Having decided to buy a camera to fuel your photography passion, you may have concluded that shopping for a pre-loved one represents the best value. Buying a used camera definitely saves money, with some real bargains to be found on equipment that is in great condition. There is, of course, lots to think about when considering which is the best second-hand camera to buy for ourselves, not least which brand to choose.
The process can be a bit more time-consuming than buying new, but it is possible to find the perfect camera to suit your style of shooting. As with any second-hand purchase, you may have concerns about equipment functioning correctly, which is why we always recommend buying from a reputable dealer who offers a warranty. So whether you're searching for a camera for portrait, street photography or wildlife, our top tips will provide you with all the knowledge you need to shop confidently for a second-hand camera.
Picking the best second-hand camera comes down to a few factors unique to you. These include which features you need for your style of shooting, which lenses you require and your budget. Various cameras can be better suited to different subjects, and a good way to start your search is to think about which are most appealing – whether you want to shoot street photography, portraits, video or wildlife, for example.
If you enjoy capturing video or vlogging, a mirrorless camera from Sony or Canon will make an excellent choice, as they tend to have advanced video features with plenty of lenses available for their systems. Look for a combination of movie quality and frame rate for video, such as 4K at 30p or Full HD at 60p or higher. This gives you the flexibility to produce future-proof content and record in slow motion for special effects.
Aspiring street photographers will usually opt for smaller camera bodies, perhaps with a fixed lens for ultimate discretion. Popular models for street can be found in used Fujifilm cameras, Panasonic Lumix, or APS-C sensor Canon and Nikon cameras.
Wildlife photographers shopping for a second-hand camera may lean towards DSLR’s for their robustness, comprehensive weather sealing and durability in the field. This means scouring used Canon, Nikon or Pentax pages for your preferred model, then sourcing a long telephoto lens for your chosen brand.
Factors which affect the price of a used camera include how recent the model is, how high the shutter count is and what condition the body is in. If you’re considering a slightly older or more heavily used camera, you should always check for obvious signs of damage, noting the shutter count and looking for any signs of environmental wear and tear.
From our experience, second-hand Sony and Fujifilm cameras tend to hold their value extremely well. This is largely due to supply and demand, with many users holding onto gear for longer, as they are happy with their camera’s features. That said, as all brands periodically release new products, some photographers will part exchange their camera to upgrade to the latest model. During this product lifecycle, our used department sees a rise and fall in the availability of particular cameras, which influences their value.
If you’re looking for a good second-hand investment, any Canon, Nikon, Sony or Fujifilm should make a good future-proof purchase. These bigger brands also have the largest ecosystems around their products, providing the opportunity for additional savings with more used accessories and lenses available. The lenses you buy are equally important as the camera, so it’s worth considering these from the outset.
Used Leica cameras are found in very limited numbers, making them extremely desirable in the second-hand market. Similarly, a previous high-end or flagship camera from any brand will tend to command a strong price and sell quickly. Many professional portrait and wedding photographers will purchase an earlier flagship model, as they represent such good value for money. This ability to find a feature-rich model at a greatly reduced price, is just one of the many benefits of second-hand cameras.
Buying second-hand is a great way to save some cash and find a great deal, whatever your budget or skill level. A warranty from a reputable company provides peace of mind that your gear has been checked and you’re covered if anything goes wrong. Irrespective of a warranty, it’s a good idea to inspect a camera prior to purchase if possible. Consider which photography genre appeals to you and choose a brand which not only holds its value, but includes the appropriate features for your subjects.
With this knowledge under your belt, browse our used cameras to find your perfect model. All of our used cameras are thoroughly tested, come with a clean sensor and are described with an honest appraisal. This ensures you know exactly what you’re buying, even if you can’t visit our stores in person.
By Park Cameras on 14/03/2022
Trade in your old equipment
Fast and easy trade in service ensures your old gear is collected efficiently and you are paid quickly! It's very simple to trade in your unwanted photography gear. Just head over to our dedicated Sell or Part Exchange page, fill out the details, and we'll get back to you with an offer for your old gear. Take the cash, or put it towards the cost of your new gear. It's up to you! Find out more