Cleaning Grips

6/30/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Sometimes the leather or rubber on the grips of lenses and camera bodies tend to turn whitish in color. This is typically from exposure to air, and nothing to worry about. It can happen on new or old equipment, and can happen on any brand. Some brands are more prone, such as older Minolta lenses. The white is hardest to clean off from a camera body because of the leather used, and easiest to clean from lens grips.

Here's our #1 tip for cleaning the white up, for aesthetic purposes only.... Take a toothbrush to it! Use a new/never used/clean toothbrush with harder bristles. Use the brush only on the grip area, and gently rub back and forth, in the direction of the grooves. The white should come right off. Now, if there's also dirt and grime on the grip, you may need to also swab a Q-tip with some cleaner such as Windex and wipe it with that as well.
above, cleaning in action

left: dirty grip with "whiting"; right: cleaned grip

And again, keep in mind that this works for most rubber grips on lenses, but not all leather grips on cameras... the camera grip whiting is much harder to get rid of, and it's usually best if you just leave that alone.

Sept Motion Picture System

6/29/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Spring, motor-drive camera for still, rapid sequence, or cine. 18x24mm on 5m cartridge of 35mm film. First model (square motor housing, single spring). C. 1923-27. Manufactured by Debrie (Etablissements Andre Debrie, Paris, France). 250 exposure, pin registered. The name "Sept" comes from the French word meaning seven. The camera includes 7 functions: motion picture, sequential, still, and with the addition of a lamphouse, motion picture projector, film strip projector, still enlarger and negative to positive film cine printer.

BGN, $254, online here.

A Day in KEH Sales

6/28/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Today's "behind the scenes/day in the life" post is from one of our sales team members, Arthur.

I'm sure that most of you that read this are already customers of ours, or will be shortly, so sit back and relax. I'll try to keep it short (and interesting).

OK, it's 9am, and I've been in traffic for about 45 minutes. When I arrive, the phones are ringing, my voice mail light is flashing, and as I boot up my computer, I see dozens of e-mails awaiting my reply. Yes, it's another day here at KEH.COM.

My first phone call starts off: "Hey, this must be Arthur, it's Dave from Philly". "Hi Dave, what can I do for you today?". "I'm ready to buy that lens that we talked about...". What's really scary is that I probably do know which Dave is calling, and which lens he's looking for. I guess I've been here long enough to recognize quite a few customers voices, and remember the type of equipment that they use.

As soon as I hang up with Dave, my next call is waiting. It goes something like this: " Hi, my daughter needs a camera for school, and I don't know anything about photography...". Most of you that know me realize that I tend to spend a lot of time with my customers. One of the downsides to knowing something about photography is that you tend to try to teach everyone that asks, everything that you know. Needless to say, this can take some time. I have to add that in all the years I've worked here, I've learned more from my customers than they've learned from me, and for that, I have to say "Thank You".

Throughout the day, I'll receive dozens of phone calls saying: "I just placed an order on the web, and I wanted to make sure that it went through", or "I ordered on the web and I forgot to add this item" and " I mailed you a check, has my order shipped yet?" With that being said, the most amazing call that we get (at least once a day) is when the customer says: "I love you guys. Your equipment is great, and I wouldn't shop anywhere else."

Fortunately, the phone rarely stops ringing, so it's quite busy from when we arrive until it's time for us to leave, which is sometimes later than normal. If we're still working with a customer, we will continue to do so until their needs are taken care of. I'm surrounded by a sales staff that are the best in their field. We all have our "specialties", but overall, when you call here, you're going to be helped by friendly people that "know their stuff" and understand the concept of "customer service".

From time to time, we get people that show up at our front door saying "We came from ... and thought we'd stop in to see your store.” After a brief pause, I smile and say: "I'll be glad to give you a tour of the building, but all you will see is an office building and lots of computers". Actually, for security reasons, we don't give tours of our building. Just a reminder, WE DO NOT HAVE A RETAIL STORE. I didn't mean to shout, but I wanted to call attention to it so that you don't get disappointed by driving hundreds of miles just to see my smiling face at the front door.

Well, it's 5:55pm and I normally leave at 6. The phone rings, and it's a customer that just purchased a camera from us, but didn't buy the instruction book. Fortunately for my customer, he's off work and has lots of time to sit back and review every feature of the camera with me. At about 6:55 the customer says “I guess you'll be closing soon, so I'll let you go.” Yes, another satisfied KEH customer.

On behalf of the KEH sales department, I would like to take this opportunity to formally thank you, our customers, and the hundreds of dealers around the world that buy from us, and send us their customers to make purchases. If it wasn't for the confidence that you have all shown in KEH, I wouldn't be answering the phones as much, and probably wouldn't have a blog to write these thoughts for. As always, if you would like to make a purchase, and prefer to talk to a “live” person, or if you have any questions about photography in general, feel free to give us a call.

All the best,
Arthur (and the rest of the KEH sales team)

View Master Mark II Part 2

6/25/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Yesterday I posted about the View-Master Mark II camera. Since it's an unusual format, I wanted to share what the photos end up coming out like, and some ideas on what you could do with them. The camera is meant to shoot film to be put into View-Master slides. You would cut the squares out and then pair your two like images together (one taken with left lens, one with right at the same time) in the slide holder, and viewed in a View-Master.

I did some test shooting in regular color 35mm negative film, and then scanned the film in. Each exposure measures 12x13mm. Since the images are small, a normal 36 exposure roll will yield about 75 pairs of images. Below is a section of my film. You'll notice that the pairs are spaced out, see the 2nd exposure from left on the bottom row, and its pair is on the top row, 2nd from the right.
(can click on image to enlarge)
A closer look at the film. When orientation changes frequently, a slight overlap may occur
zoomed in more, on one single frame

Two more things to note when using this camera- there's no built-in meter, so you will need to use a spot meter that reads exposure values. You don't set independent shutter speeds and apertures on this camera, but a single dial for E.V. Also, if you're getting your film developed elsewhere, be sure to tell them not to cut the film.

So, if you choose to use this camera for purposes other than to make View-Master slides, you can use negative film, and scan it in for digital use, or for small size printing. Another way to utilize this type of camera is to create 3D images. While 3D images can now by created 100% digitally, this way mixes both old and new technologies. If you're creating a digital 3D image, you would shoot two images- one as is, and for the 2nd one you would need to move horizontally a couple of inches. This camera does that shift in one take for you, because of its two lens design. Either way, you will need to layer the two images in your photo editing software and change the color channels so that your image is red and blue/cyan. The below images are meant to be viewed with the traditional/"old style" 3D glasses with one red lens and one blue lens. If you have a pair laying around, go ahead and try it. They will pop out of your computer screen!

If you're interested in learning more about creating 3D images like these, this is the best and easiest online tutorial I've seen.

And want to get really crazy with your digital 3D images? The site Start 3D allows you to combine your two images into moving "3D" images.

all images © Jenn Alexander Fletcher

View Master Mark II Part 1

6/24/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

The View-Master Color Mark II

Produced by Sawyers c.1962. For stereo exposures 12x13mm on 35mm film. Diagonal film path allows stereo pairs to be exposed on one pass of the film. Fixed focus. Chrome with black leather, 20mm f2.8. Designed to produce images for View-Master reels. Yields 75 pairs on a 36 exposure roll. Accessory/cold shoe, X and M contact syncs. Single dial for exposure values. BGN- $172. See it on our website here.

Giveaway Winner

6/23/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Thank you to everyone who took the time to enter the giveaway, supply us with some feedback and spread the word about the KEH Camera blog!

Without further ado, the winner is...
Comment # 25: Cristina S. Please contact us via email to claim your prize. Congratulations!

Vintage Ads: Summer Part 2

6/21/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Today is the official 1st day of Summer here. So, here's some more fun vintage camera ads (Summer themed of course), to get you in the hot weather spirit.

Colorful Leathers

6/17/2010 3 Comments A+ a-

Sometimes we get cameras in that have been recovered in fun leather colors, or different animal leathers (snakeskin, ostrich, etc.). These two came in recently and are so summery... reminds me of sun and water.
Hasselblad 501cm Sun yellow with 80 f2.8 CFE lens, A12 6x6 back, waist level, strap, cap.
EX+ $2,029. Online here.
Zeiss Ikon silver with blue leather. Sold.

Day of a Repair Clerk

6/16/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

I asked Sean to tell you a little about what his work day includes. Sean sits at the front desk in the lobby. He's the one that buzzes people into the building, greets customers, and answers the repair phone line. He is a customer service representative, a repair clerk, and always delivers a daily smile to everyone who walks in and out of the building.
I arrive to work a bit before 8:30 am so I can survey the amount of camera equipment that arrived on my shelves earlier in the morning. After mentally assessing how long it will take me to enter all the equipment (and I’m always wrong), I gather up the paperwork for repairs that our customers have approved in the later part of the previous day. I then go match up paperwork with equipment, and deliver it to the appropriate repair technician – Bill, Victor, Jeff, or Peter. Each tech has their own area of expertise, but most can help out if another tech has a problem or needs an alternate point of view with an especially difficult or troublesome piece of equipment. I then pop back to my desk up front and log into the phone system, and begin entering the boxes of equipment into our repair system. Customer equipment goes first, as I have to get estimates back from the techs in order to call customers, then KEH internal equipment. Some days I’ll come in and there will be 5 or 10 cameras and lenses, and other days I’ll have 50 or 60. The truth about camera repair is that there is no exact pattern to any day, week, month, season, or year.

Just when I’m hitting my stride in entering in data, the phone rings. This is another factor in how quickly equipment is entered and estimates are made– but without the phone calls, we wouldn’t have equipment to repair. There is no rhyme or reason to the volume or type of calls I get. “Do you work on…”, “I’m getting an ‘Error99’…”, “I’m calling to check the status of my repair?”, “How do I send my…”, “According to UPS my camera arrived yesterday and I haven’t heard…” – these are all the calls I get on a daily basis.

Another part of my job, due to the location of where I sit (at the main lobby for our entire company) and the nature of my job (customer service), is that I greet all persons that come into the building. Not only do people bring in their equipment to be repaired, but some people are coming to pick up purchases that they made (as they live in the Atlanta area and would rather not have it shipped), and others bring in equipment to be evaluated for purchasing. Of course people seem to always call in during this time as well. Fortunately, we have a very good voicemail system, and with our track record of calling people back, customers usually feel good about leaving a message. Always remember – if you call during our normal business hours and get the voicemail, I’m usually assisting another customer. But I will always call back!

Time, as it always does when you have a busy job, seems to evaporate and then it’s lunch time! Usually for me, this is around 12:30. Half an hour to eat whatever I brought or whatever I bought, and perhaps read a bit. All too soon, lunch is over and back to the grind we go.
After lunch is a bit different in task orientation. While the morning is mainly spent getting equipment entered into the repair system, the afternoon is mostly spent on the phone. I collect all the estimates that the techs have placed in my mailbox, and then I start calling. My phone calls end up in one of three ways - 1) the customer approves the repair estimate (or re-estimate as does happen from time to time), and I get or confirm payment information, and place these approvals in one stack off to the side; 2) the customer does not answer the phone, and I leave a message with the basic information and estimated price of repair, and place these in the pending stack; 3) the customer declines the repair, and these go in the refusal stack to be processed out later that day for shipment back to the customer the next day.

In the later part of the afternoon, the quality check technician brings me the paperwork for the completed and QC tested equipment. The remainder of my day is spent processing out the equipment that I have payment information for, or contacting customers to get their payment info. so I can return their equipment to them. For the customers that I cannot reach, or for those who wish to come and pick up their equipment in person, their paperwork ends in yet another stack pending either the arrival of their payment or their person.

Around 5pm it's time for me to go home. I very rarely get the opportunity to get bored at work, and this is the aspect of my job that I like the most. There may be some repetition to the job, but no day is anything like another – and this makes work both challenging and interesting. One thing I can say about working in the repair department, is that I have learned so much more than I have ever thought I could about the inner workings of cameras, lenses, and other photographic equipment.


6/14/2010 36 Comments A+ a-

Thursday, June 17th marks the 6th month anniversary for the KEH Blog! We've really enjoyed being able to publish this page for you and hope you've enjoyed reading it. We're also looking forward to what the next 6 months will bring.

So, because we love you, we're hosting a giveaway right here on the KEH Blog page. Contest runs Monday, June 14th-Tuesday, June 22nd. Winner will be drawn at random and announced on Wednesday 6/23. Winner will receive a $50 gift certificate to KEH!

*To enter, leave us a comment and let us know one of the following: What has your favorite post been? What have you learned from reading our site? Have you purchased anything after seeing it on here? Only one of these entries per person.

For an additional entry: Tweet and/or blog about our site and the giveaway. Leave a comment here with the URL to your post or tweet in it.

For those of you without a Blogger account, please make sure NOT to use the "anonymous" option. Under "Choose an identity", select Name/URL. If you have some type of website, you can enter it into the URL space. Make sure to fill out your first AND last name. We will post the winner by name, and it is the winners responsibility to contact us with their information so that we can send your gift certificate. You can also choose to leave an email address in your comment so that we can easily contact you. If the winner has not contacted us by Monday 6/28, another winner will be chosen.

Now enter, spread the word, and good luck!

**If you are leaving a comment to be entered into the contest, make sure to leave it on THIS post. Otherwise, you will not be in the "pot" of people to randomly draw from. Also, if you're entering for your second entry (because you either blogged, FB, or Tweeted about the giveaway), then also make sure to leave a separate/second comment on this post thread.

Silkscreen Vintage Camera Prints

6/11/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Silkscreen art prints based on vintage film cameras. Illustrations by Jeremy Slagle.

These are great because they are simple, classy, affordable, and could be matched to go with any decor. I also love the line illustrations of the subtle hand positions working with the camera bodies. For more info, check out Slagle's design blog.

Reasons to Buy Used

6/10/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

A couple of weeks ago I went over how our checking and grading system works. If you read all the way through it, you understand that by purchasing used equipment you are taking a chance. While we make every effort to make sure that chance is very small, there is still a small chance that can not be completely eliminated.

Well today, I want to point out some good reasons and circumstances to purchase used gear instead of new....

*The most obvious is that you save money on the cost of the equipment. The comparison could be made to buying a car. As soon as you drive it off the lot, value is lost. The moment the new camera equipment is purchased new, value is lost. Many customers think they should buy new to get the manufacturer's warranty, but in many cases you can buy a used item with our optional Mack "2 Year Warranty" (which in most cases is longer than the manufacturer warranty) and still save money.

*Question: Won't used equipment have a higher defective rate than new equipment? That seems like a very logical assessment. The facts may surprise you though. The average defective rate for New, out of the box, defective, straight from the manufacture (Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Pentax, etc) is 2 percent. KEH's reports show that of everything we sell, only 1.7 percent returns are due to defect issues.

*Some equipment is no longer available as new. For those of you who are camera enthusiasts, some of your favorite items can no longer be found new and can only be purchased used. The fortunate thing about buying used from KEH is we are continually buying used gear from all over the world. Many items that we sell, can only be found at KEH and rarely anywhere else. This includes everything that is not being produced anymore including vintage and collectible cameras and equipment.

*When purchasing used, you don't have to wait for the item to go through a "testing period". By the time we sell it, most of the modifications and firmware updates have been made to the equipment already. If not, that is usually done by our repair department before being put on the shelf to sell.

*It's a better and cheaper way to learn and experiment with new formats and equipment. It's better to purchase one of these items used and find out you may not like shooting with it instead of buying brand new and finding out you don't like it, or don't end up using it often. You have less invested and if budget is an issue, then you're also able to get more stuff for your buck.

*Buying (old) used equipment has a history to each piece and is exciting.

*It's great for backup gear (second set of equipment), using for experimental techniques that could be risky to the equipment, and shooting in harsh conditions.

*Sometimes you can find unique modifications that have already been made to an item such as a specialty leather or grip installed. It saves you time and money, and may provide you with a one of a kind piece!

Online Quote Wizard Tips

6/09/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

I've noticed these two things specifically happening frequently, so a couple of "tips" is in order...

When filling out our online quote form (for selling your gear to us), and inputting your digital lenses, choose your lens from under the menu for the camera it mounts to. For example, if you have a digital Sigma lens, with a Nikon mount (for digital Nikon cameras), then you will choose the appropriate lens under the Nikon digital menu instead of the Sigma digital menu. Lenses under the Sigma digital menu will be for digital Sigma camera bodies, and not for Nikon, Canon, etc. bodies. (The same is also true for a few other brands that have their own categories including Tamron.)

Another thing to look out for is when choosing the correct Aperture, or Aperture range. Typically, when reading a lenses information, you will see the focal length, and then the apertures. The F-stop that has most people confused is F2. F1.2 is often chosen on accident because the way it reads on a lens is 1:2. So, 1:2 is F2, and 1:1.2 is F1.2. You read the numbers after the colon to determine which lens you have. In some cases, you can double check this by looking down at the lenses actual F-stop ring (most film lenses have one, most new digital lenses do not). The smallest aperture is listed right on it. So if you see: 22 16 11 8 5.6 3.5, then there's no way you could have a 1.2 lens.

Ideas for Father's Day

6/07/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Father's Day is fast approaching (it's June 20th).
If the man in your life is a camera lover, I bet there's something on my list of picks he will like.
(You can click on grades/prices to be taken to the website for purchase)
Rollei Twin Lens Reflex, 4.0 FW 50 F4 Super Angulon HFT (Bay IV). LN-, $4,459
Bronica ETRS 20th Anniversary, brown leather.
2 in stock. 1 with 120 back and AE-II, $325. 1 body only, $235. Plus, (2) 120 20th Ann. brown leather backs in stock, $84 each. All in EX+ condition.
Ricoh subminiature 16 Golden with 25 F3.5 in cm Riken, case. BGN, $119.

And for the Leica fans: Leica burlap bag (lens case), 6X9", EX $25. Stick pin with gold color "R" body, EX $8. Sterling silver commem coin (Barnack 1879-1936/ R4 mot) with box, EX $35. Neck tie, brown, 50th Anniversary, EX $23.
Happy Fathers Day (in advance)!

Jumping Off For Dramatic Lighting

6/04/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Taking a strobist approach (off camera flash, aka "jumping off")
Tips to create an easy, dramatic lighting effect film noir style

What you will need: a piece of black velvet material, an off-camera flash unit, either an off-camera shoe cord or a flash slave set which includes a transceiver and receiver unit. You will also need to understand the principles of film noir, which you can read about here.

Black velvet is the perfect material for a back drop for this kind of shot. It soaks up light to give you a deep, rich, black background, and won't bounce back the light from your flash. You can get a piece of black velvet at any fabric store. If you don't have stands to hang it from, you can attach it to a wall with thumb tacks, or method of your choosing.

The basic idea is to get a dramatic lighting effect that increases tension and contrast. Instead of shooting with a flash attached to the top of your camera, we're going to take the unit off, and shoot the flash from a different angle and location.

There's a couple ways you can set your flash unit up. 1) on a stand with your slave units- easiest hands free method. 2) hand-held with off-camera cord attached. The stand/slave combo. will give you more effect options, and a larger area of placement options. It is also the "safest" for your equipment. The hand-held option is a little trickier to juggle, but if you're not someone who ever shoots with slave units, it's the cheaper option for you.
flash unit (on mini stand, for table top use)
off-camera shoe cord

slave unit transceivers

Position your flash off to the side (of camera and subject) and below where your camera will be, and face flash upwards. Keep it at a close distance, but not too close. This will create harsh shadows, supply hard directional light, and if done properly won't blow your image out. Try different positions and experiment. Controlling your aperture, shutter speeds, and ISO will also play an important role in this process so that you don't allow in extra light from other sources. If you're not as comfortable with these, then I suggest shooting in a space where you can control the amount of available light easily, and just use a slightly dim light source so that you can focus properly, but that won't throw a bunch of extra light onto your scene.

Now that you understand the lighting part, the styling, mood, and models are up to you!

© Jenn Alexander Fletcher more shots here

PDFs on Website

6/03/2010 1 Comments A+ a-

Did you know that our site has PDF files full of information on some of our products? We currently have over 7,400 files available. When browsing our inventory, if a product is in stock, and has an available file, you will see a little PDF icon and "Product Specifications" below the product name and above the grade and price. This is a great resource for learning more, is free, and easy to use. It could come in handy during the research phase before purchasing new equipment, or after purchase. The files may contain scans from various sources such as product brochures, brand catalogs, and more.

Make sure you have Adobe Reader installed on your computer, or you won't be able to view the files. Files are available under specific items on

Minolta Miniflex

6/01/2010 0 Comments A+ a-

Minolta Miniflex- 4X4 TLR, 127 film. 1959. Two-tone blue finish/leather.
With original cap, strap, case, box, instruction book. Speeds off. BGN condition: $789

Read more about this camera here
Find it for sale on our website here