Buying and Selling

I buy stuff as well as selling it. This is a trading business. And some really nice stuff has walked in through the door at times. But there are a few things involved in that so we had to develop policies, or we'd go broke very quickly. But we regard policies as general, ethical, adjustable to circumstance and not set in concrete!

NOTE: I am a registered second hand dealer in Victoria and all purchases are recorded with your ID. I am required by law to check and record your full name. age and address, usually from a driving licence.





You're Selling and we're Buying

I'll buy but only that which I can then resell and if I don't already have a pile of them in stock. It seems sometimes that the whole of Melbourne owns a Pentax MZ-50 with a Sigma lens on it and thinks it's worth at least $100. No it isn't, even if it's working. It's essentially worthless - I give them away sometimes. It's cheap, unreliable, as common as grass...and dull. I want to buy cameras that are in good conditon, working and sought after by users and collectors. Cameras that are fun or interesting to use or to look at. I will buy very old, non-working and damaged cameras if they are unusual or collectible but condition affects price of course. Perhaps one in three of the cameras I buy needs an expensive service before we can resell it.  

I sometimes explain to sellers that this is like any other used and antique business. 75% of what I'm offerred is without value. Some has what I call negative value - it costs me more to have it on the shelf than it can ever earn me. So I will say with some regret that I can't afford to buy it from you at any price.  Around another 20% is worth my while to buy, clean up and resell. That is, someone might show up looking for one in a few month's time, or sometime next year! (It's a small market, even when you are almost the only game in town). The last 5% is the treasures, really good stuff that I really do want or even need. 

So you realise that you have a nice, old, unusual camera in fair condition that you inherited and you want to sell it. You checked ebay and see that three or four sellers are asking up to $1200 for one. Wow!, you think. And you come in and sit it on the counter, expecting me to give you at least $1000 for it. That sounds fair doesn't it? I'll make a quick 20% profit won't I? And you are quite annoyed when I tell you I can only offer you $400.

Well, that one on ebay did't sell for that price - and it never, ever will. And the camera you are showing me is a slightly different and less collectible model, has a cloudy lens, a sticky aperture, bad slow speeds and a few marks on the outside. It'll cost me at least $200 to get it serviced. And I have to sell it with a guarantee, unlike that bloke on ebay or Gumtree! And then of course I have to pay my rent, buy my lunch and, hopefully, make a small profit. So $400 is what it is worth to me. I'm not trying to rip you off -  I really can't afford more and if you decline, at least you got a free condition report. Most people understand all this and accept or decline a fair offer gratefully and/or gracefully. But some do not. Such is life.

We're Selling and you're Buying

Another reason that I have to buy very carefully is that we try to sell ethically. If I sell you a camera I say is working, I expect you to bring it back if there's a problem so that I can find you a replacement or give you a refund. And I'll do that willingly. So yes I will accept your trade in but only if it meets my needs. I do old-fashioned lay-by as well based on a minimum 25% deposit and if you complete within a month. I'll put something on hold for you for a few days without a deposit - or for longer with a 25% deposit.

This is why my prices are usually a bit higher than you'll see on ebay. You get to handle the item, check that it really is working, that it is in good condition.  You get detailed advice and guidance and you can return it if it's faulty, save a fortune on postage, ebay and Paypal fees, negotiate a discount, make an offer - all the advantages of face to face buying. You can be assured that the camera or accessory has been checked by experienced staff and often by a qualified technician. If you are a long way away, you can ring and ask if I have an item, ask me to look for something or put you on my 'wants' list and I'll do my best to help. 

Trading - both of us are Buying and Selling!

I'll trade in your surplus gear against a purchase but the comments above all apply. Generally I prefer to part trade in - that is, I still get some cash out of the deal. Otherwise my stock just multiplies and I don't progress! Generally I give you a slightly better deal for your used gear as a trade in than if I are just buying it off you. And if you prefer, I'll give you a even bit more than that in store credit against future purchases.

Deceased Estates

I often buy bulk lots off widows, 'old mates' and adult children and offers tend to be based on buying the whole lot, junk and good stuff all in together. Condition is often quite poor and the junk usually is just that - junk - so the offer is based on a quick assessment of what is in there. There is no time to test it all. Sometimes there is a little treasure there but usually there is not and I often realise afterwards that I've been a bit generous! 

Then there are the less pleasant experiences in this. While visiting a widow a good hour's drive from the store, I was greeted with the apology, "You should have been here yesterday - my daughter dropped by and decided that she'd like a few items as mementoes of her father." Damn.

Strangely the daughter had very, very good taste in keepsakes - the Leica and the two Rolleiflexes! The nice lady was a bit annoyed when she discovered that the offer for the collection had now dropped from well over a thousand to a couple of hundred - but she seemed to be annoyed with me, not her daughter! ("But you said that..."). I wonder if those 'keepsakes' are on ebay yet.


Good quality German and Japanese is always sought so almost anything with a Leica, Zeiss, Contax, Rollei, Hasselblad, Linhof, Schneider branding or good Nikon, Canon, Olympus and similar is welcome, preferably in good working condition as people like to use these.

I am always looking for folding (bellows) cameras, red bellows cameras, wood and brass cameras, brass lenses, wooden tripods and even trashed wooden cameras in any condition.

Twin Lens Reflex cameras, good manual lenses of all types, classic 35mm SLR's, working or cosmetically good Pentax Spotmatics and Oly Trips/mju, usable Polaroids, medium format (120) equipment, photo books (monographs), antique Photographica (packaging, adverts, accessories), expired 120 and 35mm film, photography related toys. I often have regular customers actively seeking these items so I can pay a bit more for them as they turn over quickly.

Old, weird and heavy photographic 'stuff' is welcome - it may be so ugly that you hid it at the back of the garage but some people like big 'industrial' relics. If you don't know what it is, bring or email a photo with your fone, along with any names and model numbers.


I have boxes and boxes full of 1990's compact 35mm plastic cameras - some are good quality and worthy but very few of them sell so they are worth nothing to me. Unless they have a name like Leica or Contax on them but even then, not so much. A few, like the Olympus mju-2 with the 28mm lens have become popular but that's an odd exception. The same goes for Kodak Instamatics and Disc cameras. We didn't buy them - they came in with bulk lots. We were thinking of nailing them to the wall as a creative display but recently we've hung them all from the ceiling, hundreds of them, to make the point. They are worth THAT little!

Equally, boring low end 1990's SLR's like Canon EOS 3000's and that infamous Pentax MZ-50 are essentially without value - on the whole, film SLR buyers usually want fully manual heavy metal objects like Spotmatics, K1000's and Nikkormats. It doesn't matter to anyone if it is 'as new', in the box, unmarked and hardly had a film through it - you don't want it and neither does anyone else we're afraid. Even the standard 35-70mm zoom lenses don't really suit modern digital cameras - the focal length range is wrong.

We keep a few 8mm film projectors and cameras, video cameras, slide projectors and the like as service lines but there is hardly any demand for them. Unless the projectors are old and weirdly ornamental or a bit special we can't sell them - seven out of ten of them aren't working anyway and are uneconomical to repair. Often the rubber belts inside have perished or a new globe for them costs more than the whole unit is worth. We keep a few globes too so ask if you need one but bring the dead one or the correct type code. Video cassette camcorders are of interest only to someone who wants to do digital transfers - we had a bin full and sold them for peanuts to the occasional customer. I'll was glad when they were all gone and I was not tripping over them any more. Enlargers are of little value except for great big ones that can handle 6x9 and 5x4. Most people who are still doing darkroom work already have their top quality gear in place and aren't looking to buy more!

Bits and pieces such as filters and cables and cases and bags and caps and close-up lenses and teleconverters and lens puffer brushes and... They arrive in old kits, form large piles and one day I'll be found deceased under a huge pile of 'stuff' that fell on me. Only a very few top end or 'special fit' bits have any value.

Unfortunately most of what we are offerred falls into the 'Unwants' category above - so there are quite a few hopeful sellers that we disappoint. We accept donations or (sympathetically) offer directions to the local Op shop and landfill. :-(

Avoid disappointment - call first on 04 04 33 00 75 or email with details and I will try to give you a rough idea of value.