Ebay Purchases

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I don't have a question, just an observation/statement. I completed constucting my darkroom recently and decided to furnish it with a number of used items. I went to Ebay. I researched the items I wanted and decided on maximum bid amounts ahead of time. I have been absolutely amazed at how frequently people pay more for a used item then a new one costs. Don't get caught up in the bidding. Make sure you know what the item costs new, decide what its worth to you used ahead of time, make your bid and don't check it again until the auction is over.

-- Paul Mongillo (pmongillo@thurston.com), February 25, 2000


Ive seen this a lot on ebay. I guess all you can say is Duhhh

-- Ron Shaw (shaw9@llnl.gov), February 25, 2000.

This Ebay thing is amazing to me.

I encounter a large number of people who now refuse to buy used gear if they can't find it on e-bay!

Are these people walking around saying - "I really want this thing that I can find in used camera shops all over the country, but I won't buy it because they don't charge enough?"

On second thought, at some stores in the NY area, the salesmen know so little about pro gear that it may be worth the extra money to not have to deal with them.


-- Brian Yarvin (byarvin@mindspring.com), February 25, 2000.

Are these people walking around saying - "I really want this thing that I can find in used camera shops all over the country, but I won't buy it because they don't charge enough?"

I think that many of them are hoping for that one-in-a-million deal. While this may be a pipe dream in the 35mm section, its not that rare of a possibility on the Large Format section of Ebay. Just his week, I got my second good deal on a Commercial Ektar at $200 to $300 less than Ive seen similar samples priced at camera stores. For the most part, bidders and sellers seem to be a little more realistic and level-headed in the LF section  except for few morons who list items at outrageous stating bids, with one line descriptions, and no picture, over and over, week after week and dont get bid one!

Know what you want, know what its worth, know and stick to your limits.

-- sheldon hambrick (sheldon_hambrick@hotmail.com), February 25, 2000.

Buying on e-bay is the same as buying used equipment anywhere else. You've got to know what you want, what you'll use it for, and what it's worth. After watching the e-bay lists for a while, it becomes pretty apparent that, for a good percentage of the sellers, this is no one-time garage sale. Similar items with different descriptions and the SAME photograph will keep coming up over and over and over again. You begin to question how well you can base your buying decision on the item's picture.

After watching e-bay for a few months now, I suspect that it might be world's largest fencing operation. These hard-core sellers couldn't just be emptying their attics or scouring estate sales to come up with the amount of stuff they sell.

That said, I have gotten some really terrific buys and located some hard-to-find pieces of large & medium format camera equipment on e-bay. Prior to this, I would hit the used camera cases in various camera stores I was in, or deal with Lens & Repro over the phone. So far everything I've acquired has been in better shape than expected - sometimes flawless - and at better prices than the used values at L & R or B & H, etc.

I'm almost done with "fleshing-out" my old equipment, then I'll sign off from the site. This is not my idea of a hobby. As far as those boobs who pay higher-than-retail for junk, look at it this way.... They're paying a premium for the entertainment value of this great e-flea market. Hey, I can't understand the mentality that drops good money at casinos, but I guess they're having fun

-- Anthony Sanna (asanna@sacofoods.com), February 25, 2000.

I have bought quite a variety of camera equipment on eBay and have got some exceptional deals (like an F3HP in mint condition for $500). I've also got some stuff that's had little glitches that I've not noticed til it was to late to complain or return the item. All- in-all I think it's about a wash compared to dealing with a reputable used camera dealer. Roger

-- Roger Rouch (rrouch@msn.com), February 26, 2000.

The BIG advantage I have found with Ebay is the amount and diversity of equipment available... I live in rural Ohio, and the nearest camera store that even knows what "large format" means is nearly 60 miles away. And Ebay has more equipment for sale every week than I could hope to find in a year of scrounging around. It's hard to find parts for the old Graflex! And I have managed sell a few items I didn't need anymore and use the money for a lens I have been wanting for my 8X10. Without Ebay, this would have not have been so easy. It's far from a perfect system, to deal in such expensive merchandise, but for me it has worked out well.

-- Dave Richhart (pritprat@erinet.com), February 27, 2000.

Hi all,

I'd like to contribute from an ebay seller's perspective. I have been "doing" ebay for just over 2 years now and have watched it go from a buyers market to a sellers market, in large part due to the unreal amount of press it has received.

Thanks to my time on ebay I now own a nice Nikon F5 system, a Sinar F2 4x5, a very nice set of Photogenic studio lights, and a killer Beseler & Jobo based color darkroom, total cost from my pocket $0.00 ( ok I did sell off all my old Minolta gear, but that was fully depreciated anyhow ). Yes I did spend a lot of free time searching for items to sell in order to buy everything I wanted, but I have been reimbursed well for my efforts.

In the summer time I go to garage sales, estate sales, and all the local pawn shops to see what I can buy and then resell on ebay ( I live in a major metro area and have access to a lot of outlets ). I have a few rules when I sell, I ALWAYS inspect, clean, and test everything I sell, I offer a 7 day unconditional return policy on almost everything, ( I do make the buyer pay shipping both ways, but that only protects me from people who just need a lens for the weekend {it has happened}). I always include a picture ( praise be to the Kodak DC-120 ), this also helps me develop my product shooting style. And I always list my items for a good price. I have had a few things sell for more then the cost of a new product, but this is rare and I threw in free film to help balance the deal out.

I do bid on a lot of items from ebay, but in the last 6 months they seem to sell for more then I want to pay. I always check Adorama, KEH, and B&H before I bid, and I never bid on items that have a) no picture, b)hidden feedback, or c)a no return policy. Lately it seems the only things that I have bought at a good price have been books and darkroom supplies ( my latest addition was a Seal 200 press in near mint shape for $330.00 ).

As to the people who pay way too much, half of them get caught up in bid fever the other half don't want to take the time to do the homework! I just cannot feel sorry for either one.

As an amature photographer, I seem to outgrow my gear from time to time, in the past that meant selling my stuff at a major loss only to pay through the nose for new gear. I think it is great to be able to sell without taking a giant loss and have a venue for buying that next "new" toy.

Happy Shooting, -harry

-- Harry Pluta (hspluta@msn.com), February 29, 2000.

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