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Photorama USA Review

posted Mar 18, 2012, 6:08 PM by Jose Velasquez
Today I took my nephew to the Photorama USA show in Richfield, Ohio. It's one of the few camera shows that comes out this way, and one of the few that are still running. Most people sell their stuff on Ebay, but there are still a few old timers who also sell their gear at camera shows like Photorama USA. I had a suspicion it wasn't going to be cheap, and I was right. 

Most of the gear was over-priced (some even by Ebay standards), a few things were bargains (like the medium format gear), and the accessories ranged from steals to ripoffs. An FG-20 for $95? You can pick them up on Ebay for about $30. A 105 f/1.8 for $300, with the focusing stuck at infinity--you can still get these for $450 at KEH in fairly nice shape. After hunting around I realized that the best deals were to be had in lesser known gear and with accessories. My haul at the end of the day included a fully functional Konica C35 (it's about the same size as the Olympus Pen EE), 3 Domke gripper straps (yes, that's three of them), two Nikon straps with the "Nikon" stamped glides, and my newphew got an N2000 for $10. 

Over all it was a nice show--plenty of things to see, play with, but not much in the way of bargains. 

The internet and the legions of people wanting old glass and Nikon cameras have really changed prices all over the place--I find that a bit sad because they mainly follow KEH pricing. KEH prices their gear high for two reasons-- first to make a profit and second to cover their "free" warranty of 6 months. Did you honestly believe they were giving away 6 months of warranty for free? 

I would venture to say that real market prices are actually 20-35% cheaper than KEH prices, but most people don't work that way because they see the price listed on KEH and automatically assume that's what the market will bear. To some extent it's fairly accurate, but don't forget an individual can't provide 6 months of warranty or a 14 day return period--and because of that prices should really be lower in the marketplace of individuals and smaller shops. 

Going back to Photorama USA--it's worth the $5 entrance fee. It was an afternoon well spent with my nephew and we got to see plenty of photographic history and the loot we came out with was worth our time and money. I have a feeling glass, specially of the vintage kind, is going to reach insane levels this summer (mainly due to KEH and other big online players raising their prices). 

For those of you who are interested here is the link to Photorama USA:

Till my next review, post, or rambling, this is, hey, hey,