This article will take you through all the steps you need to take to sell camera gear.
The new gear bug has finally bitten, and you’re ready to part with your old camera for the latest model.
Maybe you’re upgrading the body. Or maybe you’re selling every lens and accessory to start fresh with a new system.
But what’s the best way to sell camera gear?
What You Need to Know to Sell Camera Gear
Image by Lucas Vera, Unsplash
Start the selling process by getting all the details you can about the gear that you own. You’ll get the most accurate quotes and the most interested buyers by detailing the exact condition of your gear.
Besides the model number, for cameras, look for any cosmetic damage to the body. Note if there is any sensor dust that needs to be cleaned. And make sure everything is in working order.
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 camerashuttercount.com. The platform will dig through the EXIF data for you. And it’ll list your camera’s shutter count.
The shutter count offers an indication of how much life is left. But there’s no way to tell for sure how much longer the camera will last.
You can compare that shutter count to the camera’s life expectancy with databases like this one.
For lenses, be sure to inspect for any scratches or dust 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 accessories you plan on selling as well.
Whichever method you choose to sell camera gear, detailing the gear’s condition will help. For selling through a third-party, you’ll get the most accurate estimate.
For selling gear yourself, you’ll get the best seller feedback for future sales by being upfront and honest.
Using a Third-Party Used Cameras Company
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This is a choice all photographers selling used camera gear have to make. Whether you want to sell your gear yourself or send it into a used cameras company.
Both methods have their pros and cons.
Selling gear yourself can get you more money from your used gear. There’s no middleman who needs to turn a profit.
This option also leaves you with the most control over the price and how the gear is sold. Of course, that doesn’t mean you’ll get buyers if you list too high.
But there are downsides to selling the gear yourself. It may take longer to get an offer and complete the sale. And you’ll also have to do more work, like taking photos of the gear and creating the listing.
And while there’s no middleman to pay, buyers may be more likely to buy from a used cameras dealer. They can offer a brief warranty, and other perks. This could mean you may not get much more money from your gear after all.
Trading in your gear to a reputable company 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 seller.
The downside is that some platforms only trade in gear or offer a gift certificate back instead of cash. In most cases, you’ll also have to wait for the company to inspect the gear. Only then will they confirm the initial quote.
If you’re using the money to buy new gear, you’ll be without a camera for several days.
Here are some ways to make the most of both methods.
Selling Your Old Gear Yourself
Image by Lucas Favre, Unsplash
Selling your camera gear yourself doesn’t mean only getting a few bucks for it.
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.
- BokehMarket will offer an estimate of the market value for your gear. The website is currently in beta. But it’s a good way to figure out how much to ask for your gear. Start here as a guideline to set your price.
- eBay is one of the most well-known options for selling something online yourself. Most are based on bidding. But you can also list a “sell it now” price. You’ll need good product photos. And it’s difficult to sell without a good seller rating already established.
- Craigslist is also a popular option for selling pre-owned gear. 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’ll avoid a scam or bounced check.
- Facebook and other social media websites are another option. Both for selling to people you know or posting on something like Facebook Marketplace. Marketplace is similar to Craigslist. Selling to friends and family is probably a bit safer.
- Photography-focused online classifieds are designed specifically for selling camera gear. This means you could get more traffic. Platforms like fredmiranda.com include lots of used gear listings.
Best Place to Sell Used Camera Equipment
Image by Alexander Kustov, Unsplash
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.
KEH is one of the largest companies focusing solely on used gear. The used cameras platform is favored by buyers for a 180-day warranty. The process takes between 7 and 12 business days once the company actually has the gear.
If the gear matches the condition in the quote, they’ll finish the sale. They’ll 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.
MPB.com is an online camera store just for used gear. You can either sell 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 the online tool to get a quote before making a decision. MPB pays for the shipping and trades in Europe and the U.S.
I’ve bought several used items from mbp.com and had a good experience. I haven’t sold gear back to them yet.
This 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’ll 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 used.
Like B&H, Adorama deals with both new and used gear, which is great if you’re trying to trade up to the latest model.
Adorama pays for shipping for used gear as well. The camera store does online quotes. If the inspection proves the equipment isn’t worth as much as the original estimate, they’ll pay for shipping and insurance to return your gear too.
You can get cash, store credit or direct deposit.
Other Places to Sell Camera Gear
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.
Additional options for selling gear online include the National Camera Exchange and Cameta Camera.
Preparing Used Gear for Sale
Once you’ve decided to sell, make sure to prep your gear before the sale. If you’ve added copyright details to the camera, you’ll want to remove your name. If you don’t, you’ll still end up in the image’s metadata.
Returning your camera back to the factory settings is an easy way to do that. If you can’t find an option that says reset shooting options or clear all camera settings, look up the instructions for your exact camera model.
Besides clearing out the information on the camera, make sure you don’t accidentally leave a memory card in the camera.
Remove any aftermarket accessories that you may want to keep. This includes lens filters and camera straps that didn’t ship with the original gear.
Shipping lithium batteries is actually a fire hazard. The batteries can heat up if short-circuited.
If you are shipping your gear, make sure to remove the battery from the camera and pack it according to guidelines.
Check with your shipping carrier on exact guidelines for shipping batteries, since the regulations differ by carrier and country.
How to Avoid Scams When Selling Used Gear
You should take some precautions to avoid getting scammed out of your cash or your old gear.
- Keep it cash or a verified payment method. If you’re selling the gear yourself, ask for cash for in-person sales. If selling online, use a platform with buyer-seller protection, like PayPal. Refuse buyers that want to use a different platform than the one that you listed the camera on. For selling to a used camera company, make sure you’re using a reputable company.
- 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.
- Always make sure the payment is complete before handing over or shipping gear. Even with online platforms, make sure the transaction is complete and in your account. Otherwise the seller can try to cancel it.
- Watch out for red flags. Someone offering to pay more than it’s worth is a big red flag. Another one is a shipping address and payment address that do not list the same country. (You won’t see the billing address in most cases, but platforms like eBay will note international payment addresses).
- Never give out your address. If you’re meeting in person on a Craigslist or Facebook Marketplace deal, never meet at your home. Meet in a public location with lots of people. Better yet, meet in the parking lot of the police station or another building that has security staff. Meeting at your home could put you at risk.
Finalising the Sale
Selling your camera gear can open up cash to invest in a new camera system. Or maybe you want to be a minimalist photographer . Or just get that lens you don’t use out of your bag and in the hands of a photographer that will put it to use.
Either way, you can choose to sell to a company for simplicity or sell it yourself for more potential profit.
Once you’ve finalised the sale, leave a review for the buyer if you used an online system that uses reviews.
A note from Josh, ExpertPhotography's Photographer-In-Chief:
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