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Thread: Used lens price trend?

  1. #1

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    Sep 2003
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    Used lens price trend?

    What has been the price trend over the last year or two for used modern 4x5 field lenses? Looking at the market today there are fewer lenses for sale than two years ago. I can't find the most popular lenses used, so I can't compare prices. Are fewer lenses listed today on ebay due to concern about fraud? What are the markets besides ebay, mpex, photonet, and possibly KEH? Thanks.

  2. #2
    Eric Biggerstaff
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    Used lens price trend?

    Don,

    Seems to me that all things LF are getting snatched up pretty quickly and the bids/prices continue to rise on the used market. Some of this may be driven by the idea that availability of new products is on the decline ( examples are Kodak leaving the B&W paper business and Nikon exiting the LF lens market) which may be fueling the fire a bit.

    I have been waiting on buying a few items to try and score a good deal at auction, but when a price is reached that I think is about correct for the item, it continues to go up! Often times WAY up.

    This is probably a good thing for the future of LF, but a bad thing for me!
    Eric Biggerstaff

    www.ericbiggerstaff.com

  3. #3
    Geos
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    Used lens price trend?

    I think the used market for LF is pretty slim right now. There is stuff around, but the prices are rather high.

    On the other hand, I've been scarfing up Pentax 67 lenses like they're going out of style (which they are). Lenses that would have gone for $6oo+ used just two years ago are now slightly over $200. I would have never even considered a soft-focus lens, but for $220, I certainly won't lose money on it. Since I shoot mostly B&W, I have no fear that the results from a digital SLR will embarrass me anytime soon.

  4. #4
    Resident Heretic Bruce Watson's Avatar
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    Used lens price trend?

    I just saw a used Fujinon-A 240mm lens go by on that auction site for $690. I bought mine new from Badger Grapic just a few years ago (three?) for $740. Hard to believe.

    OTOH, I bought a used 80mm SS-XL for something under $1000 last year when new (Badger Graphic again) was around $1500. Also hard to believe.

    The used lens market is a typical spot market I think. It varies widely and churns a lot. You have to decide what you are willing to pay and make an offer. Sometimes you'll get what you want and sometimes you won't. It doesn't pay to be desparate; patience is the key.

    Besides the markets you list, don't forget the used equipment boards at APUG.

    Bruce Watson

  5. #5

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    Used lens price trend?

    I find the used lens market pricing is still mixed.

    "Classic" lenses will fetch a lot. But they did during the height of the dot com days on eBay too. There were some seriously silly prices back then.

    Little known lenses, or barrel, or uncoated optics still seem to fetch next to nothing.

    But there is another effect that I think accounts, in part, for the stability or slight rise in prices. Look at the value of the Euro and Yen against the US dollar. Compare this against four years ago. Notice any trends?

  6. #6
    Moderator
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    Used lens price trend?

    Some exchange rate info:

    Today (4/4/06): $1= Y117.82, 1 euro = $1.2124
    4/5/04: $1 = Y105.36, 1 euro = $1.2008
    4/4/02: $1 = Y132.3, 1 euro = $1.13908

  7. #7

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    Used lens price trend?

    Eric, I have noticed the same thing about prices going up. I will be selling a camera soon that will fetch more money on Ebay than I payed for it. In fact all of my research on this camera tells me I will be unlucky if I get 1.5 times what I paid for it. I have seen a couple go for twice what I paid, and mine is in better condition.

    I have been wondering if this situation is due to the way some folks enter maximums in thier snipe programs. If you look at the bid history of recent items you can see when the snipe programs are at war. I think there are some folks who enter a very large amount in their snipe programs (much more than what the item should go for) and then probably poo their pants when they see what they have to pay. This seems to happen the most with lenses That I have seen. A feeding frenzy for a flash mount comes to mind. New, the item sells at B&H for 23 dollars. SOme sucker paid 60 dollars for one rated at bargain with a broken lock, by the seller.

    ANother trend I am noticing is higher starting bids.

    Don, I don't think it is a case of less stuff. I think it is Ebay's categories and some folks not knowing where to list stuff or not cross listing them. I have seen lenses in the regular LF film camera section, the LF lens section, the parts section, and I scored my dagor in the MF lens section with the name mispelled. Not all of the lenses are cross listed.

    Another thought is, the price and availability of the used stuff has opened the door for more and more people to hop into the sand box. What was reserved for the affluent or pro is now within this poor guy's grasp. This means things get snapped up pretty quick, as Eric said, and not put back on the block.

    Or, Maybe Galli is gobbling it all up.

  8. #8

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    Used lens price trend?

    "Little known lenses, or barrel, or uncoated optics still seem to fetch next to nothing."

    I only wish that was the case for barrel lenses. It seems as if an Artar lens no matter the condition seems to be increasing in price. Keep in mind these are the larger lenses for ULF. For the past two years I have been looking for both a 24" & 30" Artar. I did manage to find a 24" for a price of $475.00. The cheapest 30" Artar that I have seen is around $900. More like the 30" barrel model goes for around $1,200. This rise in price may be a direct result of an increased interest in ULF. The prices seem to be shifting toward the seller and not the buyer.

  9. #9

    Used lens price trend?

    Maybe the lenses and cameras are getting into the posession of photographers where they are being used, or at least appreciated? In the past several years, Ebay has given me access to more LF eqipment than I had seen in 35+ years of camera swaps, and Midwest Photo in Columbus, Ohio, which is only a 1 hour drive away.

    Having sold a few things on Ebay I can tell you that overseas LFers are grateful for anything they can get and are willing to pay top prices + high postage costs because they have such a limited scource for equipment. That helps drive prices and the equipment is gone from the market.

    If you are like me you get a nice camera and some lenses and hate to let them go. I have more decent equipment than I have the time to use, but I simply enjoy having it around. A lot of it I found for what I considered bargain prices on ebay. Some of it I have never seen anywhere but Ebay, That amounts to a lot of stuff that is off the market until I am gone.

  10. #10

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    Used lens price trend?

    Oren,

    Here's a perhaps more complete picture of the value of the US against other currencies:

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=USDJPY=X&t=5y - Yen

    http://finance.yahoo.com/q/bc?s=USDEUR=X&t=5y - Euro

    I hope this helps.

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