My Learning Curve - Part 1

2 (iv) Second-hand Equipment

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Acquiring Second-hand Photographic Equipment

I would like to start this section but strongly stating I am not an expert in this area. What follows has been my process to date for the successful acquisition of reasonably high value items.

In some ways I have been very fortunate in that I have not yet made a purchase that has ‘back fired’ but it must only be a matter of time. Though the money I have saved myself so far greatly out weighs the risks this process runs in my view. Compared to new UK high street prices I have been saving around 40%, and sometimes a little more, for like new items and 50% to 60% for good condition items.

In summary my secondhand buying approach follows the obvious ebay option and also an American site specializing in second hand Canon equipment.

When buying from ebay I am careful to follow the following rules, if I am at all suspicious I do not bid:

1. Only buy from people offering a paypal payment option, this provides some protection.

2. I only buy from people with good feedback – 98% or more, and those who have undertaken a reasonable number of transactions e.g. 5 or more.

3. I never buy from people where I have missed out on winning an auction and then received an email very soon after the auction closes offering the opportunity to buy the item for my highest bid. I believe these people are manipulating the bidding process with a friend (who will obviously never pay for the item) and this tactic is used to bid up your offer.

4. Know what you are prepared to pay for an item, stick to it and only bid during the dying minutes of the auction.

5. Consider buying new from oversees companies – be aware of duty and VAT implications of this action and ONLY buy from reputable shops i.e. those with high sales volumes and good feedback.

6. Review the feedback comments applying to seller, if you get at all suspicious don’t buy.

7. If the price seems to good to be true, it probably is. I have noticed particularly this for Canon 1 D bodies (because of the high sums involved even when they are offered at a ‘Bargain’ price) but luckily these dishonest sellers have been identified by ebay’s processes and their items were withdrawn before bids ended.

8. I tend to be a little suspicious if I see items where I recognise the photograph from some months or weeks before but this time the item seems to be offered for sale by a different seller.

9. Sometimes the wording provided by the seller arouses my suspicion and so I will not bid, they use photographic terms in an incorrect manner or the wording just does not read correctly or feel right.

10. Be realistic about the condition of equipment you are buying. If the vendor says 'Good Condition" it will not be like new. Personally I am not bothered by scuffs and scrapes from normal useage, but the item must be in 100% working order.

Regarding second-hand camera equipment sites the following link takes you to the largest selection of second-hand lenses and equipment I have come across. This company is based in the US and obviously you will need to consider Duty/Tax effects particular to your Country before purchasing. I have not yet purchased from this site but believe it seems reputable.

Link To - KEH Selling New and Second-hand Camera Equipment