With the switch to digital many of us have cameras, lenses, and all sorts of other photo equipment stacked up in the closet. For the longest time, I collected items for my students and donated (with a tax receipt) to local photography teachers. Many teachers still like to start their students off with film. They do this to teach the ‘craft’ aspect of photography. Some of the teachers in my area still even operate school darkrooms! I agree with this approach of using film and darkroom as a way to introduce students to the art of image making.

One of the local teachers offered a two week period when families could bring in their unwanted equipment. On a visit to his classroom a couple years ago I was stunned at the number of boxes, they were stacked to the ceiling! Unfortunately, he no longer offers this recycling program.

However before you clean out all your old film gear remember, FILM IS NOT DEAD! There is a resurgence of interest in old-school photo explorations. Most people shoot film and then scan their negatives to use dim-room software to burn and dodge their images. With the right setup, (a subject for a future post), you can get wonderful black and white or color out of an inexpensive ink jet printer. When scanning negatives there a is depth to the prints that is missing from most digital cameras on the market today.

Sorry I got off the subject there…

The best way to clear out and even reclaim some money from your unwanted photo gear is to use KEH. KEH is the largest seller of used photo equipment in the world. They buy everything. You can go to their website or attend a Bay Area KEH photo event.

Just go to their website and click on ‘Sell Gear‘. Then list your items, and give them a ‘condition grade’. A condition grading is your statement of whether the unit works, if it has dents, mold, dirt in the optics, orif the leather is peeling off. Their website explains it in further detail. Next, they give you a price, and if you agree, a shipping label. When they receive your equipment they check the items and if all is what you said they’ll send you a check!

You can also check out their Local Buying Events. Here KEH will have a representative onsite who can inspect, grade, and write you a check on the spot.

Before you get too excited you should be forewarned that they pay pennies on the dollar. I attended a fair recently and sold a number of items to John, their head buyer. One of the items I sold was a brand new Canon body (film) in the original box. That body cost my Son $600.00. John gave us $65.00 and resold it on the KEH site for $140.00. It’s still better than storing it in your closet and waiting for the market to come back!

I often help my students buy equipment on KEH. Everything they sell marked with an upper condition grade is warrantied for 180 days. They also sell used digital cameras there. It’s a great way to save money!

More to come soon. I’m working on my retrospect that involves scanning and sorting images that go back some 50 years. It’s a little slow going!