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Thread: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

  1. #1

    Join Date
    May 2011
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    Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    Hello,

    I am in a dispute over a Crown Graflex camera that I recently bought on Ebay: http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.d...ht_3957wt_1141

    When it arrived I noticed that the top half of the bellows were covered in black tape and that the lens had no bulb setting, neither of these points are mentioned in the item description. The seller maintains that he had no need to mention the tape as he described the item condition as 'seller refurbished' and that the tape was clearly visible in the images. I did show the ebay listing to two colleagues who own 5x4 cameras before I made the purchase and none of us noticed the tape as the bellows are also black.

    I also asked the seller how he kept the shutter open in order to set up a shot and focus using the glass plate and he replied, 'as to the B setting that shutter never had one but i learned to shove the timer a little way past 1 and sort of hold the shutter on the cable release'. I tried this with a cable release but found I had to manually hold the lens with one hand to stop it from closing. This would make doing long exposures near impossible, something I had bought the camera for.

    I have many years of experience of photography, being a full time lecturer in the subject, but lack experience of large format cameras. Being new to this forum and knowing nobody, I would greatly appreciate your impartial opinions on the following two questions to put my mind at ease;

    1. Even if he thought it was clearly visible, should the seller have mentioned the tape on the bellows in the item description?
    2. How normal is it for a lens on a large format camera to have no means of keeping the shutter open indefinitely?

  2. #2
    Old School Wayne
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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    I can see the tape in your auction's pictures, and its fairly obvious when you tell me its taped, but I might have overlooked it otherwise. I think you definitely have a right to expect a better bellows than that, or be told in the description about it. I recently sold a camera here that had one small piece of tape and I didnt mention it, but I did show it in the picture and test it for light proofness. And I did not call it refurbishing, lol!

    And based on his reply to your feedback, he sounds like a jerk. Pretty poor rating too. Best not to deal with anyone with such a poor rating.

    I'm not familiar with those lenses so I'll leave that alone. I think you got soaked.

  3. #3

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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    Thanks for the feedback Wayne,

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne View Post
    I can see the tape in your auction's pictures, and its fairly obvious when you tell me its taped, but I might have overlooked it otherwise.
    This is my point, if the tape had been mentioned in the description I would have noticed it in the images and not bought the camera.

  4. #4
    Daniel Stone's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    I think those Polaroid shutter has/had TWO cable release sockets, one for regular shutter speed firing, and the other for B(bulb).

    try a cable release in BOTH(if it has two) sockets, and see if it works.

    the tape might be there as reinforcement, some bellows can sag over time. However, IMO, the tape should have been mentioned.

    try both cable release sockets to see if one works as a B setting

    -Dan

    welcome to the forum BTW, some might call it "group therapy"

  5. #5
    8x10, 5x7, 4x5, et al Leigh's Avatar
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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    I looked over the photos and did not see the tape you mention. It's not an obvious cosmetic defect. If the bellows work (normal flexibility) and are light tight I wouldn't be overly concerned.

    The lens/shutter is not original to that camera. Quite probably it never did have a bulb setting. The camera was meant to use the rangefinder for focusing (requires a cam matched to the lens), and the quick finder for framing, rather than using the ground glass.

    Press cameras were for photographers who normally did grab shots rather than carefully-rendered images. I used one in the early 1960's, and found it quite good for the intended purpose. That's not to say you can't take excellent pix with them. You certainly can, but that's not the use for which they were designed.

    Given that the lens/shutters are readily changeable and inexpensive I wouldn't worry too much about it.

    Much information on those neat cameras at www.graflex.org

    - Leigh

  6. #6

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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    I have a Prontor shutter, it needs a locking cable release in the second hole, to hold the shutter open.
    Real cameras are measured in inches...
    Not pixels.

    www.photocollective.org

  7. #7

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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielStone View Post
    I think those Polaroid shutter has/had TWO cable release sockets, one for regular shutter speed firing, and the other for B(bulb).

    try a cable release in BOTH(if it has two) sockets, and see if it works.
    Thanks for the tip Dan,

    The lens does have two cable release sockets, I wondered what the second one was for. The seller must not have known this either or he would have told me. I have packed the camera away now ready for posting back, so will only try this if ebay finds in the sellers favour and I can't return it.

  8. #8

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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    Quote Originally Posted by DanielStone View Post
    welcome to the forum BTW, some might call it "group therapy"
    Thanks, I'm so angry at the moment I definitely need some!

  9. #9

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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    Some real gems of fiction here.

    "It's in good condition both functionally and cosmetically."

    Holes in the bellows, covered up with tape are not cosmetically good condition. You don't need to know anything about camera to know that.

    "It has been only lightly used"

    So lightly it has holes in it?

    You've been scammed, and I would recommend that you go through eBay's complaint process. Take some really good photos of those bellows, remove some of the tape and photograph the tears. I've been through that process and won, they never asked for the pictures.

    His feedback is quite good, except for the one you left. I'd disregard the other negative one, the buyer seems to have changed his mind and tried to get out of it.

  10. #10

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    May 2011
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    Re: Ebay dispute over camera, advice appreciated

    Thanks for the feedback Kurt.

    When I asked the seller about the tape this is how he responded:

    'the bellows have special protective tape on them is to stop any holes BEFORE they appear and this is visible in the photos.
    this was part of the 'seller refurbished' description of the 'item condition' part of the ad. this work was done by a local specialist who services all my cameras. to casually call the bellows 'taped' is therefore absurd. they are clearly REFURBISHED as it says and shows in the ad.'

    I'm not sure if I should take the tape off, because if I send it back I don't want him to be able to say that I damaged the bellows by removing the tape, or that I made some holes in the bellows myself to get a refund.

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