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Bill Burk

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You will never believe it then. I got a Bessa II for thirty bucks. I didn’t even buy it on the spot. I looked at it and put it down. Then after seeing what it was on eBay I shamelessly sent a friend to go get it for me and it was still there.

At another shop I saw an ugly Kodak Medalist for $15 and left it there, but it was gone when I went back.
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

I don’t go because I can’t admit I like to buy cameras. But I have snatched deals away from KEH
 

4season

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Since 2019, my thrift store purchases include:

A couple of USB cables
Long RCA cable for my subwoofer
Google-branded notebook sleeve
1970s Panasonic portable radio
Sony CD Walkman D-SJ301
Nikon Coolpix S1 in silver chrome
Klipsch cinema speakers (at roughly eBay prices)

And if anyone's thinking that this doesn't sound too impressive, I'll be the first to agree. When higher-grade cameras do turn up in thrift stores, often the prices are higher than dealers like KEH.

But while shopping at the places hasn't been too productive for me, they nevertheless provided a valuable source of entertainment during the pandemic, even if I usually left empty-handed.
 

Sirius Glass

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H
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.

However since I had been buying lenses often at KEH they have offered a Hasselblad C 500mm lens at a price that I could not refuse.
 

BradS

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I like to think that it's not bragging so much as disguised modesty or a polite way of saying, "it's really none of your business what I paid for it"... but yeah, I agree with the OP, people boasting about their good fortune is tiresome.
 

faberryman

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There is nothing quite like spending your weekend driving around town and rummaging through other people's junk. Of course a lot of people do it. You drive by an estate sale and there are cars parked up and down both sides of the street even before it opens. Chances of there being a Hasselblad 500CM there - zero. Chances of there being a Leica M3 there - less than zero.
 
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Don Heisz

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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

That's basically a job. And finding great deals on cameras takes work - in the form of frequenting thrift stores, antique centres, flea markets, and yard sales. The amount I've gone to thrift stores, I could easily do it as a routine and probably make a living off resale. How much I'd hate it is another story.

As for a great deal, I once drive over 250km to buy a 4x5 enlarger. I stopped into Salvation Army thrift store while I was there, to see what they had. I bought a Yashica T4 for $2.

Selling it paid for the trip and the enlarger.
 

Larryc001

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Most of my camera gear has come from eBay and there were no bargains there. One time at a little Indian charity thrift store in Port Alberni I did find a mint Canon A1 outfit complete for $25 though. I just don’t have the time, the need or the space for hunting cameras. I just would like to be a better photographer. Lol.
 

BradS

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One time, while I was shagging golf balls after hours at Pebble Beach, I was knee deep in the water hazard on 15 when I felt a solid, rectangular mass of cold metal under my left foot. I reached down and dug into the muck...wouldn't you know it, I found a Leica M6 in near mint condition!
 

Don Heisz

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One time, while I was shagging golf balls after hours at Pebble Beach, I was knee deep in the water hazard on 15 when I felt a solid, rectangular mass of cold metal under my left foot. I reached down and dug into the muck...wouldn't you know it, I found a Leica M6 in near mint condition!

What lens was on it? 😆
 

xkaes

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When higher-grade cameras do turn up in thrift stores, often the prices are higher than dealers like KEH.

At one of the local thrift stores, not long ago, they had a very nice, valuable 35mm SLR on the shelf for $5, while in the locked glass display case, they had a plastic, worthless "Time" viewfinder 35mm piece of junk for $50.

Often as not, they have no idea what they have -- or its worth.
 

xkaes

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Most of my camera gear has come from eBay and there were no bargains there.

I beg to differ. I nabbed a great Yashica Samurai for $25 because the seller listed it as "YashiKa". And then there was the Yashica 600mm lens that was listed simply as "Yashica mm". And let's not forget about photo gear listed in a wrong category -- like "motorcycle parts". Or the gal who was selling a Minolta MAXXUM 5 with zoom lens for $10 BUY IT NOW because she got it as a wedding gift -- and had never used it.
 

4season

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At one of the local thrift stores, not long ago, they had a very nice, valuable 35mm SLR on the shelf for $5, while in the locked glass display case, they had a plastic, worthless "Time" viewfinder 35mm piece of junk for $50.

Often as not, they have no idea what they have -- or its worth.

What was this "very nice, valuable 35mm SLR"? The last one I spotted at a thrift store was a Pentax ZX5N, which pretty much always needs repairs before it can be used.
 

Kodachromeguy

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Most of my camera gear has come from eBay and there were no bargains there.

Two times in my case, but it was pure luck.

1. In 2018, I saw a 250mm Sonnar for Hasselblad for $87. It is a 1970s chrome C lens. Superb!

2. Early 2022, a nice little Retina IIa came my way for $34. It even included 2 filters.
 

pentaxuser

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One time, while I was shagging golf balls after hours at Pebble Beach, I was knee deep in the water hazard on 15 when I felt a solid, rectangular mass of cold metal under my left foot. I reached down and dug into the muck...wouldn't you know it, I found a Leica M6 in near mint condition!

To a Brit or at least this Brit it's not so much the finding of the Leica that is mind boggling and more what you were doing to the golf balls on what I assume was a public beach 😲

pentaxuser
 

BradS

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To a Brit or at least this Brit it's not so much the finding of the Leica that is mind boggling and more what you were doing to the golf balls on what I assume was a public beach 😲

pentaxuser

good thing I didn't mention the fanny pack I had full of soggy Pro-Staff, Titelist and Top-Flight.
 

xkaes

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What was this "very nice, valuable 35mm SLR"? The last one I spotted at a thrift store was a Pentax ZX5N, which pretty much always needs repairs before it can be used.

Not that it matters, but it was a Pentax MZ-M. I always carry batteries, and it worked fine and looked fine. No lens. Sold it on EBAY -- but I liked it so much -- I wished for an instant -- that I was a Pentax user.

Great camera -- but it's not even close to my best $5 deal at a thrift store. I was trying to point out that thrift stores often have no idea what they have. They are as likely to put junk in locked glass cases, and real finds out on the open shelves.
 

BrianShaw

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To a Brit or at least this Brit it's not so much the finding of the Leica that is mind boggling and more what you were doing to the golf balls on what I assume was a public beach 😲

pentaxuser

Yes, there are times when we do not speak a common language. LOL
 
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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.

Someone just found prints made by Steiglitz that are said to be worth seven figures, they paid very little for the prints.
 

MTGseattle

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This talk of bargains brought to mind some instances of the opposite. There used to be (and may still be) a seller on ebay who was selling NOS large format lenses for a while back in the early aughts. I remember something about "...the basement of the former Graflex factory" or some such. But there were blue labeled Graphex shutter lenses, unused gold dot Dagors stuff like that. Does anyone remember those listings?

I just picked up a Speed Graphic last weekend. It's the nicest one I have personally handled in at least 20 years. I was happy to pay the $275 the seller was asking. Was that a steal? I don't think so, but I thought it was a good deal based upon its overall condition and prices I've seen lately
 
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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.

there is,however a clear pattern: Whenever I want to sell something prices are down, whenever I'm trying to buy they are up
 

Don Heisz

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I just picked up a Speed Graphic last weekend. It's the nicest one I have personally handled in at least 20 years. I was happy to pay the $275 the seller was asking.

Good condition, clean, working shutters, scratch-free lens - that's a good price to pay.
 
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I mentioned this in my earlier post -- and provided a link (above) to the full story.

It is a great story!

Several years ago I bought what the owner told me were a pair of "broken lenses" one was a very large Wollensack modified Petzval with a fuzzulator knob and extension, the other was a very large Kodak Portrait Lens. He sold them both to me for $20 ($10 each if I wanted only one of them). He said the shutter was broken on one and the front lens was missing on the other. I did not tell him he did not do his homework and both lenses were in working order. I turned them into book ends until I decide to throw away my 35mm kit for 8x10, or have to sell things to survive. My friend bought a house with the vacant lot next to it. The seller did not know they were also selling the vacant lot.
 

xkaes

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I once bought a 300mm lens -- for next to nothing -- because the seller thought it was useless because the front element was severely cracked. Turned out to be a cracked UV filter.

And last night, I nabbed a Tamron 38mm (1.5") f2.5 projection lens for $0.99¢ -- I was the only bidder. Looks like new -- in the box. Should make for some create landscapes.

I doubt I'll find any more super deals until next year!
 
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