Tips for Buying Used Gear Online
Just about all of my photography gear has come from buying online. Most of it was used especially my camera bodies.
So in this post, I am going to go over a few tips for buying used gear online to lessen the chance you might receive a lemon camera or lens.
One of the biggest places I have found to get camera gear for a cheaper price is eBay. I bought both my Nikon D800 and Sony A7R bodies used off of eBay and was lucky on both of them.
Most people that buy items off of eBay just read the description of the item then bid or buy it. Even though they might list a lot of information about the product is it really everything that you need to know to make sure your purchase is going to be a good one?
Things I look for
One of the things I look for when looking at used camera bodies is the shutter count. When I bought my D800 I got one that only had 5000 shutter actuation.
There were two on eBay at that time for the same price but the one I didn’t buy had way more shutter actuation for the same price. Since I asked both sellers for the shutter count I picked the lowest and basically got a new D800 that still serves me well even to this day.
Same goes for my Sony A7R. The person that was selling it was able to answer all my questions that I had. He also sent me extra pictures of a small mark on the bottom of the camera by the tripod mount plus the shutter count.
So if you are going to buy anything off of eBay do not be afraid to ask the seller questions or ask for more images of you think you need to see more. Most good sellers will have no issues doing this.
If they refuse to answer your questions you might want to think twice before buying from the seller. There may be other issues with the item they do not want you to know about.
Also look at the sellers rating. Read the comments left by other buyers you might be able to tell from the comments if the seller is good or not.
Buying on Amazon is a little different than buying on eBay. On Amazon, you have the option of buying new or used from a third party.
I have bought used on Amazon and I used the same rules as eBay. If I need more information on the product I will message the seller.
One thing I have noticed recently on Amazon is that some sellers are putting up a cheap price but have the description saying to message them first. They are using that cheap price to show up on the list first over the other sellers.
When I see this I skip that one and go to the next. To me, that seems too suspicious and too good to be true.
There are other places you can buy online that are more trustworthy than eBay or Amazon used.
I have never bought used gear from Adorama but they do have a ton of items for sale. They have a used rating system so you can see what shape the gear is in before you buy it.
Borrowlenses is another site where you can buy used gear. The difference with this site is that its a gear rental site.
So the used gear you might buy could have been used thousands of times by other photographers. They also have a rating system and tell you if there is anything wrong with the item.
B&H is another good place to buy used gear. They like the others have a rating system and a big selection of items to look through.
Final Thoughts on Buying Used Gear Online
No matter where you decide to buy your gear just make sure you know what you are buying. Do not be afraid to ask questions. You do not want to go and spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on broken gear.
Check out my last post on the Best Photo Purchase I Have Made