Thursday, April 29, 2010

The Nikons arrived, my Canons are for Sale

Well, as much as I hate to do it, I'm selling my Canons. It's been 6 years that I've worked with them, but it's time to let 'em go. These two workhorses have done an admirable job for me and I have enjoyed making images all around the world with them, but the new Nikons were expensive, and it's time to recoup whatever is left of my original investment of $12,852 in May of 2004.

So, without further ado, here is the technical info and some images of my "legendary" Canons. If you, or anyone you know needs these, I'll be auctioning them off with a starting bid for the whole system of just $3500 USD (plus shipping). Please note that I will not be selling individual components of this system, it goes as a package deal. If you're interested just send me an email with your bid and when I get back from my assignment in Ecuador on May 8th, (if there are any bids) I'll contact the winner. My email is

In the case of a tie, I'll go with the person who's email came first. Please don't call my house, as my wife knows nothing about these cameras. I'm really hoping that by offering them up to you guys, my friends first, that the cameras will go to a good home....if nothing happens here, then they go to an Ebay auction and will probably end up being purchased by a re-seller who will clean them up, split up the set and sell the pieces individually for more.

The complete system includes the following:

2 Canon EOS 1D Mark II bodies
1 Canon EF 70-200 f/2.8L IS Lens (USM)
1 Canonm EF 16-35 f/2.8L Lens (USM)
1 Canon EF 2x Extender II (mint condition..never used)
1 Canon Speedlight 580EX Flash
4 batteries Canon NIMH Battery Pack f/EOS 1D (they hold about 40% of their original longevity after a full charge). In other words, when I start a day with a fully charged battery and shoot 300-400 frames per camera, they would burn through one battery each.
All original boxes, lens cases, cables, software disks,1 like-new charger and 1 "thrashed" but repaired charger.
No lens caps, no straps, no UV filters (UV filters were always protecting the lenses but now I'm transferring those filters to my Nikons).

 click on image to enlarge, then click again to see full size

As you can see by the pictures in this link, the bodies and lenses are pretty "rough" on the outside, but they are in excellent working order. The lenses have no scratches on the front or rear elements. My buddy Ken Rockwell tested and reviewed the 70-200 after I dropped it a few years ago, see that review here . Ken commented... "Not only does this dropped lens still work, it's one of the best lenses I've tested for real-world use".

I recently slipped and fell on wet pavement while working in Hanoi...the body with the 16-35 lens hit the ground, but it's still working just fine. That story here.

Both bodies have over 160,000 shutter releases. One had a defective shutter which Canon replaced free of charge after about 40,000 and it's now at 126,051, the other shutter is at 162,611. These shutters are rated for 200,000, but often work well beyond those predictions. So, even if the shutters die at 200,000 frames, you still have a combined total of over 70,000 shots left, or the equivalent of 1,944 - 36 exposure rolls of film before taking them in to Canon to have new shutters installed.

I have tried to answer any and all possible questions here but if you need to know something else about the cameras, please email me rather than leaving a comment on the blog, as I won't be looking at comments nearly as often as checking my email. And, again, I'm going to be in Ecuador until the 8th, so emails won't necessarily be replied to quickly either. Sorry.

Again, please don't call the house, my wife has no info on the cameras.

Anyway, I would love to see these bodies continue to be used, they would be great tools for someone who's on a budget, and  needs or wants a professional system. I was making a living, selling the images that I was shooting with these cameras just last month, perhaps you can too.

If you are new to this blog and you would like to know a bit more about me, here's a link to a recent interview I did about my work as a humanitarian photographer.



see more photos below, click on each image to expand


Meera said...

Im interested in your lenses and there anyway u'll sell them separately?

Karl Grobl said...

Hi Meera, sorry but they go as a set, first here on my blog, and if they don't sell...I will auction them off as a set on Ebay. Thanks, Kal

schwabby said...

i must know - what did you all acquire with your new Nikon system? a part of me is glad to see someone making the switch from Canon to the Big N, especially knowing you shot Nikon in the past! but that's just silly brand loyalty. :)

Karl Grobl said...

I purchased 2 Nikon D3S bodies, a Nikon 17-35 2.8, a Nikon 70-200 2.8, 1 extra camera battery and an SB400 flash. That's all I prime lenses, no other stuff...this is a typical PJ set-up. Thanks for your question.

Keith said...

I wish I wasn't a poor college student... this would have been great during my volunteering efforts in the US and in third world countries.

dani said...

good luck on selling those lucky Canons and have fun and profit with the new toys :)

nir.e said...

Fantastic choice of gear!
I have a D3 myself,the same lenses and couldn't be happier :) only one recommendation though, get a screen protector of some sort which you can change ones in a while, I found it helpful keeping the back monitor clear and scratch free.
all the best and happy shooting

Mikael said...

nir.e, did you see his Canon gear? Don't think he's too worried about scratches;-) I have a D3 since it first came out, no scratches on the LCD whatsoever...can't say I'm overly protective either. These are tools...

Hanno said...

Ah, at least I own one piece of real pro-gear too: the SB400!

I love this flash. On my centuryold D200 it makes my wife look like a photomodel ... as long as she doesn't notice me taking a picture of her.

Good luck with your new toys, Karl.

Rob Oresteen said...

A part of me wants your stuff - a part of me wants the new, shiny, MK 2!!

Now that it has been posted on Ken's site it might be only a matter of hours before they are gone!

Good luck -


Anonymous said...

Are you kidding me!!!, 3500!!!!, this stuff is DONE ready for the grave, the bodies have 160K !!!!, Please dont take advantage of fellow Photographers, the only things of use are maybe the glass, but 3500!!!, come on!!!!!

Karl Grobl said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thanks for your comment, it offers me the opportunity to explain how I researched everything before I decided on what the starting bid would be.

Here's what I did.....I did a search of completed listings on Ebay(you have to have a sellers account in order to search completed’s in the advanced search options on your Ebay sellers dashboard page).

What I found was that Mark II bodies in similar condition had sold for no less than $650. The cheapest 70-200 f 2.8 lens that sold recently went for $1300. The cheapest selling price on a 16-35 2.8 was $1200. The lowest price for a 2x convertor was $299, and the lowest price paid for a 580EX flash was $212.

So, if my calculator is correct, that's a total of $4,311. My suggested starting bid of $3500 puts me 20% below rock bottom Ebay prices.

All in all I would say that I'm being quite fair; some would say "crazy" others might say, "generous".

Here's a thought.....for about the same money you could purchase One (1) new Canon EOS 5D Mark II and a gray market 16-35 f2.8. for a total of $3,998. Yes, you would be getting a new camera with a full frame sensor, more pixels, and better ISO capabilities, but you would have paid $498 more and you'de have one (1) less durable body, with no vertical grip, no 580EX flash, no 2x converter, you would be maxed out at 3.9 instead of 8.9 frames per second. (It would be near impossible to shoot sports at 3.9 frames per second). And oh, I almost forgot, you wouldn't have the second camera body, with the 70-200 f2.8 telephoto lens either. (it would be kinda' tough shooting weddings with one body and only one lens).

I'm not forcing anyone to buy this stuff, I'm just offering it up for sale at a reasonable price to someone who sees its true value and wants to actually use it for its intended purposes.

Thanks again for your comment, and thanks to all the rest of you who have sent in bids. On May 8th, I'll be contacting everyone who bid, to let you know the outcome.



p645n said...

I believe that your kit would be classified as Bargin -- BGN or worse Ugly -- UG (for the bodies) by KEH.Com
If bargain then you gear is priced about the same as individual items at KEH.
Note -- KEH provides a 60 day warranty & a 14 day return policy. In addition when phoned they will give you a very honest description of the item often as it sits in front of them...

Karl Grobl said...

Dear P645N,
Thank you for your comment. I was unaware of but I just checked the site. They have lots of great deals and a good description of their classification hierarchy. For everyone's edification, I have cut and pasted KEH's actual definitions of Bargain and Ugly, here is their text.....

"Bargain" 70-79% of original condition. Shows more than average wear. May have dents, dings and/or brassing and finish loss. Glass may have marks and/or blemishes that should not affect picture quality*.

"Ugly" Very rough looking. Multiple impressions in metal, excessive finish loss and brassing. Glass will have marks, fungus and/or haze which will affect picture quality.

The Cameras I am selling have scratches, brassing and dings, as you can clearly see in the many photos and stories I have provided. I have even included details about each accidental drop and the results of a post drop test by Ken Rockwell.

My glass is all scratch free and there is nothing whatsoever that affects picture quality, so by KEH's definition, my gear would be considered "Bargain", at worst, and certainly not "UGLY".

A quick check of the KEH site will reveal that I am priced below most of what they are selling in their "Bargain" category.

For example they have several Mark II bodies, classified as "Bargain" selling from a low of $665 to a high of $725...well above my price.

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of KEH, you have further convinced me that I have priced my gear fairly.

Of course I'm not offering a warranty or return policy, so perhaps those who think I'm dishonest, or misrepresenting my gear, would be more comfortable paying a bit more and purchasing their used items from KEH.

Here's a link to KEH

happy shopping and shooting!

zhi said...

Hey just wanted to wish you good luck on the sale! I'm quite amazed at how much abuse pro bodies and lenses can takke.

The Cheshire Cat said...

Karl, don't budge on your price! I can't afford them, but if I could, I'd buy the gear for their collector's value.

A paintbrush is a paintbrush, but if you could own Picasso's brush, wouldn't you want to?

Karl Grobl said...

Thanks Cheshire Cat, I really appreciate your comment & compliment!
Have a great day,

Anonymous said...

Even if you sale your stuff for less than $2000 there will still be complainants! They may be "ugly" old models, amortised long ago but they still have much more to give, for sure you´ll sell your stuff earlier than later.
Good luck with the sale.
Stay well!

ams said...

i think you just try to push the price, so you can buy it with very low price, karl, just leave him, your price is ok for the condition describe, i seldom saw a seller with honest explanation like you, imo

all the best for your sale


Anonymous said...

HI ..
I am a Nikon user .. and wondering why you change the whole system while u can get 1D mark IV ?

what is in Nikon could not find it in canon ?

Anonymous said...

I would hardly consider Ken Rockwell's review or opinion worth much. I honestly cannot take you seriously when you ask potential buyers to form an opinion of your 70-200mm lens based on what an amateur photographer with a blog that reviews cameras without ever touching them thinks.

Karl Grobl said...

Dear anonymous, except for your ignominious ( about not being able to take me seriously, your comment seems to be mostly about why you don’t like Ken Rockwell. You suggest that Ken tests cameras without ever touching them. Even if that particular statement was true, it’s irrelevant to this discussion because Ken did in fact test this my actual lens (after it had been dropped). His thorough evaluation included performance data based on using it on two camera bodies, at four different focal lengths. Ken examined, tested, and reported on a host of optical issues including sharpness, distortion, falloff, flare and ghosting, lateral chromatic aberration and bokeh. Ken also tested and reported on mechanical issues including focus ring feel and zoom creep. Ken’s conclusion after this hands-on review…..Sharpness is superb. Even after falling nine feet to its presumed destruction, it still makes spectacular images.

If you’re not interested in purchasing this lens that’s fine, but in what seems to be your attempt to dissuade others from buying it, you only serve to disparage yourself while at the same time strengthening my point of view.

Thanks for your anonymous comment…maybe some day you’ll come out of hiding and share your expertise and commentary on photographic equipment by way of your own website or blog…until then I’ll assume that your opinions are less credible than mine or Ken’s

Anonymous said...

My name is David from Hawaii, and recently I sold off all my Canon pro equipment, and now just use Nikon. I had used both for weddings, and found that the focusing on the Nikon was much more accurate. Also, in low light situations, or any situation that requires flash, I noticed the Nikon FE lock gave a better metering of the subjects, and 9 out of 10 put out the proper amt of flash needed. If fact at one wedding in very low light, I used Nikon D700, SB900 flash, ISO 400 at f5.6 to f8, and got excellent lighting. My co photographer was using the Canon 1Ds MarkII with the 580EX II flash, and had to use ISO 1000 and up to get enough light on the scene.

619 BBQ King said...

Why the change/divorce from Canon to Nikon?

Liam said...

Hi Karl,

I'm attending college in the fall for photojournalism, and I was wondering what you thought of Nikon's 70-200 f2.8. Do you think with its (mostly) plastic construction makes it (too) fragile to use in a professional context?

Karl Grobl said...

I wanted a full frame so that I could get a full 17mm wide view, and I like the ergonomics of Nikon...additionally, it's always nice to make some changes and learn something new...I have a short attention span.

Ronan said...

Welcome to the darkside.

I have been shooting with Nikon ever since i was 13 :P

<3 my D3 and D300, workhorse camera's. The new D3s is simply amazing in ISO capabilities.

Enjoy and good luck on your sales!

Karl Grobl said...

Hi Liam, the 70-200 2.8 is a very durable lens, it's made from metal not plastic...did you mean to ask about a different lens?

Vittore photographer said...

I hope you'll enjoy yours Nikons.
Here ( ) you can find a lot of pictures dome with a D3 and D700.
The D3 is really nice (the photographer obviously is more important!) but a little bit to heavy...

Anonymous said...

HI Karl..
my name is trad ,,,

I am a Nikon user .. and wondering why you change the whole system while u can get 1D mark IV ?

or for full frame u can get 1Ds mark III or soon 1Ds mark IV ..

what is in Nikon could not find it in canon ?

(sorry i forget to write my name)

Karl Grobl said...

Hi Trad
My decision to “upgrade” is based on the improvement in picture quality at high ISO’s which I believe to be the most significant advancement in recent years, and my decision to switch from Canon to Nikon is based mostly on economic reasons....Let me explain: The way I see it, at this time, Nikon offers a full frame pro body with high ISO capability for $5000 while Canon’s full frame Mark IIIs is $6,115 and lacks high the newer, cleaner, high ISO settings. Since I have to buy two bodies, the math is simple. I can get 2 Nikon bodies, the 2 new lenses I need (the17-35 f2.8 and the new 70-200 f2.8), one extra battery and a flash (SB-400) for $14,609, while with Canon, it would cost me $12,229 for 2 full-frame 1Ds Mark III bodies, (old technology with max 1600 ISO), plus another $2499 for the new improved 70-200 2.8, for a total of $14,729 . (Replacing the 16-35 2.8 would add another $1,520, but of course, I could just keep using my existing 16-35, 2.8).
Perhaps some would say, “but you can get the 5D Mark II for $2,500”…..I know, I know, but I need the toughness of professional bodies which can withstand the rigors and abuse that I will be subjecting them to, as well as ergonomics that don’t allow dials to be accidentally rotated when bumped (this is a problem I see with the command dial on the 5D Mark II). And then there was the option to get the new Canon Mark IV but I really wanted to get back to a full frame, for the little bit of extra wideness rather than stay with the 1.3 crop factor.

Karl Grobl said...

oh....forgot to add one thing....the Mark 1V still has a 1.3 crop factor and I want the extra wide view of a full frame sensor.

Chuck said...

Welcome back to NIKON. You will like your D3S.
I only have D3, D2Xs and D2H.
I like the extra reach of the D2Xs when using lenses such as 300mm F2.8 and 500mm F4 etc. Sports etc.

I see that you were at ANGKOR WAT this year. Great place. I was there for 4 days in March, and found that 3 days at the temples wasn't enough. Plan to go back again this year and spend 7 days at the temples to try to photograph them properly.

My Nikon 14-24mm lens was used extensively , plus Nikon 70-200 MKI, 135mm F2.0, and even found use for the 300mm F2.8.
I discovered your blog yesterday, and look forward to reading it in future.

All the best... Peter G.

suneil said...

I've been a follower of your blog and happy you joined the Nikkor camp - I have "old" technology by Nikon's definitions (D200 and D90), but am looking forward to your work with the D3s!
The 70-200 Vr2 is a god sent for Wedding pro's, you'll LOVE every second with it - no need for primes with that VR!
BTW, just as an aside, your pricing on your 2 pro bodies, 2 flashes, AND 2 pro lenses is nothing short of an AMAZING deal, not sure why everyone here is hating on the pricing (if I wasn't so invested in Nikon, 24-70/70-200/50 1.4 and a SB900), I would've jumped ALL over it :-)

Good luck and happy Shooting!

Miserere said...

Karl, I'm curious as to why you don't use a 24-70mm f/2.8. Do you just fill the 35-70mm gap with your feet? I suppose you don't care much for the 50mm point-of-view :-)

Good luck with the sale! It's nice to see cameras that have been used in the real world and have the marks to prove it.

Karl Grobl said...

Thanks for the're correct, I just use my feet!

Anonymous said...

could you sign each of the gear if I buy them?

email me at

love you photographs! a fan from Indonesia.

Karl Grobl said...

"could you sign each of the gear if I buy them?"

Sure, I can do that for you! Thanks for asking.


jesse said...

in wondering why you didn't get one D700 for smaller size/weight and at least one 50 1.4 to fill the gap between your zooms. this would be a nice light alternative for when you don't want to carry around a beast of a camera/lens, no?

Ian Ho said...

Hi Karl, found my way here through a friend who posted the link to your worn out straps article. Love your work.

Ignore that fool ranting about your pricing. Seeing how much importance he places on cosmetics, he obviously spends a lot of time polishing his cameras and lenses instead of using them. Haha. It's a really good price that you're offering.