You have decided to upgrade yourself as a photographer or a vlogger, right? So you already know that it is quite expensive. And if you can get some courses, master-classes, and manuals for free on the internet, you have to spend tons of money on proper equipment. It is true, but it is not a reason to give up on your aspires. Just buy a used camera and all the gear you need! Be sure, the used stuff is not obligatory old-fashioned and not useful. Every single year, new models arrive on the market. This means that many professionals buy the latest stuff, selling their wonderful used DSLR cameras which are not much worse than the high-end ones.
Used camera equipment is a perfect choice for both, beginners and experienced folks. It is still good, but a way cheaper. As a result, you get more bang for your buck, and you give a second life to a good piece of gear that could be just stored in someone’s closet.
So, when you know what to do to continue your education and career as a photographer or a cameraman, here comes another question. How to find the best place to buy the best used DSLR cameras? Don’t worry, this article is here to help you with a short-list of your options.
Shall I Check Out the Local Market?
This is not such a great idea, but yes, you can try to buy all the devices locally. For example, you can check out some used camera stores nearby, or go to Craigslist or Facebook market. Chances are there are people the stuff you need. In this case, you get all the stuff quickly, and you can check it out and test it. Though, the advantages of this option are also its disadvantages. First of all, ask yourself if you are you into the pro cameras enough to be able to make a proper check and test? Then, are you ready to spend hours browsing local advertisements to find what you need? Is this purchase is secure? Will you be able to return the item if you have some issues with it the next days? And again, are you okay with a very limited choice? If no, read on and get to know better places to buy used cameras.
The Best 5 Places to Buy Used Cameras, Lenses and Gear
The best you can do when you are going to buy second-hand gear for a photographer is to check out trusted retailers’ websites. Yes, it means you have to pay in advance. This seems to be a risk. Nevertheless, there are no reasons to worry. All big online retailers examine the stuff professionally before offering them to you. Besides, most of such websites protect you from scammers. The seller doesn’t get the money until you receive the goods and check them out. Though, it is still important to check the return policy of the seller before you make an order. And this concerns all your online purchases.
There are several places to find used gear online, which are much trusted and used by millions of guys across the world. Each of them has both pros and cons. Below, there is a list of websites to find cheap second-hand DSLR, used camera lenses, lighting equipment, reflectors, tripods, etc. In any of them, you will find cool stuff for photography and cinematic activities. The choice is yours.
B&H is a massive online store to find various electronics, everything for photographers and cameramen, and even to buy TV, drones or iPads. The website offers you a large variety of goods. Though, the department of your interest is called “Used”. Click on the button and then choose what kind of second-hand items you are looking for, apply filters to narrow the choice. The choice is really big. You literally can find anything on B&H: digital cameras, vintage film photo cameras, professional audio equipment, optics, tripods, lighting, etc. And the prices are nice. This means you can buy a decent photo or video gear even if you have a very limited budget.
The site inspects and tests all the goods you can find there. So, don’t worry, you will get the stuff in good condition. The deals are safe. Also, B&H provides 90-days parts and labor warranty.
MPB is also a great online store to find used camera gear for a good price. Using the website’s developed navigation, you will quickly find a good deal for yourself: used Digital SLR, second-hand lenses, used GoPro, various accessories. The checkout process is secure. And, the warranty policy is pretty satisfying as well. You can return a faulty or damaged item within 14 days from the day you receive the item.
Adorama is also a big online store that offers you both new and used equipment for photographers. There you will find cameras, lenses, lens filters, lighting, scopes, tripods, video gear, drones and lots of other stuff for work and entertainment.
Adorama offers you a full range of services, starting from tracking your order online and ending with a very good return and warranty policy. For most of the goods, you have up to 90 days to test them and return if they don’t work properly.
KEH is one of the largest online stores for photographers and cameramen. And, it is considered the best place to buy used cameras and the best place to buy used camera lenses and other equipment. Why? The company is famous for its serious inspection process. This means that a team of experts checks and evaluates all the second-hand goods so that the customers should worry about doing this themselves. It is just perfect for beginners!
On KEH you will find a giant choice of new and pre-used digital and film cameras, lenses, video gear, lighting, mounts, tripods, and various accessories. Not to get lost there, use the website’s elaborated navigation and filters system. It allows you to find the necessary stuff quickly and according to your budget. Also, KEH can help you afford the camera of your dreams. Firstly, it offers good discounts from time to time. Secondly, it gives you the possibility to purchase your chosen items on a payment plan of 3, 6, or 12-month installments. Isn’t that great?
The beauty of the website is also in its 14-day “no question asked” return policy. The guarantee duration is a 180-day period, which you also can use for hassle-free returns.
How to Examine Used Camera Gear?
When you buy second-hand gear from a big online shop, you get the goods that have been already checked. Though, it is better to test your DSLR, lenses and other stuff within the period when it is possible to return them without any hassle. So, what are the points to which you should pay attention?
If we are talking about lenses, please, pay attention to the rating every online shop has. They are rated by their condition. For example, “N” stands for “new”, 10 can stand for used equipment that looks like new, “X ” can be a sign that the stuff is good only for spare parts. The same rating is normally applicable to all the used camera equipment you can buy in this or that online store. Just be attentive and check out each website rating before you start choosing goods.
After the delivery or when you buy the stuff locally, you have to check out many things. Here is a short list of points to pay attention to, when you test a used camera, lenses, or other photo equipment:
- Check the battery department and test the battery life duration;
- Check how the LCD works along with the shutter and other buttons;
- Check all the terminals and the camera’s lens mount for any damage and fungus;
- Use your stuff like lenses or a memory card for compatibility;
- Check lenses for scratches, and perform a “shake” test;
- Take various pictures: with and without lenses, with the underexposed and overexposed frame, etc.;
- Check the plastic parts for cracks;
- Check if the battery charger works.
Performing at least this quick test you will know whether to be happy with a great deal or to return the stuff. If you are up to make a more serious examination of the stuff, you can look for the manuals online so you know how this or that second-hand stuff should look like and work. Good luck!