There’s no doubt about it, photography gear can be quite expensive. That new camera body or lens that you have your eye on will cost hundreds or thousands of dollars. Of course, other items like tripods and filters add up too.
The good news is that photography gear tends to hold its value pretty well. There is a large market for used gear, and you might be surprised at how easy it is to sell your gear.
If you have some gear sitting around that is rarely used, you may want to consider selling it, or at least checking on the price that you might be able to get for it.
Selling photography gear can be a bit intimidating if you haven’t done it before, but it’s really not complicated. This article will cover the different options that you have for selling your gear, and some tips that will help to make the process go smoothly and allow you to get the maximum amount for your gear.
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Ways to Sell Your Used Gear
There are a few different ways that you can go about selling your gear.
1. On Your Own
It’s possible that you might be able to get the most money for your gear (partly because you won’t be splitting it with anyone else) by selling it yourself. Selling it yourself doesn’t mean that you’re completely on your own for finding a buyer. The resources listed below are all excellent options for getting exposure for the item you’re trying to sell.
Craigslist – The world’s largest classified website is ideal for selling just about anything, and photography equipment is no exception. You can create a post for free (in most cases) and make it easy for people in your local area to find the item that you’re trying to sell.
Since you’ll have no fee for listing the item, no one to take a chunk of the revenue, and exposure to a lot of potential buyers, Craigslist can be one of the better options for maximizing the amount that you get for your gear. But when you sell higher-priced items on Craigslist, you might need to wait a little while for the right buyer to come along.
Although Craigslist can be a great resource for selling, there are also some downsides. Many people choose not to sell on Craigslist because of the safety concerns involved with meeting strangers. There are also a lot of scammers on Craigslist, so you’ll need to keep your eyes open.
Facebook – Facebook offers a few different ways to sell your items. First, you could list your gear for sale on the Facebook Marketplace, which is fairly similar to Craigslist. It’s free to post something to the marketplace and you can get a lot of exposure to potential buyers. From my own limited personal experience, I’ve found the marketplace to be great for selling low-priced items quickly, but the higher-valued items tend not to sell as well.
Another option is to use a Facebook Group that exists specifically for buying or selling used photography gear. These two groups are excellent options:
The third option is to post something to your personal profile about the gear that you want to sell. If you’re friends with a lot of other photographers, you may get some interest. People tend to prefer to buy used equipment from someone that they know and trust, so you may be able to sell it this way.
eBay – Of course, eBay is the largest online auction. eBay is a bit of an interesting option because it gives you the potential to make the most for your sale, but there are a few key downsides that you need to watch out for. First, you’ll have fees for selling on eBay. Be sure that you calculate the fees that you would pay before deciding to list your items here.
Second, selling on eBay is harder if you don’t have an established seller profile. Buyers want to know that they can trust the seller, so if you’ve never sold anything before and you have no feedback or ratings from other buyers, you could be facing an uphill battle.
Grid50 – Grid50 is a marketplace that was created specifically for allowing photographers to buy and sell their gear. Unlike Craigslist or the Facebook Marketplace, you won’t need to meet up with people locally to sell your gear. And unlike eBay, Grid50 only charges a fee of 3.5% of the sale price.
2. To a Reseller
If you want an easier way to sell your gear, you could sell it to a company that will turn around and resell it to someone else. You may get less money with this option because the reseller will need to allow for room to make a profit when they resell it, but this option tends to be quick and easy. In fact, you can get an instant quote for your gear without the hassle of trying to find a buyer on your own.
Local camera shop – You may have a camera store in your local area (although they are becoming less and less common) that buys and sells used gear. If so, you can take in your items that you’re interested in selling to see what they are willing to pay.
MPB – MPB is a leading platform for buying and selling used photography and video gear. They make the process as simple and painless as possible. To get started, you will simply enter the details of what you want to sell and the condition. MPB will then give you a quote if it’s an item that they are looking to buy.
If you like the quote, you can move forward by shipping it to them (they’ll provide you with a pre-paid shipping label). Once they receive the item and inspect its condition, you’ll be paid.
KEH – KEH is another leading option for buying or selling used gear, and the process is very similar to how you would go about selling to MPB. From KEH’s website, you can get a quote for the item that you want to sell. If you decide to take their price, you can get a free shipping label and send it off to them. They’ll pay you for it once they have been able to receive and inspect the item.
Adorama – Adorama is a leading retailer of photography gear. While they do not focus exclusively on used gear, they do buy and resell gear. The process is the same as was mentioned above. You’ll get a quote, decide if you want to take it, print a free shipping label, and get paid after they’ve been able to inspect the item.
B&H – B&H is very similar to Adorama. They sell both new and used gear and you can get an instant quote to see what they’re willing to pay for your items.
3. Trade it In
The third option is to trade in your gear. In this case, you’ll probably be using the resources in the section above (local camera shop, MPB, KEH, Adorama, or B&H) as they all offer trade-ins as an option. The main reason I’m putting this in a separate section is because you’ll want to consider your preference for trading in or simply selling before you decide where to sell your item. The price and availability of the item that you want to buy will also be a factor in your decision, instead of simply going with the place that gives you the most money for your used gear.
Tips for Selling Your Used Cameras and Lenses
Ok, so now that you’ve decided to sell some of your gear, hear are a few tips that will help you to get the most money for it.
Keep Everything That Comes With Your Gear
Whenever you buy new gear, be sure to keep everything that comes with it. This includes the original box, manual, and any accessories that may come with it. You may or may not care about these things, but having all of the original items can help you to get more money when you go to sell it.
Consider the Timing
Timing can be important when it comes to selling used gear. For example, values will often drop when new models are released, so if you’re considering selling an item that currently has good value, make a decision and move forward rather than waiting.
Clean it Up
Regardless of which route you’re going for selling your item, take some time to clean it up. The condition of used gear will make a big difference in the price that you get. Even if gear is not damaged, it will look older and more worn if it isn’t clean.
Take Photos of the Equipment
If you’re going to be selling the item on your own, be sure to take some quality photos of your gear. Don’t simply grab a photo of the new gear from the manufacturer. Buyers, especially those who are finding the item online, will want to see the condition of the item that they’re getting. Take photos of all sides and angles so buyers can get a full look at the item.
Research the Price
When you’re deciding how to sell your item, I’d highly recommend getting a quote from a few different places. It’s very easy to get a quote from MPB, KEH, Adorama, and B&H, so why not see how much each of them is willing to pay?
You can also check Craigslist and eBay to see what other similar items are listed for, but keep in mind that the seller’s profile can have a big impact with selling on eBay.
If you like the price that you get from MPB, KEH, Adorama, or B&H, there’s no need to try to sell it on your own unless you want to see if you can maximize the price.
Be Honest About the Condition
Because buyers will be very concerned about the condition of any used gear that they buy, be sure to be honest about the condition of your items. You might be able to hide or not mention some flaw before it is sold, but it could come back to haunt you later. For everyone’s sake, it’s best to be honest about the condition so buyers know what they are getting. Remember that the buyer knows they are buying used gear, so most buyers are fine with some minor cosmetic issues as long as the gear works properly.
Don’t forget to take out the memory card or any other extras that aren’t being sold with the camera or gear.
Now that you know a little bit more about selling used gear, check out the prices that you can get and see if you want to take the easy route or try to sell it on your own. Best of luck!
Photo license: Unsplash license
While it is sad when people lose their passion for photography, I can appreciate giving their equipment a chance to shine for someone else. I have helped rehome some amazing pieces of technology in my time.
FWIW, if you’re in or near San Francisco, there’s this guy named David Silver, a local fixture on Craigslist, who is a full service broker dealing used and vintage camera gear all over the world. He buys and sells and also offers consignment services. I’m a semi-pro photographer who also does a lot of “dumpster diving”, and in the past decade I’ve sold a ton of camera stuff to Silver, as have a number of my photo buddies in the SF Bay Area, and he’s simply the best. Beats KEH and the other brick and mortar places, he’s honest about what something is worth and what he expects to profit, pays cash, and there’s no risk or stress like with eBay and whatever. If you’re in the SF area, I can’t recommend this guy strongly enough if you want to make a fair quick cash sale. Check Craigslist for his regular weekly San Francisco ads asking for vintage camera stuff, they’re pretty professional looking, and you’ll find him.