Flea Market Photo Finds

POSTED November 24th, 2014 UNDER Film, Gear

I was raised a Flea Market kid.  Most of my almost 40 years have been spent getting up early on Sunday mornings and pawing over other people’s stuff.  Flea Markets are my Church and I was raised on the religion of Bargaining.

Every once in a while I’ll find a stellar purchase.  It’s rare, but every so often you find something that makes you shake your head and go “how the hell did I find this for *this* price?”

That happened this season.

One of the first sellers we came upon had a large silver photo carrying case.

Kinda like this one.

It was sealed, but I recognized that it’s the type of case that wedding photographers usually have gear in, so I ventured over and opened it up.

Inside was a whole bunch of stuff:

There was a shade hood for a medium format camera, a basic light bracket, and a Mamiya grip.  But the most important thing I saw was a complete Lumedyne portable lighting kit; the flash, the battery, the battery extender, the cords, manuals, trigger voltage adjuster. . . everything.

I got that chill down my back that you only get when you see something that is unbelievable.  I quickly closed the case again and ran up to the guy selling the kit.  I asked him how much for the case of photography lighting.

He said “What?  What photography lighting?”

“The stuff in that metal case” I said, walking over and pointing at the case.

“Oh” he said. “I didn’t know what that stuff was.  Huh.”

So I asked him again “Okay.  How much for it?”

he said “I really don’t know much about it.  Make me an offer.”

At this point I was buying blindly.  The Lumedyne kit was made in the mid 1990’s, and it has a portable battery.  That battery could be dead.  The flash tube could be busted.  The whole thing could very well be trashed and I don’t have any way of knowing it.  I figured I’d make a low offer and if the flash was trash, at least I could get a cheap flash adapter and maybe I could find a use for the shade hood and adapt it to my Hasselblad.

“How about 20 bucks for the whole case?” I asked.

He kinda looked at me “Hrm.  How about $25?”

“Does the stuff work?” I asked.

“. . . How about 20 bucks?” he came back with.  If he didn’t know if it worked, I wasn’t going to go over 20 bucks.

I padded a $20 in his hand and walked off with the case.

I had a hard time concentrating the rest of the Flea Market.  All I wanted to do was see if this stuff worked.


Finally, when I got home, I plugged the battery in and let it charge for a bit, not knowing if it was toast or if it still worked.

I hooked up the flash, got it all ready, and turned on the battery pack.  It made that high-pitched hum of powering up.  This might work.

I popped the flash – it went off perfectly.  I did it again and again, and nothing went wrong.  The battery still had some juice left.

I brought it to the studio the next day, and it worked perfect with my radio triggers.


I just found a Lumedyne portable strobe kit for $20.  New these things are in the hundreds of dollars.


This is why I love flea markets.  You never know what you will find, even on a week-to-week basis.

All that searching eventually pays off if you look long enough.



One Response to “Flea Market Photo Finds”

  1. 071: Video, Road Trips & Tasty Tomatoes. | Sid & Dave's Unnamed Podcast Says:

    June 10th, 2015 at 10:59 am

    […] Batteries – Lumedyne battery […]

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