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How To Buy And Sell Camera Gear On eBay

Make some extra money by selling your unused and unwanted equipment, or save money by buying wisely on eBay with our how-to guide to getting a great deal.

|  Olympus PEN E-P1 in Digital Cameras
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Olympus E-P1 with White Background
Olympus PEN E-P1 with custom leather grip - large images let you and buyers check the condition of items.


While you can certainly find some great deals on ePHOTOzine classifieds and also sell your equipment there, sometimes you only find rare equipment on eBay. Here we outline some hints and tips for selling and buying on eBay to get the best deals and also get the most for your equipment when selling. Where we mention eBay UK, these principals also apply to eBay US.


Why buy second hand? It lets you try a different lens, or second-hand camera, without the expense of paying full price from a dealer and also should allow you to sell it on afterwards for a similar price should it not be what you are looking for. You'll also find accessories, such as bags, or tripods at lower prices, often in great condition.

Buying a 6-12+ month old digital camera means you can save a large amount of money compared to buying the latest model and the rapid rate new cameras are introduced means older models hold their value less. Use sites like ours to find out about the camera or lens and see if it will meet your needs by reading the reviews available.


Olympus E-P1 Layflat
Laying out all the items included in the listing, and creating a Flat Lay will show your buyer everything at a glance, and looks good too.


Buying on eBay:

  • Know what you want, be specific.
  • Check the item condition, if it's new or used, what parts are included etc.
  • Try spelling errors or a different search description if the item is rare.
  • Search international locations as there is more chance of finding what you want, if you're happy to wait for delivery.
  • Check the seller and item location, and if you're in a rush to get the item, then check estimated delivery dates.
  • Pay attention to seller feedback, 100% is ideal, look for recent feedback, a good percentage number.
  • You could take a risk for lower prices from new sellers (CAUTION advised).
  • Make sure you have a working Paypal account or that the seller will take bank transfer so that you have a suitable means of paying before committing to buy.
  • Check to see if the item is covered by "Paypal protection".
  • Look for cheap accessories or second-hand items to save money.
  • As an example, a Pentax 50mm f/1.7 can be bought for £39.99 (or less), and you'll find compact digital cameras, accessories, bags, tripods, spare batteries, lens filters, adapters, macro reversing rings, teleconverters etc.
  • Research the market by looking at completed listings to see how much items sell for and why something has sold for more than other items.

Look for camera kit on eBay UK


White paper was used as a background for product shots
A large piece of paper was used as a background for product shots, and can be quickly replaced if it gets dirty.

Selling on eBay:

  • Have a look at other sellers listings.
  • Use clear detailed photos, show everything included in the sale, as well as close up detail, with white backgrounds (or a clean background), as shown above.
  • Use clear detailed descriptions, let them know if the original box is included, make sure you let them know what is included, and what ISN'T included. For example, if you're selling a camera, then most buyers would expect the battery and charger to be included. If it isn't, then make sure you let them know.
  • Let buyers know your payment, postage, and return conditions (do you accept returns?).
  • Use the correct categories.
  • For high popularity items and for a quick sale (Cameras, lenses, mainstream items) use short listings (ie 3-5 day listings) as all the action happens on the last day.
  • For rarer items consider a longer listing time of 5-7 days or longer or set a price (although it may not sell if unrealistic. Beware of underpricing it too).
  • For high popularity items, minimise listing fees by starting the auction price at 0.99p.
  • List at the weekend as often there are zero insertion fees, or look out for special offers from eBay.
  • If you are selling high price items but have low or no feedback then why not buy or sell low price items to build your feedback?
  • Ending listings on Sunday evenings or Wednesday evenings are said to give the highest prices due to the most people staying in at home (and being able to bid), likewise, listings that end first thing in the morning on a Sunday can result in low buying prices.
  • Avoid spelling mistakes and make the title clear.
  • Research the market by looking at completed listings to see how much items sell for and why something has sold for more than other items.
  • When it's sold, eBay will automatically send an invoice to the buyer. If you have any problems, you can contact the buyer or eBay to help.
  • If the payment is Paypal (it usually is these days) make sure the buyer has a confirmed address with Paypal. It says so on the email that comes telling you you have funds. If they do not have a confirmed address read the T&Cs very carefully - it's easy to get stung.
  • Be aware of the fees of selling items on eBay: these vary but be prepared for around 10% selling fees based on what the item sells for and 3.4% fees from accepting payment through Paypal. Work out if you would be better off selling it for a lower price through ePHOTOzine classifieds.

Start selling on eBay UK


Olympus E-P1 Close-up Detail showing damage
Close-up photos should be used to show any areas of damage, so that the customer knows what they are buying.


Posting the item: It's at times like this when you wish you'd kept hold of the original box. There is a 2kg limit for Royal Mail Standard Parcel and above this it can get expensive, making a courier a cheaper option. You can use a website like parcel2go to find the cheapest collection/delivery options, often around £9 for 24hr insured collection from your house, although be warned you will need to know the package weight and dimensions so have packaging ready.

Getting help: Ask in the ephotozine forums, or you can even call eBay these days as they have a support phone number.

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Photographs taken using the Olympus PEN E-P1

Tamworth Castle in Autumnrocky outlookhandlebarsselfie modebow enddistance horizonday outCycle WalkYellow Flowers.Nespresso.The Last Drop!Tilly.Garden of Machines.Faint Stirrings in the EastGrass.

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altitude50 16 21.4k United Kingdom
Buying on eBay. I have been buying cameras on eBay for about 6 years. One of the most important things to look at is the seller's feedback, go back through it and see what the seller has sold in the past. If they have a list of only used car parts, garden equipment, jeans etc. they probably have bought the camera from a friend or a car boot sale, this might be OK but beware.

Also avoid listings with few photos or very fuzzy or library photos and look closely at the image, good clean modern room as a background can be the sign of a careful owner. Avoid titles like 'l@@k' or mint or minty, they mean nothing.
'Used condition' and 'the photos form part of the description' are other get outs, what you are looking for are detailed descriptions of the working condition, cleanliness of the glass (fungus?), mirror, viewfinder (if any). Included camera manuals cases and cheap bags are useful but not of much value unless the item is rare. Same goes for tripods.
Look into the exact details of the model, some (many) Canon lenses fit specific ranges of cameras, same for Nikon, Minolta, Olympus, Sony etc. Ask questions if in doubt, a fair seller will always give a detailed and prompt reply. Make sure you know the difference between Micro 4/3 fitting and 4/3.
Spelling mistakes are, for me, a NO but the strange word lense seems to be coming into common use.
Japanese sellers seem to be very trustworthy in their descriptions, but beware the import duty.
And remember that the item can always be returned if it does not fit the sellers description. This is why the words 'used condition' on their own should be avoided. PayPal and eBay offer very good protection for buyers and sellers.

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