A lot of people have asked me about good places to get vintage cameras. And my friends tease me about the amount of online shopping I do. So I put together this article, & I do hope it helps you in your vintage camera quest.
Some Online Classified websites are as old as the internet. But they've garnered a bad reputation due to sleazy ads that are posted there.
Most of us are used to online shopping at some degree. I'm adept at shopping on brand websites & auction sites but I only recently realized that I haven't shopped that much with the help of online classifieds. So I'm going to tell you why online classifieds have an edge over auction websites in buying certain things (such as vintage cameras!), & how you can make a shopping there a safer, happier experience.
Why they exist
Auction websites now-a-days provide great buyer protection. They promise to reimburse you if the item is not exactly as the seller has described. That is a great thing, because it reassures you that you will not get fleeced. But auction websites are dominated by dealers who know the worth of a camera & often auction prices are very high because of this. Or even if the auction started off low, odds are it will end high because you are competing with people from your entire country or the world for something you want. Online classifieds, on the other hand are a different niche. Imagine you find your grandfather's camera in nice condition in your attic. You want to sell, you know it's worth a decent sum... none of your friends want to buy it, so you need to find someone that does. Selling it to a dealer is no use, you know that he will buy it from you cheap & sell it expensive. You know there are people out there who would be interested in getting their mitts on it, the only problem is you don't know any of them. Now that, my friend, is where a classifieds website comes in. You list it on an a classifieds website (mostly for free), a potential buyer seed the listing & contacts you (via email or cell phone, the choice is yours) & you take it from there.
How to Buy
Online classifieds are most often city-based. So go to an your city's section on the website. Find something you like? Contact the person that listed it & have a chat. Ask about the condition, ask for photos, & maybe haggle if you like? (it's up to you. You probably shouldn't do it if the lister has written something like 'final cost' or 'non negotiable'). In the case of a vintage camera, always ask to meet somewhere. If you have & know how to operate these, you will be able to properly examine the camera. If not, maybe meet at a camera repair shop so he can check it for you (& the repairman will probably charge for checking so you'll have to decide who's going to pay for it). And of course if you're going to be using the camera as a prop/show piece there's no need to worry about how it works, just that it looks good to you. And if you thing the camera is good & the price is right, then buy it, what are you waiting for?
So I guess what I'm trying to say is there are deals to be had on these websites. It's pretty win-win too for both buyer & seller.
I do hope you find this little post useful. I'd love to know your thoughts. More analog photography related how-to's are coming up.
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