Some Quick Tips for Buying Used Gear on eBay

You can find some good deals on used gear at eBay, but you should be careful before clicking the "buy it now" button.

Buying used gear has some risks, especially when it comes to electronics such as cameras, computers, and components. Buying lenses is also risky, as some defects on modern lenses might cost more to fix. Local camera stores usually offer a limited store warranty for the used gear they sell, and you always have a chance to inspect and test the gear. But, eBay is quite tempting, as it offers a wide range of products available to be shipped worldwide. Plus, the prices are usually lower than the local used gear market, and you have a chance to submit your offer and bid for the products when these options are enabled by the sellers.

However, there are some important points before buying your dream camera on eBay. In this five-minute video, photographer Michael Andrew shares some quick tips and suggestions about buying used gear on eBay based on his personal experiences.

If you don’t want to take the risk when buying secondhand gear, you can always try B&H's online used market as well.

What do you think about these tips? Do you have any suggestions for buying used gear online? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.  

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I've gotten some gear on eBay but usually from a camera dealer with good ratings and reviews and a return policy. I've also gotten some stuff on Craigslist -- in the NY metro there are a lot of opportunities and I try anything out before I buy, checking results on my laptop so I can see the results on a big screen.

That being said, you have to love B&H as a source as well, particularly if you can go to the counter to shop in person. The only drawback to B&H is that I tend to do some impulse buying because I stop at their used counter on my way down from the second floor.

Steven Magner's picture

I have saved a fortune over the years turning to eBay for used camera gear. These steps are great to protect yourself, but there is so much more to making sure you save as much as possible.

I’ve looked at camera gear the same way I look at buying a car. Never buy brand new. If you ever have to unload an item you will never get close to what you paid for it.

stevepellegrino's picture

I agree with your recommendation for B&H. B&H and KEH are my goto vendors for used gear. I've never had issues with either one. I no longer buy used gear from ebay or Amazon.