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In building up my collection of Canon cameras I often get the asked how expensive a hobby like that can be. It turns out — not so much — since I go to flea markets and second-hand stores to find camera bodies. It is true that camera bodies are cheaper than lenses, so your mileage will vary depending on your interests, but hopefully this gives you a rough guide based on my experience with the Ooi-keibajo Flea Market here in Tokyo and the Helvetiaplatz one in Zurich.
These stalls are usually owned by people who know the appeal of cameras and lenses and are out to make a small (or possibly larger) profit. The stall in the photo above was one such example, and you can notice the little price stickers too — another warning sign. Usually these stall owners are unlikely to bargain, too, so you’re almost certainly buying at a markup.
Certainly you ought to look for cameras that are sold in cases, but even then that’s not always a given, since sellers might ask for a premium on the account that there is case, when in fact the camera within the case is really just a junk. On the other hand, you can find really pretty cameras that are only lightly used if you look around carefully. For example, the AV-1 above (which I really should have bought, in retrospect) is both beautifully functional and rare, since it’s a full black body.
The checklist I go through:
A lot of the most beautifully kept lenses and camera bodies I’ve found at flea markets have had lens filters. This is a good sign on two fronts — first, the original owner cared enough about the camera and the lens to buy a filter for it, so that the lens wouldn’t get scratched, and two, the lens filter helps protect the lens from the not-so-friendly or not-so-knowledgeable hands that come by the market.
This is a bit obvious, but not all cameras are worth paying for. The AE-1 Program is a dime a dozen at flea markets, so if you’re at a sufficiently large market, you can shop around and spot a couple of these and compare prices. You’ll never know what you can find at a flea market, which is definitely part of the fun!
I bought the above Canon AF35ML Super Sure Shot (1981) for 400 JPY (~$3).
This entry was posted on Saturday, December 5th, 2015 at 11:22 am, EST under the category of Articles. Both comments and pings are currently closed.