Camera manufacturers are releasing new and improved models every two to three years. With each new generation, the damage to your pocket book seems to climbs higher. So what is a photographer to do in order to keep up? Keep reading my friends, this article will show you how to save money when upgrading your camera gear and get the most out of your hard earned money.
To upgrade or not?
While it can be tempting to shoot with the latest and greatest camera gear, it certainly isn’t necessary in most cases. If you have a relatively new camera, you might consider skipping a generation or two because the camera that you own is most likely more than capable of getting the job done. Waiting to upgrade will not only save you money in the long run but it also helps reduce E-waste.
Consider Selling Your Used Camera Gear
If you think that it is time to upgrade your camera, you’ll have to decide if you’re going to keep your old camera as a backup or sell it to reduce the overall cost of the new camera. There are a number of places to sell used camera equipment. If you’re lucky enough to have a camera store near you, you might try asking them if they’re interested in buying your gear. If they offer to buy your camera, make sure that they offer you a fair price. Some camera stores are not much better than a pawn shop when it comes to offering money for used gear.
If you do not have a local camera shop or you’re not happy with your local camera shop’s offer, the next best thing is to sell your gear online. There are a variety of places to sell your camera online, but some options are better than others. I’ll list some of my favorites below.
MPB is one of the largest used camera dealers on the internet. Their format is quite simple as well. You simply enter the camera gear that you want to sell and the condition that it is in. MPB will then email you a quote. From that point you can choose to accept it or not. If you accept the quote, you simply box up your camera and send it to them for review. They cover the shipping! Once they receive the package they will update the original quote. This could be higher or lower. When I sold my drone, my final quote ended up being slightly higher than the original. Once you receive your final quote, you can accept it or request to have your gear shipped back if it’s too low. MPB covers the return shipping as well.
Sell your camera to B&H Photo or Adorama
B&H Photo and Adorama are two huge camera retailers based in NY. Both stores have a brick and mortar in addition to a massive online presence. They have been in the game for a long time and will most likely be interested in buying your camera and lenses from you.
Buy refurbished cameras at a fraction of the price of a new one.
A great way to save money when upgrading your camera is to purchase a factory refurbished model. Refurbished cameras are typically cameras that shipped from the retailer with a defect. The defect is then repaired and sold as refurbished. Refurbished cameras typically come with the original manufacturer’s warranty which makes buying a refurbished camera a fairly safe practice. Refurbished cameras can often be bought directly from the camera manufacturer but can sometimes be found at retail stores as well.
Buy A Used Camera
B&H Photo and Adorama are some of the best camera stores in the US. They sell just about any sort of equipment that you could possibly want. In addition to new gear, they also have a decent selection of used camera equipment as well. Buying a used camera or lens will most definitely save you some bucks when you upgrade your gear. KEH Camera and MPB are also good options for used gear.
USED CAMERA WARRANTIES
While all used camera retailers are supposed to test and confirm 100% working order, there’s always a chance that they might have missed something. A good warranty will allow you to use and fully test your camera without any risks. Below are a list of used camera retailers. The stores with he best warranty policies are at the top, the stores with the worst are at the bottom.
Adorama has one of the best warranty programs for used gear. Adorama’s warranty is 180 days on gear in good condition. (D, E+, E, E-, V, and G conditions ) F condition items have a 30 day return policy but no warranty.
KEH Camera also has a 180 day warranty on used gear.
B&H used camera gear comes with a 90 day guarantee.
MPB provides a 60 day warranty on used gear.
Buy an older camera model
Many photographers do not need the latest and greatest camera. Purchasing a slightly older camera model will most likely save you a ton of money. Consider purchasing a camera that it two to three years old. These models will often be discounted because retailers and manufacturers will be trying to clear stock to make room for newer models.
Get a great deal on new camera from GreenToe.com
One of my favorite money saving resources is GreenToe.com. GreenToe allows photographers to make offers on brand new cameras, lenses and more. Once an offer is placed, retailers can choose to accept or counter offer your price. The closer your offer is to the retail price the more likely it will be accepted. Greentoe is a great way to save hundreds of dollars on big purchases. I’ve saved as much as $800 on a new camera!
Greentoe might not save you hundreds on every purchase but it is a good resource to know about. It is especially useful for buyers who are not in a rush to get a new camera. Maybe you have a price in mind that you'd like to pay. Go ahead and place an offer. If it gets accepted, great! If not, wait a few weeks and try again. Who knows what will happen! The best part of using GreenToe is taxes and shipping are included in your offer price. GreenToe guarantees that all gear is certified for sale in the USA with no gray market retailers.
While I have used GreenToe a number of times to save money on camera gear, it does have a few downsides. For one, you do not know which retailer will accept your offer (You can tell GreenToe to exclude any retailer that you do not want to use though). Secondly, GreenToe and its retailers are not always the greatest at notifying you of what is happening with your offer. For example, when I purchased my Canon R5, I was not notified that my offer was accepted. I only found out that my offer went though after checking my bank statement. If you are making an offer, it is a good idea to monitor the GreenToe website or app to see if a store accepts it. Lastly, you might not receive an email receipt as many retailers simply include a paper receipt with the shipment. Personally, I think these are small drawback in order to save a big chunk of money when buying new camera equipment.
Don’t forget about holiday discounts
Some of the best deals on cameras in the US can be found in November during Black Friday and cyber Monday sales. DO NOT GO TO A BRICK AND MORTAR BLACK FRIDAY SALE!!! No matter how good the sales is, It’s simply not worth it. There are often many great online deals at this time though and those are certainly worth taking advantage of.
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