Thursday, February 17, 2011

Anatmy of a Craigslist Ripoff (Part 7)

This came up today:

NIKON LENS 70-300MM - $275

Date: 2011-02-17, 12:39AM PST

If you've been looking or a 70-300, you'll know right away that the price is a ripoff. 70-300VR lenses go for roughly $400-$425 in our locale. The older ED version... you'll be lucky to get low-mid hundred's. The non-VR ED version is, to politely put it, a mediocre performer. However, you can see the effect that the newer vererion has on the older version's price... there will be some people who will try to ride on the coattails of the more expensive lens with the better reputation.

You also tend to see this phenomenon with old push-pull versions of the 80-200 f/2.8. It's a great lens, but quite a few people are asking above used market value because of the asking prices for the newer two-ring version of that lens.

That also happened to me when I picked up a 24AF last year. The seller was asking for a 24AFD price, but I called him on it and knocked $50 off. It just goes to show,you've got to know your market. Fore-warned is fore-armed.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

A Tale of Two Craigslist Ads

These two posts came up on the same day. All things being equal, if you were in the market for a Nikon D50, which one would you pick?

Nikon D50 Body Only, FS - $250 (Downtown)

Date: 2011-02-13, 12:39PM PST
Comes with strap, charger and extra battery.
Pretty simple ad, right? Good price, central location in a big city. It's pretty sparse, so you would have to see it in person, but it's a no-nonsense kind of an ad, which is usually a good sign. Or would you rather go for this one?

NIKON d50 - $300 (It's in the suburbs)

Date: 2011-02-13, 7:32PM PST

i have a nikon d50 great condition no scratches or anything, like new.
-carrying bag
-wall battery charger
-computer cord plug in
-lexar professional SD card
Very different ad. Lots of bundling going. Bit higher price. The two things that the second ad has going for it is the bag and the memory card... which could account for the price difference. However, since you don't know how big the card is, it's a non-factor. What the first one has that is more important is the extra battery, which is a welcome convenience for older cameras.

Lots of people try to get a better price by bundling their stuff with odds and ends. This doesn't get you that far on Craigslist. People fell secure if they have to scrutinize one thing... having to scrutinize a multitude of things will push them on to another guy with an easier to understand proposition. 

The unfortunate thing is that the second ad sells at a higher price in a far-ish suburb. Prices around here tend to go down the further you are from the urban center... it's just a matter of finding enough demand given your circumstances. 

So, to conclude, my guess is that the first camera will go very quickly. The second will take a bit longer, but it will eventually go, but not at $300.

Friday, February 4, 2011

ICE is Nice

Downtown Vancouver, B.C., Canada

This was me Friday afternoon staring out the window watching as the sun went down. That crane is a harbinger of a 20 story high rise that is slowly but surely going to block out half of the view from my office. I stitched a string of snaps from my cell phone camera together with the Microsoft Research Image Composite Editor (ICE). You can download a free copy here: 

It's a simple and quick photo stitching program....emphasis on quick and emphasis on simple. Most pros will go straight to Photoshop, but this is one quick and convenient program. Lots of positives:
  • Simple interface
  • Support for many file formats
  • Multiprocessor support
  • 64bit operating system support
  • Automatic exposure blending
 ... and did I mention that it's free?