Honestly, I believe you can find camera bargains on Craigslist every day. Having said that, it doesn’t mean you’ll make a living doing it. But it does mean you can expand your camera collection and collect nice stories in the process.
A few days ago I found Ric on Craigslist and today (July 22, 2012) I visited him near Ashland and Wilson in Chicago. I prefer Craigslist to eBay because I can meet people, test cameras, and sometimes make a purchase at a good price.
For $35 I purchased four cameras, a light meter, a tripod, and a Jon Goodman light seal kit. After negotiating hard I gave Ric an extra $5 for an even $40.
Canon QL17 – Shutter Has Oil
Honestly, I now have four of these cameras. Two in excellent condition and two that need repairs.
Ric asked me how much I thought the Canon QL17 was worth and I told him. A Canon QL17 with crumbling light seals and a shutter that won’t open (probably too oily) but with a good meter might bring $20 on eBay. I told Ric I had purchased a similar camera for $10 (bad light seals) and that it would cost $60 to repair his camera before selling for full price. I also told Ric his camera might go for $100 when repaired.
But buying a Canon QL17 with a defective shutter is a risk. I don’t know if it will work even with a repair. But Ric tossed in the flash for the camera so I eventually bought it.
Canon AE-1 – Beware of Defective Battery Covers
It’s always a risk purchasing these cameras that only work with a battery. The camera may not work at all. Although the battery cover on this camera is a little chipped (Canon made them poorly) I popped in a battery at home and the light meter began working right away. There are two vertical lines in the viewfinder so its not perfect.
I’ll sell it on eBay, hopefully for more than $10. We’ll see.
Chinon 35 EE
This is a quirky little rangefinder that reminded me of my Mamiya 135 EE. If it works as well as my Mamiya 135 EE it’ll be fun to shoot a roll of film with it.
It’s light meter “woke up” just fine with an LR44 battery when I arrived at home.
Ricoh KR-5 – Reminds me of a Sears TLS
At Ric my eyes kept looking at his Ricoh KR-5. I thought it was related to my old Rich XR-10 that needs a battery to work. At Ric’s I tested the camera but the shutter didn’t work.
Upon getting it home I learned that the camera can be used with or without a battery (two LR44 batteries). So it’s a manual camera. When I inserted the batteries its match needle metering worked just fine. Hurray.
I like Ricoh cameras. They just feel solid and dependable without being bulky. I don’t plan on selling this Ricoh KR-5 with its Vivitar 55mm auto macro lens. In build and quality it reminds me of the Sears TLS SLR camera I’ve never been able to find.
I also acquired a Sunpak Tripod from Ric. It’s a short but very sturdy tripod ready for use. You can never have too many tripods.
Honeywell Pentax Light Meter
It’s real name is Honeywell Pentax 1/21 Spot Meter. It seems very clean and responds to light well.
I was already to make an offer on Ric’s stuff (4 items for $20) when I saw the spot meter sitting on the shelf. I remembered it from my Internet readings as something valuable, I saw that it responded to light, and decided to purchase it.
Always Ask – Do you have More Cameras
That’s what I have learned and that what I ask people.
Do you have any other cameras you might sell?
Wow, talk about getting results.
Ric brought out a Pentax 645 medium format camera with three lenses in its own camera bag.
Ric, if you’re reading this blog post I’d like to buy it. It’ll just take a while. Let’s stay in touch.
As I said, always ask people what cameras they have to sell.
Ric, thanks again for selling me your cameras and showing me your Pentax 645.
Maybe I’m a Camera Archivist?
My final visit this Saturday was to the Independence Park neighborhood where I met Tony.
Tony planted the idea that perhaps I’m a camera archivist. I need to think that one over. I like camera collecting, shooting photographs, and telling camera stories. Is that a camera archivist?