View Full Version : Need it. Want it. Gotta have it.

John Kasaian
27-Oct-2011, 17:17
My apologies to Cold Stone Creamery!
So I'm looking at a spare room full of photography gear, much of it I thought I "Need it" but a lot of it just sits and collects dust and I'm unsure whether or not I "Want it" or don't "Want it." I do know that I don't "Gotta have it" but maybe someone else "Gotta have it."
What I should do is wade through it all and see what has the most dust, of course some of this stuff I'm rather attached to.
Case in point: A Wollensak 159mm f/9.5 WA yellow dot I bought years ago from Butch Welch. I have actually used it quite a few times and I like how my pictures come out, but....but...lately I just haven't had the need for something that wide. What use I do find for the Wolly is for table top stuff.
I find it especially difficult when it comes to lenses--I get attached to the lil' guys! I have been able to part with some of my barrel lenses over the years, but only because they've already been replaced with shuttered brothers. I can see the attraction of collecting lenses, but I try to avoid collections since I have too many interests and I don't like being spread out and besides I'm allergic to dust.
How do you decide what to keep and what to sell?

27-Oct-2011, 18:10
I wish you luck....I'm in the same boat deciding what I need to keep, and what needs to be 'passed on' so it will at least see use....because I doubt I really will use a few, though I might...

But every lens has 'some' potential....and may actually be that perfect lens for that perfect shot, somewhere down the road....kind of the 'have and not need, rather than need and not have' syndrome...

A new dimension all together is pricing the darn things....especially if you know what the lens(es) is(are) capable of....

Again...Good Luck...

Daniel Stone
27-Oct-2011, 18:43
Of course we don't "need" anything but food, shelter, and some clothes to hide our guts ;). But when it comes to camera "stuff", I'm mirroring you EXACTLY!

Just when I thought I was going to sell my Nikon kit, thinking I would only shoot MF as my "small" format, I use it when photographing at a friends B/day party last month. Guess what! When those 5 rolls of slides came back from the lab, I fell in love again with the spontaneity, and quick handling of it, and the photographs(or burst of photographs in particular, in rapid succession) it allowed me to make/capture, that's what keeps it in my equipment closet. I might only use it 2-3x a year, but when I really NEED it to make a photograph, it'll be there for me to use.

I've bought and sold a LOT of things over the past 2 years. Many things of which I wish I had kept. Alas, some of those things might never be seen again(like a Blue-Dot Trigor, shoulda kept that one ;), stupid me thinking a 360 Symmar was sharper, psshhhh...

Live and let learn. Move on is what I plan to do. Its only equipment, not your children(though some here might treat their cameras/lenses like their children, or better :eek:!


Steve Hamley
27-Oct-2011, 19:41

Before I retired, my philosophy was to buy what I wanted - and I wanted to try classic and modern high end lenses- and later after I tried them out, sell off the ones I found less amenable to my style.

I retired in April 2011 and am not through that my any means, but I have sold some things.

One thing I think about is that those perfect Golden/Gold Dot Dagors and Commercial Ektars without cleaning marks will not come about easily again.

Some people who bought in will not take a loss until their heirs sell off their assets; they'll leave them on a shelf until they die rather than take a loss, just like their ancestors.

Cheers, Steve

John Kasaian
27-Oct-2011, 22:00
One fear I have is that most of my shutters are senior citizens and if a lens needs to go into the shop for a CLA its good to have a spare in a similar focal length.
One spare lens is prudent, two is indulgent, but three or four spare lenses is plum ridiculous, no?

Mark Woods
27-Oct-2011, 22:17
I'm about to sell of duplicate gear. But I know what you guys are speaking about with the lenses. I feel the lenses all have personalities, but that said, I've never taken an image with some of the lenses I bought that were part of the huge Sinar package I initially bought. But I know they're great lenses. ;-)

27-Oct-2011, 22:36
He who LIVES with the most toys wins.

Brian Ellis
28-Oct-2011, 06:56
Here's what I think it comes down to. Let's say you sell something like the Wollensak lens you mentioned (great little lens, I've had two of them). You get around $300 for it. A year from now you're not going to know what happened to the money. But you'll always remember that nice little lens and I almost guarantee that some day in the future you'll wish you had it.

I've sold a lot of photography gear over the years. But the only reason I ever sell anything is to buy something else that I think I'll use more. I never sell just because I haven't used something in a while. That's not to say I never regret a sale - I still wish I had kept one of my 8x10 Deardorffs for example. But in general it seems to work out pretty well - sell only to finance the purchase of some other photography gear that you think you'll actually use. And if there isn't any such thing right now then don't sell anything right now.

John Kasaian
28-Oct-2011, 07:12
If I to recycle any profits back into my photography, it wouldn't be in equipment but film, paper, chemicals and travel.
An interesting idea!
Wolly lens= helicopter ride to St George Reef Lighthouse?
Dagor lens= road trip to Black Canyon of the Gunnison
Anny Speeder= 200 sheets of Fomabrom
Yeah, I could ge used to this!

Peter Gomena
28-Oct-2011, 08:37
I've been thinning the herd lately. Time to divest myself of equipment I'm just not using. Proceeds are going to repairs on the items I do want to use, maybe toward a new . . .

Peter Gomena

28-Oct-2011, 08:47
How do you decide what to keep and what to sell?

That's easy. Don't acquire what you don't need (or can't afford).

Re: Need it. Want it. Gotta have it.
More substantively, Scarlett Johansson (can't afford)?

28-Oct-2011, 09:03

I 'trade up' a lot..but cool older stuff? it depends on how much I got into it..oddly enough, the more I paid..the easier it is to sell...I mean..I have only 30 bucks into a mint Leica IIF - why sell? it's only 30 bucks - I can keep it and my kid can sell it after I croak

also..the bigger it is..the more likely I am to sell..and sell for cheap

right now I have 5 lenses of approx 250mm - I'll end up selling 3 probably...2 anyway..okay...1 for sure

Mark Woods
28-Oct-2011, 09:30
Great thought Brian. I kind of do the same thing. Good thread!

Armin Seeholzer
28-Oct-2011, 10:53
I do it like this, did I not use it for 10 years and if so I sell it to buy something which I will use much more!

Cheers Armin

Brian C. Miller
28-Oct-2011, 12:11
Case in point: A Wollensak 159mm f/9.5 WA yellow dot I bought years ago from Butch Welch. I have actually used it quite a few times and I like how my pictures come out, but....but...lately I just haven't had the need for something that wide. What use I do find for the Wolly is for table top stuff.

So you do still use the lens, right? But for table top stuff? So why sell something you are using?

Here's a better idea: sell what you are never going to use. Ever.

I bought a Holga years ago. I ran a couple of rolls through it, and then stuffed it in a closet. Recently I've been putting a lot of rolls through it. But it sat for years. Why not toss it? It's unique among my tools. And that's what cameras are to me: tools. That's how I look at this, is that I have a wide angle lens, a normal lens, and a long lens. It is more important to have a lens than the Zeisstock Uberwondergon which delivers 200lp in the corners of an 11x14.

So if you are never, ever going to use that Wolly again, then sell it.

Michael E
28-Oct-2011, 12:26
I might only use it 2-3x a year, but when I really NEED it to make a photograph, it'll be there for me to use.

That's my sore point: I don't trust an older camera that I don't use regularly. After I turned digital, my analog Nikon stuff was sitting in the closet next to the Hasselblad stuff next to the LF outfit. I didn't use it for years. When the occasions came, I wasn't sure if the equipment was up to the task. Doing important work with a camera without an instant display? Who knows what might happen? I know what I'm talking about, a lot of things had broken on assignment, shutters, light seals, etc. When I have the feeling I can't trust a piece of equipment any more, I have two choices: Start using it regularly again, or sell it.


John Kasaian
29-Oct-2011, 09:10
While going through this stuff it occurred to me that several of my least used lenses are true multi-taskers. The 159 Wolly for example serves as a wide on the 8x10 and
5x7 as well as a normal on the 4x5. The 14" APO Artar could serve as a normal on the 8x10, long on the 5x7 and really long on the 4x5 monorail. The 12" Dagor could be used on all three formats as well.
Aiyee! This is getting complicated!

29-Oct-2011, 09:27
I do it like this, did I not use it for 10 years and if so I sell it to buy something which I will use much more!

Cheers Armin

You wait ten years? :)
If I don't use it within 8 weeks, it's gone, it's a dot, it is outta here!
Case in point, my 810G; bought it in the spring, spent the summer fixing it up nice, and sold it last week.
I probably ran through 50 sheets of X-ray in that time.
Meanwhile, my 4x5 cameras and I shot about 700 sheets of film in that same time.

And, like another poster here, I upgrade through sales or trading.
The only lenses I've kept are a Nikon 90mm f4,5 and a Fujinon 210; I've bought and sold about 30-40 lenses in the last 15 months.

David Karp
29-Oct-2011, 13:36
I am with you John. This is how I ended up with 3 210's, 2 180's, and 1 240! I also have 2 90's. I almost never use my 75, but it is a great lens. I can't get rid of any of them!!

Why do I still have 3 Polaroid 545 holders? I don't have any more Polaroid sheet film.

I still have every camera that I ever owned, plus two that my Dad purchased and later gave to me!

I am sure there is a diagnosis for this!

Steve Hamley
29-Oct-2011, 15:36
Look, life gets difficult when you make things harder than they really are. All you have to do is acknowledge that you're a lensaholic, then you don't worry about it anymore!

Cheers, Steve

Wayne Crider
29-Oct-2011, 15:56
"How do you decide what to keep and what to sell?"

I look at my bills.

John Kasaian
29-Oct-2011, 23:25
I know I've got a couple of Ilex 4x5 lenses in the pile, IIRC they are 6-1/2" with nice glass, but they need cla's.
If I wanted to sell them, is it worth it to have them cla'd first or sell them off cheap enough for the buyer to cla? Would a buyer even want to mess with buying a lens in a shutter than needs a cla?

30-Oct-2011, 07:30
My philosophy is to sell off the stuff I haven't used in a year or doesn't fit my style, and buy cooler stuff I will use. I'd rather have a few superb items than a closest full of so-so items.

Kent in SD

Michael Graves
30-Oct-2011, 07:48
How do you decide what to keep and what to sell?

I use the scientific method. I don't sell anything until A) something else comes up that I just HAVE to have or B) a bill comes due that I just HAVE to pay. Inevitably, I choose the wrong item to sell. It will be the very next thing I go poking around looking for to take on my next shoot and my wife will hear the inevitable "Damn it! I should never have sold that!"

Then there is the opposite situation. I just have to have something, so I buy it. Or I lose something and I replace it. Two days later, the same item shows up in my surplus pile and I say, "When did I get that?" Happened with a 135mm Fujinon just last week. I really wanted one, so I bought one from a forum member here. A very nice one, I might add. Two days before his arrived, I answered a Craigslist add and brought home a bunch of stuff. Naturally there was a 135mm Fujinon in it. It couldn't be a 180 Tessar, which I would really like. NO! It had to be the very lens I just spent money one. So yes, John, I can feel your pain.

Emil Schildt
30-Oct-2011, 07:49
I am sure there is a diagnosis for this!

there is: GAS (Gear Aquisition syndrome) and I am hard hit!

I have so much I don't use.. too many cameras - far too many lenses - too little time to use it all..

But they are my babies :o

(or I just don't know how to sell.... I do know how to buy...)

David Karp
30-Oct-2011, 10:43
I used to have GAS. Now I just have gas. And GRS - Gear Retention Syndrome!

Most of what I have was acquired over a long time period. For example, one of the 180s was purchased as a short focal length for my WP camera. Years later, I purchased a camera and some lenses to get one particular lens. I ended up selling almost everything, including the lens I thought I wanted (should have kept it), and keeping a Fujinon 180A that was part of the kit.

So many stories, most of them just rationalizations for keeping stuff. I guess is something comes along that I really want, I can sell a 210, a 180, a 90 and some other stuff and buy it.

But that 90 is a Sinar badged f/4.5 Grandagon-N. How can I sell that? It is such a nice . . . .

John Berry
30-Oct-2011, 22:58
At 63 and 25+ lenses ( for LF ). I seem to have found a way to avoid the decision as many others here have.