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Old May 24, 2010, 2:55 PM   #1
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Default can you trust a used camera?

I found a used pan. Fz38, 20 per cent less than a new one, in a shop. Can one trust a used camera if you don't know the former owner? What are the points to examine, before buing it, in order to find out if the camera is damadged or not?
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Old May 24, 2010, 3:12 PM   #2
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A used camera should be at least 30% less than the current retail price, at least that is my rule of thumb here in the USA. If you are purchasing from a dealer, what is the reputation of the dealer. Here is the USA an extended warranty is available on used cameras for 3 to 5% of the purchase price per year.

I would make the dealer an offer of 40% less than the current retail price, and then let him make a counter offer, hoping to agree to a final price that is 30% less than the current retail price.

Here in the USA, any reputable dealer will offer a 10 day to 30 day guarantee. Find out if that is available. Physically examine the camera closely, checking the camera's features and performance. Take a flash memory card with you and take photos with your intended camera. Then take that chip home with you and examine it on your computer, before purchasing the camera.

The rule of thumb here is simply this: Buyer Beware!

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Old May 24, 2010, 4:45 PM   #3
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I would base my decision largely on the reputation of the retailer (as well as their target clientele) and the physical condition of the camera. For instance, I wouldn't hesitate to buy a used camera from B&H Photo or another reputable specialty shop if it looked to be in good shape.

On the other hand, I probably wouldn't buy a used item from Best Buy no matter how good it looked. The type of consumer who often shops there typically knows nothing about the product (and is paying way too much for it) and likely did not treat it with the same care an enthusiast would. The retailer in turn knows nothing about the product and wouldn't really know what to look for in terms of damage, aside from physical damage to the outer casing, and has no method to test its functionality other than hitting the 'on' switch.
Disclaimer: I take photos of life rather than live to take photos and my opinions of cameras are reflected accordingly.
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Old May 24, 2010, 4:49 PM   #4
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i have bought an used camera before and i must admit i was very skeptical, i'd make sure it is a reputable seller first and foremost... i'd also make sure there is a good return policy just incase
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Old May 24, 2010, 5:26 PM   #5
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I do not trust used camera body. I have a camera it is just about to turn 1 year old, and it has 30000 shots on it.
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Canon Eos 60D, T1i/500D, Eos1, Eos 630, Olympus EPL-1, and a part time Pentax K-X shooter.
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Old May 25, 2010, 5:55 PM   #6
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It's a hit and miss. Some people return a brand new camera because the camera is not quite as expected (either in terms of size, ergonomics, weight, controls, menu, IQ, or even a combination of some of these elements). Others may return because they may find the same camera but cheaper somewhere else. Others because they do something they are not supposed to and end up messing the unit up (but they won't say anything, of course). Others return it because the camera does not focus properly or images are not as sharp or any other issues related to IQ. In other words, some of the reasons are harmless and you'll save some $$$ while some others can be more problematic and you may be buying someone else's lemon.

Personally, unless I know who the seller is, I'd not trust used photographic equipment (camera and lens). But, if the price is attractive, I might take the chance. Being able to handle the equipment (as opposed to buying from eBay) makes a huge difference as well.

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Old May 25, 2010, 9:33 PM   #7
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As mentioned, it depends upon the seller and the item. As for Best Buy -- should I mention this? A few years ago I bought a MiniDisc recorder, then decided it didn't deliver on bang-for-the-buck, so I returned it for a full refund. A couple days later, at the same Best Buy, I saw the same exact device that I'd returned, with a 30% markoff; and I decided it WAS cost-effective there. So my wife bought it for me. We hadn't gone into either transaction with the intent of defrauding or misleading anyone, so I have no ethical qualms. Whether anyone employs this as a strategy to bring their cost down... well, that's their conscience, not mine.
Too many film+digi cams+lenses, oh my -- Pentax K20D, ZX-M, M42's, P&S's, more
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