What drives you round the twist?

Discussion in 'Classic Manual Cameras' started by stuart_pratt, May 26, 2018.

  1. Most of us reading in this section will have bought and sold cameras on the internet auction sites, and have read some dubious equipment descriptions. Some people will tell you anything to get a sale, and it amazes me how the have the nerve to do it, quite frankly. I always want to point out every little flaw in fear of getting flamed by the purchaser if it turns out to be not as described.

    My favourites to avoid are:

    ‘I’m selling this for a friend’ (it’s broken)
    ‘No battery to test it’ (it’s broken)
    ‘I see no reason why it shouldn’t work’ (it’s broken), and
    ‘It worked the last time it was used’ (fill in for yourself!)

    My own personal favourite though, is ‘ scratches on lens that won’t affect image quality’. Well they might not affect the image quality that you’d notice, but they will affect image quality. If one scratch won’t affect image quality, neither will one hundred.

    So my question is, what drives you round the twist?
  2. Pictures of a camera with a nice looking lens mounted, but when you look at the listing, it says lens not included. Lens caps left coyly on so you can't see what lens it is. Sellers saying that the item is on sale elsewhere.

    As a seller, bidders who can't be bothered to pay, after I've spent hours carefully cleaning, testing, photographing and describing the item.
    m42dave and stuart_pratt like this.
  3. I never received any piece of photographic equipment I wasn't happy with but pay close attention to detail in word as well as picture.
    Sometimes what is left out is as good an indicator as what is put in when it comes to EBay descriptions.
    I also don't shop there looking for deals too good to be true.
    Probably bought 10 film SLRs over the past 20 years and numerous lenses without issue.
    Last edited: May 26, 2018
  4. James G. Dainis

    James G. Dainis Moderator

    You just have to understand eBayspeak. Some examples-

    antique = no longer available at K-mart
    patina = rust
    rich patina = heavy rust with pits
  5. Fuzzy photographs that look sharp until you click on them. Or, 10 photos, all from the same angle.

    Sometimes though, items with honest descriptions can net you a good deal. I won a lowball bid on a 25mm f4 Zuiko Pen F mount lens that was described as 'sticky aperture blades'. I knew these lenses were fairly easy to work on so I took a chance. Sure enough, 10 minutes work to open the lens mount and reattach the spring that had come loose brought the lens back to nominal.
  6. For me it's the ones that have an item up for auction and will happily take your money but don't actually have the item in stock or in their possession. Also the ones in 'like new' condition and only need a few hundred dollars of repairs to make the useable. Both have happened to me and that is why I don't buy photography equipment there any more.

    Rick H.
  7. I've had some great bargains off ebay, and also been stung a couple of times. I think it evens out. Like any other interaction with another human being - some are honest, good-humoured, a pleasure to know, etc. And others......

    Caveat emptor, caveat emptor.
  8. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I've had pretty good success with eBay. In the past 2 years, I've bought a ton of great Nikon film cameras and manual lenses plus accessories.

    I've only bought a few problem cameras/lenses, all but one of which I returned for a refund. The one I kept was a Nikkor 105 f/2.5 AI-S lens that had a spot of fungus in it. I found a tutorial on how to disassemble the lens to remove the fungus, which I did. I only had trouble getting one tiny screw in the upper barrel to seat properly. The only problem it caused is that the lens hood sometimes "catches" on the very slightly raised screw when I try to extend the hood.
  9. Since I retired I've bought maybe 25 film cameras on eBay, mostly bottom of the barrel, and overall it has been a good experience. Some needed repair, most of which I have done myself. Now that digital is here I have lost interest in film cameras and I hope to sell off the few that remain. I have yet to trash a camera and would like to find a place to donate the rest for parts.
  10. m42dave

    m42dave Dave E.

    Some more favorites:

    -Minimal two word descriptions ("As Shown" or "Nice Camera", etc.)
    -Descriptions that just repeat the item title.
    -That "rare" Canon AE-1 for $300 :rolleyes:
    -People who take photos of their gear sitting on rocks, bricks, etc. At least use a bath towel or something. :)
    orsetto and robert_bowring like this.
  11. As noted, the descriptions that translate into "this sucker wouldn't work in a thousand years".
  12. Camera names that sound almost like name brand. For example, Olympic vs. Olympus. Or names made by combining two name brands. These are almost always plastic disasters that fall apart thankfully before the sucker who buys one can waste any quantity of film in them. These cameras are often described as having a large, full color viewfinder and come with camera luggage (gyp-speak for generic camera bag).
  13. I check out the dealer's rating and look at what he/she is selling. If someone is selling mostly photo related items and has 98-100% positive feedback then you are good to go.

    Do beware the term "mint". True mint means the camera has not been touched by human hands. No used camera should be rated higher than excellent IMO.
  14. Just looked at a Pentax ME. ”Near Mint” but price was suspect.
    Pictures looked good but were lacking in fine detail .
    Suspected seals and mirror bumper might be an issue.
    Asked seller.
    Sure enough, "There are no seals or mirror bumper that is why I priced it low".
    Couldn't be up front in the " near mint" description I guess.
    Gotta do your homework,.,.
  15. Norman 202

    Norman 202 i am the light

    ebay’s rubbish.
  16. The most consistently reliable indicator is price when attempting to filter out the junk.
  17. In the dictionary under "caveat emptor" is should read "see Ebay".
  18. The most repetitive irritant for me is sellers of pre-1980 Nikon and Nikkormat film cameras who describe them with some variation of "fully operational", but when I receive them I discover their CdS "needle" exposure meters are totally dead and/or focusing screen is littered with sticky internal debris. I've been on eBay a long time, so I've learned how to parse listing-ese to calibrate my expectations, esp from sellers who obviously never held or used a "real" camera in their lives. Depending on low price or included lens, I'll take a chance regardless, and eat my mistakes. But the sellers who clearly specialize in cameras and price them close to actual (high) value: they're just being foolishly obnoxious when they don't specify a significant issue like "meter out". The inevitable return is inconvenient for both of us.

    As a serious seller, why endanger your reputation or suffer the $ loss of an unnecessary return? The days when eBay was the Wild West and buyers routinely got royally scammed with no recourse are largely behind us: today, eBay will let you return an item up to six months after you buy it, for almost any reason, and if the seller doesn't cheerfully choke on the loss and refund you they'll force them to. Yeah, there's always the complete idiot buyer who still falls for obvious scam listings like "Brand new Canon 5DmkIV for only $500, seller location Nigeria" but they deserve what they get. Within North America, anyways, eBay holds all "legit" sellers by the throat, and squeezes quite roughly if a buyer complains. By "legit", I mean a seller with a fairly regular and recent selling presence, esp one who seems to specialize in one or two categories like photography gear. Such sellers have little incentive to lie or obfuscate, and a lot to lose if they do: yet some still do. Caveat emptor, yes, but if you get a lemon and the seller seems rude or resistant to a return, contact eBay customer service immediately.
  19. Vincent Peri

    Vincent Peri Metairie, LA

    I've been a buyer on eBay for over 13 years, and I've won at least 1154 auctions for which I have feedback. In all that time, I've had to make maybe 5-10 (?) returns. I've been careful whom I buy from, and I've only had to leave 1 bad feedback (the seller was, how shall I put it... clueless).

    For camera equipment, I pass on the auction/Buy It Now if

    1) there are no photos, or the photos aren't sharp
    2) photos don't cover the item from every side
    3) description doesn't specify what condition the items are in (if something isn't in the description, I'll ask seller about items, and move on if I don't get a very satisfactory answer)
    4) seller has less than 99.0 positive feedback
    5) seller isn't in the US (I'll sometimes waive this if the seller is in Japan or Britain - I've had good success with Japanese/British sellers)
  20. I've been buying on eBay for over 20 years, so I rarely get cheated on a purchase. I also occasionally sell there, and that's where I get screwed, largely because of eBay's insane level of over-protection for scumbags and idiots. The things that make me want to chew nails?
    • people who assume that when I say I don't have the right battery to test some camera, I'm lying and trying to cheat them
    • people who think I can afford to eat the loss when they buy things "on a trial basis" without making any effort to determine if it's really what they want before they buy it (at least four times, but I've lost count)
    • people who think Buy It Now is an invitation to low-ball, like offering 20% of the asking price (again, I've lost count)
    • buyers who return different copies of the same model, in much worse condition than the one I sold them (twice, so far)
    • buyers who attempt to scam a refund for a lens I've sold them by sending images, supposedly taken with that lens, that have been photoshopped to look horrible (once)
    • eBay employees who assume I'm the scumbag in every scenario, just because I'm the seller, regardless of how outrageous the buyer's actions are (too many to count)
    eBay is no longer a "buyer beware" environment. It's become a "seller beware" situation. That's why you see items listed with no descriptions; you can't be falsely accused of lying if you haven't said anything. Buyers are protected from everything, including scumbags and their own laziness/stupidity. Sellers are only protected from non-payers, because that impacts eBay, too.
    Dieter Schaefer and orsetto like this.

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