Best seasons to buy/sell photo equipment on e-bay? : LUSENET : Large format photography : One Thread

For those of you who have been buying and/or selling photo equipment on the on-line auctions like e-bay for a while, have you found especially good times of the year to sell (prices high) or buy (prices low)? Are there seasonal variations in photo gear sales? What about time of week? Do auctions that end on weekends bring better prices than those that end on weekdays? Any advice would help those of us who need to stretch our photo budgets.

-- Bill Godwin (, March 17, 2000


Hello Bill

I havent noticed and seasonal differences (although I suspect after Christmas would be good), or daily differences (although I suspect weekdays, and very early or very late in the day would be good for the buyer). But thats just the problem  a savvy seller would make sure that their auction would end when people have the most convenient internet access  likely weekend mornings, and evenings, and around 7:00 PM on the weekdays.

Some of my best buys have been when the seller put the item in the wrong category. I got a very good deal on a very clean 14 Commercial Ektar a few weeks ago. The seller placed the lens in the Lenses: General category instead of Large Format, go figure I was the only one to bid on it and I got it for his relatively low (considering the condition) opening bid price.

-- sheldon hambrick (, March 17, 2000.

I don't do a lot on e bay myself but I've been told by someone who does that auctions ending on weekends are actually good for buyers. The theory is that on weekends people are doing things other than sitting in front of their computers, whereas on weekdays they are at work where they have ready computer access. That's the theory - it makes some sense but whether it's true or not I don't know.

-- Brian Ellis (, March 17, 2000.

I have unsubstanciated theories by observation. It would seem to me that Jan through maybe April or May prices are higher. Tax returns provide more spendable income, people spend more time indoors, sell items replaced by Christmas gifts, have more time to dream about those photo excursions or whatever. Summertime the prices have seemed lower but there are less items available. As of late I've gone back to buying from camera stores rather than eBay for most everything. Unless I'm looking for something unusual the prices are similar and you get some service with your purchase.

-- roger rouch (, March 17, 2000.

I have trolled eBay and been astonished at the feeding frenzy that develops there. Last week a carbon fiber Gitzo tripod sold for $25 more than the B&H new price? I am also horrified by the fact that the same photos of the same items appear over and over. Either people are setting unreasonable reserves and never selling anything, or some are using boiler-plate photos for different items. I have seen one Toyo 45A come up 5 times and since the bids have gone well over $1000 I cannot believe it didn't sell.

I have been buying and selling equipment through (same one that brings you this discussion page) for several years. I have encountered only honest people (check neighbor-to-neighbor) and have made new e-friends. With a pleasant, free service like that I see no reason to return to the eBay gutter.

-- Glenn C. Kroeger (, March 17, 2000.

To stretch your photo budget, dont bid more than you think something is worth. Ebay is good for getting stuff you want, but dont really need. If its something you think you need right now, chances are a hundred other people think they need it too, the price will soar, and you'll bid more than you really want to in a last minute bidding brainfart. Been there, done that, but fortunately someone else outbrainfarted me at the last second. ;-)

Look for less than perfect but perfectly good stuff. I got a great deal on a 8x10 camera, I suspect only because it was a painted rather than wood finish. I've done some rigid testing, and my painted wood camera takes pictures just as good as a wood finish camera. Sometimes theres no rhyme or reason at all. I was bidding on rusty old used Gralab timers and I was outbid on a couple in the last few hours. I went back, looked again, and got a brand spanking new one for less than the used one I was outbid on. Go figure.

I cant tell you which times are best for bidding, but one of the above persons was right. ;-) Watch the bids and you'll come to your own conclusions. Someone said the best way to bid is just make your best bid, then walk away from it until the auction is over. I think thats correct, but its hard to do when you're just starting out. Its easy to get caught up in the frenzy, and thats what you dont want. If you're cool and collected and not in a hurry, you can get some good deals once in a while


-- Wayne (, March 18, 2000.

I doubt the premise that there exists yet a good or bad season. The major time-related variable I would guess is the age of eBay itself. Early on the number of buyers was sufficiently small that there were bargains. As the number of buyers has grown so large as eBay has come of age, prices bid approach [define?] retail. I don't remember enough Economics 101 to quote an equation for it, but it's not varying much with the seasons, at least not yet.

Ted Daughety

-- Ted Daughety (, March 18, 2000.

We seem to have gotten away from the original question, but the discussion is interesting anyway.

I don't know if I can suggest seasons of the year.

When I post something on eBay, I try to make it end on a Monday through Thursday evening after 5PM on the west coast so that there will be plenty of snipers sitting there to bid it up. I HATE when something I want ends on a weekend since I'm usually busy, and don't really want to go to the office to use the computer.

Be careful what you buy. Be aware of the mail order discount sellers. I was looking for Bogen tripod components - hoping to get a good deal - and they kept on bidding things above the new price from Tri-State and B&H. I have a rule I adopted from my brother, unless there are extenuating circumstances, I won't pay more than 2/3 new price for something on eBay - even if it from a dealer new in the box.

I've gotten many good deals there, too. I got my Toyo 45A, in great condition, with the custom aluminum box (which is several hunderd new at B&H) for under $1000. I felt that good. I also don't have much of a used camera store anywhere within 100 miles, so there's no convenience factor I gain by buying from a dealer.

-- John H. Henderson (, March 21, 2000.

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