eBay: A Bunch of Jerks that Are a Photo/Video Guy’s Best Friend

dollar singI recently sold off all of my Canon camera gear to fund the purchase of a Sony Alpha a6000. When selling electronics there are a couple of ways to go about it.

You can always visit your local pawn shop. They will give cash to purchase most photo equipment. They give about 25% -33% of what it’s worth, so they can make enough money off of it to pay employees and overhead. If you are in a huge hurry for some reason, this may be a decent route to go. Similarly, there may be a used camera gear store nearby. Same sort of expectations on what you’ll get, but they may offer store credit and have something you want to trade for.

Then there’s Craigslist. I’ve never sold anything on Craigslist. I have bought a few things. If you live in a decent size area, you may find a buyer who will give you what your gear is worth. I’ve never wanted the hassle of dealing with calls/texts and meeting people. A few camera web forums also allow you to sell gear, most for a small fee. When I sold my Pentax gear I used a Pentax enthusiasts forum to sell most of it. But be careful. Not every group is the same, and not everyone is trustworthy.

By in large, the easiest and safest way to sell and buy used camera gear is on eBay.

I’ve been a member of eBay since 1999. I have 138 100%-positive feedback ratings. I’ve bought and sold all sorts of stuff online. I remember selling something and waiting for a money order to arrive in the mail before you shipped the item. Now eBay owns Paypal, and the money changes hands almost instantly.

eBay is your best friend because they bring a worldwide audience to your listing. They provide all the research you need in order to list and sell your item for the most money possible. The more you sell for, the more commission they make. They also provide protection from scams. If you work within their system, communicate in their message board and ship through their Paypal shipping ecosystem, you have very little chance of being scammed. People will still try, but it’s harder to get away with it.

For this service eBay charges you 10% of your sale price. Sell that lens for $200? eBay snaked $20. Oh, and by the way they ripped another 2.9% plus a transaction fee off that sale when you used PayPal to get your money. Let’s call it 13%. You sold that lens for $174, not $200. Ouch.

And eBay is so very helpful when you are trying to figure out shipping prices. They suggest the weight for you, what size box you can use based on the item. Then they suggest shipping by Priority Mail, and tell you how much it will cost. Sure, there are cheaper methods available but you get a discount on this shipping, and there is tracking and it’s just a good deal. And then these jerks turn around and take 10% of the shipping fee they helped you calculate. They push you toward a higher shipping cost and then make more money off of it.

But where else can you get this large of an audience for your camera lens?

And if you’re the buyer? I love some cheap, used gear from eBay. Or even new gear. I just ordered a brand new lens from a brick and mortar store in New York through eBay. They are one of the only places in the USA that still had this lens in stock. And I got it tax free, free shipping, suppose to be delivered next week instead of months from now. And if you ever do get stiffed by a seller, you can not only leave negative feedback to warn others, but eBay will work with you to resolve the issue, even refund you the money. Want something not released in the USA? Try eBay. Want an older lens and an adapter for your camera body? eBay has them.

Yes, eBay is the best bunch of jerks ever when it comes to buying and selling camera gear online.

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Buying a New Camera Brand is Buying a New Lens System

UnknownIt all started when Canon released the EOS M3 in Europe and Asia. I saw a few reviews and suddenly I had the urge to get a new camera.

I made the choice to slim down my personal camera to a small DSLR style/mirrorless body a while back. The plan is to rent when I need something bigger.  I chose not to pursue bigger and better DSLRs, or to buy real cinema, large sensor interchangeable lens cameras. Even though I like them, 99% of the day to day footage I need can be shot with something less. And larger projects can afford to rent gear, and I’m off the merry-go-round of trying to stay current with multiple thousands of dollars in camera gear.

But I had settled into the status quo with my EOS M. It was a great little camera, who HD with a very nice picture. And I liked adapting old manual lenses to it. The M3 release got me looking around a bit, and I was pleasantly surprised to see some of the advancements in small mirrorless bodies. A few manufacturers have really stepped up. For not much money you have access to a slew of helpful/useful video capabilities.

Canon hasn’t really done that though. They have a few improvements, but they seem to be driving people who want high end video toward their Cinema EOS Line. The new C300 mark II looks amazing. But their DSLRs seem to be lagging. A little research into the EOS M3 (available online from overseas sellers) showed that while they added quite a few features that videographers wanted (usable autofocus, focus peaking, tilt LCD, EVF) to the EOS M, the actual video quality had gone down. That’s frustrating.

But changing brand of camera is really changing lens systems. A camera body is the initial investment, but it’s what you can shoot with it that ends up costing more. Technically, the EOS M only has 4 possible lenses you can mount on it, but because Canon has the very nice EF-EOSM adapter, the rest of the canon EF/EFS lenses become an option. And they have some great glass.

Luckily, I didn’t have huge money tied up in Canon lenses. I can still use my old manual glass with any mirrorless body. I took the leap and sold all 3 of my Canon lenses and my EOS M.

That sale brought in enough to cover the purchase of a Sony Alpha a6000 body and one of the Sigma ART series lenses for Sony E Mount. Probably the 19mm f2.8 model. That lens will be the first of many to come for this new system. I don’t think the Sony E Mount universe has a better lens selection than Canon. But they have enough, and because the a6000 is mirrorless, I can use so many other lenses that it won’t matter. In the meantime my manual glass will cover the rest of the range from 35mm-210mm. That’s the thing you have to consider, can you do your work within this system of lenses mounted to this camera body? The camera body with these features at this price (currently on sale for $450) made me interested in Sony, but the availability of lenses that I could use and afford tipped me the rest of the way.

Now I’m just waiting for the camera to arrive…

Considering New Cameras: Canon EOS M3, 70D, Sony a6000

old videoI’ve got a jones for a new camera.

It all started when I was blindsided by the Europe/Asia release of the new Canon EOS M3. It’s not being released in the US, so I didn’t know it was out until a few overseas posts began slipping into my feeds. I own the EOS M, which is still the cheapest and easiest way to get into an HD camera system with great lenses.

Used, the bodies are selling for $180 now. $250 for one with the very nice 22mm f 2.0 for the EF-M mount. It shoots basic HD video resolutions with a great image quality. You can get some great depth of field and basically learn everything you need to know about lamming with this little camera.

And, besides the Canon lens eco system, because it is mirrorless, you can adapt a lot of older manual lenses to it. I came from a Pentax background, so I know some of the great old glass out there for cheap. I use a Pentax 35-70mm F4 and a Vivitar Series 1 70-210mm F3.5 (both in K mount) all the time. I could never afford glass this good if it was modern Canon EF or EFS mount.

And mirrorless cameras are small. I can slide the EOS M with the 22mm lens into a loose pocket and forget it’s there. A DSLR can’t be handled that way. So the EOS M3 was very attractive, on paper at least. You can get them online from overseas places. It offers a lot of upgrades from the EOS M. They have updated almost everything except the basic video resolutions available. So that got me in the mood to swap cameras. If you remember, I changed up my camera strategy a while back.

Then I read a review from someone who had actually used the M3 to shoot video. Focus peaking, EVF, AF and more are in. But video quality has apparently taken a dive. So I looked to the Canon 70D. Again. I had decided not to get one before, but now?

It’s an APS-C DSLR with usable autofocus in video. They have come down quite a bit in price. Used ones can be had for $800. But I still don’t want to go there. The new build of Magic Lantern allows you to shoot RAW on the 70D. You can use Pentax K Mounts on these as well, with adapter. Turns out, I like the small mirrorless cameras.

2 of these little guys are regarded very highly in the world of indie filmmaking.;The Panasonic GH4 for image quality and features and the Sony A7S for low light capability. Still these bad boys will set you back quite a bit of cash. GH4- $1500, A7S- $2500 (new). All well and good, but at that price (for the A7S), I’m not far from a “real” video camera, with built in pro audio, ND filters, etc…

Then I stumbled onto the Sony a6000. It has all the features the EOS M3 has, plus better video quality and options. And can be bought for about the same price. Of course this means leaving Canon for the Sony E Mount. And those lenses are not cheap. But you can still adapt all that great old glass to it. And the built in AF looks very good.

Oh, man. I’ve already rounded up a bunch of old tech and gadgets to sell. I’m definitely going to do something. And It seems like I want to stay with a small camera. There are so many with great features now.

New EOS M3: Looks Promising

Z-canon_eos_m3-rearAngle-EVF-PRSomehow I missed the launch of the Canon EOS M3 overseas. Probably because the M2 never made it to the USA, and wasn’t much of an improvement. I own the EOS M, and love it for video. Hands down, it’s the best, most cost effective way to get into HDSLR video capture. Under $300 for a body with lens. Part of the reason it is so cheap is that it wasn’t a great still image camera. You can take some nice pictures, but it just isn’t up to par with other offerings on the market, for stills. But for a video camera? It’s great for the price.

And now the M3 is out in Asia and Europe.  Check out these specs: Canon EOS M3 UK site.

Prices from eBay are running about $600. Plus the wait time and possible customs fees to get it from Japan. There are currently no plans to bring the M3 to North America. Since you can find a 70D body for just a couple hundred more why choose the EOS M3?

Well, $200 isn’t anything to sneeze at. But there are other benefits.

1. Lenses– The mirrorless body lends itself to all sorts of lens adaptations. I have 2 Pentax K mounts I use regularly on my EOS M, and neither would work on a 70D (or any other traditional APS-C Canon camera) You can use just about any lens from any manufacturer on the EOS M mount with a cheap adapter. Canon FD, Nikon, Pentax, m42, the list goes on.

2. Autofocus for Video- The 70D changed the game for HDSLR video by adding a 19 point Phase Detection continuous autofocus system on a 20 megapixel sensor.  Suddenly you could shoot DSLR video like a camcorder, sort of. The EOS M3 has 49 points of continuous AF on a new 24 Megapixel sensor. Of course, the new AF only works with lenses that can use it, and all that old glass I mentioned before doesn’t. It does, however, have focus peaking, to help with manual focus. That is huge.

3. Size- The EOS M3 is small. Very small. Half the weight of a traditional DSLR. Less than half the size. The M3 with 22mm lens can fit in your pocket.  (Albeit a loose pocket of your jacket or pants.)

Plus, Canon has addressed a lot of the concerns of the EOS M. There is an available Electronic View Finder. The back screen, while not fully articulating, can flip out to different angles (up to 180 degrees.) And of course the new AF system puts to rest all of the complaints about slow AF in the original M.

The video record resolutions are still lacking. You can do 1080p at 30p. To record in 60p you still have to drop down to 720p. Basically, it’s the same resolutions as the original.

I have to admit, I am sorely tempted to sell my EOS M and a few other gadgets to upgrade to the EOS M3.

[Update 2] The EOS M3 has been out long enough for some folks to test something besides the still image AF. I had read that the video codec was different, and it looks like it isn’t better than the old EOS M. Disappointing. it’s bad enough to not have any improvements, but to go backward? I’ve seen some video shot with the camera on Youtube, and it’s not horrible. But reviews like the one linked give some pause about purchasing.

[Update 1] Got my hands on a manual. Saw that you can use the hdmi output while shooting. Not sure if it is clean or what resolution, but anything is an improvement.

New Blog/Site Look

You might notice a few changes.

I’ve combined my blog with my production website.

Once the domains have all forwarded, www.scottlinkmedia.com will land on the main page. While www.scottlinkblog.com will land on the blog portion of the site. But everything will be stored in one page, and be accessible across the site. I was able to save all of the old posts and keep all of my followers.

I hope the changes will be cosmetic, and everything will work normally. I like the new design and layout. Hope you do, too.