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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.

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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