There comes a point in every filmmaker’s life where they’re ready for an upgrade. Actually, that point comes frequently and is usually perpetrated by camera #FOMO every year when NAB comes around. Your C100 mark II is great, but that C300 mark II is calling your name; your DJI Ronin M is just fine, but the new DJI Ronin-S can be operated with one hand instead of two. Suddenly, you’ve found yourself in a camera gear clickhole trying to figure out exactly how to go out with the old and bring in with the like-new. To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of the best places to buy and sell used camera gear online, and how they differ…including popular options Borrowlenses, Lensrentals, B&H, Ebay, Adorama, KEH, and more.
Before you pack up your gear and mail it to the highest bidder, you should consider listing your gear for rent on KitSplit! You could end up making more money renting it then you would selling it. And you get to keep your gear. If you need a hand listing your gear, email us and we can help get you set up!
Adorama and B&H
Adorama and B&H are popular options which both offer a huge selections of used gear. Currently, Adorama has RED Epic-X cameras for under $10,000 and Zeiss Cp.2 lenses for under $3,000. Similarly B&H offers great deals on used gear including up to 30% off cinema lenses and $500 off a Sony PXW-FS7.On B & H, gear is rated for condition, an excellent way to decide how low you can go and still have the quality you want—and a helpful feature of quality control that’s lacking from options like Craigslist or Facebook. But the very best part of ordering used from B&H and Adorama? You can return it within 30 days if it’s not what you were expecting.
If you’re looking to sell your gear quickly, Adorama and B&H offer instant quotes and free shipping to make selling a breeze. Be aware you’ll pay for hassle-free selling and won’t get as much cash if you were to sell it on your own. For example, if you have a used Canon 5D Mark IV, B&H will quote you from around 1450-1575 (condition depending), however others have been able to sell their 5D mark IV cameras in eBay for over $2,000.
Pro tip: Be a student. Adorama and B&H both offer amazing student deals like a Canon C300 mark II kit for 48% off.
If you’re a celluloid enthusiast, photographer, or DSLR shooter, then KEH camera is for you. They have a huge assortment of film cameras including 35mm and medium format cameras. They even carry film cameras—and they’re arguably the best spot overall for older cameras! I jumped on the #fujiframez craze last year and bought my Fujifilm x100F camera used through KEH. The process was a breeze and they offer great financing options.
Like Adorama and B&H, selling with KEH won’t get you as much cash if you sold it on your own, but they’ll save you on hassle with free shipping and a two week turnaround.
Like KEH, Borrowlenses has a wide array of DSLRs and prosumer gear, with a few cinema cameras here and there like this Canon C300 for $2,000. Gear is inspected and graded and they offer a 4 week rental period so you can try before you buy.
Lens Authority (owned by Lens Rentals)
Founded by the same folks who behind LensRentals.com, Lens Authority offers used gear that has been inspected, tested and graded. Most of their inventory is gear once rented out that is now retired. They also offer a few Zeiss and Leica items that are new in box. There’s even a 90-day warranty that covers damages that may arise from day-to-day use.
Midwest Photo Exchange
A family owned company situated in Columbus, Ohio, Midwest Photo Exchange caters almost exclusively to photographers. They have a huge selection of used Nikon cameras and gear. Keep an eye on their site for a few diamonds in the rough. For selling gear they offer a live quote option, but encourage sellers to live chat with them as well.
They have a rating system for their products, but it’s not as robust as KEH, B&H, or Adorama. They offer a return policy of 15 days from the receipt of the goods, used or new.
Camera facebook groups can be a total bro fest, but if you’ve got the in with a few local 600 nerds or camera rental techs, then it’s worth it to ask them for an invite. If you’re looking to buy gear, you might just stumble upon an amazing deal. I bought my Arri AC Bag used for $200 less than retail price from a Facebook group and it was in near perfect condition. Like buying from eBay or Craigslist, this option lacks quality control, but there are a lot of great deals to be found.
When selling gear through Facebook groups, you’re likely to get the fairest amount of green for your gear and meet a friend along the way, although it may be more work than selling with somewhere like B&H or Adorama. Check for local groups in your area.
Mailing lists & checking in with your favorite local camera rental house
Every now and then owner/operators, production companies, and rental houses will clean house. When this happens, they’ll send lists of gear to fellow comrades and other rental houses. Be sure to check in with your favorite camera rental technician from time to time. On the flip side, consider selling gear through your company newsletter. Don’t have a newsletter? Send your list of gear you’re selling to camera houses you have a good rapport with.
Yard sales and Estate sales
Okay, so you’re not going to stumble upon a Zhiyun-Tech Crane v2 here, but if you’re a camera nut that drools at the site of super 8mm cameras, then yard sales are for you. I’ve found working 35mm cameras, super 8mm cameras, vintage photo lenses, and photo tripods at yard sales over the years and have never paid more that $25 for anything. The early bird gets the worm here–yard sales typically start at 9am on Saturday mornings and some will have a line at 8:50.
Anyone who has used eBay knows it can be a mixed bag. It lacks the quality control of the platforms above, and occasionally you will encounter fraud. So buyers beware: if the deal seems too good, it probably is. Check the seller ratings, and be sure to ask for pictures. Warranties and returns are a major plus, especially if you’re considering forking over a lot of money.
Scammers aside, there is a lot of inventory on eBay and some great items to be found. The eBay community can be downright decent! Sellers will often throw in an extra battery or two and are open to negotiation. Whether you’re looking to buy or sell with eBay, be sure to read up on purchase and seller protection with Paypal. Overall, we prefer platforms or communities that specialize in cameras or filmmakers vs. platforms like Craigslist and Ebay for buying used gear, but there’s definitely some gems to be found here.
Just be smart about it, okay?
The internet offers many ways to buy and sell gear. You’ll want to choose a vendor based on the gear you own or want to own, how quickly you’d like to buy or sell it, and how willing you are to negotiate. Play your cards right and you can walk away with some pretty decent gear at not so bad prices.
Your own website!
Kind of obvious- but you can list your gear for rent on your own website or blog. If you started the blog the right way (i.e. following these steps to starting a blog from our friend Ryan Robinson), you can get pretty good SEO rankings and get some decent traffic from people looking to buy gear.
The same goes for renting your gear- we highly recommend that you link your KitSplit profile page onto your website. That will help your website rank in search listings, and you’ll be able to send more people to your KitSplit profile and get more rentals. More on that here.
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