Should I buy used or new?

A question I get asked a lot, even more this time of year, is “should I buy used or new when buying camera equipment and accesories?”

Well my opinion is that unless the used equipment is really priced low, buy new!

Lenses – There is so much for sale on line such as Canon 50mm 1.8 lenses that people are selling for $100.00, well if you look at most places new they are only $119 and on sale they drop to $90. Add to that the new one will have a warranty and you are way ahead to get a new one. Now if it is something that is really reduced such as a 500mm F4 lens that the regular price is $5000 and it is being sold for $1000 then this may be worth looking into. BUT before jumping at the “deal” make sure that you check it out. I had a customer bring me in a lens the other day that they bought, it was a nice lens, looked like it was new, but would not zoom all the way out. They never checked the entire zoom range when they bought it and now had a defective lens that will cost more to fix than they paid for it.

Cameras are another thing, check them out completely before buying to make sure that they work but at the same time check out how many megapixels they are and the rest of the specs of the camera. I saw a camera that was for sale REALLY cheap, the sensor was a good size, but the dynamic range and the ability to focus was horrible on this camera.

Camera accessories can be easier to buy used, a tripod is easy to check out to see if it works, a monopod is not that difficult to see if it works and if you need a camera bag either buying new or used all you need to do is to make sure that your gear fits in it. Accessories such as triggers, flashes, studio lights will require a little checking out and also make sure that it will work with your camera. I see a lot of ads stating that they are selling a certain lens and then they write “will work on any camera” or a flash that states “will work on any camera”, this is either being done to sell it or the seller just does not know, so be careful.

If you are looking at something used and it does not feel right walk away, or if you are not sure then walk away. Better to wait and get it new and be happy with it than to buy it used and waste your money as it does not work.

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