Tips For Buying Second-Hand Kit (Part 1)

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How to get the best deal on used cameras

Although the latest camera models come with great new technology and impressive specifications, they often have very large price tags too. However, if a new release is a little out of your reach, don’t despair. As others upgrade to these latest models, they often put their old gear up for sale. This gives you a great opportunity to bag a bargain, as you can pay second-hand prices for kit that is only a few years old.

Description: Smart things to do with your old and useable digital cameras

Smart things to do with your old and useable digital cameras

Buying used photo gear can have its pitfalls though, so you need to make sure that you really are getting a great deal and not paying for damaged goods. The first step is to ensure that you are buying from a reliable source. If you are using websites such as eBay, then you can often check the seller’s reviews to see if they are trustworthy. Alternatively, you could buy from specialist used camera websites or your local camera store, which may have a returns policy for if you are not happy with the product.

There are a few important things to look out for when buying a camera second-hand to make sure that it is in a suitable condition for the price you’re paying. Ideally, you should get a hands-on preview with it before you hand over your hard-earned cash, but if you’re buying online then you may just have to trust the seller’s description, but ask them as many questions as you can. If you do get to test out the camera, make sure that there are no important accessories missing, such as the lens cap and battery charger, and then complete the following checks…

Check for dead pixels

Take some shots. If any areas look discoloured, it could be because the pixels are dead. Load them on a computer to find out if these are just on the LCD screen and therefore not affecting the actual shots, or if they’re on the sensor.

Description: An example of a production test image with several blemishes and dead pixels

An example of a production test image with several blemishes and dead pixels

Look for sensor dust

If you are buying a CSC or DSLR, take a look at the sensor by removing the lens or body cap. Check to see if it is clean, looking for dust particles. If you can’t see the sensor, then take a plain photo, ie of the sky, and check for any smudges

Find out the shutter count

Look up the model’s expected number of shutter actuations and then check it against how many times the camera’s shutter has already been fi red. You can do this by taking a photo and uploading it to MyShutterCount.

Description: Canon EOS-1D X shutter count

Canon EOS-1D X shutter count

Examine the lens mount

If you are buying an interchangeable lens camera, then make sure that there is no damage to the lens mount. You may also wish to check that any lenses you already own are compatible, otherwise you will you have factor in the cost of new ones.

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