First, don’t confuse a local camera show with the big ones which are attended by all the major camera makers.. think camera swap meet or flea market….
I used to be an active amateur radio operator and attended many “Hamfests” in which there were all sorts of stalls (think flea market) set up for amateur radio operators to sell their old gear. Most of the time the gear being sold was what I would call “Boat Anchors”. That is to say they were old, antiquated transmitters and receivers that were in their prime 20 to 40 years earlier and weighed a ton. Lots of junk that no one wants or uses any longer.
Over the weekend I attended a local “Camera Show” and it was the same thing. Lots of old film bodies and manual focus lenses (most of them in pretty bad shape) that no one wants or uses any longer… Photographic Boat Anchors. That’s not to say that manual focus lenses are bad, I own a number of legacy lenses.. just that what was being offered was pretty awful stuff that wouldn’t sell on eBay.
There were a few Leica film bodies that I am sure someone collects but would rarely use and of course they all had the “Leica Price” so one could get the full “Leica Experience”, a quick reduction of funds in the bank account.
Aside from the Leicas there was very little of anything a photography enthusiast in the digital age would find interesting or useful. I was in and out in less than 45 minutes and believe me, I really wanted to find something to buy. I really did.
Every table I visited the guy behind the table would ask if I had anything to sell. I had my camera bag with me and I guess they thought I had brought gear to sell. I had actually brought my camera to try out a lens if I found one…. I didn’t.
There were lots of vendors there. One guy had a table full of old Polaroid cameras.. seriously, who in their right mind would want one of those in the day of instant gratification offered by digital cameras? Even some of the cheapest digital point and shoots produce better photos than any of those aging Polaroids. I guess you’d have to really have a “thing” for Polaroids to understand and appreciate the draw. By the way, no one was at his table.
Another vendor had a table full of old Nikon and Canon film bodies, all of them showing their age. I know some still use film but none of those bodies were flying off the table. He had about 50 to 75 of them. I never saw anyone show any interest in them.
Another guy had a table full of old camera cases.. yawn. I was very disappointed in what was being offered and it immediately struck me that it looked the same as most hamfests I have been to. Old, dusty gear, outdated and probably not worth the “bargain” price anyone was asking for it. It’s a shame because I enjoy browsing for bargains at such events. I found absolutely nothing of value (at least to me) at this particular camera show. I’m sure a few people came away with something they just had to have.
I think eBay has killed camera shows and hamfests. Why drive a hundred miles or so to look at old gear when you can do it using the Internet from your home?
I’m sure there are still some great local camera shows somewhere. This was not one of them. I think this may be the last one I attend. I can find all the old, dusty gear my heart desires on eBay or Craig’s List.