View Full Version : How to sell LF Cameras

19-Jul-2011, 14:23
Hi gang, just inherited two cameras.

1) Toyo rail 4x5 with Rodenstock lens
2) B&J 8x10 View with Schnieder lens

I'm not a photographer so I'm going to sell these. I'm not really looking to make a mint, just enough to buy a 1/2 way decent guitar. My question is this.

Do you think I should sell the lenses separately from the camera bodies? I've studied Ebay and I'm not sure what real photographers (like all of you!) would be most interested in.

Many thanks in advance for your advice.





19-Jul-2011, 15:09
Look up these cameras and lenses separately on Ebay's completed listings, you'll get an idea of what sells and what doesn't and at what price.
Then you can price things accordingly, perhaps offering slight discounts for camera and lens packages.

19-Jul-2011, 15:16
Sell separately, Cameras and then Lenses, you'll get far more.

(I'd quite like the 300mmXenar myself).


Brian Ellis
19-Jul-2011, 16:44
You'll increase the number of potential buyers and usually get more by selling the cameras and lenses separately. How much more is impossible to say but more almost for sure.

Frank Petronio
19-Jul-2011, 17:26
If you can figure it out, unscrew the lenses from the lenboards and sell the boards with the camera. Keep any flanges/rings with the lens/shutters. Start by unscrewing the rear element and then perhaps using the flat blade of a screwdriver to carefully unscrew the retaining ring or disassemble the flange holding the lens in place. Some lenses have thin spacer washers in place for optimal optical positioning so don't loose them and make note of where they were placed. And obviously you need to keep things clean. If you don't have lenscaps, cut flat cardboard and use rubberbands to secure them over the lens' front and rear for shipping protection. Put everything into plastic bags for shipping, then small bubble wrap, then larger bubble wrap, foam peanuts, squished plastic bags, etc. Allow at least twice the size of the lens for packaging.

Make good quality photos, 800 pixels wide or so, from every angle, keep the black parts lighter than normal to show detail.

If you need help identifying the proper name of a lens or camera, post a photo and question here. After you are a member here for 30 days you can access the Buy and Sell section of the forum. You need to set a price first, so do your homework.

Or take your chances on eBay. Do an auction for a week or ten days, time it to conclude on a Sunday evening when the most people will be able to bid. Start with a low opening, like $1. If you do your homework and have a good, honest description made to the best of your ability, you will probably do better than just selling it outright.

With international shipping, use USPS Express Mail with insurance and tracking or make the buyer agree to assume all risk. Otherwise you have no protection. Avoid selling to anyone you don't have a good feeling about, simply refuse.

PayPal is simple and provides good protection for the buyers. If you are selling to an unethical person, they can really screw you over as the seller. Still, PayPal is probably the best option, but it shows why it is best to sell to known, real people, like active photographers on this forum rather than nameless souls on eBay.

I do not like the APUG forum but they have an active large format trading area as well. I don't think photo.net's classified's is as good, this is probably the best place to sell.

Some high-end items can lanuish but you have what appears to be nice user gear which can sell easily if priced reasonably. Very roughly, the 4x5 Toyo is an older entry to mid-level model, so expect to get $150 to $250. The 210 Rodenstock Sironar-N is a common, useful lens so expect to get about the same, $175 to $250. The old 8x10 B&J really depends on the bellows, since replacing the bellows can cost $350. But it looks nice in the low-res cell phone photos so if the bellows are indeed in good shape, anywhere from $250 to $500 depending on your luck.

And finally that Xenar... if the glass is clear and unhazed, and the shutter works OK, then it is a valuable lens, not rare but not common. It would be most desirable for portraiture, more so on 4x5 or 5x7 rather than 8x10. It could go for anywhere between $200 to $500 depending on condition.

If you aren't up to operating the shutter or shining a flashlight through the lens to evaluate, then sell it cheap. But if it is in good operating shape and has clean glass, then it's a great lens and worth $4-500.

19-Jul-2011, 19:09
All, many many tx for the great and very useful info! Great board here.

I have to do more research but I'll probably separate and then try sell here after 30 days. Again, many tx!

19-Jul-2011, 20:44
With the low prices that monorails are currently selling for, the Toyo rail will detract from the price of the lens. For sure, sell that lens separately after checking prices in the "competed listings" area of eBay. To get to "completed listings" need to be registered on eBay and logged in.

Additionally, I agree on selling the lens boards for the camera's with the camera. The Toyo lens board will not enhance the value of the lens, but it will detract from the Toyo camera price if not included.

The 8X10 will simply be popular because it is 8X10. Presuming the lens on that camera covers 8X10, selling this one as a package may be more attractive to buyers looking to move up from 4X5 and who need both pieces. Remember that those upgrading probably can't use any of their 4X5 equipment. Sales of the upgrade to 8X10 seem to be rising. Do first check the separate completed listings, however.

I'd be tempted to sell the 8X10 together (remembering that you can protect your auction with a reserve)

I've been selling film camera's in all formats on eBay for close to 8 years and done well. I rarely ever sell without a low start price and always a reserve for MY protection.

Paul Ewins
19-Jul-2011, 21:33
Another point to consider: your pool of potential buyers increases if you are willing to ship out of your home country. While the cost of postage on an entire camera may be too much to make it worthwhile it doesn't cost much to mail a lens internationally, so consider selling the lenses separately. Having said that I have had both 4x5 and 8x10 cameras shipped from the US to Australia simply because they are so scarce here. A cheap camera with expensive shipping may still be cheaper than buying the same camera from a local source, or there may be no local option at all.

20-Jul-2011, 12:24
Just wondering... what guitars are you looking at?

Jason Greenberg Motamedi
20-Jul-2011, 12:27
RE the B&J 8x10, make sure it has both extension rails; it is only good for parts without without one, and won't sell for much without two.

20-Jul-2011, 12:50
Just wondering... what guitars are you looking at?

I'm hoping to pick up a used low level Martin or equivalent. (acoustic)

21-Jul-2011, 07:19
I agree that with these two cameras the best bet would be to split lenses from camras, keeping lensboards with the camera. HOWEVER, if anyone else is considering selling a reallly OLD vintage camera, i.e. from the 19th century, I then suggest keeping everything together.

Kent in SD

11-Aug-2011, 11:37
Hey guys, well wanted to report that by using everyone's advice I've sold the B&J and the Xenar lens on Ebay.

HOLY COW - $468 for the camera without lens with two film holders. (person in Japan)
This exceeded my expectations by a long shot!

I now have a Toyo and Rodenstock lens listed sep. on Ebay. We'll see how that goes.

Thanks again for the great advice.

11-Aug-2011, 18:07
It's a win-win, you'll be jammin out on a new Martin, and some photographers will be lovin their new equipment!