Letting go

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by darinwc, Oct 8, 2010.

  1. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I have quite a few 35mm systems now. In addition I have some medium format, large format, projection and enlarging equipment, and a ton of books.
    The problem is that my house is starting to get cluttered.
    I really need to sell at least half of what I own.

    The problem is that every item seems to have its own unique personality. There is no overwhelming advantage to one system over another. So its been very hard for me make the effort to sell stuff. And quite frankly it takes a lot of work to sell things properly. Photographing items, writing descriptions, posting online, and shipping all take a ton of time. And international shipping is a pain because it requires a trip to the post office.

    So my question is, what steps do you take when you need to reduce your collection? What questions do you ask yourself to help you decide what stays and what goes?
     
  2. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    35mm systems to not bring much -- better to donate them to some college program who will get them into the hands of students...and take the donation off one's taxes.

    Okay, okay -- I am totally biased and self-serving since I am in charge of a university teaching darkroom and am always looking for manual film cameras to lend to our students. :whistling:

    Of course, we also take donations of MF and LF systems...LOL!

    Vaughn
     
  3. gregography

    gregography Member

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    I wax and wane, I get GAS and then I start to feel the weight of my possessions and getting rid of things is easier.

    What has worked for me is to start with what I want to keep instead of what I want to get rid of. If I acquired something because it seemed like to would be fun but I've never used it, then it doesn't make the cut. If I used it once and that was it, ditto.

    I agree with the hassle of selling which is why when I do it I try to do it in blocks instead of piecemeal. I get in the mindset, I write all the descriptions, I take all the descriptive pictures, and when things sell I can get everything send in one or two trips to the PO.

    And like most things we avoid, I find it helps to estimate how long a task will take, then do it, then look at how long it actually took. It's usually on the order of predicted: FOREVER actual: 10min.


    Good luck...
     
  4. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    "It's usually on the order of predicted: FOREVER actual: 10min."

    OMFG THATS FUNNY
     
  5. CGW

    CGW Member

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    Over time, I've interviewed and befriended people who've had to leave a town or country quickly through no fault of their own. A question that always comes up is: what did you take and and why, knowing that all you could take was what could practically be carried by you, often for days at a time, in the equivalent of a small suitcase. How you pare things down isn't really the issue; it's how you decide what to part with that's tough.

    Though there's no disaster looming, I've pitched/donated stuff recently I've not used for several years, mainly 35mm bodies and lenses that duplicated later gear buys. A just-busted Bronica S that was old and not worth fixing(have a like new Bronica SQ-B kit for 6x6)went to the trash last week. Old Minolta lenses went to a friend's kid. Clean old Nikon 801s bodies went to a thrift store. A like-new Sekonic 398 meter went to another friend's teenage daughter in the Canadian Yukon for her new eBay Hassie kit(I've got two other Sekonic meters).More will go over the next few months. Most of it I got for very little money. I used it happily but know it's pointless to try to squeeze a buck from it. My MF and 35mm kits are now down to workable proportions and get used regularly. It's just stuff.
     
  6. John W

    John W Member

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    For my part, I try to look at where my vision/passion for photography is taking me. The world is filled with interesting and fantastic photographic equipment, but most of it belongs in someone else's hands for best use. In this sense "letting go" liberates me to focus on specific directions in my photography, instead of getting distracted by shiny camera gear. :whistling:

    That said, I also acknowledge phases in my work. I'm fine with allowing equipment to "lie fallow" for a time when I feel that I'll come back to it.
     
  7. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    I am now actively taking LF donations. I have quite an extensive collection of camera equipment that tends to get used in a rotation type of schedule. I go through rounds of 35mm and 120 film spurts. The only cameras that don't get used are the ones that are awaiting my attention for repairs. If I want to simplify my camera stuff I figure out what it is that has not been used in a long while and then I get it out and use it and the feeling goes away.
     
  8. lns

    lns Member

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    1. How long has it been since I used this?
    2. When will I use it -- for sure -- in the future?
    3. What's the sale price? If that's low, would it be better to keep the equipment in case I or my friends or family might want to use it in the future?

    The last question sounds nebulous, but in practice has been the most important factor. I find I go through stages with photography. For example, I might not shoot a macro for a year, but then I want, or my kids want, to do a bunch of them.

    -Laura
     
  9. ntenny

    ntenny Member

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    Sit quietly with a stiff drink until the thought goes away?

    -NT
     
  10. mopar_guy

    mopar_guy Subscriber

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    There's no law against hoarding photo equipment and supplies.
     
  11. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    Well, if your HOUSE is starting to feel cluttered because of your collection....that may be a problem :smile: I have a closet that's cluttered.
     
  12. Tom Hicks

    Tom Hicks Member

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    Get a bigger house.:wink:
     
  13. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    I agree! If the place you donate your equipment to is a non-profit organization (most colleges and universities are) you can deduct the market value of the goods donated. In other words, even if you only bought the camera for $20 but it is worth $100, you get to claim the $100 as the value. So long as you have reasonable proof of what you would have had to pay if you went out and bought one today.

    I work for a Catholic college. I have gotten several thousand dollars worth of equipment donated this way.
     
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  15. juan

    juan Subscriber

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    I've begun a first step by clearing out a closet in my entrance hall, then putting in only the camera equipment that I actually use. The other stuff is in storage in another room. Maybe in a year or so I will get it through my head that I don't need the other stuff and will get rid of it.
    juan
     
  16. Worker 11811

    Worker 11811 Member

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    You don't have to use every bit of equipment you own every day. There is validity in simply being a collector.

    People collect all sorts of things... Stamps and coins. Dolls and Teddy Bears. It is just as valid to be a collector of vintage camera equipment.

    It just so happens that you are also a photographer. Therefore, instead of simply looking at your collection, you can actually take pieces of your collection out and use them to make the best photographs that anybody has ever seen.
     
  17. guitstik

    guitstik Member

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    +1
     
  18. Galah

    Galah Member

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    Why bother yourself with doing today what your legatees can happily do tomorrow? :tongue:
     
  19. David A. Goldfarb

    David A. Goldfarb Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I think it's a practical question about how you want to work. Sometimes less is more, and for me, when I've decided to pare down, it's because I've decided that I've experimented enough with a few ways to do something, and I want to settle on one technique and refine it. I've still got lots of options and lots of stuff, but I've also gotten rid of things.

    Another thing to consider is how much it costs to maintain everything. I like for everything I have to work, so if I've got something that isn't getting much use but still needs a CLA every few years from lack of exercise, then it's time to think about moving it along.
     
  20. blockend

    blockend Member

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    I have a problem with collecting and collectors in spite of having a growing Nikkormat habit. It's just indulging that male completist gene and probably rots the soul, though I dare say there are worse compulsions. Part of the fun is refurbishing old dogs, replacing the seals and foam and making them work like new. The best thing (or maybe second best to winding back 35 years in a time machine) then is to get enthusiastic kids to press some shutter.
     
  21. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    The other thing you could always do is put the stuff you don't use frequently into a storage box that slides under the bed. That'd clear some space up.

    Agree with David, though. I like to have my gear fully functional as well. I think that's part of the reason why I tend to go through bodies like water. If I get something that needs work and isn't in that great shape, I typically will purge it and find something else that's better. Or, if it's something that I don't really care for, out it goes. Like my last F3. Didn't care for the meter readout. So, when I got my F2AS, bye-bye F3.

    -J
     
  22. pschauss

    pschauss Member

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    The last time I suggested that I sell or give away some of the cameras that I do not use, my wife told me to keep them. She thinks that our grandchildren might want to use them. Right now we only have one, a 2 1/2 yearold, so it looks as though I will be keeping my cameras for a while. :smile:
    Meanwhile, the idea that they all need to be used once in a while gives me an excuse to burn some film.
     
  23. Black Dog

    Black Dog Member

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    Luckily I've never had this problem as I don't own enough gear, though I do have a killer book buying jones lol..
     
  24. John_Nikon_F

    John_Nikon_F Subscriber

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    Ah, so you've BAS?

    -J
     
  25. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    I've been puting together kits of stuff that is fun to use... but theres still a bunch of stuff I dont expect to use.
    .. and i just bought another slide projector.. a kodak 4400.. do I really need 5 slide projectors?..
    I had looked all over for about 6 months for a cheap slide projector and came up dry. After i broke down and ordered one shipped to me, now I regularly find them.
     
  26. wblynch

    wblynch Member

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    Just last week I let go of a closetful of old computers, vcrs, tivos and miscellaneous obsolete electronics. Sent it all to the recyclers.

    Now I have more room for film gear :D