The joy of used Out with the old and in with the nearly new. Get the kit you want – or raise some extra cash with these trusted services
When buying used gear, you obviously want to know that you’re not buying a damaged or faulty item. Handling and testing gear is the best way to tell, if you can. But with so many of us buying online, it’s comforting that most reputable second-hand dealers offer money-back guarantees and warranties. When you receive your pre-loved kit, give it a physical exam for any signs of damage and take some test shots. Most second-hand bodies come serviced, but it’s a good idea to shoot a blank wall or a clear sky at a small aperture, checking out any sensor dirt or damage to the chip. Check buttons and dials move as they should, actually changing the corresponding function. LCD screens and viewfinders should also be looked at. Try shooting in continuous mode, too. With lenses, aside from signs of bangs or knocks, check the front and rear elements for scratches or chips and ensure the zoom and focus rings turn smoothly. If it’s an AF lens, take some test shots to check for accuracy. Checking your new old gear
moving on. All the dealers here have great options for selling gear, and pay top dollar for lightly used kit that’s well looked after. You’ll be asked to grade your gear, based on aspects such as shutter count of a camera body, its general physical condition and whether it comes with the original accessories and packaging. They will then be assessed by the dealer and, if you’ve been realistic and exacting, it’s not uncommon to have item value upgraded by the buyer. So, check out our top picks, as well as some of the pre-loved gear we spotted on their sites. All references to these items were correct as PN went to press – be quick if you want to snag them!
buying from one of our recommended sellers, you not only get friendly and expert advice, but most offer money-back guarantees and extended cover. It’s not just about modern gear, either. Second-hand dealers are also the place for cameras you loved a long time ago, or vintage models you want to try for the first time. Maybe you’re eyeing an old rangefinder or medium format film camera? Or do you need legacy lenses to fit an older body? These are the places to look. But the second-hand market is just as much about freeing up cash from your camera bag as it is spending it – or you might simply decide to offset the price of a purchase against kit you’re
THERE’S NEVER BEEN a better time to buy used cameras and lenses. Why? Well, it’s down to the range and quality of kit available, and some of the dealers selling it – companies you will find listed right here. Buying second-hand, whether it’s boxed, like-new or in a well-used condition, saves you money compared to the list price of the latest photo gear, so you can enjoy photography for less, or get more gear for your budget. For instance, you can pick up camera and lens combos of a previous-generation camera for the price of the latest model, body only. And gone are the days of worrying about a bad experience online. When
Ffordes Photographic Based in the Scottish Highlands,
conditional approval period and six-month warranty after that. In a hurry? They also ship the next day to anywhere in the UK. Right now, you can bag a used Canon EOS 5D Mark III, in excellent condition, for just £749.
but dealing across the UK, Ffordes buys and sells an amazing range of second-hand kit. The company website is constantly updated with the latest listings. Stock covers all manner of brands,
including Canon, Fujifilm, Nikon, Panasonic, Leica, Sigma, Tamron, Zeiss, plus accompanying accessories. Pre-owned gear sold by Ffordes is checked by its in-house team, boasting years of experience, while all second-hand purchases are assured by a 15-day
Special Auction Services (SAS)
Fancy buying something a little out of the ordinary? Or looking to move vintage camera gear on to a new home? Then check out Special Auction Services (SAS). As an auctioneer, it’s not like other second-hand retailers, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a great deal. SAS started life in 1991 and its ‘Photographica’ camera auctions have been running since 2009, proving amazingly popular with enthusiast photographers and collectors. The company runs about ten per year. Equipment is sold as it comes to SAS, but the company does grade it for cosmetic and optical condition, carrying out basic checks. SAS’s most recent auction included everything, from trays of Nikon F-mount lenses, to an Olympus OM System 250 Film Loader.
24 Photography News | Issue 87
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