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View Full Version : Is it me, or film equipment prices have gone up?



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Andrey
04-08-2013, 08:09 AM
I haven't shopped actively for film cameras, cause I've mostly been shooting for the last 2-3 years or so.

But it seems like the good film cameras have increased in price a LOT.

I was looking for 35 rc, olympus mju, XA or a canonet. Everything hovers around 80 bucks. A few years ago it was no problem to get it under 30.

Are more people shooting film? What's the deal?

Fortunately the pentax K1000 is still around 40 bucks with lens and the FEDs and KIEVs.

Felinik
04-08-2013, 08:22 AM
Indeed, I went into this race only about one year ago, and since then even I experience a HUGE increase in the film gear market... It's crazy, hopefully it dramatically increases the sales of film too, but it's indeed odd!

EdoNork
04-08-2013, 08:25 AM
Yes, the cheap but well considered P&S machines are increasing, slowly buy constantly, their prices.
I supose the back to film cameras started with the high range and now people is looking for some "compacts" with film.

Andrey
04-08-2013, 08:31 AM
And to think I've gotten rid of 20+ different contax and zeiss jena lenses at some point.

I got them around 2004-2007 at 20-30 bucks a piece. Now even the 50/1.7 is fetching 200 dollars plus.

Felinik
04-08-2013, 09:37 AM
Now everything is RETRO!

Oh how I regret (not really) not saving all my old smurfs, big jims and all other toys from the 80's, I bet it's worth loads today as people seem to have fallen into a trance of retro-hype!!

vysk
04-08-2013, 09:46 AM
Yeah, I'm at my "want to keep" set now. Which isn't all ideal, because I do need some of the funds that are tied up in my film gear.


And to think I've gotten rid of 20+ different contax and zeiss jena lenses at some point.

I got them around 2004-2007 at 20-30 bucks a piece. Now even the 50/1.7 is fetching 200 dollars plus.

pbromaghin
04-08-2013, 11:00 AM
I've been accumulating equipment for about 4 years, and yes, prices have gone up. I think the ridiculously low prices of a few years ago were the result of the recession combining with the rush to digital to force more equipment on the market and suppressed buying. The recession is over and it appears that those who need and/or want to dump film equipment have already done so.

onepuff
04-08-2013, 11:43 AM
I do think fixed lens rangefinders must be near the top of the market now. I remember bidding on a working but cosmetically average Olympus 35SP needing light seals a few years ago on an auction site and stopping when it hit GBP 70.00 thinking it was rather dear. I wish I had carried on. They now regularly sell in that condition for GBP 150.00 and minters can fetch over GBP 300.00. In contrast, SLRs seem to have stalled and can be good value. It's like everything else in the retro / collectables market. There are fads which come and go. The trick is to wait until they are a bit cheaper again, probably in a few years time. In the meantime, buy an under-appreciated camera to amuse yourself then sell when it becomes the in-thing and goes up in value.

Ian Grant
04-08-2013, 12:16 PM
Judging by what some people are prepared to pay for a quite pedestrian and very common post WWII Zeiss Nettar - $80 there must be an up turn in the market :D

Ian

arealitystudios
04-08-2013, 12:18 PM
I have definitely noticed an increase in prices lately for film equipment. I personally think several things are happening:

1) Working with film has gotten incredibly trendy, which is not a bad thing at all, especially for us folks who don't want to see our favorite films disappear or become even more expensive than it already is.

2) There are a few cameras that have received such a "cult" status which of course inflates their price. Leica folks know this phenomenon all too well.

3) As film cameras get older and older it is becoming harder and harder to find examples that have not been beat to hell and are in good working order.

I find myself very fortunate that I got into film photography right around the time serious digital cameras were brand new (think the first digital Rebel and the Canon 10D). A lot of professionals and hard core hobbyists were dumping their film stuff for rock bottom prices. In many cases the cameras were barely used as they had been purchased by people who just want the latest and greatest trendy items, not necessarily people who photographed frequently. I think that time has passed and prices are heading back up because the folks selling cameras aren't doing so out of desperation to raise the funds for a new toy.

horacekenneth
04-08-2013, 12:23 PM
If you think about it we're still in the early years of digital. There's no saying what kind of relationship the photography market will have with film in the future. It still very well could find its own place (beyond being a retro fad).

Ian Grant
04-08-2013, 12:56 PM
If you think about it we're still in the early years of digital. There's no saying what kind of relationship the photography market will have with film in the future. It still very well could find its own place (beyond being a retro fad).

It still has it's own place. It's not the film users that need to find it rather a digital world to accept it, wquite different.

Ian

ntenny
04-08-2013, 01:30 PM
3) As film cameras get older and older it is becoming harder and harder to find examples that have not been beat to hell and are in good working order.

...especially with the more recent electronic cameras. In my experience, when a Canonet or Hi-Matic dies, it dies *dead*; it's not like a 1970s SLR that still gives you manual exposure if the meter fails, or an older all-manual camera that can be repaired with reasonable effort---the repair exceeds the value of the camera if it's possible at all. So every failure diminishes the available pool.

-NT

BrianShaw
04-08-2013, 02:24 PM
It seems to me that certain cameras have been dubbed "legendary" (whether they deserve that or not) and the repeated praise by people (some of whom seem to just be repeating what they have heard rather than speaking form experience) has cause the prices to climb. Whether they will ever go back down or not, IDK.

Interestingly, for one of the cameras mentioned in the OP I think I keep seeing the same carea(s) being bought, used, and re-sold at higher prices over-and-over again. No matter how much they seller says they liked it but need the money to (insert whatever situation sounds imminent/pathetic) I read that more as sales hype than honest rationale... based on my less-than-satisfactory experience with similar/same cameras.


But another phenomenon also may be in play. I've noticed that whatever I want all of the sudden goes up in prioce immediately before I'm ready to buy.

BradleyK
04-08-2013, 02:37 PM
I've been accumulating equipment for about 4 years, and yes, prices have gone up. I think the ridiculously low prices of a few years ago were the result of the recession combining with the rush to digital to force more equipment on the market and suppressed buying. The recession is over and it appears that those who need and/or want to dump film equipment have already done so.

+1. I think, too, that many out there are coming to the realization that film cameras are no longer being made in the quantities, or in the varieties, of years past, influencing the expectations of both sellers and buyers. Nikon, Canon and others have sharply curtained their offerings over the last several years. An increasing scarcity can be seen in evidence - most notably, I would suggest - in the "pro end" of the market. To wit: two and a half years ago (give or take), I picked up several F3HP bodies, on ebay, in ex/ex+ condition (in "KEHese"), prices in the $75 - $100 range; drives for the same were typically $20-$45. Around the same time, I also purchased several F2/F2 Photomic/F2A bodies at prices in the same range. A quick look on ebay this am finds prices, for the most part, for the various models of both the F2 and F3 bodies, have more or less doubled. With few exceptions, most of bodies with initial bids of sub-$100 look pretty sketchy. It has become quite common to see F3HP bodies, for example, selling on "the bay" for several hundred dollars! While economic factors and the rush to digital may explain a large part of the changes in pricing, a shrinkage in available product also is part of the calculus. I would only expect prices to continue their upward climb...

troyholden
04-08-2013, 03:19 PM
I've been hoarding Olympus Stylus Epics for about a year. I've got 12 of them stored in shoe box as backups with 2 more in active everyday use. My rule is to spend less than $40 each (although the average price is fast approaching $100) -- you can still find a cheaper model if you keep your eyes peeled.

Whiteymorange
04-08-2013, 05:05 PM
In my experience, when a Canonet or Hi-Matic dies, it dies *dead*;

Many if the cameras from this era suffer from having been assembled with acid core solder. I have fixed more than one Hi-Matic and a very nice Konica by removing the bottom plate and re-soldering the battery leads.

Just sayin'

Alan Klein
04-08-2013, 05:14 PM
My RB67 equipment is so cheap I don't even worry about leaving it in the trunk of the car when I park anywhere. I use to insure the equipment. It will never come back to the prices I paid years ago. That breaks my heart.

MattKing
04-08-2013, 07:49 PM
So, the rampant inflation is hitting the old camera market now, huh? That's all it is--just inflation. Cameras can only be worth LESS, because film is getting scarce as sharks teeth in Kansas.

Just as an experiment, I just went over to B & H's website and randomly added over 350 rolls of 120 Kodak film to my shopping cart.

My cart includes seven different films - B & W negative film, colour negative film and colour slide film.

I can get it shipped to my address in Washington State in 5 business days for about $38.00.

It will cost me about $2,200.00 if I complete the purchase :blink:, but in no way is it difficult, or even particularly inconvenient for me to obtain the film.

I can obtain almost all of the same film from local stores (all of it, if you consider Glazer's in Seattle as local), but it will take some driving around, and will cost me more.

Film isn't scarce, it is just a specialist material.

ntenny
04-08-2013, 10:39 PM
So, the rampant inflation is hitting the old camera market now, huh? That's all it is--just inflation. Cameras can only be worth LESS, because film is getting scarce as sharks teeth in Kansas.

"Rampant inflation" means 2%? Man, you must not have been alive in the 1970s.

Actually, it'd be sort of interesting to index the resale prices of some "standard" cameras against inflation over the last few decades. I don't have the information at my fingertips but I bet somebody does.

-NT