How to find out what your old camera is worth

I am frequently asked what someone’s old camera is worth. My answer is always, “I don’t know. But I know how you can find out.” I’m going to share how here. Then I can just refer people to this page!

tl;dr: eBay lets you search for items that have recently sold. Those results will give you a good idea of what your camera is worth.

Checking sold listings

Minolta Maxxum 7000i

Let’s say you want to know the value of a Minolta Maxxum 7000i 35mm SLR. Go to ebay.com and enter “Minolta Maxxum 7000i” in the search box. You’ll see active listings for this camera — items that have not sold yet.

Scroll down until you see the “Show only” area on the left. Click the Sold Items box. A checkmark appears in that box, as well as in the adjacent Completed Items box. The search updates to show recently sold items, and items that sellers closed without completing a sale.

Scroll through that list looking for a camera that sold in similar condition, and with similar accessories, to yours. If you have only the body, this listing looks like a match:

If your 7000i has a lens attached, this listing looks like a match:

If your 7000i comes with one or more lenses, some accessories, and a bag, this listing looks like a match:

For all listings that look like a match, note the price — that’s what it sold for. Click each of the listings to look more closely at the camera, to make sure it’s in similar condition to yours.

Be sure to check whether the listing is for a Used (Pre-Owned) item, or for a Parts/Not Working item. Parts items generally sell for less. If you’re sure your camera works, ignore those listings. If you’re not sure, and can’t test it to find out, pay attention to both kinds of listings to know what parts cameras sell for versus working cameras.

These listings give you an idea of what your camera might sell for right now. Prices will fall across a range. On the day I wrote this, I looked at sold listings for a working Maxxum 7000i with a Minolta-branded 35-70mm zoom lens. I found completed sales at $65, $54.05, $10.50, $35, and $49.50. I ignore prices that are unusually low or high, so I dropped that $10.50 sale. That leaves a range of $35 to $65. That’s about what your Maxxum 7000i is worth.

The 7000i is a common camera that sells frequently on eBay. The less common your camera, the fewer sold listings you are likely to find, which makes it harder to triangulate on a value. For truly rare cameras, you are better off consulting a dealer. I don’t know how you’d find one.

Selling your camera

If you want to sell your camera on eBay, pricing it within the range of recently sold items should lead to a sale in a reasonable amount of time. My experience has been that the lower you price an item within the range, the faster it sells, because people love bargains. You can try pricing it above that range, too; you never know who will bite. Just be prepared to wait.

Some cameras are so plentiful and sell for so little that listings can linger. I listed a Nikon N50 for just $10 last year, because that camera isn’t worth more these days. It sat with no takers for three months before I finally canceled the listing.

If you try to sell your old camera to a used camera shop, you will not get nearly what it is worth. The camera shop has to make a profit, after all! But you can generally sell gear quickly and with little fuss that way. I sold a bunch of gear to KEH a couple years ago because I didn’t want to hassle with listing it all on eBay. It was good gear and they bought it for $400. I’m sure they sold it for three times that.

You can also try to sell your camera at a yard or boot sale, or on another online marketplace like Etsy. Bear in mind that the people looking in those places are not the same motivated buyers you will find on eBay, and might not be willing to pay as much.

On the other hand, if your camera is rare or special and you can find a special interest group for that camera, you could sell it for more than the eBay price.

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Comments

17 responses to “How to find out what your old camera is worth”

  1. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    While I’ve happily bought guaranteed camera equipment from KEH in the past, a valued source, the one time I sold them stuff was pretty disastrous for me! I only wish I had gotten a third of what the stuff was worth or potentially sold for. I think I got literally about a tenth. I was in a pinch in the very late 90’s and folding my household and moving to Washington D.C. for work. I had mint, CLA’d Canon FTb’s they gave me like 10 dollars a body. Ditto for some beautiful TLRs I had. I vowed never to sell to them again. When I divested myself of a lot of stuff in the mid 2000s, I did much better on eBay.

    I get the impression from those selling stuff now, that eBay is not really the way to go. They’re draconian sales model where they take what they consider the tax you owe out of your bank account is unacceptable to me. I don’t give anyone access to my bank accounts. I consider the sales I made in the past like selling at a yard sale. Professional sellers should have to register on eBay and pay their taxes accordingly, but I don’t think eBay should be calculating my possible income and profits and holding out money from my account like it’s my job. Not to mention that if it really was my job, they don’t know what my expenses and overhead is, I could be losing money on the sales, how can they dun me for the taxes and then I have to get the money back? It’s just another one of those things that’s gotten ridiculous.

    Craigs List seems rife with scammers, so I don’t know people that use that, and the “kids” tell me they don’t use Facebook market, so for me, it’s all word of mouth now, I guess….

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      eBay is really more for professional sellers now. The fees are high, the tax thing is real. I still sell there because it has the widest audience and lets me get rid of cameras I don’t want anymore. But I’m not out to make a huge profit, just to recoup more or less what I paid for the thing, and it works well enough for that.

      1. Kodachromeguy Avatar

        The big advantage of eBay is the number of viewers. If you live in a small town in an impoverished state, as I do, there is no local buyer population whatsoever. You have to use eBay or get scammed by KEH.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Scammed? KEH and their ilk are always going to buy for less than you can get on the open market because they then mark it up for their profit. As long as you know that when you sell to them, seems like it’s fair, to me.

  2. Marc Beebe Avatar

    Anything is only worth what someone will pay you for it; no buyer = no value. It doesn’t matter what it is. In fact that’s why money was invented. And I don’t mean cryptocurrency which always has no value, buyer or not.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Of course. The great thing about eBay is that there are people there interested in old film cameras. The recently sold values are a reasonable representation of what you can sell the camera for…on eBay. But because so many people use eBay I think it’s a reasonable enough way to get a valuation. Also, “use eBay recently sold values” is an answer that satisfies everyone who asks me this question!

  3. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I think you also have to look at the particulars of the camera being sold. For example, a fully serviced camera with the service documentation is worth more than the same camera that the seller lists as “fully working.” The first Spotmatic I bought some years ago was listed by a 100% positive feedback seller as fully working. It was, but the insides of the camera were crawling with corrosion from a battery leak that had found its way up wires into the camera. A testament to how well these old Spotties were built of course. So yeah, eBay is good place to get the base price for a particular camera, then factor in things like service, mods or special editions.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Good point. The eBay info is a starting point. Then you have to factor up or down based on your actual camera. For most people who ask me this question, they have some old camera they found in their dad’s sock drawer or something, so this blanket advice is good enough.

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        I have to say, I’ve never seen a camera I wanted to sell, listed as sold on eBay, no matter what condition, that would cover the CLA if I had it done, for between 100 and 200 bucks. Once you decide to actually pay someone to bring it back to life, and make it as dependable as they can, it’s basically yours, and you’ll never get that money back unless its Leica you bought for 5 bucks at a yard sale…everything I’ve ever sold, except view camera equipment, has always been a loss, so the goal is to make it as little of a loss as possible…

        1. tbm3fan Avatar
          tbm3fan

          Fully agree with this. Say you send your decent black body F2, cost $95, over to Sover and pay $500 for the complete CLA. Do you think you could then sell that camera on eBay for $595 plus all the shipping involved? I think no because it is my feeling that most buyers on eBay are fairly ignorant of cameras and repair costs. They would be besides themselves if they bought a 67 Mercury only to find out they had to put another $5000-6000 in it to bring it up to decent working condition.Only true devoted buyers understand those things and they are rare in the crowd.

        2. Jim Grey Avatar

          This is true of many things that get restored. I know of all sorts of stories of people putting $10k into restoring an old car only to be able to sell it for $6k.

  4. bodegabayf2 Avatar

    I have sold two Nikon F2 bodies restored by Sover, several Pentax bodies CLAd by Eric, a Canon F-1 New, a Minolta XD and a few others on eBay, all of which I have made a small profit on. The key is to have a lot of patience. Sometimes it take months, but eventually the right buyer comes along. The only cameras I have lost money on are the ones I have given to friends, but the joy in doing so is priceless.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      And I have benefited from your generosity, and I remain thankful!

  5. Michael Avatar
    Michael

    I’ve always been wary of high-priced single bid “sold” listings, regardless of what kind of item. I discount any data point like that even though they are possible with Buy It Now.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Kind of like discounting the Russian judge in the Olympics!

  6. Darts and Letters Avatar
    Darts and Letters

    A few years ago I figured the ship had largely sailed on selling most any of my Nikkor lenses, particularly the nicer ones I used on my earlier aps c cameras, but even my Nikkor 70-200 2.8 (the only splurge I’ve ever made when getting a camera or lens, that turned out to be rather ill-advised), without taking a pretty serious haircut, so I just made peace with it and now I sort of hope my boys might like to take them on later, as hand me downs.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      That’s the choice, isn’t it? Take the haircut or keep it. I’ve taken a couple haircuts, I’ve kept a couple things.

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