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Best way to sell equipment

Josh Matthews , Jul 10, 2010; 12:01 p.m.

I have purchased equipment from KEH in the past and was happy with the experience; however, I am now looking to sell some Mamiya equipment - specifically an RB67, 120 back, and 180mm KL lens. What do you think the best way to do this would be?

I have shied away from selling on ebay. I am not sure these items could be packaged 100% to prevent damage in transit. I know they are in fantastic shape now and I would hate to hear from a buyer that something was damaged in shipping. I remember when I got my RB that there was a piece of styrofoam in the camera body if I recall correctly to prevent the mirror from moving, if anyone can comment on this - that would be appreciated.

I've posted an ad on craigslist and have been getting countless spam emails due to it. Is there something that I have overlooked. I bought this camera prior to my wife and I finding out she was pregnant and most of my photography as of late has been of our twins. I am not nearly fast enough with a manual focus camera to take pics of uncooperative babies so everything has been relegated to DSLR.

As a side note, keh according to their online price quote system would give me just over $300 for the setup. I noticed several days ago that they were selling similar setups for close to $550. I know they need to make a profit but I was hoping to sell the setup with a pelican case for close to what they would have been asking. Do you think that is reasonable. I have less than ten rolls of film through the whole setup.


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Gregory King , Jul 10, 2010; 12:50 p.m.

I think you're between a rock and a hard place.

I doubt KEH will give you what you want, especially for the case. And most buyers would buy from KEH if given the same price.

CL can work well, if you're in a big city. You do have to endure spam, and might have to wait a while.

That leaves Ebay. I wouldn't worry too much about packaging it. You'd have to ship it to KEH as well, right? Just get a big box and lots of peanuts.

Or, you just write off the $300, take a few shots when you can, and consider each keeper you get to be priceless. Then, you actually profit on the deal. ;-)

Steve Parrott , Jul 10, 2010; 12:52 p.m.

I think you should not overlook Ebay. I have bought LOTS of gear there, and also SOLD plenty, and have had nothing but the best of experiences with every transaction. You simply have to exercise some common sense. I NEVER send overseas, and ALWAYS ONLY use Paypal. The only downside is the fees collected by both Ebay and Paypal, however, these are MUCH less than the cut rate prices that a place such as KEH or BH will give you for used equipment. That is NOT a slur on those two companies, I have also purchased lots of used equipment from both of them, but they are in business to make a profit, and you simply will not come close to getting as much money for your items selling to such a place as you will selling yourself directly to a buyer. As for packing, that is no problem. You can buy bubble wrap and those "air cushion thingys" at big box department stores, or better yet, at a moving rental place such as U Haul. They have tons of boxes in all sizes as well and the wraps to safely pack your items. It really is just not that big a problem. Ship UPS, and there will be no shipping problems. That is how *I* do it, and it has always worked for me.

JDM von Weinberg , Jul 10, 2010; 01:15 p.m.

Listen to Steve and consider eBay.
I'd sell the Pelican case separately, at least, and consider offering the lens and body+backs as two lots. I know I've bought lots of body+lens combinations myself for less than the lens would have sold for by itself. Look carefully at the completed listings before offering anything, and do not make the mistake of setting too high a minimum. I personally hate "reserve" prices because so often you find that the reserve is ridiculously high--if you had known, you would never have bid on it. I have seen items listed too high go through three or four sales listings with no takers, but somehow the owners just don't give up. Only eBay profits from that kind of stubbornness.

Stephen Penland , Jul 10, 2010; 04:00 p.m.

I'm very happy with the experiences I've had buying and selling on the photo boards: photo.net, fredmiranda.com, apug.org, pentaxforum.com (for pentax items) and rangefinderforum.com (for rangefinders!). Your price should not be what KEH is asking; it should be lower (10-20%?). Look at what others are asking for in their ads for the same equipment. Also check completed ebay sales to get an idea what your price should be. Set a fair price, perhaps give yourself a little negotiating room (although I find that with a fair price this often isn't necessary), include shipping in your price, cover the paypal fee or split the paypal fee (or avoid the fee entirely by accepting echecks or the paypal gift option, both of which have drawbacks), write an ad that is honest, thorough, and accurate, and then take some good photos of your equipment.

I was about to send 5 Pentax 645 lenses to KEH just to save me some hassle, but I did all of the above and got about 180% of what KEH was offering, and my buyers got some good deals and are happy with the equipment they received (still have one lens to go).

If you go via ebay (which I don't like simply because I'd rather sell an item for a known, fair price, [which could be done on ebay with a "buy it now"price] and without paying ebay fees on top of paypal fees), I think the key is to write a good ad, take good photos, offer a 3-day money back inspection period (product only, not shipping), set a very low starting bid (this is very important), set a low reserve (or none at all) and tell bidders that the reserve is low or non-existent, set the ad to expire on a weekday evening at 6:00 on the Pacific Coast (9:00 on the East Coast), and sit back and watch the bidding double or triple in the last 45 seconds. It will be somewhat of a problem if you've never sold on ebay, because potential buyers want to see some "proof" that you're an honest seller, and they look for that in your feedback. If you don't have feedback, they feel they're taking more of a gamble. The same is true for the photo boards. Feedback is important, and you might try to build that up by selling items one at a time. Feedback will be based on fair prices, fast delivery after an item is purchased, and equipment that doesn't have any "surprises" when the buyer opens the package (and that is avoided by writing a thorough description).

Robin Smith , Jul 10, 2010; 05:35 p.m.

Agree with Stephen,

I have had a lot of luck with photonet classifieds. I have also sold to KEH. The real issue is whether you want top dollar or simply to sell them and move on. You can pretty well guarantee that KEH will give you roughly half of what they might sell them. Try their online estimator. You can wait a long time before you get anyone buying anything for top dollar. It all depends on whether you want to actually sell it or "salvage your investment". In my opinion the second option is hopeless for most film cameras today - excepting perhaps Leicas.

Josh Matthews , Jul 10, 2010; 07:10 p.m.

Thanks for the replies, I have not personally sold too much on ebay - but my wife seems to be the ebay guru. So far she has 100% feedback, so if I go that route I'll probably use "our" account so users can have somewhat of an assurance that they can expect to get what is advertised.

Someone mentioned parting out the components and selling them individually. That sounds like a good idea; but I would hate to be stuck with a few components that I couldn't sell and couldn't take a picture with either.

I think I'll look into the photo.net classifieds and go from there. Thanks again

Gregory King , Jul 10, 2010; 07:39 p.m.

I think your kit is too small to hassle with selling individually. I usually agree with that approach, unless it's a "basic" kit. More people might want it all together.

JDM von Weinberg , Jul 10, 2010; 09:34 p.m.

More people might want it all together

Put them up at the same time, of course, and cross list in your description; but all the real bargains I have got in buying (literally a hundred and more old cameras at low to high price points) were all lots sold together. For example, many people may want an extra body, but don't need another 'normal' lens. The case will have a much wider appeal since it can be used for any camera. Look at the value of the lens sold on its own. If it's low, do make it a lot with the body; but realize that you may be throwing it in as lagniappe if bidding is slow. I see on eBay now that many people are trying to sell this lens at over $200, but nobody seems to be getting any offers or bids at that level.

You will need to price the starting bids at below KEH and other dealers in used equipment. If you sell directly to the dealers, simply accept that you are getting wholesale, not retail prices. For many people the ease of getting rid of the assemblage that way is worth it, and you never know what you'll get on eBay if you sell it. Sometimes, if you're very lucky, more than the retail prices from over-excited newbie bidders. Sometimes, maybe even less than you'd got from a dealer. Insisting on a starting bid that high may well scare off bidders, however, so it's like any auction setting -- more trouble and less certainty.

richard oleson , Jul 10, 2010; 09:54 p.m.

Personally, I would sell it on eBay. With only one body and lens it makes sense to keep them together as a working camera for sale, although since that's not the normal lens it might also make sense to separate that piece from the rest. You're not likely to come across a lot of people who want the body but no 120 back, but there might be someone who wants the 180 lens but doesn't want to have to pay for an unwanted second RB67 body to get the lens.

There is always a risk of getting less than you would like to get, but you will probably get a better response if you start bidding low and let it build up on its own. Chances are you'll get a fair price, and you're almost guaranteed to get more than you would get from KEH or another dealer that has to mark up his cost about 100% to make a living.

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