A Man Not of His Word, So What’s the Deal With Item #4? And The Complete Items for Sale Info e-mail « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

A Man Not of His Word, So What's the Deal With Item #4? And The Complete Items for Sale Info e-mail

What’s Up?

On Wednesday, I continued working on future blog posts. And I answered lots of e-mails. Right now it looks as if three of the four slots for the possible trip to Europe to photograph Capercaillie, Black Grouse, and one of my most wanted species, Ruff, all from blinds, are spoken for. All three species will be displaying on their leks, the latter in its spectacularly varied breeding plumage. Limited to four photographers plus me. Potentially, there is only one spot left. If you are interested, please shoot me an e-mail.

Tomorrow: A Free Tutorial: Rebuilding a Missing Primary Tip from Scratch.

Gear Questions and Advice

Too many folks attending IPTs and dozens of the folks whom I see in the field, and on BPN, are–out of ignorance–using the wrong gear, especially when it comes to tripods and more especially, tripod heads… Please know that I am always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

The Streak

Today’s blog post marks a totally insane, irrational, illogical, preposterous, absurd, completely ridiculous, unfathomable, silly, incomprehensible, what’s wrong with this guy?, makes-no-sense, 294 days in a row with a new educational blog post. There should be no end in sight until my big South America trip next fall. Or not… As always-–and folks have been doing a really great job recently–-please remember to use our B&H links for your major gear purchases. For best results use one of our many product-specific links; after clicking on one of those you can continue shopping with all subsequent purchases invisibly tracked to BAA. Your doing so is always greatly appreciated. Please remember: web orders only. And please remember also that if you are shopping for items that we carry in the new BAA Online Store (as noted in red at the close of this post below) we would appreciate your business.

A Man Not of His Word

A professional photographer who was somewhat of a friend, wrote stating that he wanted to sell his old Canon 600mm f/4L IS lens via the Used Gear Page on the blog. He e-mailed, I have the old version Canon 600 f/4 for sale. It is in great shape (always with a LensCoat). What would you suggest we price it for? I wrote back as I always do saying that I do not discuss price until the seller states specifically that they agree to the terms set down in the Items for Sale Info e-mail. As always, I urged him to read the whole thing carefully, especially item #4, before agreeing to the terms.

He wrote back saying, “That all looks good Artie!” He had suggested a price that was much too high. I suggested a much lower more reasonable price at which the lens had a chance to sell. He countered with this, Wow…that is so low. Let me hold on to it for a while and see if some of my past clients will pay a bit more. I wrote back, I am fine with that, but please remember that you agreed to the terms that included that you would pay me 2 1/2% of the current B&H lowball offer. I am checking on that now. Note: the major camera store offers are always exceedingly low, ridiculously low, criminally low. And in many cases they lower their offer once they receive your gear. At that point most folks simply accept the reduced offer “since they already have the stuff.”

Next from him, What? You want me to pay you for not listing or selling my lens???

My answer, I sent you the Items for Sale Info e-mail. I asked you to read it carefully and let me know that you agree to the terms. You did. Obviously your word is meaningless so sell the lens yourself and please do not come knocking here again. His last e-mail, “Don’t you worry, I won’t be asking for your “friendly” advice or help anytime in the future. I have another professional photographer friend who asked for the Items for Sale Info e-mail and got back to me stating clearly that he would not agree to the terms. I was 100% fine with that and wished him luck with the sale of his gear.

So What’s the Deal With Item #4?

So why do I include item #4 in the Items for Sale Info agreement? A gentleman’s agreement I might add. All business done on the Used Gear Page is done on the honor system. I have been selling used gear for more than three years and am pretty darned good at what I do. I have done many dozens of hours of research. I have an intimate knowledge of used gear prices and pricing trends. I simply do not want folks writing me for pricing information only to go off and sell the lens themselves once I put them in the right ballpark. That is why I instituted item #4. And why I ask folks to read the whole thing and especially item #4 very carefully before agreeing to the terms. As above, I am fine with folks who choose not to agree to the terms. But once you agree to the terms, I expect that folks will be honor bound by their word. Only one person has ever agreed and then broken their word.

Below you will fine the complete Items for Sale Info e-mail. I would be glad to answer any or all of your questions dealing with Used Gear Sales.

The Items for Sale Info e-mail


After you read this whole web page carefully, especially #4, then let me know that you agree to the terms by stating so clearly via return e-mail. Then we can talk about price.

If you wish to proceed, see the lens and camera body condition info below and let me know the condition of each item.

Lens Condition

Are there any dings or scratches or blemishes anywhere on the white finish? Any dents anywhere? Does the lens mount show signs or wear?

“Good” condition means really beat up.

“Very good” condition means pretty bad.

“Excellent” means very nice with a very few small dings on the white finish and no signs of wear on the lens mount.

“Near-mint” means no dings and no wear on the lens mount with no signs of wear anywhere. You can barely tell that it has been used.

“Like-new” means that it looks as if you just took it out of the box.

Camera Body Condition

Doe the camera body finish look worn?

Does the body have any dings, scratches, or dents?

Do the top or rear LCD screens have any scratches or blemishes?

Is either cracked?

Is the camera in perfect working condition?

Is the front element clean and scratch- and blemish-free?

“Good” condition means really beat up.

“Very good” condition means pretty bad.

“Excellent” means nice with a very few small dings on the body and only a few very fine, almost invisible scratches on the two LCDs.

“Near-mint” means no dings and no wear on the camera body with the LCDs nearly perfect. You can barely tell that it has been used.

“Like-new” means that it looks as if you just took it out of the box.

Once I hear from you on the condition of your items or items, I will get back to you on price. The faster you get back to me and pay attention to your e-mails, the faster we can get the stuff listed and sold.

If you agree to the terms, please fill out the template near the end of this e-mail and return it. Please be complete. If you opt not to agree to the terms, I wish you the best of luck with selling your used gear.

Here are the details and terms regarding the sale of used photo equipment through BIRDS AS ART:

1-The minimum commissionable asking price is $500/item. If you wish to sell an item priced at less than $500, the fee will be $25. As BAA sells the following items new, please note that the sale of used tripods, tripod heads, and Think Tank rolling bags require the payment of a $75 fee per item.

2- If and when the item sells, the seller agrees to pay BAA a 5% brokerage fee based on the original asking price. (The average brokerage fee with other re-sellers is in the 13-20% range.) The fee is based on the original asking price to encourage folks to price their equipment to sell.

3-The seller will–by e-mail–provide BAA with the name, description, and condition of the item, the asking price, any additional conditions of sale, and a valid e-mail address. Day, evening, and/or cell phone numbers are optional. All listed sales must include insured ground shipping to US Addresses via major courier. Please specify UPS or Fed-Ex.

Please let me know if you have the original product box and please be sure to note all of the items that are included in the sale such as front and rear lens caps, front lens covers, lens bags or trunks, CD, cables, manuals, the original product box, and anything else that came in it that you are including. If you are including other items with the sale such as a LensCoat, a lens plate, or a low foot, or anything else, be sure to note those also and be sure to note the manufacturer and the product name and number as well.

4-If the seller decides not to sell the item after I have done the price research but before it is listed, the seller agrees to pay a commission equal to 2 1/2% of the current B&H (low-ball) offer. If the item is listed and the seller accepts a price lower than the original asking price, the 5% commission shall be based on the original asking price. If the seller decides to withdraw the item or sells it to a buyer found independently, the seller agrees to pay a commission equal to 4% of the original asking price. Item 4 is in place as a good deal of work (not to mention my extensive knowledge of current gear pries) is required to come up with a price that is both fair to the seller and attractive to potential buyers.

5-If you make contact with a buyer and sell them the listed item, and then sell them additional items, you agree to pay 5% on all sales even those that were never listed on the Used Gear Page. This is only fair. BAA relies 100% on the honor system.

6-BAA will list items for sale as soon as possible and will continue to list the item until notified by the seller that the item has been sold or has been paid as per #4.

If you are OK with the terms above please fill out the template below by over-typing, adapting, or using it as a guide; please be sure to list all extras and include product names and numbers if possible for stuff that did not come with your original purchase (as noted above).

Please send your template either in an e-mail or attached as an MS Word file. Please do not send a PDF as I am unable to cut and paste from those.

Sample Template

(Your name) is offering a (complete name of the used item being offered for sale) in (fill this in please or e-mail for help) condition for (suggested or possible price). The sale includes the (list everything as noted above and as applicable): rear lens cap, the lens trunk, the original tough front lens cover, the lens strap, the original product box, and insured ground shipping via major courier to US addresses only.

Your item will not ship until your check clears unless other arrangements are made.

Please contact (your first name here) via e-mail at (your e-mail address here) or by phone at 1-your #) (your time zone).

Best and thanks and later and love, artie

Please Remember to use my Affiliate Links and to Visit the New BAA Online Store 🙂

To show your appreciation for my continuing efforts here, we ask, as always, that you get in the habit of using my B&H affiliate links on the right side of the blog for all of your photo and electronics purchases. Please check the availability of all photographic accessories in the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store, especially the Mongoose M3.6 tripod head, Wimberley lens plates, Delkin flash cards and accessories, and LensCoat stuff.

As always, we sell only what I have used, have tested, and can depend on. We will not sell you junk. We know what you need to make creating great images easy and fun. And we are always glad to answer your gear questions via e-mail.

I would of course appreciate your using our B&H affiliate links for all of your major gear, video, and electronic purchases. For the photographic stuff mentioned in the paragraph above we, and for everything else in the new store, we, meaning BAA, would of course greatly appreciate your business. Here is a huge thank you to the many who have been using our links on a regular basis and those who will be visiting the New BIRDS AS ART Online Store as well.


Be sure to like and follow BAA on Facebook by clicking on the logo link upper right. Tanks a stack!


In all blog posts and Bulletins, feel free to e-mail or to leave a comment regarding any typos or errors. Just be right 🙂

18 comments to A Man Not of His Word, So What’s the Deal With Item #4? And The Complete Items for Sale Info e-mail

  • avatar Rick

    I agree with Kelly et al, and shame on you Link. You get advice that’s worth it’s weight in gold for nothing, but complain when Artie seeks some indirect compensation.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks you kind sir. I did e-mail Link but he never responded 🙂 It looks as if he just needed to unload some negativity to make his day.


  • avatar Link Ng


    Love your blog but at end of day it is all about money and business.

    Appreciate your candid feedback but your site is all about you and making money.

    I liked the Canon series of videos, very helpful. Wish you would share more “free advice”rather than always selling.

    You are a great photographer sharing great wisdom. But….I tire of the sell job.


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Link, I am sorry that you have a problem with my part time job. I put in at least 15-20 hours/per week on the blog, and another 10 hours a week answering gear questions via e-mail. Heck, that’s almost a full time job. I would suggest that you un-subscribe from the blog so that you will not be so “tired.”

      BTW, have you used my B&H links? Have you made a blog thank you donation here? Have you been on an IPT? Or are you just a taker?

      As for me, I tire of unappreciative gimmee, gimmee, gimmee folks like you 🙂

      later and love, artie

      • avatar Kerry Morris

        Link’s comments have been nagging at me all day. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but I think he is being unfair.

        To Link:
        Despite you having free access to thousands of pages of free advice down to the tiniest of details, and you begrudge Artie trying to make a living out of SOME of the things he does? Using his blog space to sell used equipment? Really?

        You wish he would share more ‘free advice’ ????? how much more could there be?

        • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

          Thanks girl-Kerry. I will be devoting a future blog posts to two of the comments here, along with my responses.


  • avatar Mark

    If one reviews Arty’s sales over the past few years, you will see he helped me sell a 600 II in record time to a great buyer. Arty’s sale posts vouching for the lens in general are very helpful and go a long way in persuading his cadre of readers, some who may be on the fence about a purchase or somewhat less knowledgeable about a product.

    However, as an avid reader of this fine blog and of the used sale section, it’s apparent to me if hours and hours were really put in to study used pricing, it wasn’t studying the appropriate sites. One needn’t put in hours at all. Other sites have very active classified sections. I’ve personally bought and sold tens of thousands in gear over the past 10 years on some of them. If an item is priced right it will sell. If not, it won’t. It’s not rocket science knowledge that few like Arty possesses. One only need view those sites and one will learn very quickly what price is right. In fact, some months ago I emailed Art and pointed out the asking prices on his site for certain lenses, such as the 85 II, the 300 2.8, etc were way to high. He agreed and the prices were quickly lowered. As an honorable person, Art will not deny it.

    My point is if an item is not yet listed, there should be no duty to pay any fee. Fee for what? Expertise on pricing that anyone with a modicum of time can glean on their own? And pricing that for quite a while was way out of line with the market which caused items to sit unsold.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Hi Mark,

      I have “really put in hours and hours” of work on pricing. It takes time to do pricing research, especially for gear that one has never sold before. Most folks simply do not want to put in that “modicum of time” to do the needed work. It ain’t so modicum.

      As I did not remember the e-mail you spoke about, but it really does not matter. The point that you are missing is that many folks simply will not listen to my pricing advice; I always give the boys and girls the option of naming the price if they want to go higher than my recommendation. So it is not my “way out of line” advice that is causing items to “go unsold.” See the three old Nikon 600s that have been listed for more than 6 months; I told each of the sellers that they were priced way too high. Nobody budged. And two of them are dear friends 🙂

      And please do not forget that if folks do not like the concept of paying 2 1/2% of the B&H lowball offer they can choose to not agree to the terms.


      ps: I do not mind being wrong and admitting it and I do not mind being criticized, but I will–as I have done here–always defend myself when I have been unjustly criticized.

      • avatar Mark

        I also notice you poorly edited your comment above. You originally posted the email doesn’t t exist. Now you say it doesn’t matter. Of course not, nothing matters when you are wrong. Why don’t you say you were wrong? Why not post my email and say your search failed? You want to engage in diatribe about a nameless person who wasn’t honest with you and you are now being dishonest also. Shame on you, Arthur.

  • avatar Ward Mitchell

    Thanks for your belief in the honor system. Not many do anymore. I still choose to think the good ones are sticking together and your blog is a great hangout to share,learn and express our feelings. I for one would have no idea how to price used gear effectively. That’s why we have you and your open forum here. Your comments from past were….”price it to sell it”. Couldn’t agree more and that works great for someone buying as well.
    Thanks artie for sharing your experiences both positive and negative . Like my dad would tell me….it’s what you learn after you already know everything that really counts ……

  • avatar James Saxon

    I have sold used gear to the large stores and through private resale. What you offer is a very good service where photographers can receive fair prices and your commission and rules are reasonable. This is a good service for buyers and sellors.

  • avatar John Patton

    You are 100% correct about the big camera stores and their low ball pricing. Before I discovered your blog I sold some film cameras to a store in the south that offered an extra 10% over their normal price for specific items. I received an estimate via email that sounded low but I could live with it. After I shipped the items to them they countered with an offer that was insulting. Their explanation was that there were minor problems with the gear that needed fixing before it could sell. I knew it was BS but reluctantly accepted the new offer. Never again will I go down that rabbit hole. The prices you get for people is both good and fair. Can’t ask for anything better than that.

    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Thanks John, My understanding is that they always find stuff wrong with your gear and lower the prices.. Then the mark them up 100% to sell them to the rare suckers…


  • avatar Kerry Morris

    you advised him of your terms.
    too bad he didn’t research the used gear sales page!

  • I’m just wondering if the confusion from his end came from the part on your Used Photo Gear page where you state ‘free pricing advice’ but then you said you wouldn’t discuss price until after the terms were agreed upon?


    • avatar Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      He had never seen the Used Gear Page. None-the-less, I have revised the text there so thanks.