Why Buy Second Hand Cameras?
- Tue, 18 May 2010
With the digital camera market constantly saturated with new models every six months the need to constantly keep up to date with the latest models is almost impossible. Most digital camera owners will find their model out of date twelve months after purchasing, with new features and extras constantly being added. With more consumers subsequently upgrading to the latest model, or to a DSLR, the second hand market of digital cameras has expanded accordingly.
The likes of eBay are flush with impressively under priced second hand cameras, mainly those which have been, or are soon to be, replaced. Of course there are a number of issues with purchasing a camera second hand rather than from a known source such as a high street or internet retailer. The most obvious is that the camera has often been used before being sold. Although there are the occasional few gems to be found the majority would have been utilized to snap at least a couple of images. There are a few basic checks to do prior to investing to insure the camera will be usable when it arrives;
1. Shots of the actual camera
If an image of the camera looks too clean or professional, it usually is. Request a shot of the actual model you'll be buying, rather than just a press shot taken from the internet. This is the best way to tell if there's any immediate physical damage.
2. Corroded battery contacts
It may not be as much of an issue with Lithium Ion batteries, but as we all know any product that accepts AA's is susceptible to leaking, and therefore becoming irrevocably damaged. Ask for an image of the camera while working, as an image of the contacts may be difficult to achieve.
3. Memory card port functionality
Although the majority of DSLRs and compacts now take flat contact memory cards, such as SD or Memory Stick, there are plenty in the second hand market that accept compact flash. Because this particular formats needs a series of tiny pins within the port to function it can be possible to bend a pin, rendering the card port useless. Once again, ask for an image of the camera turned on and working or card port.
4. Full compliment of accessories
As with most electronic devices, the average digital camera comes with a whole host of accessories in the box. The majority are easily replaceable but the USB and AV leads and battery charger are often bespoke to at least the manufacturer. Although a card reader can instantly remedy a lost USB lead, getting a camera-to-TV cable will prove more difficult. Even more imperative is the charger, as a slightly older camera can prove difficult to purchase a third party option for. Prices can also be upwards of £20, quickly reducing any saving gained.
It's worth keeping an eye out for models including memory cards and that a DSLR comes with the kit lens at the very least. Any extra expense will reduce the saving, and the likes of a memory card, lens and charger are necessary to get the camera working.
Rather than buying from a private seller there are websites that sell used second hand cameras with a warranty, offering piece of mind as well as savings. Park Cameras, for example, have a three month warranty attached to any used product and London Camera Exchange has a similar service, although the period is dependant on the product.
The price difference between second hand and buying the same product new from an online shop can be negligible, as the likes of the Nikon D90 is around £100 cheaper used rather than boxed from a shop. Check to see how those prices are fluctuating before purchasing, and that the product in question suits your needs. What Digital Camera keeps a long archive of older camera reviews, so be sure to check the specs and verdict prior to investing.