In general, many individuals opt for purchasing used camera equipment as it allows them to save money while contributing to waste reduction. However, it is crucial to consider the associated risks when buying secondhand camera gear.

While prospective creators often lean towards the latest camera gear, there are substantial discounts and excellent options available in the used market. Although purchasing used items carries inherent risks, it’s worth noting that acquiring a complete studio setup may cost less than investing solely in a new camera.

What are The Benefits of Buying Used Camera Gear?

A preowned dslr camera with a strap attached, offered by a professional video equipment dealer.

Clearly, buying used gear has some benefits; in fact, you can even help reduce emissions:

Big Savings

Frequently, substantial discounts can be found on cameras that are a few generations behind the latest models. Professional videographers and photographers often opt to sell their older gear to upgrade to the newest models, offering excellent, well-maintained equipment at significant discounts. You can save anywhere from 20% to 33% compared to buying new gear.

For example, the Sony ZV-1, a renowned point-and-shoot camera favored by vloggers, is priced at around $749. However, on eBay, you can find a secondhand one for as low as $400, often in good condition with only minimal damage.

Discover Hard To Find Gear

Beyond the substantial savings, exploring the used market may lead to cameras that are no longer in production and may be unavailable in new conditions. Some of these discontinued models boast excellent features. Consider the Canon EOS M APSC camera, no longer in production but still popular in the secondhand market, likely due to its custom third-party firmware that enhances its capabilities.

Sustainability

Opting for used gear breathes new life into items that might otherwise occupy space on shelves or contribute to waste. Choosing used gear over new products can lead to reduced carbon emissions and less overall waste.

When purchasing a new camera, emissions arise from various stages, including production, shipping, and the supply chain. In contrast, emissions from used cameras primarily stem from shipping.

While there are significant benefits to buying used gear, it comes with its share of risks, which might explain why many people prefer buying new items.

Faulty Hardware

Used cameras often exhibit superficial damage like abrasions or scratches, and sometimes, the damage is more substantial. Transparent listings from reputable sellers typically disclose these issues. However, even seemingly pristine hardware may have invisible damage.

It’s advisable to communicate with the seller, especially if they haven’t openly addressed potential issues. Legitimate sellers are usually willing to provide additional photos to accurately convey the item’s condition.

Specifically for cameras, it’s highly recommended to request a clear picture of the camera’s sensor or the lens’s glass to ensure there is no damage. Checking the shutter count also helps estimate the item’s age. If you’re bidding on an item with unacceptable damage, there may still be an opportunity to retract your bid.

No Manufacturer Warranty

You may have the option to purchase a warranty through eBay, but it’s crucial to note that used gear typically doesn’t come with a manufacturer’s warranty, as it applies only to new purchases.

For photographers who prefer avoiding risks, this might not be a concern. However, if you decide to add eBay’s warranty to your cost, you might realize that your savings aren’t as substantial as initially thought.

Phishing and Scams

When seeking used gear, you might encounter deals that seem too good to be true—and often, they are. It’s highly advisable to steer clear of accounts without any ratings selling items at unrealistically low prices. Additional red flags include sellers lacking ratings or a sales history.

In the unfortunate event of being scammed on eBay, promptly contact eBay’s customer support to request a refund. Stay vigilant, as there are various potential scams on eBay that require awareness.

How to Look for Good Deals

A black and white image of various broadcast video equipment.

After knowing the major benefits and risks of purchasing used gear, it is crucial that you should be wise when doing your search! If you are still interested in purchasing used gear, then the following are some techniques that you can try to ensure that you can avoid scams, get the best deals, and learn about the pricing trends.

Investigate Sale Price History

Attempt to determine if the listing price aligns with the average market rates for secondhand gear before concluding that it’s a good deal.

While a camera priced 33% below MSRP may seem enticing, discovering that the typical price for secondhand items is between 40 to 50% below MSRP could alter your perspective. It’s advisable to verify if the price is genuinely as attractive as it appears and assess the camera’s common selling price.

If you are using eBay, you can easily access previous sale information by initiating a search for the item. On the left side of the screen, you’ll find various filters. Scroll down and locate “Show Only,” then check the “Sold Items” option.

Finally, sort the results by “Ended Recently.” This process allows you to observe the camera’s typical selling price. If you come across unusually low prices, take the extra step to confirm the legitimacy of the seller’s account.

Patience Is a Virtue

Great deals are always available, but locating them might prove challenging. If you don’t require the camera immediately, it’s advisable to exercise patience and wait for favorable deals to surface.

Additionally, consider exploring platforms beyond eBay. Check for used gear on Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, at yard sales, thrift stores, local used camera shops, and websites like Enhanced View Services Inc.

By familiarizing yourself with each platform and adopting a strategic approach, you can unearth the most advantageous deals while also economizing on shipping costs.

Be Wary of The Hidden Costs

High-quality Panasonic Camera for professional video production - Find the best deals at Enhanced View Services.

Frequently, the listed price is lower than the actual amount you’ll need to pay. If you opt for eBay’s warranty, you’re likely to incur an additional 10% of the listing price. Additionally, international shipping costs and taxes will contribute to the overall expenditure, ranging between 15 to 25% more than the listed price on the platform.

Moreover, if the used gear is missing parts like lens caps or spare batteries, or if it requires repairs, these additional expenses must be taken into account. The point here is to be mindful of hidden costs to ensure savings on your purchase.

Is Purchasing Secondhand Gear Worth It?

After doing your due diligence to ensure that you are purchasing undamaged gear from a reputable seller, you’ll find that it’s worth it. At Enhanced View Services Inc., you’ll find great deals on used and new gear. To know more about our products, just call us at 305.971.2916 or send us an email at [email protected].