2nd hand Pro camera's more suspectable for failure?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by rhmimac, May 8, 2010.

  1. rhmimac

    rhmimac Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    My newest 2nd hand camera let me down after 3 months. Nikon F4S.
    Shutterproblems: half frame underexposure or full underexposure.

    Could it be that buying progear leads to more chance on encountering worn out mechanics, suspectible electronics?
    My thoughts were: let's buy a pro camera, it got more gimmicks(MLU,..), it's more durable so would be less risk.
    Now I'm back on the other side: buy a medium specced thingy, less gimmicks but also mostly less used and still in better shape.

    True?

    rhmimac
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

    Messages:
    20,656
    Joined:
    Jan 18, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Not necessarily. It comes down to a few things:

    • Quality of the design and manufacturing of the original equipment
    • The amount of use of the piece of equipment you are considering
    • The lifetime maintenance of said piece of equipment
    A less than stellar camera will usually have poor reliability.
    A well used professional camera that has been maintained properly will continue, generally, to perform well if the maintenance is kept up.
    A well designed camera that is a closet queen will need a CLA to start with. How it runs after that, there are no sure bets.

    Steve
     
  3. R gould

    R gould Member

    Messages:
    430
    Joined:
    Apr 22, 2010
    Location:
    Jersey Chann
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    If you buy second hand gear that has been used by a pro then it will have been used very hard indeed,much harder than the normal amateur would use it,and would be sold when it starts to give the pro problems, so if you buy ex pro gear be prepared to have it serviced, the same goes for m.f.pro gear,Take it from one who knows, I would hang on to my gear as long as it worked, if it was looking like needing major work it would be part exchanged for new gear, I am a pro myself, Richard
     
  4. epatsellis

    epatsellis Member

    Messages:
    907
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2006
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I agree with Steve, a working pro that truly relies on his equipment, as opposed to a well heeled amateur, will typically maintain his/her equipment regularly, and will make a point of telling you if you ask them.

    I've owned several F4s through the years, everyone I bought that was from an amateur needed a CLA, without exception. The two that I bought from working pros (and they really showed it, looking "well used") performed flawlessly out of the box, and even with my reduced film usage, continue to.
     
  5. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

    Messages:
    8,003
    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It depends, and unless you really know the history of the camera, you really just cannot tell.

    I certainly know I would never buy one of my boss' 5Ds, the way she sprays and prays in her shoots. I have a 10D (now a seven-year-old camera) that has under 20K shots on it, and is cosmetically trashed. This camera did see regular, though not heavy, professional use (probably 5 events a week on average, when I was actually working steadily) for the first five years of its life, when I shot for a newspaper and lots of bands. I would call it "semi-pro" use. Even then, it only has that many shots on it. I only use it occasionally now. The shutter is still perfectly accurate and everything works as it did when new. I have had it serviced once, at five years of age, to CLA it, and fix a loose shutter button, and have had the sensor cleaned at least 20 times. I used to have this done free, by Canon. She, on the other hand, will shoot at least 2,000 shots on every full-day job, so her shutters have to have been fired well over their specified shutter life by now, and I know she never has the cameras serviced, and never will unless they break. On the other hand, her cameras look cosmetically pristine, and seem to work just fine. Go figure!

    If I was a third party, and knew what I knew about both my and my boss' cameras, I would buy them from neither of us...but if I did not know about them, I would probably buy hers because they look better taken care of...and have my shutter start acting up after those hundreds of thousands of exposures.

    So, you just never know...unless you happen to know!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: May 8, 2010
  6. rhmimac

    rhmimac Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Very, very interesting my friends. Especially when you pro's give sound advice on these sometimes tricky 2nd hand business.
    It's every Little Man's dream to own and use the Big Man's gear. And maybe that's not needed at all. But it's the only way to get hands on the best on the planet. When a amateur like me wants a D3 or even much better a F6 we have to wait for another 3 to 5 yrs to get them into reach of our budget. It's all spending you know, no refunding when a pic is brillant!
    My F4S went back to my store. I got a 3 months waranty on it so it will be or repaired, get a (minimum) CLA, or will be trashed and I'll be refunded or I'll choose some other 2nd hand camera for the same amount of cash.
    It's my 4th or 5th camera from them. Warranty wasn't and isn't a problem for them. Therefor they always get my cash when I see anything what's in my reach- the F4S was, even without much thinking from my side.

    rhmimac
     
  7. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Ehhhmmm... Why exactly do you want a "pro" camera? What are you looking for and what are your needs?

    My "Pro" cameras now tend to be Leica Rs (as well as Pentax 6x7s), but they were tendentially used by portrait, nature and landscape photographers rather than, say, PJs, meaning typically much less wear & tear (and also much more suitied for my needs & interests).

    I also use some definitely "non-Pro" cameras, but they do their particular job very well.

    A "pro" camera is really what meets your needs, whatever they are....
     
  8. rhmimac

    rhmimac Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Pro gear

    It's not the "pro" title that attracks me to the Big Man's gear but it's the possibilities this stuf gives to create things further than you once expected you could. Take MLU, DOF, all controls on dedicated knobs&wheels(did you ever digged in the modern gear's menu's-it makes you crazy or lazy:D), double exposure, choose manual rewind or motor rewind, vertical grip with 2nd shutter button, closeable viewer, Everready NiHh batts instead of Lithiums to name a few F4s things my F65 doesn't give me.
    I think the word " control" sticks out of it. When I look through the viewfinder I place my fingers on the knobs and I can stay connected to the subject.

    It all comes with a price.

    I wanted a Hassy for starting the 120 experience. Not now anymore.

    Little man stays little for a while. :wink:

    Any thoughts on this?

    Thanks

    rhmimac
     
  9. Rol_Lei Nut

    Rol_Lei Nut Member

    Messages:
    1,118
    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2006
    Location:
    Hamburg
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Well, a 1965 Pentax Spotmatic can give most of those things (apart from MLU, vertical grip and motorised rewind - batteries & closable viewfinder not being an issue) for typically about € 40 ...


    If you like "control" and "being connected with the subject", most "classical" cameras can offer the same or better.
    Take a look at some older or "non-professional" cameras (maybe check out the ones in my signature, though ask before buying the Rolleiflexes). ;-)

    Ask yourself if you really need AF, programme mode, motor advance & all the other gadgets now considered normal.
     
  10. rhmimac

    rhmimac Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Pro gear

    I tried to find a manual "classic" for some time but the nikon go way up to snobbist prices in belgium. A FE or FA for the price of a pro AF SLR, you know...
    As I wasn't raised in the MF era and started photographing in 1993, AF is my way of working for 17 yrs now.


    [/QUOTE]If you like "control" and "being connected with the subject", most "classical" cameras can offer the same or better.
    Take a look at some older or "non-professional" cameras (maybe check out the ones in my signature, though ask before buying the Rolleiflexes). ;-)

    Ask yourself if you really need AF, programme mode, motor advance & all the other gadgets now considered normal.[/QUOTE]

    No, I don't need it at all. I fully agree. It's not about the camera, it's about the man/woman behind it and about the light.

    Maybe the quote on the man's page underneath says it all:


    http://www.thiaps.com/featured_artists/2010/03/vernon-trent.html

    Thanks for replying!
    rhmimac
     
  11. John Koehrer

    John Koehrer Subscriber

    Messages:
    6,416
    Joined:
    Apr 3, 2004
    Location:
    Montgomery,
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    As 2F_2F says, you never can tell. The Pros I dealt with in Chicago typically would have a camera serviced when it stopped working. I don't think I ever saw one brought in for preventative maintenance.
     
  12. Pumal

    Pumal Member

    Messages:
    580
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2009
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I don't think that's true; it depends on the quality of the equipment and how they take care of it.
     
  13. tkamiya

    tkamiya Member

    Messages:
    4,252
    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2009
    Location:
    Central Flor
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Unless you buy equipment directly from owners, you'd never know who owned it.... Many pro-level cameras were owned by amateurs. On the other hand, amateur level cameras were usually not owned by pros. Pros also tend to own many bodies and not all of them were used heavily. Some pros take care of their equipment where as some do not. There are all kinds of pros.... wedding photographers, news photographers... etc, etc, etc.

    I usually look at the equipment and try to guess what kind of lives it may had in the past. How pieces fit together, how buttons and knobs work, cosmetic damages, etc, can tell a lot. Just because something looks pristine doesn't necessary mean it lived a trouble free life either, but usually looks combined with basic function tests are pretty good indicators.
     
  14. Sponsored Ad
  15. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

    Messages:
    8,600
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2005
    Location:
    U.K.
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Pig In A Poke

    I would never buy equipment I hadn't seen and checked myself, I may be old fashioned but I bought all my gear second hand the majority of it more than twenty years ago, I have seven cameras, and have had no problems with any of them in all that time, I know I probably paid more because I bought them from local camera stores with a warranty, but in the long run considering how much hassle and potential expense I've saved myself it can't be such a bad philosophy.
     
  16. budrichard

    budrichard Member

    Messages:
    167
    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2007
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    As a former photog for a large Midwestern newspaper, I can tell you that Pro's view thier cameras as tools to be used and not as objects of veneration. They are used until they malfunction and then repaired, if they malfunction often, they are traded for different gear that works.
    I would never purchase gear that a Pro had used heavily, now matter how well it may have maintained.
    That said I have purchased two M bodies and lenses from Pro's. One was a portrait photographer that also collected cameras and to fund his switch to digital Canon, he sold me an M6 and two ASPH lenses, all still in boxes with recipets and Registrations. The other purchase was from a Long Island Times photographer that had purchased an M7 and never used it, but with digital, had no use for it, the camera was new and a good value.
    But a camera or lens used every day by a Pro is subjected to much more usage than any amature would ever experience. There is a reason that Pro cameras and lenses are designed to a higher standard than Prosumer or amature equipment and it shows in the price tag.
    On the other hand a well heeled amature photographer is a great source for used equipment. In many cases the stuff is barely used and essentially new, the owner not being able to bear the thought of damaging such expensive equipment. -Dick
     
  17. rhmimac

    rhmimac Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Thanks for your views. After reading them I'm certainly back on the following state of mind "amature = amature gear" and leave the big spending for the photogs who get there gear refunded through their assignments or their great fine art sales.

    Hope the F4s turns out ok. I will sell it after putting some rolls through it without problems.
    I can't bear it using a camera which is possibly eating my dear film investments, because that's what it is nowadays, spending hard cash on something you really love.

    Thanks
    rhmimac
     
  18. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,934
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Duvall, WA,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Just have the shop do a full overhaul on it. Once that's done, it should work for you without problems for many years. Since 2005, I've owned nine F4 bodies. One of them was a dud when I received it. I expected that, since I'd bought it as a parts camera. Shutter had finger damage, which killed it. Every other F4 has functioned fine for me, but, sometimes had LCD bleed problems. One needed a new viewfinder, since half of the lower LCD was black, due to massive bleeding, and the hot shoe didn't work. After viewfinder replacement, it was fine.

    With respect to second hand "pro" bodies being more problematic, I've found that to be untrue, since I've had more problems with well-used amateur bodies. I've had three F3's with issues (one of which I currently own), one was bought knowing the issues and was a project camera. I've had at least four FM2n's that had meter problems and two with winding/shutter problems. One FE2 with a maladjusted meter that was jammed when I got it, somehow I unjammed it and got it working again. A bunch of Nikkormats with issues, some repaired, some turned into parts cameras for the other cameras. Four FM's that had issues with various parts. I also had an F2 that began firing when I used the DOF preview button, and a couple or three F's that, due to age, had slow shutter speed problems. A couple bodies were in decent cosmetic condition, just weren't working right.

    -J
     
  19. elekm

    elekm Member

    Messages:
    2,059
    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2004
    Location:
    New Jersey (
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    I think it depends on the photographer. Some photographers are incredibly hard on their gear. Other photographers aren't.

    However, I will say that pro gear is often serviced frequently. At least, that's true of some newspapers, where they have a contract with one of the big camera makers.
     
  20. ozphoto

    ozphoto Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,329
    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2006
    Location:
    Bangkok, Tha
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    I too would be wary of buying a Pro's camera. Sure they are built like tanks, but they are put through the motions almost 24/7; after all, that's what the Pro's buy them for - work, not admiration. :wink:

    I assisted a photographed for approximately 9 years - and in that time, about the only maintenance he had done on the cameras we used was to have them cleaned (and then I could count on 1 hand the number of times that was done). We worked these to death - 1000s of exposures and they were used hard (not treated poorly, just really worked).

    He put an F5 up for sale which hadn't seen an awful lot of work, and he made sure to have it serviced first - that was a bargain for the lucky buyer, as he moved to digital not long after purchasing. It got a fair amount of work, but nothing like his F4 and earlier bodies.

    The best bargain I ever landed was from an older gentleman who decided to move to digital - traded in all his lovely EOS gear at a local camera store. I think from memory he had only had it 18 months at most. 3 weeks after trading "up" he wanted to trade back - I got a nice body and flash out of it - he on the other hand would have lost out badly. . . .
     
  21. Andrew K

    Andrew K Subscriber

    Messages:
    571
    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2010
    Location:
    Melbourne, A
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    Just my 2 cents worth....

    I'm a former camera tech, and have owned quite a few cameras over the years....What I've found is that pro's serviced their gear on a regular basis - they understood how they were earning their $$$

    Most amateurs only service their gear when it's broken.....

    Back in the 90's I bought a heap of gear from a major newspaper that was changing from Canon to Nikon...I got something like 50 odd lenses and 20 bodies....out of all that I got maybe 1 faulty body, and a coulpe of lenses that needed repair - but these were freebies that were "thrown in" with the gear I bought..I sold off what I didn't need, and used the rest....

    I used 2 of the bodies for nearly 8 years shooting motorsport in all sorts of weather - I can remember coming home from a race, and having to dry the cameras out as the seals were saturated with water (from being used..and they were under rain hoods!)...not a problem......

    Then again after shooting a off road event I had to strip one of the lenses, as that much dust got into it that the focus ring was starting to stick in places, but the cameras were fine.....

    Services what was needed when it was needed....

    I sold all my NF1 gear when I went AF.....

    I got nostalgic a couple of years ago and bought one of hte cleanest New F1's I've seen in years..only had amateur use - even has that dull black sheen NF1's had when they were new...looks georgeous..

    It also doesn't focus to infinity correctly - the flange depth is out....but the previous owner never knew....just thought their eyes weren't as good as they used to be....
     
  22. nyoung

    nyoung Member

    Messages:
    371
    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    I've owned about 20 Nikon bodies since 1980 and I've had winners and losers both new and used. The best looking used FM I ever bought - lightly used by an amateur - had a terminally defective shutter. Sold it for parts. My first F5, brand new in 1998, had a short that would run the batteries down within two hours. Nikon replaced it of course, but it was broken brand new out-of-the-box. An old brassy Nikkormat EL that was so worn it felt like the film advance lever would wobble off every time I advanced the film was deadly accurate and one of the most reliable cameras I have owned. I do think that the cameras that used accessory motor drives wore out quicker when used on the motors than if they were used manually.
     
  23. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

    Messages:
    1,934
    Joined:
    Apr 18, 2008
    Location:
    Duvall, WA,
    Shooter:
    35mm
    For the most part, it really depends on the photographer. Case in point, my *most* reliable F is the one in my avatar. Even though it was a motor driven camera prior to my owning it (the F-36 on it was added by me, got the camera with the normal back), everything works properly on it. I did have to have the meter worked on, but, it's fairly rare to get a properly working FTn finder nowadays. So, had the meter fixed, and recalibrated to 1.5 volts. It did help that the previous owner was both a pro photog and a camera tech. So, he did keep it in good working order when he was using it. The chrome F FTn that I had last year was in almost perfect condition cosmetically, with only the strap lugs showing wear. Meter worked fine, but the frame counter was off by a frame. Would stop at frame 35 and not go to 36.

    I think I could probably purge the Nikomat bodies, the FM2n, and the F3P, and be a happy camper. My F, F2A, and my F4 have been dead nuts reliable. The 'tax I'm keeping as a useable collectible. It probably won't see daily use unlike my Nikon bodies, but will be taken out every once in a while to shoot with. May also use it for when I'm hiking and don't want even an FM2n around my neck.

    -J
     
  24. Brian Legge

    Brian Legge Member

    Messages:
    543
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2010
    Location:
    Bothell, WA
    Shooter:
    35mm RF
    Best of both words; pick up a pros backup kit.

    I got really lucky and picked up an F4s that was the backup camera for a pro/really high end amateur. It was very lightly used. Almost new. But it did have film put through it periodically.
     
  25. Poisson Du Jour

    Poisson Du Jour Member

    Messages:
    4,267
    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2008
    Location:
    Richmond/Geelong, AUS
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
    It strikes me as very unusual that an F4S would have such a problem. Most working professionals do look after and service their equipment, even if it is dented, scraped, scuffed, bent or busted but still working. But the F4S is a workhorse, so how then did this shutter problem eventuate? By somebody poking their finger into the shutter? I would be inclined to give it a very thorough visual and technical examination (Nikon, like Canon, has diagnostic devices that plug into the camera to read-off various statistics that can be quite revealing and quite contradictory to the oh-so-sweet salesman's pitch. Go for it.
     
  26. rhmimac

    rhmimac Member

    Messages:
    251
    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
    Shooter:
    35mm
    That could be the case here. I don't know the man/woman who has left the camera to the shop. The shop gives me full waranty so I don't mind not knowing. I suppose it's send over to a camera repair point where everything will be checked with the above mentioned devices. Just looking at it is what I already did. I didn't "see" or "heard" a problem...:smile: Thanks for your input here.

    rhmimac