Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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I know eBay is evil. And I also know I shouldn’t use pseudo witty titles for my posts. So consider me guilty in both cases…

As it seems to be hard or at least expensive to get my Canon EF to work again (I spotted a cable that’s loose which could be the cause of the problems, but isn’t necessarily and soldering it back on will require either extremely fine soldering skills or pretty much complete disassembly of the camera, so I’m not sure this is going to happen. Besides, the last time I paid €16 just for a new set of batteries – that replace the original mercury batteries the camera is supposed to take, which makes just testing this a bit expensive), so I decided to buy a replacement camera on eBay. Many 1970s SLRs are being sold right now and it seems quite cheap to enter the field now as loads of people sell their complete equipment. When you’re looking for just a single element things are still cheap but a bit more expensive.

Well, cheap? Expensive? You tell me. Those machines are thirty years old. So if they were computers or digital cameras they’d be worth nothing now, so in a way they’re expensive. On the other hand, in comparison to their original prices these cameras are quite cheap. What does amaze me, though, is that despite many cameras being on sale there seem to be enough people willing to bid on them. So it’s really hard to get a really sweet deal. And it’s impossible to get a sweet deal for one of the more rare or high end models. Even the EF I have seems to be one of those, so I decided to save some money and settle for the fairly common AE-1 of which I managed to get a somewhat used model for €25 including shipping. It does have the fairly common battery flap problem (but unlike in my T-70 that’s non-essential as there’s no pressure on that flap and it can be easily taped shut.

I still had to spend another €9 on a new battery, though. Those half size AA 6V batteries aren’t cheap! But I was told to better get the more expensive lithium ones as the cheaper variants may just not work in the cold – and it’s winter after all! Once I had the battery, the camera worked like a charm. With a really smooth shutter button (apparently you just close a contact which triggers an electromagnet to open the shutter – which explains why – unlike the EF – the AE-1 doesn’t work at all without batteries).

Canon AE-1 on my desk

More evil eBay shopping tomorrow

December 18, 2006, 1:42

Tagged as ebay, photos.

Comments

Comment by gummi: User icon

I’m currently in the middle of a sale on eBay, and it’s the first time I’ve used it. There’s a lot there that seems very opaque. A long time ago a friend told eBay is a good way to study human interaction and the perception of quality. I wonder if some economist has studied and written a PhD about the place.

December 18, 2006, 10:32

Comment by ssp: User icon

I definitely found putting stuff up on eBay painful. Their web site just is a patronising POS, even for sellers – who are the paying customers. Well paying customers I should say.

It’s really a shame that eBay has a sort-of monopoly that should be hard to crack and can get away with such rubbish.

I also guess that economist will have a hard time trying to convince eBay supporting that thesis. The general confusion their site causes likely improves their profits rather than hurting them.

December 18, 2006, 10:54

Comment by gummi: User icon

So on that note, I’ve been looking at Garage Sale and iSale as a method to list stuff on eBay, hoping it could make life a whole lot easier.

On my initial viewing of the site I found the whole thing ugly and difficult. Over time I can see why certain decisions were made, like the use of font size and the density and placement of information, but still, they’re a Billion dollar company and one has to wonder if their site setup or mistakes are deliberate. I mean, user interaction and guidance is a profession and it’s very affordable.

It works for eBay. As you say, it’s making them so much money, so maybe they think “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it”.

December 18, 2006, 15:09

Comment by ssp: User icon

I never bothered looking at eBay listing applications as I never planned to sell enough stuff for them to be worth their money (or effort).

I guess I’ll just try and avoid the eBay site as much as possible so I don’t have to be reminded of its deficiencies, annoyances and general brokenness.

December 18, 2006, 18:13

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