How I Saved $15,000 When Shopping for Professional Digicam Gear

It’s no secret that the majority photographers need the professional stuff. Certainly, maybe your favourite YouTuber has a Canon R5 or the newest costly L lens. Professional gear beats novice gear in most areas, even when it’s 10 years older. I do know individuals who shot international campaigns in 2018 on a professional digicam from 2009. Professional gear is nice however costly. Generally extraordinarily costly.

What if I instructed you it doesn’t should be that manner? There’s a unbelievable manner of shopping for professional gear for a fraction of the price — shopping for it used.

I admit, every time I like to recommend a used digicam (or any used gear) to anybody, they get nervous and begin telling me they don’t know what to purchase. A superb pal of mine instructed me that they only don’t know the place to look and what to search for. Whereas that’s a sound concern, I additionally strongly imagine that there’s a important detrimental stigma round used gear that stops photographers from shopping for pro-level tools for a fraction of the price.

I’m not ashamed of claiming that 99% of all of my photograph gear is used. I imagine that by this level, I’ve saved round $15,000 in prices. You’ll be able to too, and right here’s how.

The Best Method

The simplest manner to purchase used gear and make sure it’s high quality is to go on the “used” sections in respected digicam shops corresponding to Adorama, B&H, Amazon, and many others. That is by far one of the best ways to purchase used gear for a newbie, as you’re assured to get a digicam as described.

Take note of the outline although. By no means purchase damaged gear. An alternative choice is to go to your native digicam retailer and take a look at the “used” part.

When a enterprise buys gear from a photographer to resell as used, they’re all for ensuring that it really works to allow them to flip a revenue. It’s of their curiosity to promote as described. Most shops are offering delivery and restricted guarantee for his or her used gear, which means you should buy from wherever. That is significantly useful while you want one thing in a pinch for a job.

Shopping for used from giant shops has drawbacks, although. The largest one for me shouldn’t be having the ability to negotiate the worth with the vendor. As I hunt for bargains, I’m glad to attend to seek out the best equipment for the best value.

The one time I used to be in a pinch was once I bought my 5D Mark II and had a job arising in three days. Fortunately a digicam retailer had a 5D Mark IV going for a great value, so I purchased it. My expertise was very constructive. The 5D was good and had a low shutter depend. I don’t care about scratches an excessive amount of.

When you have been to purchase a 5D Mark IV now, you can save $800 by buying it used. For $800 you may get a good used professional lens.

The Barely Tougher, Cheaper Method

I name this the more durable manner as a result of it requires much more information of what you’re shopping for. I nearly all the time go together with this methodology as a result of it really works out to be quite a bit cheaper. What I’m speaking about is shopping for from native sellers, corresponding to these on Fb Market or craigslist.

Fb Market is a bizarre animal. There are each bargains and outright scams on there, however often extra bargains than scams. In any case, it’s a must to be cautious. Having purchased all the things from lenses to gentle stands from Fb Market, I’ve discovered that I nearly all the time negotiate for 10% cheaper. Usually, adverts featured on there are from professional photographers who must do away with an costly little bit of equipment.

What to Look Out For?

The recommendation I all the time give to everybody shopping for any gear (new or used) is that it’s essential to, I repeat, should know what you’re shopping for. Listed here are some widespread issues that it is best to take note of every time shopping for a used digicam or lens.


In case you are out there for a professional digicam, you’ll want to take a look at the shutter depend first.

The shutter depend refers back to the variety of footage the digicam has taken. Consider it like mileage on a automobile. The extra miles there are, the extra the automobile has seen. I have a tendency to purchase cameras which have beneath 20,000 to 50,000 actuations. Canon claims that their professional cameras final 150,000 clicks. They often last more, however 150,000 is the watershed. A couple of have been recognized to final 2 million.

The second factor is the bodily state of the digicam. You wish to be trying on the mirror, and the sensor. Mud is usually fantastic, however there should not be any scratches or issues with the sensor.

Concerning the beauty state of the digicam, I wouldn’t fear too a lot. Scratches and small imperfections could be a negotiating level however solely that. My 70-200mm lens is from 2006 and it’s been by way of hell. In spite of everything these years, it nonetheless works like a dream.


I discussed my 70-200mm, and for good purpose. The second factor it’s your decision is a good professional lens. These may give you extra artistic choices, and can most likely last more. I like to recommend shopping for a used professional lens over a used common lens. Perhaps I’ve been unfortunate, however all the typical lenses that I purchased broke inside a comparatively brief time. The professional gear goes sturdy.

Each time shopping for a lens, be sure that the autofocus and apertures work. The depth of subject preview button turns out to be useful there. You’ll most likely get nervous about all of the tiny scratches on the entrance factor and a mud particle inside. In actuality, it doesn’t have an effect on the picture high quality. Look out for main mud and huge scratches. I might advise in opposition to shopping for if the harm is just too important for you.

In Conclusion

Used gear has been good to me up to now. I strongly encourage everybody to purchase all gear used. This protects plenty of money you can spend on enhancing your abilities and information. Having spent plenty of time on discovering costs, I calculated to have saved roughly $15,000 on gear due to shopping for used. Some issues are greatest purchased new, however that’s an entire different matter in itself.

In regards to the creator: Illya Ovchar is a business and editorial vogue photographer primarily based in Budapest. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the creator. Yow will discover extra of Ovchar’s work on his website and Instagram.

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