The Lure of Used Cameras


My dream camera costs $3,000.

I don’t have $3,000.

Perhaps that’s why I don’t own my dream camera.

Santa still hasn’t delivered my Dyson, so I’m thinking he probably isn’t going to be filling my stocking with a Nikon D800 any time soon.

As much as reality bites, I know I am not alone. While there are dozens of high-quality, luxury DSLR cameras on the market, most people don’t have the funds to purchase them new. For shutterbugs looking to get their hands on cutting-edge picture-taking tools without breaking the bank, there is the used camera option.

High-tech cameras can put a huge dent in one’s wallet, which is why the refurbished camera market is seeing such a boom in sales these days. It’s not just amateurs looking to snag a good deal on expensive cameras; professional photographers are also driving the trend that places regenerated cameras back into service.

For the most part, refurbished cameras have been used, and then returned to the store or manufacturer for various reasons. However, instead of trashing the pricey models, the company tests them, fixes any problems, re-certifies them, and places them back on sale as refurbished cameras.

When shopping for a used or refurbished camera, be sure to stick with reputable companies, such as Canon and Nikon. Both maintain high standards, and their service departments follow a set guideline of procedures and standards related to refurbished cameras. According to Canon’s website, the majority of its refurbished DSLRs are retail returns or in-store demo units, which had minor cosmetic damage, not major interior malfunctions.

Prior to buying a refurbished camera, be sure to get a warranty from the manufacturer, not from a second party. Also, go over the warranty with a fine-toothed comb. Read all the details and make sure they pertain to your specific model. Finally, before forking over money for a used digital camera, inquire about its maintenance history. If it has been refurbished, check to see if the work was done at a licensed service center and not in someone’s garage.

Related Articles:

Basic Photo Tips for Digital Camera Owners

Cameras: Knowing When To Upgrade

Telling A Story With Your Shots

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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.