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No more ebay for me!

All through March I spent bits and pieces of my time in an futile attempt to pick up some cheap used Olympus camera gear on ebay. I started my search looking for a used Olympus E-1 body for around $250. The E-1 was Olympus' original 4/3rds camera, and at the time it was released in 2003 it cost somewhere around two grand body only. I wasn't looking for the grip or any lenses, I just wanted the body, hopefully in reasonable shape.

I didn't want a body used by a pro; that would have had the hell used out of it. I was looking for a body from someone who purchased it because they thought it was cool at the time, but had long since grown bored with it and had either traded up to something shinier or had just left it sitting on a shelf in their closet.

When my attempts to bid on used E-1s fell through multiple times, I tried my luck with a used E-300 for $81. I gave my original E-300 to one of my daughters to use in her undergraduate photography class at F.S.U. I didn't realize how much I missed my E-300, and how useful it was to use in conjunction with my E-3 out in the field. That's what motivated me to go after the E-1; I was looking for that second backup 4/3rds body.

What finally sent me off the rails and away from ebay was how the E-300 bid ended. In all the separate bids (a total of six), in every single case I wound up loosing the bid at the end of the bid period. In the case of the E-300, it was 30 minutes before the days-long bid was to end. It was at that point I started hearing Weird Al's 'ebay' parody song playing in my mind, and the lyrics "I am the type who is liable to snipe you, With two seconds left to go, whoa" repeating itself over and over in my mind.

From now on I'm going to look locally here in Orlando. And if I can't find it, then I can't find it. When used gear starts climbing up to the $300 range and beyond, it starts to become Real Money. I'm willing to spend Real Money, but for that amount of cash I want the satisfaction of a year-long warranty (nothing 90-day thank you), or if I can't get a decent warranty, I better know real well who I'm buying from; no strangers on ebay, no matter how highly rated.

I also want something thats' reasonably contemporary. The E-1 was released in 2003, and the E-300 in 2004. An awful lot of advances have been made by all the camera makers since 2003 and 2004. Many may wax nostalgic about the special features of the E-1's Kodak sensor (and even the E-300's), but today's post-processing tools, like Adobe's Lightroom 3 (still in beta), combined with the latest Panasonic sensors, are a far more practical investment when the dollar amount rises.


  1. I tried them (and again right before writing this). If you want OM bodies/lenses, they're great. I looked at Precision Camera in Austin (Kirk Tuck's store), and while they have a few digital items listed, (in fact just a bit of anything), nothing sort of leaps out and grabs the lapels. Oh well. I've got more than enough already to keep me occupied.


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