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
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.
To get Down the Road in your inbox or reader six days a week, click here to subscribe!
To get my newsletter with previews of what I’m working on, click here to subscribe!