View Full Version : Buying second-hand LF in UK

19-Feb-2005, 14:41
What's the best places to buy second-hand LF cameras etc in the UK? Any good websites or classifieds anyone could recommend?

Ebay.co.uk hasn't proved very productive for me.

If any LF enthuasist's near Milton Keynes woul like to meet, then please contact me.

soulkiss_uk@yahoo.co.uk (mailto:soulkiss_uk@yahoo.co.uk)

Thank you.

paul owen
19-Feb-2005, 14:58
Buying used LF gear in the UK is very hit and miss! The usual places to try would be Robert White, Teamwork and Linhof & Studio. Ebay UK occasionally comes up with interesting/useful LF bits and pieces but (usually) at over-inflated prices and not the best place if you want to buy and not bid. In fact, whether you buy from a dealer or Ebay you are UNLIKELY to find a bargain! The other place to try would be the F32 website, but again, classifieds are few and sellers are not solely based in the UK. What sort of equipment are you looking to buy?

Ole Tjugen
19-Feb-2005, 16:01
Keep looking - the bargains are there, but very rare. From dealers you are unlikely to get bargains, but the better ones at least give a decent price.

There's a selection of used cameras at Gandolfi, too - mostly Gandolfis ;)

Steve Bell
20-Feb-2005, 01:07
I'm been 'just starting' in LF for the last 5 months. I bought one old Sinar from eBay.co.uk at a very good price, a buy it now, the price I paid was almost the value of the double dark slides supplied with it. Bargain it was, but not very practical as my interests are landscape photography involving a fair bit of walking. I also picked up a good Rodenstock Sironar MC 150mm lens at a good price. Other eBay purchases were not bargains, more fair prices. I have wasted many a good day watching items on eBay when I could have been out taking photographs.

I now use a Toyo 45A that I earnt in exchange for some work, an ideal but uncommon arrangement.

Two other UK dealers who sell LF are Ffordes and Mr Cad. I've previously bought 35mm kit from Ffordes and found them excellent to deal with.

Emmanuel BIGLER
20-Feb-2005, 03:30
Let me add here an excellent feedback for MXV photographic, Sussex. This is a more "generalist" second hand camera store but their service, rating and prices are excellent. They do have a small stock of LF gear but MrCad and Ffordes for example have a much bigger second hand LF inventory.

You should also take into account other European countries well-stocked in second hand large format equipment : the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and Austria. All four countries have at least one national LF camera manufacturer and all second hand dealers with an Internet web site are fluent in English simply because English can serve as the "lingua-franca" of commercial Europe, when other languages are not convenient to use. Personnally I can report here an excellent feedback for Christoph Greiner near Kassel, Germany. I have always exchanged in English with Herr Greiner as if I was writing to any shop located in the British Isles or in the English-speaking part of Northern Americ.. or Australia !! ;-);-). I cannot guarantee that our exchanges in English were perfectly compliant with True Good Oxfordian English, but as far as I am concerned, transactions always worked fine ;-);-)

As far as France is concerned, traditionnaly and too bad for the country credited for inventing photography, LF equipment was reserved to professionals and for a long time afflicted like all camera and Hi-Fi equipment (including recorded music at the time of black 45 and 33 rpm records) by a... 33% VAT rate on new items ; so LF photo equipment was out of reach for most French amateurs at a time when new LF equipement was really expensive and used equipent hard to find in France. Things are changing, thanks to the Internet... and the unified euro currency. We now have 3 French on-line camera stores serving the LF enthusiasts : adaflex.com, galerie-photo.net and taosphotographic.com, specialized in LF equipment. Plus several parisian stores, among them the well-known store "Le Grand Format", companion store to "Le Moyen format". There, thanks to Mr. Gadat (a well known professional of the famous Boulevard Beaumarchais) you have an interesting stock of second hand LF equipment (accessible on "lemoyenformat.com" web site) , including second hand Arca Swiss cameras and accessories, something actually quite rare in Europe (MrCAd in the UK and C. Greiner do have second A/S equipement most of the time as well).

My understanding is that as European customers we have to push a fair competition between all European companies & stores providing goods and services. As far as LF photographic equipment is concerned, UK dealers are in a very good position, even when they sell German-made equipment, new or used, but we should always kindly remind our national shops that before purchasing from them, exactly like them we also have an excellent idea of prices and services all over Europe from Sevilla to Oulu and from Shannon to Athens.

tor kviljo
20-Feb-2005, 11:02
Try german ebay: http://foto.ebay.de/ At the moment, they have more than 3 times as many LF items listed than UK, and usually at much better prices. UK ebay seems rather expensive, and saddled with a fair portion of rather odd cameras, De Vere monorails & MPP's. Probably OK cameras, but not the best known. German Ebay is a good source for recent sinars & Linhofs, and one of the few places to find rather large selection items for Plaubel Peco/Profia cameras.

Struan Gray
20-Feb-2005, 13:27
I second the recommendation for eBay.de. It's much more liquid than eBay.uk and less prone to bizarre overvaluation of old tat. Don't forget the reputable US stores like KEH and Midwest - with the current low dollar you can absorb a fair bit of shipping and customs charges and still be ahead.

Of the UK dealers I have bought most from Robert White and Ffordes. MXV and MW Classic have also served me well, and have keen prices and some oddball items. I have heard good things about Bob Rigby, but have never bought anything from them myself. Also with good reputations and some LF are KP Professional in Cambridge and Westcliff photo, which I believe is the old staff of Ffordes, left behind when they did a midnight flit to Scotland. Mr Cad have lots of stuff, but beware of wild overrating.

www.robertwhite.co.uk (http://www.robertwhite.co.uk)
www.ffordes.com (http://www.ffordes.com)
www.mxvphotographic.com (http://www.mxvphotographic.com)
www.mwclassic.com (http://www.mwclassic.com)
www.bobrigby.com (http://www.bobrigby.com)
www.kpprof.com (http://www.kpprof.com)
www.westcliffphoto.com (http://www.westcliffphoto.com)
www.mrcad.com (http://www.mrcad.com)

My impression is that there are so many well-informed amateurs chasing good kit, that true bargains are hard to find. The best deals are through personal contacts (my ULF was given to me on the understanding I make a stab at using it), or by carefully opting for some of the less glamourous items (less-known process lenses, Cambo monorails).

jose angel
21-Feb-2005, 04:23
Mr "Crash" seems to have a lot of stuff, just a rating-translator is needed, please let me help you about it:

"New or mint"=ensures a not-abused look, "good condition"=from good-to-ugly condition, "very nice"=probably useless, "regular condition"=perhaps can be used for parts.

(Take note that ratings are mainly based in the paint finish, a crashed lens will still performs as "mint" even if you canīt unmount it, screw-on filters, or the shutter can be used only as a babyīs rattle).

Missing parts (shims, shutter levers, spacers, filter rings, scales on shutters), extremely obvious Schneideritis or balsam problems are buyer bussiness. Of course, returns are allowed, at your cost.

Donīt be desperate: some people (I can testify it) have incomplete, but real "mint" condition lenses in their bags. Be faith. It is only matter of luck.

Ole Tjugen
21-Feb-2005, 07:16
I've had good experience with "Mr. Crash". Find something you want (if you can, on the website - it's not always obvious), then call them and ask about the condition. I got a very good, cheap (!) 150mm APO-Lanthar with a minor scratch in that way. It still takes exellent pictures - or would, if I were a better photographer :)