How you can purchase a second-hand or refurbished camera

There are a number of methods to spend some huge cash on a brand new camera. High-of-the-line fashions will simply take you into the £1,000, £2,000, £3,000+ worth vary, and that’s earlier than you consider the equipment any burgeoning photographer goes to need: lenses, camera circumstances, tripods – the checklist goes on. 

Fortunately, there’s a massive and vigorous second-hand marketplace for cameras and their equipment, present in specialist outlets, on-line retailers and on-line marketplaces. Choosing a used or refurbished camera is an effective way to get a high-end camera for a lower cost, however there are some things it is best to consider before you purchase and get snapping away.

To seek out out which cameras have scored prime marks in our rigorous lab checks, seek the advice of our information to the perfect DSLR and mirrorless cameras, or check out the perfect compact cameras.

Is it a good suggestion to purchase a second-hand camera?

There are many causes to purchase a second-hand digital camera, and the obvious one is the potential for a discount. If you happen to’re attempting to put money into an incredible camera however can’t abdomen the eye-watering costs of latest fashions, second-hand is the best way to go. 

That’s not the one profit although: shopping for used is a way more eco-friendly solution to spend your cash. The throwaway tradition that has been cultivated worldwide over the previous few many years sees merchandise getting used for a brief interval earlier than being relegated to landfill. That is extremely wasteful, particularly within the case of extremely intricate and sophisticated items of equipment like digital cameras. There is no such thing as a should be continually chasing after the newest fashions when the outdated favourites can (more often than not) do exactly pretty much as good a job. 

Shopping for second-hand additionally helps small companies and particular person sellers.

Nonetheless, shopping for second-hand does include a component of danger, and there are some things it is best to consider earlier than making your buy. 

Cameras aren’t the one merchandise value searching for within the second-hand market – try our guides to shopping for a second-hand telephone, and shopping for a second-hand laptop.

What to look out for when shopping for a second-hand camera

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Whether or not you’re shopping for in particular person or on-line, guarantee which you could see sufficient images or get hands-on with the camera to evaluate its situation. Many used digital cameras have been effectively cared for, however some could have had robust outdated lives, with the battle scars to show it. Search for scratches on the lens, cracks within the physique, and some other indicators of damage and tear. If you happen to can, strive taking some check pictures with it to examine how the photographs come out. 

An excellent factor to examine is the shutter depend, which is the variety of occasions the shutter has been fired in its lifetime – basically, the variety of images taken on the camera. That is analogous to the mileage on a automobile: the upper the depend, the heavier utilization, the (usually) much less dependable will probably be going ahead. Most entry-level DSLR or mirrorless cameras are rated to final for at the very least 100,000 shutter actuations; higher-end fashions get nearer to the 200,000 mark. With this in thoughts, it’s usually advisable to go for a used camera with a shutter depend beneath 50,000. 

Discovering the shutter depend is a little bit of a faff. Often the one solution to do it’s to add a photograph from the camera to specialist web sites that extract the depend from the photograph’s metadata. Nonetheless, if this info isn’t offered or the vendor is unwilling to do that, it’s a pink flag.  

You also needs to make it possible for the vendor is respected. Be particularly cautious of this when shopping for from an internet market like eBay – search for suggestions from different customers in regards to the vendor you’re buying from. 

Lastly, be sure to know what you’re getting. Earlier than shopping for something, perform a little research on the camera mannequin you’re serious about. You wish to make it possible for it’s nonetheless suitable with trendy tools, to know you will get essentially the most use out of it. You also needs to ask or be certain that the vendor contains all equipment, akin to batteries, chargers, cables and reminiscence playing cards.

Not sure which kind of digital camera to go for? Take a look at our information to the several types of digital cameras.

Greatest second-hand cameras

There are a number of second-hand cameras on sale on-line and in camera outlets throughout, so if you have already got a specific mannequin in thoughts, it is possible you’ll discover it. 

If not, we have listed just a few well-liked fashions right here, each to provide you some inspiration and to display the financial savings that may be made by choosing used fashions.

Be aware that second-hand cameras won’t carry out the identical as in our digital camera reviews as a result of these are all primarily based on testing brand-new cameras.  

Sony Alpha 7 III (RRP: £1,750. Used: £1,000-£1,300)

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The Sony Alpha 7 III was an incredible camera after we reviewed it at its launch in 2018, and years later that hasn’t modified. With wonderful construct high quality, quick shutter speeds and correct autofocus, this looks like it will nonetheless be an incredible choice for a high-end camera if it was launched immediately. The 4K video recording included helped set it aside from rivals when it got here out, and in impact future-proofed it: even now, you’d wrestle to search out many comparable cameras that file at the next decision. 

Sony has since launched the Alpha 7 IV, which builds upon the III’s efficiency with an improved menu system, and better decision images. Take a look at our Alpha 7 IV review to see if you wish to go for the newer mannequin. The Alpha 7 IV is priced (new) at about £2,600, however you’ll find the Alpha 7 III second-hand at round half the worth, at roughly £1,000-£1,300. 

Learn our full review of the Sony Alpha 7 III to search out out extra. 

Nikon Z7 2 (RRP: £2,399. Used: £1,600-£1,900)

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One other mirrorless camera from 2018, the Nikon Z7 impressed us with its sharp OLED viewfinder and enormous sensor dimension. It will possibly additionally shoot video in 4K UHD decision, and has wi-fi and Bluetooth assist to manage the camera remotely or switch images and movies. 

When it was launched, the Z7 was costly. This was compounded by its proprietary 55mm bayonet lens format, which rendered any consumer’s outdated lenses redundant (though a mount adapter is offered to bridge the hole) and restricted the variety of suitable lenses out there. 5 years on, Nikon has constructed upon this new lens format and there’s now a variety of Z-mount lenses out there for your entire pictures wants. Yow will discover a second-hand Z7 for about £1,800. 

Learn our review of the Nikon Z7 to get the total outcomes. 

Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II (RRP: £570. Used: £300-£400)

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If you happen to’re after a less expensive compact camera, 2016’s Canon Powershot G7 X Mark II may very well be the one for you. This pocket-sized camera is all about ease of use, and we had been impressed with its picture high quality in low-light situations. 

The Mark III, which was launched in 2019, added to the Mark II with improved video capabilities, permitting customers to shoot video in 4K decision. A worthwhile improve for any budding videographers, which you’ll examine in our full Mark III review.

Yow will discover a Powershot G7 X Mark II for between £300 and £400. Mark IIIs are slightly more durable to come back by on account of being extra not too long ago launched, however in the event you fancy choosing one you may anticipate to pay one thing across the £500 mark. 

Take a look at the entire particulars in our full review of the Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II.

Nikon D850 (RRP: £2,799. Used: £1,500-£1,800)

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Though advances in mirrorless applied sciences have seen curiosity in DSLRs lower in recent times, the Nikon D850 produces detailed photos, with quick shutter and autofocus speeds, and a bevy of wi-fi connectivity choices. 

It is a camera for skilled photographers incomes skilled photographer cash, retailing at £2,799. On the second-hand market, you will get it at a massively cutdown worth of round £1,800.  

Learn our Nikon D850 review to see the way it fared after we examined it as new.

Canon EOS M200 (RRP: £520. Used: £400-£450)

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Canon’s EOS M200 launched in direction of the tip of 2019, promising that it will be a step up out of your smartphone’s camera. This is likely one of the least expensive mirrorless cameras available on the market, with a variety of interchangeable lenses and a decent-sized sensor. It is actually gentle, and with a number of auto-modes and autofocus it is easy to choose up and shoot. 

It can also file video in 4K decision, and wi-fi and Bluetooth connections make it simple to remotely management and share images and movies on-line – accordingly, Canon market this camera as superb for vloggers. 

Its retail worth appears to be good worth when you think about its spectacular tech specs, however you may be capable to get even higher worth in the event you get your arms on a used or refurbished one. Take a look at our full Canon EOS M200 review for extra particulars.

Yow will discover most cameras which can be from well-known manufacturers on the second-hand market, so see all of our digital camera reviews to pick the mannequin for you, new or used. 

Used or refurbished cameras: what’s the distinction?

When purchasing for a second-hand camera, chances are you’ll be questioning if you should purchase a used mannequin or a refurbished one. 

Refurbished cameras

These are offered instantly from a producer, retailer or reseller. Refurbished cameras have been beforehand owned, however they’ve been cleaned, examined and repaired to like-new situation, or have particulars on their high quality included, so you understand precisely what situation the camera will likely be in before you purchase. 

Costs will usually be larger than on the second-hand market, because the cameras have been checked over by professionals to make sure they’re in working order and in good bodily situation. You are assured a guaranty of some type, as refurbished cameras are offered to you by knowledgeable retailer. Typically, the number of refurbished cameras out there to you in any given store or web site is extra restricted than that of used cameras.

Used cameras

Used cameras have the benefit of being extra reasonably priced than refurbished fashions. You may usually discover a good high quality used camera for a fraction of the worth of a brand new one. Nonetheless, used cameras could not include a guaranty, and you could have to pay for repairs or alternative components if one thing goes incorrect.

You will get an incredible worth on a used camera, as sellers could not understand how a lot a used camera is really value. On-line auctions usually end in low remaining costs too.

However be warned – the camera could effectively look visibly worn, and it might not are available in its authentic field and even with the right equipment akin to a charger and battery.

When shopping for a used camera, try the vendor fastidiously: analysis the enterprise you are shopping for it from, or if it is a person vendor on-line, search for suggestions from different customers who’ve purchased from them beforehand. Search for the insurance policies about returns and defective items that the web market you utilize has, akin to eBay’s ‘Cash Again Assure’, which guarantees to get your a refund in case you have a dispute with a vendor that’s not resolved via contact between purchaser and vendor.  

Discover out extra about your rights when shopping for second-hand items.

Second-hand cameras guarantee

One of many large perks of shopping for a model new camera, both outright or on contract, is that you simply obtain each a retailer and producer guarantee as customary. Whenever you purchase second-hand or refurbished, issues can work slightly in a different way.

Refurbished or second-hand cameras from a retailer

If you happen to purchase a camera both second-hand or refurbished from a retailer (akin to Nikon or CeX), your client rights are similar to if the camera was model new.

You obtain no matter kind of guarantee the retailer provides as customary, plus fundamental safety from the Shopper Rights Act 2015. You continue to have a 30-day proper to reject if the camera is not as described, match for goal or of passable high quality. If you happen to uncover a fault throughout the first six months, it’s as much as the retailer to show it wasn’t there on the level of sale.

You additionally could also be lined by the producer guarantee, even if you’re not the unique proprietor. Producer warranties don’t renew when the merchandise adjustments arms.

Second-hand cameras from non-public sellers

Shopping for from a personal vendor (as you’ll do on eBay, for instance) leaves you much less protected. The producer guarantee nonetheless applies, as above, however your client rights are barely completely different.

The merchandise you obtain should nonetheless be as described to you by the vendor – so a camera listed as ‘new’, for instance, should be genuinely unused. The vendor does not should disclose faults, however they are not allowed to misrepresent it, both. This creates a nice line: a camera that does not activate can’t be listed as ‘working’, however it does not should be listed as ‘not working’, both. At all times you should definitely ask the vendor questions in case you have any doubts.

You’ll not obtain safety from the Shopper Rights Act, so the six-month return window doesn’t apply, however some on-line marketplaces do supply some form of assure or insurance coverage on items which can be defective or not as described. 

Shopping for second-hand lenses

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There are usually two varieties of photographers: those that choose prime lenses and those that choose zoom lenses. Prime lenses are usually quicker, sharper and have much less distortion than zoom lenses. Additionally they are usually inexpensive. Zoom lenses, then again, supply the comfort of having the ability to shoot at a wide range of focal lengths with out having to alter lenses. 

For essentially the most half, second-hand lenses are an effective way to save cash, particularly if you understand what you are in search of. That mentioned, there are some things to remember when shopping for second-hand lenses. First, you should definitely examine the lens for any scratches, dents, or different injury. A bit of scratch on the surface or some worn off paint is usually no large deal, however any scratches on the glass itself make the lens a no-go. Equally, any dents are an enormous pink flag: if it has been smacked about sufficient to be dented, there’s possible one thing incorrect with the internals of the lens and the way it capabilities.  

Shining a light-weight into the lens will make any blemishes or chips pretty apparent, and preserve an eye fixed out for any fungus or mould growing. Mess around with any of the buttons and switches on the lens – be certain that they really work, and are not sticky or absolutely caught. Give the zoom and focus rings a spin, too – they need to rotate easily, with slightly little bit of constant resistance. Pay attention and really feel for one thing grinding, as this could have a tendency to point some sand or grit caught contained in the lens, which is a nightmare to get out and might injury the lens over time. 

If doable, check that the lens is suitable and if there are any points with autofocusing (whether it is an autofocusing lens) or picture high quality. On the very least, guarantee no matter lens you purchase will work with the camera you’ve purchased it for. 

Remember that identical to cameras, some second-hand lenses could not include a guaranty. If you happen to’re shopping for from a good supply, akin to a camera retailer or on-line retailer, you need to be lined if there are any issues. Nonetheless, in the event you’re shopping for from a person vendor, it is vital to ask in regards to the guarantee (if any) earlier than making a purchase order. 

Lastly, second-hand lenses could not include all of the equipment you’ll get with a brand new lens. For instance, chances are you’ll not get a lens hood, lens caps or a tripod collar. If this stuff are vital to you, you should definitely ask about them earlier than making a purchase order. 

As soon as you have obtained your camera and a few appropriate lenses, its time to exit and shoot. Learn our professional recommendations on learn how to shoot and edit images like a professional

The place to purchase a used camera

There are many methods to get a discount worth in your subsequent camera with out having to take dangers or compromise on high quality.

Whenever you’re purchasing on-line for a alternative camera, be sure to’re handing over your cash to a good vendor. If doable, examine the retailer’s returns coverage and likewise take a look at some buyer reviews.

Fashionable retailers that inventory second-hand cameras embrace:

  • Amazon shares 1000’s of cameras from manufacturers together with Nikon, Canon and Fujifilm. You may search through the use of the ‘Situation’ filter and deciding on ‘Used’ or ‘Renewed’ (Amazon’s time period for refurbished), or choose a camera mannequin and look to the best of the display screen for the New & Used button.
  • CeX shares varied used cameras and lenses in a variety of situations. Every camera is assigned a grade so you understand the situation of the mannequin you are buying.
  • eBay is residence to loads of used cameras. Relying on the vendor, you may submit a suggestion or purchase the camera immediately. Keep in mind there is a larger danger shopping for from a person, although chances are you’ll get a greater worth.
  • Wex Picture Video shares used cameras from manufacturers together with Sony, Panasonic and Nikon. Additionally they have some excessive avenue shops within the UK.
  • Jessops has a number of used cameras that its workforce have refurbished, and it provides ensures of as much as 12 months.
  • Nikon has a web page it updates with a restricted number of cameras and lenses it has restored to fulfill manufacturing facility specs.

Discover out the retailers which can be rated extremely by Which? members with our professional information on the finest and worst tech outlets.

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