View Full Version : Buying Used - the best revenge?

Frank Petronio
10-Sep-2004, 06:35
There is some camera equipment I want, which is nicely made, but I abhor the business practices of the manufacturer. Does buying used equipment deprive the manufacturer of all profits? Isn't that the best revenge?

The counter being that if you want to help the manufacturer, you should only buy new gear. Buying something on eBay only canabalizes their future new sales - right? And other than hoping the customer purchases additional new accessories, or to build brand awareness, the OEM only supports that used equipment out of goodwill. Or am I missing something here?

Morally, shouldn't we all be buying new Linhofs and Ebonies to help the parent companies survive the decline of film photography?

Ben Calwell
10-Sep-2004, 07:05

I would love to be able to afford a new Linhof, Ebony or Canham and help keep those companies in business. Unfortunately, I haven't hit the Powerball yet, and I'm not a doctor, lawyer, dentist or other stripe of professional. I can't afford new equipment, which seems to cost in multiples of $1,000. Therefore, I must purchase or trade for used equipment (usually at Midwest Photo from kindly Jim). I lay awake at night thinking of what I can trade this or that for -- it helps me get to sleep.

Donald Brewster
10-Sep-2004, 07:49
Economically, buying second hand doesn't harm the manufacturer at all. In fact it creates a more efficient market by allowing those so inclined to reinvest in capital goods. It's the great circle of life as it were.

Gem Singer
10-Sep-2004, 07:52
It seems to me that the only person making a profit from a transaction, new or previously owned, is the seller. If you like a particular brand item, purchase the best example of it, new or used, at the best price that you can obtain it. If you don't agree with the manufacturer's business practices, don't like the brand name, or country of origin, don't buy the item at all. That's what the competitive market place is all about. The manufacturer realized that the risk was there when he originally decided to design, build, and market the item.

I don't understand the logic behind getting revenge on a manufacturer by depriving him of a profit. He made his profit when he originally made the item and sold it to a distributor. It could have been a Linhof, a Dorf, or a Graphic that he produced many years ago. If nobody purchased his goods, initially, the manufacturer would have been out of business. If you or I purchase an older previously owned piece of equipment, the manufacturer continues to profit by keeping his brand name alive.

Colin Carron
10-Sep-2004, 08:03
I agree with Donald. If a piece of equipment has a good strong secondhand price that is a plus point for buying new.

ronald lamarsh
10-Sep-2004, 08:38
Very nice point Michael, why must bother with so many questions that in the end don't amount anything. I buy what I need where I can get it and if the manufacturer decides that they aren't making enough money and quit; someone else will come along and fill the void. Companies like Bergger, Efke and Forte come to mind, the people making Cooke lenses etc. There will always be someone out there that will fill our needs if not for the money then just for the esthetic.

Paul Kierstead
10-Sep-2004, 08:47
Morally, shouldn't we all be buying new Linhofs and Ebonies to help the parent companies survive the decline of film photography?

Sorry, remind me again what my moral obligation to those parent companies is?

Frank Petronio
10-Sep-2004, 09:45
Revenge is probably the wrong word to have used. But if I don't "like" the company, should I still feel guilty about having their product in the house. For example, if buying a new Mercedes, in 1938, helped the Nazi party, that would be wrong. But would buying a used Mercedes be helping the company and the Nazi party? Or would it, in a way, be depriving Mercedes of a new sale?

(This is only an example, I don't mean that Mercedes was ever associated with the Nazis, other than selling them stuff.)

My own case excluded, where I've bought and sold too many view cameras, I think most people only buy one or two really nice, expensive cameras in their lifetime. And even if they are camera-holics, you usually don't sell one brand of camera and then go buy the same thing over again with the proceeds. Instead, most people switch brands for some percieved advantage.

Larry Gebhardt
10-Sep-2004, 11:38
Buying used will inderectly help the manufacturer. It will do this by keeping the used price higher. This will allow the manuafacturer to justify a higher new price. Also if you buy a used item it is off the market. The person who lost the ebay aution, for example, may then buy the same item new from the manufacturer, thus you have inderictly given them a sale. So, if you despise them, don't buy their products - even used.

Guy Tal
10-Sep-2004, 12:11
Revenge or not - if buying used meets your requirements, it's the responsible thing to do in the wasteful and over-producing economy we live in.

Bob Salomon
10-Sep-2004, 12:30
"keeping the used price higher. This will allow the manuafacturer to justify a higher new price."

We never consider the used selling price to determine what our products will cost our dealers.

Our prices are based on our costs. What the factory charges us for the product, shipping, broker fees, duties, overhead costs, sales costs, advertising, marketing, financing, profit, etc. At no time do we interupt a meeting to see what the product sells for used. It is simply not a factor in pricing.

You could probably make a better case that the price of the item new helps to set the price of the used item. Along with factors like condition, demand, supply, etc.

And, yes, buying a used item can help the supplier/manufacturer with the sale of needed accessory items. Not always - but sometimes.

Frank Petronio
10-Sep-2004, 13:21
I wouldn't have any problem with a German camera or car - in fact, I actively want them! If you hold fascist companies up to that degree of scrutiny, then almost every Japanese product would be off-limits too, because of the intertwined nature of their organizations. Mitsubishi, for example, used American POW slave labor and made engines and airplanes that killed thousands of Americans. I prefer to rationalize that the younger generation had nothing to do with WW2 or such misdeeds. For that matter, if I owned a manufacturing company in wartime, on either side, it seems like it would be hard to avoid being "drafted" into making things meant for the war effort. The Ford plants in Germany made stuff for the Germans - they were forced to - but at the end of the war, when it all got tallied up, Ford HQ still made money from the Nazis.

My reference point was more from doing work for a camera company that makes a good product, but treated me poorly. I liked their products - and I bought them used. And now, I want the satisfaction of knowing that I did not help those bastards in any way! It's not that big deal to me, but it is nice to know.

(It most certainly was not Linhof I was talking about. Bob S. does us all a great service by posting here - I bet most of the posters own used Linhofs.)

John Flavell
10-Sep-2004, 18:38
I don't believe I've ever set up a camera, made a creative decision, composed, read the light, then tripped the shutter with a concern about a manufacturer's profits needs.

Working back from that, I've only been able to buy what I need based on what I can afford. The equipment I've bought on eBay has been bought to meet my needs and desires about getting better at photography. Without that route available, I wouldn't be making pictures with large format equipment.

And that's what I want to think about: making pictures.

George King
11-Oct-2004, 03:09
In forty years I have only bought a relative handful of new items, and I think I now own around 25 cameras, three enlargers and god only knows how many lenses. I will correct this to the extent of admitting that "distress" items I bought were new, but only a few lenses were "new" in the conventional sense that we use the word. Even some of the "new" ones I bought were "new old stock" that the dealer was eager to turn. Example, single-coated symmars when the multi-coated versions came out.

However, I buy only items that are next to mint in both function and appearance, and especially at the present time, with so much used film gear being dumped to pay for digital, this seems to me to be the way to go.

We're in a buyer's paradise for used gear right now, with the enormous resource of Ebay, and the greatest thing about it is the variety of gear you can find there... more in a few months than you could find over years in visits to camera stores.