Tips for Buying Used Cameras

These tips for buying used cameras will help you capture memories and still save money. Your phone camera is great for quick shots in good lighting but it just can’t compete in quality with a dedicated camera. A dedicated camera can give you breathtaking photos. Buying your camera second hand lets you have that quality for a fraction of the price of a new one.

Tips for buying second hand cameras and camera tripods:

Used Digital Cameras:

1. How does the used digital camera get power?  You may need to put batteries in to verify that it’s working. There should be no signs of corrosion in the battery compartment.  If it’s the type that plugs in to charge, plug it in and verify that it accepts a charge. Do not worry if it doesn’t come with a charger. Most digital cameras use a standard micro or mini USB port, which can be purchased anywhere at a low price.  Note the battery level when you start using it so you can see how fast the battery level drops as you inspect the camera.

2. Examine the lens for scratches or any signs of moisture.  

3. Check how well the zoom function works. You can snap a picture zoomed and not zoomed of the same item from the same distance. Then look at the pictures from within the phone or on your laptop if you have it along. 

4. Quality of digital photos is usually measured in megapixels. If you want better pictures than your phone, this number should be higher than your phone camera. If you just want a second hand camera for your child to play with or to keep in the car to record accident damage, this probably isn’t very important.

5. See if the camera includes storage media like an SD card, which you can switch out or whether the photos are stored internally. If stored internally, check if the size is large enough to meet your needs.

Used Traditional Cameras:

1. The most important thing when buying a second hand traditional camera (a camera that used film) is to check online and verify that they’re still selling the film for this camera. 

2. Open any compartments. There should be no signs of moisture anywhere. If the camera takes batteries, there should be no signs of corrosion. 

3. If the camera has an automatic advance function, you should put batteries in it to verify whether it still works. Even without film, you should hear the slight whirr of it attempting to advance after you press the capture button.

4. Any lenses included should be clear. You should hold them up to the light and look at them in shadow. Remember to look in them, not just at the surface. Are there any scratches on either side? Any visible moisture or cloudiness within the lens? 

5. Does the lens turn freely to adjust the focus? Is the type of lens the correct type for the kind of photos you would like to take?

Used Tripods:

1. If the legs extend, do they slide smoothly and lock in place? 

2. Does the secondhand tripod stand square on its legs without wobbling? Movement will damage picture quality. 

3. If the legs are meant to flexible, like a gorilla pod, are they still flexible and able to hold the shape you choose? If they have been stored with bends in the legs, they may not straighten out entirely anymore.  

4. Does it have the right connector to attach to your camera? You should bring your camera along to verify this.

Used cameras are a great choice for someone just getting started in taking photographs; as a present for your child; or to take on an outdoor adventure if you don’t want to chance damaging your newer camera. The tips above will help you purchase a second hand camera that fits your budget.

Find more tips for buying secondhand merchandise.