Here’s a go - the writer for a major camera shop telling people to go to secondhand camera fairs and marketplaces instead of coming into the shop. Is he crazy, or what?
Well, that should have been evident a long time ago, but in this case there is more method than madness.
I will declare that I do go to secondhand camera markets equally as a buyer and a seller. In both instances it was entirely divorced from my former position as a staff member or my present one as a contributing writer. I go to the fair as a private individual - a rube or a carney depending which side of the table I am leaning upon.
I have sold and bought items of great value that have proven to be perfect for their purpose. I have done the same with some useless dreck. The point of honour with me is that I bought it before I sold it...so any misjudgement is a shared one. And frequently I have been amazed to see someone purchase my useless item and turn it to sterling service. They have my blessing.
But enough of me - YOU are the person who needs to go to the flea market and see what you can scratch up. Go with money, go with a good heart, and go with your eyes open.
Look at what is being sold - it was once the most desireable and esoteric equipment in town. Now it is sitting on a wooden trestle next to a pile of pamphlets. So it might be with everything in your gadget bag right now.
Is it working? Is it workable? Will it produce anything save a sense of unease?
Is it the fag-end of a system that was pretty marginal to begin with? Did it ever work? What were the results it turned out? Could you do the same with one slider on your computer? Or is it entirely unique.
Is it collectible? Actually, that’s easy to answer...Yes. Everything is collectible. But sometimes the best collector is the council on verge day.
Did you need it before you arrived in the sales hall? Will you need it after you leave?
And finally...look at the appliances in your home. Or out on your verge twice a year...is this item also destined for the grass?
Note: All the above cynicism applies to the tables of photographic gear. It does not apply to the coffee and cake stall. That is always good value and I urge you to invest heavily there.