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Views of the forum and price trends
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:07 am    Post subject: Views of the forum and price trends Reply with quote

Dear fellows, I'm inquiring the lowering view rates of each post here on the forum and stable prices on the lens market.

There is no secret that reputation and respective second hand market of some lenses were created in this forum. The corresponding interest to manual lenses was accompanied with high viewing rates of the forum. In 2010-2015 it was enough to post "hello" to have a couple of welcoming replies and kind of 2000 views in a week. In 2016-2017 the viewing activity was still high, but in slight decline. I suppose 2018 was the year when median viewing rates of each new post reduced in half. And it halved again in 2019. But not lens prices on the secondary market!

I am saying to myself that such a discordance might be explained by one of the factors:

1. Discussions shifted from this forum to some other platforms, like facebook. But what I see on facebook are mostly compact groups and discussions, rarely impressing with mass participation. Some other reputed platforms, like dpreview or pentax forums neither seem knowing an explosion of discussions. So if there is a loss of interestet, why prices are stable?

2. Almost all "big classic" lenses were well discussed during the past 10 years, and it's difficult to find one that was not reviewed here on the forum several times already. For the the whole large cercle of people interested in manual optics each next post is less interesting. And if some newcomers wish to know about a particular lens, the database is already saturated enough, here and in some other web places. That might explain stable prices in the market while viewing rates for new posts are not that high.

3. There is a relative loss of newcomer interest to manual lenses, and viewing activities reflect this fact rather faithfully. On the other hand, manual lens prices are relevant to a large demand coming from a cercle of people formed in the previous years. But in the next years there will be a progressive lowering of prices due to a reduced demand from newcomers. If so, we are in an inertion phase, and we may hope even more accessible market in two or five years.

What are your observations and predictions concerning the interest to manual lenses and prices for "classic" ones?


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 3:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am not too sure why generally the interest for "classic" lenses is going down. Not only here the forum activities are declining.

A possible explanation for the stagnation of prices is the availability of affordable and good Chinese 3rd party lenses, some of them even with AF functionality.
Why should someone pay several hundrets for an old mediocre manual focus lens if you get an even better modern AF lens for the same or even less money?
The performance of AF in modern digital cameras is far better now compared to some years ago. Most people want to use this functionality as it simply increases their success factor for good pictures, particularly for moving objects.

Generally the prices for old stuff are going down; there are only few exceptions for really top class and rare items. Maybe the collectors are dieing out or are alredy saturated.

Speaking for myself: I simply stopped buying lenses because I already have far too many which I simply don't use. Maybe it's better to sell them now as I bet that prices will come down sooner or later.

Finally more and more people use their smartphones for photography instead of huge and heavy equipment. I'm using my smartphone more often than my cameras nowadays. Present day higher end smartphones deliver stunning picture quality which is hardly to distuingish from high end cameras if pictures are viewed only digitally. Most people don't print but only shoot for web publishing like Instagram or view their pictures on TV. There is no need to buy a camera for that.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Supply and demand. Most of us had already bought what we need in the past ten years. Cheap Chinese 3rd party lenses does help to reduce the demand of old manual lenses.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One thing to note is that that forums, across the internet, are not as popular as they used to be, thanks largely to Facebook's efforts to monopolize social media. This is true of every forum I visit, there is less discussion, even if people are still signing up.

Another thing, and this is just speculation on my part, is that this forum probably hasn't had any meaningful effect on lens prices. Certainly, internet hype has driven prices for certain lenses, for instance the "bokeh king" etc. but that has usually been the result of one or two particularly influential blogs pushing a cult-like fanbase into existence.

As well, as already noted, most of the accessible, interesting lenses, have been discovered and their prices have long since plateaued. What's left is the stuff that's so common the price will never rise much, because it can always be found, and then the stuff that's so rare it can never build an internet cult around it, because there will never be enough people talking about it on account of how few lenses there are to go around. Ultimately the most popular lenses will always be the ones that are in limited supply, but which can be had at any time, for a price. When a lens is too hard to find, people lose interest in looking for it and the prices, despite its rarity, do not go up much.

I should note, that some lenses, which had previously been ignored have gone up in price the past few years. Just for example, two of my faves, the Fujinon 2.2/55 and the Petri 2/50 had been pretty worthless five years ago, and were even ignored by Japanese photographers. Now you'd probably pay 2/3rds more for a good one than you would have back then. However I don't see prices going wild for either of them.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

the better the iPhone camera gets, the more people are shocked to see me using a dedicated camera in public, much less a manual focus lens.. portrait mode can fully simulate bokeh now, etc


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 8:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My personal view are manual lenses are a niche product, with a finite fan base, which now may have been reached. Quite a few of my friends are prolific posters on Facebook but all use their phone cameras, as stated they have no desire to hump loads of equipment around, they’re quick to use, portable and have a far better hit rate, let’s face it when using manual lenses a majority of them go in the bin. I’ve used manual lenses since childhood but when I’m visiting somewhere new I now always use AF.

Another aspect is photo editing software, you can give your photos any look, classic or modern you desire, no need to use a lens for character when you can just use LR. Buy a cheap Chinese manual and providing is relativity sharp you can change its character beyond recognition.

One last input, slightly controversial but here goes, a majority of manual lenses are not particularly very good compared with their modern equivalent. Yes there are the classics out there but the majority which turn up on ebay are passable at best. I own a varied selection of fifty’s, my best one which is my go to fifty, Canon EF 50mm f1.8 STM, best £80.00 I’ve spent on any lens.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mos6502 wrote:
One thing to note is that that forums, across the internet, are not as popular as they used to be, thanks largely to Facebook's efforts to monopolize social media. This is true of every forum I visit, there is less discussion, even if people are still signing up.

Another thing, and this is just speculation on my part, is that this forum probably hasn't had any meaningful effect on lens prices. Certainly, internet hype has driven prices for certain lenses, for instance the "bokeh king" etc. but that has usually been the result of one or two particularly influential blogs pushing a cult-like fanbase into existence.


I'm sure this is the case. The audience of the Classic Lens podcast has grown considerably, even if forum traffic has decreased, so I'm not convinced interest in Legacy lenses is declining.
Personally I seem to be allergic to Facebook, so don't take a part in their groups even when they cover subjects that interest me. Long live Forums!


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well as somebody said supply and demand... but also how merchants use Ebay...

We have seen the same in fine wine with wine searcher: merchants quote silly prices knowing they have no chance selling the stuff short term but are willing to influence the market with people thinking these wines (lenses) are worth a lot of money and friving prices up. They advertise at low cost silly prices

The result for legacy lenses is that you get silly prices (rokkor 100mm f 2 for 600£, 17mm f 4 for 300£...rf 250 mm for 1500... for instance) which are really discouraging potential customers who then decide to buy modern lenses.

We now have a dual market with some real sellers at prices 30 to 70% lower prices than advertised by merchants. The thing is these lenses go quickly while silly prices stay there advertised fooling potential customers who then run away.

Rigged market, customers have an opportunity to get away... guess what? they do...


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 1:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A lot of changes did occur since the 60's.

The "antique" fever of 9x13 cm massive copies of our events do not exist now. In this time the pics made with a Carl Zeiss, Leica, Pentax, etc, first clase lenses, were different (perhaps only a bit with this little magnification) to those taken with cheapest triplete.

Today, the IP lens and sensor are capable to produce a nice image to see in the TV or to send in the net.

Massive use of the images is walking in that way

But testimonial images, at least that activity, walk by other ways, I guess.

The pleasure of take the camera, do focus and use your prefer lens to produce the pic that you want to, knowing the difference of rendering of his apertures, distance rendering, etc, let you take the reality since you watch it. And How you see it.

This character makes the "fresh" image, that I like so much.

Romántic dream? Should be.

Character lenses or mervelous perfect and impersonal ones?

Both together?

Who knows?


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can't speak to the forum posting issue but IMHO the prices for vintage glass are doing what I would expect. At first very low prices for lenses except for the rarest collector items which have always commanded high prices. Then as a new use shows up for the excess supply the prices slowly creep up. People see this and start gleaning glass from garage sales, auctions etc. Meanwhile the first flush of new users, early adopters of vintage re-use slows and have filled out their collections. Supply is increasing while demand is decreasing or flat. Prices flatten out. But I am predicting a new increase in demand as Nikon and Canon full frame mirrorless start replacing older DSLR amongst the fanboys for the respective marques. Ubiquitous so so kit lenses are never going to go up much as the supply dramatically exceeds demand. Rare, unusual and collector lenses will continue to climb apace as the supply is so limited. The mid ground though? Thats were I am focusing. Not one of a kind, but lenses that pop up from time to time. Extra value to be placed on quality optics (Zeiss, Steinheil Fuji etc) or elegant appearing lenses (eg ISCO Westrogon) or preferably both. Red Shark just profiled (today)the Contax Zeiss 180mm 2.8 for use on video. Bear in mind that there will never be the kind of numbers of mirrorless cameras as there was during the classic SLR era. Cell phone cameras are "good enough" for about 95 percent of modern snapshot stuff.


PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 11:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Very interesting observations, thanks for sharing them, folks!

I did not think about mobile phones. Two or three years ago friends showed me nice shots taken with the newest models. At 2x or 3x magnification the nice pictures looked awful, and the owners recognized that. I presume the situation improved dramatically if even some of you use them.

I did not think neither about cheaper chinese lenses as an important factor of market demand. Are they really in a large use, larger than old manual ones? I had an idea that brand names like Minolta or Konica are still known and thus better reputed by newcomers. Did you ever come across some estimates or market numbers for chinese lenses?

Meanwhile I looked at stats of Classic lenses podcast. There is number of downloads which is publicly accessible. It seems that there was a jump up from January to February 2019, not a progressive growth. But in the recent couple of months the download rates are slightly descreasing. This is something that corresponds to the general idea of decreasing activities around old manual glass.

As for the lenses themselves as a niche product, difficult to disagree! But at some moment this niche was pretty large, and I entered in it with many of you. Each market knows cycles of growth and decline. I also think there will be another growth, as long as mirrorles cameras is a stable or even a growing market. One may always suppose another wave of interest coming from new trendsetters. For me the question is the moment when the decrease comes reflected in really low prices, not just moderatly decremented.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

alex ph wrote:
Very interesting observations, thanks for sharing them, folks!

I did not think about mobile phones. Two or three years ago friends showed me nice shots taken with the newest models. At 2x or 3x magnification the nice pictures looked awful, and the owners recognized that. I presume the situation improved dramatically if even some of you use them.

I did not think neither about cheaper chinese lenses as an important factor of market demand. Are they really in a large use, larger than old manual ones? I had an idea that brand names like Minolta or Konica are still known and thus better reputed by newcomers. Did you ever come across some estimates or market numbers for chinese lenses?

Meanwhile I looked at stats of Classic lenses podcast. There is number of downloads which is publicly accessible. It seems that there was a jump up from January to February 2019, not a progressive growth. But in the recent couple of months the download rates are slightly descreasing. This is something that corresponds to the general idea of decreasing activities around old manual glass.

As for the lenses themselves as a niche product, difficult to disagree! But at some moment this niche was pretty large, and I entered in it with many of you. Each market knows cycles of growth and decline. I also think there will be another growth, as long as mirrorles cameras is a stable or even a growing market. One may always suppose another wave of interest coming from new trendsetters. For me the question is the moment when the decrease comes reflected in really low prices, not just moderatly decremented.


Really enjoying your post Alex, shame more people are not contributing their thoughts, as this affects us all.

After giving it some thought I definitely think eBay is partly to blame. I’ve become aware that there are fewer and fewer actual auctions these days. When looking for a particular lens, “Buy it Now” seems to be the norm and along with this comes optimistic / inflated prices. So is the market actually overinflated, not a true representation?


PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I feel that some of the traffic has moved with the new Mirrrorless Camera Bodies starting with the Sony A7.
e.g.
https://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/1620620/

The new canikon full frame mirroress wil continue this.

Phones are not always poor, taken 5 years ago:
https://www.flickr.com/photos/140694868@N05/27163938357/in/album-72157711472747083/

But Phones are for snap shots, a 24x36mm sensor inside a camera gives you a photograph!


PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 1:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Slalom wrote:

But Phones are for snap shots, a 24x36mm sensor inside a camera gives you a photograph!


Nothing magical about that sensor size.
With a good lens 17x13mm sensors are quite capable of decent photographs & a 127x101mm (5x4") sensor with outperform a mere 'full frame'. I've not played with anything bigger (except in one dimension as a panorama) but I'm sure there's a reason why they're being made - when completed the Large Synoptic Survey Telescope (3200 MP) will have a sensor over 5000 times bigger than FF.

I'm certainly not a big fan of phone snaps, but a few of the results I've seen would definitely class as photographs. One such shot I remember beat DSLRs to win first place in a local photographic club competition.


PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2019 7:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I often sell my surplus lenses on eBay, and judging by the number of questions I get that are at the same time totally out of the left field, pointed, and harebrained, there are some other sources out there that I, and apparently you don't know about.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:47 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

There's plenty of truth already mentioned, such as overinflated pricing.
I've seen it myself, such as a Tamron AD-2 SP 60-300 I purchased
in nearly pristine condition, listed recently by many sellers for as much as
US $650. Or the Soligor/Vivitar etc. 75-260 made by Tokina.
My pristine copy cost US $39 years ago; recent listings will have you believe
it's actually worth over US $375 in a rather beat-up condition.
And anything wider than f/1.4? Cripes, that's automatically worth thousands now.

Not to be discounted is also, as mentioned, image quality achieved from
cheaper recording devices, as well as the fact that most photos nowadays
are indeed nothing more than Facebook posts or email attachments.
With good-to-excellent quality images being recorded by more-inexpensive
devices, most people don't care what captures the image, as long it meets
their own assessment of what a 'quality' image is.

There are, and will always be, the equipment snobs or purists.
They are the ones who look down their noses at us mere mortals,
thinking we know nothing of even operating a camera, much less
a manually-operated lens. My belief is that it is these self-proclaimed
purists, who may or may not have real-world experience as a professional
photographer, have merely convinced themselves that any particular
older lens is THE must-have holy-grail of optics, and if they have enough
of a following, will convince every one of them that they will achieve nothing
if they do not also use THE must-have holy-grail of optics of the day.
This, in my opinion, is the behavior which has made the market so volatile.


Whatever's going on in the market nowadays, I don't care much.
I have a small handful of lenses, in excellent condition, and I enjoy using them.
What I don't care about is all the hype and 'clinical' evaluations which seem to
drive a frenzy towards any given lens du jour, which varies just as much as
the fools driving those 'trends.'

I enjoy using these older lenses because of their build quality and aesthetic
appeal. It means more to me to use high-quality function over perceived results,
while the satisfaction of keeping it old-school appeals to me greatly. I enjoy turning
the focus ring for myself, selecting aperture, exposure. All manually. Such as I began,
a long time ago. Such is my interest.
I stepped away from that many years ago, while affordable digital made it attractive to me again.
Reduced value made it easy for me to acquire glass I would not have been able to afford
when I was a teenager or twenty-something. I'm not on a quest to acquire more.

So use what you have and enjoy what you use.
There's no sense in chasing a dream of 'the' magic lens.
They mostly do for you what you ask of them.
GAS does not exist in my world.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Prices on ebay for average lenses, and vintage cameras, is down I think.

Anyway, I need to downsize a lot as I am moving abroad, out of the US next year (retirement).

I have disposed of a lot so far, mostly given away.

I still have a large number of free lenses!

Please inquire.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I regularly come to the forum for a couple of reasons. Firstly to see lovely photos. Secondly to learn. While I do do some photography as part of my day to day work, it is normally with standard, new equipment. But I'm a fan of old glass, , and especially quirky lenses, so it is very useful for me to access the forum just to learn about different lenses and equipment.


PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2019 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Lots of interesting and well reasoned observations in this thread. The wine comparison above is interesting in that, except for health concerns, there is no sign of reasons that the wine market wih its mix of users, collectors and speculators should collapse. Demand seems to be keeping up, and wine books still sell.

So potential market- and interest collapse for photo equipment can hardly be regarded as primarily caused by trader practices , but as a consequence of changing supply and demand. Disappearing photostores is an indicator of the state of demand for new specialized equipment.

The used-stuff-supply side allows enthusiast users of "short mount" and stabilized camera bodies to catch specialized lenses (phones never excelled at photographing birds or providing large prints) and gives low budget collectors the chance to get their lineup of Practicas complete. Knowledgeable forum participants will remain an important resource but marketing it may well be a bottleneck.

In the longer term the art market may provide a useful analogy. For contemporary art there is a steady supply, but prices are fuelled by fashion and gallery exposure. Imagine galleries taking to ehibiting the marvels of mechanics and glass that will no longer be made and the price development that would follow. Then the modest collectors will see the prospect of rising prices and the market will develop.

p.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Photography, at least manual focus is dying. Other than the top 1 percent of vintage lenses are about half of what they were 3 to 5 years ago. I used to be able to fund my gear by buying used lots and selling the extra bits. There are exceptions for the ultra rare but in general prices are way down. Likewise astronomy woodworking home marching are all vanishing.


PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stable prices can indicate the equilibrium of a mature market. Certainly the number of views factors the level of interest, among others. The other factors can drive off it's influence from indicating level of interest in market place.

The draw for old film camera lenses as low cost high quality alternative to expensive modern glass remains, although not as appealing as when prices were not well established, much lower, and smartphone cameras weren't siphoning away as many casual users.


PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2019 5:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Antoine wrote:
Well as somebody said supply and demand... but also how merchants use Ebay...

We have seen the same in fine wine with wine searcher: merchants quote silly prices knowing they have no chance selling the stuff short term but are willing to influence the market with people thinking these wines (lenses) are worth a lot of money and friving prices up. They advertise at low cost silly prices

The result for legacy lenses is that you get silly prices (rokkor 100mm f 2 for 600£, 17mm f 4 for 300£...rf 250 mm for 1500... for instance) which are really discouraging potential customers who then decide to buy modern lenses.

We now have a dual market with some real sellers at prices 30 to 70% lower prices than advertised by merchants. The thing is these lenses go quickly while silly prices stay there advertised fooling potential customers who then run away.

Rigged market, customers have an opportunity to get away... guess what? they do...


Was thinking about this post as I see there are six or seven "rare" Edixagon lenses on ebay. All listed for silly prices, and all "rare" of course. Obviously, this ho-hum Japanese 50mm won't sell when the asking price is almost double what one would pay for a nice Schneider Xenon, but the finer points of supply and demand seem lost on the sellers. Laughing


PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 3:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Smart phones. I agree. Facebook can go pound sand.


PostPosted: Mon Nov 11, 2019 10:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking over some of your remarks concerning the ebay practices. Looking in the last days for sold and unsold listings, I was ready to confirm that you find today many overpriced BIN offers. Much less in sold section than in unsold one, for certain. I have an impression that the disbalance is higher than in 2013 or 2014 for example. But then I said to myself: this is also because at that era I was buying my first copy of everything, just for the taste of trying something new. Today I don't pay attention to many lenses I already tried, so more focused on rarer or more valuable lenses. And there is no wonder many of them passed in the hands of professional resellers. But I guess it happened earlier than in 2019. I remember watching even higher BIN prices for nice Pancolars-Takumars-Hexanons-Yashinons-etc in 2015.

I remember some of you were gathering price stats of particular marks. Even if you give it up for now, what are your conclusions in dynamics?

Noted once again the growin importance of smartphones. I should ask some friends to show me again their pics from the new models!


PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

SkedAddled wrote:
There's plenty of truth already mentioned, such as overinflated pricing.
I've seen it myself, such as a Tamron AD-2 SP 60-300 I purchased
in nearly pristine condition, listed recently by many sellers for as much as
US $650.

I see that one listed multiple times under $50.

SkedAddled wrote:

Or the Soligor/Vivitar etc. 75-260 made by Tokina.
My pristine copy cost US $39 years ago; recent listings will have you believe
it's actually worth over US $375 in a rather beat-up condition.

You can still buy it for the same money, it seems.

I don't think some individual listings with ridiculous prices tell us anything.
Those are lenses listed for the price, not sold for it. There is a difference between two.

SkedAddled wrote:

And anything wider than f/1.4? Cripes, that's automatically worth thousands now.

There wasn't that many. As supply continues to dry up, prices are reluctant to go down.
They aren't into thousands either. Even Canon FDn 50/1.2 L-series is struggling to break $500 nowadays.

Plenty of slower lenses are in this position of elevated prices now too.
Nothing to do with the aperture. Just the empty attics and cupboards.


It does not seem to me that the interest to vintage lenses is on the decline.
People are just spread nowadays across more platforms.