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09-16-2015, 09:45 AM   #1
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Purchasing a used MF camera

Curious about the subject of buying a used camera (let's assume a 645n, for example) and the notion of purchasing:

a. a complete working camera, finder and lens, or...
b. a body, finder and lens, each separately (perhaps from different sellers), where the prices of the individual items seem to be less in total than your estimate of a complete unit elsewhere.
c, anything from a remote location where it is impractical to hold and inspect the item personally.

I imagine there are legions of stories of good and bad experiences...and rules of thumb galore.

To make it easier on me as a purchaser, I want to assume that every 645n I consider is equal in terms of prior usage and life expectancy...so the only variable is price. But it's not that way. Should I then buy the 645n with the most current serial number I can find?

Or...perhaps I'm over-thinking this. Whadayou think? Thanks!

09-16-2015, 10:11 AM   #2
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When I buy used gear of any kind I look at the seller's feedback and the return policy. If the feedback is positive and the seller accepts returns for defects not decribed, I'll generally go for it. I've only had one issue and the seller refunded my money when I messaged him with the problem. As for buying a complete kit vs components, couldn't say. This seems more like a convenience issue to me. I'd personally buy complete so if something is wrong I only have to deal with one person (plus it reduces hassle of trying to find various components). Guess it depends on how much you can actually save also.
BTW, when I say complete I mean camera parts. Lenses, yeah, buy them as you need them.

Last edited by jrpower10; 09-16-2015 at 10:42 AM.
09-16-2015, 10:20 AM   #3
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It has been my experience that all of my many purchases on this forum have been really excellent. I will say that buying MF gear has been more limited as there isn't a great amount of gear showing up here. I've mostly built my 645, 645n, and 6x7 kit up from ebay and KEH purchases over the past 5 years, almost all of which were also without a single hitch. However, I did buy a 6x7 300mm lens used from Adorama that had bad fungus in it. I don't in any way blame Adorama for this, it was mentioned in the listing and I ignored it.
09-16-2015, 11:08 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by daveward Quote
Curious about the subject of buying a used camera (let's assume a 645n, for example) and the notion of purchasing:

a. a complete working camera, finder and lens, or...
b. a body, finder and lens, each separately (perhaps from different sellers), where the prices of the individual items seem to be less in total than your estimate of a complete unit elsewhere.
c, anything from a remote location where it is impractical to hold and inspect the item personally.

I imagine there are legions of stories of good and bad experiences...and rules of thumb galore.

To make it easier on me as a purchaser, I want to assume that every 645n I consider is equal in terms of prior usage and life expectancy...so the only variable is price. But it's not that way. Should I then buy the 645n with the most current serial number I can find?

Or...perhaps I'm over-thinking this. Whadayou think? Thanks!
I'm looking to sell my 645N and lenses, hopefully together. As the buyer, you want the cheapest price and best products, which probably means buying individually. As a seller, I want to off load all my items together and not deal with selling almost everything but being stuck with 1 extra lens that I can't use. I think most people on this site are Pentax fans and aren't looking to screw anyone over. I think buying a full kit here would be much safer than most anywhere else.

09-16-2015, 01:09 PM   #5
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In my experience, a complete set is cheaper than one acquired piece-meal, and vice versa, selling I get more when I sell by the single item:
a buyer rarely wants all in a set, always wants the single item, so for a set you expect a discount because it's easy for the seller and there's almost always something you do not really need.

I've bought via this forum (good experience), similar forums (likewise), and eBay (mixed).

PS
Some sets are priced higher, but those tend to linger around and do probably sell for less if they do.

Last edited by Smolk; 09-16-2015 at 03:06 PM.
09-17-2015, 04:29 PM   #6
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Great feedback everyone. Thank you.

There were a couple references to eBay...and I see the Japanese are very active sellers. Does anyone have personal experience using eBay internationally?
09-17-2015, 04:34 PM   #7
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Yes, I do. I've bought several lenses from Japanese sellers and never had an issue. I always check feedback, though, and only buy from sellers who offer returns. I've never had to return one though.
09-18-2015, 08:09 AM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by daveward Quote
Great feedback everyone. Thank you.

There were a couple references to eBay...and I see the Japanese are very active sellers. Does anyone have personal experience using eBay internationally?
I've purchased several items (two dozen perhaps?) from Japanese eBay sellers. Never had a problem until the last one. The seller (under 500 feedbacks, 100%) did not disclose issues with the optics of the lens I bought (significant haze/fungus - listed as clean and clear) - that was eventually resolved, but there was major issues with this particular seller for getting my money back (he received the return, relisted and sold the item and dragged his feet on my refund). There are several Japanese eBayers who sell loads of medium format film gear with great feedback and I've never had an issue with these.

09-19-2015, 02:44 AM   #9
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My entry into Pentax MF gear was via an auction-site n eBay selling off a P645 Mk 1 and a 75mm lens. I got these for a low price and then found the camera DOA due to a corroded battery chamber.

I then bought a P645N body from KEH and this was excellent. I augmented my lenses through eBay, buying from Japanese sellers, all with very good results. I recently sold the 645N and a couple of lenses because I have moved onto the 6x7 and P645D. The 645N was a joy to use and I'm sure its interface is much improved over the original push-button 645.

As an Australian, Japanese eBay deals are great; invariably the sellers are extremely polite and courteous in their communication and delivery is super-fast.

Having caught on to the great deals/performance from 67 lenses, I also bought a P6x7 MLU body and 75 f4 lens with grip from a Japanese seller. the camera condition turned out to be quite a lot worse than described, with many more scratches and an unmentioned gridded VF screen. The meter seemed dead and so I returned the lot without issue.

I since bought another 6x7 MLU body from Japan and two other lenses and have used that successfully.

With the exception of the 6x7 case, I have had great experiences buying from Korean and Japanese dealers on eBay.
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