Decluttering old film cameras on eBay

I used to develop my own black and white film several years back, and around that time I also picked up several small point & shoot film cameras from various places such as eBay and Amazon.  This was around 2011, and at that time old, compact used film cameras were pretty cheap and easy to find.  From what I read, they were also prone to malfunction due to their age, so I typically bought multiple copies of the same camera if I could find a good deal so that I’d have an extra one either as a replacement or for parts if the original one ever broke (this was before I realized that buying multiples of the same thing was usually a waste of cash).

After a few years of doing this, I had built up a small army of film cameras, most of which I never used on a regular basis.  And as time went on, I was shooting less and less film as the novelty wore off, so over the last couple of months I’ve been gradually getting rid of them on eBay.  I was pleasantly surprised to see what these cameras were going for; in general, the prices on the used market have gone way up over the last couple of years.  I don’t know exactly what sparked this.  Hipsters embracing analog maybe?  Who knows.  But if you also have any old film cameras lying around the house that you don’t use anymore, you may want to consider selling them right now while people are paying large sums of money, because I don’t think this trend will last long.

I was able to sell most of these cameras for way more than what I originally paid.  My most extreme example is the camera shown below.

Olympus Stylus Epic

The Olympus Stylus Epic was a very popular consumer level point and shoot camera from the late 1990s.  Olympus sold over 20 million of these, so you’d think they’d be without much value since there were so many of them made.  In 2011, I paid $47 for the unit shown above, and it was basically a brand new camera in its original packaging with no signs of use whatsoever.  A month ago, I sold it on eBay for $260.  Way more than I ever expected to get from it when I first bought the thing.

Since I wasn’t using it anymore, I wanted to sell it while it was still in working order.  Cameras like this are designed as disposable products (like most cell phones of today) and can break at any moment without notice.  They usually can’t be repaired since no one manufactures parts anymore, so I figured the longer I held onto it, the higher the risk of it falling apart to worthlessness while in my possession.

Though I used eBay for this occasion, my usual preferred method of selling unneeded goods is Craigslist.  It’s free with no fees, all cash, and all local, so there’s no need to make any extra efforts to send shipments across the country.  I always have buyers meet me at my office which has a ton of employees and security cameras all over the place.  I’d never risk having someone come over to the house–not worth the potential problems.  I’ve tried Craigslist in the past for camera gear, but it never worked out well.  I live in a relatively small town, so the pool of buyers here is way too small for something as specific as old point & shoot 35 mm film cameras, whereas on eBay my stuff sold within a few days.  The more specialized the item, the less success I’ve had on Craigslist.

All in all, I grossed about a thousand dollars from unloading all my used cameras.  I did hold onto one 35 mm film camera (a banged up Olympus XA) and my Holga for the occasional moments I do get inspired to shoot some film.  It feels great getting rid of all that clutter and making some money in the process.


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