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Bill Pierce - Leica M photog and author

 

“Our autobiography is written in our contact sheets,  and our opinion of the world in our selects”  

"Never ever confuse sharp with good, or you will end up shaving with an ice cream cone and licking a razor blade."  

 

Bill Pierce is one of the most successful Leica photographers and authors ever. I initially "met" Bill in the wonderful 1973 15th edition Leica Manual (the one with the M5 on the cover). I kept reading and re-reading his four chapters, continually amazed at his knoweldge and ability, thinking "if I only knew a small part of what this guy knows... wow."  I looked foward to his monthly columns in Camera 35 and devoured them like a starving man.  Bill has worked as a photojournalist  for 25 years, keyword: WORK.  Many photogs dream of the professional photographer's  life that Bill has earned and enjoyed.  Probably Bill's most famous pic is Nixon departing the White House for the last time, victory signs still waving. 

 

Bill  has been published in many major magazines, including  Time, Life, Newsweek, U.S. News, The New York Times Sunday Magazine, New York Magazine, Stern, L'Express and Paris Match.  :His published books include  The Leica Manual,  War Torn, Survivors and Victims in the Late 20th Century, Homeless in America,  Human Rights in China,  Children of War.  Add to that numerous exhibitions at major galleries and museums.  Magazine contributions include  Popular Photography,  Camera 35, Leica Manual,  Photo District News, the Encyclopedia of Brittanica, the Digital Journalist, and now RFF.  Major awards include Leica Medal of Excellence, Overseas Press Club's Oliver Rebbot Award for Best Photojournalism from Abroad,  and the World Press Photo's Budapest Award. Perhaps an ever bigger award is Tom Abrahamsson's comment: "If you want to know Rodinal, ask Bill."

 

I met Bill in person through our mutual friend Tom Abrahamsson.  In person his insight and comments are every bit as interesting and engaging as his writing.  He is a great guy who really KNOWS photography.  I am happy to say he has generously agreed to host this forum at RFF  From time to time Bill will bring up topics, but you are also invited to ask questions.  Sit down and enjoy the ride!

 


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Excess cameras
Old 02-13-2014   #1
Bill Pierce
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Excess cameras

Digital camera systems are evolving rapidly. Buying successive models of digital cameras, sometimes with incremental improvements, sometimes with major improvements, has left many with more cameras than they can use. (And less money in their bank accounts…) We use some while others sit on the shelf. (Not like the film world when major improvements to a camera system could take many years…) So what do you do with those cameras sitting on the shelves? It would be nice to sell them. Where do you sell your excess cameras? Friends, the camera store where you bought them, Ebay??? Your thoughts… Your experiences…
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Old 02-13-2014   #2
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I don't have anything sitting unused on a shelf. I sell what I don't use in forum classifieds or ebay.
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Old 02-13-2014   #3
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I think for me, where I sell it depends on what it's worth. I'll usually see if any friends are interested and if they pass, I'll post it on eBay or Amazon.

The camera I am currently selling is on eBay. I was going to go the Amazon route but their profit on my sale is a bit higher then eBay and if it's a larger item, you lose money on shipping.

If I was part of a forum like this, but was dedicated to digital, I'd probably try it in the Classifieds first.

If it's under $100 and maybe has a little wear on it, I'll give it to someone I know who could use it and will appreciate it. But that also depends on what make and model and how complicated it is to use.
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Old 02-13-2014   #4
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I am guilty of a piece or two being unused, but for reasons other than technological advancement.
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Old 02-13-2014   #5
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I've only once bought a digital camera as an upgrade - every other time it's been to replace one that fell victim to Sod's Law - and I sold the outgoing model to a colleague at work.
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Old 02-13-2014   #6
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I have sold most, but I do have an EOS 10d and a Powershot A590 as "spares" - they are not shelf queens. The 10d is spending the summer in our summer cottage, in case I forget to bring a camera. The Powershot is always in my bag. So they get used on occasion.
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Old 02-13-2014   #7
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It is rare that I sell one of my film cameras.
I sell my digital stuff on this forum or to KEH.
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Old 02-13-2014   #8
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I buy VERY few digital cameras. On the rare occasions I buy a new one, I regard the old one as written off/backup.

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Old 02-13-2014   #9
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I just sold my M9 on eBay and the shipping is already a day late, so of course I'm getting blamed for it. The buyer emailed me this morning asking if I had any info on it. He has the same tracking number that I do. I don't have an in with the postal service and there's an epic snowstorm between my location and his.

I hate selling online but it really is the only way to do it. I tried local via craigslist and I got offers $1000-$1500 below asking and one guy who literally asked me if I'm going to be alone when we tried to schedule a meet, told me his name was Jimmy in an email using Craigslist anonymous email, and Tommy in a voicemail with a blocked number. So no matter what you do, you're stuck. I've taken plenty of stuff to Adorama and let them rip me off just to not deal with the hassle of selling online.
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Old 02-13-2014   #10
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My only digital camera is a Canon EOS 10D that I use to take pictures of my film cameras for my blog.
From all the cameras I have on my blog, I have kept only 5 of them and I try to shot at least a film with each every year. The rest are all sold...
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Old 02-13-2014   #11
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Quote:
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...just to not deal with the hassle of selling online.
Why not try here?

I have had good dealings with pretty much everyone here. I recently had a problem with something I sold that I should have caught. The communication was amicable. I would like to think things are workable here as we all (most of us anyway) tend to care about our reputations here.
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Old 02-13-2014   #12
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Well, I have bought 2 DSLR's since 2007. The first one, a used E-300 from KEH I did not use much, too bulky. I did actually sell it at a camera show after I bought the new one, a discontinued E-410 in 2009. Still have it (although the card slot cover has to taped up tight for it to work). When it expires I'll keep the kit lens, toss the camera in the trash, and then decide what to buy. I don't really need a digital camera but mine comes in handy for a meter and to copy some of my B&W film negatives.
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Old 02-13-2014   #13
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I gave my m43 EP-1 away as a prize in Kent's Decisive Challenge ; with the hope that it would eventually be passed on to a youngster as a first real camera.
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Old 02-13-2014   #14
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My D70s, my first DSLR, was given to me by a photographer with too much equipment. I would like to be able to do the same once I upgrade to a nicer body.
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Old 02-13-2014   #15
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Either I sell them here or ebay, or I give them to my son. He uses it for a few weeks/months, then he sells it on cragslist.
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Old 02-13-2014   #16
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Yesterday I sold an NEX 5N and lenses locally - through a site called Kijiji which is like a prettier version of craigslist. Sold (and bought!) on here, GetDPI and Fred Miranda.

I was feeling good about having a lighter load - but came home to find an ARAX kit waiting for me
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Old 02-13-2014   #17
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Excess cameras... does not compute...
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Old 02-13-2014   #18
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Clearing shelves clears the mind. I've been selling what I no longer used, it's liberating really.
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Old 02-13-2014   #19
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The RFF classified ads are great. I've sold a bunch of stuff here, both photo equipment and books.
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Old 02-13-2014   #20
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Excess cameras? I don't understand this concept.

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Old 02-13-2014   #21
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I preferably sell here and as second try on eBay. There is a local store that does consignments as well, but judging by the amount of time stuff sits on their shelves, I would only go there if I was looking for free long term storage before having cash in a few years.
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Old 02-13-2014   #22
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When I sell my digital cameras I will usually do so:
- Here
- At Nikonians if a Nikon product
- On Ebay
- On craigslist
- To a friend

Sold quite a bit in the last year, both film and digital. Certain places work for certain equipment.
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Old 02-13-2014   #23
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The only thing I'm hardly using is my more than 10 year old Nikon Coolpix 4500 but it can't be worth anything and I don't need the money, and the macro is terrific as is the waist level finder. If I was a seller of anything photographic I would by now have sold at a loss and then rebought my 135 Elmar. And I would have sold and not rebought my tabbed 50 Summicron. Long-term loan might be the thing for me.
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Old 02-13-2014   #24
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I tend to bond with all of my cameras for various reasons, so selling them isn't an option for me. When I buy cameras, they tend to either be for a specific purpose, or as a second or third gen upgrade of a previous model, so despite having a lot of cameras, I tend to avoid the constant upgrade trap. The cameras that I simply do not use are given to close family. The others do get occasional use, so they sit in shelves and wait their turn.
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Old 02-13-2014   #25
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Quote:
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Why not try here?
I have. This forum is the worst. If it's not someone from some far off land that's wants you to jump through hoops to ship something internationally as a "gift" it's someone who's expecting a used camera/lens to be in showroom condition just back from a CLA at below market rates. And they all have the same sob story, "I just bought a XXXX so I don't have the cash right now but I can give you $1.99 for it." or "I just saw one sell at $4 on XYZ forum/ebay, can you sell me yours at that price since I missed that I need to pay my rent today sale."
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Old 02-13-2014   #26
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Quote:
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I have. This forum is the worst. If it's not someone from some far off land that's wants you to jump through hoops to ship something internationally as a "gift" it's someone who's expecting a used camera/lens to be in showroom condition just back from a CLA at below market rates. And they all have the same sob story, "I just bought a XXXX so I don't have the cash right now but I can give you $1.99 for it." or "I just saw one sell at $4 on XYZ forum/ebay, can you sell me yours at that price since I missed that I need to pay my rent today sale."
Ouch.... Sorry to hear of your Troubles
RFF Classifieds for me has been Easy & Worthwhile.
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Old 02-13-2014   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pierce View Post
Digital camera systems are evolving rapidly. Buying successive models of digital cameras, sometimes with incremental improvements, sometimes with major improvements, has left many with more cameras than they can use. (And less money in their bank accounts…) We use some while others sit on the shelf. (Not like the film world when major improvements to a camera system could take many years…) So what do you do with those cameras sitting on the shelves? It would be nice to sell them. Where do you sell your excess cameras? Friends, the camera store where you bought them, Ebay??? Your thoughts… Your experiences…
My thoughts...
Financially it is better to keep Ms on the shelves. The rest is exactly the same.
My experience - few digital ones and a lot of film ones. For the price of single M
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Old 02-13-2014   #28
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I've been pretty good about selling something the minute I buy a newer one...only way you can really get anything worthwhile out of the digital ones.

If you wait at all, the price you get starts going down dramatically... And I think this is accelerating...though at some point, the aftermarket has to bear some relationship to the new market minus a reasonable percentage?
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Old 02-13-2014   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daveleo View Post
It is rare that I sell one of my film cameras.
I sell my digital stuff on this forum or to KEH.
Me too.

KEH gets it if I don't use it anymore.

They travel to my city at least twice a year.
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Old 02-13-2014   #30
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I don't have surplus digital cameras yet (currently own only one), but have many film cameras, both compacts and SLR's, that I no longer use. I have a couple that may bring some money, but most are probably only going to fetch in the $20-40 range. Hardly worth the trouble. I usually sell them on Ebay. This time around I may donate some; the tax write-off may be worth more than selling on Ebay, after all their fees and Paypal's.
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Old 02-13-2014   #31
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I have no excess digital cameras.
I have plenty of unused film ones, I don't call them excess, though
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Old 02-13-2014   #32
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I keep many cameras just because I think they are pretty.
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Old 02-13-2014   #33
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I have never sold a camera, but I do live in a bad part of town. Twice in the last 30 years, burglars have broken into my house, and taken all of my cameras. Now always my "excess" ones, but it does cause me to occasionally retool.
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Old 02-13-2014   #34
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Um, I have a few cameras...probably about 300 to 350.

I have all kinds of cameras, and that's really point. I casually collect cameras because they're neat and pretty and the history of photo equipment interests me. Thus, I have a smattering of cameras of various film formats, or general design, or historical importance. You know, some key SLR designs (Nikon F, Exacta) or subminiature (Minox, Minolta 16), boxes (early box brownies, Agfa), rangefinders (of course!), TLRs, stereo, medium format folders, 35mm folders, large format (studio, field), Polaroid, and so on.

Most come to me cheap. Some free. Some at cost. A few at serious cost.
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Old 02-14-2014   #35
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Quote:
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Um, I have a few cameras...probably about 300 to 350.
Respect. Doubt if my favourite camera shop in London has this many!
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Old 02-14-2014   #36
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I think my current collection is wildly excessive, and I've only got ...mumble mumble...* cameras.

Still, if you can afford that many, and get to enjoy using them all, then good on ya!

ETA: Just counted up - I've got 23 cameras. Some are for sale. Some even work!

Also counted up my wishlist. Makes 15 cameras, of which I have 6, with stand ins for 7 others.
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Old 02-14-2014   #37
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I sell them usually, through national classifieds here in Ireland. Selling/ shipping internationally is a little too hit and miss for me, and prefer to get a feel for the buyer, and conduct the sale then in person. A nice conversation, and awkward exchange of a sum of money in public later, and its done. The buyer has gotten to see things in person before handing over any money, and anytime I've sold anything this way, its nearly always been a problem-free sale.

I think the main issue I have with unused equipment, tends to come from the value of the item in question being below the threshold where I'm willing to go to the hassle of selling it. Otherwise the minimalist in me gets bothered by the sight of something of some value gathering dust
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Old 02-14-2014   #38
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I gave my younger sister an old Fujifilm FinePix 6800 camera which I payed a lot for in the day but she hardly uses it as she ended up getting an Android phone But, I felt good giving it away.

I still have a Canon ELPH APS camera that needs to go at some point
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Old 02-17-2014   #39
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Isn't "excess cameras" an oxymoron?
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Old 02-17-2014   #40
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The old digital will go to soften the blow to my bank account from buying new camera
Some old stuffs that stay might get lended to friend under the simple term that they will return it when I asked.

Usually selling them in local classified website and always try to meet the person directly.
Less bad reps if they can check it personally.
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