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Japanese ebay sellers
Old 02-24-2018   #1
bluesun267
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Japanese ebay sellers

Something on my mind lately...vis-a-vis the enormous amount of classic RF (and other) camera equipment on ebay from Japanese sellers. Yes, I'm kinda down on them at the moment, (though I know there are a few really decent ones.) (I search primarily Canon, Leica and other LTM cameras/lenses, BTW.)

Here's a couple points:

In terms of quality, I feel nearly every piece of equipment I see from Japan, though often stated as "excellent", once you look at the pix, you can see that it is more often than not corroded, missing parts, and the lenses have massive fungus, haze etc.

Their prices are not usually appropriate for condition and they hide behind a rather vague and poorly translated description. Not exactly deceptive, but not entirely straightforward either.

My guess is ebay is the dumping ground for all the camera equipment Japanese collectors/shooters will never buy.

I guess the consequences of this that bothers me is this: it gives a false impression of plenty--especially in terms of Canon RF items. It's essentially ebay Spam to me.

I've taken to limiting my searches to US or North America only and indeed it is truly difficult to find Canon RF stuff under those criteria. Sorry to eliminate any decent Japanese sellers in this process, but I'm just fed up. Thoughts?
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Old 02-24-2018   #2
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I wish there was a way to permanently filter out these items on eBay UK. It's a horrible experience searching through them as their prices are garbage. their descriptions are bad and the VAT fees kill any chance of them being a good deal. Oh well, filtering the search for UK items only helps but still excludes European goods.
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Old 02-24-2018   #3
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I guess it depends on what you're looking for. There are poor photos & descriptions on all ebay regardless of country. I've had good luck with ebay japan but primarily with Leica gear. But on the other hand....try to find black paint Canon RF bodies in N America. Also I also appreciate the quick & free shipping from Japan to Canada....as compared with the "Global shipping program" charges. But that's my experience.
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Old 02-24-2018   #4
Erik van Straten
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I never buy cameras or lenses from Japanese sellers on eBay - the importation tax in the EU makes that impossible - but sometimes parts and small camera repair gear from Nobbysparrow. nobbysparrow

He provides excellent and truly fast service. Warmly recommended.


Erik.
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Old 02-24-2018   #5
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I am not a huge buyer, but have had nothing but "exc++" experience from Japanese Ebay sellers who have a 100% rating. Read their feedback!
A good seller dares not risk loosing their rating by sketchy dealing. They give a return period, they answer questions, and the prices are reasonable for scarce goods, and sometimes a bargain for clean stuff if you are willing to hunt a while. Even shipping is amazingly fast & inexpensive considering the half-world away distance.
I don't think they have earned a great reputation for nothing.
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Old 02-24-2018   #6
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I got my Nikon S2 from Japan, and the dealer had plenty of highly detailed photos, plus a good description of the condition. Of course, his was one of many cameras I looked at, but it stood out among the others. Communication with him was excellent, plus he had a 100% rating.

Funny thing was the camera was the last part of the system I needed, so I didn't have a reason to buy anything else from him.

But yes, you do need to be aware of the ones who are not on the up-and-up. Like the one I found who used the same photos in four different listings, and wasn't smart enough not to let the serial numbers be observable.

Or one I saw the other day who used photos from four different lenses on the same listing. Even had a mismatch on the focal length!

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Old 02-24-2018   #7
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I bought from Japanese sellers a few times - being patient, reading description well, analyzing feedback - that’s the way to go... Even afer paying European import VAT it was cheaper than buying from European sellers. I bought this way GA645, Contax AX and some other stuff. But in general - bad stuff happens, Japan has no exclusivity when it comes to unprofessional or not honest sellers. It is just that supply of some items is higher in Japan, so it could create an illusion of the abundance of problematic sellers.
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Old 02-24-2018   #8
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I've had two bad experiences and two good ones from Japanese sellers. All with 100% ratings. The bad ones had fungus whereas the ads specifically stated no fungus.

The descriptions really mean nothing now. Everyone says exc+++ or mint even though the items may be damaged.
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Old 02-24-2018   #9
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The only ebay deal I recollect I've done with a Japanese seller was when I got my Fujinon W 180mm EBC in a late model black ring Copal shutter. It was listed as just Fujinon W and priced fairly as such. Seller said there was dust but that was easily cleaned. I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived after taking a sea turtle across the Pacific, and found it to be an EBC model with the preferable front element, not the goofy CMW monstrosity.
Otherwise, I kind of agree with the original post that there is a lot of potential junk on there. Like a garage sale where the seller both knows what they have, has a sentimental attachment to it and has used the highest ebay listing prices to value items, in spite of their condition.

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Old 02-24-2018   #10
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I find Ebay to be THE world's Dumping Ground, period. My last couple of items from Japanese ebay sellers were misrepresented, coming with fungus, mold, etc., despite being described as "excellent" and similar. I've also had similar experiences from US sellers who were hoping to pass junk condition stuff on the unsuspecting. It's not the first time I've heard a camera dealer tell a disappointed trade-in customer, "You can try ebay". I've settled on KEH, Ken Hansen and a couple of other reputable ebay sellers, but I avoid individuals, even with 100% ratings; not worth the hassle or risk.
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Old 02-24-2018   #11
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Caveat emptor.
If I can't find something anywhere else, I resort to ebay.
Then study the pictures very carefully.
At this point in time, anyone should be able to take a clear sharp picture - even with a cell phone. If it's deliberately underexposed, out of focus, and shows camera shake, then it's best to pass on.

Items bought from sellers in Japan have usually been excellent.
The main problem is that it's so hot and humid there that fungus is THE big issue. Metal corrosion from seawater is another.

I did buy one lens that the seller told me had fungus in it. He listed the lens as "for parts or repair". It looked mint, but he said that the only reason he put it that way was because of fungus. It was a Mamiya 105mm DS TLR lens with both sets of caps. Someone had put too much oil in the shutter at one time. The oil had condensed on the glass surfaces of the lens elements on either side of the leaf shutter. The fungus was growing on the oil. Besides, the self timer was sticking.
Since the purchase price was only $50, I took the gamble. I sent it off to Frank Marshman who made it all good for $90.

BTW, I'm a bit wary of leather goods from the UK for the same reason. Damp weather makes fungus grow. I bought a Zeiss Super Ikonta A from an English seller. The case and bellows were mushroom farms.
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Old 02-24-2018   #12
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I've had nothing but good experience with Japanese sellers. Cameras, lenses, bicycle parts- many items, all great. Being that most American sellers use that ridiculous ebay shipping program- which adds $ and time- I pretty much only buy from Japanese sellers. YMMV.
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Old 02-24-2018   #13
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This pretty much applies to sellers from any region.

I've had nothing but good experiences from Japanese sellers, including some under-rated bargains, but then again, it's important to pick the right sellers...no matter where they are from.

It's not all that difficult.
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Old 02-24-2018   #14
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I have also been impressed by Japanese sellers I have bought from for four mint items: M6 TTL, FM3A, FD 50/1.4, Zeiss 50/1.4 ZF.2. All truly mint. All priced very well. All free and fast shipping. All packaged expertly. I have bookmarked half a dozen Japanese sellers that I will certainly be returning to in the future.
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Old 02-24-2018   #15
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I don't think Japanese sellers are in general worse at describing listed items than Russian or Slovakian seller, what bothers me is the over-sea tax. Taxing over potentially non-working or not in 100% working condition cameras as if they are brand new digital cameras/lenses is simply unfair to me, which Swedish import office does.

Sad thing is it is still cheaper to buy oversea than to buy from Swedish buy-it-now sellers.
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Old 02-24-2018   #16
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I too have had good experiences with Japanese sellers. While many other eBay sellers will oversell their offerings - usually by over stating the condition the Japanese seem to often do the opposite. I recently bought a Canon 50mm f1.5 at a very good price (for this lens) which in the description sounds as if it needed an urgent CLA. When I got it I found that yes a CLA may well be needed at some point but it is perfectly usable without it. I was very happy not to have to fork out more money while also making a good saving on the buying price. This is not atypical. My experience is also that the shipping cost is reasonable and the shipping service relatively fast and reliable. Unlike some countries- Chinese shipping is cheap but very unpredictable in terms of transit time and USA shipping is hellishly expensive, often with inexpensive items rendering them uneconomic to purchase from there. This is a huge competitive disadvantage for USA sellers. As to the Eastern Bloc countries (as they were once termed) I have only ever bought quite inexpensive items from there as I am never sure about whether the seller is reliable and honest. The fact is, I prefer to buy from Japanese sellers if I possibly can - they are that reliable. The main problem with buying lenses from Japan if you are into vintage glass in particular, is that the Japanese climate tends to lead to many offerings suffering from fungus although this can also lead to some bargains being had if you are handy with a screw driver and have the confidence to CLA lenses yourself.
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Old 02-24-2018   #17
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Thanks for these responses. I guess the ultimate conclusion is that it is becoming harder to find good vintage stuff everywhere. I think the heyday is over. Those of us with eclectic tastes in gear will have to work harder for it.

That being said, I do still sell occasionally on ebay and prize my 100% feedback (and take clear pictures). But if it's anything rangefinder related I try here first!
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Old 02-24-2018   #18
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But once won an auction listingI for "excellent" Contax G1, with pictures to prove it. And it was cheap. What I got was a body so scratched, that one hardly could see the original metal through it. Of course I proteted to the seller, and got apologies and a refund, but it got me thinking: was I a victim of an elaborate bait-and-switch?
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Old 02-24-2018   #19
jsrockit
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0 issues from japanese ebay sellers here... I find them to generally go out of their way to make the transactions as easy as possible really. I have not used them since I moved to Chile though.
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Old 02-24-2018   #20
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I"ve had nothing but great experiences.
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Old 02-24-2018   #21
Hogarth Ferguson
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Quote:
Originally Posted by splitimageview View Post
This pretty much applies to sellers from any region.

I've had nothing but good experiences from Japanese sellers, including some under-rated bargains, but then again, it's important to pick the right sellers...no matter where they are from.

It's not all that difficult.
I think the only reason this thread is about Japanese sellers and not everyone is, because of the prevalence of camera equipment coming from Japan.


I generally don't buy from ebay anymore, I prefer to deal with Bellamy. Sure, he has fees and higher prices, but I trust him and he has been great to deal with.
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Old 02-24-2018   #22
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Since we're talking Japanese sellers, my favourite place to buy camera equipment in person is Tokyo. The sheer volume of vintage equipment never fails to amaze me & I've always come away with something cool.
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Old 02-24-2018   #23
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Everything I buy from Japan is purchased off the Yahoo! Japan auction site through a proxy service. The item prices are dirt cheap, and, being that I live so close to Japan, the shipping prices aren’t bad either (and no import taxes here, as well). Also, there are rare items that seldom turn up on eBay.

My last two purchases were a Konica IIA with 48/2 Hexanon and Kowa Kallo W with 35/2.8 Prominar. These two cameras I have never seen on eBay. I do assume that everything will need at least a partial overhaul. But, since most of the stuff in my collection is from the 50s, that assumption applies no matter where I purchase from.
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Old 02-24-2018   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peter Jennings View Post
Everything I buy from Japan is purchased off the Yahoo! Japan auction site through a proxy service. The item prices are dirt cheap, and, being that I live so close to Japan, the shipping prices aren’t bad either (and no import taxes here, as well). Also, there are rare items that seldom turn up on eBay.

My last two purchases were a Konica IIA with 48/2 Hexanon and Kowa Kallo W with 35/2.8 Prominar. These two cameras I have never seen on eBay. I do assume that everything will need at least a partial overhaul. But, since most of the stuff in my collection is from the 50s, that assumption applies no matter where I purchase from.
Yahoo Auctions is definitely the key here. Those listings are heads and shoulders better.
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Old 02-24-2018   #25
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I generally find the best condition gear from Japanese sellers on eBay.
And being in NY, items from Japan often gets here faster than some domestic sellers who take their sweet time getting to the post office.
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Old 02-24-2018   #26
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I have had only good experiences with Japanese sellers on ebay, but my purchases are maybe not as venerable as those of the OP, being Mamiya 6 (not old folder model) and lenses, manual Nikon lenses, and smaller bits. I only deal with sellers whose photos are very good and descriptions very complete, and I often ask a question to try to judge them by their tone. Korea also very good (despite friends working there having had quite a few bad dealings with people).
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Old 02-24-2018   #27
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Living where I do I buy most of my equipment from the Japanese ebay sellers and I'll state that in 10 years I've yet to have any complaints. As others have stated, their descriptions are accurate and prices very fair. Shipping and packing is first class.
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Old 02-24-2018   #28
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japanese sellers on ebay all used to be great. good quality items with good photos (high res, good lighting) and accurate descriptions.

in the last coupe of years, a small coterie of japanese and chinese sellers joined the fray and flooded ebay with average to lousy items that come with small, misleading photos, and descriptions whose purpose is to make you think that maybe it'll turn out ok even if i can't really tell what condition it's in.
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Old 02-24-2018   #29
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I bought some Nikon F2 plain prism cameras from Japan. No issues.

If I could buy in USA and see first, that would be better.
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Old 02-24-2018   #30
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I have nothing against international sellers but there are issues that do crop up. The farther away an item is the more chance of it getting lost or damaged in shipping, customs, baggage handling, etc. I always try to make contact with the seller which gives me an indication of their response time and whether we communicate well (language differences lead to problems sometimes). If they understand me I try to get a thorough description of the item in writing on the ebay reply pages. I will ask them to shine a bright light through and specifically look for fungus, haze or cleaning marks on lenses. I will admit that I have noticed more and more gear showing up in Japan on ebay than in years past. Is it possible they tried to corner the market on specialty items and then sell at higher prices? Maybe, but most items I see from Japan are not that elevated in price so the idea must not have panned out. Good deals out there, just have to be thorough and if something seems off, run away. Bob.

Last edited by nanthor : 02-24-2018 at 22:04. Reason: correct spelling
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Old 02-24-2018   #31
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This post seems to be a massive sweeping generalisation and hugely prejudicial.
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Old 02-25-2018   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chuffed Cheese View Post
I wish there was a way to permanently filter out these items on eBay UK. It's a horrible experience searching through them as their prices are garbage. their descriptions are bad and the VAT fees kill any chance of them being a good deal. Oh well, filtering the search for UK items only helps but still excludes European goods.
Hi,

You can apply a few filters to ebay searches; just go to the advanced search page and tick "UK Only" or "European Union" in the "Location" section.

You can also filter out words on the title or descriptions.

Regards, David
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Old 02-25-2018   #33
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Japanese ebay sellers used to be reliably the best. Now, I'm finding a lot of items rated as EX++++ with visibly bad fungus and dents etc. I just last week received a lens that was rated as optically excellent and functioning perfectly by a Japanese seller that had very oily aperture blades - to the point where stopping down is slow. I can't be bothered to send it back and pay the shipping so I'll be keeping it and having it serviced, but it pains me that the once reliable seller archetype of the Japanese appears to have crumbled.
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Old 02-25-2018   #34
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[quote=peterm1;2791917]I too have had good experiences with Japanese sellers. While many other eBay sellers will oversell their offerings - usually by over stating the condition the Japanese seem to often do the opposite.

This has been precisely my experience 95% of the time with Japanese sellers.
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Old 02-25-2018   #35
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Only very good experiences with Japanese sellers. I bought a Leica M7 and a Nikon FM3A in Japan a few years ago and the cameras arrived as advertised...in mint condition. No complaints.
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Old 02-25-2018   #36
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My experience with experienced, high quality Japanese sellers has been excellent. In fact, I think they are fairly easy to vet even as a beginner. In fact, I have very high confidence that a Japanese ebay offering is fairly easy to screen, but it must be screened like anything else. And the motivations and decision process the buyer employs can sidetrack from the solid offerings into a poor decision. Blaming a poorly motivated outcome on the seller alone is a bit of a stretch... and on a nation as a whole unworthy of a public forum.

I believe eBay makes the pricing more transparent in general. This tends to lift prices generally somewhat as confidence in buying rises. Initially this was offset by the flood of merchandise out of attics and basements, but as this has abated, scarcity increased. The global audience actually dilutes the likelihood of an actual bargain, so it is wiser to focus instead on getting a quality piece of merchandise at a fair, or slight premium with refundability. This is just the way it seems to work. Invariably, any disappointments I've had have been when I have been rushed or compromised my own rules. I can hardly blame the seller for my laxity.

FWIW, I have been stiffed only by one - an American on the West Coast selling a Zeiss ZM lens I suspect he did not actually have, or if he did, was fencing. I reported the transaction and eBay/PayPal handled the whole, with a full refund.
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Old 02-25-2018   #37
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I've never dealt with any sellers from Japan, so can't comment on the quality of items coming from there.

However, I have noticed recently that many sellers worldwide (including those long-established and with pristine reputations) are now stocking and selling items in conditions they previously wouldn't have touched - and getting the (high) prices they're asking for them.

I've no axe to grind, and more power to them if they can do this, but just wonder if this is because of scarcity or recent interest and 'resurgence' in this type of equipment?

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Old 02-25-2018   #38
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I tend not to generalize. You can meet decent and subpar sellers from any part of the world.
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Old 02-25-2018   #39
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Most Japanese sellers include detailed photos.
Always look closely at the photos.
Translations may lie, but the photos don't.

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Old 02-25-2018   #40
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I had 50 1.8 LTM from Japan, advertised, with low fog. In fact, it was heavily fogged.
These days I often see old Leitz lenses and cameras advertised as excellent by Japanese sellers, but it is total junk on pictures provided.
It is not as bad as Russia, Ukraine sellers, where it is often total scam, but you need to pay a lot of attention for pictures.
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