In one of my previous posts, I’ve shared my way of buying bargain vintage lenses, but there are of course downsides and risks when trying to hunt down a bargain lens on ebay, thrift store or anywhere else. It can also very time consuming because you have to search through a lot of junk to find something good, so what if you want a fast, simple and safe way of buying and maybe even selling your own precious lenses? LensFinder might be the solution!
Full Disclosure: VLFV has done some work with LensFinder during their Beta launch and might work together in future, but this article has not been sponsored or compensated in any way and not a single word has been reviewed or influenced by anyone connected to LensFinder.
What is Lensfinder?
In their words, “Lensfinder.com is an online marketplace for photographers and cinematographers to buy, sell and learn about used, vintage and boutique lenses.”
What got me interested though is not only the big emphasis on the vintage glass but also the people behind this idea. LensFinder was co-founded by Matthew Duclos and Ryan Avery. Many of you probably know Matt from DuclosLenses and his blog TheCineLens, while Ryan is the man behind many incredible cine lenses from Schneider to Veydra and more recently Tokina Cinema line. It’s safe to say these guys are passionate about lenses and make an amazing team with a specialist knowledge that can’t be matched by any other marketplace, but that is not the only reason why I think Lensfinder is a great idea.
Unlike eBay, LensFinder allows you narrow down your search to very specific requirements, like sensor coverage, age, type of lens or even just lens sets, all of which help you find exactly what you need. Plus website is full of rare, unique and desirable lenses, so it doesn’t take long to find something that makes you want to press that buy button!
Here are my (at the time of writing) top 5 dream finds:
- Zeiss Super Speed Set
- Cooke 18-100mm T3 Zoom
- Kowa Prominar Anamorphic Set
- $150k Nikkor 220° Fisheye Lens
- Foton 37-140mm Anamorphic Zoom
The sellers get are some good benefits too. There no membership or insertion fees. The final transaction fee is 3.99% (eBay fee is 10%). Plus it’s capped at $500, so if you’re selling a $65k set Zeiss Superspeeds, you will save a lot of money. Seller profiles are customizable with a Logo, Banner, Bio (like my LensFinder page below), which give you an opportunity to turn your page into your own mini-shop.
What makes LensFinder really unique among other marketplaces is its educational aspect. There is a full section, packed with useful and inspiring “lens” content, which will keep you busy for days.
The website was launched as a functioning beta in Sep 2017, so why am I writing about it now? Well, during this period, the creators were taking in all the feedback and suggestions from customers and industry peers (including yours truly) and a few weeks ago I found that that the new and improved LensFinder.com will be launched in Aug 2018 (sea e preview here), so I want to help it take a little bite out of massive corporate giant that eBay is! As with any smaller, ambitious projects, there are delays and setbacks, but creators have loads of amazing ideas that they want to implement into the LensFinder, which of course takes a lot of time!
The new and improved UI, as well as new Secure Payments (at the time of writing payments are made by Paypal), are just a few things that will come with the updated website. There will be even more ways to protect both buyers and sellers; for example there are plans to introduce a verification service where seller will be able to send lenses to a reputable andapprovedd lens shop, where they will be checked over to make sure customers will get exactly what they have paid for, which will make buying expensive lenses, like the ones I mentioned above, much less of a worry. Looking at the new UI, it’s clear there will also be even more emphases on the educational continent and curated categories like Unique Lenses from the 1970s, Classic Lenses, etc.
I really like the idea of such marketplace and I would love to see it succeed, but I think LensFinder needs more buyers and sellers to make it flow, so if are looking to buy some glass, there is plenty to choose from (including some real bargains). And if you have a lens to sell, just go and list it there! If 3.99% fee is still isn’t good enough, bump up your price by 4% and the problem is gone, the whole thing becomes free for you to use! 🙂
SUPPORTING FUTURE CONTENT
I do my best to make this website a great resource for people interested in vintage lenses, so I hope you’ve enjoyed this post and it will help you with your future lens choices. If you find VLFV to be a useful resource, please check out my Patreon page!
If you can’t support VLFV directly, but you shop on ebay, please use the ebay links you find in this blog or bookmark and use this link if you want to buy anything else on eBay.com and this link if you shop on eBay.co.uk. You will not be spending a penny more using these links, but will be helping anyway, because EPN (eBay Partner Network) will pay out a small percentage from any purchase you make, which .in turn will support new content on www.vintagelensesforvideo.com.
If that doesn’t work for you either, there plenty more ways, click here for more info. Thank you!