With the addition of my almost-beloved Nikon D90 (okay, it’s not perfect, but … damn!), it’s time to part with my never-really-loved-it-too-much-until-camera-raw-became-friendly Nikon D70. It’s a wonderful camera. Look at some of the recent photos I’ve taken with it and you can see it does a great job, at 2005 megapixel rates (okay, cameras, like motorcycles, have become a metaphor for penis size for some [not me of course, but some people ]… I never thought I’d get caught up in megapixel envy until I saw some results from the D700. 2k good, 5k better.) It’s a great camera, but for someone else with a bit less than professional quality expectations for their work.
So what to do?
Well, eBay, of course!
Here’s a tip, for those of you who want to stay on the cutting-edge of imaging and video technology … Sell your stuff every 2 years. You’ll still have to pony-up some funds to stay on top of the game, but by not waiting for the bottom to drop out of the value on your current/old stuff, you can get peak trade-in value. Using eBay, that can take quite a bite out of upgrade costs. I find this particularly true of computer hardware … I sell my MacBooks about every two years, and upgrade. Not only do I get great return on the old model, but I can usually put those funds towards current models without a lot of additional out-of-pocket. I’m never totally state-of-the-art, but I’m close enough to stay competitive, which is what the game is all about.
There, that’s my secret. Everyone who reads this and cashes in on my my knowledge please send me five bucks. At the rate people read this blog, I will have at least $100 bucks within a year. 🙂
So … Anyway … One of the key things I’ve found out over the years about selling on eBay is that photos matter. Big time. Your photos look like crap, and, while your stuff might sell, you won’t get top dollar.
Right now I’m on the trading-up stage of building my equipment catalog … I don’t have much in the way of lighting equipment, but there’s still a lot I can do to make my eBay product look good.
I went to Home Depot a while back and purchased a bunch of clamp lights and shop lights, along with a bunch of daylight-balanced compact florescent bulbs. For my el-cheapo product setup, I threw these on a couple of Manfrotto stands that I had sitting around (you can’t have enough of these around the house, they come in handy for everything from photo lighting setups to impromptu coat racks, and only cost about $25 bucks a piece.) A quick trip over to the photo supply store, and I had a roll of seamless backdrop paper. At about $35, this was the most expensive part of this setup, but I’ll get a lot of use out of the roll.
Plug it all together with a $9.99 tray table from Bed, Bath & Beyond, and you’ve got something that looks like this:
Oh, I probably forgot to mention the $5.00 Grey card that I bought … Even if your camera, like my D90, has great auto white-balance, buy one and use it. Your stuffs will be muchly more betterer (thank you, Ansel Adams … while I know you’re rolling in your grave after that statement, digital cameras have turned your lifetime of work in developing the zone system into a bullet point. Sorry, dude.)
The two, 100w, compact florescents do a decent job of providing some, more-or-less, flat side lighting. Throw in the built-in speedlight on the camera, and you’ve got about all that you will need (although I did have to shoot at an ISO of about 500 to work with decent shutter speeds.) Here’s the result:
The results aren’t bad … Not as flat as I’d like, and I should have straightened my backdrop a bit, but it will get the job done on eBay. And by that, I mean my ad will probably get more attention from someone looking for used equipment than one from somebody who put a poorly-lit, existing light, shot in his ad. Of course, I’ll ad close-ups of the camera and a bunch of alternate angles as well … This also helps you sell your product.
Total cost for for this? Probably about $75 bucks, but considering it’s all stuff that I’ll be reusing, and will probably result in uping my sale price for the equipment, I’d still say it meets my criteria for doing this on the cheap.
BTW, all this stuff will be on eBay tomorrow, and I’ll post the URL to the auctions. This D70 is in cherry shape, and I think I’ve only used it on about 10 occasions. Drop me an e if you’re interested.
P.S.: We’ll re-visit this topic, and may others, when I can get my order in for some Alien Bees studio lighting. And that, will be awesome!