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06-16-2012, 05:48 PM   #1
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Are film bodies getting more expensive?

This is what I'm wondering. Last summer, I was able to pick up two Spotmatic bodies, one black and one chrome, for next to nothing. Now I'm looking for a particular model (Honeywell, chrome SP with early type font), but I can't seem to find any sub-$10 Spottie at all on ebay - the only ones around $10 are broken. Most of the listings on ebay now are BIN too, almost no auctions. Of course, I don't really need a new Spotmatic, but I like the idea of finding one very cheap and in good condition. Am I missing something?

06-16-2012, 06:47 PM   #2
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Yes, film cameras are getting more expensive, regardless of condition. I assume part of it is due to decreasing inventory of good cameras along with increased demand. (It seems like everyone I know who is into photography as art is dabbling in film now.) I also think that the BIN trend on eBay is driving the prices as well. Most of the BIN prices are about 2x-3x what the items are worth, but that is influencing pricing in general.

I am not very happy with the trend, but on the other hand, maybe I will be able to retire on the value of my various film cameras?


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06-16-2012, 06:51 PM   #3
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There always are waves in pricing. Also the more particular one is the more the things are likely to cost. However patience brings the deal to the bay

It is also good to check vs. KEH for sanity.
06-16-2012, 06:55 PM   #4
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No, you're not. I've seen it too. Cameras that were going for sub $20 last year are frequently pulling $50 now. People are asking $200 for a Spottie and a couple of lenses. I'm frequently glad I got mine when I did. Mostly, I think it's the micro camera thing. I think people are just picking most of them up for the lenses on them but I also think there's been a bit a film renaissance and that some people are deliberately using film as a retro artistic thing. There are apparently a lot of kids who now think using film too is "cool" and there are new groups popping up all over for showing off their film related endeavors. It depends upon the brand too. Not all brands are as popular. You can still pick up some Minolta gear pretty cheap, for instance. But old Pentax gear is definitely trending upwards price-wise of late.

06-16-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
I also think there's been a bit a film renaissance and that some people are deliberately using film as a retro artistic thing. There are apparently a lot of kids who now think using film too is "cool" and there are new groups popping up all over for showing off their film related endeavors.
So true in my part of the world. A vintage film camera = instant street cred. And many of the artistic folk are coming to value the relative simplicity of working with film gear in the field. The cameras are relatively light and compact and robust and without a lot of beeping and worry about dying batteries and such. There is also a lot of tactile satisfaction that is lacking with a modern dSLR.


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06-17-2012, 01:18 AM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by magkelly Quote
No, you're not. I've seen it too. Cameras that were going for sub $20 last year are frequently pulling $50 now. People are asking $200 for a Spottie and a couple of lenses. I'm frequently glad I got mine when I did. Mostly, I think it's the micro camera thing. I think people are just picking most of them up for the lenses on them but I also think there's been a bit a film renaissance and that some people are deliberately using film as a retro artistic thing. There are apparently a lot of kids who now think using film too is "cool" and there are new groups popping up all over for showing off their film related endeavors. It depends upon the brand too. Not all brands are as popular. You can still pick up some Minolta gear pretty cheap, for instance. But old Pentax gear is definitely trending upwards price-wise of late.
I reckon you're right...well, I hope you are.
I have an immaculate SP11 & ES 11 (both black) in MINT condition (no brassing!), ES11 just cla'd by Eric....I also have a range of SMC Tacs that are also in mint condition...some boxed.
I paid good money for them, I'm not looking to make any profit whatsoever, but in terms of the OP's comment, I'll be happy if, when I sell, I get my money back.
Cheers, Pickles.
06-17-2012, 01:29 AM   #7
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Look on the bright side - a resurgence in film ensures it's continued availability.

I've picked up all of my film bodies within the last six months so I'm not sure what prices were like before.
06-17-2012, 05:47 AM   #8
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I'll second what Jonathan says, I'm not bothered why people are using film (Lomo, retro, trendy, whatever) I'm just happy they are. I'd hate my cameras to become nothing more than quaint curios. I've just got back from Romania and shot five rolls of film (2x 135, 3x 120). I don't think I took more than a couple of dozen non-work digital images, and most of those were dire. I had to smile when the security guard at Otopeni took my Lubitel 2 out of my hand luggage and stared at it in bemusement, finally asking "is it very old?"

K.

06-17-2012, 07:03 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by womble Quote
I had to smile when the security guard at Otopeni took my Lubitel 2 out of my hand luggage and stared at it in bemusement, finally asking "is it very old?"

K.
How cool
I won't be however talking about ignorance, because it's something we all have to an extent, and isn't more specific to a nation than another. Instead, in my part of the world, and maybe not only here, there's this strange phenomenon where some people [the sellers] try to take advantage of this situation and sell rusty, smelly old Zenits as professional cameras (always adding the phrase "connoisseurs know what I'm talking about") at huge prices for what they are worth. Among "regular" people (non-photographers), no one really knows what these old cameras are really worth, because "all the pros shoot film", then come the others that categorically state "film was long discontinued" and "all of these are just paperweights, you're losing your time and money". In the end they just have to go with what the sellers say, basically trusting them. Of course their prices are so high, that they scare away most of the buyers, but to them it's not a matter of demand and supply, it's whoever fool "bites first". And there are many "film noobs" that either are too excited by the thought of shooting film, or simply want to make a nice birthday present. It's a dysfunctional market, totally different from what a free market should look like. The sellers would keep those old cameras for years for sale, even if no one shows the slightest interest, just "maybe" some day they'll hit. What's a little different from the rest of the world, is that anything of Japanese origin (think of the most obscure off-brand here) is raised to a cult status, worshipped by the seller, etc. If there happens to be anything Nikon, say, for sale, it would only be behind a glass window.
What scares me the most is that many pros that I've met so far are very arrogant, and unwilling to share their great "knowledge". If you're not born with knowledge, you're damned to be despised. In these conditions, Richard Stallman was right to say that free software is not about price, but freedom.
06-17-2012, 07:46 AM   #10
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SP and K bodies are certainly still at least 50% less costly than they were in 2000 - 2005 by my own experience.
06-17-2012, 08:30 AM   #11
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It depends on where you search for them. And on what you are after. Asahi Pentax is always more expensive. I never look for them, but only very recently stumbled over a `lot` of nice film camera´s in De Kringloop in Deventer. A nice Minolta and two very decent Practica´s and one Spotmatic, which were decent because of the nice lenses they carried. Euro 5 upto euro 7,50 each, all seemingly clean and in decent order. I happily left them where they were. But if you are collecting specific models, well, that might be expensive just because of the specifically collecting that very model.
I still always think that if shooting film, you should print yourself. And not after scanning the rolls, which of course you developed yourself. But you know, in a dark room.Then you have your true magic.
Well, that´s it. Good luck searching.
06-17-2012, 08:35 AM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by kcobain1992 Quote
How cool
I won't be however talking about ignorance, because it's something we all have to an extent, and isn't more specific to a nation than another...
In this case it was simply age rather than anything else. As a twenty-something young man I doubt he'd ever seen a TLR, and on an x-ray machine it certainly looked odd. I have found that amongst people not interested in photography they seem to either assume film cameras are utterly worthless or they must be a priceless antique.

Cheers, Kris.
06-17-2012, 09:08 AM   #13
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I got my Spotmatic F with a SMC Takumar 50/1.4 off flea bay a couple years ago for about $55 IIRC. The camera body's appearance is in very good condition. However, the seals were not in good shape and the meter was not accurate.

I decided to buck up and take it to my local camera shop for a CLA and meter calibration. The camera ended up costing me well over $100 now. Economically irrational, maybe, but it now puts a good camera back in service and it made me feel good. It just seem like such a waste if I didn't. I also figured if I get and restore one older camera instead of collecting several of basically the same type it would all wash out in the end, money-wise.

Last edited by tuco; 06-17-2012 at 12:07 PM.
06-17-2012, 09:10 AM   #14
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Absolutely Yes! Around 15-20 years ago say a Diana or Holga type film camera was considered junk and you could get them next to nothing in a Salvation Army or flea market but nowadays a complete set with a flash can be atleast around $50.00USD and they are highly sought after nowadays by so called Aaaaarteeest
06-17-2012, 10:47 AM   #15
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I think that in the last few years there has been a decrease in people just trying to offload their old film gear and then at the same time there has been an increase in people buying and reselling gear which has driven the overall market upwards.
There are definitely still deals out there though, just last month I bought a near mint chrome MX for $25 on ebay.

Also, I've noticed that when I'm not looking for anything in particular, then I will see lots of deals, but if I'm looking for something in particular then it's much harder to find a good deal.
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