Saturday, March 31, 2007

Go garage saleing for bargains

Photos by Mark M. Hancock / © The Beaumont Enterprise

Chuck Wright of Beaumont hunts for bargains during a garage sale in Beaumont on Saturday, March 17, 2007.

Janna Fulbright talks with buyers during her garage sale in Beaumont. Spring makes a good time for cleaning out clutter. It also provides comfortable weather for both garage sellers and buyers.

Garage sales are one of the best places to pick up used photographic equipment. If a photographer is unloading their equipment at a garage sale, it's probably priced below anyone's wildest dreams. Estate sales typically have better quality equipment, but it also tends to cost more.

I've picked up most of my antique cameras at garage sales along with a nice copy stand and various other items. It takes a little digging to find the gems, but most sales have something of interest to PJs.

The trick for PJs isn't to look at the items as what they are. Instead, look for items similar to photographic equipment.

For example, I picked up some lightweight music stands many years ago. To me, they were small, emergency light stands and fill-card stands. However, they only cost about $3 each and take half the space.

When checking out a garage sale, it's a good idea to immediately ask the seller if they have any photographic equipment for sale. They'll know where it's located. They may also offer some equipment that isn't on display.

Not too many folks put a studio strobe system or entire darkroom in a garage sale because they know most people   A) don't know what it is   B) wouldn't know how to use the equipment   C) aren't willing to pay a fraction of what it's worth.

But, if you talk to the spouse while the other isn't paying attention, you might get the bargain of a lifetime. ;-)

Another good place to find bargains is pawn shops. As I've mentioned before, my first SLR camera rig came from a pawn shop. The camera (a Nikon FM) still works, and I still carry the manual 50mm lens I got with it.

Later the same year, I missed an opportunity that I'm still kicking myself about. The same pawn shop had a good condition manual Nikon 600mm f/4 lens (with the steel reinforced case) for $500.

I said I'm still kicking myself.

On the good side, I got a Nikon 100mm f/2.8 for $99 and this groovy four-lens, 3D, 2-frame, point-and-shoot camera for my collection at other pawn shops.

Because photography is the No. 1 hobby, there's always going to be someone getting rid of decent equipment. They're either selling it because they've lost interest, need money or upgraded and no longer need the older equipment. In all three cases, the buying PJ is in a great position and cash talks loudest.

Enough for now,

1 comment:

Bryon Houlgrave said...

While at the Press, I had a photo intern who showed up one weekend sporting a Canon 580 Speedlite (a pro-level light that costs around $300). Her grandmother bought it for her at a garage sale for $25. Not a thing was wrong with it.

That doesn't come close to a 600 mm F4 for $500 though.