Results 1 to 9 of 9

Thread: How to Value LF Equipment

  1. #1
    Moderator Ralph Barker's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1998
    Location
    Rio Rancho, NM
    Posts
    4,719

    How to Value LF Equipment

    Large Format Equipment Valuations

    Requests for evaluations, valuations, and/or appraisals of LF equipment, particularly from members who are still in their “probationary period”, are not allowed on the LFPF for several reasons. First, such requests are often interpreted as an effort to get around the 30-day waiting period for access to the For Sale section. More importantly, it is impossible to suggest an accurate value for a camera or lens without a physical examination and some testing. Thus, the discussions are of little actual value to the persons initiating such threads. That said, it may be helpful to those who are new to large-format photography to provide a few pointers to information sources, so as to appease, at least partially, the initial curiosity and enthusiasm that we have all gone through.

    First, it is important to recognize that LF cameras and lenses that may not fetch high prices on the used market may be perfectly capable, if used correctly, of creating delightful images. Design characteristics have varied widely over time, making some cameras and lenses more sought after than others. That affects price, but not necessarily fundamental capability.
    Additionally, the “market” also varies over time. That means that a particular lens, for example, that was inexpensive at one time may be more highly-valued currently. The reverse can also be true. So, research is needed to determine if a current asking price, like Goldilocks’ porridge, is “too hot”, “too cold”, or “just right”.

    So let’s separate considerations into two categories: Price and Functionality

    Pricing Data Sources

    If you are considering the purchase of an LF camera or lens, it’s a good idea to check various points of sale for similar items. The data sources include articles on the LF Home Page, the For Sale section here on the LFPF (once you have access), auction sites (e.g. current and completed sales on eBay), and retailers of used LF gear.

    Used LF equipment retailers include, among others:

    - KEH.com (http://www.keh.com/)
    - Midwest Photo Exchange (http://www.mpex.com/)
    - Badger Graphic Sales, Inc (http://www.badgergraphic.com/)

    The lens comparison charts on the LF Home Page also include pricing information at the time the articles were written. That information, of course, is not current, but it may be helpful in establishing “ballpark” estimates.

    Functionality

    Functionality is a combination of design and condition. A camera design, for example, may be perfect for certain applications, but ill-suited to other purposes. You will need to make an assessment of the types of work you want to do, and decide on a design that is well-suited to those types of work. Similar decision factors apply to lenses, as well. Nothing is perfect for everything, but some products are more versatile than others. Articles on the LF Home Page may be helpful in this regard.

    As with most things, condition is key to the usefulness of a camera or lens, not to mention its effect on pricing. A camera with holes in the bellows, for example, won’t be of much use until it is repaired. In contrast, a lens might have cosmetic damage, or even substantial damage, and still be reasonably functional. The only real way to tell, however, is to actually test the lens by making photographs. Whether a seller will allow testing is a matter of negotiation in some cases. In other cases, the sale might be in “as-is” condition, with no return option. Make decisions accordingly.

    Lens Tips and Tricks

    If you can physically examine a lens, try shining a small flashlight up through the lens elements, moving the flashlight around while looking down through the lens. This will often show scratches, chips, debris and other faults.
    Cock and release the shutter at each of its available speeds, listening to the sound the shutter makes. Does it sound “happy”? Also, move the aperture through its range to see if it moves smoothly (aside from f-stop detents, if any).
    With older lenses, you may want to have the lens serviced (commonly called a “CLA” – clean, lubricate, and adjust, even though most parts don’t actually get lubricated) by a reputable repair shop, and have the shutter tested. Some adjustments or repairs might be possible, but in many cases, the shutter test info will simply be used to adjust for exposure accuracy. Factor in the cost of having this done into what you are willing to pay for the lens.

    Other members are encouraged to add their thoughts and experience to this thread.

  2. #2

    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Santa Barbara
    Posts
    1,233

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    ebay sold listings

    not live, or buy now asking prices or closed listings...but actually sold listings

    make the best ballpark afaic

    something is only worth what someone will pay for it - no more, no less

  3. #3
    Peter De Smidt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Fond du Lac, WI, USA
    Posts
    5,376

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    Nice write-up, Ralph!

    BHphotovideo and Adorama have decent inventories of used equipment.
    "Why can't we all just get along?" President Dale, Mars Attacks

  4. #4

    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Location
    NJ
    Posts
    6,494

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    Don't forget www.igorcamera.com

  5. #5
    ic-racer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Posts
    4,769

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    Sticky thread to promote selling off equipment and leaving the field of Large Format Photography? I guess you could also run a special that after one is done selling their LF equipment, you will automatically delete their account for them and give GPS coordinates to landfills that accept any unsold Large Format enlargers and cameras. But what is the new rush to get rid of equipment and why make it easy to leave? I think the content of your post could have been a newbie buyer's guide which will better promote Large Format Photography.

  6. #6
    Randy Moe's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    8,347

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    Quote Originally Posted by ic-racer View Post
    Sticky thread to promote selling off equipment and leaving the field of Large Format Photography? I guess you could also run a special that after one is done selling their LF equipment, you will automatically delete their account for them and give GPS coordinates to landfills that accept any unsold Large Format enlargers and cameras. But what is the new rush to get rid of equipment and why make it easy to leave? I think the content of your post could have been a newbie buyer's guide which will better promote Large Format Photography.
    I'm confused, where does anybody say what you are objecting to?

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
    5,322

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    As Ralph Barker has posted this sticky elsewhere (Cameras sub thread), I have to repeat my comments (some of them are revelant here).
    This double thread is not going to work!!


    I am very confused about this new sticky. What exactly is the goal you want to achieve with it? You start off with "sellers" and then you talk mostly about buying/evaluation by a "new" owner.

    I can't take anything written about valuation seriously which does not include the search of sold listings in Ebay.

    I doubt this is the appropriate thread for the section on lens/shutters and I find the content there somewhat thin (or worse).

    The sticky underneath this one is:

    Reminder: Lens threads don't go here.
    Folks, we've had a series of lens topics started in this sub-forum. Please remember that we have a lens sub-forum and post lens items there. It saves us having to move them.

    Rick "appreciative" Denney
    Couldn't you find a more appropriate thread to place all this?

    I find you have repeated the sticky down in "lenses" too.

    This will make any sensible posting impossible without cross referencing!

  8. #8
    Jac@stafford.net's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    Winona, Minnesota
    Posts
    4,132

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    I do not understand why an administrative policy sticky is subject to comments within the same (sticky) thread.

  9. #9

    Join Date
    May 2015
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    7

    Re: How to Value LF Equipment

    Test examination needs also a look for stress induced birefringence or in german Spannungsdoppelbrechung. This test is very simple and very necessary for longer focal lenses like Dagor-(Protar, Collinear etc-) types, specially the Reproductionversions. On a light desk you lay a pola-filter, test with another polafilter, that these two are really dark when crossed. Then pose the optik on the first polafilter and lay the other polafilter top of the optik, turn for dark. Not understandable blurry picturequality results from stress from the cemented parts. In rare cases but also from not cemented lenses. In polarisationmikroskopie had been methods developed, to reduce this errors in the lenses by experienced craftmen for repair. Once thuch a men from Leica told me, that he had order from his company to shut the door with the key, nobody of the clients in the institutes was allowed to see how this repair functioned.

Similar Threads

  1. Who knows this equipment?
    By German§ in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 15
    Last Post: 22-Apr-2011, 12:55
  2. Appropriate equipment for LF
    By Jonathan Rice in forum Cameras & Camera Accessories
    Replies: 34
    Last Post: 25-Jan-2007, 13:13
  3. RK Equipment still around?
    By Christopher Nisperos in forum Resources
    Replies: 2
    Last Post: 28-May-2006, 19:14
  4. R K Equipment Used Darkroom equipment
    By Erik The Viking in forum Darkroom: Equipment
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 7-Sep-2000, 14:00

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •