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05-01-2014, 05:03 PM   #16
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
One other thing to consider is the use of a sniping tool for something you really want. I use EZsniper, a web based service so I can just set my max and forget about it.

Make sure that you have self discipline to decide what it's worth to you, full stop. And stick to that, don't go higher.

Try and avoid getting into a bidding war - this makes things stupidly expensive. Another will be along sooner or later, do you really have to have this thing today?

To make sure of an item look up what it sold for previously
What? Sniping tools? Sticking to your max? Bidding wars driving prices up? Researching previous sale prices? Where do you come up with this stuff?

05-01-2014, 11:44 PM   #17
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Do you really have success by bidding high at the auction start, that's crazy bad advice.


You maybe find a lens sitting at 2 dollars that's true value is maybe 25 dollars, so do you suggest bidding 30 dollars early on with 7 days left to run?


This generates a bidding war and guarantees plenty of schmuks come in and bid the item way up then outbid you on the last day, so you have to bid more than its worth to have a hope of capturing it. Bad method.


This is my strategy and it works. Watch the item and avoid bidding, this does not alert anyone to your interest. Watch the item up to the last few minutes and once it reaches 75% of your maximum bid then stop watching and ignore it, its now a washout.


If it remains low then bid. Wait until the very last few seconds, I wait until 40 seconds to auction end to bid and I bid big, still below my maximum, and that means my bid becomes the winning bid 15 seconds before auction end. Nobody has any chance at all of reacting to my winning bid and I win it at a fraction of the price I would have paid by bidding early.


recent winning bids using this method are:- 135mm lens plus macro rings 7.69 free pp - 150mm rare isco lens 16.78 free pp - 2x teleconverter 0.99 free pp


My entire 12 lens kit plus teleconverter wide angle adapter and macro tubes plus 3 cameras have cost me less than 200 for the whole lot using this method.


It really is the best way to bid and the feeling of snaring a good item for peanuts and leaving all the other bidders for dead with egg on their face is fabulous.
05-02-2014, 02:10 AM   #18
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QuoteOriginally posted by DSims Quote
What? Sniping tools? Sticking to your max? Bidding wars driving prices up? Researching previous sale prices? Where do you come up with this stuff?
hmmmm, you're confusing me, what's wrong with it?

Imageman, completely agree, and this is exactly what a sniping tool does. It doesn't put in a bid in eBay until a few seconds before the auction closes. I like it because it means it works for any old auction ending any time, even if I'm asleep or at work or something - and I can set a max and it won't bid if the bid is already above that. But it doesn't even declare your interest until the bid closes.

Last edited by Nass; 05-02-2014 at 02:35 AM.
05-02-2014, 06:19 AM   #19
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I stand by my earlier point. If I decide that lens X is a desireable one and I am prepared to bid 36.66 for it, then the good strategy is usually to put the bid in. At that point, all your sniping and last second strategies aren't worth a d***. You have to beat the first bid. If you don't bid 37.66 or more - END OF.
Your points about avoiding bidding wars and frenzies - well I have already avoided all of that by not bidding on those auctions - see my other points.

05-02-2014, 06:43 AM   #20
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Looking for wrong spellings

Sometimes eBay sellers do not spell the name of their product correctly--Pentac, Pintax, Pentak, etc. This means that the item will not usually come up when bidders search for that product, meaning that the item is likely to set there with no bids at all. Of course, the item may still be over priced, poorly described, and so on. However, I occasionally find a nice item, underpriced, which is adequately described, and able to get the item at a low price with no others bidding. So . . . try to think up all the ways the product can be mispelled and search for each such spelling variant and see what you can find.
05-02-2014, 08:49 AM   #21
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Marcus, that strategy only works for a small number of auctions, and if its working for you well that's cool and im happy for you.


I can assure you though that its a bad strategy, it lets people outbid you and take several days over doing it. It also ensures you seldom get a good deal you often pay top price because many bids come in as they try to outbid and they drive the price up constantly. I don't have plenty of money so im gonna keep bidding low right at the end. It works for me. I win around 70% of auctions I go into and for almost nothing. Whats your winning hit ratio. And when I bid 40 I win it for 3 or 9 nowhere near my bid. I recently bid 15.00 on an item and paid 0.99


Sometimes i bid too soon, and I see 8 or 9 bids come in in the last 30 seconds each one driving up the price towards my bid, I still win. and this happens in the last 30 seconds, and you want me to bid 7 days earlier, that's a guaranteed fail. Unless im bidding on something that nobody wants.


I don't know how familiar you are with auctions, but ebay is not an ordinary auction, its a dutch auction. Theres a difference, a dutch auction has a declared end time, an ordinary auction only ends when nobody wants to keep on bidding.


Ok a classic dutch auction has a random end time so you never know the instant when the gavel will come down and bidding stops, the bidding always becomes frenetic right at the end just like it does in ebay, but with ebay you know the exact time of end, which is great but the same principles of a dutch auction still apply.


In a dutch auction nobody is daft enough to bid anything at all right up to the end, that simply invites early higher bids, as you do. The only strategy sensible in a dutch auction is like on ebay, and that is to wait and wait and wait and then fight it out right at the end for the lowest money.


In a dutch auction a pin is used in a candle and as the candle burns down no bids happen until the pin is nearly falling, then the bids come in thick and fast the pin falls out and the instant the pin hits the desk the gavel comes down and whatever was bid last wins. This is exactly the ebay principle. Nobody can guess when the pin begins to fall in a true dutch auction, so they bid a little too early and the price is driven up. How great would it be to know in a dutch auction when that pin begins to fall.


With ebay I know exactly to the second when the pin will hit the desk, and I bid when the pin is in mid air, and as the gavel comes down, my bid for next to nothing is the only bid in town.
05-02-2014, 10:08 AM - 1 Like   #22
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I just remembered I have eBay stock, so I want everyone to pay too much, buy often, and use PayPal a lot.
05-02-2014, 10:39 AM   #23
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I don't think you read what I said Imageman.

I'm not against last second bidding, I do some myself. In a nutshell, last second bidding is speculative bargain hunting. If you are serious about an item, make the snipers and last-seconders out bid you.

05-02-2014, 12:44 PM   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nass Quote
hmmmm, you're confusing me, what's wrong with it?
It was sarcasm - a thinly veiled reference to the fairly ill-conceived approach mentioned in another's earlier post.


Sorry about the confusion - I put the 'sarcastic' emoticon in, but I'm sure I've taken if for a smile in the past because I've only recently started to pay close attention to them myself.

---------- Post added 05-02-14 at 01:05 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Imageman Quote
I win around 70% of auctions I go into and for almost nothing. Whats your winning hit ratio. And when I bid 40 I win it for 3 or 9 nowhere near my bid. I recently bid 15.00 on an item and paid 0.99
That's funny, that's the same winning percentage I get using similar methods (well, actually more like Nass does it). Although in my case the auctions are usually $50+ on items that are fairly well identified and usually have some interest (and it's seldom SLRs or lenses any more). I'm willing to pay what it's worth (based on previous selling prices), and usually I need the item in 2 weeks or less, so I may enter 2 or 3 different auctions. But I often get surprised by a pretty good deal.

Either way I get what I need at a fair price that's much more economical than new - with minimal investment in time.

---------- Post added 05-02-14 at 01:15 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by marcusBMG Quote
I stand by my earlier point. If I decide that lens X is a desireable one and I am prepared to bid 36.66 for it, then the good strategy is usually to put the bid in. At that point, all your sniping and last second strategies aren't worth a d***. You have to beat the first bid. If you don't bid 37.66 or more - END OF.
Actually, a bid of $36.67 will win if put in at the last minute. That may require that both bids are last minute - I'm not sure. But I recently won an auction by 3 cents where the bid increment was $2.50 or something. It would be unfair to the seller if they didn't allow this, since neither of us had time to adjust our bids in the final seconds, and the seller deserves to get the true maximum bid. So even though I may have been a few seconds later in my bid, I won without meeting the minimum bid increment that's normally enforced when there's more time remaining.

Last edited by DSims; 05-02-2014 at 01:25 PM.
05-02-2014, 04:34 PM - 2 Likes   #25
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I find this one of the most confusing threads here on PF I have ever read. Considering that, please forgive me for throwing in my 2-cents:

1. Cheapest is not always best - far from it. You may be FAR better off paying a few $$ more for a lens from KEH, or another high-track-record 100% seller offering a 14-day return.

2. Yes - you can sometimes find a great lens sold with an old worthless body. But bid 1/3 of its worth. They are far more likely to have fungus, haze, scratches etc. Caution - for sure - when you see: 'I know nothing about....' in the description.

3. 'Estate Sales' - offering where the deceased's camera bag is being sold by the wife or kids, are the ones I look for. Bid the value of the one lens you want - nothing more. Assume its all junk - even the lens you want.. (Watch out for 'faux estate sales' - there are sellers who put together a bunch of junk lenses with a junk body - and attempt to sell as an estate package.)

Last edited by cahudson42; 05-02-2014 at 05:08 PM.
05-02-2014, 05:22 PM   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by cahudson42 Quote
I find this one of the most confusing threads here on PF I have ever read. Considering that, please forgive me for throwing in my 2-cents:

1. Cheapest is not always best - far from it. You may be FAR better off paying a few $$ more for a lens from KEH, or another high-track-record 100% seller offering a 14-day return.

2. Yes - you can sometimes find a great lens sold with an old worthless body. But bid 1/3 of its worth. They are far more likely to have fungus, haze, scratches etc. Caution - for sure - when you see: 'I know nothing about....' in the description.

3. 'Estate Sales' - offering where the deceased's camera bag is being sold by the wife or kids, are the ones I look for. Bid the value of the one lens you want - nothing more. Assume its all junk - even the lens you want..
I agree - unless you enjoy the bargain hunting process more than the actual camera kit you're putting together, this makes more sense.

You can still get good stuff and good bargains in the end, but it will take more time and more "wasted" transactions along the way. I've had good luck with CL (the little I've used it), but camera equipment on eBay is trickier than most other products on that auction site. I take what some consider significant risks, and find good bargains in the process. But my tolerance for purchase dissatisfaction on used items is probably only a 10-15% "failure" rate, while eBay camera equipment gives me a constant 30-50% dissatisfaction. It becomes unproductive for me.
05-02-2014, 05:50 PM   #27
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Of course there's always the buyer beware factor. I don't even want to talk about the half dozen junk 28mm's I suffered through before finally landing my Auto Sears.

"Its a Pentax" "No, this is a Canon, Only paid $10, not worth sending back..." "Like New!" "Except for the fact that it's a.... what the hell even IS this mount?! Paid $5, not worth sending back..." etc. That can add up quickly to the point you're better just dropping $50 and getting something you know will work and is worth the cost of returning if it IS junk.
05-03-2014, 06:50 AM   #28
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DSims and cahudson42, I just wanted to respond to why look for cheaper lenses. As someone new to using an interchangeable lens camera, I wanted to experience a bunch of different lenses. For example, would I prefer a prime or a zoom? Does a 50mm or a 35mm better suit my needs? What about a super-wide angle or a telephoto? How big of a difference do different quality lenses really make? Do I enjoy macro lenses? And so on. I've been able to get an answer to these questions rather cheaply. Along the way, I've picked up some other interesting accessories as well. If I do make the jump to buying a limited lens or some other higher-quality new lens, I have a much better sense of what would work for me.

Also, in response to looking for lenses on craigslist--this would be ideal, as you could see the lens and examine its condition. I spent a good deal of time on my local craigslist and saw next to nothing. There was one person selling a 1990s camera and lens for an outrageously inflated price. The one listing just keeps popping up and next to nothing else has really appeared. So in some places craigslist can be great, but it is not super active in every locale.
05-08-2014, 09:23 PM   #29
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QuoteOriginally posted by newton's lenses Quote
DSims and cahudson42, I just wanted to respond to why look for cheaper lenses. As someone new to using an interchangeable lens camera, I wanted to experience a bunch of different lenses. For example, would I prefer a prime or a zoom? Does a 50mm or a 35mm better suit my needs? What about a super-wide angle or a telephoto? How big of a difference do different quality lenses really make? Do I enjoy macro lenses? And so on. I've been able to get an answer to these questions rather cheaply. Along the way, I've picked up some other interesting accessories as well. If I do make the jump to buying a limited lens or some other higher-quality new lens, I have a much better sense of what would work for me.

Also, in response to looking for lenses on craigslist--this would be ideal, as you could see the lens and examine its condition. I spent a good deal of time on my local craigslist and saw next to nothing. There was one person selling a 1990s camera and lens for an outrageously inflated price. The one listing just keeps popping up and next to nothing else has really appeared. So in some places craigslist can be great, but it is not super active in every locale.
IMHO, cheap lenses work in that they give you good practice with a focal length that you enjoy shooting at without finding out 'the hard way'.

Buying a $20 135mm and finding out you hate the thing is better than buying a $200 135mm and finding out you hate the thing.

Also, don't mistake 'cheap' with 'bad quality'. While plenty of dogs exist, a lot (if not most) of those $20 lenses can have some surprising qualities to them if you take the time to figure them out. Most were never built with a digital camera in mind, so will naturally have traits about them that will set them apart (which can be a good thing).

Plus, using a cheap auto focus zoom lens (ie, one that can 'talk' to your DSLR) is about *the* best way economically to figure out what focal lengths you tend to gravitate towards. Shoot them zooms for a while, then go back in and sort the photo by what focal lengths you enjoy using the most, then set your sights on that expensive prime (or zoom) accordingly.

Here are some rough semi-randoms of what I've done with some of my cheap lenses over the years...

Cheap $25 Sears 75-260 zoom




Cheap $16 Sears 50mm f/1.7 (Ricoh-built)


Cheap $15 Sears 135mm f/2.8 Macro


Cheap $5 Sears 70-210mm Zoom


Cheap $39 Sigma 70-300 Zoom

05-09-2014, 01:22 AM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by Sagitta Quote
IMHO, cheap lenses work in that they give you good practice with a focal length that you enjoy shooting at without finding out 'the hard way'.

Buying a $20 135mm and finding out you hate the thing is better than buying a $200 135mm and finding out you hate the thing.

Also, don't mistake 'cheap' with 'bad quality'. While plenty of dogs exist, a lot (if not most) of those $20 lenses can have some surprising qualities to them if you take the time to figure them out. Most were never built with a digital camera in mind, so will naturally have traits about them that will set them apart (which can be a good thing).

Plus, using a cheap auto focus zoom lens (ie, one that can 'talk' to your DSLR) is about *the* best way economically to figure out what focal lengths you tend to gravitate towards. Shoot them zooms for a while, then go back in and sort the photo by what focal lengths you enjoy using the most, then set your sights on that expensive prime (or zoom) accordingly.

Here are some rough semi-randoms of what I've done with some of my cheap lenses over the years...

Cheap $25 Sears 75-260 zoom




Cheap $16 Sears 50mm f/1.7 (Ricoh-built)


Cheap $15 Sears 135mm f/2.8 Macro


Cheap $5 Sears 70-210mm Zoom


Cheap $39 Sigma 70-300 Zoom

Well stated . . . my sentiments exactly. Once you become accustomed to manual focus, auto focus becomes much less important, especially with modern focussing aids such as catch in focus and the famous green viewfinder dot and a nice little beep! I would not be afraid to stack my nice little manual focus Chinon 50 mm f 1.4 up against just about anything on the market (except my Pentax D FA 50 mm f 2.8 macro).
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