Buying a second-hand camera is a great way to start a career without breaking your bank.
With a crazy string of new equipment entering the market, there are many more who wish to do away with their old model-and at a modest price.
But not everyone takes great care of their cameras, which means you can easily buy crap.
How do I check used camera equipment for problems?
To get a good bang out of your bucks, you must learn to evaluate used gear for problems.
This article points out all the areas you must pay attention to. Ready to dance?
Let’s get down then.
Assessing physical damage is the easiest part. For instance, look for scuffs, marks, and scratches on the upper body and lens.
If the equipment has protective covers and screens, request permission to remove them. This lets you expose any hidden blemishes.
Heavy bumps and deep scratches indicate that the owner dropped the camera at one time. That’s a huge warning.
Also, check for missing, worn, or unglued rubber grips.
While these are simple, low-cost replacements, they show that the camera has been put to intense use and could be on its last legs.
While lenses are replaceable, buying second-hand gear means you need something that is fully working.
You don’t want to spend money buying a different set of lenses until your career picks up. Therefore, a deep inspection of the lens’ condition is necessary.
Begin the inspection by looking for any signs of scratches on the front and rear parts of the lens.
Furthermore, you might want to get rid of the filters to get an in-depth look.
Next, you want to point the lens towards the light and look through. Do you detect dense spots of moisture, dust, or mold?
If you do, you should probably refuse the offer.
Get this, mild dust is okay, but heavy mold and fungus is a no-no.
It’s tough to get rid of such blemishes, and at some point, your optics might need re-polishing-something you are not ready for.
Lastly, take the lens for a spin to be sure it works.
Test all the elements from focus to zoom ranges. The more thorough you are, the better.
When buying a used car, people often consider those with low mileage. The same applies to shutter count.
The lower the number, the longer the camera will stick around. But it’s not that easy, is it?
You see, even seasonal camera enthusiasts cannot know the shutter count for every piece of equipment. In such a case, you will need to consult Google.
Type the camera’s name and model number in the search engine to unearth all the details about it.
But on a general note, low to mid-priced optics have a shutter count of approximately 150,000 shots.
On the other hand, high-end systems boast a count of 300,000 shots.
At the risk of stating the obvious, you should back out of the deal if the camera you are about to buy has a count that is too close to 100,000.
Battery compartment issues
If you hope to use your camera for a reasonable period, the battery compartment should be corrosion-free.
Rust is an indication of many things like poor storage or general degradation.
Also, make sure the battery door is not wonky, and the springs are intact.
Check that the camera works
The final item on your checklist—take the camera for a spin. This should take as little as 10 minutes.
Just make sure the camera has power, even if that means purchasing some batteries.
Now, pop in your SD card and start taking shots. Use all the key controls and features to ensure the camera is worth investing in.
If everything checks out, you can go ahead to empty your wallet. Scratch that.
There’s this last important bit…
Ask questions about the camera
Not every seller will be honest with you. Nevertheless, it doesn’t hurt to ask questions about the product you are about to buy.
Ask to know about when it was bought, how long it’s been in use and the reason for selling it.
If the owner is selling it because they no longer need it or are in dire need of some bucks, that’s cool.
Some can sell their spare gear because they have the latest model. That’s totally fine.
However, if you ask a question and the answer you get makes you suspicious, request to see the camera’s receipt.
You don’t want someone selling you stolen property. If, at this point, everything checks out fine, but the camera has a few blemishes, ask for a discount.
You can still do that even if the camera is in pristine condition.
Happy camera hunting. Sayonara!