When you start looking for analog cameras you quickly realise used ones exist in abundance. So many 35mm cameras of different classes were sold in the 90s that you really are spoilt for choice if you haven’t got any particular makes or models in mind. Plastic SLRs from that era are practically free and very easy to pick up and shoot. They are cheap and easy to find because most analog photographers are after something a bit different. Either larger formats like 120 or 4×5, or more high quality cameras from manufacturers like Leica or Contax. Some are after instant cameras from Polaroid or Fuji and yet others want the Holgas and Lomos. Some of us will spend hours just browsing the online marketplaces and discovering new gems that we simply must have!
Either way, you need to buy them from somewhere. By far most of the analog equipment for sale is used, with only a few companies producing new analog cameras at any scale.
As we can see from our graph, eBay tops the charts followed by Etsy. These two have a lot in common.
Most importantly they are global marketplaces. You can buy from specialist shops and individuals from all over the world, giving you an incredible selection to choose from. And they are often cheap compared to local dealers. But this comes at a price. Can you trust that this camera store on the other side of the globe actually exists or that what they are selling is as described? What about warranty or returns? Sure, you have certain safety nets with PayPal for example, but dealing with someone that doesn’t have to meet you face to face can be very cumbersome. It is a risk you take when buying from eBay or Etsy and as you get more experienced you know what to look for. Still, these are the most used sites to buy analog photo equipment in the Nordic countries.
The local photo store is next. About 20% of analog equipment is bought here, according to the results. There aren’t many shops in the Nordic countries that specialise in analog camera equipment, you are lucky if you live close to one. The most popular ones in our survey are Kameratori in Finland, Antonio Stasi in Norway and OneOfManyCameras in Denmark. Going in to a shop like these is fantastic if you are a newcomer to analog photography. Getting personal guidance and help can really mean a lot, and in my experience their enthusiasm for photography is an inspiration in itself. You might pay a bit more here than on eBay, but getting help to choose the right camera or lens, with the option to come back if you have any questions, is absolutely worth it. That is probably why the local shop still is, and hopefully will continue to be such a popular choice for us up North.
Next you have professional resellers like cameraventures.com, KEH.com and Apertureuk.com. They specialise in buying used quality equipment. They inspect it, grade it, sometimes refurbish if necessary and then sell it. These are reputable companies that know what they’re doing and can be trusted to deliver what they promise. If not there are return policies and, in some cases, warranty on the products.
This brings us to Facebook Marketplace, Facebook Groups, Forums and the local online marketplaces like blocket.se, finn.no and craigslist.com. Here you buy directly from other people, usually in your vicinity, with no securities or warranties other than faith in mankind. These aren’t very popular options and my guess is that this has to do with selection more than security. There simply isn’t a lot of great photo equipment being sold on these sites. A lot of serious camera buyers have automatic search alerts that mean anything interesting disappears almost straight away. This is probably why we prefer dedicated camera stores and the p2p marketplaces are towards the bottom of our list.
Amongst the people who ticked “Other”, most of them cited flea markets and car boot sales.
For new analog cameras I would recommend having a look at
Author: Johan B. Skre