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Wanting to get into thrift shop searching for legacy camera stuff. anyone have some tips?

Discussion in 'Adapted Lenses' started by colbycheese, Jul 24, 2015.

  1. colbycheese

    colbycheese Mu-43 Veteran

    May 1, 2012
    Way up there.
    After reading the thrift shop finds thread, I feel like trying my luck at thrift store hunting for legacy camera stuff (mostly lenses and stuff) and i am wondering if anyone can give me some tips to help me with finding things? Is this just pure luck or what?
  2. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    I've noticed with the Goodwill stores near me, some of them have dedicated electronics and computer sections, and that many items get routed there instead of random stores.
    I've also heard the more valuable stuff goes on their website.

    I've also seen lots of film cameras at antique stores in my area. Most of them are priced comparable to ebay, but the condition varies.

    I'm not really looking for much, but if I come across a OM or Pen with some lenses I might buy it.

    I've found from experience that certain Pentax 35mm film lenses have very good resale value, but have not seen any of them in local shops.

    Be sure to watch out for lens mold on anything you might buy.

    • Like Like x 1
  3. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    I've also seen lots of cameras at swap meets, but most of them have been plastic models from the late 80s or newer, with cheap zoom lenses.

    I did see a desirable Pentax at a swap meet, but the rewinder knob was missing parts and the lens was uninteresting and the price was high.

    Garage/estate sales occasionally have interesting things too, but you have to be very early.

    • Like Like x 1
  4. 少林chris

    少林chris Mu-43 Regular

    Jun 28, 2013
    Los Angeles / Copenhagen
    This might be stating the obvious, but I think the key is not to loose hope. The majority of the time you will walk away empty handed which can be demotivating, but keep trying and eventually you'll come up with a jackpot. Happy hunting!
    • Like Like x 2
    • Agree Agree x 2
  5. MarkRyan

    MarkRyan Instagram: @MRSallee Subscribing Member

    May 3, 2013
    To Chris's point above, visit the same store multiple times. Just because they've got nothing one day doesn't mean they won't later.

    (Also, if you put value on the time it takes to find good deals at a thrift shop, you'll find you're spending more time than the money you're saving. But it's still fun.)
    • Agree Agree x 2
  6. KVG

    KVG Banned User

    May 10, 2011
    yyc(Calgary, AB)
    Kelly Gibbons
    JUST BUY EVERYTHING!!!! except zooms ;) 
  7. Klorenzo

    Klorenzo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 10, 2014
    Study! I did this once and I discovered that is easy to be unprepared: there were a lot of never heard brands and I had no idea if were good or not.

    On a completely different level: if the price is negotiable do not show too interested and too informed about the item. Look at a few items, ask a few prices, even if you are interested in only one lens, etc.
    I know, this is an old trick, but it is old for a reason. Often the seller does not know much about what they are selling and there is no reason to help them: it's part of the thrift shop game.

    Check the item conditions: aperture, fungus, etc.
  8. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    Most, if not all, Goodwill stores have a central location where they receive items from other stores for auction. I suspect that items not bid for are returned to stores -- I've picked up couple lenses locally but have better luck with non-afiliated thrift stores and flea markets. I have had MUCH better luck out of my metropolitan area, and so am always on the lookout when traveling. Good luck, and have fun!
  9. barry13

    barry13 Mu-43.com Editor Subscribing Member

    Mar 7, 2014
    Southern California
    Update: the Goodwill stores in my area no longer have computer sections in selected stores; almost all of the computers go to a dedicated Goodwill computer shop for the county (or online presumably)...

    However, I'm told that cameras are staying in the local stores, if they aren't selected to go online, i.e. cameras do not go to the computer stores.

    The 2 stores I've checked this weekend only had a couple very plasticky old p&s cameras, and one old flash. Nothing metal and nothing with detachable lenses, so far.

    Antique stores seem to have a better selection around here.

    Last edited: Aug 1, 2015
  10. ex machina

    ex machina Mu-43 All-Pro Subscribing Member

    Jan 3, 2014
    Baltimore, MD
    Oops, should have stated that each participating region has a central location for auctioning more valuable items like cameras, musical equipment, etc.
  11. Gillymaru

    Gillymaru Mu-43 Top Veteran

    I have this dream where one day I will walk into a thrift store and there will be a Leica M and a couple of lenses.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Funny Funny x 1
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