Money is hard to come by—unless you’re a Kardashian, Trump, Gates, or any other wealthy name.
If you’re just starting a career in film and photography, the costs can pile up to a distressing figure. Does that worry you?
We bet you are asking yourself this question…
How do I get photo equipment as cheap as possible?
It’s a tough feeling to be cash-strapped. We all, at some point in life, have possibly been through that.
But here’s the thing; just because you have little to spend doesn’t mean you can’t get your hands on stellar photography equipment.
eBay aside, there are many more ways to acquire photo equipment without breaking your bank.
Let’s check out a few of them:
Buy used gear
If you are looking for top-quality photo gear for professional shooting, there’s no choice but to settle for second-hand items.
New items will definitely cost an arm and a leg. You can do this by scouting your region and talking to people for some direction.
Talking to people isn’t that fun. Plus, some of us would only feel comfortable asking around from friends or friends of friends. No strangers involved.
The next best choice is to look for local marketplaces. Facebook will automatically direct you to some good offers within your location.
You can also check out eBay, Craigslist, and Amazon’s used goods section. If you know how and where to look and be a little patient, you can land on some crazy cheap offers.
Negotiate the price
If you don’t want a second-hand product, then you’ll have to visit a store.
It’s a no-brainer that most online stores and offline supermarkets have fixed prices. You will not be able to tell them to bring it down.
But if you get into a store yourself, you can haggle and get the seller to nip off some decent dollars.
If you are not good at bargaining, get the company of your crazy talkative friend who is not shy to ask for a price drop.
The next tip is a little uncomfortable, but we’ll just go ahead. As long as it helps you get set up without spending a lot, right. Okay…here we go.
Buy from China
Yeah, yeah we really mean it. We’ve all bought some good stuff (and bad too) from Chinese companies.
We know some of you might get worried, so we will tell you how to mitigate the risks that come with Chinese products.
First, use trustworthy sellers like Aliexpress.com and Alibaba.
Secondly, check to ensure the equipment has many 4+ star reviews. The tradeoff for buying from China is that goods can take a month or two tops to arrive.
Buy renewed/refurbished gear
Buying refurbished items is a trend that has been hotting up for the previous year or so.
The amazing fact is, some of those are listed on Amazon, which happens to be the world’s most trusted online store.
You must be wondering, what exactly is a refurbished item?
A refurbished product refers to defective products that customers return in exchange for good ones.
The returned item is repaired and sold as a renewed item but now at a lower price.
When you search on, let’s say, Amazon for Nikon D850 FX-Format Digital SLR, the results are mostly going to be for new products.
To simplify the process, always add “Renewed” or “Refurbished” towards the end of the product name.
To sweeten the deal and, at the same time, assure you that the product works, Amazon and other big sellers offer up to a 90-day guarantee. That’s a good deal.
Rent a camera
Yes, some websites rent you a camera at incredibly affordable prices. This method is ideal for someone who has an urgent gig but lacks the money to put into new equipment.
It’s also a good strategy for anyone who wants to take a certain product for a spin to see how it works without actually purchasing it.
Tips when buying used photo equipment
Verify that the product works
Transactions for used products take place face to face. Sadly, it’s also very easy to get a damaged asset.
So before you hand over the cash, slide an SD card into the camera, and take some photos or videos just to be sure it works.
Scrutinize the exterior for mechanical damage and missing controls.
Signs of a fading exterior could indicate that the product has been overused and could break down any time soon.
Cross-reference the price point
Different sellers set up different prices.
One person can be desperate to get rid of a camera and set the price way low. Another might sell it at a few dollars shy from the market price.
When buying a camera, try to cross-reference prices from different places. This will give you a sense of how much you need to spend to avoid being duped.
Don’t buy from a photographer
Photographers and filmmakers are some of the busiest individuals.
Their cameras not only go through lengthy sessions but face dangerous situations as they struggle to make a recording.
Owning such products comes with the risk of imminent failure.
So if you must buy used photo equipment, then make sure the owner is not a photographer or filmmaker.