Actually I should call this eBay lessons or something. You probably know by now I am a habitual eBay surfer. I watch like a gillion items a month and buy about 1 thing every two months or so. I always buy really low risk stuff - return policy - etc. Never any high dollar stuff and I limit the stuff I even look at, well, at least even intend to maybe buy to things that are cool and nice but… Nobody pays a lot of attention to - no "collector" stuff. No stuff that EVERYONE wants. I limit myself to things that are "like" what everyone wants but more common.
Here is a perfect example - Nikon FM2 cameras are extremely plentiful on eBay they come and go very quickly. Hundreds of them at any given time. the market for them is soft - as is the same for 99% of all film cameras that anyone would actually use. You can plan ongrabbing a good example for about 200 bucks some go higher - a lot higher - some go lower. Black examples which are also plentiful go for a couple bucks more - like $20 bucks. Most of these cameras have been used - even if they are really ugly they probably work well. How much did I get mine for? Ready…. Sit down…. $100, actually $109 plus $12 insured tracked USPS shipping.
Why? Timing for one but more importantly - crappy description and crappy eBay photography that made it look like every other FM2 but worse. The description was a typical bullshit - "This is not mine, I am selling it for a friend…" blah blah blah that made you think this guy was weaseling about something - it said nothing about the camera condition and most of the description was about the Vivitar wide angle zoom lens that was sort of broken but worked fine (missing rubber focus grip). Even though the photography was some of the worst point and shoot on camera flash ultra distorted badly exposed full of hotspots awful stuff I have ever seen in a tiny tiny thumbnail size - I used the bad photography to my advantage - I could see that a couple of the areas of FM/FE/FM2 type cameras that are normally worn were in fantastic shape - the paint around the hinge of the film back is typically chipped - just from open and closing the back. Not a big deal all of them are like that - this one wasn't. That was about all I could tell from the truly off putting ugliness of the photos. So… I watched and with 5 minutes left it was only at $55 so I put in a bid that I would be willing to pay - not $56 but $150 - even if it was a working beater it was worth that you can turn them around all day for $150 with decent pictures and description, probably more. But hey I actually use these things (I have like 3 of them one of which I bought new the other two are eBay specials).
Would you buy this for $100? I swear this is the cleanest FM2 I have ever seen that has actually been used - at all. Camera store demos look worse than this. The photos you see are un-retouched - strait D200 JPEG files resized in Aperture 3. No shit. You want to see them at 100% - just ask. I wanted you to see what I see. The yellow film box lid is mine - I loaded it up with film and am going to burn and develop a roll tomorrow. If I see another one like this for anywhere near this price or even the price I entered as my maximum bid I will buy it in a heartbeat - yes that will mean I will have 4 of them. Who cares at this price - I will give them away as gifts at one of my workshops or something.
As for the photos - I didn't even dust it or my lens off I just set up an SB-800 bounced off the wall and ceiling so I was getting the light from a 45 and strong fill from the top. I used myleather char and it's arms as a backdrop and sort of black cards on the sides so not only for decent lighting but so you couldn't see the hideous mess of a man-cave I spend time in.
Here is the really funny thing - load this thing up with Velvia and it will take fantastic images that will give you D3x quality - or better. Do what I do and chuck some B+W TRI-X in there and it will give you fantastic images - the hell with the grain.