Bargain hunting blues…

It’s always the ones that get away from you that hurt the most.  I went to an estate sale this morning, wasn’t expecting much, then I saw a table in a corner of one room piled with camera bags.  Yes, that’s bags, not cameras.  I checked my watch: about 9:30am; someone beat me to the good stuff by half an hour I guess.  What really kills me is that I could have been there a lot earlier if I had actually checked the address against mapquest, instead of trusting the google map on the craigslist ad.  Big mistake I guess.  

Anyway, there probably wasn’t much I’d have been interested in, the guy was a Nikon shooter primarily, but there was an Olympus IS camera and a Nikon N90 body with motor drive still there, both priced at $35.  Some lucky bastard probably got a whole pile of Nikkor lenses and at least a Nikon F3 and F4 is my guess, and at $35 a pop too.  I hope that guy actually uses them, but my guess is that if he’s that sharp and gets there right at 9:00, it’s probably some asshole that buys up everything and then marks it up on ebay, making the rest of us pay more.  

I hardly need yet another camera system so I’m not going to cry too much about it.  The deceased had a small bookshelf filled with photography books, but they were mostly the generic kind.  I was hoping for photo collections of the masters, something along the line of Robert Frank’s The Americans, Cartier-Bresson’s The Decisive Moment, or something equally valuable to me, but instead I saw a pile with titles not dissimilar to How to Shoot Nudes, and of course everyone’s favorite, The Joy of Photography (several copies).  There was however, a book on medium format cameras, which makes me wonder if there might have been some medium format gear there at 9:00.  One of the books had a note written to “Nick,” so I assume that was the guy’s name.  That’s the part that I think cuts the deepest, because what I’ve been really lusting after is a good medium format rangefinder camera.  Maybe next time…

As it is, I shouldn’t whine too loudly, I went back to that table, dug deeper, and came up with an Elicar digital spot meter (it says Elicar, looking on the internet it seems like the same one has been branded by Soligor and also Adorama) for $15, plus a set of Cokin graduated ND filters for $5 (the set I mentioned in this post).  All in all, that’s not a bad day by any means, and the less I think about the deals that get away, the happier I am.  Nick, I never knew you, but I will use your equipment with pride.  Off to brush up on the zone system now, happy hunting.

4 thoughts on “Bargain hunting blues…

  1. I don’t need another camera either, but I’ve thought about trying garage sales recently after searching a few pawn shops with no luck. The film camera I’m currently using has a ton of sentimental value, but a nice rangefinder is definitely on the want list. Good to hear you’ve found some gear; it’ll encourage me to stop and hunt where I’ve driven by many times in the past.

  2. I have found some great old cameras over the years at yard and estate sales. It is definitely a great way to find them. Check out my blog if you have time. I post my new yard sale finds every week.

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