Used Gear Buyers Guide

Updated on Tuesday, September 20 2016

Are you are ready to get a new camera, but don’t want to spend a lot of cash? One great option is to purchase used camera gear. Some people shy away from buying used camera gear as they have concerns about reliability of the gear. To help you, we have put together a Buyer’s Guide. This is filled with things to consider before you buy a used camera or lens.  

Buying Used Cameras 

 

Research Before You Buy

• Check out websites like eBay, KEH.com or even B&H Photo & Video to get an idea of the going rate for the camera at a used price. 

• Find out what accessories the camera should come with, like cables, battery, battery charger, camera strap, manual, etc.

• Ask the seller if they know the shutter count, or if the shutter has been replaced.

• Ask the seller if they have ever had the camera service or sensor cleaned.

 

Test Before You Buy

• Turn the camera on, try the dials, push the shutter release button, do things move smoothly?

• Check for corrosion or damage to the battery compartment. 

• Look closely for any physical damage, does it appear to have been dropped? Some minor dings can be fine, but if there’s a lot of damage, we would recommend not purchasing it. 

• Bring a memory card so that you can capture a few test shots. 

• When doing the test shots check the following options: Aperture and Shutter Priority, Manual Mode, White Balance, ISO, Auto Focus and Focus Points, Exposure Compensation and even Burst Mode. 

• Review the images you capture to ensure the LCD is working properly.

• Test the pop up flash to see if it fires, as well test Flash Compensation.

 

Buying Used Lenses 

 

Research Before You Buy

• Find out what accessories it should come with: Front/Rear caps, case, lens hood.  

• Ask the seller if they’ve had the lens serviced. 

 

Test Before You Buy

• Bring your camera with you to test the lens on your camera.  

• How well does the lens mount, does it feel sturdy or loose? 

• Check out smoothly the zoom / focus work. If it feels gritty, ask about it being serviced before you purchase.  

• Try Auto and Manual Focus modes to ensure both are working.  

• Test the Image Stabilisation /  Vibration Reduction.  

• Look for any physical damage, either to the lens barrel or the glass itself, look closely and in good light.  

• Take several photos at different zoom levels to ensure images are in focus and clear.  

 

Warranty - Standard or Extended

 

Most cameras and lenses come with a warranty. Warranties vary by manufacturer and by the item, typically they are 2-5 years, but ask the original owner for those details. In many cases you’d have to have a copy of the original receipt or registration of the warranty to handle any warranty repairs. Items purchased in the US have US warranties, which means you may not be able to get warranty work done locally in the UAE and the reverse.  

 

If you are purchasing used gear from a store, some stores offer extended warranties, ask to see if there are options available. The most common thing to break on a camera these days is the Shutter, an extended warranty may be worth the price, if the camera is a little older.  

 

Check out the GPP Marketplace to buy or sell used camera gear.

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