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Thread: When to sell with least loss?

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    Question When to sell with least loss?

    I am terrible when it comes to selling camera gear I own. To be in on the product cycles, it is imperative that one has to sell the older gear to buy the new. No exceptions at all (unless you are reviewer and have access to the latest free of cost). Without new gear, photography sucks.

    What is the average best life time of a new camera to sell to have the least impact on the finances? Let us overlook the currency value fluctuations that would put this whole game in a different territory altogether.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    I've been doing this dance for the past 10 years. There is no magic formula to this. Way to many variables. And if there was, you'd apply the formula to economics/stocks/finance/ect. and you'd be so rich you wouldn't need to sell anything off..

    Rule of thumb, get X amount of use out of the camera. Once something better comes along evaluate the loss you'll see from the first camera against the joy you'll see from the new camera. Keep up the vicious cycle until cost outweighs joy. You're going to lose no matter what.. So you need to get lots of use out of the gear you have in order to feel less of a loss.

    Best time to buy a camera seems to be 8 months to 1 year after release. Best time to sell a camera seems to be 2 months after it's replacement is released (because lets face it, you can't predict rumors/leaks/announcements, so it's impossible to sell BEFORE such things happen). Thus you have 6-10 months without a camera if you're going for optimum $$.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I am terrible when it comes to selling camera gear I own. To be in on the product cycles, it is imperative that one has to sell the older gear to buy the new. No exceptions at all (unless you are reviewer and have access to the latest free of cost). Without new gear, photography sucks.

    What is the average best life time of a new camera to sell to have the least impact on the finances? Let us overlook the currency value fluctuations that would put this whole game in a different territory altogether.

    Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    IMO it is either 6 months before the successor is announced (this means for Sony cameras 3 months after you buy a new announced product, for Leica 2,5 years after you bought a brand new product)
    OR 6 months before the successor of the successor is announced.
    For exaple sell the M9 some months before you expect the new M to be announced, because after that the price will go down by a certain margin.

    The problem: You would have to sell a product without knowing if the successor is any better/how much better it is. And yo might have a period without having that camera (not a problem because we all have multiple systems anyways).
    I rather wait until the successor is out and tested, but that way I need to accept a lower price for the "old" product when I finally sell it.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    I am beginning to learn a few things about the importance of camera cases and such to keep all the gear in "mint" condition. The used A7r cams now being offered for sale make ashamed when i look at my sample. Even Sony would not touch it with a 10 foot pole if anything goes wrong under warranty.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    I am getting more and more tired of the sell and buy thing.
    In earlier times with Nikon DSLR or Leica M bodies it was every 2-3 years a new model came up. But if I see what happens in m43 land and even worse Sony A bodies...uuaah.
    Not that a camera gets worse when a new one is announced, but they give us the innovations in small portions and I am sure it is strategy.
    I wasted way too much Money over the past 5 years. My fault - I will try to work on it and resist more often in the future. At least I have no pre-order going on for a new MM or a Q or a A7rII.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I am getting more and more tired of the sell and buy thing.
    In earlier times with Nikon DSLR or Leica M bodies it was every 2-3 years a new model came up. But if I see what happens in m43 land and even worse Sony A bodies...uuaah.
    Not that a camera gets worse when a new one is announced, but they give us the innovations in small portions and I am sure it is strategy.
    I wasted way too much Money over the past 5 years. My fault - I will try to work on it and resist more often in the future. At least I have no pre-order going on for a new MM or a Q or a A7rII.
    We are on the same page on this, Tom.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    I have bought and sold a few different camera systems and lenses over the last couple of years; but it is time to settle on fewer pieces of gear. It gets expensive to buy and sell- I have learned that many products can be rented as an alternative.
    As an example, Lens Rentals has an Infrared converted Sony A7 camera for rent. I have been considering converting my camera for some time, but a trial first sounds like the way to go. In addition, they have most of the current Sony lenses.
    I also rented an Alpa camera system this year from one of the main dealers.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I am getting more and more tired of the sell and buy thing.
    In earlier times with Nikon DSLR or Leica M bodies it was every 2-3 years a new model came up. But if I see what happens in m43 land and even worse Sony A bodies...uuaah.
    Not that a camera gets worse when a new one is announced, but they give us the innovations in small portions and I am sure it is strategy.
    I wasted way too much Money over the past 5 years. My fault - I will try to work on it and resist more often in the future. At least I have no pre-order going on for a new MM or a Q or a A7rII.
    Depending on the camera I'd say maybe it may be best to skip a generation unless there are some VERY nagging flaws or revolutionary improvements. nothing says you have to buy the most current model although I'd hold off on buying older models if they've been out awhile.

    I converted my A7R knowing I'd either buy an A7II (or A7RII if it met/exceeded expectations.) So in short I will sell my A7 and put that money towards the A7RII and retain my A7R-FS no matter what. After that I'd just like to have an A9 or whatever.

    In the end though some like myself like the 12-18 month product updates.I personally wouldn't have minded a M9-P with the screen and not just the the outer layer of it improved. Well that was done with the M240... I just didn't personally like the sensor response.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Smoothjazz View Post
    I have bought and sold a few different camera systems and lenses over the last couple of years; but it is time to settle on fewer pieces of gear. It gets expensive to buy and sell- I have learned that many products can be rented as an alternative.
    As an example, Lens Rentals has an Infrared converted Sony A7 camera for rent. I have been considering converting my camera for some time, but a trial first sounds like the way to go. In addition, they have most of the current Sony lenses.
    I also rented an Alpa camera system this year from one of the main dealers.
    Renting (where available) is indeed a good option. No such possibilities here.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    If you come up with the magic formula you will have the opportunity to make a bundle of cash! ......knowing when to buy and sell.

    I felt fortunate when the original monochrom recently went on sale at a price that was 58 % of the original retail price with the full warranty. Always wanted one and patience paid off. I felt fortunate to receive $4250 for my M9, that I purchased used from the original owner, towards the purchase of a M-P 240. I believe I got great value for the M9 that I had for 4+ years.

    The key, for me, is not to jump on every hot camera system as it is introduced.

    I have passed by the Sony and Fuji experience to date. Great cameras I'm sure but did not want to be selling off my 'M' gear.

    Along the way I did break down and pick up a Pentax K5IIs to have an all weather system. It rains hard occasionally here in the Northwest.

    Good luck with your search for the Holy Grail, and do hope you find the magic formula and share it with the rest of us!

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Dan, Glad it worked out for you (the M9/MM)!

    If I ever find that "holy grail"-

    a) Will make a bundle from it first.
    b) Will open a pay-per-tip site with real time updates and make more cash.

    I will use Apple model and say no to charity.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Hmm, Well, the best time to sell a camera is just after you bought it ..... things can only get worse.

    As for half cases and mollycoddling - not convinced - I have nicely lined bags, but when I'm shooting the camera is in my hand, it gets a bit of rubbing but very few scratches - in my experiences cases almost always rub away at one part of the camera or another. . . . . and anyway, I'm not sure it has that much of an effect on secondhand prices.

    Me? if I've shot 30,000 images with a camera and really enjoyed it, then I don't feel disappointed to make a bit of a loss with it . . . if I've shot 2,000 then I make the same loss, and feel like I shouldn't have bought it in the first place.

    I do sell them though (and lenses) if they aren't being used - the exceptions are an Olympus E1, a Leica M9 and an MM (prototypes) which I'd rather keep than sell (sentimentality). I don't have a cupboard full of unused kit - it just strikes me as laziness.

    I forget what I paid for it, and then I forget what I sold it for, and I make sure that I don't borrow money to buy it. . . . . If I'm not using it then it goes. (I'm trying for a peaceful mind!)

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Me? if I've shot 30,000 images with a camera and really enjoyed it, then I don't feel disappointed to make a bit of a loss with it . . . if I've shot 2,000 then I make the same loss, and feel like I shouldn't have bought it in the first place.
    Agreed. If you used it well, then there is no loss. So in my mind, sell it when you think you have used it well.

    Another question I've been thinking about is when to purchase newly released gear? Take the new MM246 for example, I'm thinking that the best time is to get it when it is first released so that I can give it good use while it depreciates the most. If I don't get it while it's "hot", then I might as well just wait for a second-hand a couple of years later.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    'Tis better to have bought and lost than never to have bought at all.

    with apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hmm, Well, the best time to sell a camera is just after you bought it ..... things can only get worse.
    Ok, I know what you're saying, but picking up on what others have said, I like this idea of making sure you got value first. In that way, you should keep it until you feel you advanced in some way, got paid back for it, or even just mastered some aspect of the system by using it. Any of those might be the Return on investment that gives you a warm and fuzzy.

    Personally if I get half my investment back (bodies, not lenses) and I got the value, it feels great to upgrade. OTOH, selling and feeling like you got nothing feels more like flushing it.

    The real answer is to budget. Figure out what the monthly costs are to ownership, set a budget and buy tech with absolutely no stress or anxiety, at anytime in the cycle. I prefer the absolute beginning of the cycle so I'll be getting the value while the consumer still can't find it in stock.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    I've found that I can consistently get 100% returns by closing the loop altogether and never actually buying stuff in the first place! I call this process "(Pr)eBaying". It's a bit like buying and selling, but without the messy parts.

    Not entirely joking either: I'm getting better at recognizing when my enthusiasm is waning even before I finalize my purchase, then simply walking away, even if it does sound like an amazing deal.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4season View Post
    I've found that I can consistently get 100% returns by closing the loop altogether and never actually buying stuff in the first place! I call this process "(Pr)eBaying". It's a bit like buying and selling, but without the messy parts.

    Not entirely joking either: I'm getting better at recognizing when my enthusiasm is waning even before I finalize my purchase, then simply walking away, even if it does sound like an amazing deal.
    I believe you as I can relate to that.

    "save 50%" and such hysteria has little impact on me when I save 100% by not buying it at all.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by 4season View Post
    I've found that I can consistently get 100% returns by closing the loop altogether and never actually buying stuff in the first place! I call this process "(Pr)eBaying". It's a bit like buying and selling, but without the messy parts.

    Not entirely joking either: I'm getting better at recognizing when my enthusiasm is waning even before I finalize my purchase, then simply walking away, even if it does sound like an amazing deal.
    This is very similar to my approach as well. I have introduced two questions that I always ask before I buy a new piece of gear:

    - Which of your photos would have improved if you had this camera, lens etc. when you took it.
    - Which of your photos would have improved in quality if it were taken with this camera, lens etc.

    If the answer is "none" to both of these questions, the new acquisition is a no-go in my book. If I can point to certain photos, videos and details, it's a more complicated process.

    This is what led me to buy my current camera body (the D810) over the GH3 (I lost $300 on the GH3 after 18 months or so of ownership and a similar amount on the GH2 that I sold at the same time, both were bought second hand, as was the D810). It's also what guided me towards the Zeiss 21mm (second hand too). Unfortunately, it doesn't always work flawlessly, so I'm re-investing slightly into mirrorless again, since I fumble with video without having an EVF.

    When that is said, I never consider the time to sell a camera to avoid loss. The value in cameras for me is solely in the photos I can take with it. I buy the best camera that I can afford, sometimes a camera that I can't afford, and use it as long as it works, often keeping it after it has been replaced. I like cameras, so why sell them? Better to be poor and happy

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    I am getting more and more tired of the sell and buy thing.
    In earlier times with Nikon DSLR or Leica M bodies it was every 2-3 years a new model came up. But if I see what happens in m43 land and even worse Sony A bodies...uuaah.
    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    I am beginning to learn a few things about the importance of camera cases and such to keep all the gear in "mint" condition. The used A7r cams now being offered for sale make ashamed when i look at my sample. Even Sony would not touch it with a 10 foot pole if anything goes wrong under warranty.
    Many of those guys would probably die if they saw the micro scratches on the front elements of my naked Leica lenses...

    I find selling the least enjoyable part of the whole equipment ownership experience. So many buyers are extremely picky about minor cosmetic things and how it relates to their idea of value. Of course they're thinking about resale prices down the road to other gear collectors... For me, I just want to use the gear. Maybe it is laziness (referring to Jono's post), at least for me looking at my difficult to cull collection. One justification is "you never know when you will need it (again)."

    Regarding Paratom's point about the current release schedule by the likes of Sony: an advantage is you can wait a year and buy quite current equipment on the used market at good prices, especially since used prices decrease with the drop in retail price as new products are announced and old inventory is cleared.

    If I was 'invested' in, or interested in a quickly cycling system such as Sony, I'd wait until the end of the product cycle to pick up equipment at a discount, or buy the previous generation used. Someone else will have taken most of the depreciation hit.

    Back 10 years ago my philosophy was different: buy new and sell it within a year to 18 months even if there wasn't anything new, though I didn't always follow this due to various reasons. In this time span you'll have had the benefit of full warranty coverage and the gear being pretty much like new and not yet worn out/tired. Maybe you'd end up rebuying the same gear, but 12-18 months later, it may have gone down a bit in retail price, possibly offsetting some of the loss taken on the sale of the previous kit. It's kind of like being on a continuous short-term lease cycle. You will always lose money on the purchase, whichever way you go. Flipping gear constantly keeps you equipped with something new and/or the latest, if you like that. The other extreme is keeping it until it's dead, which may mean skipping one, two or more cycles. But by then it's worth pretty much zero. You're either taking a smaller loss in a short period that is more manageable, or you're practically writing the whole thing off after some time. With the latter, you face a bigger, though less frequent expenditure to reequip, for which you should be saving money regularly in anticipation of the eventual purchase. Broken down over time, assuming the new gear pricing is relatively constant, it may be fairly similar in cost.

    Of course there are variables that can throw this all off. For me it was going from Canon 1D to 1DII to 1DIIN, but when I got to 1DIII, the cameras were quite temperamental and I never felt in good conscience to sell them knowing they were not in optimum functionality (the AF recall which didn't really resolve performance issues and other problems my cameras had). With Canon the cycle had worked out reasonably because the cameras remained very consistently priced, until the 1DX. Due perhaps to the 1DX's delayed release, switch to FF and considerably higher price, the discontinued 1DIV seemed to hold value much better and was a popular camera for some time. Kind of a rebound from the 1DIII. But the price gap to the 1DX was considerable.

    I also use Leica and I think they're a bit more difficult to predict due to short term history. The M9 probably distorted resale prices and perception of what those should be a few years later because it was such a hit product. Many waited a long time to receive delivery, also for lenses that were in terribly short supply, which opened up the second hand market to speculators and drove prices higher than retail. It likely reinforced the perception of the 'Leica investment'. Since then, though, I feel there has been considerable deflation. I refuse to buy Leica digital M at introductory retail prices and instead will wait about a year, at least. I bought my M240 as a demo 1.5 years ago at a considerable savings then. There seem to be a lot of these available now. Leica lens resale values on various forum B&S have softened considerably, too. I don't expect M240 resale to hold nearly as well as what Dan achieved with his M9. Already you can buy new M240s from Hong Kong for well under $5000 US and M-Ps at or just over $5000. The only way this would reverse is if for some reason Leica stopped M production or the next model is considerably more expensive. But I suspect they will continue at similar introductory price points.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Sony has of course changed the whole equation with their weird product cycle policy. Cameras that a year ago were praised as the solution to any photographic challenge plus the crisis in the Middle East as well as obesity and smallpox, are now dropped like turds, to be replaced by Sony's new saviour, the A7R II. A one year old A7R can be acquired for the price of Nikon's plastic fantastic D5500, or a third of the price of the A7R replacement, the aforementioned A7R II

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    My brain understands the magic formula, but GAS too often gets the better part of me.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    At the risk of going somewhat off-topic, I'm thinking that some resale markets have tanked because of a cultural shift. And to read the business news, it seems that the so-called "Millennials Generation" have got big businesses ranging from automakers to deBeers worried that they're simply not interested in buying the same sorts of things that their parents did.

    My completely unscientific gut feeling is that some of today's hotter trends originated from thrift stores and basements--basically creating hobbies out of society's discards.

    In photography, that might include Polaroid cameras and 1970s rangefinder cameras like the Minolta Hi Matic 7, Yashica Electro 35 and so on. Nothing too precious, however: Checked out prices of Nikon SPs or Leica 3Gs lately? In free-fall. I think the audience for those high-end products is literally dying off.

    Another popular theme seems to be: Embarking on adventures, sharing them with others, and choosing gear which facilitates it. Well, GoPro and REI seem to be doing alright anyway.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    There is a finite amount of people using expensive photo gear. And yet more and more stuff comes out. That lowers the demand and quickens the depreciation.

    I guess Sony could have postponed the A7R and put the slightly better D810 sensor with the EFCS in there. But with that issue, it is easier to convince people to switch. Same with Fuji and the AF (despite the firmware updates, etc.)

    One rule is that it may be easier to sell before the announcement of a new model - but you'll never know when they do that...and you might need it until then
    The next 'candidate' for that is the A7s. It still sells well, but Sony will probably its main problems (rolling shutter, 4k) while also adding the stabilization and better ergonomics, everyone will want to switch even if it is one a higher price level, so despite the price difference between the two there will be quite a few FS on the market.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by padam View Post
    The next 'candidate' for that is the A7s. It still sells well, but Sony will probably its main problems (rolling shutter, 4k) while also adding the stabilization and better ergonomics, everyone will want to switch even if it is one a higher price level, so despite the price difference between the two there will be quite a few FS on the market.
    I bought my new A7s for far less than the used prices (FS section here). I want another body for ~<$1100. If a new A7s Mk II will do that, great.

    Rolling shutter? Phew! What does it do to stills?

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    It does affect what one sees in the EVF (tried it, the A7II might be more noisy at night, but also much better in controlling this)
    And it does affect the silent mode as well.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Anything that can help ease the price is welcome! I have a one track mind about certain piece of gear with certain applications in mind.

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by padam View Post
    ...I guess Sony could have postponed the A7R and put the slightly better D810 sensor with the EFCS in there. But with that issue, it is easier to convince people to switch. Same with Fuji and the AF (despite the firmware updates, etc.)...
    The D810 actually got the slightly better A7R sensor in it (a revision of the D800 sensor) but it was customized to Nikon's specs to have a lower base ISO and tuned for better high ISO response where Sony is optimized for base ISO.
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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    The D810 actually got the slightly better A7R sensor in it (a revision of the D800 sensor) but it was customized to Nikon's specs to have a lower base ISO and tuned for better high ISO response where Sony is optimized for base ISO.
    But the D810 does have the option of EFCS.
    The question is, did Sony omit that feature to put it on the market as soon as possible, or because now it is so much easier to market the A7RII at a higher price level(and depreciate the A7R more). As far as stills go, that can certainly effect the resolution much more than a few extra megapixels.

    It not much different with Leica either, like crippling the M8 with compressed raw or most of their non-M models are quickly becoming obsolete as well (although Sony might have had an effect on that)

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    Re: When to sell with least loss?

    Digital camera bodies are like cars. Drive them around the block and they go down around 25-30% in value.

    So one answer is to keep them longer and skip one or two new body cycles. A new body is not going to make you a better photographer, only a poorer photographer.

    New lenses seem to be one answer for GAS patients, instead of new bodies. Then again, buying old lenses can also be rewarding as Vivek knows.
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