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  1. #1
    Photo-gear's Avatar
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    The deals we still wonder about

    There are some deals we have absolutely no regrets: they were good deals.

    There are others we realize later on they were bad: the purchase of a Ricoh KRx30. The reason was that they most of the time get old rather badly. Also, Ricoh parts of the film era are quite hard to find. Finally, there ain't that many technicians still willing to fix Ricoh cameras.

    But there are some other deals that we still wonder about. For instance, someone had for sale an Olympus Stylus Epic. I managed to meet the seller, so I could take a look at the camera. At first look, it was in good shape. Then, I tried to verify the functionning of the camera. The little LCD screen showed the battery was low. We then went to a pharmacy to buy a fresh one. Before buying one, I asked to check out the battery inside the cam. The test showed it was still good. The seller was not willing to buy a fresh one, although I said I would afford the purchase of the battery in the case the test was OK.

    That's how I decided not to go along with this purchase.

    What about you, guys?

  2. #2

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    I looked over a Minolta AF camera in the used camera section of my local photo store. After a few seconds I discovered the lens was busted, no AF at all and the focus was distorted. I reported it to the salesman and went on my way. A few weeks passed and again I was visiting the store -same camera, same lens, still sitting there for sale at the same price. Why? Did they hope someone clueless would buy it?
    In life you only get one great dog, one great car, and one great woman. Pet the dog. Drive the car. Make love to the woman. Don't mix them up.

  3. #3
    Photo-gear's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wolfeye View Post
    I looked over a Minolta AF camera in the used camera section of my local photo store. After a few seconds I discovered the lens was busted, no AF at all and the focus was distorted. I reported it to the salesman and went on my way. A few weeks passed and again I was visiting the store -same camera, same lens, still sitting there for sale at the same price. Why? Did they hope someone clueless would buy it?
    That's exactly what drives me nuts.

  4. #4

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    There was once a British made drop-plate camera located in Greece in which I had an interest. But, there was something fishy looking about the front of the lens that kept me wondering. I then asked the vendor several times about the lens and received replies that made no logical sense. I guess it was either the language barrier, or intentional. So, ultimately I passed on the camera. Eventually, and well after the camera sold, I found a catalog showing how the camera should look if it was complete. It was then that I knew the front lens elements were missing completely. Having a good sense of what does, and doesn't look correct is helpful. Sometimes the defects are not so obvious.
    5x4, 4x5, Half-Plate, 5x7, 8x10, 6x7cm and 6X4.5cm

  5. #5

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    I assume any camera described as 'untested', especially regarding the light meter, means it's dead. Mercury cell CdS and Selenium meters do not age well, even if their owners bother to convert them to the proper voltage. Avoiding the subject is many sellers' way out of having to admit the thing is junk.

    Something that never fails to amuse me, is the condition of screw thread Leica lenses for which substantial sums of money are asked. There's one Youtube video extolling the virtues of Leica lenses, and you can barely see the second element for a dark cloud of fog. Plenty on ebay have glass that looks like the bottom of a dirty milk bottle, and their owners describe them as in good, or even excellent condition.

  6. #6

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    Anyone selling a graflex on ebay who says he knows nothing about cameras, claims his is perfect and no pictures of back. A pet peeve of mine.

  7. #7
    Truzi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blockend View Post
    I assume any camera described as 'untested', especially regarding the light meter, means it's dead.
    I assume this too, but found that many times the camera only had a dead battery. If the seller does not sell many cameras, it seems they think anything that takes film is fully manual.
    Truzi

  8. #8
    Bill Burk's Avatar
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    Across the bay someone once had a 5x7 Graflex SLR for around a hundred dollars... My wife told me no way so it never was a possibility.

    But I occasionally wonder, what if? When I went with 4x5, I joined APUG and LFF and have had a lifetime's experience, but I drew a line in the sand at 4x5 and this one purchase might have been a game-changer...

    I wonder...

  9. #9
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    Last July I happened upon a Speed Graphic kit at a local antique fair. It was in typical less than perfect condition but not bad and had a few film holders and a Calumet roll film insert in the case with it. The kicker though was the enlarging lens on a Beseler lens board that had its light-on indicator sawn off and painted over, mounted on the camera. When I asked the seller about it, he could only look at me, he didn't say a word. I left it for someone else. I couldn't reward such duplicity with a sale.
    If you call it a "prime lens" because it's a fixed-focal length (i.e. not a zoom lens), then as Inigo Montoya said so eloquently, "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

  10. #10

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    I too have had some bad luck with a Speed Graphic. I knew little of how the cameras worked, so when I bought it I didn't realise it was missing a Graflok back (has a pring back). Since I wanted to use Polaroids that was a bit of a bummer. Also the shutter selector lever was stuck.

    Still works great for sheet film though.
    "Art is is a picture of some dude I never met smoking under a lamppost at 6400 ISO and in BW."

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