Silly prices for eBay lenses

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by Ricoh, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    I've been looking for an Oly 100mm f2.8, but the price sellers are asking, or the bids people are making, are silly. You guys across the pond seem to have thrift shops, but here in the UK I've not heard of anything like that, other than what we call junk shops, and that's exactly what they sell, 'junk' at a vastly inflated price.

    It seems that the M4/3 has driven-up the price of old lenses, and those who were sitting on 35mm camera kit must be rubbing their hands gleefully!
  2. snkenai

    snkenai Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 5, 2010
    Asking and getting, are two different things. Supply and demand controls prices.
  3. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    What I did (here in the UK) was search Ebay but filter on "completed" listings, so you see what a particular lens has actually been selling for over the last few months. Then I set myself a hard limit near the bottom of the price range, and resolutely bid that. After about a month of failed bids I got lucky at a reasonable price.

    Oh, and you MUST "snipe". The auction I finally won, there were about 6 or 7 bids all in the last 5 seconds. If you bid before then you just drive the price up unnecessarily.

    But I do agree, prices do seem very high. I wanted a fast 85mm as a poor man's O75, so I identified about 4 or 5 possible candidates, and chose the one that was usually the cheapest. Also, I set up saved searches on Ebay, with a daily email to inform me of new auctions. As I said, this got me a new old legacy lens after not much more than a month.


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  4. Ricoh

    Ricoh Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Nov 2, 2013
    I'm a novice with eBay, but have heard about sniping. If I'm right, there are two classes available, the 'free' downloads, and those you pay for, either a monthly fee, or a pay per result (the ones I've seen seem to be in cents). Again if I'm correct, you have to hand over your user account and password to a third party and there's a worry with the freebies whether it's safe to do so or not. Any recommendations for sniping?
    Many thanks,
  5. photo_owl

    photo_owl Mu-43 Regular

    Nov 8, 2013
    I don't think it's just m43......basically good FF glass that can be adapted to an increasing number of bodies has a value - not least because there's not actually a lot out there that can resolve sufficiently well!
  6. carpandean

    carpandean Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Oct 29, 2010
    Western NY
    You don't have to use anyone or anything other than yourself if you will be around for the end of the auction. Have the window open with the countdown, decide the max that you are willing to pay and then place that bid with less than 10 seconds left (less than 5 if possible.) Be sure that you are already logged into your Ebay account or else that extra step may take to long. The idea is that bidders, somewhat irrationally, will decide that they are actually willing to pay more than they were when they see other bids. It's that winning feeling that we actually monetize ... and then regret. If you wait to post your bid until the last second, they don't have a chance to react, so the final price may actually stay at a more rational level (assuming other bidders do the same.) The only time that I bid early is if I can't be there at the end, if I'm using Buy It Now or if there are 0 bidders and I want to own that lowest price in case nobody else bids (I don't bid much above the lowest price, though, at that point.)
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  7. RnR

    RnR Mu-43 All-Pro

    Sep 25, 2011
    Brisbane, Australia
    I do the same as capandean. Been mostly successful here in Australia and sometimes overseas.
  8. I generally just put a bid in for whatever is the max I'm willing to pay and ignore the auction. Never paid more than I was willing... no regrets.
  9. MAubrey

    MAubrey Photographer

    Jul 9, 2012
    Bellingham, WA
    Mike Aubrey
    I don't know if they ship to the UK, but has a copy of the 100mm f/2.8 listed for $89 right now. Might be worth looking into.
  10. coffeecat

    coffeecat Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Aug 4, 2012
    SW England
    I mostly do the "manual" sniping thing if I can be available at the end of an auction. I have also used esnipe, who charge a small fee for successful wins. I was a bit iffy about giving them my uid & pwd, but no probs so far and they've been around a long time now.

    The psychology and economics of early vs late bidding is quite fascinating. I've read a bit about it and concluded late was best, but ymmv as they say on the other side of the pond!

    Oh, and I agree it's not just M4/3 that has driven up the prices of legacy lenses. There certainly seems to be a lot of legacy use on Sony Nex as well (and probably others I don't know about). Sadly, most of the lenses I have from my film days are next to worthless :-(

    Eg. 1990s Canon 28-105 kit zoom, not even any point buying an m43 adapter for it, really...


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  11. sdsyver

    sdsyver Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 14, 2012
    Northern Alberta
    I just won an auction for a refurbished Panasonic 35-100mm. Got it for $670. You would swear it was new. Missed out on another lens by $7 because I was not able to be there at the end. That is the key.
  12. dadadude

    dadadude Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 12, 2013
    San Carlos, CA
    I agree that some of the prices are out of whack. I have got some good buys here and there on ebay, but I always get much better deals on Craigslist. My best place to buy is my secret camera store locally where the owner just asks me to pay whatever I think it is worth. That forces me to really evaluate the lens as to what it is worth to me as I don't want to cheat the guy.
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  13. mr_botak

    mr_botak Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 4, 2011
    Reading, UK
    The going rate for the 100mm seems to have been in the £100-125 range for a couple of years. You might get one in an auction for a bit less. It's a pretty decent lens, so I don't really consider that silly money. They are not, as they say, making anymore, so it is demand and supply. I think a lot of the demand is probably from the video shooters on full frame, I certainly have seen some of ultra-wides being used to great effect for video work.

    Sometimes there are bargains to be found on here...
  14. jarl

    jarl Mu-43 Regular

    Oct 30, 2012
    Thd problem with this approach is that someone else will bid one cent more than you and win the auction. When I used to participate in bidding I would open two windows with the same auction and keep refreshing ond of them, while having my maximum bid ready on the 2nd one. I won some auctions at the last second, but eventually got tired of the whole thing (and I trully HATE ebay's business model, and the way they extort money from sellers).

    What I do these days is just to keep an eye on newly listed "buy it now" items, and if it's within a price range I'm willing to pay I just buy it. Most times you end up paying less that way than bidding.

    For lenses, though, nothing beats good well established companies selling used stuff.

    Sent from my GT-P3113 using Mu-43 mobile app
  15. Shutterdad

    Shutterdad Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2012
    Big D
    I've noticed this price increase and it's not just on EBay. It's been years since I've purchased and sold from EBay just because I don't like Paypal. I purchase most if my used equipment from KEH and a few others but their prices are going up also.
  16. Yup... that is for sure

    But there has never been anything on ebay that I "had" to have at that time that outweighed the effort or time to do such things as "snipe". My time is worth more than that.


    There has never been anything that I "wanted" that I didn't eventually get. It just takes patience.


    I've never paid a cent more for an item than I am willing.


    I avoid the temptation of getting into a bidding war.


    I've noticed that there's not a whole lot of difference (for most of the items I have purchased) between the typical auction and lowest buy it now I find.

    Sometimes, I will notice an out bid while I just happen to check and bid again. I used to sell a lot on ebay... some of the bidders' behavior defies logic. Many times it continues beyond the sale. I generally don't like Ebay's format on either bidder or seller side. As in the most common type of auction, English Auction type, which most are most familiar with, the bidding continues as long as bids continue (ie going once... going twice.. sold! type behavior). The highest bid that is not contested wins. If Ebay would implement such a type of auction, more bids continue (good for the seller), more bidders would be engaged (not just those willing to snipe), and the higher prices would also benefit the marketplace (Ebay). This plus the rising fees is why I eventually stopped selling and bidding has tapered off.
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  17. nstelemark

    nstelemark Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    May 28, 2013
    Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada
    I've never tried manual sniping. Never even thought about it. The problem with the manual approach is the round trip to update the auction is outside the time required for an auto snipe to register.

    It is somewhat sad that sniping is the only real way to use ebay now, IMO. I've been sniping on eBay for years it effectively works the same way the eBay process is supposed to work. I never bid on auctions at all. I set a set a snipe for what I am willing to pay and have it auto fire in the last few seconds. The entire auction process now depends on the last few seconds. Unless people are overpaying they don't stand a chance against the software approach. Which is why I gave up on manual bids years ago. I was tired of losing by a dollar or three.

    eBay could fix this easily. There are a number of ways they could prevent robots from actioning auctions, without breaking the API entirely. They choose not to. So sniping rules at the moment.
  18. RevBob

    RevBob Super Moderator Subscribing Member

    Jun 4, 2011
    NorthWestern PA
    I have noticed that lens prices have increased on EBay since I bought my first :43: camera. I bought a number of old OM lenses at great prices because they were cheaper than native lenses. Now they mostly gather dust.
  19. tjdean01

    tjdean01 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Feb 20, 2013
    Read this!!

    I've bought 25-30 used lenses within the past 6 months. I usually find what I want, bid, and hope to get lucky. I bid low because I can't see paying 80% of value for something used. Therefore, I'm usually quickly outbid. No problems there. I do not use robots but I can see how they are beneficial. Here's one thing I've found:


    So, I was bidding on a Panasonic 14-45mm. I am willing to pay around $150 used (IMO if I can't get it for that I'll just buy new 12-35). So, I bid on several of. Some sold for $116. If I was an amateur I'd be totally stressed because I'd bid $115. One I bid $130 and it sold for $131. You can see the pattern. This example happened with many lenses and other used items on which my lowball bid was outbid by a couple dollars. Then I realized something else:


    This got me thinking. How come? Since I'm not the type to pay 80% value for something used, my bids are generally low. So pretty much everything I've bought has been a deal. And the only reason it's a deal is because I just happen to be the only one wanting a certain item at that certain time. Luck. But since I so often lose by a dollar or two, EVEN WHEN I'm sitting there at the end manually upping my bid--against ONE other guy--I've theorized this conclusion:


    And I'm assuming the "bots" are new accounts that never end up paying and the seller ends up relisting the item. I've never investigated because even if I'm right I can't do anything about it because surely there's someone with more intelligence and eBay clout than me who has already alerted eBay about this.

    Final Advice

    Plentiful products - there are dozens of 14-45mm lenses online. I'll get one for $130 some day. There's no rush.
    Products you want soon - I could win a 14-45 tomorrow if I bid $220. I could probably bUy one new for $250, however.
    Rare products - search "Completed Listings" to see how frequently they come up. The Vivitar 28/2 Close Focus Pentax mount only shows up once every few months. Yes, you can just buy the FD mount one for $200, but what if you have a Pentax SLR? In that situation, if you really want the Pentax version that badly, suck up the $300 and pay it. You only live once.

    Good luck!
  20. RichardB

    RichardB Snapshooter Subscribing Member

    Nov 19, 2012
    Maryland, US
    Ebay's completed items give a sense of the market price. I use that to bid on auctions through esnipe. My ebay password used to be similar to others, so I changed it before sharing it with esnipe.

    I have found some amazing deals on craigslist. People cleaning out their closets are happy to take $50 or $20 for a thing they were prepared to throw in the trash.

    Thrift stores and pawn shops around me have not been good sources. Mostly cheap digital junk, or broken vintage goods.

    I'd say, if you want a 100mm lens, don't be too picky about make because there is a lot of sample variation after 40 years. If you find a great deal on a Takumar or Sekor, use the savings to invest in an adapter for that mount. If a good Zuiko comes your way later, you can sell whichever lens is inferior. If you don't make a profit, you've paid just a small rent for its use.

    Yes, this lens collecting can get to be a hobby in itself. I still say that I like taking photos and I'm not a gear collector, but about 20 legacy lenses are evidence to the contrary. Whatever, it's fun to get a bargain, and I'm happy that I have a camera that can use this great old glass to take nice photos.
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