Ebay, is there anywhere else?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by BobbyR, Nov 26, 2007.

  1. BobbyR

    BobbyR Member

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    I just was bidding on a Canon 150-600 zoom and crapped out at 800 dollars (it sold for apprx. 1,500); earlier I had crapped out on a F3 with MD4 at 157 and it sold for 160.

    I was also bidding on a Tamron 300 f2.8 Adaptall, and with little time left, POOOF the item was removed.


    Have many of you played this little game.
    Bobby
     
  2. Valerie

    Valerie Subscriber

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    Try your local craigslist.org. There are some great finds there.
     
  3. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    If you are looking for eBay to deliver a great deal always, and quickly, forget it. That is a losing formula and all that will happen is your personal frustration.

    I have some 150 completed eBay transactions over the past 4 years or so, and I have only been burned once (really dirty 4x5 film holders). All in all, I feel I have gained great value from the items I have purchased on eBay, and in selected auctions, I have obtained some outstanding deals. However, I have lost out on many auctions, or did not participate in other auctions where the bidding just became just plain stupid (on the part of some other bidders).

    Keep in mind you are competing against many bidders worldwide, some of whom look for bargains (as a personal business) to resell. In the end, the marketplace will determine THE MARKET PRICE - just like the price of oil is determined by THE MARKET PLACE. SO, what to do?

    The market price may not match your expectations (for example the 150-600 FD Zoom). You either [a] have to change your price point, or wait for another one to come along - it may be a few weeks, months, or even a year! For that item, I have monitored for 2-3 years - have seen only 4 or 5 examples come up for sale, and they always go for AT LEAST US$1500. Your expected price may simply be too unrealistic for such a rare item, and seemingly desired item.

    The one single word for success on eBay is PATIENCE. At any given time, I have many "saved searches" that provide me with emails when something I am seeking gets listed. I put it on my watch list, and I may monitor several example auctions, without bidding, until I can see what the price range may be (and I keep track of those auctions). I also monitor the condition of the items with that price tracking. When I have a feel for an item's eBay market, I am able to see what might be good value (i.e. good quality for a lower/reasonable price). Even when I do decide to play, I generally wait until the last possible moment to bid - and I bid once with my highest bid (assuming I can even still play). Some auctions I win, several I lose - but those I win generally are very good deals (because of previous homework). Every once in a while, a really good deal comes along with a low buy-it-now price (because I have done my homework) and, because of the saved searches, I may see it sooner than some of the others. I have had some good deals on a Sunday morning sometimes!

    Again, it comes down to waiting for the items to come along. If you are trying to get something in 2-4 weeks - forget it - you may get a poor quality example, pay too much for it, and then see a better example later. Some of my won items have taken up to a year to get, but they have been worth getting (both price and quality).

    A word about not getting attached to the item in a particular auction. I mentioned before about stupid bidding. I have seen some items get bid up by two "newbies" (you can usually tell because they have very low feedback scores) to a level where they pay MORE for the item than to buy it new. An example was a Mamiya eyecup that sells new at B&H for $12 or so, but sold used in an auction for $28! Or a used Calumet shutter tester that sold for $150, but is only $109 new at Calumet! Dumb!

    Some items are rare to begin with (not many made), come up rarely for sale on eBay, and when they do, generally always command a premium price (because there are plenty of folks out there looking for it too). The FD 14mm wide angle L lens is a prime example of something that will still command a hefty price (usually over $1000).

    Sorry for the long post - but I hope this gives you some ideas. Keep at it, and accept some rejection/disappointment. Hang in there and eventually you will be rewarded. It's a big market out there.
     
  4. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    BobbyR, have you considered shopping at www.keh.com? As has been pointed out, shopping via eBay can be very iffy unless you're prepared to pay more than top dollar. Its may be getting more iffy for you because you're in the dollar zone and are contending with bidders in the Euro zone.
     
  5. MP_Wayne

    MP_Wayne Member

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    A very good suggestion. KEH is a good place to benchmark prices on items too. I have bought some items at KEH, but those items were more expensive than what I paid on eBay. On the other hand, KEH is legendary for its very conservative (in favour of the buyer) condition ratings.
     
  6. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi bobby

    keh camera brokers
    has a gigantic used inventory
    and a very conservative rating system
    ( i only buy "bargain" and it is in great condition )

    being a store, they have guarentees, somethings that
    are rare in the " i am selling this thing, for a friend, who
    found it in his grandparents' friend's attic ... i don't know what it
    is sorry ... " kind of world ...

    good luck!

    john
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 26, 2007
  7. resummerfield

    resummerfield Subscriber

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    Great post, MP_Wayne. I think you've summed it up very accurately.
     
  8. film_guy

    film_guy Member

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    Try www.photo.net

    There's some good deals there, but you have to search for them.
     
  9. SchwinnParamount

    SchwinnParamount Subscriber

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    And don't forget the sinking American dollar. Our international competitors for Ebay products can afford to jack the bids up due to the rise of the Euro (for example) against the dollar.
     
  10. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    It's easy to get attached to stuff you're bidding on, which is a good way to overspend, this is as true in live auctions as ebay. It is frustrating when you bid your limit, and the item sells for $5.00 more. But it means either you're playing it smart, or your expectations of the value are under the market.
    Very few items on ebay are once in a lifetime unique. For most of the stuff, for every item that sells for just over your limit, there are 10 more available. It does mean that you need to think of that F3/MD4 as a commodity rather than something you need/want.
    I try to only track auctions to the end if I'm going to bid at the last minute because of competition, otherwise I make a bid for the amount I'm willing to spend and "walk away". If I get an email that I won, fine, if not, that's fine too. I'll usually check to see what the price was, so I know the market better. I avoid as much as possible making a bid, then raising it to counter someone else. I say "try" and "avoid" because sometimes I fall into the attachment trap too...

    As for KEH, I find they are just plain easier, not to mention sometimes cheaper than ebay. Not all the time, not for everything they sell, but they are definitely worth checking out before going to ebay.
    Finally, as stated, if you're looking for bargains, ebay is about the last place to look, Craigslist, KEH and maybe Ritz's collector site are more likely sources.
     
  11. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    If you are bidding on a "hot" item then you need to be involved at the auction ending to "trump" the last bid just seconds before the close. Or, you can use one of the software tools that will purportedly do this for you.

    Simply put, if you really want it, and are willing to pay the best price, then you really should figure to be "there on line" as the auction winds down.

    Elsewise, going by what the last similar item sold for, and putting in a similar amount bid (even a couple of bucks more) and then going away will be a near sure loser. Because, at the closing, someone will almost always "tease" your final bid and more likely than not, hit it and go a couple of bucks higher in the last few seconds.

    Now you could be a crazy bidder and early on post a bid so "over market" as to be sure to win. But then you may find that some "slightly less than crazy" will come in at the last minute and "bid you up" well beyond what the item is really worth and then give up - leaving you with being a very overpaying winner!

    eBay is a game and a gamble. It can be fun - but know your limit!
     
  12. bdial

    bdial Subscriber

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    There is no single strategy that fits every ebay situation. I've won several auctions where I bid a reasonable market price well before the end. I admit that doesn't work so well on items where there is a lot of competition. For those, having your computer's clocked synced to a good time server is very handy.
     
  13. BobbyR

    BobbyR Member

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    Thank you very much for the responses.

    It has been, arrrrrrrh, how time gets distorted when you get older, six years since I played the Ebay game, and then it was a much simpler thing.

    I looked back at what I paid for a F4 and F5 Nikon and was amazed how much more money I must have had to dispose of then, but of the thing I bid on, nothing was too skewed, always expect the worst, except for the Tamron lens being pulled shortly before it seemed to be mine.
    THAT annoyed me GREATLY.
    I am not sure if the happy thought posts one gets, telling one not to be not happy really help.

    Of the things I want I have done some indepth, hours and hours of searching for previous prices (the search engine Ebay uses is NOT efficient, at best.
    Unless one does have hours to kill, one must do some odd wording or search heading to find some things.
    Putting in Canon F1, will find maybe half the cameras for sale.

    Go to All Categories, relating to photography, pick 35mm SLR Canon, and pick other, and then when that comes up put in F1, and I THINK one finds most of the Canon F1 cameras for sale.

    One last note, I almost put in a one dollar over opening cost bid on a F1n Canon with servo EE booster and MF motor drive.
    A BAAAAD feeling made me stop at the last moment, no one bid on it and it ran again.
    I took a closer look at it and the aperture adjusting rod was missing; I contacted the seller and they said it all was there, to look at the pictures.

    I did and the bare adjusting levers that connect to the missing part were very plain to see.
    I thank God for that one.
    Bobby
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 27, 2007
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  15. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Excellent advise given by all. MP_Wayne most clearly spelled it out. In addition to his and other suggestions for KEH [which I have used in preference to eBay, consider the Classified Ad at this website too.

    Steve
     
  16. spiralcity

    spiralcity Member

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    I've won many items at a STEAL!

    If your looking to purchase one of the BIG three ( Nikon, Canon, Minolta) you'll find plenty of competion. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a camera that was overlooked for whatever reason. I found a mint
    FE2 in the buy now market.

    I purchase Mamiya,Fujica, and Chinon 35mm cameras for 15.00 to 30.00 a pop. If you dont collect then these cameras may be useless to you. For me their GEMs. My Fujica ST801 is a beautiful camera and extremely overlooked by photo enthusiast.
     
  17. Terence

    Terence Member

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    Keep in mind too that just because someone beat you by $3 does not mean that was THEIR high bid. You might have bid it up another $100 and still lost if their max bid was still higher. All losing by $3 means is that you were the second highest bidder.
     
  18. Snapper

    Snapper Member

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    Is there anywhere else than Ebay for SELLERS? Have you seen the charges these days for the UK?!! I put up a lens for sale this week, got charged £1.30, fine, but then read the small print that states I also have to pay 6.5% of the selling price for photographic gear. That's outrageous! When did these prices go up?

    By the way, a shameless plug for my auction - a mint condition Voigtlander 35mm f1.7 Ultron - I've noticed these don't come up at auction all that often, but still I didn't get a single bid last week and had to relist.
     
  19. srs5694

    srs5694 Member

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    I'd like to add my voice to those saying that you shouldn't get emotional about eBay auctions or attached to any given item. That's a losing strategy -- you'll either get frustrated when you're outbid or you'll end up overpaying and suffer buyer's remorse. Remember that, with the exception of very rare items, something similar will crop up again on eBay, even if it's not listed there right now. If you really need it right now, eBay isn't the way to buy it (with the possible exception of "Buy It Now" items).

    I find that the best way to approach an eBay auction is to decide, before you place a bid, what your maximum bid is -- the amount over which you will not pay, period. Then bid that amount. If you win the auction, chances are you won't pay your high bid amount. The way eBay works, even if you enter a bid of $10,000,000, you could end up paying just $1; the final auction price is determined by the second-highest bidder, with a few caveats about very close auctions. (And I'll add that I don't recommend anybody actually enter a bid of $10,000,000; if another lunatic does the same thing, or even just enters a very high but still rational bid, trouble will ensue!)

    The trouble with entering your maximum bid to begin with is that people who don't follow my advice can poke and prod and slowly drive the price up with multiple bids, then drop out once they realize they've already gone well beyond their own rational limit. The solution to this problem is to snipe -- that is, to wait until the last moment and enter your bid then. Many people get angry at the mere mention of sniping, but I don't see a problem with it. Rather than enumerate all my reasoning, I'll refer you to this site, which lays out my view pretty well, although I'm unaffiliated with the site. FWIW, I use JBidWatcher, which is Java-based sniping software. It works pretty well and runs on a variety of OSes.

    I find that I get much less frustrated with eBay when I just enter a bid and forget it. Sniping helps avoid problems with the "creeping irrational bids," but there's a small risk of the sniping software failing, so sometimes I don't use it.
     
  20. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    Try KEH and other online stores, as others have mentioned. I have actually bought things for significantly less at KEH than they sell for on ebay, and you get a guarantee and their grading system is very conservative. That being said, I have had a couple of not so great experiences on ebay, nothing drastic, but on all of the other things I have bought I have had great deals so I think at this point I am way way ahead. Good luck.

    Patrick
     
  21. Dan Fromm

    Dan Fromm Member

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    Um, for sellers there's nothing like eBay. It has reach. In the late '80s I sold gear via the small ads in the back of Shutterbug. eBay is much much better.

    Back then, people in the US who wanted to buy used gear had few alternatives: find a camera show, hope to find the item desired there for a reasonable price; buy from a used equipment dealer, usually in NYC, who advertised in MP or PP; buy from an unknown individual, like me, who'd placed a small ad in Shutterbug. The first was an absolute crapshoot, as were the second two. The second two suffered because of the long lag between delivery of the ad to the magazine and receipt of the magazine. KEH is fine for common stuff, otherwise there's no alternative to eBay, including "eBay.restofworld."

    Back then, people in the US who wanted to sell used equipment had few alternatives: find a camera show, take the item to it, hope a seller would buy it for not to little; send the item to one of the used gear houses that advertised in the back of MP and PP, hope for an offer that wasn't too small; place a small ad in Shutterbug and wait and wait and wait. The first two always yielded little because the purchasers bought with resale in mind, therefore paid wholesale (or less), not retail. The last was uncertain, required payment up front, and required enough knowledge of the market to set a price. eBay is much much better,

    IMO, buyers who complain about eBay are people who want to buy far below market and can't. Sore losers.
     
  22. vanspaendonck

    vanspaendonck Member

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    I just checked and, lo and behold, final value fees on eBay.co.uk are a lot more expensive than on eBay.com, especially if you are selling photographic equipment. If you sell toys and games, it's even worse. eBay.co.uk seems to be the only site that has different percentages for different categories of objects.
    My advice: if you have any gear to sell, do it on eBay.com (or on APUG of course).

    About whacky prices: I am currently selling three twinpacks of Polaroid Time Zero film on eBay.com. The highest bid stands at US$ 305 with six hours to go. Makes me feel a bit like selling cigarettes on the black market in occupied Europe during WWII.........
     
  23. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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  24. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    * 2

    KEH or Samys are my first choices. eBay when nothing else works.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Steve
     
  25. BobbyR

    BobbyR Member

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    This is a helpful thread as to which store to check out first.

    Over the years I have done business with at least one half dozen of the stores in the back of Modern Photography, and I never had a bad experience; I had one very, very good experience when I had forgotten I sent for a Canon A-1, I was a twenty or so bucks short on the check I sent, for some reason, and before I sent the extra money, I had a real life nasty and totally forgot about it until one day over a year later, a check came in the mail with the original amount I sent.

    I no longer remember which store it was, which is kind of sad, as they did good by me.
     
  26. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    OK we've mentioned photo.net, but come on! We haven't mentioned the most obvious one yet...

    APUG!!

    I've got some great stuff off APUG, and even developed recurring trade/exchange relationships, so that I'm often only one acquaintance away from most gear I may need. Price are reasonable, often slightly below the eBay prices (people usually like to make APUG members a small favor before testing their chance at the auction, as they don't have to pay a posting fee).

    Sure, the supply can be erratic and somewhat unpredictable, but you will find some jewels here before finding them anywhere else if you're attentive and patient. Plus, there has been very few cases of stiffing (although they exist, they have been taken care of), and there is a lot of trust between members.

    You can always put requests (WTB ads) and have a decent chance of getting what you need. If not, at least someone will point you in the right direction.

    As far as classifieds go, APUG's are in the top ten (and yes I'm selling stuff there!)