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Should You Buy Used Camera Equipment

Camera technology develops rapidly, with new and improved products from every brand arriving routinely. This leads many photographers of every skill level to pose the question ‘should I buy a used camera?’.

Customers who choose to upgrade to the latest gear may sell their existing camera, either privately on an online marketplace, or to a used camera dealer and if approved is added to their used cameras stock list. With this high turnaround of cameras, you may wonder if it’s worth buying second-hand, what the pros and cons are, and which are the best models to consider. We explore all of these questions and more, offering the insights you need to decide whether buying second hand is the best route when purchasing your next camera.

Used section of our Burgess Hill Store

The Best Reasons to Buy a Second-Hand Camera

From being more financially viable, to acquiring a great backup camera – these are some of the best reasons to buy a second-hand camera:

  • For many, buying used equipment is more financially viable than buying brand new. Even the brands which hold their value represent excellent value for money in the second-hand market.
  • Newcomers to photography and more casual hobbyists may consider a second-hand camera to reduce their initial outlay. This also provides the opportunity to add an extra used lens or two from the outset for a more complete starter kit.
  • Serious enthusiasts and professionals will sometimes choose second-hand equipment as it allows them to try different gear out, which they might otherwise overlook due to the cost.
  • Buying second-hand is a great way to build a backup or spare system. Not only does this avoid having your only camera fail while shooting for a client, but may provide different features, such as a longer lens or a time-lapse camera. We often see journalists, paparazzi and wedding photographers with two cameras and many Youtubers will use two cameras for vlogging or streaming.
  • A second-hand camera is a great option for travel, as this avoids taking a primary, more expensive model on holiday.
  • Once you’re ready to upgrade, any gear purchased second-hand will have lower depreciation when it comes to selling onwards, meaning you’ll lose less money than if you’d bought brand-new.

Look for quality assurance, guarantee and pre-sale testing in used equipment

Is it Worth Buying a Second-Hand Camera?

There are definitely pros and cons worth considering when buying a camera second-hand. It may feel risky, with concerns over whether the camera works correctly, or if you would notice any damage or potential issues. To alleviate concerns like these we would recommend buying from a reputable company, who not only check equipment prior to re-sale, but also offer a warranty on their used products.

Having a warranty really does give you peace of mind with the knowledge that if anything does go wrong, you can return it to the store where it was purchased. This route will not only save hassle, but represents excellent value for money, particularly if you find something in nearly-new, or lightly used condition.

On the other hand, buying from a private seller can be risky, as they may not describe the equipment accurately, or not know specific details such as the shutter count. It can also be difficult to establish whether there’s any cosmetic damage without detailed photographs or descriptions to gauge the condition. In these situations, it’s probably not worth pursuing, regardless of how much money you could be saving.

Which are the Best Second-Hand Cameras to Buy?

When researching second-hand cameras, many photographers begin with which camera brand is best. The most renowned brands include Canon, Nikon, Fujifilm and Sony, however all of the main companies produce excellent models, which are more than capable of capturing amazing photos and videos.

Deciding on a brand may depend on which type of photography or videography most appeals to you. If you want to photograph travel and street photography, a lightweight Micro Four Thirds camera from Olympus or Panasonic would make an excellent choice. If you intend to photograph portraits or landscapes, this could warrant a larger sensor, which you’ll find from the best-known companies mentioned previously, as well as Leica and Pentax.

Typically, any early decision making will also include whether you want an interchangeable lens camera, or an all-in-one compact, bridge or action camera. If you simply want to take great snapshots and easy videos, but don’t want the hassle of changing lenses, a compact or bridge camera would be your best bet. If, on the other hand, you want the option to switch lenses and build out a future-proof system, a mirrorless camera or DSLR would be the way to go. If you opt for an interchangeable lens camera, the availability of suitable used lenses for your preferred brand may influence any decision you make.

One of the biggest decisions to make regarding an interchangeable lens camera is choosing between a DSLR or mirrorless. Many photographers have already switched from DSLR to mirrorless, which means you can find some great used DSLR bodies second-hand. DSLRs are still favoured for their rugged qualities, with many swearing by their durability, particularly when shooting action, sports or wildlife.

Mirrorless cameras are known for providing the latest features, particularly video capabilities, even in lower or mid-level models. You’ll even find a good selection of high-end medium format mirrorless cameras in the used market these days if you want premium image quality.

There are plenty of reasons to consider buying a used camera over a new one, not least as it can make good financial sense. You may not get that brand new ‘fresh out of the box’ feel, but your savings can be put towards essential camera accessories, a camera bag or a new lens.

Always aim to get a warranty with any used equipment you’re considering, as this takes a lot of the stress out of the process. Think about what type of camera and which features you need, as well as which brand is most appropriate for your style of shooting. While you’re mulling over all of these elements, check our huge second-hand camera selection to give you some ideas. Bear in mind that used equipment can come and go very quickly, so if you’re unable to locate a particular camera, email our used team and they will contact you when an item comes back into stock.

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By Park Cameras on 01/03/2022

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