Originally Posted by Truzi
Winning involves two variables. Time remaining (minimum possible) and bid amount (maximum possible).
I've been an active buyer for many years. My aggregate total in purchases well exceeds $10,000. This is an expensive hobby. In all those years I've never lost an auction. Not once. I've only twice been forced to pay anywhere near my actual maximum bid amount. And I was happy to do so (see below).
I've never used sniping software.
The key is to just manually place your bid 3-5 seconds before the auction closes. That's plenty close enough. As Truzi says, that help hold down bidding wars that get out of hand. Then make sure you have already considered well and decided in advance what your maximum comfortable bid amount will be.
You must be realistic. You must ask and answer with brutal honestly the two related questions, "If I win at this amount, will I still be happy? If I lose at this amount plus one dollar more, will I still be happy?"
If your answers to these two questions are honestly and truly yes, you're good to go. You will walk away happy regardless of what happens. And if, like me, you only bid on items that you really, really want and can really, really justify buying and will really, really use to solve real problems, your bid will almost always be the highest. And if someone else wanted it more, it won't matter. If it does, you didn't honestly answer those two questions.
I have yet to encounter that second outcome.
"When making a portrait, my approach is quite the same as when I am portraying a rock. I do not wish to impose my personality upon the sitter, but, keeping myself open to receive reactions from his own special ego, record this with nothing added: except of course when I am working professionally, when money enters in,—then for a price, I become a liar..."
— Edward Weston, Daybooks, Vol. II, February 2, 1932
Haha, that's what makes me laugh, I feel like I lost by playing fair. Admittedly it was a little irritating after babysitting the auction all week. Ah well, I'll snipe the next!
If you are not in a hurry, RB and RZ does show up in APUG classified fairly often. I think there were one of each just recently....
Develop, stop, fix.... wait.... where's my film?
Sniping is "playing fair." If someone bids before you and they have the same max bid they win and you lose. You accept that risk when you snipe. You also risk a software or internet malfunction in the critical sniping window.
Originally Posted by gus.
One big advantage of sniping is that it also doesn't call attention to auctions. Dealing with market psychology is just another facet of the game. As others have stated often the other participants are irrational. You don't want to poke them with a stick. It's amazing people will avoid totally good auctions if they are ending soon and have no bids. But they will swarm like flies on a dung heap if they see some bidding action on a very mediocre listing. It's the herd mentality. Look up "shill bidding." If an auction has too much bidding action early on I usually move on. You get the deals when you have a motivated seller and the herd is asleep. Eprey has turned into a bit of a joke these days. There are very few legitimate actions starting at $.99. It is a flood of ridiculous "Buy It Now" offers. I have literally seen cameras on their for 6+months continuously with ridiculous "Buy It Now" offers. Even as much better versions of camera have sold for a fraction of the price. I don't get what the purpose is of having so many ridiculous listings.
You can make pictures like that with any semidecent MF camera (Pentax, Bronica, Hasselblad, Rollei, Mamyia, etc.)
Originally Posted by gus.
If you've never had it you will never miss it. If you ever do get it and a couple of backs you will wonder how you ever lived without it. I have three backs at the moment and it's great. Film ain't cheap. I can load 25 ISO B&W, 400 ISO B&W, and 100 ISO C-41 or whatever combination is going to cover my day. Or I can leave two backs empty and just load them as needed. The point is you never really have to waste some frames just because you want to change to color or lighting conditions demand a higher ISO. If you are a low volume shooter the backs are a God send. If you work in a high volume studio with a 6x7 camera... well the end of the roll is going to come fast... very fast, so backs may be more of a hassle and expense than they are worth.
Originally Posted by gus.
I use a Bronica SQAi and a Mamiya RZ67 II.
For normal portraits I much prefer the square format. It just seems to suit portraits better, especially head shots and head and shoulder shots etc. However if you want to do a full length or even 3/4 length portrait the 6x7 format can fit better.
Other main difference between these two cameras is the Mamiya is not all that comfortable to use hand held, it just doesn't feel natural. I am right handed so I end up supporting the beast with my left hand and using my right hand for the focusing ( seems to feel better then the opposite ), so a tripod is almost a must. The Bronica on the other hand is no more cumbersome than a large 35mm SLR, held with my right hand and focused with my left, like a 35mm SLR.
There is a hand grip for the RZ and that may improve things but I have yet to try one.
All in all for Portraits I would be 90% in favour of a square format.
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The Hasselblad is similar to your Mamiya,
with your left hand you support the camera and your finger is on the shutter release
with your right hand you focus and work the film advance
It just takes using the camera for a while to train your muscles to work the controls and get the hang of it.
Especially the fine motor control of the finger on the shutter release.
The hand grip for the RZ improves things immensely! I used to have one and they are well worth the money. For hand held shooting the RZ feels like a totally different camera using the hand grip. If you own an RZ I highly recommend getting one.
Sorry Firestarter. I gave you an extra "a".
Hey folks! Albeit late, I just wanted to thank everybody for their input. As some suggested, I kept my eyes peeled on the classified section here and got a great deal from a fellow APUG member a few weeks ago. Here's the new addition!
I saved the box, haha.
Three lenses, two 120 backs, one 6x7 back, a polaroid back, winder, body & WLF.
^Pardon the iPhone photos. And a silly shot,
It's an exciting time for me! I unearthed all my darkroom stuff from the garage. About 1/3rd of everything,
So, thanks again and I'm hoping to contribute to the gallery soon enough!
Wow!! Awesome set up. Now go out and shoot some photos like a real professional photographer with a real camera.