Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Anatomy of a D700 Craigslist War

This one showed up first...

Nikon D700 body, mint condition - $2100

Date: 2011-07-12, 9:36PM PDT
12,000 shutter actuations. Like new condition. Local sale and pick-up only, cash preferred.

Then this one came just a little later...

Nikon D700 body, better than mint condition - $2150

Date: 2011-07-12, 10:08PM PDT

6,000 shutter actuations. Like new condition. Local sale only

Well, there are two possibilities, the legit one and the not so legit one. I'll deal with the latter first, since our local Craigslist has been flooded by some goof in Toronto advertising a D700 with AF 14-24 for the absurdly low price of  $1,650.

First of all, is this a scam? Actually, you can't tell by the post, because the price is about right and the stipulation for a cash local sale is not unreasonable. The only warning flag is the low number of shutter counts for both ads... the D700 is now a three year old camera (can you believe it?) Anybody worth their salt would have accumulated more clicks than either of these cameras. Though this type of camera does tend to attract rich playboys with more money than skills, I've always maintained that that market is not as big as you think it would be, even in a rich urban area.

The other not so legit possibility is that it's the same guy trying to drum up additional page hits for essentially the same camera. Nothing like a little fake competition to stir up demand. If you responded to both ads, there is no way of knowing whether or not its one or two parties on the other end, unless the seller does the dumb thing of responding back twice to you. (For the record, I don't condone this as a strategy for selling your Craigslist stuff... be cool people, let's all be cool.)

The legit possibility is that this really is two parties and that the second poster has a wry sense of humor. In which case.... well played. The addition of the word 'better' was all that he needed to add to his post... it automatically ties his post with the previous ad posted just a half hour earlier. It's subtle, it's understated, it's cheeky. The $50 price premium for 6,000 less shutter clicks is inconsequential, it's just a market signal indicating that the seller's camera is a bit newer than the one in the other ad. The difference would probably be negotiated away at the time of sale anyway.

There are a few more D700's coming onto the used market. August is about right for a D4 and D400 announcement. The D7000 already gives pause for thought for DX shooters to move up to full frame. The D400, even being DX, will likely further add to the impression that the D700 will be long in the tooth by year's end. So until then, expect to see a few more people unloading the cameras, but don't expect a big price slide. After all, the presumptive D800 replacement for the D700 likely won't be announced until next year.

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