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06-20-2010, 07:25 AM   #1
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Balancing lens budget.

Besides my mandatory basic kit, in addition to weird film equipment i like to try various lenses. Usually some cheap, old second hand prime lenses. Since they don't find a lot of use too often, i try to rotate them (by selling old ones to fund new ones). This way i wont accumulate large lens collection that gathers dust and save some money.

What worries me with Pentax/m42 lenses it seems that i always loose funds. First of all, it seems that it is near impossible to buy or sell Pentax gear locally in a reasonable time frame (less than 1..2 months) for appropriate price.

What time is expectable (weeks, months, half year?) in which a competitively priced lens might sell? How long i should to wait to know that my offer is not reasonable?

This makes me always loose something on the shipping even if i manage to sell the lens for the same price i bought it.

When you sell your items do you price them to completely cover their purchase (original price + shipping to you) + shipping to new owner? Or just to cover their net price. What percent of loss do you think is acceptable if complete coverage is not possible (expensive or odd, low demand item, bought overpriced)?
I've also thought of storing lenses i can't sell for a reasonable price. To avoid money loss, place in clean, air tight container with silicon gel bags. Put up advertisement for your target price and don't lower it. Then i can take it out of "hibernation" if someone shows interest for that lens or i need it again.

I've had to sell legendary lenses like 28/2.8, 50/1.7 for half the price or less, otherwise no one even shows interest in those ads. But i never see such lenses being sold for those prices. Many times people say it can be had for much cheaper on ebay, when its completely false.

Do you think it is ok to sell items you got ridiculously cheap for more you got them? So that you average out differences in purchase and selling prices. Sometimes it seems that such approach may harm community by slowly rising all prices and decreasing the used market. Other times it feels really bad, when you sell your lens for a bargain, hoping that someone will find better use to it, and see it sold for twice the price short after that.

Just my LBA story. What do you think?


Last edited by ytterbium; 06-20-2010 at 07:35 AM.
06-20-2010, 07:37 AM   #2
Ira
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If you're just talking about M42 Taks...and unless you way overpaid yourself...these lenses are certainly holding their value, and going up, so I'm confused about your question.

I just way overpaid for a 35 2, but I knew I wasn't ever going to turn it over, so I really didn't care.

If you do BINs on eBay for what they're worth nowadays, you'll sell them.
06-20-2010, 07:43 AM   #3
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Supply and Demand. You will only get for an item what the market will bear.
If you got it cheaper than its worth and can sell it for more, great! (On the other hand, if you're ripping off a person for an item that is not worth that much simply because they don't know any better, then that just stinks.)

The purchaser should be prepared to pay for their shipping. You are not Amazon, and most people do not expect free shipping form an individual. (See eBay)

Business is business I don't see the local grocer reducing his prices by the cost of what the truckers want to be paid. :-)
If you paid shipping to get the item and can recoup that, great... but if the buyer knows his/her prices, then you are probably out that original "investment" cost and will not recover the shipping cost you paid to get the item.
See what prices you can get. But you are not a business, so to some extent, people will not look to you as having the same overhead and therefore not expect to pay for your back-end costs.
If you got use out of the equipment, I'd plan on eating some of the original costs.

Acceptable loss depends on a lot of factors.
e.g. Do you need to sell the item in order to feed your kids tomorrow? Or can you sit on it until the right buyer comes along.

Sadly, the answers to a lot of your questions really depend on your situation.
I'd suggest looking on eBay, Craigslist, B&H, and Amazon to see what going prices are for new and used, and make a judgement call.
06-20-2010, 08:13 AM   #4
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Actually i think the only Takumar i've had is still with me, because i need it. I've bought/sold pentax M/F/DA lenses, some other m42 stuff.

Im just thinking what am i doing wrong and wanted to hear how you approach to selling lenses you've bought to try out and not for serious use. Probably my biggest mistake is lowering the price too soon and too fast. Before anyone can seriously consider the purchase and research on the lens.

06-20-2010, 08:15 AM   #5
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You didn't come right out and say it, but it sounds like you are buying and selling all your lenses locally. If that's the case, since the law of supply/demand in a marketplace will dictate, and it takes a long time and you can't get very much, maybe there isn't enough demand. In my view, this means you need to get into a bigger marketplace.

Personally, my target would be to get what I paid without shipping plus the shipping to sell. The incoming freight is a cost of doing business, the outgoing can be passed on to the purchaser. If you can get more, great, but I wouldn't consider that I lost money if my only net cost in that transaction is the inbound freight. I did after all get some use (and presumably enjoyment) out of the lens during the short time I had it.

I look at the marketplace in 2 distinct levels. Level 1 is the quality (legendary?) Pentax legacy lenses that are quite expensive and rare. I call Level 2 all the Pentax lenses that were mass produced and are readily available, e.g. kit lenses, along with all the 3rd party lenses that were produced in K-mount over the years.

Prices of the Level 21 marketplace are obscene, and they are going up. Many times it makes more sense to buy a 200mm DA* than a 200mm A lens. The level 2 marketplace is flooded and prices may or may not hold given the supply at any given moment. Are you in the Level 1 or Level 2 marketplace? Are you selling online or just locally?
06-20-2010, 08:45 AM   #6
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I think all the options apply. But more level 2 than 1. Usually i end up selling imported stuff locally or local stuff abroad. What is scary is the 30$ shipping to/from US many sellers enforce. Oddly there is much cheaper shipping options, only few sellers offer. Even for items costing several times less than shipping.
For a 20..50$ lens it makes 60$ just for shipping. Making it hard to sell it for economic price or loose big part when selling for a competitive price. When selling locally, only few buyers think of shipping.
06-20-2010, 02:30 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ytterbium Quote
I think all the options apply. But more level 2 than 1. Usually i end up selling imported stuff locally or local stuff abroad. What is scary is the 30$ shipping to/from US many sellers enforce. Oddly there is much cheaper shipping options, only few sellers offer. Even for items costing several times less than shipping.
For a 20..50$ lens it makes 60$ just for shipping. Making it hard to sell it for economic price or loose big part when selling for a competitive price. When selling locally, only few buyers think of shipping.
Looking at your profile, it looks like you are in Latvia. If that's the case, then I think trying to buy/sell any lens worth less than a couple hundred dollars to the US is just going to be a losing proposition. The cost of shipping is such a high amount compared to the value of the lens that you are just going to have to accept that you will lose a bundle on the shipping. Also, as a US-based buyer, I'm already reluctant to buy from folks overseas because of customs, the long wait and difficulty returning items, add shipping costs to that and I personally would much rather buy from a domestic seller.

Honestly, if you are really interested in trying out lots of different cheap, used lenses, I would consider just keeping them in your collection rather than try to sell them internationally.
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