A blog post by Darkroom 8 Team
Buying your first ever film camera is a memorable feeling that you’ll never forget. As long as you know what to look out for when making your first purchase, it’ll be a pleasant experience.
When it comes to buying film cameras there are plenty of ways to do so, hence we’ve narrowed it down to 2 common options - Facebook groups and Ebay. With these simple tips and suggestions, you’ll be able to find your next new favourite film camera in no time!
There are many international and local Facebook groups, we personally go to Film Photography Buy/Sell Community (Malaysia).
We prefer to buy from local sellers as you can gauge the seller’s reputation in the local market.
Ask the seller to provide photos or videos of the camera/lens condition and operation. Check whether the camera is working as intended and even if there are flaws it could be common due to the age of the camera.
Ask for sample photos taken with the camera. Ideally the photos are taken with different shutter speed, aperture, and functions.
Ask the seller when was the last time the camera was sent in for CLA (Clean, Lubricate, Adjust) or repair.
If possible, schedule a physical meetup to check the camera and test it out yourself. In addition, the seller can brief you on how to operate it if you’re unfamiliar with the camera.
If you weren’t able to find the specific camera that you’re looking for, you can always post a purchase request in the group. Sellers will approach you and make an offer if they have it.
You can find almost any and every type of film camera on Ebay hence navigating through it can be slightly tricky.
Always check the seller’s rating and reviews from their recent customers. The closer to 100% the better.
Some sellers offer a return policy, some do not. Only go for the ones with return policy just in case the item is damaged during shipping.
Read the listing description carefully. Check whether the listing includes just a whole set inclusive of camera and lens or just the camera body.
We’d recommend going for cameras that are listed as “Mint” or “Near Mint” as those should be working in the best condition if true. Check the provided photos to see if the description matches it.
If you need any further photos from the seller or have any questions, always ask.
If possible, avoid using credit cards and use PayPal instead. PayPal has a Purchase Protection that will refund the money if your item doesn’t arrive or arrive in a different condition as described.
Don’t be afraid of purchasing from international sellers as long as the shipping cost fits your budget. Personally we usually buy cameras listed by sellers from Japan as the items arrive relatively quick and safe.
Take your time to compare the listings from different sellers. There is no rush.
If the deal is too good to be true, it probably is. Stay vigilant and do plenty of research before making the decision. Always remember these 3 simple words- Research, Research, and more Research!