View Full Version : modern lens prices on eBay

Frank Petronio
16-Nov-2004, 16:37
For modern lenses, from the big four manufacturers, what have you been buying and selling them for on ePay, over the past 12 months?

Is there a cycle to the prices of lenses? Are summer prices higher, and holiday/winter prices lower?

My results over the past year, for mostly newer and clean, near mint lenses:

75/6.8 Grandagon-N, early 90s, bought for $465; sold for same

90/6.8 Grandagon Sinaron-S, green stripe, bought for $475, sold for $520

90/4.5 Grandagon, green stripe, bought for $900

150 Sironar-N Linhof, white strip, bought for $325, sold for $400

180 Sironar Sinaron S, white strip, bought for $375

250 Tele Arton (older, it's a 12 million serial number in a Compur Press - probably 1970s) bought $305
(saw a newer Tele Arton in black copal go for only $430 last week... darn)

300 Sironar Sinaron S, MC (early 1980s), chrome dial Copal 3, coating marks, bought for $400, sold for only $305 (ouch...)

It's kind of like the stock market. I've slightly ahead, but have had some nasty crashes...

Jeff Moore
16-Nov-2004, 16:49
Hardly seems worth the trouble.

Brian Vuillemenot
16-Nov-2004, 17:16
Are you doing this to make money, or just to sample many different lenses? I've only acquired one lens on the Bay- a 75 6.8 Grandagon. I payed $425 for it using the "buy it now" during the spring of 2003. It's in good to excellent condition, but has a significant rim ding in the rear element.

Diane Maher
16-Nov-2004, 17:31
The only lens I bought on ebay (for LF) was a 159 mm f/9.5 Wollensak. I purchased my other two lenses, a 240 G-Claron (used) & 300 mm Fujinon-C (new) from MPEX.

David Karp
16-Nov-2004, 17:40
I check E-Bay fairly frequently when I want a new lens, but rarely find a "steal." (And then, when I don't have the $ to buy!) I have done better by buying from Jim at MPEX than I would have by buying the same lenses on E-Bay. It always makes me feel good to see a version of a lens I bought going at auction for much more than I paid for it at retail. I am curious, do others have a different experience?

Good deals on camera equipment I purchased on E-Bay over years of searching: A Cambo 45SF in great shape with standard and bag bellows, revolving reflex finder, a few holders, dark cloth, a hard plastic Calumet monorail case, a monorail extension, a big old loupe, and a pristine APO Symmar 150mm f/5.6 lens on a Cambo board with caps for less than $1,000.00 (a great, not good, deal); a 2x teleconverter for my Mamiya 645; a Linhof to Cambo adapter lensboard hidden in a sale of several Cambo boards (saw a glimmer of the slider in the photo), a couple of Cambo recessed lensboards, and a glass negative carrier for my Saunders enlarger. That's it.

That said, I have noticed prices going up and down for various lenses over time, but have never been able to discern any pattern.

Frank Petronio
16-Nov-2004, 17:46
I certainly don't think you can make money from lenses on eBay. I only try to get a good deal on getting better lenses, like going from a 90/6.8 to a 90/4.5. What I'd like to do is learn when I should sell lenses to get the best return, and buy lenses for the best price.

Maybe we could start a MSNBC lens ticker and an indexed Grandagon fund?

David Karp
16-Nov-2004, 18:02
Just some random thoughts:

Does demand go up around the end of the year holidays, as people buy photo gifts for their LF loved ones? Or does it go down because people are spending their money on gifts for others? Is there a surge after the holidays as people spend the $ from returning gifts on LF stuff? Or is their a lull because people are spent out?

Does demand go up after tax refunds are issued and people have extra $ in hand? Does it go down while people are waiting to find out how much they will have to pay in taxes?

Does it go up in the spring when all of the landscape photographers head back out into the field?

Does demand go up as the currency value increases against foreign currencies?

Or is it all just random?

Jim Rice
16-Nov-2004, 18:06
If I was guessing, I would submit that approaching April 15th (in the US), and after Christmas would be the "buyer's market" times, as any brick and mortar retailer would probably tell you. But what the hell do I know?

*210 Sironar-N and 90 6.8 Caltar II-N from Jim at mpex, $1040+ shipping; 16.5" RD Apo-Artar in factory Universal from Art Beaulieu (zero feedback) for $420+shipping on ebay. I'm very happy with both purchaces.*

I could still dig a 65/8 SA and a 135 Sironar-S (or N for that matter), but it's just going to have to wait for now.

Jim Rice
16-Nov-2004, 18:34
My bad, as I recall, the $1040 from Midwest included shipping. Memory is the second thing to go.

Jim Galli
16-Nov-2004, 19:59
Ebay has a temperament like a teenage girl. Up one minute and down the next. In past years I've noticed that prices will climb this time of year and surprisingly will hold well until about 6 weeks after Christmas. Then things get slow. And stay slow through most of the spring and early summer. The stock market and the general feeling of well being of the country have a lot to do with whether someone will turn loose of a bit of discretionary $, or hold on tight. Say what you like about Mr. Bush but I have noticed a "bull" ebay market since the election was over.

Roger Rouch
16-Nov-2004, 21:22
It's been a while since I've dabbled with ebay camera gear. Some decent deals but enough clunckers to where I only have the urge to sell there and not buy. Probably my reliable is KEH which I think has better prices and grading than Midwest and often beats what I see on eBay.

My theory on prices is that there are better prices for sellers from a little before Christmas to a little after the first of the year when some tax return anticipation and "gifts for me" are going on. And then in spring time when folks are getting a little anticipation of getting out doors. Summer seems lower activity with vacations and other outdoor stuff.

Walter Foscari
17-Nov-2004, 07:49
I've kept an eye on prices for LF lenses for only a couple of years, and if there's a pattern at all it seems that prices tend to fall during the summer. But the greatest variations from the standard prices provided by stores has to do with the type of lens. "Fashionable" lenses like the Sironar S, Schneider XL etc. are often cheaper at the various MPEX, KEH etc. Whereas their more mundane counterparts can still be had at much better prices than the stores' if one is patient enough.


Symmar S 210/5.6 $290.00 (had some schneideritis otherwise mint) later traded in at a store for $400.00

Super Angulon MC 120/8 $450.00 (mint)


Older Fuji W 135 /5.6 $200.00 (single coated mint)

Glenn Kroeger
17-Nov-2004, 09:05
I track various lenses, including Grandagons, and have a sense that prices are firmer in early spring and late summer, both preceeding prime landscape shooting seasons.

Diane Maher
17-Nov-2004, 11:01
I try not to browse ebay as much as I used to. I bought a Kodak 203 mm f/7.7 lens earlier this year at a local camera store for $49.95. That lens was in great shape, is very sharp and the shutter seems to work fine too.