I’m always searching ebay for old manual AI or AIS Nikkor lenses in really mint condition. I recently came across a listing for a bunch of them that had been used on a feature. They were being sold as a package for a very good price. (No, I mean a VERY VERY good price. Like a crazy good deal. A starting bid of about 30% of what they could possibly sell for. Even the Buy It Now price was a steal.) But only their focal length was listed, as in 85mm, 50mm, 35mm, etc.. No f-stop. No condition. No other details.
So I messaged the seller.
He asked for my phone number. I gave him the office number. He never called.
A few days later I get this message via ebay:
“I listed the numbers on line, they work well and thats all I know about them.”
I looked. And sure enough the f-stops were now listed. Not correctly. But if you knew lenses, you knew what the seller was talking about.
I wrote back:
“Thanks. You probably should find out about any imperfections on the lenses though, as I’m pretty sure people will ask.”
To which he quickly replied:
“If they r good enough to film a sold movie they are good enough like they are. “
At this point I’m thinking I’m sure this guy waited on me in an old Circuit City.
So I write back:
“Hardly, otherwise they would have sold by now. Some people don’t care about dust inside the lens, or hairline scratches, but these all change the value of the lens. A MINT 24mm could sell in the $500 range alone, one with dust, or oil on blades, or fungus, would be $200, maybe less. And that’s the same for every lens. So makes a huge difference.
But that’s just coming from someone who has 11 feature films that have been distributed, so what would I know?
Good luck with that attitude.”
OK, I was a little sarcastic. But really, he deserved it. (He deserved a kick in the face.) He was the seller. And I was asking very legit questions. And if he wants to toss his “sold film” out there and play that game, so be it.
Looked up this “sold film” by the way. Released in 2010. No imdb reviews or stars. But it was on Amazon Instant Video. The 7 reviews were exactly what you’d expect.
He writes back, and I kept the spelling in tact:
“Oh name your films, and if you were worth a shit you would not be looking on eBay for used lens.,,lol. Looser”
And he actually signed his name, as if it meant anything.
Now, I know I get relatively “loose” when I get a few drinks in me, but I’ve never been called a “looser.” So I’m completely confused at this point. Especially about the fact that this dude with a “sold film” is selling HIS damn lenses on ebay, so what the fuck is he talking about.
(The Urban Dictionary by the way defines “looser” as: “Idiotic way of spelling ‘loser.’ Most often used by teens and adults with no more than a 2nd grade grammar level.” Seemed to fit.)
So, despite knowing better, I wrote back…
“Wow, you are rude and childish, especially to someone who had been thinking about buying the lens package and was asking legitimate questions about the lenses.
We run an indie production company. We do many documentaries as well as narratives. We film with DSLRs and are always looking for old manual Nikkor lenses. Since they are not manufactured anymore, it’s sort of the only way to get them.
As for films. Well, our best known one is our documentary on The Replacements, “Color Me Obsessed,” which played the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame (you can check the screening list on the site for the other places it screened), and hit #11 on Billboard charts when DVD was released. http://www.ColorMeObsessed.com
Our imdb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1546381/
Really, man. The attitude is uncool.”
Could I have been a lot nastier? Yes, of course. He certainly deserved it. But why bother? You can’t argue with assholes and crazy people.
So, the filmmaking lesson to be learned here? Put the fucking attitude away. No matter where you are: at your world premiere at some film festival or trying to sell a lens on ebay or anywhere in between. There’s no reason for it. You never know whom you’re speaking with, or who will hear you. And you’ll end up being just another douchebag filmmaker. And though you might never have any fans for your work, you certainly will never be alone.
P.S. I waited to post this until the auction was over so I could gladly report that those lenses didn’t sell.