What Piece of Equipment Do You Regret Selling?

What Piece of Equipment Do You Regret Selling?

If you've been into photography for a while, whether you're frugal or easy going with your money, you will have likely bought and sold equipment. Well, which piece of equipment do you wish you hadn't sold?

We've all heard of buyer's remorse, but to me, seller's remorse is far more likely to affect me. Every purchase I make in photography is done so with a degree of care which, if doesn't prohibit, certainly reduces the chance I will regret my purchase. However, when it comes to selling my cameras and lenses, I'm far more prone to mistakes.

Let me know in the comments what piece of equipment you regret selling. You might just save somebody from making the same mistake.

My Worst Case of Seller's Remorse

There's a bit of irony to this story. This lens is probably the most knee-jerk, whimsical purchase I've ever made. If there was ever high risk of buyer's remorse, it was with this lump of a lens. However, I loved it and used it whenever I got the chance. The lens in question is the Zenit MC-Helios #40-2 85mm f/1.5. This was about 4-5 years ago, and I have absolutely no idea where I heard about it. Back then, it wasn't for sale on Amazon, B&H, or any of my usual photography equipment haunts. Somehow, however, I bought it brand new, and without seeing any reviews. The more I think about this, the more reckless I realize it was.

Model: Caroline Royce-Redmond.

But it worked out beautifully. It's an incredibly heavy lens, it has no autofocus, it's made as if it's a weapon rather than a lens, and the bulbous front element has degrees of randomness to how it deals with bright light, but I loved all of these things that other people could very reasonably hate. The lens has such character, which is not the case these days, at least not often.

For a while after I bought the lens, I was shoehorning it into everything. I wouldn't ever use it for a shot or a period of a shoot where I needed to come away with bankers, but once I had got what I needed, I would break out this metal creature and see what I could do. I loved the radial bokeh, the dramatic (and frankly invasive) lens flares, and the feel of shooting with it. But somewhere along the line, I stopped using it for a few months and decided it had had its day; its value could be reassigned to newer investments. So, 99 weeks ago, I sold it.

I remember feeling unsure about selling it, even when I was accepting the money and posting the box to its new owner. But I told myself that I had earmarked the money for another investment and it was the right decision. It was a head versus heart moment, and the head won. However, it probably only took about a month until I had a portrait shoot where I would usually break it out, and I wasn't able to. I love having a quirky, bizarre lens in my bag for when a shoot is nearing its end and I want to try something a bit different, and that gap hadn't (and still hasn't) been filled. So for around 95 weeks, I've regretted selling it.

At $500 brand new, I could just re-buy it, but that would be to make a bigger net loss on the lens and to fully admit my mistake. I just can't quite do that yet.

Which piece of equipment do you regret selling the most?

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40 Comments

mark wilkins's picture

My Pentax 6X7

g coll's picture

A thing of beauty!

Rhonald Rose's picture

The GF 63mm f/2.8 and Canon EF 17mm TSE because they are worth more than what I got.

Robert Hold's picture

My Phase One XF-IQ350 system.

Thomas Vaughn's picture

Nikon F2. It was a long time ago. Manual, film camera - really learned my photography. And it was a gift. Traded for Nikon 105mm f1.4. Wish I hadn't sold it

Deleted Account's picture

Almost everything.

Michael Yearout's picture

My Manfrotto spherical head. I didn't have a use for it anymore until a few months after I sold it!

Jeroen F's picture

Body: olympus E-P3
Lens: Olympus 12mm f/2.0

Andrew Ashley's picture

Nikon F3HP... I still know the serial number... It was the camera I learned in earnest to shoot on. I'm still a little sad when I think about it.

Tony Tumminello's picture

Olympus M.Zuiko 75mm f1.8. Man what a lens, didn't realize how much I loved it until I found myself reaching for it and remembering it had been sold. Compact and sharp, it's such a great M4/3 lens.

Dieter B's picture

Thanks for this. I should really take mine out of the kit bag more often!

Jeroen F's picture

Bought the 75mm second hand some time ago. What a great piece of glass it is. I even use it as a walk around lens to take more out of the box pictures. Razor sharp and pleasant bokeh.

Fred Teifeld's picture

My Pentax 645N System.

Indy Thomas's picture

There are so many cameras I wish I had held onto from the film days. However I sold one to get the next as I was never rolling in money and predatory credit had not been invented.

I regret the departure of no digital camera however.

Brian Knight's picture

My Sony A7iii. I used the money to buy the A7Riv, but damn, what a great performer that was.

Boy W Camera's picture

I tried looking for a good quote I heard about not falling in love with your equipment. Couldn't find it, so go ahead on and love your equipment, but remember they are just tools and can be replaced.

The author notes that even the lovable Zenit lens can be reacquired for $500. Thanks to him for explaining what set it apart.

I love the lighting in the portraits. The lens was earning its keep those days.

Luca Santirocco's picture

My Fender American Stratocaster

g coll's picture

Holy crap why? Why?!? WHYYYY???

Luca Santirocco's picture

Because I was young and dumb

Andre Goulet's picture

I hear you on that! I still have my 1953 Baby Martin guitar, 13th off the line. Just.Can’t.Part.With.It. It’s worth a small fortune, but sometimes that just doesn’t matter.

Marc Vidal's picture

What kind of lense did you put on that? Marshall?

Nico Gees's picture

my Epson R-D1 and my Lytro Illum

Marius Pettersen's picture

Canon EF 135mm f/2L, because I wanted to try something else and therefore traded it for the EF 100mm f/2.8L macro - which is also awesome, but not the same.

Richard Cederfjärd's picture

My Canon FD 85mm f/1.2 L

art meripol's picture

my Mamiya 7 system. Deeply fully completely regret. Cost more used now than it did new and I sold it for a song.

Robert Campbell's picture

My Minolta SRT-100. I learned on it but sold it to a friend (for $300) to finance my honeymoon in 1976. Fortunately I was able to buy it back from him last year for $25. Still works well. I really missed it!

Danny Colombo's picture

Always miss my first Nikon F. Lately I wish I still had my Toyo 45A. I have the time now that I didn’t have then.

Visual Envy's picture

While I'm aware they are older lenses, I never replaced them with newer models as planned when I sold them..
Nikkor AF-S 70-200mm f2.8 VR (version 1)
Nikkor AF-S 300mm f4D

Charles Mercier's picture

I sold my Nikon FM (completely manual) for a "better" F2A. That monster was just so much more heavy and didn't "take" better photos, so a few years later, the F2A was gone and I bought another FM. Used it till it died and then got into digital.

Robert Weber's picture

I agree with Mark. I regret selling my Pentax 67II and two lenses when I purchased my Canon 5DS R. I really miss 6 x 7 slides.

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