Where can I buy a great used digital camera? 

Buying digital camera

Check out these marketplaces for a used digital camera. We have listed the Pros and Cons for each as well as tips. Whether you are looking for an easy-carry camera for a Photowalk, a classic DSLR, or a new video camera – a used digital camera often makes good sense.

Facebook Marketplace

Lots of people sell used camas on Facebook Marketplace. Often, they have upgraded or they find an old camera in the back of a cupboard and decide to turn it into a little money. Most sellers are private sellers rather than companies or sole traders. Look for job lots and collections – these are often more genuine and at a better price than on eBay – where often you will see a collection of cameras that would be almost worthless if sold separately.

Pros

  • You should be able to find cameras quite local to where you live
  • You can see how long the post has been up for
  • You can easily ask questions via Facebook Messenger
  • Posts/stock changes often
  • The search feature is good – even when someone does not describe their camera correctly.
  • It’s free so sellers do not have to add the price to cover the platform fees, etc.
  • Sometimes the seller just wants it to go to a good home
  • You may be able to check the camera before handing over the cash. But remember the seller may also not want you to enter their home for legitimate reasons.  

Cons

  • There is no buyer protection
  • Shipping is risky, as you will probably need to pay upfront
  • There are lots of scammers on Facebook Marketplace – I reported a seller/camera and it stayed up for 2 weeks (stock images of a camera at 30% of the normal used price and no seller history, etc.)
  • Descriptions are often poor as there is no general template.
  • Sellers are sometimes slow to respond – they don’t monitor their messages
  • Some items get sold within minutes/hours
  • If you do opt for shipping the seller may ask for a high cost. 

Facebook Marketplace Used Digital Camera Buying Tips

Used digital camera Panasonic Lumix DMC-TZ3
This lovely Lumix camera was bought from Facebook Marketplace along with four other cameras all in one lot.

There are lots of scams on Facebook Marketplace so if you see a camera that is at a price too good to be true, it may be best to look for a different camera. If you feel that it may still be worth asking some questions about, then proceed with caution. Be even more careful if there are few images and/or they look like stock images – rather than the real camera. You could ask for another image – e.g. the battery terminals, an end-on view of the lens so that you can see the lens specification.

You may also ask for an image of the bottom of the camera – sometimes you can see the model number, etc. Ask them if it belongs to them. Scams are more likely to involve postage/shipping rather than collection. Be very wary of someone who says they will drop it off after payment and will not give their address. Look at their profile and other items for sale.

Search for general as well as specific make and model. If you ‘Like’ a post/camera, then you will probably see it again if the price drops – and other similar cameras. 

Show enthusiasm as the seller may have had lots of people who lost interest or did not show up to collect the camera. They then sometimes just remove it from Facebook.

Check eBay and see if you can see the exact same camera (you can also see if the location is the same). This could mean that the seller is serious about selling but the Facebook Marketplace seller could have also stolen the images and description from eBay. 

eBay

Price transparency on eBay is excellent. You can see what the price is and compare it with sold/not sold items of the same specification. Sellers on eBay can by professional sellers/companies, enthusiasts that buy and sell and enjoy cameras, using them and sometimes making a small about of money. And finally people that just sell their unwanted items on eBay – when they no longer use/want them.

It is unlikely that you will find many bargains as there are also lots of people looking to buy on both eBay UK and eBay USA for example.

Pros

  • Buyer protection
  • You can see the seller’s feedback score and other information.
  • Some sellers allow you to ‘make an offer’
  • Auctions can be fun, and it may be possible to get a camera at a good price. You can also use websites such as ‘Auction Sniper’ to grab a bargain
  • You get what you see in terms of description, price, and shipping costs
  • It can often be the biggest marketplace for the camera that you are looking for.
  • You can buy from overseas – but make sure that you understand exchange rates, import taxes. Etc.
  • Posts have a template and often include specification and model feedback as well as seller feedback.

Cons

  • There are still scammers and also just people who don’t respond and send you the goods.
  • If you make an offer and it is accepted it is difficult to pull out of the deal 
  • Lots of people will buy popular makes and models whatever the price making bargains harder to find
  • Good cameras are often sold very quickly
  • Stock images of cameras are acceptable by eBay so make sure that you are buying what you see. 

eBay Used Digital Camera Buying Tips

Used digital camera  - Olympus PL5 bought from eBay.
Olympus PL5 bought from eBay. It was a good buy as it had the pancake lens that I was looking for at a very good price

Set up some email alerts for the camera that you are looking for – make one specific and bay one more general. Don’t bid too early on an auction as you may find the same camera at a better price a few days later When you make an offer be bold – you have three goes. Buy equally don’t be insulting. 

Look for where you can combine postage. Always check the seller’s feedback and check what they are buying too. Read the whole description – especially when on a tablet or phone as some parts can be easily missed/hidden. Always pay promptly and give feedback after the purchase so that your buyer profile looks good.

Etsy

Etsy used to be one of my favourite marketplaces to buy and sell cameras. But I feel it may have lost its way recently. Photography equipment tends to be more expensive on Etsy than on Facebook Marketplace, eBay and used camera exchanges and retailers. Whilst often you will find cameras in excellent condition, cleaned, serviced, etc. the prices can be 50% tom 100% higher. This seems to be in part due to the high seller fees and internal advertising fees that sellers must pay. In short, they sell the same item for more in Etsy.  

It is also difficult to search for specifics without getting unrelated items, and filter for location, etc.  You may indeed find what you want but the price may be high. You should of course also check the seller’s feedback but read this carefully as it is often for completely unrelated products.  Etsy is also not good at removing unfair feedback – for example, digital products that the buyer says did not arrive (even though the process is managed by Etsy). Bespoke items that do not meet the buyer’s requirement even though the seller had pointed out issues with the request. 

Pros

  • Large marketplace with usually good quality products and seller service to match
  • Excellent (simple) templates for images, videos and general descriptions
  • Opportunities to add/buy bespoke items – e.g. name on the camera strap. 

Cons

  • Usually a higher selling prices than other marketplaces.
  • Very poor search feature – takes more time than eBay for example, to make sure that you have viewed all options
  • Less opportunity to make an offer.

Etsy Used Digital Camera Buying Tips

Keep scrolling and try different search criteria. The products are ranked by keywords so someone selling a digital Canon camera could use keywords for an Olympus model to see if they can new buyers. 

Check delivery times. Small business owners often mention that they are closed sometime in the future without closing their stores – so the product delivery time is extended. They can also get overwhelmed with orders at certain times of the year.  Be very careful to find out where the product is being posted from (and research taxes, etc.).

Look at for high-spec cameras in complete kits (lenses, flash, strap, batteries, etc)  – these often provide the best opportunities. 

MPB

Headquartered in the creative communities of Brighton, Brooklyn and Berlin, the MPB team includes trained camera experts and seasoned photographers and videographers who bring their passion to work every day to deliver outstanding service.

All used gear is inspected carefully by product specialists and comes with a six-month warranty to give our customers peace of mind that buying used doesn’t mean sacrificing reliability. Rather than a Marketplace where multiple vendors sell their photographic equipment, MPB buys the cameras and then sells them on.

Pros

  • Only one seller
  • Complete transparency on price and condition.
  • Standardise condition scale (five) and images of actual products for sale – not stock images.
  • All come with a free six-month warranty after being carefully inspected by product specialists. 
  • Part exchange possible
  • Good range of lenses and accessories.

Cons

  • Limited range of cameras and lenses compared to eBay. 
  • Tend to be newer models with original high specifications
  • Whilst competitive prices may be higher than an equivalent in another market.

MPB Used Digital Camera Buying Tips

Great opportunity to find the specific model variant that you are looking for in the condition that you want. It is therefore having something in mind and searching. Being able to trade in saves time and risks associated with selling products yourself – so it is worth taking advantage of this service.

Amazon

Amazon may seem a strange place to look for used digital camera – but they can be available, if a little hidden. You cannot just search for used cameras – you need to search for the camera(s) you are interested in and then see if there are any ‘buying options’. You may then find cameras with damaged boxes, no boxes or just third-party sellers.  In addition, cameras that are not the latest model but one or two behind. Sellers including Amazon may be looking to sell off their old stock as soon as possible.

Do not assume the price advertised is a good one – sometimes sellers have just not updated the price, even though newer models are available.

Pros

  • Covered by all the Amazon buying terms
  • Reputable sellers  – via Amazon.

Cons

  • Mostly very new models
  • Can take a long time to find what you are looking for.

Amazon Used Digital Camera Buying Tips

The key is to check the buying options. Also, check the delivery times – some cameras may be shipped into your country and take several weeks to arrive. 

Other shops and websites 

You may find other markets for used digital cameras and we have created a directory to help you find more sources. These can include local retailers, auction houses, etc.   It may be worth checking WEX, London Camera Exchange and KEH.

Genera Used Camera Buying Tips

Look at what is included – sometimes the lenses and attachments are undervalued when combined with a camera.  E.g. – with an electronic viewfinder that may have a value of £100. Conversely don’t pay big money for things that you may never use, such as a flash and filters.  

Watch trends and make sure you do some research before you buy if you are looking for a specific camera. Try general searches and YouTube videos. There are also some good camera comparison sites – like Camera Decision. 

Check across marketplaces including against the ‘new’ price if there is one. I have seen many used cameras at a higher price than it could bought new from a discount retailer or special sales. This is particularly true when new models come out. 

Do your homework on faults. This can work both ways. Sometimes faults may be able to fix. E.g an Olympus OM10 (film camera) is sold as not working – but has not been tested with a battery. Or you may see a camera at a good price with no IBIS and you are not concerned – but do make sure that it does not impact on other aspects of the camera. 

If the camera is advertised as complete and working, you could ask to see some images taken with the camera. In some cases, you may be able to then check the image EXIF/metadata. 

Many buyers will tell you the shutter count – and send an image. I do not take much notice of this for a few reasons. First, many cameras have electronic and mechanical shutters so telling me how many times the mechanical shutter has been fired may not give a good insight as to how much the camera has been used (Video use will not register as far as I understand). Second, knowing what is high or low is subjective. A high-use camera may been well looked after and serviced/cleaned. Last, the general condition and age is usually the most important issues and the price should reflect these – rather than the fact that it has not been used. This is why buying from MPB UK or MPB USA, KEH and WEX may give you more confidence in the general condition.

Sometimes you will see a camera available that is boxed and complete – i.e. although used it may be complete as sold. This can be very attractive as it means that the camera has probably been looked after and all original components are available. You will need to evaluate whether you are paying a premium price for this (The original software for example is no longer required on a CD).

Moreover, some missing components are readily available via Amazon – cables, batteries, and battery chargers for most if not all makes and models. Modern battery chargers can also be USB-powered rather than mains which have several advantages. If you see a camera at a bargain price with no battery charger it may be worth the risk – use the links below to find the charger and battery for your new – used digital camera.

Olympus batteries and chargers

Canon batteries and chargers

Nikon Batteries and Chargers

Fujifilm Batteries and Chargers

Sony Batteries and Chargers

Panasonic/Lumix batteries and Chargers

So, to sum up, do some research and try and enjoy the buying experience.

Please let us know how you get on in the comments below.

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