Guide to buying and selling used gear online: Getting great deals while staying safe


posted Saturday, March 25, 2017 at 6:00 AM EDT


Photography is an expensive hobby, but you can save a lot of money by purchasing used gear. However, for those unfamiliar with the various photo gear marketplaces online, it can be a daunting experience. You want to save money, of course, but you don’t want to purchase faulty gear or not have any sort of buyer protection. There are certainly more risks associated with buying used gear than there is compared to purchasing brand-new equipment from authorized resellers. What about selling gear online? You want to sell your gear for the maximum amount, which often means selling it to individuals rather than selling gear to a retailer. There is some risk for the seller as well, so what can you do to get the best selling price for your gear while remaining protected? DIY Photography has published an informative guide for buying and selling used gear online.

What are the best places to buy and sell camera gear online?’s forums are a popular place for photographers to look for and sell used photo gear. You can purchase items using a free account, but if you want to sell gear, you have to have a membership ($9 per month), which keeps the amount of scammers down. Matty Vogel at DIY Photography remarks, “I view [] as very safe to buy and sell on.”

On the somewhat less safe, but still perfectly good if you take precautions such as being generally careful and getting verification of items and payment methods, are photography-on-the-net’s marketplace and Speaking of safe transactions online, you should always use PayPal or another insured payment method. Be sure to not utilize PayPal’s gift method, however, as that removes buyer protection. Do not use wire transfers, money orders or transfer methods such as Venmo and Square Cash. These are all perfectly fine transfer methods when you’re dealing with people you know and trust, but they don’t offer buyer protection.

Screenshot from Fred Miranda's forums

When trying to get the best price for a piece of used gear, Vogel recommends researching prices and making a chart. After collecting data, you can reasonably determine the most you’re willing to pay and then be patient for the right deal to arise. If you’re purchasing a common item, such as a popular recent camera, you shouldn’t have to wait long to find the right deal. Similarly, you should heavily research the gear you’re interested in. Learn about common problems with the gear so you can ask the right questions; learn if early models of a camera or lens suffered any issues so you can avoid certain items.

To read more about the different places you can buy and sell gear and what else you should do to protect yourself while getting the most bang for your buck, be sure to read DIY Photography’s guide.

(Via DIY Photography)