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Jake Smith

Were to buy a camera

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I've found many cameras listed on ebay, and they all have varying degrees of information about them. Is it better to take a chance on a cheap ebay camera or to pay more for one that has been tested and I know works?

 

I assume the camera isn't that complicated, so there isn't THAT MUCH that can be wrong, but obviously it only takes one thing being broken to mess it all up.

 

What do you all do?

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Fortunately, all of the cameras I have bought off of eBay have worked to some degree. I would check with the seller to see if they have put batteries in and run the motor. A lot of these cameras have had the battery contacts eaten/corroded from leaking batteries. Ask about that. The best cameras are Nikon R8/10, Beaulieus, Canons, Nizos. Other good cameras are Chinon, Bolex, Elmo, Sankyo, Yashica. Dont buy expensive cameras without assurance from the seller that all of the functions work(not necessarily proving it by shooting film). At the very least make sure the motor runs. You can get by with an external light meter; if the internal meter doesnt work. If the lens doesnt have an aperture ring; you need to make sure the auto-iris works.

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Ebay is somewhat a gamble I think for S.8 cameras. There are plenty of things that can be imperfect with the actual film result, that are not apparent when you first try out the camera. I would always buy from a reputable dealer or private person who has recently used the camera. Five or ten years ago isn't good enough as things can go wrong with what are in effect antiques now, left in an attic.

Edited by Doug Palmer

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I recently acquired a very solid Canon 814 Auto-Zoom. I have almost finished running a cartridge of Tri-X though it and all the functions appear to be in order.

 

I will send out and should get the film back from Spectra in two-three weeks and will post here when it goes for sale (and try very hard not to keep it).

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Jake, you can buy cameras from camera technicians. All of them have a number of models wrapped up against dust. We techs know what we do and what you can do with a given model. To be quite frank, I sometimes purchase via ebay but I almost always make contact with the seller, ask questions, deliberate about a deal. The cameras I sell come with a three years warranty, effective since August 1st, 2018. Guess that’s worth something.

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I've had very good results with eBay but also I make sure they look halfway decent and hopefully have at least had battery tested. I even snagged a 814XL-S (worth like ~$500) for $50 with a corroded battery pack. Vinegar and Q-tips cleaned it right up and now I have a solid beast for cheap! I've bought probably 10 cameras off eBay and all have worked (except for the one I intentionally bought broken as a parts camera). I did have to fix one that got the mirror dislodged in shipping but it was an easy fix. I'd say if it's under $50 and a decent camera like mentioned above, definitely buy it, if it's $100... maybe! and over that... up to you.

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Keep in mind that many of the later-made inexpensive Super 8 cameras had plastic gears that may work at the moment but will undoubtedly fail soon. Some of the older ones are built more like tanks and are worth considering.

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Thanks for the help everyone! I found a camera for a price I liked, and I believed everything would be working well. When it arrived the switch that sets exposure is broken! I can kind of fuss with it to change the f stop, but it's annoying. Any advice?

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Well depending on how much control you really want, most Super 8 cameras will work fine in auto-exposure (if that's what you mean by exposure switch). Perhaps link a photo?

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Jake, you can buy cameras from camera technicians. All of them have a number of models wrapped up against dust. We techs know what we do and what you can do with a given model. To be quite frank, I sometimes purchase via ebay but I almost always make contact with the seller, ask questions, deliberate about a deal. The cameras I sell come with a three years warranty, effective since August 1st, 2018. Guess that’s worth something.

 

i agree with simon. i also got two cameras on ebay, a bolex D8 and a canon DS8 and both are working BUT...i think it depends on the situation what you want to do. if you are on a serious aproach, then i highly recomend buying from a professional technician (like simon is!! he lives just 30min. from my place and i know him personally and can warmly recomend him. he knows what he is doing)

i also just recently bought a Arri SR2 but this was from a production company who had their cameras maintenanced by arri in munich, germany. this will be used for serious projects like music videos, shorts etc... as i use the other cameras just for hobby easy peasy stuff :)

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I would ask around the family to start with. Someone is bound to have one in a closet or drawer somewhere. These are usually the consumer grade cameras from the 70s and 80s.

 

Barring that, get out to yard sales, second hand shops, antique sales, etc. My brother found an Elmo Super 106 for me at a yard sale on his block for $30.

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A top tip.

 

Go to used item market and expect you do of which we have many over here. The top tip is always carry 6 AA batteries so if you see a nice clean cine camera you have batteries to see if it runs and the light meter works.

I secured a Sankyo 620 for £10 and tested it at the traders stall a few years ago, came home and put a film thru it and it processed fine.

Good luck.

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A top tip.

 

Go to used item market and expect you do of which we have many over here. The top tip is always carry 6 AA batteries so if you see a nice clean cine camera you have batteries to see if it runs and the light meter works.

I secured a Sankyo 620 for £10 and tested it at the traders stall a few years ago, came home and put a film thru it and it processed fine.

Good luck.

I wonder if you couldn't negotiate a lower price if the camera wouldn't run. Take your own batteries and you guarantee the seller his asking price if it runs. If it's unpriced, he may even bump it up.

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Fortunately, all of the cameras I have bought off of eBay have worked to some degree.

 

Same for me. However, I've had a few that stoped working after a couple of cartridges. You've got to remember that the cheap Super 8 cameras used plastic gears and some are over 40 years old now. Once you start using them they can break just from age. But if you buy them for $10, it's not much of a risk.

 

I have a box of about 20 Canon Autofocus 310xl cameras and I have to go through them every few months to figure out which one has failed that month. I think I have 5 that still work...but they all worked when I bought the over the last 6 years or so.

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Mark. Another top tip for you when buying a camera. Always ask the price before flashing your batteries about.

I would never spend my time looking at anything before I had asked the price. :blink:

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I am selling the Canon 814 Auto-Exposure i had posted about in this thread earlier. The film from Spectra came back good; zero flubs on the reel. The camera worked well at 12, 18 and 24 fps. The fade-ins and fade- outs worked well also.

 

Auto exposure was fine panning from light to dark or vice-versa and at the different speeds. Zooms functions well. I pinned a cloth tape to a tree at the 48 inch mark and held the end at the film plane mark and set the camera barrel to 4 feet and the image was tack sharp on the 48.

 

Two negatives: part of the eyecup is torn and there are several small dings on the end of the lens barrel from the 2:00 to 4:00 o'clock positions facing the barrel when the focus is set to 4 feet. The glass looks excellent however and I don't think the dings have any effect on the camera operation or imaging. If I can get the eyecup off a Canon 1014 I will replace it, otherwise the eyecup tear can be glued, taped, replaced by the new owner or ignored. So far I've been unable to unscrew the 1014 eyecup.

 

The AE mercury battery it came with had life in it according to the battery meter, so I used that for the film test. That battery is about dead now so I will include a pack of six new Duracell 675 "air" batteries which can be used instead (some tape- wrapping around them will probably be needed to keep them tight in their compartment, as per internet PDF I can send to new owner).

 

Also comes with original case and manual and lens cap.

 

$295 shipped to US buyer.

 

 

 

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I had a teacher at school who told us in Film & TV that one day he happened to see in the window of a nondescript second hand shop a very expensive, highly sought-after Leica lens in pristine condition that was perfect for his camera. There was no price on it and, voice trembling but trying to look relaxed, he asked what they wanted for it. What are you going to use it for, they asked. "Ooh, I dunno," he said, "I just like the look of it ... might use it as a makeshift magnifying glass for my stamps or something." He got it for $5.

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Okay, it looks like i need some help on pricing.

 

I paid $64.58 for the camera, but it also came with a no-name broken fixed lens Super 8 camera, so take off $5.00: $59.58

Film and processing, but no postage at all, from Spectra was $44.75: $44.75

Spectra Postage (4 legs) was either $13.40 or $20.10 *, can't remember, say $13.40: $13.40

Belt for Elmo 180ST projector was needed, $10.99, will take half because now I can use the projector again later: $ 5.49

Shipping to buyer (could well end up costing me more}: $18.70

 

Total: $141.92

 

I will sell the camera at a price someone posts here provided a.): that I feel they have taken into account the many hours I have spent on procuring it, testing it, etc., b.): that they take into account both my desire to keep this camera for myself and my desire not to be a camera wholesaler and c.) will pay me in PayPal.

 

*postage should have been $26.30 but the USPS didn't cancel the stamps on the SASE. When I brought that to the clerks attention she hemmed-and-hawed so I just shipped it and saved either one leg of postage or somehow maybe two, can't quite remember.

Edited by charles pappas

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I find the sold listings on eBay are a pretty good indication of what people are willing to pay for something. Obviously you get variations, depending on the condition, the location and luck of the day, but it gives you some sense of a real-world value. Often the buy-it-now prices are ludicrously hopeful, but there's always a sucker out there.

 

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R40&_nkw=canon+814+auto+zoom&_sacat=0&rt=nc&LH_Sold=1&LH_Complete=1

 

Judging by recent sales of Canon 814 Auto Zooms, the average value is between $100 and $200. In countries outside the US they tend to go for under $100. If you can say it's film tested you should get a better price, but a damaged eye up also lowers the value again.

 

These are pretty common, so a patient buyer should be able to find one for what you paid, well under $100.

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I had a teacher at school who told us in Film & TV that one day he happened to see in the window of a nondescript second hand shop a very expensive, highly sought-after Leica lens in pristine condition that was perfect for his camera. There was no price on it and, voice trembling but trying to look relaxed, he asked what they wanted for it. What are you going to use it for, they asked. "Ooh, I dunno," he said, "I just like the look of it ... might use it as a makeshift magnifying glass for my stamps or something." He got it for $5.

 

Those moments are why so many of us spend time looking through antique stores and flea markets. Love it when something like that happens.

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Sorry, I don't think that's right.

 

It is one thing to clam up and stand there like a log, or mumble under your breath and ask for the price again, or disparage the lens for any conceivable flaw, or throw out an irrelevant comment like you feel lenses have lost some value in the digital age, but to completely misrepresent one's interest in the lens, that's just not something I could do.

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