No matter how much we love our camera gear, sometimes we must sell it. It might be that the new gear bug has finally bitten, and you’re ready to part with your old camera. Or you might have decided to ditch your beloved film camera and switch to digital.
Perhaps you’re just upgrading the body or a lens or two. Maybe you’re selling every lens and camera accessory to start fresh with a new system. Or is it time to move from a DSLR to a mirrorless camera?
Let’s look at some of the best ways to sell your photography gear.
What Is the Best Way to Sell Camera Gear and Equipment?
The best way to sell camera gear is by doing it yourself through an e-commerce store or selling it to an online camera store. First, you must list your photography equipment correctly. You get the most accurate quotes and more interested buyers by detailing your gear’s exact details and condition.
Start your selling process by getting all the details you can about your photography equipment. A little research helps your chances of selling.
Accurately List Your Camera and Shutter Count
You need to list a camera’s model number. Of course, give as much detail as possible, and make note of which version of the camera you have. A Canon EOS 5D Mark IV is a different beast from the Mark III.
And note any variations. For instance, Canon DSLRs have different names in different markets. For the widest reach of buyers, list the possible alternatives. For example, the Canon EOS 100D is also called the EOS Rebel SL1 and EOS Kiss X.
With camera bodies, you should also find out the shutter count. This is like including the mileage when selling an old car. It tells buyers how much (or how little) the camera has been used.
To find the shutter count, upload the last photo you shot to a service like Camera Shutter Count. This platform digs through the EXIF data for you. It lists your camera’s shutter actuation. It doesn’t work with every camera (like my EOS 5D Mark III). But it’s free and worth a go.
I use Free Shutter Counter when I want to terrify myself with how many shots I’ve taken. The shutter count indicates how much life is left. But there’s no way to tell for sure how much longer the camera will last.
With the Camera Shutter Life Database, you can compare that shutter count to your camera’s life expectancy. Mine is in the 83% range with a similar count and is still working.
Describe the Condition of Camera Gear in Detail
Note down the condition of your camera. For lenses, be sure to inspect for any scratches on both the front and end glass pieces. Check for cosmetic damage on the exterior as well. Similarly, note any damage to flashes and other photography accessories you plan on selling.
Whichever method you choose to sell camera gear, detailing the gear’s condition helps. For selling through a third party, you get the most accurate estimate. When selling gear yourself, you get the best seller feedback for future sales by being upfront and honest.
What Is the Best Place to Sell Camera Gear?
The best place to sell camera gear is online e-commerce sites or camera equipment websites. First, you must decide whether to sell used camera gear yourself or to a used camera store. Both methods have their pros and cons, so we’ll cover both.
Trading in or selling your gear to a reputable camera store online is the easier route. You get a quote, send it in, and get your cash. This option also tends to be faster than waiting for a buyer.
The downside is that some platforms only let you trade in gear for a purchase. Or they offer a gift certificate or store credit instead of cash.
In most cases, you must also wait for them to inspect the gear. Only then will they confirm the initial quote. So, if you plan to use the money to buy new gear, you’ll be without a camera for several days.
On the plus side, resellers have a wide reach, so finding a buyer is more likely. Convenience is a big selling point (no pun intended).
How to Sell Camera Gear Yourself
Selling your camera gear yourself probably offers the best chance of getting the highest price. After all, there’s no commission to pay. There might be seller fees, of course, with platforms like eBay. But you’re in full control.
The downside is having to handle the whole process yourself. Communicating with customers, monitoring the listing, and then shipping. For some people, it’s not worth the extra money.
Online tools make the entire process easier. You can connect both with a local photographer looking for used gear or photographers hundreds of miles away. Here are your best options.
One of the most well-known options for selling something online yourself is eBay. Most are based on bidding. But you can also list a “sell it now” price.
You need good product photos. Plus, selling on eBay is difficult without a good seller rating. But there are localized stores around the world. And with PayPal, you get secure transactions and escrow accounts. This brings peace of mind.
Craigslist is also a popular option for selling pre-owned gear and camera accessories. The online classifieds are designed for local sales, not shipping. Most Craigslist sales meet in person. This means taking safety precautions like meeting in a public place.
In-person sales should also be cash only. This way, you avoid a scam or bounced check. It’s mainly North American, but there are listings worldwide based on your location.
3. Other Online Platforms
Facebook Marketplace is increasingly popular for selling old photography gear. It offers search filters for location and other terms. There is a rating system as well to help protect purchasers. Instagram is also a popular option, but it’s not searchable like Marketplace.
Photography-focused online classifieds are another option if you want to sell camera gear. This might mean you get more listing traffic. Platforms like Fred Miranda include lots of used gear listings.
How to Sell or Trade Camera Gear Through Online Resellers
There are plenty of different options to sell camera gear without managing a listing yourself. Some of them are designed specifically for used gear. Others are large camera shops that also sell new gear.
Either way, having multiple options can help you compare prices and find the easiest solution for selling your gear. These are the best online camera stores to trade or sell used equipment online.
KEH is one of the largest companies focusing solely on used gear. Their used-cameras platform is popular with buyers thanks to its 180-day warranty. The selling process takes between 7 and 12 business days once the company has the gear.
If the gear matches the condition in the quote, they finish the sale. They then send you a check or apply the total towards a new purchase. If the gear isn’t worth as much as the original quote, the company will contact you for approval before moving forward.
Adorama deals with new and used gear, which is great if you want to trade up to the latest camera model or gear.
The Adorama camera store does online quotes. If inspection proves the gear isn’t worth the original estimate, they’ll pay for shipping and insurance to return it. You can get cash, store credit, or direct deposit. It pays for the shipping of used gear.
Like Adorama, B&H is a well-known photography equipment retailer. B&H also sells used gear, which, of course, means that they buy used gear.
They have a simple online system that gives you an instant quote. You also get the same amount whether you choose cash or store credit. And shipping is free.
Unlike other used platforms, B&H may be easier to trade with if what you’re eyeing is too recently released to be available as used.
MPB is an online camera store just for used gear. You can sell equipment for cash or trade-in to buy other used gear. Besides cameras, this platform also buys lenses and flashes. They’ll even accept accessories like filters and camera bags.
You can use their online tool to get a quote before deciding. MPB also pays for the shipping. I’ve bought several used items from MBP and had a good experience. I haven’t sold gear back to them yet.
5. Other Resellers
If you have a local camera shop nearby, you may want to see if they buy used gear. With a local company, you don’t have to wait or worry about shipping your gear. And they might sell your stuff on commission, which can be an easy option, too.
One last option for selling gear online is the National Camera Exchange.
How to Prepare Used Camera Gear for Sale
After you’ve decided to sell, you must prep your gear before the sale. Remove your name if you added copyright details to the camera. If you don’t, it will still end up in image metadata.
An easy way to do that is to restore factory settings. Your camera’s manual or a Google search will tell you how. Besides clearing out the information on the camera, make sure you don’t accidentally leave a memory card in the camera.
Shipping lithium batteries is actually a fire hazard. The batteries can heat up if short-circuited.
If you’re shipping your gear, remove the battery from the camera and pack it according to the guidelines. Check with your shipping carrier on the exact guidelines for shipping batteries. Regulations differ by carrier and country.
Clean Camera Gear Before Taking Pictures
Take time to clean the photo equipment you’re selling. Even a few minutes or so will pay dividends. Ensure there’s no dust or dirt visible. Leave no fingermarks on lenses or screens or gunk around the eyepiece. Clean it the best you can. The same goes for all your gear.
It amazes me sometimes. You look at a classified ad or on eBay, and the camera equipment for sale is so dirty. It makes no sense. Not only does the gear not look good, but it sends a message to the potential buyer. It tells them you don’t take care of your gear.
Of course, there will be wear. There’s a patch near the shutter release of my Canon that’s worn smooth. That’s fine. It’s a professional camera with a lot of use.
You will then be good to take photos of your camera gear. Be sure to include any dings or wear so the purchaser knows exactly what they’re getting.
How to Avoid Scams When Selling Gear
It’s best to take some precautions to avoid getting scammed out of your cash or old gear.
- Pick a Secure Payment Method: Sell for cash or use a verified payment method. If you’re selling the gear, ask for cash for in-person sales. If selling online, use a platform with buyer-seller protection, like PayPal. Refuse buyers who want to use a different platform than the one you listed the camera on. For selling to a used-camera store, make sure you’re using a reputable company.
- Get a Delivery Signature and Insurance: If you’re shipping, choose the option that requires a signature at delivery. That way, the buyer can’t claim they never got it and ask for a refund. Shipping insurance is also a good idea whenever shipping high-value items.
- Confirm Payment: Always make sure the payment is complete before handing over or shipping gear. Even with online platforms, ensure the transaction is complete and in your account. Otherwise, the seller can try to cancel it.
- Watch for Red Flags: Someone offering to pay more than the gear is worth is a big red flag. Another is shipping and payment addresses that don’t list the same country. You won’t see the billing address in most cases. But platforms like eBay will note international payment addresses.
- Meet in a Public Place: If you’re meeting in person through a Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace deal, never meet at your place. And never give out your address. Meet in a public location with lots of people. Better yet, meet in the parking lot of a police station or a place with security. Meeting at your home could put you at risk.
Conclusion: How to Sell Camera Gear
Maybe you want to keep your photo equipment to a minimum. Or, perhaps, you want to offload that lens you never use. Either way, selling your camera gear can release cash to invest in a new camera system.
Either way, you can sell to a company for simplicity or sell it yourself for more potential profit. After you’ve finalized the sale, leave a review for the buyer if you used an online system that uses reviews.
For help in taking professional-looking product photos of your equipment, check out our Products in Focus eBook.