"Dog" lenses on ebay

Discussion in 'Large Format Cameras and Accessories' started by bobfowler, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    I've been trying to stay away from ebay lately, but I must confess that I got a bit bored this morning and checked out the large format lens listing.

    Looking through all of the lenses listed, I started to wonder... How many of these have been sold and resold and resold because they were dogs?

    I used to buy and sell clarinets and saxophones on ebay. I sold one Buescher True-Tone tenor, and saw the same horn relisted - and resold - at least a half dozen times. All of the subsequent listings used the pictures I shot when I first sold it! FWIW - I was the only one who actually admitted that the horn was a dog...
     
  2. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I have no idea of the volume of Cocker Spaniels or Bull Mastiffs posing as optics on Ebay. I would suggest that you could query the seller while the auction is open and see if he will aggree to the lens being returned if it is not suitable. If not agreeable to the seller then do not bid. Also, deal with sellers that have a high satisfaction rating.


    Woof, Woof
     
  3. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    I'm leary of buying lens on Ebay. To be on the safe side I just keep the bidding low. If it gets even close to what a trust worthy shop might charge I bail. If it's a dog at least I'm only paying dog food prices. When I see people paying more then new I just wonder.
     
  4. David H. Bebbington

    David H. Bebbington Inactive

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    I think it is essential to pay only trade price for lenses on e-bay. I have not experienced deliberate deception, but as we all know a lens can look excellent to the non-expert and fail the torch test miserably.
     
  5. Jeremy

    Jeremy Member

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    It's always nice when you're the one selling the lens :smile:

    I once sold an 80-200 f/2.8 zoom on ebay for more than it cost new!
     
  6. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    I've wondered the same thing, Bob. Today I was wondering how many of the auction descriptions are intentionally vague or misleading, it's gotta be a pretty fair percentage. Like the guy with the lens who doesn't mention that it doesn't have a flange, etc.
    Nathan
     
  7. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I can't say that it is a fair percentage, as I don't see all that many sellers on ebay anylonger, that deal in Photographic equipment, that really know what they are talking about, I would say that less than 50% of the sellers of photo equipment really know what they are talking about, ebay has become like the swap meets of the 60's where you just have a whole lot of people selling stuff, without alot of knowledge, they are in it for the money, I purchase alot of camera gear off of ebay, and really have never been burnt, but I ask questions like crazy, and if they can't provide the answers, venture on to the next auction, don't often look at the items that have only one or two line descriptions, cause it is quite clear to me, that this person, much not know what he/she is talking about, I know, if I can't hold it, it better have a great description..

    Dave
     
  8. BradS

    BradS Member

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    eBay gas gone to the dogs. There are a few decent and honest sellers but there seem to be an ever increasing number of unscrupulous creeps.
     
  9. Nathan Smith

    Nathan Smith Member

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    I think you're right Dave, I've had pretty good luck as well. I look for bargains (partly so I don't lose my shirt on a bad deal, and partly because I'm cheap) and I ask questions, but it bugs me that they've added the option for the seller to add the answered question to the auction discription. I find myself taking risks a bit more as I don't want to tip off others since the reply might contain info that will be found by a keyword search. As a seller I like the option though :smile:
    Nathan

     
  10. JG Motamedi

    JG Motamedi Member

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    It seems to me that this is not isolated to ebay, but a potential with any used lens being sold. I have bought a few dogs, on both eBay and from highly respected stores. The difference being that I am certain I can return the lens to the store after a few shots, while with ebay one is never certain.

    Although dogs are uncommon with modern lenses, they do exist. I had a 210 G-Claron which couldn't produce a sharp image; Grimes couldn't figure out the problem, so I gave up on it and returned to the store I bought it from almost two months later, with a note from Grimes that it was defective.

    More recently I bought a Dallmeyer 5A, a massive 11x14 portrait lens. I bought it knowing it had some separation, so I splurged and had Focal Point recement it. Once there, we found out that somebody had coated the front element with some sort of urethane to hide all of the scratches. Luckily for me, John at Focal Point stuck with his original estimate, and then polished the lens for a nominal fee.

    There are, after all, reasons that we choose to keep one lens over another, it seems only "natural" that poor lenses would get sold more often than good ones.
     
  11. Nick Zentena

    Nick Zentena Member

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    It seems to be happening all the time now :rolleyes: Either that or nobody bids on the item. Last month I bought a bronica. Nobody bid on it. Yesterday I watched a similar setup get bid $200-300 higher then I paid and not hit the reserve. The one that went yesterday had a metering prism but over all looked worse shape then mine. Mine came with a six month warranty from a reputable seller. The other one from a guy with low feedback. I paid $10 for shipping. The other guy wanted $80!.

    Today I'm watching a flash part. It's already 50% more then the one I ordered from KEH. In 12 hours when the auction ends I'm tempting to write the 2nd bidder and offer the one I bought :D
     
  12. Frank Petronio

    Frank Petronio Inactive

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    It's always "buyer beware" with any used equipment, especially large format lenses. So long as the seller doesn't describe it wrong, the actual performance of the lens is still going to fall within the original manufacturer's tolerances.

    People complained about some of the early Schneider XL lenses. I ain't going to buy an XL lens off eBay - I know better. But I probably would take a chance on a classic Schneider Symmar or Rodenstock Sironar because I figure most of the time people are just unloading them because they need the money or aren't using it or have gotten something better.

    I also wouldn't buy a fancy $1500 35/DSLR AF lens used unless I could try it. Too much variation. But I'd probably buy a $300 prime used no problem.
     
  13. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    Depends. Sometimes a poor description and a fuzzy picture conceal an excellent deal. If it's something that I know is a basically good item and if any problem it is likely to have is something I can fix, I might take an informed risk for the right price, and it usually comes out well, and if it doesn't, I haven't lost much.

    A bad one was a Perrin bag with a lot of junk in it in much worse condition than it looked in the picture. There were one or two items worth keeping, one small item that was in good condition that I sold, and I decided to keep the bag for tools (it was too grungy for cameras). I was out $15.

    A good one was my recent Sinar F purchase, which was part of an estate buyout. I invested $650 or so, sold off parts of the purchase that I didn't need, Kept the Sinar F with bag bellows and standard bellows, 6" extension rail, Sinar-Technika lensboard adapter, bellows clips and rods to use the bellows as a lens shade, 4" filter holder, a black Leitz Tiltall in excellent shape with extra heavy duty knobs, about 30-odd 75mm gel filters, Fiberbilt case for the camera and another hard case for lighting, small darkcloth, three brand new Wista lensboards (two undrilled), 3 lens spanners, a few levels, a nice cable release, a dozen like-new Toyo filmholders, and a few other odds and ends. My final cost was $200.
     
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  15. Claire Senft

    Claire Senft Member

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    I bought my Contax RTSIII and lenses about three years ago on Ebay with a couple of items coming from photo.net and B&H. The time I was buying the Auto-focus N! was fairly new on the market and the N1 Digital was just being released which used the autofocus lenses. All the lenses that I bought were received in like new condition. One lens was from Australia and another from Hong Kong. There was only lens that did not equal its rating, in my opinion, by the seller. He said mint minus..I figured at best it was excellent plus. My money was returned in full and I acquired a different lens.

    Generally, these like new lenses were being acquired at about 40% of the B&H
    price. I asked questions prior to bidding and had a thorough look at the seller's comments.

    A couple af months ago I bought a Brumac 3 color densitometer in like new condition for $21.95+ shipping. Included in the box was the original sales invoice for $1995.00.

    Don't you just love these idiots that have to have the newest and latest item and then sell like new equipment for a song?
     
  16. Steve Hamley

    Steve Hamley Member

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    I've bought a lot on eBay and only gotten "burned" once that I stayed burned. It wasn't a lot of money and I've been happy with the eBay experience. David brings up a good point - somtimes you get an unexpectedly good deal. Like the time I bought 50 4x5 Riteways and found they were loaded with unexposed, and good, old thick base Tri-X. 100 sheets for free minus two I pulled the slides on.

    Steve
     
  17. John Kasaian

    John Kasaian Member

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    A Buescher True Tone a "dog?" Surely you jest! Was it High Pitch? C-Melody? Were the keys swedged or something? Tru-tones, 'Dorffs and Artars are kind of the "gold standard" in my neck of the woods;-) I'm fortunate enough to have all three to play with!
     
  18. Ole

    Ole Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    A while ago I met a professional (ad) photographer who turned out to be the previous owner of one of my LF cameras. He said the same thing - he upgraded his d*g*tal equipment twice a year buying last year's top equipment. I had to admit that I love the "idiots" too, since all this great professional LF equipment comes on the market for a song :D
     
  19. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    It was a MAJOR dog. Built in 1917 (according to it's serial number), it had seen MUCH better days. It was a regular Bb tenor, but didn't have a high F and had the real old style palm keys.

    We did a full overhaul (Liz is a professional horn mechanic), but it never played quite right. I suspect it wasn't the original neck.

    FWIW - My alto is a 1929 True-Tone (dark lacquer) and is a kick-ass horn. My wife has an TT alto from 1927 (in satin silver) that is simply perfect in every way. We also have a 1923 satin silver TT alto in the horn closet waiting restoration. Other TT's in the house include a 1925 C-melody in satin silver, a 1934 Bb tenor in satin silver, a 1925 C soprano (yes, in C!) without lacquer. I love my '29 alto - the sweetest horn I've ever played, bar none!
     
  20. User Removed

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    Their is one or two good seller on Ebay of USED LF lens. They usually do a very honest rating system and give you a warrenty on the lens. The thing is, when you buy it from them...you are not saving THAT much money off buying a new one.

    I purchase a Kodak Ektar 14" that the guy said was in "PERFECT" condition. It was not, and I ended up paying more money to get it fixed..THEN I PAIDED FOR THE LENS!

    If you get ripped off, you can always get your money back from Ebay or PayPal.

    Be careful
     
  21. MikeS

    MikeS Member

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    I've been burned on eBay a lot more as a seller than as a buyer. Basically when I buy, I figure it's a risk, and I bid accordingly. One particular time I got 'burned' as a buyer (well not really, but it did tie up $70 for 3 months) was when I bought a Linhof Super Rollex from a seller with feedback in the 4 digits (so you would assume a good seller), they listed it at an opening bid of $49.00 and I was the only bidder, so won it at that price! I really couldn't believe it, but I got a money order for the amount with shipping (it ended up being around $68 and change), and mailed it off to them. After not getting it in a couple of weeks or so, I called them, and they claim then never got the money order, but that I should wait, they'll probably get it any day now. Same reply after I call them once a week for a few more weeks. Finally I offer to pay them with a credit card (they accept credit cards directly or thru PayPal), and they tell me to wait some more. A week later when I called and again offered to use my credit card they tell me it's too late, they never got my payment, so sold it to somebody else! This without a single email from them asking for payment after the initial one. I had been in contact with them, etc. I personally feel they got the money order, and threw it in the garbage, just because they didn't want to sell the item at the price it went for!

    Lately I've had lots of trouble with people not reading the terms of the listing, then complaining! I just this week got my 3rd negative feedback, from a german buyer who complained that I charged too much for shipping, and it took too long. Well, in my listings I specify that international bidders should email me BEFORE bidding for a shipping quote, but this guy didn't and only asked shipping after winning the item!

    I'm almost ready to state in my listings that international shipping will cost $100.00 extra unless they request a shipping quote from me BEFORE they bid, but I don't know how well that would fly!

    -Mike
     
  22. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    geez - no wonder you're getting neg. feedback. You should try to avoid consciously ripping people off. I'm not reaming you out here - but hey - that's a bit excessive in my book!
     
  23. Brac

    Brac Member

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    As someone who has bought and sold quite a bit of photographic gear, including lenses, on ebay I think that when buying extreme caution is advised. There are plenty of bargains to be found but there are also a substantial number of items being dumped on there as a way to get rid of mal-functioing equipment. This particularly applies to SLR's, which usually after 20 years or so need new seals but sellers very rarely mention these, either out of ignorance or because they know only too well that they are life expired. It also amazes me the number of sellers who are unable to test a camera because (a) they haven't got a battery or (b) they know nothing about cameras (and obviously have no intention of finding out either) or (c) the buttons seem to work but they are not sure if it actually works so it's sold "as is".

    The issue of postage charges is also a hot one as undoubtedly some people try & make on these but if the actual price you can get the item at is low then sometimes it's worth gritting your teeth and paying these but quite often I've declined to bid when someone is obviously more than doubling what the postage will cost them (even allowing for packing materials which do have a cost).

    When it comes to selling anything I go in for overkill and describe the item in great detail. I also try and get the postage & packing materials charge to reflect the true cost as near as I can. I think this pays off because so far with over 300 transactions I've managed to keep a 100% rating. I guess eventually I'll fall foul of someone but at least ebay are going to tighten up the rules for feedback so as to discourage "retaliatory" negative feedback.
     
  24. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    The BS postage charges are pretty easy to deal with. I give them a chance to change their minds if I think they're overcharging me - and if the tag on the parcel varies by more than 25% - BINGO. Negative feedback. It's that simple. That's what it's for - right? To keep people honest and aware.

    I don't really think there's too much risk involved as long as you know what you're doing. If someone doesn't disclose as much as you think they OUGHT to -or if they don't really seem to know anything about what they're selling... well, that's when you bid accordingly. And for the 20 year old SLR - unless it's an M4 or a Nikon F2 - one should ASSUME there are going to be repair costs involved. Any small body camera that you buy that hasn't seen alot of action in a long time probably ought to be overhauled/rebuilt anyhow.

    But I really don't think anyone's out to screw anyone else over. Or at least if there are - they number very few in percentage - and I'm sure their neg. feedback reflects their activities. I, for one, have sold a few EXCELLENT lenses - for a very good price (for both parties). The thing that's really GREAT about ebay is the deals you CAN get. They can be insane.
     
  25. mmcclellan

    mmcclellan Subscriber

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    I have bought a number of lenses on eBay (namely Leitz and Schneiders) and never had a problem. One thing I have found that is good, though, is to have an e-mail conversation with the seller before bidding. If the seller is knowledgeable about the lens and sounds as if he/she has actually used it, can send photos, etc., then it's probably a good one. If the seller cannot talk about it intelligently, then I pass. So far, I've never had a problem and I've bought some pricey equipment on eBay.
     
  26. Calamity Jane

    Calamity Jane Member

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    Being fairly new to LF, I have bought A LOT of stuff on eBay in the past year - 3 cameras, 3 lenses, enlarger head, etc. and although I have had a couple of problems (out of 30 transactions) the overall experience has been good. Winnipeg's last old fashioned pro shop closed almost 10 years ago and with it went the last of the used LF gear. If it hadn't been for the Internet (for advice and suggestions) and eBay (for parts and pieces) I would not have gone into LF.

    If something comes up on eBay that interests me, I read everything that's posted. Usually you can get a feeling for whether the seller is being straight or evasive. You can also get a feeling whether the seller knows much about the item.

    The next thing to do is research - find out about the "track record" of the item, whether it's considered good or trash by those who have used it. I also do an Internet search and try to find out what similar items sell for. I consider how important it is for me to acquire that specific item being offered for auction. The last two factors help me determine my maximum bid.

    I have a long look at the seller's feedback history, paying particular attention to any neutral or negative feedbacks. If the seller has peddaled a LOT of material on eBay, a few negatives are to be expected (some buyers are idiots or are out to "force a good deal"). Anybody who sells a lot and isn't over 95% positive feedback isn't worth the risk.

    If the seller is new (less than 100 items) they had better have 100% positive feedback. I will usually e-mail a new sellers and try to strike up a dialog about the item being offered. If they don't respond to questions in a friendly, open manner, I write the item off.

    Sometimes, if there is an item with a "buy it now" that I would like to have NOW (like when the "buy it now" price is reasonable and it's something I need anyway), I always contact the seller and ask some questions to see what kind of reaction I get. If the seller is open and friendly, I'll go for it.

    I am too honest to misrepresent "junk" if I were to get stuck with it, so I try to be careful. So far, so good! I have only encountered 1 dishonest person and 1 careless shipper (both items required some repair work but were useable afterwards).