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Over the past couple of years I've accrued a small collection of original packaging for my gear (e.g. lenses, cameras, tripods, etc.) and while some of it is fairly easy to store, a lot of it takes up a lot of space that is needed for other household goods.

Other than the obvious ease in shipping, is there any reason to keep the original packaging for my gear?

Furthermore, is certain packaging (e.g. for lenses) worth keeping compared to the packaging for other types of equipment (e.g. tripods)?

  • 2
    Boxes can often be carefully flattened by undoing selected seams, and then rebuilt using eg EVA adhesive. This is usually only useful if space is at a premium. I have done this when buying equipment while travelling and not having had room for it in assembled form. – Russell McMahon Aug 19 '12 at 0:41
  • It all depends in how much space you have. If you live in a 500sq ft apartment, and you are trading off storing a toaster or a 70-200mm lens box - obviously to most people a toaster would be more worth it. If you have a 4 car garage and can throw the box on an empty shelf, why not? – dpollitt Aug 19 '12 at 16:20
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    @dpollitt - I wish I had a 500 sq.ft. apartment, those places are huge! :D – anonymous Aug 19 '12 at 17:19
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Yes it is. Including the box when reselling items increases their perceived value. You will often see LNIB in listings which means Like New In Box. It tells you are a more careful owner.

This is particularly important for cameras or bodies in the case DSLRs and SLDs which have lots of small pieces (cables, caps, manuals) and depreciate in value quickly. I agree it takes a lot of space. I have 7 such boxes which are used to store USB and A/V cables, CDs and foreign language manuals which I never use.

As lenses tend to increase in value, the box makes less difference but is nice to have. My primary camera bag usually holds 4 or 5 lenses, so the 20 or so remaining ones are in their boxes. When I switch lenses before a session, I take ones from the camera bag and put them in their boxes and get the ones I need from other boxes. So at any time, I have at most 5 empty boxes taking up more space than strictly necessary. So, using the boxes as storage for their contents while unused reduces space wasted.

For camera bags, I actually disposed of their boxes which I do not regret because those are huge. However, I do wish I kept the protective plastic bag around them. Without it, plenty of my bags are very dusty and textured spongy materials are not easy to clean.

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    I agree with Itai, anything that you may sell in the future you should keep the box and all of the original material. I am constantly upgrading my equipment and having all of the original material gives buyers confidence that they are buying from someone who too good care of what they are buying. – Dave Nelson Aug 20 '12 at 13:24
  • I unfortunately dont have any of my original boxes and realize now the importance of keeping them! Is there a "store" where i can purchase lens boxes? – Dave McCorquodale Jan 3 at 12:34
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Personally, I would say yes to keep boxes and packaging of lenses, not so much for tripods.

If you'll ever ebay lenses, or want to ship a L lenses for inspection or realignment. Having the original packaging save you time and extra cash buying new bubble wraps.

  • Thanks, what about for camera bodies though? Given their rate of obsolescence I suspect that there isn't much point in keeping the box, but that the manuals are worth keeping. – anonymous Aug 18 '12 at 20:51
  • I would keep the manuals and CDs. DSLR box, that's up to you. Camera boxes usually come with only cardboard dividers inside and not foam or padding. I would probably still bubble wrap if I use that to ship for repair. In most cases, I would say to keep it if you can. :) – Glorithm Aug 19 '12 at 3:41
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Of course if you ask a bunch of people who are obsessed with camera gear whether you should keep the boxes, they will say, "yes." But it's really a personal decision. If you want to keep the boxes and have room, go ahead and keep them. Otherwise don't.

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