at what you might expect. But one thing in the box was completely puzzling to them. It sure didn't look like anything photographic, so they marked it at $10. I'm probably the only customer who knew what it was. I got it for $5 because it was 50% OFF WEDNESDAY -- and sold it on EBAY for $200+. I didn't need it -- a Gossen large format ground glass meter, which worked fine.

So great FINDS are out there. They are few and far between, but they are nothing to gloat about. It's sheer luck, not skill.

A photographer (?) at an auction in Saybrook Connecticut a few weeks ago paid $2,200 for a very faded, framed photo by Stieglitz. Underneath the print he found two non-faded prints -- worth several million, perhaps. No kidding. The buyer is NOT gloating.

https://petapixel.com/2022/10/02/ph...-rare-stieglitz-prints-hiding-at-estate-sale/
 

VinceInMT

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Anytime someone else posts about a camera and mentions what I consider a reasonable price, they comment how they got ripped off and they just saw the same camera somewhere for 1/100 of that price.

THAT is, IMO, one of the features of social media, that is, whatever you say you did, you will be told you have done it wrong. We see that on this site as well.

Pre-Internet days could yield good deals but today, many/most go online and check prices before they let a barn find go for a few dollars.

That said, and I am providing a example of an exception, not bragging, a year or so ago I went to a used record shop looking for reel-to-reel tapes. The owner said he doesn’t deal in them but that some guy left a box of them there and said to find them a good home and, since I was the first guy to show I had an interest in them, he just gave me the box, for free. 20-some factory recorded reels from the 60s: Beatles, Rolling Stones, etc. Some times the stars do align just right.
 
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BobUK

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I used to work with a member of what I call The B#ll Sh#t Brigade.
Everything he bought was bigger and better.
Sitting around the tea table at work one day he mentioned that he never paid full price for boxes of King Edward Cigars, half price was what he always paid.
I instantly pulled out a ten pound note and asked him to get me some. He went red in the face and spluttered an excuse about the chap that got them was retiring, and that was the end of the supply.
There were quite a few others as well. One chap spent a fortnight holidaying in the Bahamas and came back paler than when he set out.
Another had a distinguished military career until a genuine veteran started pointing out the flaws in all his yarns.
Exposure is like water off a ducks back with most of these people.

There are bargains to be had out there, and I have missed a few by dithering, but I seldom get them.
 

Ariston

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Just before film's semi-renaissance, I did find a few deals that I thought were outstanding; but nothing like you are describing, Stephe. I was able to run down a few good deals at thrift stores, antique stores, and estate sales. Probably the best was a couple of those mju cameras everyone loves that I got for $5 each. They were great, but at that value I preferred to sell them to buy other things.

But since the thrift stores and other sellers have caught onto the fact that these things are in demand, I haven't seen any particularly great deals. Not in quite some time.

I still think the best deal in photography right now is the Nikon N90S. What a camera for $30! But even paying quite a bit more for an F5 at current prices... it is insane that you can get that camera at that price now. The damn thing tests and adjusts its own shutter!
 

pentaxuser

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Stephe, such people are to be pitied in my book and then if it is clear they cannot be cured, just ignored if possible

What's the test for discovering if their condition is incurable? Show them this video and study their reactions



pentaxuser
 

Sirius Glass

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I'm a member of a couple of different vintage camera forums on FB and there are 2 or 3 people who regularly post about these unbelievable deals they got. Like "I found this mint 501CM with 2 backs, a 50mm, 80mm and 150mm lens set for $15 at a yard sale today". Then 2 week later they are posting about a Rollieflex f2.8C with a planar lens, mint condition they found at a thrift store for $10. Anytime someone else posts about a camera and mentions what I consider a reasonable price, they comment how they got ripped off and they just saw the same camera somewhere for 1/100 of that price.

I just don't believe any of that is real. I've been camera collecting for 30+ years and have never run across anything like this even one time. I may have stumbled upon some decent deals, but never a $2000 camera for $15. And while MAYBE I could see some once in a lifetime thing like that, but these same people are finding these insane deals weekly. Do any of you see this sort of thing happening and what is your take on it.

Stephe, such people are to be pitied in my book and then if it is clear they cannot be cured, just ignored if possible

What's the test for discovering if their condition is incurable? Show them this video and study their reactions



pentaxuser



Over bragging. We walked to school in the snow with barb wire wrapped around our bare feet up hill all the way 30 miles just to save a nickel on the trolley. The way back home was twice as steep up hill.
 

TheFlyingCamera

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I think of myself as a cheap bastard when it comes to buying gear - I'll buy something if the deal is good, and wait if it isn't. But I also know the limits of "too-good-to-be-true". I have gotten a few good deals in the past, and every so often I get a phenomenal one, mostly by knowing where I'm shopping. I found what was perhaps the ultimate deal on lenses maybe 2 years ago, because the seller couldn't be bothered to do the minimum research on what they were selling. I got a 10.4" Cooke Series II that was cosmetically beaten up, with scratches in the glass, but had its original mounting flange, AND a 12" Voigtlander Petzval from 1863-64 complete with original flange and one waterhouse stop, for $200. Tack another zero on the end of that just for the Voigtlander. The Cooke, while it looks like something someone's dog chewed on for a year, still works just fine and the scratches have zero effect on the images. Deals like that do come along from time to time, if you are patient and diligent in your searching.
 

Dirb9

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Agreed, that sort of bragging/posting is some sort of narcissism. Deals do happen, but finding an M3 for $20 is maybe a twice in a decade thing, not a weekly thing. I wouldn't say once in a lifetime, as if you're really dedicated to going to antique stores and sales, unexpected items do pop up. However, I've even caught a couple people talking about a great deal they got 'this weekend', only to see that they've posted photos taken with that exact camera (serial numbers visible) months before. The desire for approval from strangers has been magnified by ease of accessibility to a wide audience.
 

Ian Grant

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There's a member here, not active for a while, who makes half his income going to numerous car boot sales each week (more like collective S garage/yard sales often weekly) buying cameras and lenses etc, then reselling them on eBay. He's moved partially to other equally profitable items.

If you want to find bargains you have to frequently visit the right places. Or visit low end auctions, house clearances, (estate sales in the US), you'd be surprised what's there, and how cheap..

But there is another side, what happens to your kit and other items if anything happens to you, it may just so;d cheap as a "Job Lot". It needs thought.

Ian
 

pentaxuser

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Over bragging. We walked to school in the snow with barb wire wrapped around our bare feet up hill all the way 30 miles just to save a nickel on the trolley. The way back home was twice as steep up hill.

Aye but it made men of us( said in the stage Yorkshire accent of the " where's there muck there's brass") 😁

pentaxuser
 

reddesert

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In one of Oscar Wilde's plays it is said that a cynic is "one who knows the price of everything and the value of nothing." I like bargain hunting as much as anyone, but I think it's unlikely that someone gets more than one fantastic find per year or lifetime. Suspect the $15 Hasselblad and $10 Leica stories are exaggerated or simply fictionalized. However, the real issue IMO is the constant ragging on other people who paid a going rate. A $15 Hasselblad is still a tool, and the going rate is set in part by people who want to spend their time making pictures rather than scouring estate sales.
 

Dan Fromm

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Stephe, back when selling over the 'net was new very few people knew what was what and there were real bargains, at least for the lenses I was looking for. Example, a 6"/1.9 Dallmeyer Super Six delivered from the UK for $70. And when there were still large well-attended "camera shows" little-known or hard to recognize lenses could occasionally bought for very little. Example, a 100/6.3 Zeiss Luminar for $25. There's a junk shop at our local flea market that had a 210 Busch Nicola Perscheid lens. $42 with sales tax; they thought it was a crappy enlarging lens.

Cameras are another matter entirely. I once got a Nikon R8 super 8 camera at our flea market for all of $10, but that's been it. Optical goods that interest me just don't turn up at the flea markets and yard sales I visit.

I haven't shopped hard for a while but those days are long gone. One of my last "steals" was a 65/5.6 Super Angulon for $125. Offered on eBay, I don't know why, as a Xenar and priced below market for what it is but nothing like the other finds I mentioned.
 

xkaes

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For every "SUPER FIND" I've had, there is another item I paid too much for.
 
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