Brace Yourselves: The Used Camera and Lens Market Might Be Ready to Explode

Brace Yourselves: The Used Camera and Lens Market Might Be Ready to Explode

Maybe now, ironically, is the best time of all to be a DSLR user.

With Nikon preparing to disclose all the details of their mirrorless camera, Canon nearing their own announcement, and all the current options that have already done a number on the DSLR industry, we’re on the verge of a huge shakeup in the photography world. While it’s hard to predict how this whole thing is going to go down in history, one facet to these exciting times is the number of items that could hit secondhand marketplaces.

Two companies that are pillars to the industry are both introducing all new camera systems at just about the same time. These aren’t casual introductions either; Canon and Nikon simply cannot bungle these releases whatsoever for the sake of the their digital imaging divisions' future. The full weight of these two companies are and will be firing on all cylinders in order to give them the best position in what most agree is the future of photography. Whether we want it or not, I think almost everyone reading this is going to get a whiff of G.A.S. with not only Canon and Nikon’s marketing going all out, but don’t forget Sony hasn’t shown signs of slowing down either. If you aren’t questioning your current camera system within the next few months, are you even human?

This leads me to the point of this article. The big winners here are going to be beginner photographers and those who rely on buying used equipment to make their photography hobby a little more affordable. The used market for camera gear is fairly healthy these days, but I’m imagining some considerable price drops and even more particularly sought after lenses to be readily found once the transition to the new generation is underway. For every one “Why I Switched Camera Systems” YouTube video uploaded, ten thousand 50mm lenses will hit eBay at a deep discount.

While certainly not every photographer is going to be selling off their lot of Canon EF and Nikon F-mount lenses at first — they may need to get by on mount converters for a little bit while the native mirrorless lens offerings build up — I still think a big wave of used, low-cost DSLR gear is inevitably coming soon.

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Douglas Turney's picture

Ryan I have to disagree with your comment that the beginner and hobby people are the only ones who will be snapping up the hardware people are selling when they go mirrorless. I shoot professionally and I'm looking forward to snagging some of this equipment. The way to make money in photography isn't having the latest equipment it is keeping your cost low so you can maximize your profit and maximize potential jobs opportunities. Clients don't care about the equipment they care about quality and COST. The current equipment does not stop functioning as soon as new equipment comes to market. I really cannot think of one thing that my equipment does not do today that is holding me back from making photos that earn me income. Sure there will be some niceties with the new camera system and I'm sure that I will upgrade eventually to something else. But upgrading every time something else comes out is foolish in my mind. So for us who are happy with our current set-ups, let me say this to the people who are not - PLEASE PEOPLE UPGRADE AND PUT YOUR CURRENT EQUIPMENT UP FOR SELL. I'm loading my savings account to take advantage of this great opportunity.

Oh yeah if anyone who is switching to mirrorless and wants to sell the following gear at a nice discount to fund your mirrorless needs, I'm always looking for 300mm F/2.8, D500's, D850's, a 500mm would be nice (could us if for surf photography), D5's, D4's. Don't be shy. Oh yeah any of those waterproof housings that are specifically designed for DSLR would be great too!

Bah! , my old Canon t3 is dying, I try to find any cheap camera use bcuz I don't have that extra money to buy other thing, and when you see those use cameras they are selling even more expensive than a new one, wth! No I don't see any boom from old use cameras sellers are nuts is they think anyone could pay more for an use stuff or even almost the same price as new I don't considere pay more than half and half is already too much for something use.

Tom Clemens's picture

First off, Ryan looks to be around 30, which isn't bad but... he is from a younger generation. Older people {me} tend to hold on to the cameras and lenses they own. Most, not all, are not impressed with bells and whistles. We prefer the systems we know and are comfortable with. Our gear is bought and paid for, we see value in it. Although looking on my local craigslist, some see more value than others. I hope he is right, I wouldn't mind picking up a 600 mm f/2.8 L for a hundred dollars.

Tom, I think the generalisation of younger vs older people is not the right one. I think it is more appropriate to generalise between people who are good at business and people who burn through cash and wonder why they have no profit to pay their rent or mortgage.

I am 27 and run 3 different businesses, including a photography business. I will not go out and switch my system over for a gimmick, I would rather plough it in to marketing, training or hiring to expand the business.

I remember when Nikon was under pressure to get a pro level DSLR out because Canon beat them to it. The result was the Nikon D1 and initially, it was a $5000 piece of S... Full of problems. I got one because my employer at the time was paying for it. It died about a month after it went out of warranty. Now that I'm in business for myself, I will wait awhile and let others "beta test" before I get excited about this new mirrorless camera. Although mirrorless has never excited me in the least to start with. Call me old school but I don't like EVF's and I like having my eye to a viewfinder as opposed to looking at the back of the camera.

Couldn't agree more!

I'm one of the co-founders of ShareGrid "The Camera Sharing Community."

We started back in 2014 with a simple idea, a passion project to allow creatives like ourselves to rent gear to one another, getting to experiment with the latest gear on shoots without having to own it. Fast forward four years and it's turned into a full-on vibrant community of 53,000+ verified photographers/filmmakers sharing their gear in the US, with instant insurance to back them up.

We recently had a new idea - why not use the credibility ShareGrid members have built up and allow them to buy & sell gear to each other?

"Free" online marketplaces like Facebook, Craigslist and OfferUp are ripe with fraud and lack a focussed audience. On paid marketplaces such as Amazon and eBay + PayPal, there have been many horror stories of fraud, and non-existent customer support with money and gear disappearing.

This is why we built the ShareGrid Buy & Sell marketplace dedicated to photographers and creatives. Anyone can list, buy and sell gear in their local community (US only for now) to start - and soon you'll be able to ship across the country and internationally as well.

We’ve spent years perfecting advanced fraud checks and manually verifying the ID of each member on ShareGrid - you can see exactly who you are doing business with, their professional background, reviews etc.
We handle background checks, marketing of your gear, payment processing, customer service, and in the rare case of disputes, mitigation services. It’s free to list and if you sell your gear on ShareGrid we charge a low rate of 7% (capped at $500) + payment processing - cheaper than eBay, Amazon or trading it in to a broker. It's the safest and easiest way to sell your gear or buy used gear.

You can check it out at: (change location as needed).

We are in the early phases of this new marketplace - and all ears. If you have any suggestions on how to make it work better for you let us know!



Simon Patterson's picture

It's like the people who support more public transport, so they can personally drive on less congested roads.

Unfortunately, the roads don't become noticeably less congested, no matter how much extra public transport is introduced.

Rod Bruno's picture

Agreed. Just purchased a D810 with a shutter count of 30k for $1400. My D750 should be in the market soon. I need more great FX lenses, keep them coming :)

jean pierre (pete) guaron's picture

"These automobile things are just a passing fad". "Remember Nikon 1?" "Let's just wait & see!"

Actually I'm at an age where I really don't care. I have enough cameras and lenses to see me out. If I CAN pick up a few goodies along the way, I'll certainly do it. That's how I came by my two tilt shit lenses - one WAS brand new/totally unused and the one had bee used for [shock, horror!] about a dozen photos. The pro who bought them originally shut up shop and handed them over to one of my favourite camera shops, and I was the lucky one "first through the door", so they're now sitting in this room. And telling you what I paid for them would make you weep!

Campbell Sinclair's picture

Nikon 1 was a consumer compact point and shoot. Not camera designed for enthusiasts and professionals

dale clark's picture

I don't really see the huge shake up coming. First of all, nobody has seen tests or reviews of the new mirrorless cameras. Many of the traditional DSLR shooters are not big fans of mirrorless (at least by seeing all the SONY reactions on various forums).

Are we expecting headlines for the first generation of FF mirrorless to read "Nikon got it right, millions flock to mirrorless"? I don't think so.

I think if someone is looking to upgrade their cameras to begin with, the new mirrorless options will play a major role in their choices. If one just purchased a D850...I highly doubt they will sell off for a new FF camera system in it's first generation.

Just like I did when I switched to Sony from Canon 3 years ago, many pros will keep their current gear for back up systems and maybe sell off much older generation models.

Canon does not even seem in the ballpark with its FF mirrorless. At least with Nikon we have some type of formal announcement. If Nikon's FF camera is basically a D850 in a mirrorless set up (new body, etc), Nikon will have a real winner. If Canon's version, what I expect will happen, is a 6D in a mirrorless set up.....FAILURE from the get go

Dale, I totally agree that we are not going to see headlines that people flock to mirrorless.

I have to question though, why would a Canon 6D in mirrorless form be a failure? Whilst everybody bashed the Mark 2, I bought 2 of them, Casey Neistat uses it as his main vlogging camera, and Canon specifically highlighted it as a key reason behind their 30% operating profit increase last year. For all the doom-mongers on the internet, it is a solid camera that sells in huge volumes.

Jim Miller's picture

Canon and Nikon are the new Kodak. Thanks for the memories... see ya!

user-156929's picture

It's so difficult to like your new Sony when others are still enjoying their Canons and Nikons, right? ;-)

I would propose to wait for their entry in the FF mirrorless segment before pronouncing them dead... As much as I find the a7rIII/a9 impressive and love Sony for their innovative spirit, odds are that Nikon will release something truly outstanding. Canon... yes... I would agree that they may be in a very difficult situation soon.

Keep it going. I love when people sell unused gear just because it's "outdated". My favourite camera of all times is 1Ds mkIII, it can survive everything and make great pictures long after it's 10th birthday. With lenses it's the same, modern ones are extremely expencive and the end result may not be worth extra money. Equipment matters, but it's the skill that makes your photos look good.

Tom Clemens's picture

I love my 1Ds Marklll and my 1D Marklll and my 1Ds l. I shot with each one of them. I have no plans to replace them

Leon Kolenda's picture

I'm a Semi/Pro Enthusiast, and I sell and buy most of my gear from Fred Miranda's, Buy & Sell thread. Fred runs a pretty tight ship on who sells what. I have purchased the following from them over the last 6 Months,
Nikon D850, $3,000 Less than 5K on the shutter. Nikon 200-500 f5.6, $1,000 Like New, Tamron 70-200 f2.8 G2, $900.

Also that Nikon D850 came with 2-128 XQD Cards and the reader, and a RRS L Bracket, All of this equipment is US Models, and most, not all sellers can provide receipts. Not one problem on any of this equipment. My savings is pretty substantial. Plus I can sell most of these lens's for what I paid for them in a year or two, should I decide to change systems for what ever reasons. Even if you have to discount them and camera bodies to move them, I have found it's way cheaper and easier that renting the gear. Yeah, I have a Little GAS, not bad though. LOL!

user-167100's picture

I rarely buy anything until it has been on the market for at least a year. I did break precedent and pick up a new Nikon D850, and am quite glad I did.

Most of my lenses are 'D' type, hand picked and quite sharp. Bargains are to be had if you are willing to forgo the latest and greatest.

Buy when it is available. Trying to gauge 'the market' is precarious at best.

Joel Hazel's picture

I can’t wait! Saving my penny’s already. I mean, like DSLRs are so like, last week. *eyeroll* Like sheep to the slaughter.

M D's picture

I mostly shoot my Fujis, but I have held on to my Canon 5D3 and don't see any reason to get rid of it. It's worth more to me even if I only use it a few times a year than to sell it for the price of half a decent lens.

It still takes the same great pictures it did when it came out.

A man with some sense.

I'm not so sure about all this. When Nikon and Canon shipped all their pro digital cameras to Salt Lake City for the 2002 Winter Olympics that was a game changer because we changed mediums of capturing images. Kodak bit the dust because they were arrogant and refused to believe that Fuji film would overtake them and they didn't think digital would amount to anything. With mirrorless, we're not changing mediums, it's still a digital chip capturing the image. Granted, Sony and Fuji has come out with some fabulous technology. I would love to see chips with incredible dynamic range and 500,000 noiseless ISO. Maybe Nvidia will make that chip. I would love to have some burn forever led lights to compliment the high ISO chip. Although I don't think wedding receptions would appreciate constant lights. ;)

Neither Sony or Fuji have a full system. They don't have the lens line up of Nikon or Canon, and they certainly don't have the flash system. It's taken 16 years for Canon and Nikon to get where they are now with their digital offerings and full systems.

Some photographers use sand bags to weigh down their tripods with dslr's. I'm not sure, but they may need more sand bags to weigh down a tripod and mirrorless camera. :)

Ruxat Photography's picture

This pretty much

Well... I believe that the advantages of mirrorless at this point are vastly overstated. The best camera in existence is still the D850, although the Sony a7rIII is getting very close. Even if the Nikon mirrorless does improve on the D850, and my bet is that it will, the level of quality/AF we are at with Nikon DSLR today is so high that a better mirrorless will have little practical benefit for a large majority of photographers. Heck... how can you do much better than very sharp images shot with amazing lenses?

Campbell Sinclair's picture

Cant wait for the price drops,. As a semi pro , I want a D4s , excellent camera but not available for love nor money in Western Australia used. Hope some come on the market as people upgrade to the mirrorless. Plenty of earlier model D4 as the D4s is a bit superior. Also want some new nikon glass as well. Hopefully a brand new mount will cause people to dump Nikon glass.