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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Kayaker72's Avatar
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    Dec 2008
    New Hampshire, USA

    Return on Sales

    I think it is pretty common knowledge that lenses hold their value relatively well, with the conventional wisdom I've always heard being able to get 60-80% of your initial price when you sell it. I have seen, and even used this rationale myself, that we are more "renting" camera gear rather than buying it as your actual cost is 20-40% of the actual sale price.

    So, this winter I decided to sell off lenses I was not using and/or had effectively replaced. This included the EF 24-105 f/4, Sigma 35A, EF 50 f/1.4, and EF 100-400 Mk 1. I finished the last sale this past week. In total, I have now sold those lenses as well as everything associated with my original 7D kit including the 7D, 580 EX II, EFs 10-22, EFs 15-85, and 50 mm f/1.8 II. So, I have now sold 1 camera body, 1 flash and 7 lenses via ebay (4 lenses), craigslist (2 lenses), and a personal contact (camera, lens and flash).

    Overall, I am seeing exactly what I had expected in that I have averaged 70% recovery of my initial investment on the lenses, less on the flash and camera body.

    A few lessons learned:
    • Buy low. Most of my initial gear was purchased at the going rates via Amazon or B&H. Soon I started waiting for rebates, or other good deals such as refurbished lenses. This is how I've purchased a lot of my current gear. One of the first things to jump out at me is that, of course, the return is better for the gear where I bought low. Best example is the 35A where I recovered 93% of my initial purchase price.
    • Sell early. If I've done something wrong it is wait too long to sell my gear. I would have recovered more had I sold the 24-105 immediately when I purchased the 24-70 II. The same is true, to a lesser extent, of the 100-400 Mk 1. Instead, I waited and saw the used prices drop.
    • Little difference between Craigslist and Ebay. Based on what I've seen the difference in recovery in minimal. I kept worrying about all the fees with Ebay. But, of the 2 lenses sold on CL, 1 was sold for less and one sold for more than the average I recovered (after fees) of the 4 lenses sold on ebay. On average I made out ~5% better on craigslist, but that was mostly driven by the EF 50 f/1.8 II, where I recovered 84% on an inexpensive lens. Up to you if that is worth the hassle of CL, which seems to work better in urban areas compared to southern NH.
    • Kits are a great deal. I've bought 2 kits now, the 24-105 with the 5DIII and my EOS-M with 18-55 and 90 EX. When I break apart the "kit" and assign values I am still impressed with what I paid for each item.
    • Bodies don't hold their value as well as lenses, but I think we all know that.

    It is also tempting to conclude that I should have just invested in exactly what I wanted upfront. But I think everyone needs to go through some progression to figure out what they want and whether they need/want to invest in certain gear. So, when I look at what I have spent vs the fun I've had. Worth it.
    Last edited by Kayaker72; 03-14-2016 at 06:10 PM.

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