Buying And Selling Cameras On Ebay

I have bought and sold a number of cameras on eBay over the last 5-10 years.  Recently I sold two Olympus pocket film cameras I had owned since new.  I had used both of them in the last year and was just ready to try something new.  The one was an Olympus XA, which is a high quality rangefinder pocket camera that comes with a clamshell case.  Mine has worked perfectly for over 30 years and very likely will work for another 30.

My Olympus XA
My Olympus XA – Now being used by it’s new owner.

This camera has been highly rated by many.  It is a solid completely adjustable small rangefinder with a good Olympus lens.  I think most of the reason I sold it is I prefer a 50mm lens to a 35mm as on the XA.  Plus I just consistently got better pictures with my Olympus OM2n.  I was surprised by how much this camera sold for.  It was about half of what I paid for it new.

The second pocket Olympus I sold was an Infinity Stylus.  This was one of the first auto focus clamshell type cameras.  It was also reviewed well over the years.  This did not bring a lot of money, but the person who bought it is getting a very reliable camera that I have shot several thousand pictures with.  Again, most of the reason I sold it is I just like the 50mm view as opposed to the wider view with this camera.

Olympus Infinity Stylus
Olympus Infinity Stylus

The lens in this camera is not the higher end Zuiko found on the XA above.  And therefore the results from this camera were of lower quality than the Olympus XA with similar film.  This camera had worked reliably for about 30 years.

The key to any sale or purchase is knowing what the fair market value of an item is.  I like old cameras and look at them on the internet a fair amount.  So I knew about what each of the above cameras should sell for and listed them appropriately on eBay.  My favorite camera of all time so far is the Olympus OM2n.  I have had one since 1980 and these are great picture taking machines.  Recently I had been thinking I would like to have a second OM2n camera back so I could load people film in one and keep landscape film in the second.  I was not planning on buying right now until I came across a full Olympus OM2n camera setup with one back, 50mm, 28mm, & 135mm Zuiko lenses, plus a motor drive, flash, few filters, and a nice case.  In my opinion it was priced at way lower than fair market value.  And the seller was rated 100% by eBay.

So I put in a bid at their opening price.  I went back the next morning and was still the only bid, but upped my highest pay about 11 bucks over my opening.  So I crossed my fingers and won.  I ended up just 50 cents bellow my max bid.  I think I won because I put in a max bid a dollar over what I figured people would max bid at.

The camera and kit arrived a few days later and the condition is excellent.  The motor drive has a bit of wear/damage on the bottom, but nothing bad.  After checking the meter it is a stop under.  But the motor drive works, and if I don’t want to take the camera apart and adjust the meter I just set it to a stop over.  In my opinion looking at recent sales of similar items I could resell what I bought for twice what I paid.  But I am not planning to sell.

Sample picture of Olympus OM2n
Sample picture of Olympus OM2n – The one I bought looks just like this.

My comments would be these.  1.  Knowing the fair market value of an item is the most important piece of knowledge you need when buying or selling.  2.  Dealing with a reliable seller is very important also.  3.  Buying and selling film cameras on eBay is fun.

I was able to add the second OM2n for less than my two pocket cameras sold for.  The OM2n with the lenses, drive, filters, flash, and case may have sold for $1,500-2,000 new.  I paid $110.50.  When I get some pictures back I will write another post.  My first roll is about half used.  I loaded it with Portra 400.

Two Big Advantages Of Film Over Digital Photography

The first huge advantage of film over digital is that you can use Velvia 50 with film cameras.  This film has been praised by many many others, but I just want to add a bit more.  Gosh this stuff makes beautiful rich opulent pictures.  I just love the colors it makes.

The red camellia colors on my retina screen are gorgeous.
The red camellia colors on my retina screen are gorgeous.
That chair is silk.  Velvia makes it richer than in real life.  And it is rich looking in real life.
That chair is silk. Velvia makes it richer than in real life. And it is rich looking in real life.
I love the colors of this faded rose.  On my screen the are very rich.
I love the colors of this faded rose. On my screen the are very rich.

A second big advantage of film is that you can get lots of great cameras who’s lenses are capable of great looking bokeh.  These pictures were all taken with an Olympus OM2n with a f1.8 50mm lens.  To my eye these pictures show great bokeh.  You can buy a very good example of this camera today for $100-150.

In addition to the rich red color on the rose, look at that bokeh.
In addition to the rich red color on the rose, look at that bokeh.

This next picture is just to pay respect to the wonderful effects you sometimes get with film.  I took this picture last summer and forgot it was in the camera.  This is at the top of a mountain in WA State and the fog effect is dreamy.  It is perfect to my eye.

If you don’t have a film camera now would be a good time to buy one.  I have noticed prices going up a bit on some cameras and skyrocketing on others.  Many of the good rangefinder and medium format cameras have gone way up in price.  What used to be $30 Yashica 124s are now $250 dollars.  And some of the old Olympus rangefinder cameras are now several hundred dollars.

And if you have a film camera and have not been using Velvia, do so.  Don’t let slide film’s supposed exposure fussiness dissuade you.  My old Olympus almost always nails the exposure.  So will your camera.

fog scene

The Third Most Important Digital Camera Advantage

Yesterday we went to the San Diego Zoo with my daughter’s family and her two young girls, my grandkids.  Two days before I got back the pictures from a roll of Velvia 50 I had taken with my Olympus OM2n.  The pictures came with the rich voluptuous colors you normally get with this film.

The color is way richer than with a digital camera.
The color is way richer than with a digital camera.
In addition to the rich red color on the rose, look at that bokeh.
In addition to the rich red color on the rose, look at that bokeh.

So I loaded up my Olympus with another roll of Velvia, this time 100 speed and was planning to take it on our outing.  At the last minute I switched to taking my Nikon digital DSLR.  Why, kids move, and sometimes they don’t wait for you to focus.  The Nikon gets the shot almost instantaneously.  The second and more important reason is that I figured I would not take more than 20 or so pictures and the film would sit in the camera for a while.

So, the third most important advantage of digital cameras in my opinion is that you can take a few shots and get the results right away.  With film you normally wait till the entire roll is exposed.

So how did the shots turn out?  Judge for yourself.

My two grand daughters at the Zoo.  Taken with a Nikon DSLR
My two grand daughters at the Zoo. Taken with a Nikon DSLR

Here is a much better snap quick shot from last month.

Here is a snap shot with SDLR.  Note nice flesh tones.
Here is a snap shot with DSLR. Note nice flesh tones.

So am I happy with my decision.  No.  I would have made better pictures by using film.  The lion shot would have come out better with Velvia.  Film’s dynamic range for outdoor photography would have been useful in yesterdays bright sunny day that had lots of shadow on light pictures.  But I did get my pictures back at the end of the day.