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Save Yourself Some Money & Buy From The Second-Hand Camera Market

Photography doesn't have to be a really expensive hobby. In fact, if you buy your lenses and camera from the used/second-hand market, you can pick up decent kit without spending a fortune.

|  Nikon D750 in Digital Cameras
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Nikon D750 DSLR (1)


When you think of the second-hand camera market, you might think 'really old cameras' but actually, that's not the case anymore. Apart from the odd 35mm film cameras, you generally find DSLRs, mirrorless cameras and lenses that are newer than you first might think. 


Why Buy Second-Hand?

The second-hand market can be an excellent place to find items that we once desired but at the time of release, couldn't afford. Likewise, it can be a brilliant way to shop for slightly newer kit that's still in a good condition but because someone has previously owned it, it's slightly less expensive than it would be brand new. 

For example, a Nikon D750 can set you back £1239 new but purchase it second-hand and you can save yourself nearly £300! 


It's Not Just Cameras

The used photography equipment market is not just about cameras, either, as there are huge lists of lenses, flashes, exposure meters, power packs, filters, studio equipment and lighting stands all at really bargain prices.  

In fact, vintage lenses have become so popular, that people are blogging about using them on digital cameras. ePz member site member John Duder is one such person and he's written a really excellent article on the subject: 'Adapting Vintage Legacy Lenses For Use On New Digital Cameras'.

If you're concerned that old technology just won't capture images the same way a shiny-new camera/lens will then just remember that some of the most famous photographs were captured with a camera less advanced than yours so purchasing a camera that's older, with fewer bells-and-whistles, isn't a bad thing. 


Olympus OM D E M1 (39)


Where To Buy Second-Hand Equipment From? 


Used Equipment Dealer 

For the easiest and safest second-hand purchase, a large second-hand dealer is a good place to start as they're reliable and will be able to answer any questions you have.

Of course, it's paramount that you check the condition of the equipment and you should also find out what type of guarantee comes with the camera/lens you're purchasing. 

Reputable dealers do describe their equipment accurately, most will have a standard guide explaining the condition of their used equipment, but it is best to check with them just so you're 100% sure you're happy with your purchase. 

Most dealers will also take photos of the used photography equipment that's for sale and pop them online, along with a description and price details, so you can see exactly what you're purchasing. Do be careful on auction sites, though, as sometimes people use images of the equipment but the photos may not necessarily be of the lens/camera you will receive.

Online Shopping Options

Auction Sites 

Another advantage of buying from a second-hand dealer is that you can be assured that they operationally check all second-hand equipment to ensure it is in a good working order - something you'd hope that those selling kit privately would do but you can't guarantee which leads us nicely onto the famous auction site eBay

Now, the website does have a lot of happy customers and there's a wealth of photo items on there but you do need to be a bit wary. Why? Well, some sellers go to great pains to tell you about the ‘scratch' on the bottom of the camera others will simply say it is in keeping with its age, which of course, is too vague. You'll also find that prices may be cheaper, too, but do remember to take into account postage charges as they may make the overall cost of the item more than you first thought. 



As well as auction sites and camera-specific websites, global shopping giant Amazon also has the option to purchase used equipment at cheaper prices. These are usually listed under the 'new' price and you can also see how many people are selling the item you're interested in and for what prices. Click on one of the prices and you can find more information such as delivery costs, what condition the item is in and details on the seller (such as ratings from previous buyers). There are usually no images of the actual item you'll be purchasing, though, so you'll have to trust the seller is being honest when they say, for example, the item's condition is 'used-very good'. 


Facebook Market Place 

If you have a Facebook account, you can use their market place to buy and sell almost anything which means a quick search may find you the camera/lens you're looking for. You can also narrow down the search to your local area and there are no fees for using it. Like Amazon and eBay, you'll have to trust the seller is being honest and that the equipment for sale is what they say it is. 


What If I Have Kit To Sell? 

This is actually something we'll be looking at in more detail in an upcoming article but you can, of course, sell your equipment privately or, if you want something that a little less hassle-free, try contacting a second-hand dealer. Often you just have to send them photos and a description of what you want to sell, they'll contact you with a quite and if you're happy, most will also collect the item for free. Once the item is received, they'll check it and if happy, confirm the quote and pay you. 

There are quite a few repeatable photography shops that buy/sell used equipment but our official partner is CameraWorld who buy/sell everything from cameras and lenses to accessories and film cameras so do take a look at their website for more information. 


*By purchasing from CameraWorld via our links, you support ePHOTOzine with no extra cost to you so 'thank you'. 

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Photographs taken using the Nikon D750

Snow-Capped SkiddawBack street Puerto VallartaYoung KearaHover-fly and Aquilegia.FragilityA quiet warm evening on the lakeSalted caramel seagull eggsSunflowerRocking the Light on DerwentwaterArizona's Joshua Tree ForestDafjordStill WatersSteam Clock, Gastown...Spring

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30 Aug 2019 7:56AM
Agreed, I've just bought an absolutely mint OM-D E-M1 (mk1) with the 12-40 f/2.8 Pro lens, HLD-7 grip, two spare batteries, Hoya UV filter and a Domke F-5XB camera bag for 700. The E-M1 has < 5K actuations. I know it's a few years old now but is still more advanced a camera than i'll ever need really.

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