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  1. #1
    Captain Kodak's Avatar
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    Why are Polaroid 405 backs so expensive?

    Yesterday, I delved into the many crates in my storage unit to unearth a small cache of Polaroid backs in multiple sheet film sizes. I mated a 405 to my latest acquisition.


    Rather, when first toying with this new camera, the 405 back, which has sat unused for more than a decade (I shot with the 545 series, never cared for the 3 1/4 x 4 1/4 format) decided to show its age. So I hopped onto eBay to peek at what a "new" Polaroid 405 back would run me - $200. Somehow, defying, every tradition in the global second-hand marketplace, this item is selling used for more than many times its original retail value. Furthermore, they really aren't that old to play the whole "and adjusting for inflation bit. 405 were for the shooter on a budget, 545 were the pro series. Pros preferred the larger 4x5 size which mated to the framing of the film to be shot afterwards, with a stable of unique films like Type 55P/N. Hh how I pine for thee, I mis you terribly 55P/N - hands down the best film ever for the Bohemian photo artist, smoking hand rolled cigarettes, and once a month selling prints on a sidewalk in the local city center, wherever they may be parking their boots; selling to disseminate their art with and recoup costs, but not with any financial urgency. You might be able to tell that I have been contemplating that little scenario with a touch of an application to myself.


    Certainly, there is nothing collectible about a 405. Certainly more useful than the other instant film backs for whom their film format has sailed the river D76 into the great stop bath beyond, but surely there are enough of these to go around to such a diminishing market slowly being extinguished by lack of media to compose upon. They should stay at the same value, if not decrease as time goes onwards as many items facing then suffering obsolesce do.
    Last edited by Captain Kodak; 07-19-2013 at 05:14 PM. Click to view previous post history.

  2. #2

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    Supply and demand.

  3. #3
    Sirius Glass's Avatar
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    eBay is photographic prices are often driven by greed, lack of market knowledge, and pure stupidity.
    Warning!! Handling a Hasselblad can be harmful to your financial well being!

    Nothing beats a great piece of glass!

    I leave the digital work for the urologists and proctologists.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sirius Glass View Post
    eBay is photographic prices are often driven by greed, lack of market knowledge, and pure stupidity.
    To expand on that -- based on fragments here and there, eBay changed its fee structure a few years back. Apparently (I don't sell), that made it favorable to do buy-it-now or set higher starting prices.

    That severely degraded eBay as a source of comparative pricing (and probably for buying).

    Before this, there were a couple people trying to sell Crown Graphics for $800 (Vintage!). After this, oodles more.


    At this point, I view eBay as a problem waiting for a better solution.

  5. #5

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    only a few years ago a brass lens was considered JUNK and cost maybe 30$
    the same lens now costs between 600 and 800$

    the reason that polaroid back is $$ is for the same reason ... someone will pay that much money for it
    silver magnets, trickle tanks sold
    artwork often times sold for charity
    PM me for details

  6. #6
    Dr Croubie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jnanian View Post
    only a few years ago a brass lens was considered JUNK and cost maybe 30$
    the same lens now costs between 600 and 800$

    the reason that polaroid back is $$ is for the same reason ... someone will pay that much money for it
    That's pretty much it, if noone paid it, the prices would drop. I've heard of people getting 50/1.4 Taks for $10, and Helios 85/1.5 for $100 ten years ago, now you're lucky to get one under $100 or $400 respectively.

    I also want a Polaroid 405 Back (or Fuji PA-1 or 145, or whatever takes FP3000C), but I'm just not going to buy until I see one under $100. I expect I'll be waiting a long long time.
    It's also just the fact that FP3000/100 is the only size readily available. 4x5 Instant is gone, you can get a 4x5 holder for $10 (I got one to use with Quickloads). Maybe if Impossible release a 4x5 film those holders will go back up to $100-200, and 405s will go back to $50...


    There's also the economic rule of "expectations of inflation cause inflation", in that if I think I can buy/sell a lens for $200 in a few years, and it's only $100 now, I'll buy now and either save/make money on the future price. That's how property/stockmarket/tulip bubbles form. Maybe we're in a lens bubble, and the prices will crash in a few years?
    An awful lot of electrons were terribly inconvenienced in the making of this post.

  7. #7
    erikg's Avatar
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    It's about the only size left for fresh film. The opposite has happened to 545 holders. I never would have guessed.

  8. #8
    AnselAdamsX's Avatar
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    I must be buying the wrong lenses They are cheaper this year than last year.

  9. #9

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    As ErikG said, it's the only film still made, of course the backs are going to cost more, and actually 4x5 pack film is still made and distributed in Japan fresh and new so that explains why the 4x5's are still pricey. It's the only polaroid film made...

    In contrast the type 55 stuff isn't made, so the holders are $25 a piece.




    ~Stone | Sent w/ iPhone using Tapatalk

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Dr Croubie View Post

    There's also the economic rule of "expectations of inflation cause inflation", in that if I think I can buy/sell a lens for $200 in a few years, and it's only $100 now, I'll buy now and either save/make money on the future price. That's how property/stockmarket/tulip bubbles form. Maybe we're in a lens bubble, and the prices will crash in a few years?
    In this case there would be an upper limit as long as new PA-145s are available. They're not cheap but surely there's no reason to pay more for an old Polaroid holder.

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