Although buying from an individual can be a good idea, make sure the camera, lens, etc. operates sufficiently to be of value to you. Someone may legitimately offer used equipment that will require some repair or refurbishing. Before you buy such equipment, check with a reputable photography repair shop or source to be sure it can be fixed and that parts are readily available at reasonable prices.
Even a compact camera is a complex piece of electronics, so you may not be able to determine if all its features and capabilities are in working order. Even if you have the technical skills and knowledge to inspect a camera or lens thoroughly, it will be a time-consuming job. That’s why the best source for used equipment is a company with a solid reputation. KEH is not only the world’s largest used camera dealer, but utilizes a proven inspection process that ensures equipment will operate as advertised.
Equally important is that the best used-photography equipment dealers stand behind what they sell, so do business with one that includes a warranty as well as a return policy. KEH warrants the used equipment it sells for 6 months, one of the longest periods in the industry.
Don’t be fooled by a camera or lens’ age, especially for old equipment or antique pieces you may be buying to display only. Some aging gives them character and could be very acceptable if the equipment has had a long life.
You could also be fooled by the camera settings the previous owner has left, and not deleted. If you are unfamiliar with how the camera is configured, then you may be mislead into thinking it doesn’t operate correctly. You wouldn’t want to miss a great bargain because you are unaware of the settings. If you are buying a camera from an individual, then ask him or her to explain the existing settings or request that they all be cleared before you inspect and test the camera. A well-known dealer, such as KEH, will delete the settings as part of its inspection and preparation-for-sale process.
Ask an individual or dealer to include the equipment manual as part of the purchase. You may think you know the camera or lens, but there are likely to be specific details that are only revealed in the manual. Without this knowledge, you could acquire the piece of equipment and discover you can’t use it fully because you don’t understand some of its subtle operations. If the used equipment isn’t available with a manual, then check before you buy that one is available from the manufacturer or other trustworthy source.
Buying used photography equipment can be a smart consumer alternative to new equipment. For example, photography students are more likely to be able to afford used equipment and they may only need it during their education, buying new equipment upon launching their careers. This is much like buying used textbooks. Used equipment is also a good choice if a beginner is not totally committed to photography as a serious hobby. Even serious amateurs, semi-pros and pros may purchase a used camera or lens, as emergency backups. Whatever good reason you may have for purchasing used equipment, be aware of these 6 pitfalls. Learn how to avoid them to save money, to find equipment with the most remaining value and to enjoy your photography experience.
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