eBay Auction Sniping and Film Cameras

Am I a bad person because I am an auction sniper on eBay and other places for film cameras?

Do you get Better Deals with Auction Sniping?

For me, it’s worked out.

I remember purchasing a Zeis Ikon Contaflex IV for maybe $12 dollars.  That was fun.  Purchased in the last 5 seconds.  I’ve had fun taking photos with that camera.

Zeiss Ikon Contaflex, Gloria on my Dashboard

Another time I sniped 4 used film cameras for $12 plus shipping.  One of them was a Kodak Motormatic which worked wonderfully well.

Then there’s my Nikon N6006 camera body that worked great.  Purchased in the last seconds of an eBay auction for $10.  I already had a lens that would work.  That was another great buy.

Simple eBay Auction Sniping Tactics

Login, search for “35mm”, use drop down for time ending soonest, click the Place Bid blue button to see if your connection is working properly.

  1. Login.  That’s pretty simple.  Obviously, you can’t bid on eBay if you haven’t logged in.  But honestly, people get excited and forget to login.  Then when you try to place a bid you learn you haven’t logged into eBay.  Precious seconds are lost, and so is the auction.
  2. Search for 35mm in the search box.  You might be searching for a Sears TLS or a Yashica GSN.  As for me, I just browse eBay looking for 35mm gear that’s ending in minutes.  For me, it’s fun.  I’m looking for bargain in general, not a certain camera.
  3. Refine your search in Categories.  Click on Film Cameras.  This helps to filter out some junk.  I’m not looking for car parts or jewelry items that are 35mm.  I’m looking for film cameras.
  4. Sort.  Sort by Time Ending Soonest.  You want to see auctions ending in a few minutes.
  5. Click on an auction item.  Choose an item you are not sniping.  Why?  See the next step.
  6. Test your Place Bid update time.  If you’re serious about sniping, you hope that your Internet is working fine that day.  Sometimes your Internet connection may be slow.  I never do eBay auction wireless, always wired.  More dependable, faster.  Test the blue Place Bid button and make a bid on something.  You’d like the item but you’re really testing your Place Bid update speed on eBay for that day.
  7. Find a camera you want to snipe.  For me, this happens when I find a camera that has 3 minutes or less of time until the end of the auction.  If there are 2 or 3 bidders, you have a chance.  There’s always another sniper out there, just like you.
  8. Decide on your highest bid.  You only get one chance.  This takes all the panic and emotion out of your camera purchase.  You want the camera, but you have your own price limit.
  9. Click Place Bid button at 7 seconds or less.  Enter your bid number.  Since you have already pre-tested your Place Bid button (# 6) you know it’s working.
  10. Click the Confirm Bid button.  Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose.

    Yashica 5000 Bid on eBay

    Yashica 5000 Bid on eBay

Now you’re ready to get serious about camera sniping or as I call it, the 35MM Time Ending Soonest game.

The 35mm “Time Ending Soonest” Game on eBay

For me, it’s fun, educational, and I sometimes win something at auction.

It’s fun because I learn a lot about cameras when I play this game.  When I see that a camera is getting some heavy bidding action I research it for a while so I understand what kind of camera is valued at auction.  I may not buy the camera, but I’ve learned something.

It does teach you some basic film camera values.  When you’re new to film cameras you have the usual preoccupation with Canon AE-1’s, Yashica GSNs, and Olympus OM cameras.  Then you learn more and become a more knowledgeable camera collector.

Auction Sniping Teaches you Auction Behaviors

Here’s a camera I found in the closing minutes that was expensive and getting some bidding action.

A Rollei Rolleiflex SL 2000 just 3 minutes from auction close.

Three minutes from the end of the auction, the Rollei Rolleiflex SL 2000 was at $600.

A Rollei Rolleiflex SL 2000 at the end of an eBay auction.

Three minutes later, the Rollei’s price had increased $249.  I knew I wouldn’t buy this camera but it was fun watching it.

Rollei Rolleiflex SL 2000

Rollei Rolleiflex SL 2000

The Rollei at the end of auction.


Auction Sniping Software

Yes, there’s sniping software.  I do it manually, set my own limits, and hope for the best.  When you own over 70 cameras you don’t worry much about winning a camera.  If you make your living buy low and selling high, then you take auction sniping and re-selling more seriously.  Very seriously.


Thanks for reading about eBay Auction Sniping and film cameras today.  I hope you learned some new techniques.  I hope you’ll return to visit What is a Film Camera.

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