Tips for Buying Used Camera Gear

How to buy used camera gear

Should you’re procuring on a finances, then shopping for used digital camera gear is a superb thought.

Fashionable digital cameras are up to date frequently, so the used market is stuffed with cameras in search of a brand new house. Used cameras are an effective way to improve your gear with out breaking the financial institution (they usually usually provide incredible worth for the cash, too).

However when secondhand gear, not all of it will likely be as much as scratch. Not everybody cares for his or her gear, so you need to train consideration and warning.

Beneath are some tips to ensure you get the most effective bang in your buck when shopping for used gear. That method, you may replace your cameras, lenses, and equipment for a fraction of the unique worth!

Shopping for used cameras

buying used camera gear tips

Cameras are advanced machines, so there are a couple of key indicators to search for when searching for a secondhand physique.

Shutter rely

The shutter rely of a digital camera is just the variety of instances the shutter has been fired in its lifetime.

(The shutter rely is also referred to as the variety of shutter actuations.)

Usually, the shutter rely provides you with an important indication of the quantity of use a digital camera has seen, much like checking the mileage on a automobile. Cameras are rated for shutter sturdiness, with fanatic fashions usually rated across the 150,000-shot mark, {and professional} fashions rated at 300,000 pictures or larger.

When looking, low shutter counts usually point out much less heavily-used gadgets. Fewer than 10,000 pictures on a digital camera that’s 2-5 years previous could be very low, with the conventional quantity being round 30,000-50,000.

If a digital camera has a really excessive rely of 100,000 or extra, it’s most likely greatest prevented, particularly as a result of this quantity may also offer you a bit of perception into the proprietor’s use of the digital camera. Greater-count cameras could have seen skilled use (and a tougher life), whereas decrease counts point out informal shopper use.

So how do you discover out a digital camera’s shutter rely?

The quantity is usually supplied when cameras are being offered secondhand. However in case you’re undecided, you could find it out a couple of methods, relying on the mannequin. Take a look at this text for steering: Discovering Your Digicam’s Present Shutter Actuations.

Digicam checks

When a used digital camera, there are some things you may test to get a greater understanding of its situation.

First, take away the physique cap and examine the within of the digital camera across the mirror, focusing display, and lens contacts. Search for any indicators of harm, oil, or gunk that has collected in these areas.

Inspect inside of body used camera gearExamine contained in the digital camera, paying particular consideration to the mirror and focusing display; search for any signal of oil or residue.

Oil can point out that the mechanisms of the inner elements will not be functioning appropriately, generally because of the digital camera being bumped or dropped. Search for any oil across the sides of the inner part. A small flashlight generally is a large assist right here.

Bear in mind to carry the digital camera face-down as a lot as doable to cut back the danger of contamination from mud and filth.

Hold downward used camera gearWhen inspecting a digital camera, attempt to maintain it face down.

If in case you have a lens available, it’s price taking a check shot to search for any points with the sensor.

Set the digital camera to f/16 to f/22, level it at a brilliant topic (a white wall or the sky), and shoot a body. Play the picture again and zoom in on the LCD display to search for any marks and scratches.

Mud spots will not be an enormous downside, as a easy sensor clear can care for them. However strains might be proof of a scratch on the sensor (which signifies that the digital camera is greatest prevented).

example of sensor test shot

What to search for within the check shot.

Basic put on and tear

In fact, it’s additionally essential to search for any exterior indicators of harm. Small scratches, scuffs, and marks needs to be anticipated, however heavy blemishes can point out that the digital camera has been dropped. Rubber grips usually begin to come off with heavy use, however these might be changed at a low price.

Body outside used camera gearOutdoors grips usually change into worn and unglued. So long as there aren’t any indicators of a drop, these are a easy and low-cost repair.

Check LCD used camera gearTake away any protecting screens or filters to take a look at the true physique and lens with a purpose to assess the injury.

Inspect external body when buying used camera gearLook externally for any indicators of bumps and scrapes. Typically, cameras may have a couple of marks, however main dents could also be proof that the digital camera has been dropped.

Shopping for used lenses

Digicam lenses are costly, so secondhand choices are an important different to purchasing new.

As soon as once more, nevertheless, there are some things to search for when making a purchase order.

Lens blemishes

When inspecting a lens, you’ll wish to test each the exterior and inside optics.

Externally, search for any scratches or chips on the glass. Tilting the lens towards the sunshine might help you make certain the optics are in nice situation.

Observe that, even when a lens has a entrance filter, it is probably not optically excellent. So unscrew the filter and test the true entrance aspect to make sure.

Lens wear tear used camera gear

Typically, lenses will present indicators of damage on their focus or zoom ring and the exterior barrel. Easy rubbing is regular and isn’t often a priority.

Transferring on, examine internally for mud and mildew. Shine a small mild contained in the lens and search for any particles. Most lenses may have small mud spots, however search for any giant patches or seemingly smeared areas, as these will point out whether or not the lens has any fogging or different inside points.

Check lens optics when buying used camera gearLook by the optics to make sure they’re away from mud and mildew.

Dust lens usedHeavy mud and mildew in a lens are to be prevented. The a whole lot of particles inside this lens provide an ideal instance of what to not purchase.

Inspect the inside of the lens when buying used camera gearUtilizing a small flashlight, examine contained in the lens, paying explicit consideration to the aperture blades. Any proof of oil could point out the lens is functioning lower than completely.

Aperture blades

On the rear of the lens, you’ll discover a small lever which you can push to open the aperture blades. Do that, and test if the blades are snappy and with none stickiness that might be an indication of collected oil.

Check apertureUtilizing the lever, you may manually function the aperture for a greater sense of the lens’s performance. Examine that the aperture blades are snappy after they open and shut.

Look by the lens with the iris absolutely open, as soon as once more checking for any particles or oil spots.

Open aperture of the lensOpen up the lens’s aperture to help inspection.


Examine the lens sharpness utilizing a check chart. These patterned charts are straightforward to search out on-line, and they are often caught on a wall and used to shortly consider a lens.

Right here’s the way it works:

Mount the lens on a digital camera, then put the digital camera on a tripod. Give attention to the check chart, then fireplace the digital camera utilizing a distant launch or the self-timer (to ensure you don’t create any digital camera shake).

Examine the pictures in your digital camera LCD (or, in case you can, on the pc). Zoom into 100% to make sure of focus. In fact, some cameras and lenses will want nice in-camera changes for perfection, however any wildly unsharp assessments could point out a lens has been dropped or is out of alignment.

It’s additionally a good suggestion to check the complete aperture vary and search for sharpness from edge to edge. Even at f/2.8, the middle of your check picture needs to be comparatively sharp.

Moreover, it’s a good suggestion to search for any exterior marks or blemishes when performing these assessments, turning the main focus and zoom rings to test for any stickiness or grating sounds.

With these checks executed, you’ll have a great indication of whether or not the lens is as much as scratch (and price buying!).

lens test targetRight here’s a lens sharpness goal. It is best to use a big model of this sort of chart to check a possible buy.

The place to buy used digital camera gear

Should you’re struggling to search out high-quality used digital camera gear, listed here are a couple of ideas:

Digicam outlets

How to buy used camera gear

Plenty of digital camera retailers provide some secondhand inventory in addition to new cameras. Shopping for from a supplier has its benefits, as a result of gadgets are sometimes checked earlier than being added to the stock, plus they’re usually serviced earlier than they’re offered.

Additionally, most sellers may have a return coverage, so in case you discover any faults, you may trade the used gear for a full refund. Lots of the higher sellers provide warranties on used gear that vary from three months to a yr, which provides you with wonderful peace of thoughts when buying.

In fact, one of many downsides of shopping for from a supplier is the elevated worth. Used package purchased from retailers usually prices greater than gear purchased from personal sellers – so you need to resolve if it’s price that added peace of thoughts!

Ebay and personal sellers

Buying from personal sellers instantly gives the most effective likelihood to discover a cut price. Some individuals promote their gear at far beneath the market worth. If you understand what to search for, and are assured in regards to the high quality and real nature of the sale, you may usually get a wonderful deal.

It pays to be cautious when searching for used digital camera gear, although. Be suspicious of any deal that appears too good to be true, or of consumers who will solely settle for money in particular person. Utilizing PayPal or PayPal options gives a further layer of safety (one which’s essential in on-line gross sales).

In fact, personal sellers usually gained’t provide a guaranty, however that may be a threat you are taking to get a cut price.

Shopping for used digital camera gear: Conclusion

Shopping for used digital camera gear is all about taking your time to look out a cut price. Rigorously examine the used gear you’re contemplating, whether or not it’s from a supplier or a personal vendor, and look out for the telltale indicators of harm.

Assuming you employ cautious consideration and do a radical inspection earlier than shopping for, the used market is a incredible approach to commerce up your gear at a fraction of the price of shopping for new.

And this, in flip, offers you cash to purchase extra package – and even higher, a visit or two on which you need to use it!

Now over to you:

Have you ever ever purchased used digital camera gear? What was the expertise like? Share your ideas, in addition to any suggestions or methods for buying used gear, within the feedback beneath!