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When you're a new photographer, the idea of dropping several thousand dollars on a camera body can be panic-inducing.
Heck, I've been a photographer for well over a decade and it still causes me panic thinking about it...
And while new photography gear can be crazy expensive, there are a few things you can do to get a high-end camera without paying a high-end price.
These used camera tips will help you figure out what the best used cameras are and how to buy used photography gear.
Buy Used Gear
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I'm a huge fan of buying used camera gear because there's really no better way to save money.
Sure, it's nice to have a brand spanking new camera in your hands, but ultimately, is that "new camera smell" really worth all that extra money? I don't think so.
When buying used gear, it's important to buy through a platform that offers buyer protections.
What's more, it's important to use a service that grades their cameras and other gear, that way you know exactly what you're getting.
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I've used MPB for some time now, and I've never been surprised or disappointed by what arrived in the mail.
That's because every camera and lens is inspected, graded, and photographed. That means there's no confusion over the precise condition of the camera.
What's more, MPB gives you a six-month warranty on all gear you purchase. That peace of mind is nice when you're buying something sight-unseen.
Better still, if you have an old camera that you want to get rid of, MPB will give you a competitive quote. That allows you to sell your old stuff, use that money towards a camera upgrade, and get a better kit for less money.
What's not to like about that?
Rent Before You Buy
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When you head to the car dealership to buy a used or new car, you probably take it for a test drive first, right?
Then why not do the same with photography gear?
Renting a camera before you buy is a great way to figure out if it's the camera for you.
Not only can you get your hands on it and feel what it's like to shoot with it, you can also get familiar with its performance, its menu system, and identify any downsides to the camera.
It might seem like dropping $50, $75, or more to rent a camera for a few days is a lot of money, but when you're talking about an investment of several hundred (or thousand) dollars, it seems to me that it's a good price to pay to know for sure that the camera is exactly what you need!
Use the Camera You Have
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Ultimately, the biggest question to ask yourself is, "Is the camera I have right now good enough?"
Us photographers love a new camera, but if you're trying to save money, there's no better way to do so than making do with the camera you've got.
Now, if you're trying to expand your skills and learn how to be a professional photographer, your iPhone 5 is probably not going to cut it.
But if you're an enthusiast photographer and you have a solid entry-level DSLR that still gets the job done, you don't need to blow thousands of dollars on a new full frame camera.
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The key to all this is to honestly evaluate whether the gear you have still works.
If your camera can still do everything you need it to do and if your skills haven't outgrown your current camera, just keep rolling along with it.
But as soon as your camera becomes a hindrance to your development as a photographer, that's when you should rent a few cameras, figure out what you like, and find a great deal on a used one.
Just think - with all the money you save, you might be able to upgrade your lens, too!