Sunday, April 11, 2010

Yeah, they're dead

Spent some time this weekend sorting out my collection of 35mm film cameras. Way too many film cameras.

And now there are a couple in the trash can.

I'm a fan of 1970's era rangefinders, cameras that allowed you to hold the camera to your eye, look through a viewfinder, and focus on your subject. Some even allowed you to control the aperture or shutter speed.

Olympus, Minolta and Canon made the best of these. Konica made some wonderful cameras, but later jobbed out the manufacturing to a company called Cosina. Then Chinon got involved. Ultimately, the move to auto-focus film cameras doomed the rangefinders.

Not to mention the corroded electronics. Most of these cameras used mercury batteries, which seem to cause some degradation in circuit contacts.

The camera above is a Konica C35EF camera. Happens to be the very first thing Dick Kidder stuck in my hands when I started my first newspaper job. So I'm sorta fond of them.

This afternoon, I pitched two Konica C35EF cameras with this problem. Plunk in a fresh battery, and nothing. Rotted electrical contacts. They simply aren't worth repairing.

However, this leaves me with a dozen or so other rangefinders, including a Konica Auto S3 and a Vivitar 35ES -- basically identical cameras, with with less plastic than the camera above. Some just tend to hold up better than others.

Monday, April 5, 2010

How to sell cameras on Craigslist

Here's a short but handy checklist to help you sell cameras on Craigslist:

  • Don't simply say "Nikon digital camera." Give a model number: Coolpix 5400, L20, whatever it says on the camera body.
  • Get the brand right. Shoppers often search by brand name. There's no "Cybersnap" or "Olympis" brand in digital cameras, but there are a Cybershot and an Olympus. Again, it's probably spelled correctly on the camera.
  • Write a better headline than "Digital Camera 12 Megapixels." The difference between a camera made by Kodak or Polaroid is striking. Again, brand matters.
  • Don't fill your ad with meaningless specs borrowed from a web page. Instead, be sure to tell us whether all the camera's functions work, if the LCD screen is cracked, and whether the essential accessories (battery, charger, connector cord, manual, etc.) are included.
  • Show a photo of the camera. Don't blow this off! If you're selling your only camera, set the camera for macro mode, flash-off, and place it in front of a mirror. Photos help sell items online (which may be the reason you bought the camera in the first place.)
  • Don't waste anyone's time by trying to sell a broken digital camera. Unless you're skilled and certified, camera repair isn't worth it, and parts are sometimes hard to find.
  • Post your ad in the right category: photo/video, electronics, even computers are good categories. But I won't find it in the "General" for sale category.

I have cash, now and then, so I'm watching. Good luck.