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How quickly does a camera's value depreciate?


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#1 deshpark

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 01:52 PM

It seems to me that well-maintained camera packages retain their value amazingly well (almost too well, from a buyer's perspective!). Has anyone come across a rough formula for calculating the value of a camera over time -- assuming the camera remains in good shape and the market doesn't crumble?

This is a question about 16mm cameras in general, although in my case, I'm looking to buy a used Aaton XTR prod package.

I'll take a stab in the dark and put the rate that camera's lose their value at 3 to 5 percent per year. I'd love for someone more knowledgeable to correct me.
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#2 Josh Hill

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 03:13 PM

I don't think there really is a way to judge camera depreciation as you would, say, an automobile. Since the quality of the image is really determined by film and lenses rather than the camera itself, a thirty year old camera can produce similar images to a brand new camera. At 3 to 5 percent per year, in twenty years a camera would be worthless. But my CP16 was 1200 and worth every penny and it is closer to 30 years old.

For an Aaton XTR, I don't think you're going to be able to pay less than 20k USD for it and probably closer to 30k.

Cameras are also a sellers market because they are highly specialized instruments. It's not a car where the buyer has unlimited choices. Slap to the word "professional" on something and the price skyrockets, but unlike profession video cameras (or cars) a film camera does not go instantly obsolete with the newest model.

My suggestion would be shop around and find the package that suits you. Visual Products is usually a good gauge for how much a camera package in good condition will cost. You can usually haggle over the finer points of the price, as well. Don't expect to get 10k knocked off of it, but a few hundred dollars, maybe.
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#3 Tim Carroll

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 03:22 PM

And if you are looking for an XTR, definitely talk to AbelCineTech in New York. They have always given me very competitive prices and their gear is well maintained.

-Tim Carroll
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#4 Stephen Williams

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Posted 13 March 2006 - 03:37 PM

It seems to me that well-maintained camera packages retain their value amazingly well (almost too well, from a buyer's perspective!). Has anyone come across a rough formula for calculating the value of a camera over time -- assuming the camera remains in good shape and the market doesn't crumble?

This is a question about 16mm cameras in general, although in my case, I'm looking to buy a used Aaton XTR prod package.

I'll take a stab in the dark and put the rate that camera's lose their value at 3 to 5 percent per year. I'd love for someone more knowledgeable to correct me.


Hi,

A great deal depends how much longer film is in use and how trendy the camera is when you want to sell it.

A 70 year old Mitchell will sell on Ebay for about the same as it was new!
I bought a 25 year Old Ultracam Package last year for about 7% ot its original cost price, the seller was desperate to sell that day! OK both are 35mm cameras.

Stephen
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#5 Mitch Gross

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 03:42 PM

I would put the depreciation rate at 8-10%, but on a log scale. So using 10%, if it was worth 50k when you bought it, a year later it would be worth 45k, then a year after that it would be worth 40.5k, then 36.45, and so on.
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#6 Tim Carroll

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Posted 14 March 2006 - 03:56 PM

I think, when they get a certain age, their depreciation slows way down. But remember, you are talking purchase price. After I bought an Arriflex SR1 a few years ago, it cost $1300 to have the camera and lens cleaned, lubed and adjusted. But when I considered selling it a couple of months ago, I was offered the same price I paid for the camera when I bought it. So although the camera did not depriciate at all in the two years I owned it, it still cost me $1300 to own a "professional" motion picture camera for two years.

-Tim Carroll
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#7 Chris Keth

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Posted 16 March 2006 - 02:24 PM

I would put the depreciation rate at 8-10%, but on a log scale. So using 10%, if it was worth 50k when you bought it, a year later it would be worth 45k, then a year after that it would be worth 40.5k, then 36.45, and so on.



That's about the way to do it, I think. Like most things as soon as it's "used" the value jumps down but after that it goes pretty slowly. Good cameras really don't go bad.
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