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Every photographer is aware of the need to balance getting hold of the gear that you want while keeping your personal budget and finances under control! It’s always tempting to buy more kit and although it will certainly come in handy at some point the costs can quickly mount up!
The Pros and Cons of Buying Used Photography Equipment.
Although the used photography equipment market has been given a bad reputation by a few bad players for the most part it is a fantastic way to save some money while buying top quality gear.
The internet has revolutionized the way we connect with each other and has made it easier than ever to buy second hand photography equipment from trusted buyers. To ensure that buyers are reliable you should always take a moment to read some of their recent reviews and check the comments that customers are leaving – this way you’ll be able to get a clear idea of the quality of their service.
The Advantages of Buying Used Camera Equipment.
- The Prices Are Cheaper: One of the main reasons why people tend to buy used camera equipment is because the prices are cheaper and they can save some money! The difference in price, particularly with higher end equipment, can often add up to thousands of dollars in savings on a single camera, lens or other item!
- Good Dealers of Used Equipment Offer Warranties And Fair Return Policies: As the competition for business has increased amongst sellers of second hand equipment they have had to up their game and improve their services. The better dealers of used equipment now offer warranties and have useful return policies. This means that if you are not happy with the item you have bought you can return it and get your money back. This is something you should certainly be looking out for when you are shopping online and don’t have the opportunity of checking the equipment before you buy it. There will usually be a defined period within which you can return an item that is normally about 1 month.
- You Can Recoup More of the Costs by Reselling: Unlike new equipment, if you want to resell your used equipment you’ll be able to get most of the money back. A used camera, or other equipment, will not lose as much of its value as a new item would have done in the same amount of time. In some cases, especially if you got a great deal on the purchase, you might even be able to resell the gear at a profit!
- A Good Choice to Buy Your Back Up Equipment: As a photographer, particularly if you are a professional freelancer, you will always want to have a complete set of back up gear – including camera bodies, lenses and lighting. This is vital to have on hand in case your camera gets broken or stops working while you’re on the job! The truth about your back up gear though is that you hope that you won’t need to use it very often and consequently you aren’t going to want to buy it at full price. Getting second hand equipment to use as your backup will work out to be much better value for money.
- You Can Negotiate the Price: It’s not always going to be the case, however sometimes you can actually bargain and negotiate the offer price down even further! If you’re buying a fairly expensive second hand item then you may well be able to get the price down by a few hundred dollars more if you negotiate with the seller – something you can’t do when buying first hand kit!
The Disadvantages of Buying Used Camera Equipment.
- There Are More Risks Associated with Buying Used Equipment: One of the major downsides of buying second hand cameras and equipment is that you do run the risk of receiving it and finding out that it doesn’t work! This can be extremely disheartening however if you have bought the item through a good seller then you should be able to return it within the stated returns period! Try to avoid anonymous online sellers because purchasing from these is the riskiest of all.
- Most Private Dealers Do Not Offer Warranties: When you buy from a private individual they are very unlikely to offer you a warranty with your purchase. There is no way around this although the best course of action if you do decide to buy from a private seller is to check the customer reviews to get an idea of whether or not they are trustworthy.
- The Equipment Might Be Faulty: There could be problems with the used equipment that are not immediately obvious but manifest later. These hidden issues could be related to the camera’s software or as a result of past misuse of the equipment.
- It’s Impossible to be 100% Safe: Unfortunately, even if you do your due diligence and check the seller as thoroughly as you can’t ever be totally certain that you’re going to get equipment that is in perfect working order. This is an unavoidable aspect of buying second hand gear but you can mitigate this by buying from larger second hand sellers with a solid reputation.
- It Can Cost More in the Long Run: If you’ve bought second hand equipment and something goes wrong with it down the road and it needs repairs then you might end up spending more than if you had just bought a new one! It’s often a bit of a gamble though and in the end you’ll have to make your own decision about whether it’s worth taking the chance.
What To Look For When Buying Used Equipment.
Buying used equipment is a great way to save money but there are always going to be some risks associated with it. There are however, a few things that you can look out for to make sure that you get a good deal and equipment that is working properly.
- Pictures: Never buy a camera, lens or other equipment online unless there are photographs of it that you can inspect. Ideally, there should be multiple photos taken from different angles so that you can see if there are any scratches or other damage on the item.
- Warranty: Where possible you should try to buy used equipment that has a warranty attached. This may not always be possible however if you can find a dealer that does provide warranties with their equipment then you can shop with greater peace of mind.
- Return Policy: When you’re shopping online you should always look for items that have a reasonable returns policy. This means that if you’re not happy with the item you can return it immediately for a full refund.
- Delivery Costs: While you may save money on a second hand item the delivery costs can sometimes be pretty steep so don’t forget to include the delivery cost in your calculations. Some items, particularly larger ones, will not be worth buying second hand if the delivery costs cancel out any savings you make on the item.
- Check the Reviews: Before you buy used equipment you should always take the time to read the seller’s reviews and check the customer feedback. If the seller has a consistent past record then you are far more likely to get a good service at a great price.
Best Places to Buy Used Camera Equipment.
As one of the largest online retailers Amazon sells both new and used camera equipment. There is an incredible range of used equipment available on Amazon and so whether you’re looking for a camera, lenses or any other item you’re likely to find the exact model that you’re looking for.
Amazon operates the Amazon Renewed Program and so if you buy items that are a part of this program you will get a 90 day guarantee with your purchase. If anything goes wrong in the 90 day period you can either get a replacement item or a full refund. Items that qualify under this program should have link on the listing which lets you know its status.
Sellers on the Amazon platform have ratings – which you should always check – so you can see what their track record of customer service is like. Usually, you should only buy from sellers who have very positive reviews; however, since there are so many sellers on the site you can easily avoid poorly rated sellers. Amazon ships all throughout the United States and worldwide.
As the original online auction site, Ebay has managed to stay in the game and fend off the growing competition. The site has a huge selection of used camera equipment that is sold by private individuals and businesses.
One of the nice features of Ebay is that you can either buy items at a set price or bid through a live auction. You can get some fantastic deals in the auctions although even the fixed price items are very competitive.
Ebay provides good protection for its buyers with the Ebay Money Back Guarantee which means that you can get a refund if the product is not working or different to what the listing described. If necessary you will usually be able to get a replacement item.
Ebay ships all across the United States and most of the world.
B&H is one of the United States’ best loved photography stores and they have a fantastic reputation, both on and off line. Most of the company’s sales are made online although they do also have a bricks and mortar store in New York City as well.
B&H have a specialist second hand camera equipment section on their homepage and it has a superb range of products at very competitive prices. All of the items on sale have a 30 day return policy so in case it’s not what you wanted you can return it and get a full refund. B&H also has a 90 day parts warranty that includes free labor if your equipment needs repairs with that period.
B&H ships all through the United States and worldwide.
Used Photography Equipment Can Save You Big Bucks!
As a photographer you’re bound to have quite a lot of equipment, some of which you need but don’t use everyday. There’s many reasons to buy second hand equipment and whether that’s a camera, a lens or a tripod, taking the time to find a good deal will really help your bottom line.
When you are shopping for second hand gear you need to be sure that the seller is trustworthy and if you can you should always try to buy equipment that has a fair returns policy. You will need to be more wary of private sellers although in some cases you can get a great deal in this way. Big ticket items offer the best savings for you however you will be taking more of a risk so you’ll need to juggle the costs and benefits in your mind before you make the final decision.
Have you purchased used photography gear?