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Messages - RustyTheGeek

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Lighting / Re: No 600EX-RT discounts this holiday?
« on: December 25, 2014, 04:55:08 PM »
Then, just for fun, I bought one of the Yongnuo YN-E3-RT

Did you review it yet anywhere? I'd like some opinion on this considering transmitting distance and general reliability, and the youtube "send me a flash for free and I'll praise you until kingdom come" unboxing vids aren't a great help there.

LOL!  Yeah, after the investment in three 600EX-RT flash units, I figured another $90 impulse buy wasn't much of a stretch.  I made the choice based on a few quick review readings and the feedback on Amazon.  The little bit I've played with everything sitting on the couch today while watching Christmas Story, it seems to work fine.  Hopefully I'll be able to give it more time soon doing something useful.   ;)

Canon General / Re: What Canon stuff did you get for Christmas
« on: December 25, 2014, 04:36:39 PM »
I have been selling some of my gear to generate funds.  Lenses, bodies, etc.  I also bought and sold a few new Black Friday items for a great profit.  This all began back at the beginning of Sept.  Found/bought many great deals, esp Black Friday.  So after about 90 Days...

After all is said and done, I ended up getting/keeping the following items for Christmas...

7D Mark II  (Sold my 6D, 60D, 70D, etc to fund but I might obtain another 6D eventually.)
16-35 f/4L IS  (Might Sell, not sure but decided to start using it for now.)
600EX-RT Flash x 3 + Sto-Fen Diffusers
Yongnuo YN-E3-RT

Other Misc stuff...
PixelFast CF Media

Later, when it arrives...
MagMod Dome Diffuser

With the extra flash units, I may buy a few new eneloop batteries.  I haven't purchased any new eneloops for years.  All my eneloops still work great after 3-5+ years!!


You went through all that "mission impossible" stuff just to sell something?  Was it worth it? 

Seems like a lot of work and worry.  Looking out for accomplices?  Really?

You expect them to give you their phone number but you use a throwaway number app??

Why would you ever use Craig's list if you have such worries?

It's your stuff and your decision and I respect that.  But if I had any of these concerns, I would not use Craig's list.

Do you ever get a friend with a CCW to wait in the background in case the "deal" goes bad?   ;D

It's been busy and I didn't notice this reply but now that Christmas is here and I'm pretty caught up and chillin' I've had a chance to look at CR again.

I think AcutancePhotography's post deserves a quick reply...

Yes, it is a bit of work and worry.  (But not too much.)  I realize it seems like I'm going overboard with precautions or that I seem overly paranoid.  Unfortunately, it doesn't matter how you choose to sell something, there is possible risk of loss and trouble involved with every method.  With ebay, you will pay more in fees and risk someone lying about you as a seller and in the worst case, costing you your item and also your payment due to an ebay buyer protection refund.  It has happened.

With Craigslist, I have recently experienced a simple but costly theft in broad daylight.  Fortunately there was no violence involved but it could have been prevented by taking precautions.  If I am selling a $50 widget, you are correct, all the precautions I mention are probably pointless.  But with a $3000+ camera or lens, recent events have proven that I need to be more careful.  Not selling on CL may be one choice but I don't like to give up or quit, I like to adapt, solve the problem and carry on to achieve my goal.  In this case, my goal is to sell my stuff and not get ripped off.

As for the throw away number... think about it.  You are dealing with total strangers.  After you deal with a few, you start to realize there are a lot of irritating people out there (at best) and some folks are downright creepy/dangerous (at worst).  Until I feel comfortable giving out a real/permanent contact method, I want to have the ability to totally cut them off if I need to without it causing me a lot of trouble/grief in the process.

CCW (Concealed Carry Weapon) - While I do have a license for this in Texas, I rarely carry.  I go too many places where it's still prohibited.  (Churches, public schools, boy scout property, etc.)  And unless I am facing a lethal threat, I can't pull it out anyway.  However, after I was robbed, I did give it more thought, that's a fact.

Again, I feel it is best to HOPE FOR THE BEST BUT PLAN FOR THE WORST.

And you're right, taking steps to mitigate problems ahead of time isn't for everyone.  In that case, it probably is best to simply avoid selling with a anonymous system like CraigsList.

Lighting / Re: No 600EX-RT discounts this holiday?
« on: December 25, 2014, 01:12:15 PM »
I took the plunge on these NEW units from BigValueInc (eBay - canonpricewatch) back on Dec 10.  I paid $430each  (now $446) figuring that was about the best I would find for new/non-refurb units.  I bought 20.  I mean 2.   ;)

Then, just for fun, I bought one of the Yongnuo YN-E3-RT from Amazon Prime for $89.  Now it's $99.

Technical Support / Re: What a day: dropped my camera.
« on: December 22, 2014, 03:56:12 PM »
Guys, I'm sorry all of you have damaged your great cameras.  However, I see that as a BATTLE BADGE OF HONOR!

Seriously!  You are out there, shooting pictures, doing your thing!  The camera got damaged.  So what?  You're human.  It happens.  If it still works, keep using it.  If it doesn't, get it repaired.  But DON'T DESPAIR!  The camera was damaged doing what it and its owner loves!!  You didn't buy it to keep in the closet, all safe and pretty.  You bought it to use it and that's what you're doing!  Accidents happen and along with those accidents, so did a lot of great pictures!

If the repair costs way too much, it might even be time to buy another one instead.  But whatever you do, don't be depressed!  Be glad you are such a trooper and you keep on rockin' that camera!!

Third Party Manufacturers / Re: ENELOOP ????
« on: December 18, 2014, 03:50:29 PM »
I noticed that Surapon has the fancy colored eneloops.  I got mine mostly from Costco.  Those are typically Blue, Light Blue and Green/Light Green and then the regular white.  With a charger.  When they have them in stock.

Okay, so I did another CL transaction today selling my 60D.  I sold it to a nice guy for his daughter for Christmas with the Tamron 18-270 lens.  This the second time I've sold a camera for a teenage daughter's Christmas because they are learning photography and want to upgrade and get more serious.

Here's the way it played out...

1.  He contacted me via the CL email relay, I replied and he gave his phone number, asked me to call him.  I looked up the info in his email name and the phone number on Google.  (I've always done this.)  The search turned up info that looked legitimate, similar to what he provided and local, close to home even.

2.  I replied back via the CL email relay, and then I sent a text to his number via a throw away number phone app I have on my phone.

* -  I do most of my "detective" work at this stage before I give anything out of value with regard to identity.  You can usually tell if someone is legit because they give their contact info, are willing to share things like a work number, address or some other kind of data.  They are willing to discuss their photography or why they want to buy.  If they ask to meet at odd times, odd places or that this deal is really really important to them because of whatever, their mother is dying, they can't be late to work, they need this badly for their whatever, etc then I am more suspicious.  Most scam/con artists/thieves want to keep you on the hook with some kind of heart string sob story urgency crap.  The guy that stole my camera said he needed it right away because he couldn't get a 5D3 online delivered before Christmas.  That was a red flag and I was suspicious.  He didn't try to negotiate the price.  Another red flag.

3.  Once I was reasonably certain this buyer was legitimate, in this case I was comfortable using my personal cell phone.  In most cases, I won't do this so early but in this case, this time I felt confident he wasn't hiding anything and my regular cell phone works a lot better than the VOIP phone app.  But if I have to, I'll just keep using the VOIP app until the sale is finished, never revealing any direct contact info.

4.  We agreed to meet at the normal Starbucks I use.  I arrived 15 minutes early and kept an eye out for folks driving in and coming in.  I left the camera in the car.

5.  Once he arrived, we met, introduced ourselves and I calmly asked to see that he brought money and asked to go outside with him and take a smartphone pic of his vehicle license plate that uploads online (in case my phone were stolen).  In this case, the lic plate was personalized and matched his email and company name.  Pretty legit.  Otherwise, I would probably ask that they trigger their door locks or something with their key remote to confirm it is their vehicle.  If someone isn't comfortable with either of these requests, I'll simply say goodbye and no one has risked anything.  And if they want their own smartphone pic of my license plate, that's fine too.

6.  In this case things were pretty much a lock.  I could tell he was fine.  But normally I would ask them to go back inside and I would go to my car alone and retrieve the camera and bring it in for them to inspect.

*  At this point, I have something to identify the buyer that isn't too confidential and I have not allowed them to access the item I am selling until I am sure they are a legitimate buyer who isn't with a gang of thugs or on foot.  I am also keeping them away from me when I will be alone with the item so I can't be robbed without witnesses.

7.  Once inside with my item, I'll simply sit somewhere away from the exit and stay alert in case they have an accomplice waiting around to snag the item and run.  I think most of the time, if someone is planning to steal something, they won't allow #5 above to happen anyway and won't have any money.  Once they buy and hand over the money, life is good but I will be careful that I don't get robbed of the cash by someone else who saw the cash or is working with the buyer to retrieve the money later.  Who knows, there could be a totally different thief who sees the deal go down and wants the money separate from this transaction.

The bottom line is that once you start assuming that you aren't vulnerable and that things will be okay, you are inviting something to happen like what happened to me.  I got lazy, sloppy and I got robbed.  If you just practice some basic prevention and be diligent, proactive and watch out for yourself, a lot of problems can be avoided.  Thieves work hard to throw you off, make you feel secure and keep you confused or off balance.

No matter what, it's up to you to stay in control and not play the thieves' game.

Hope for the best, Plan for the worst.

Rusty, not to get your hopes up unnecessarily, but in the DFW area (maybe state wide) all the pawn shops report their buys/pawns on a computer system checked by local police departments.  I have seen many items recovered because of that system.  In fact, two of my good friends had their pickup burglarized while in their garage and one of their Nikon cameras stolen (D3 I think).  About two weeks later they got a call from the detective working the case that it had been located in a pawnshop in Dallas (we live in a far suburb).  A property hearing was held and the camera was returned to them.  Oddly enough, the telephoto zoom taken the same time (may have been on the camera) was not pawned so they did suffer that loss.  That recovery gave police enough information, along with some evidence at the scene, to file a Burglary of a Habitation case on a suspect.

Do you mind if I ask which agency is investigating the case?

Thanks OldSarge.  I appreciate your input.  No hopes here.  I'll wait to be pleasantly surprised.  Arlington PD I assume would be investigating.  I might drop by the Taco Bell today and see if the manager was contacted yet.  I know these things move slowly and I'm also aware of the database.  I would be delighted if the thief was stupid enough to try and pawn it but I'll just have to wait and see.  And if things did work out like that, I figure it would be months before anything is actually back in my possession.  (Meaning, it will be worth a lot less and in 'who knows what' kind of condition, prob missing stuff, no box, etc.)


As for holding cash before holding camera, I like the idea but again, most buyers would be suspicious (and rightly so) that I would do the very same thing, run with the cash while they sit there with a camera box full of newspapers or a brick.

What I was looking for was the same thing as the return policy.  When I ask people about that I don't expect to use it, I'm gauging their lack of douche-baggery.  If someone says "sure, yeah, you want to try and you'll bring it back exactly the same?  OK."  then I know they are real.  Even if they put up a fight and then they agree, they are real.

So on the cash thing if people said "hell no, I want to see it before you see the cash", they are not real.  If they are willing to do the cash up front, they are real.

That's how it worked when I bought/sold motorcycles.  No cash, no ride.  In fact the rule was you give me the cash and your drivers license, then you go take a ride.  Not before.

I follow you.  And I agree.  I would discuss things first, feel out the buyer and in general, once I feel confident I am dealing with someone trustworthy, I normally agree to a return and I would explain what I look for if it were to happen.  And if the camera is brand new, I might ask for a small return fee since it would be used after the fact.  All that is legit and reasonable for both parties.

As for the cash holding thing, you gotta admit that riding a motorcycle off into the sunset pretty much requires a cash in hand thing up front.  After all, the item is literally leaving your sight and might never return or be crashed.  But two people sitting at a table indoors with a small box, the practice could be considered somewhat optional.  But I'm not totally disagreeing with you, esp in light of what just happened to me.

Again, my hope is that I learn/practice a better method going forward and everyone else reading this can improve their strategy at the same time.  Then my loss will not have been in vain.   ;)

I've bought stuff off of craigslist for years with no problems.  I've sold some stuff but mostly been a buyer.

One way to weed out scammers, again as a buyer, is to ask for a 48 hour return option provided it is in identical condition.  You aren't going to actually return it, you just want to see how they react.  I bought my 400mm DO for $4200 off of craigslist a few years ago.  I ran that idea up the flag pole and he wasn't thrilled but agreed.

I wish I had more advice on the selling side, I've sort of given up selling stuff, I live in a remote area with tractors and cameras, I don't want people coming to my house.  These days I give stuff away to friends in need rather than sell it but I'll be joining your ranks to sell my 400mm DO to help fund the purchase of the mark II.  So I'll be watching this thread for ideas.

Perhaps on the selling side you try this (from my motorcycle days).  You want to hold the camera?  Great, I want to hold the cash.  No cash, no camera out of my hands.  And you state that up front before the meeting.  Think that would have worked?

Well, as you can imagine, I've been mulling this over.  I always try to put myself in the shoes of the buyer.  They don't want to put themselves at risk either.  So things like taking a photo of their ID/DL is probably not a reality.  I'm not giving out my address and I figure they won't either.  However, if I take their photo and a photo of their vehicle including the license plate, that may go a ways toward establishing ID without any other need.  I wouldn't mind giving out my vehicle tag and make/model, it's public info already.  If they walk in without a vehicle, no sale.  Go away.

As for holding cash before holding camera, I like the idea but again, most buyers would be suspicious (and rightly so) that I would do the very same thing, run with the cash while they sit there with a camera box full of newspapers or a brick.

I fantasize how funny it would have been if the crook that ripped me off ran away, jumped fences, ripped his clothes and got a bloody knee only to arrive at his destination and discovered that all that was really in the box was some old junk cables, junk camera manual and a brick wrapped in bubble wrap.  You know, a crook who ran off with another crooks' scam!  LOL!  Unfortunately, that wasn't the case.

Btw: Rusty, did you manage to record your serial numbers on Lenstag before this occurred? (https://www.lenstag.com)
I have some of my gears serial numbers listed there; if I wasn't so damn lazy I would even had them verified so that they would be useful if the fit hit the shan...

Good question.  Not on Lenstag but I do keep the serial numbers in case someone ever tries to pull a switch and return on me.

Can you contact CPS... see if someone who unknowingly buys it off ebay/amazon, or whatever... then they register it on cps... and bam, cps lets you know, you tell the police...

the buyer then has to mail it back to you... and they will then contact amazon/ebay or whatever and demand a refund... and the theft guy then gets his payment stopped... maybe even goes to jail.

Well, thanks JD for your concern and ideas.  I appreciate your time to offer your thoughts.  No offense but my guess is that your chain of events is probably an extremely optimistic version of the reality.  Most of us in the honest world wish everyone wanted to catch criminals with mechanisms in place that seem like they should achieve that but it's rarely the case.  Sort of a "Wish in one hand..." sort of thing.  Of course, it can't hurt and I'll probably register it just in case.

My guess is that a) CPS doesn't care, b) Most folks would never register it on CPS, c) eBay doesn't care and finally and unfortunately, d) the police wouldn't care.  (And which police, if they did care, would have jurisdiction?)  Most all entities these days are not interested in getting involved and actually say that in their terms of use.  No, I haven't read the CPS terms about this but I'm just assuming.  If something like this could somehow happen, it would have to be driven by the authorities and that's likely where nothing would happen in the first place.

For instance, I know of a situation where a couple had their identity stolen, they spent weeks tracking down the thieves themselves, they got video and all kinds of other evidence and proof and turned it all over to the authorities who basically said that they weren't interested and didn't have time to mess with it.  That's the general mentality of most police today.  They are overworked, underpaid and in general, only pursue major crimes.  Their petty crimes divisions are underfunded and overworked.  The only hope I hold out for this case is that it is a felony due to the dollar amount so it might get a little more effort.  But I doubt it.

I'm glad no one was threatened or hurt, I'm glad it was just the camera and not the lens too.  I'm glad I hopefully learned something and I hope it helps everyone who hears about it avoid the same thing happening to them in the future, including me.  I'm also glad that I have the means to shrug it off as a lesson learned and not ruin my Christmas or put me in the poor house due to the unexpected loss.  I wish it had been the used 60D and not a new 5D3 but who knows what will happen in the future.  Being a $3000 camera, it will probably be very hard to get rid of unless it's sold to a individual in a parking lot somewhere for $200 or something.   And even that has an element of risk for the thief.

Btw: Rusty, did you manage to record your serial numbers on Lenstag before this occurred? (https://www.lenstag.com)
I have some of my gears serial numbers listed there; if I wasn't so damn lazy I would even had them verified so that they would be useful if the fit hit the shan...

Good question.  Not on Lenstag but I do keep the serial numbers in case someone ever tries to pull a switch and return on me.

I have been thinking of selling camera equipment that I own on CL.

Can someone give pointers on cautions I should use while posting and meeting potential buyers?

Do you give your personal phone number to strangers while communicating? I can imagine someone misusing it or make threatening calls...How do you get in touch with the buyers to avoid this?

Some of the big rules are...

1.  NEVER invite people to your home or give them your address.  (I mask my address on all receipts, etc that I include with an item.)
2.  I do my communication via a tiered system of my design.
        a. CL Mail Relay (anonymous)
        b. Burner Phone or Virtual Phone App with "Burner" Phone number.
        c. Once I've met them and a sale occurs, I will give them my real cell number/email/business card if I trust them.
3.  ALWAYS meet in a public place, well lit and in a known area.  (This Taco Bell wasn't terrible, it was public and well lit with surveillance video, but I didn't realize it was so easy to run away from it on foot.)
4.  Try to arrive at a meeting early so you can watch vehicles and see people coming and who they are with.
        a. This way you can get license numbers, take a picture or two and in general be on your guard.
5.  Go with a friend if possible.
6.  CASH ONLY to the buyer only, not a friend, cousin, etc.  NO PAYPAL, WESTERN UNION, CHECKS, ETC.

Check out these links if you haven't already.

And to be honest, I did not obey my rule #4 above.  I was running late even though I had suspicions about the meeting.  I let the chance of making a sale and the fact that all my previous sales had gone smoothly in public places convince me that it was going to be ok.  I got a bit sloppy and it cost me.  But I've learned my lesson and I will be more vigilant and demand more proof of serious buyer intent from now on.

And I will tell people up front that I've been ripped off before so I demand proof of a genuine buyer when I meet.  Like an ID, etc.  Maybe a call back to a legitimate place like their work.  Not sure on my final plan for this yet.

Obviously you called the police and asked the taco bell manager there are surveillance videos. 

Well, the hits just keep on coming!!  I met someone yesterday to sell the 5D3 I bought to sell and... they stole it.  Yep, STOLEN.  I met him at a Taco Bell, we talked a few minutes, he inspected the camera stuff in the box, talked about computer stuff a little, calm as can be and then proceeded to say he would get his money, started to walk away with the box and before I could stop him he was out the door, across the street and beatin' feet.  Bye 5D3!!   :-[   >:(

So, I feel like a chump even though I wasn't about to chase him down and risk meeting all his friends down the street, in a car or around the corner.

So keep that in mind, even though no one was hurt (except my pride/ego), this crap can happen.  So once I sell all the stuff I have to sell, I'll still probably come out ahead but most of my profit is gone now.  What a pisser.
Yes, filed police report and hopefully the detective for the case gets the store videos.  I hate to say this but I've heard from more than one source that in general, the police pretty much blow this stuff off.  There's just too much to do and not enough manpower or resources to do it.  My only hope is that since this is a felony (over $1500) it might make it a higher priority to pursue.

Business of Photography/Videography / Re: Update on SmugMug
« on: December 17, 2014, 04:45:00 PM »
I've used Zenfolio for years and been pretty happy.  If only I just had the number of pics that you do if I wanted to move!

As of today, my total appears to be...  33122 files, 131.2 GB
Is that all?  I guess I need to be uploading more of my photos to catch up ;)  Just kidding of course, and if you want to move, there are some services (or a service) out there that lets you move all of your photos.  I'd have to look for it again, but I guess they all have their stuff if Amazon's Cloud, so it's probably not as big of a deal as it sounds.   Okay, here's two: https://www.uploadjunction.com/ and for moves to SmugMug: http://smugglr.smugmug.com/

Yeah, sounds excessive but I shoot a lot and most of the stuff is for youth groups like scouts, school swim team, etc where everyone wants to have pics of their kids.  So it's not like I can post 10 pics or something for art's sake.  It's more like providing a record of the event for as many as possible.  Hence, lots of pics.

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