What's that camera worth?
In the days before cameras went digital, there was a broad consensus of opinion as to the second hand value of particular makes and models. This judgment was immortalised in various publications known generically as
Blue Books, which were normally updated annually, aimed at traders and extremely expensive to buy.
McKeown's is the most respected. The last edition was published in 2005/2006, can be purchased
used via Amazon - and it's pretty damn expensive at a cost typically over £500. However, prices are likely to plummet, because there's a NEW edition on the way.
NB: The web page shown on the right was first published in about July 2015.
This new McKeown's is taking a very long time to compile.
I have a lesser Blue Book, published by
Hove International (the Millennium edition). As a tool for the casual camera collector, it's pretty useless. The pages are populated with details of obscure cameras I've never heard of, will probably never encounter, and would not wish to own. For example, turning to a random page I am confronted by an
Elop Kamerawerk Flansburg Elca II from 1950. Conversely, many more common manufactures and their models are completely absent; for example, there are a mere three entries for Fuji/Fujica, who began producing cameras in 1948.
More than that, the information on camera values in 1999 is now completely out of date; not so much due to inflation, but shifts in popularity. In short, an old Blue Book is about as useful today as a 127 roll-film camera.
The lack of an authoritative reference manual means that the answer to the question
what's it worth? is literally - what someone is prepared to pay. Yet this isn't the dead end answer it might first appear to be.
One thing's for sure: the asking price of an item is not necessarily an indication of a camera's value. However, eBay can be used to research what buyers are actually paying. At the bottom of the eBay search filter menu, on the left of the page (see screen grab left), are the options:
show only completed listings, and
sold listings. If you can't find these, it's also an option in the advance search. Clicking the check box for sold listings returns those items sold within the past few weeks (sort of obvious isn't it?). Completed listings includes items that failed to sell (were too expensive).
The answer to the question is out there: it just takes little effort to collect the data. If you want something badly enough, then you may choose to pay more.
I've tabulated the price I paid for cameras in my collection (also on their individual pages), in the summary below: hopefully it demonstrates what's possible when you plan, wait and watch. Some of these models were inexpensive for a reason, but you'll have to look at the detailed information on each page to find out why.
The figures shown are net of postage (and I don't bid on anything with unreasonable postage costs), and some have been adjusted due to the resale of unwanted items in a bundle.
|My collection summary||Numbers||Price|
* where the re-sale of unwanted
extras exceeded the initial cost of the item
|Camera||Price / Date||Condition|
|Petri 7s||-£7.90 / March 2014||Stuck winder|
|Voigtlander Vito B (large finder)||-£1.05 / June 2015||FWO|
|Fujica ST601||-£0.70 / September 2015||FWO|
|Fujica ST901 (black)||£0.00 / August 2014||FWO|
|Agfa Selectronic 3||£0.00 / August 2015||FWO|
|Ricoh 500G||£0.00 / May 2017||FWO|
|GAF Memo 35 ET||£0.99 / August 2016||Sticky shutter blades|
|Olympus Trip||£1.04 / May 2013||FWO|
|Agfa Super Silette||£1.20 / August 2013||FWO|
|Halina Paulette||£1.20 / February 2016||FWO|
|A&K Arette Super P||£1.21 / June 2014||No focus|
|Fujica ST705w||£1.24 / November 2016||FWO|
|Pentax ME Super||£2.30 / July 2015||FWO|
|Fujica ST605n||£2.70 / May 2014||FWO|
|Agfa Optima Sensor Electronic Flash||£3.31 / November 2015||FWO|
|Ricoh Auto 35||£3.70 / July 2015||Meter broken|
|Agfa Optima Sensor Electronic 335||£3.99 /September 2015||FWO|
|Yashica Minister D||£4.00 / December 2013||FWO|
|Pentax Spotmatic F||£4.20 / August 2013||Meter broken|
|Voigtlander Vito B (small finder)||£4.95 / June 2013||FWO|
|Voigtlander Vito BL||£4.95 / June 2015||FWO|
|Agfa Super Silette||£4.99 / June 2016||FWO|
|Nikon EM||£5.00 / June 2013||FWO|
|Voigtlander Vito IIa||£5.00 / August 2013||Winder broken|
|Yashica TL Electro X||£5.50 / February 2014||Meter broken|
|Fujica ST701 (black)||£6.00 / April 2015||Various faults|
|A&k Arette 1Dn||£6.39 / May 2014||Various faults|
|Beauty Lightmatic SP||£6.51 / June 2015||Various faults|
|Fujica ST801 + Fujinon f/1.8 55mm lens||£6.55 / April 2015||FWO|
|Topcon Uni + UV Topcor 35mm f/3.5 lens||£6.99 / May 2013||FWO|
|Agfa Selectronic Sensor||£7.21 /September 2015||FWO|
|Agilux Agimatic||£7.50 / March 2014||Rangefinder broken|
|Fujica ST901 (black) + Fujinon EBC f1.8 55mm lens||£7.50 / August 2014||FWO|
|Wirgin Edinex II||£7.50 / October 2014||FWO|
|Topcon IC-1 Auto + Hi Topcor 50mm f/2 lens||£7.50 / January 2015||FWO|
|Fujica ST901 (chrome)||£7.78 / June 2013||FWO|
|Fujica ST701 + Fujinon f1.8 55mm lens||£8.37 / January 2015||FWO|
|Agfa Solinette||£8.40 / May 2016||FWO|
|Kowa E||£8.49 / May 2015||FWO|
|Contax 137 MD Quartz||£8.50 / 2012||FWO|
|Nikon Nikkormat EL||£8.50 / November 2016||FWO|
|Fujica 35 Auto-M||£8.99 / October 2014||FWO|
|Miranda RE-II||£9.67 / June 2017||Minor issues|
|Canon Canonet||£10.00 / November 2013||FWO|
|Fujica 35-EE||£10.00 / February 2014||Various faults|
|Zeiss Ikon Contina IIa||£10.49 / July 2013||Lens fungus|
|Minolta H-Matic 7s||£10.49 / July 2014||FWO|
|Voigtlander Vitomatic I||£10.50 / June 2016|
|Minolta XG-M||£11.00 / December 2014||FWO|
|Beauty Beaumat||£11.00 / March 2015||FWO|
|Canon TX||£11.08 / April 2017||FWO|
|Praktica LTL||£11.10 / August 2015||FWO|
|Beauty Lightomatic III||£11.50 / July 2014||FWO|
|Beauty Canter 35||£12.20 / April 2017||Frozen focus|
|Yashica FX-D Quartz + Yashica 50mm f2 ML lens||£12.50 / January 2014||FWO|
|Pentax KM||£14.90 / December 2013||FWO|
|Miranda Auto Sensorex EE + Miranda E f1.8 50mm lens||£15.49 / February 2014||FWO|
|Fujica Rapid S2||£15.79 / October 2015||Meter broken|
|Topcon Unirex + UV Topcor 50mm f/2 lens||£16.10 / March 2015||FWO|
|Beauty Lightomatic||£16.15 / July 2016||FWO|
|Graflex Graphic||£20.00 / October 2016||No 2nd RF image|
|Minolta SR-T 101||£20.00 / March 2017||FWO|
|Contax 137 MA Quartz||£21.65 / November 2014||FWO|
|Nikon FG (+ MD-E winder)||£23.00 / September 2015||FWO|