eBay Presentation

Discussion in 'Casual Photo Conversations' started by Tony Parsons, Sep 18, 2017.

  1. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    Looking through eBay listings of Pentax equipment (and I have no doubt it is the same for all other manufacturers), I am frequently struck by not only the atrocious images being used to promote the items, but also the places where people choose to photograph them. I would be extremely wary of purchasing from anyone positioning a camera, for which they hope to obtain in excess of £250, on a kitchen work top or even the draining board !

    Surely a better alternative would be to place the item on the stairs - that way there is a neutral base and background for the images, and it is easy to photograph at 'eye-level' or even slightly above.

    Finally, some items do not appear to have been looked after at all - there is one zoom lens appearing with monotonous frequency with a large brown stain on the focus ring, which is not even mentioned in the description.

    Has anyone any thoughts on the matter ?

    If this thread is deemed unacceptable, please remove.
  2. AJG


    You're right, there are a lot amateur retailers on eBay, and I have had the same hesitation about bidding on items when they are presented poorly. It must work for some sellers, though, since there is a lot of bad product photography on the site.
  3. Sandy Vongries

    Sandy Vongries Moderator Staff Member

    The key thing to me is that there are multiple, clear views of the object. Backgrounds, technique, etc. not really important. I am often amazed by the amount of visible dust on items. I don't believe I have bought an item that had truly bad photos.
  4. I'm also often surprised by the bad photos, but as a buyer it can work to my advantage if I'm looking for vintage film equipment which I often am. There's a lot of things that come from estate sales or that belonged to someone's parent. The seller doesn't want to spend much time per item, and they may not know much about cameras. So they take just one or two pictures and don't bother to clean anything up. I've frequently seen pictures of cameras with the lens cap on the lens and in the description they'll say the lens is a "Tiffen 52mm Sky 1A" or something like that.

    So you're left to guess or ask what the lens really is. I got a 50mm 1.4 for cheap once because I was barely able make out the 1.4 on the aperture settings. I didn't care about the camera. Other buyers that might have been interested passed it over because the pictures were bad and the description sparse. It was a gamble because I didn't know what condition it would be in but I didn't spend much. It was little enough that if I had to take it apart to clean it up and messed it up, it wouldn't have been the end of the world.
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2017
  5. It's disturbing when the images are poor, and the seller is or claims to be a photographer. I sometimes cut and paste the pictures into Photoshop to try and enhance them enough to see what the items actually are. As Tom says it can work to the buyers advantage if prepared to take a bit of a risk. As an Ebay seller too, I go to a lot of trouble to include sharp, well lit pictures with a plain background, if only because I take a pride in doing so.
  6. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

  7. Yeah, that's pretty bad. One way to keep it from re-appearing would be to buy it, clean it up and sell it for twice as much. :)

    One comment in the description struck me:

    Almost sounds like they are actively discouraging anyone from bidding too high.

    I checked their other auctions and they do sell a fair amount of camera equipment so you would think that they'd know better. But they've had more activity in the last 6 months than I have had since I've been a member of eBay, - and I've been a member since 1998. When you're selling multiple items per day (on average), I'm sure you can't afford too spend much time on any one in particular unless you know it's really going to make a big difference. That lens doesn't appear to be anything too special. On the other hand, if you're going to take the time to list it, another 5 minutes cleaning it up would seem worthwhile.

    I sell things on eBay to get rid of stuff I don't need and to help fund my hobbies. I have a few off-brand lenses that likely wouldn't sell for more than $20 but I still spend time taking nice pictures and making sure they look good. Maybe too much time.
  8. I recently realized that at least some of the pictures displayed are not of the actual sales item but apparently cribbed from the internet. If a product has been upgraded or downgraded by the manufacturer during the production the serial number may be a clue as to the year when it was produced and what features you can expect.
  9. Tony Parsons

    Tony Parsons Norfolk and Good

    I thought the £20 bit was somewhat overoptimistical (sic). But it appears every couple of weeks with monotonous regularity, always the same photo. Maybe I should do as you say, buy it on spec, but saying it is 'cloudy' does not sound too good, either.
  10. I do like Tom and take time to make my eBay photos look good and to adequately represent the item for sale. An obvious flaw that does not appear in a photo can result in a returned item or negative feedback.

    I once came across by chance a listing for an "interesting old metal camera" for $45 starting bid. The single poor quality photo looked like an old pre-war Linhof, so I took a chance and made the minimal bid, which I won. I was wrong, it was not a Linhof, but with further research, including a discussion in the PNet Classic Camera forum, I determined that it was a mid-20's Kern Bijou with a working Steinheill lens, a camera even more rare camera than a pre-war Linhof. The listing was by a pawn shop, which should have know better.
  11. It's probably getting re-listed automatically. I also have a 80-210mm off-brand lens with a Canon FD mount, - a "Prospec" or something like that. It could be the exact same lens actually. Just sold under a different brand with a different mount. Mine is in better condition but I wouldn't expect to get much for it.

    I've never heard of "Kowanon" either. I think the reality is that even cleaned up with better photos, there's not much of market for an old lens with hazy elements from a little-known brand. A quick search showed what appears to be plenty of good Pentax mount 80-210 zoom lenses on eBay for under $30.

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