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The quality of your photographs hinges on the quality of your camera gear. But when top of the line cameras and lenses cost thousands of dollars, should you consider buying used camera equipment?
I drive a 2006 mini van. I haven’t bought a designer dress in years. My fine jewelry collection is non existent.
But I own some very fine glass.
Yes, next to clothing my kids and funding their myriad of extra curricular activities, I spend my extra dollars investing in high quality camera gear.
Why do I spend thousands of dollars on camera equipment? Well, once you have shot with top of the line equipment, you just can’t go back. In experienced hands, the quality of equipment directly correlates to the quality of images.
But I am a single mom, living on a limited income. I don’t have thousands of dollars to indulge my every whim.
So, how have I grown my camera equipment collection?
First, I have taken my time. I have slowly added lenses and upgraded my camera bodies. I took small steps, adding maybe a couple lenses a year, or shooting for several years with a cropped frame camera body instead of a full frame.
I didn’t buy my first full frame, a Canon 5D Mark iii, until eighteen months ago. (And oh it was worth the wait. I love it beyond words.)
Second, I invested carefully and bought top quality lenses. Your “glass” will live with you forever. Okay, maybe not forever, but well maintained lenses can last for decades.
While camera companies are constantly improving digital camera bodies, lenses do not tend to change as dramatically over time. So when you invest in a quality lens, you don’t have to worry about upgrading it two years later.
When I did buy a lens, I made sure it was the right lens for me and my photography. I don’t have dozens of lenses. I own around ten lenses, with my favorite lenses being my 70-200mm f/2.8, 100mm f/2.8 Macro, 50mm f/1.4, and 24-70mm f/2.8 (all Canon.)
Finally, I have purchased some of my camera gear second hand. Over the years I have bought several lenses and two camera bodies that were “pre-owned.”
I was able to save hundreds of dollars and I have never had a problem with my used camera gear. I bought equipment that was in excellent condition and it all works perfectly.
How to Find Quality Used Camera Equipment
It is scary. I understand.
Handing over hundreds or even thousands of your hard earned dollars for something “used” feels very risky.
I am a cautious person. I research each equipment purchase for weeks or months. I don’t want to waste – or lose – my money.
To reduce my risk, some of my pre-owned camera gear purchases were from trusted friends.
Many years ago, after my camera bag with all my gear was stolen in an airport, I had to completely rebuild my kit. I bought a very gently used Canon 40D, three lenses, (one being the 60mm 2.8 Macro which I used and loved for years until I bought my 100mm 2.8 Macro,) and a 430EX flash.
A few years later, I bought my favorite lens, the Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L, from my friend MeRa Koh. MeRa shoots exclusively with Sony and was selling her Canon gear. I quickly jumped at the chance to buy her 70-200mm. While it isn’t the latest 70-200mm, I adore this lens and use it at every wedding or portrait session I shoot.
Other times, I played things a bit more dangerously and purchased through Craigslist. I bought my Canon 7D, my 50mm 1.4 (I had to replace the one that was stolen,) and an 18-35mm via Craiglist. I got very lucky. All of the gear has held up well with no problems. Phew.
But, you don’t have to have friends who happen to be selling their gear, nor do you have to take your life in your hands and shop via Craiglist. There is another way.
With KEH — the world’s largest online pre-owned camera store, you can buy used camera gear from a brand you can trust. KEH allows you to shop with safety, selection, customer service, and convenience.
KEH offers up to 40% below retail prices!
And if you are concerned about the condition of your purchase, KEH’s has a proprietary 10-point grading system that leads the industry. Their expert photography technicians inspect, grade and certify all equipment prior to every sale.
KEH believes in the products they sell so much they offer a 180-day warranty with 14-day hassle-free returns. Yes, that kind of a guarantee really helps take the fear out of buying pre-owned equipment.
I wish had heard of KEH years ago when I ventured on to Craigslist. Now I know where to go for my next pre-owned camera purchase.
And You Can SELL Too!
If you are trying to come up with the cash for your next dream lens, don’t forget that in addition to selling and repairing camera gear, KEH buys preowned cameras and camera equipment too.
So you can sell your used gear to KEH and then spend it on more gear. Yay!
I am a bit of a hoarder, holding on to gear because I just can’t get around to selling things myself.
But KEH simplifies the process with 24/7 online instant quotes and a quick turn around for final payment.
Plus there is no shipping and handling costs or commission fees. And of course, it is safer than meeting a stranger off of Craigslist.
So, I really must pack up a box of gear and send it to KEH to sell. Then I can reinvest that money into the Canon EF 85mm f/1.2L II USM I have been wanting for years.
Exclusive Discount Codes
Here are two exclusive coupon codes for you to use when buying and selling on KEH…
10% Off Used Gear: 5MINS10
(The first 10 users will get 20% off so hurry…)
Bonus 10% On Quote: 5MINS-BONUS10
What About You?
Have you ever bought used camera gear? Have you ever sold your used cameras, lenses or other photography equipment? Please leave us a comment, we’d love to hear from you.
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This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of KEH Camera. The opinions and text are all mine.
Written by Janice Croze, co-founder of 5 Minutes for Mom
Talk with me: @5minutesformom and Facebook.com/5minutesformom
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