When Should You Buy Used Camera Gear?

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Do you buy used camera gear? When?

When I hear this question, the first thing that pops in my head is:  “when you need to get inspired” but that isn’t the only reason. It’s usually when I’m scouting around to buy ‘new-to-me’ used camera lenses. While I’m a huge fan of renting camera gear, sometimes it does make more sense to just purchase it used! I’ve had situations where I purchase a used lens, played with it for about 6 months, and then traded it in for something else! In that case, 6 months would have been way too long to rent a camera lens.

Read: 3 Reasons to Rent Camera Gear

fuji x-t3 and x-t1 cameras - rachel carter images blog
The Fuji cameras and lenses I’m holding were purchased used – image captured by Tiffany Rudy

I think you’ll be surprised to learn that you can buy a used camera lens that looks & acts brand new.

Buying Used Lenses

For camera lenses, my absolute preference is to purchase used. Why? If someone is selling it, they probably didn’t use it that much. (That’s only my philosophy, not necessarily a fact). Seriously though, you can purchase a camera lens, like new, at a great discount. I also trust a retailer like KEH Camera to have inspected the camera gear thoroughly before reselling.

Camera Lenses I’ve bought used:

  • Canon 24-70mm 2.8 II (I actually bought the first version of this lens used as well).
  • Canon 70-200mm 2.8 III
  • Canon 50mm 1.8
  • Fuji 10-24mm f/4
  • Fuji 16-80mm f/4
  • Fuji 35mm f/1.4

This isn’t even a full list, but you can see where buying used camera lenses is my preferred method!

Buying A Used Camera Body

While I usually purchase brand new camera bodies, recently I made the decision to trade in some lenses I wasn’t using for a Fuji mirrorless setup. I’m not sure I could leave Canon after all these years, but I wanted to expand my horizons a bit with a Fujifilm mirrorless camera.

Sometimes you need a creative charge, and to step outside your comfort zone. For me, a new camera system is definitely making me consider items that never register in my brain with my Canon equipment because it has become second nature.

The other reason I wanted to learn the mirrorless camera is for traveling. I didn’t know this the day I decided to borrow a Fuji X-T1 camera and 35mm lens, but the next morning I grabbed it at the last minute to go on a walk by the river, (exercise was my main goal) and I had so much fun being able to enjoy the trail and scenery at the same time, with such a small camera. This is when I was sold on purchasing a used set and tackling this learning curve.

Since I was already trading in lenses at KEH Camera, I decided to use some of that towards a Fuji X-T3 camera body.

The main reason I went with Fuji is that it’s known for being weather resistant. Another huge reason was affordability… the camera body is a crop sensor, and for someone who was only looking to learn and play, the price point was more cost effective.

sunrise surf city north carolina - rachel carter images - fuji x-t1
This sunrise in Surf City, NC was captured using the Fuji X-T1 with 18-55mm f/2.8 lens

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