We live immersed in a whirlwind of consumerism where the market bombards us with hundreds of different products from different brands, which are continually improved . Many of us buy things unnecessarily which we do not take full advantage of.
On the other hand, with the communications revolution there are not a few pages and applications dedicated to second-hand sales to which we have immediate access.
The result is a large second-hand market with practically new products and also in a sector with very good resale such as photography, with products that are usually well cared for since it is not something that any simple hobbyist buys.
Every second-hand purchase carries a risk and you should try to reduce that risk to the minimum possible. Most importantly and whenever you can, try shopping in person so you can inspect the camera on-site.
Ask for the number of shots . This will give you an idea of the useful life of the camera and will help you to set the price. On the internet you have extensive information on the theoretical limit of each model as well as free software that measures such a number of shots.
If they are available, check the seller’s opinions from other buyers .
And finally, the guarantee . It is not usually frequent, but a product under warranty with its corresponding purchase ticket will always give us more security.
As a general rule, the more secure a purchase the more money we will have to release.
Watching the Look: Key to Second Hand
Every used camera is normal that has aesthetic wear that does not influence its operation, but that is a clear sign of the care that the equipment has received. Excessive dust, large scratches or bumps, traces of grease and even rust are signs that the equipment has not been stored and cared for properly.
Open the card and battery covers to check they are not broken and rust free inside. Also check that the trigger ports, USB, etc. are not broken. Check to see if the rear LCD screen and top LCD panel are heavily scratched.
Likewise and although it is not important, that the seller keep the instruction manual, the software CDs or the original box, they are indicative that we are dealing with someone who pampers their things.
Checking the Operation
Now comes the important part. Determining if the camera is functional and in good condition to fulfill its purpose: to take photos. And to determine it, you should check the following points:
Inside a Second Hand Chamber
The first thing to consider would be to check the heart of the camera . Open the mount cover and check the condition of the mirror. Examine the sensor by taking a long exposure photo or activating the cleaning option to see it carefully, even shining it with a flashlight; for example, that of your mobile.
Then hook up a target and check your vision through the viewfinder . The one that is slightly scratched on the outside or has dust spots inside does not influence the photos as long as it is not an excessively annoying experience. Aim at a point of light and move the camera from side to side to see backlit if the focusing screen is smudged and scratched. Remember to adjust the viewfinder if you see everything blurred.
In the third step, take photos to determine the dirt on the sensor . Close the aperture to the maximum, manually focus to infinity and take several photos of the sky or a white wall. Examine the existence of spots in the photos and if they are many or very exaggerated. Although it does not affect the operation of the camera and the cleaning of the sensor is something that you must do sooner or later, it has that extra cost that you will get from purchasing a camera with a dirty sensor.
Activate autofocus. Focus at different distances to see how the camera responds. Later test with the central focus point, and several external ones, confirming that the camera recognizes the focus points.
Sample Photos: Always Provide Information
Since you are looking through the viewfinder, take several sample photos of objects near and far, in different colored lights and with different values of shutter speed and ISO .
Take a photo at full shutter speed and pay attention to the shutter sound . It also shoots at maximum ISO and checks in the photos that the camera does not do strange things with the noise at high ISOs and manages the white balance well.
Buttons, It is Good to Check Them in Second Hand Purchases
It is time to press buttons indiscriminately. Enter the gallery, delete a photo, move the dials, press the PDC preview button, etc. Take a look at the LCD panel and modify the shooting modes, white balance, ISO … Press all the buttons and check that there are none dead.
If the camera or lens has a stabilizer, look through the viewfinder and leave the shutter button pressed halfway. Verify that the camera reduces wobble. This option is easier to see in the next step, the live view.
Video and Live view
If the camera has a live or video view option, use them as well. Record a small video focusing on various areas. Play it and also check that the sound is heard in case the camera has a microphone and speaker for playing videos.
Shoot a flash photo to see if it works. If you can have an external flash to verify that the shoe works, perfect. Otherwise, the shoe is not common for problems.
Ports and other applications
Like the previous one, it is a more difficult aspect to check because you do not have what you need on hand. Try unless the camera recognizes the trigger, the most essential. USB port, HDMI, headphone output, etc. If you can check them too. Also note if the camera has WiFi or GPS connection or some other special function.
The cameras are originally sold with a USB cable and charger. The normal thing is that they are also included in the purchase. Plug in the charger with a battery and watch the light come on.
If during the purchase, you have checked everything and you are not satisfied, DO NOT BUY. You are gambling a lot of money and in the second hand market there is no going back .
If you are not clear, just say that you have to think about it. Don’t be in a hurry to go long. Business are business. Think that you are not going to receive preferential treatment either. It is better to be patient and wait to buy something with which you are really satisfied.