What to watch out for when buying second hand?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by acearchie, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. acearchie macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I am going to see a camera next week and I was wondering if anyone had any good suggestions for things to try out and test before I make sure I want to buy it?

    I am normally quite good with technical details but I imagine I could get lost up in holding the new body!

    I am having a look at a 6D and this would be an upgrade from my 600D although I would probably keep both for a while for filming purposes but shot photos mainly on the 6D.

  2. ijohn.8.80 macrumors 65816


    Jul 7, 2012
    Adelaide, Oztwaylya.
    acearchie, sorry to go off on a tangent like this...

    If you're having to get all new full-frame lenses for the 6D, have you investigated the D600? :confused:
  3. mofunk macrumors 68020


    Aug 26, 2009
    If you have an reserves about buying second hand, then go to an Authorized Dealer and pick up a used camera. They will have a return policy. Or you try refurbish. Canon and Nikon sell them on their site and most of the Authorized dealers like B&H Photo and Adorama.
  4. seveej macrumors 6502a


    Dec 14, 2009
    Helsinki, Finland
    Well, some things depend on where you are at.
    In general, the first thing I do is to make sure the seller (if a private person) is reputable and try to make sure that the gear is not stolen.

    For bodies, look for bumps, dents and scratches. Make sure it does not creak or rattle. Take a few photos (while preferably using your own memory card), if you have the option to decide later, study the images. Try to ascertain how many images have been taken (the moving parts are still moving parts).
    Ask the seller why he/she is selling the gear, and try to keep your feelers out.

    For lenses the same things are relevant + looking for scratches, blotches and dust inside the lens. If the lens has been in production long, try to use the serial number to find out how old it is (and sometimes even googling the serial might turn up interesting details). Further, remember that you need to be able to try the lens and study the pictures. If you do not yet know the lens (and don't know what to expect), goto a shop first and try out a sample of the lens (new or good used), get a feel of how the parts are supposed to feel and move. Take a few sample pictures.

    HTH & RGDS,
  5. acearchie thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    Funnily enough I hadn't. Whilst on paper it does look like the better camera I am a bit worried about the Nikon eco-system. I would be able to share lenses with my Dad (But I fear that that the majority of his are DX?) I think I would struggle as that would mean that I wouldn't really be able to keep my 600D which would have made a nice B camera on some of the video shoots I do.

    I have also never heard anyone rave about Nikons video and I think in real life terms the 6D wins on low light noise levels.

    Thanks for suggesting it as it has brought another camera to the table but it would be quite a drastic change if I went for it!

    I think I get completely taken in by price. I'm a student and hopefully attempting to make some money back on the cameras through work but as I'm sure you know it's a huge wad of cash to drop on such an expensive item. I will have a look at some refurbished models but the prices seem so much higher. Apparently this 6D still has 11 months warranty left so I'll have to have a look at whether it's possible to transfer this to a new owner.

    Thanks for this. I will definitely be taking a memory card and my laptop + 50mm to really give it a once over. Apparently it's BNIB as an unwanted christmas present so if there are any marks I'll probably reject it as if he's lied about that there are probably some other things he might try to hide!

    Thanks for all the helps and tips so far.
  6. snberk103 macrumors 603

    Oct 22, 2007
    An Island in the Salish Sea
    Don't forget to pop the battery out and check the compartment for any battery leakage. It's more of problem with older cameras, but it only takes a second to check. Battery leakage sometimes explains why otherwise good cameras go for cheap.
  7. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68010


    Jun 5, 2012
    Hi Archie,

    I don't know if you're talking about a private purchase or through an authorized retailer but if private, I would wonder why is the person selling such a new release.

    I read an ad in another forum from someone selling a D600 that he didn't try or even look at in the store, took it home and didn't open the box then went on vacation for a month, came back, opened the box and then decided he didn't like the feel of it in his hands and couldn't return it to the place of purchase.

    I suppose there are people with more money than brains but to me the story had more holes than swiss cheese. Bottom line...he was selling for $50.00 off retail.

    I can say from my recent experience with a full frame body purchase that there is a lot of wiggle room in the price of a new body from a retailer. I made it clear to the salesman that I was starting from scratch and would be looking at other lenses in the future. I have no idea what the retail mark-up is but I did get a substantial price reduction from the advertised price. I'm sure that the salesman was banking on the fact that I would return to him for those lenses and he was right.

    The moral of this long-winded story is that I paid a fair bit less for brand new than that guy that was selling second hand.

    Good luck and let us know how it goes.
  8. acearchie thread starter macrumors 68040


    Jan 15, 2006
    I did think this. Being my largest purchase to date I was a bit worried about warranty.

    I have since spent an extra £100 on top of the price that the used model was available for and managed to get it off eBay from a reputable retailer offering 3 years warranty so hopefully this week I should have a shiny new camera to go along side my 600d.

    Now I need to get on looking at insurance as I would hate for anything to happen!
  9. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68010


    Jun 5, 2012
    Peace of mind is invaluable Archie.

    I'm excited and can't wait to see what you do with your purchase. :)


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