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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 24 Apr 2011 (Sunday) 15:20
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cost of good equipment

 
birdfromboat
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Apr 24, 2011 15:20 |  #1

I just wanted to tell you all about how I have figured the cost of my equipment. I have always said that the true cost of a lens is the price paid less the price returned when you sell or trade it.

I recently decided my 24-105 was redundant with a 24-70 in my bag, my 17-40 didn't get used much unless I set out specifically to do panorama shots, and my 100-400 was due to be replaced by an expensive large prime. I sold all three and a 430 flash that was riding around in it's bag unused.

Total cost for all 3 lenses and the flash after 3-4 years of very enjoyable use: right around 60 bucks. I even made a buck on the flash.

One thing an L lens does that a standard lens doesn't do is hold it's value. This is true of so many things- if you buy high quality items used, they have already dropped to the used price level and will hold there or increase with time if you take care of them. Even if you buy new, would you rather lose 10-20% of the cost of an L or 30-40% of the cost of a standard lens? Of course it is a bigger investment to buy the L's, but it is undoubtedly a better one, especially used.

I wonder-what would I have paid to lease those lenses for 3 years? 1 weekend with 1 lens might be more than I paid for 3 years with all 3. Thats the facts.

Anyway, don't take this as bragging about my salesmanship and ability to bargain hunt. I just wanted to pass on some advice and maybe help someone convince themselves or someone they know:) the L glass is worth it (it is SO worth it).


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HappySnapper90
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Apr 25, 2011 11:37 |  #2

birdfromboat wrote in post #12284284 (external link)
One thing an L lens does that a standard lens doesn't do is hold it's value. This is true of so many things- if you buy high quality items used, they have already dropped to the used price level and will hold there or increase with time if you take care of them. Even if you buy new, would you rather lose 10-20% of the cost of an L or 30-40% of the cost of a standard lens? Of course it is a bigger investment to buy the L's, but it is undoubtedly a better one, especially used.

Lenses aren't wear items, and it also helps if a lens hasn't had an updated model launched such as a II version or Sigma adding digital coating (DG) or adding OS to it.

But 30% less of a $300 lens is $90, while just 10% less of a $1000 lens is $100. Who cares what percent less you resell an item for, the overall dollar amount matters.

My 6 year old 50mm f1.4 lens looks brand new. It focuses well and is fairly sharp wide open - not like some that give very foggy, cloudy results wide open. So if I were to sell it I"m sure I could even make money on it since lens prices have increased since I bought it 6 years ago! :)




  
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birdfromboat
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Apr 25, 2011 12:49 |  #3

You are right, the overall dollar amount matters. But thats only if it is the only variable. 90 bucks is less depreciation than 100 bucks depreciation without a doubt, but the lenses in question are definitely not the same in the example you use. When comparing investments in different comodities and at different amounts of total investment, percentages of loss or return are the only way to compare them.

Using comparison of percentage of loss, my 10D has been a horrible investment compared to a rebel xs or xti. My 5D is also a bad investment compared to most of the XXD models.

If I was to know going in that I was going to lose 50-100 bucks on a lens, no matter what lens it was, I would rather lose that money on a 300 f2.8 than a 75-300 any day.

Thats all I am saying here, the good stuff doesn't cost any more than the lesser stuff, and making the bigger investment is very justifiable.


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edge100
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Apr 26, 2011 07:14 |  #4

This has absolutely been my experience, as well.

Bought a used 70-200 f/4 in mid-2008 for $500; sold it in early 2010 for $650. That's a 30% ROI in about 18 months. Of course, that doesn't take into account the opportunity-cost of that original $500 investment, but I can't think of a single other thing I could have put that $500 into that would have yielded a 20% annualized ROI (especially in the 2008-2010 economy).

Plus, I got to enjoy the (wonderful) 70-200 in the interim.

The key to this strategy is (often) being ok with buying good quality used glass; you skip the initial depreciation costs, but you get a like-new lens.


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snowshark13
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Apr 26, 2011 09:17 |  #5

This has been my motto for a while, buy used! I've tried a lot of lenses in the last 3 years. I usually make $10 or lose $10 on my lenses, so it has been fun to be able to try so many. My most recent purchase was the 200 2.8 for $500 and I see them go for $600+ here and higher on other sites. :D


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Accessoire
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Apr 26, 2011 09:28 |  #6

they don't even have to be L lenses
I sold a hard-to-find lens (Tokina) for $100 more than I bought it for after owning it 2 years because it had gone up that much.




  
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HappySnapper90
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Apr 27, 2011 17:02 |  #7

I could probably make money selling my Canon 50mm f/1.4 which is good wide open. Bought it for $310 7 years ago and that lens now sells for $450. It's in great shape. Bet I could sell it for $375 and make profit!




  
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elogical
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Apr 28, 2011 23:56 |  #8

I definitely agree overall, but remember to take into account the costs of selling. It costs to ship, to list (maybe, depends where I guess), to insure the shipment, paypal fees, and selling less than market rate if it's an obscure item that you want to move within a week or two instead of sitting on it forever

It's good advice though. I've never rented and don't plan to. It's so much more affordable to just research first, then buy the lens. As long as you're serious about wanting the lens and not just needing it for one event this seems like it would usually be cheaper. Plus if you choose carefully and don't have to sell, the lens is already yours.


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alabama1980
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Apr 29, 2011 01:01 |  #9

Very good stuff!

My dad was a hardcore tool guy, and it was drilled in my head early on that 99% of the time you're going to get what you pay for with tools of any kind. He bought the good stuff for the same reason you mention...if he got tired of it or no longer needed it he could sell it for much closer to what he paid for it.

After he passed away I sold some of the tools that I knew I wouldn't use at pretty close to retail prices, and they were all used!


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birdfromboat
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Apr 29, 2011 13:20 |  #10

alabama1980 wrote in post #12314598 (external link)
Very good stuff!

My dad was a hardcore tool guy, and it was drilled in my head early on that 99% of the time you're going to get what you pay for with tools of any kind. He bought the good stuff for the same reason you mention...if he got tired of it or no longer needed it he could sell it for much closer to what he paid for it.

After he passed away I sold some of the tools that I knew I wouldn't use at pretty close to retail prices, and they were all used!

I guess i am a hardcore tool guy too, 23 years as a machinist, the last 10 as senior toolmaker for a 250 million a year company.

I see guys buy cheap equipment because they think it is a savings, but the savings is long gone when they have to buy another because the company that made it doesn't warranty their product or even have a replacement parts system in place.

Canon L's are top shelf. A good investment new or used, they do the job and the market bears out their worth.


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pixiepearls
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Apr 29, 2011 14:39 |  #11

It's all about knowing the future value of a lens which of course you can't ANyone selling a 35mm 1.8 Nikon right now can sell a $200 lens for $300 or $400, still FAR less then the higher end model. It's gambling if you are buying to re-sell. When I buy equipment I buy it for life. I order from companies with good return policies and I test the heck out of it for 5 days to make sure I am going to love it. I returned a 24-70 and a 17-55 from nikon (the later being used, the first being new) and returned both because the sharpness did not impress me nor did the weight. My 17-50 Tamron (my first off brand lens) impresses the hell out of me for less then half the cost of the higher end ones. If you want to save cash, do a lot of research and buy off-brand. I am a fan of nikon and canon glass, but if you are careful you can find the diamond in the rough (like the 50mm 1.4 Sigma).


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egraphdesign
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Apr 29, 2011 19:21 |  #12

birdfromboat wrote in post #12317180 (external link)
I guess i am a hardcore tool guy too, 23 years as a machinist, the last 10 as senior toolmaker for a 250 million a year company.

I see guys buy cheap equipment because they think it is a savings, but the savings is long gone when they have to buy another because the company that made it doesn't warranty their product or even have a replacement parts system in place.

Canon L's are top shelf. A good investment new or used, they do the job and the market bears out their worth.

I agree with you to a point, but I don't think canon consumer grade lenses are crap. I uses tools everyday also and I just shake my head when I see someone on a job site with a 99 cent screwdriver.

Resale is really not an issue for me camera or tool wise I just try and buy what I need and spend sometime thinking before I buy, and after I get it I take care of it my five year old gear is in the same shape as my one year old gear. I guess that's what I got from my dad take care of your tools and they will take care of you.

My point is there is some middle ground between great and crap, and most people do not need or require L glass.

Jim




  
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elogical
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Apr 29, 2011 20:12 |  #13

alabama1980 wrote in post #12314598 (external link)
My dad was a hardcore tool guy, and it was drilled in my head early on that 99% of the time you're going to get what you pay for with tools of any kind. He bought the good stuff for the same reason you mention...if he got tired of it or no longer needed it he could sell it for much closer to what he paid for it.

lol, me too! My dad really rubbed it in to (within reason) buy the best you can and not have to replace it. I don't always follow this, but I'm still generally a believer in this. The other lens I got from a young age was that renting equipment generally isn't a great idea. There's some exceptions of course, but with a lot of the tools/photo equipment people rent, you'd do better to buy it, keep it around a little longer and resell it later if you don't need it.


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cost of good equipment
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