How we do it
It's a lot of work, this camera lark. All the equipment we sell is cleaned, checked and tested thoroughly, repaired and refurbished if needed - then given a rating based on it's overall condition.
As soon as equipment arrives with us, cleaning them is the first thing we'll do. Removing dust and dirt that may have built up over years of use allows us to see the true condition of an item (as well as making it a lot less gross). Visually inspecting the camera in a clean state helps spot any damage or wear.
They're all a little different - and there's a heck of a lot of to know about each model.
We'll test the shutter speeds for accuracy, and make sure the shutter is opening correctly. We'll check the mechanical functions, the advance mechanism, as well as all the buttons and levers. Any viewfinder optics are checked, as well as any LCD screens or displays. If there's a light meter, we'll check that for accuracy and any associated functions are also tested. Foam light seals are often deteriorated, and we'll replace those if needed.
The condition of the optics are vital to the performance of a lens - and a lot can happen in the course of decades to affect a lens.
Some things are easy to spot - such as exterior scratches or coating loss caused by improper cleaning. Haze and fungus within the lens are sometimes more subtle, but we check each one carefully. The focus is tested for smoothness and proper functionality, as well as the aperture mechanism.
There are a lot of extra devices, add-ons, bits and bobs, thingamajigs and extra whatchamacallits out there to assist with photography, and if we're selling them - we check them all.
Light meters are checked for accuracy. Tripods are checked for stability. Prisms, Viewfinders and Filters are checked for clarity. Grips and motor winders are tested mechanically - the list goes on.
Repairs, Refurbishment, Rejection.
A lot of the items that come to us are in good working order and good condition. On the other hand, we do get offered our fair share of items that are in need of attention, or simply are not saleable and only suitable for parts. We enter rejected items (that the customer has chosen to donate) into charity auctions and the proceeds fund a local charity which we choose each year.
Equipment that is repairable and saleable, we'll try our best to save. Over the last 10+ years, we've become adept at flushing out fungus, servicing shutters and generally fixing stuff up. When the pile of things gets too high, or a job is too tricky for our small brains to comprehend - we'll send items to one of a trusted network of specialist repairers.
The condition rating.
Once an item has been through the whole testing process, we'll give it a rating. This is based on functionality, and cosmetic condition. You can learn more about our condition ratings using the tab on each product page.
Stock Management, and Photoshoot
Before an item can be sold, it needs to be entered into our system, stickered up, and barcoded with the unique SKU and price. It'll then have it's photos taken, and finally be listed on the website and put on a shelf or cupboard in the shop - waiting for a new owner.
Want to come into the shop?
Great! You're welcome to take a look at any item we have for sale, as well as all the weird-and-wonderful crap we've got dotted about. It's always nice to be able to see a camera or lens in person, and decide that it's the right one for you. We're always happy to spend some time going through functions and features - and if it's your first camera then we'll show you how to load film, and answer any other questions you may have.
Buying online instead?
We pick items from the shelves, and safely box them up with layers of packing material, and enclose a handwritten note and Yorkshire Tea with the order. A label is printed, and the box will then be picked up by the courier and delivered to you promptly.
Where does your stuff come from?
We buy from people. We don't go to auctions, we don't buy on eBay, and we don't trawl charity shops. Customers approach us with what they have for sale - it could be one item or it could be a lifetime collection.
Many customers that sell items to us are also enthusiasts and photographers that have been using the. A great side-effect of knowing where an item has come from, who used it and the story behind it means we can have confidence in the equipment we sell.