I'm looking to make some upgrades in the next couple of months (new camera body, new lenses, new tripod); and will no longer be needing some of my equipment (old camera body, some old lenses).

I'd like to sell the stuff I'll no longer be using in order to lessen the economic impact of the new purchases. I've heard great stories about eBay, Craigslist, and local classified ads; and I've heard horror stories about eBay, Craigslist, and local classified ads.

I'm trying to strike a balance between ease of sale, and not shipping my lenses to someone who has no intention of paying. I'm curious as to where you've had successes, or failures, selling your gear.

  • 2
    The tradeoff is that less risk gets you less dollars. Can you give some indication of where you are on that scale? E.g., the safest way to sell used gear is not sell it, but you don't make any money that way. :)
    – Reid
    Oct 6, 2010 at 23:52

7 Answers 7


The easiest and safest way to sell photography equipment is to sell it to people you know! I've had the good fortune to be able to do this in the past. Failing that, I've also sold stuff on eBay and not had any problems. You only ship when the buyer's funds are in your paypal account, and using an insured & signed for delivery system prevents them from claiming they never received the goods. I'm not an eBay expert but it seems relatively safe these days and gives you access to a very large market.

With any service you have to use your wits to spot potential scams, it's usually fairly easy to tell if someone's a photography enthusiast or not. I would recommend selling to those who are!

Remember, the scare stories you hear are always the exception to the norm, "man doesn't get ripped off on eBay" isn't as newsworthy!


Other than selling it to people you know (as pointed out by Matt) the easiest and safest way would be to a camera shop that deals in second hand equipment. You walk in there with your kit, they look at it and you walk out with money. Of course you will get less money than if you cut out the middleman, but that's your trade off to make.


You might want to take a look at KEH. They may not give you the absolute highest price, but they are quite reputable, and you can certainly feel safe going through them.

  • 1
    Agreed. You definitely won't get the best price (not even close), but the risk of getting ripped off is nil and the hassle factor is far lower.
    – Reid
    Oct 7, 2010 at 2:23

I've sold camera kit on ebay several times, provided you take sensible precautions, most of which are forced on you by ebay anyway, you can sell there very safely. The only horror stories you should pay attention to about ebay are where people have done stupid stuff like send expensive goods without using registered post. Dispute resolution and seller/buyer protection are important concerns for ebay so as long as you follow the rules you can sell there perfectly safely.


I would suggest the fredmiranda forums, as being a very good and safe place to sell. You will need to invest a little money(around $25), but as the seller, you are mostly protected from scams, as usually the buyer pays before you ship. Moreover, the community is very developed, so you will get a pretty fair price for your gear. You can look back at other transactions on the same gear, and see what others got.

I have bought all of my photo gear off fredmiranda thus far, and have no complaints from the purchasing side. :)


First, figure out a reasonable price. No, wait: first, let go of any expectation that you'll get back close to the price you paid. That money is gone, time has passed, and people are excited about new models (for the same reasons you want to upgrade).

Second, then, find a reasonable price. I think the best way to do this is to look on reputable sites that sell used gear, like KEH, Adorama, or B&H Photo. Find equipment comparable to yours, and in comparable condition, and see what it's going for.

As a rule of thumb, assume that your gear is rated one category worse than you, as the attached owner who feels like you've been really good to it, would rate it. (File under life isn't fair, if it helps.)

Now, consider that these companies will pay you something like 40-60% of the sale value. (Adorama says they'll go up to 70%, but I wouldn't count those chickens — I'm sure supply and demand feature significantly.) For example, I see right now that KEH has an "excellent condition" Nikon D7000 camera body for $432. From that, you can figure that they'll give you about $200.

Next, there's a decision. Pick one of these:

  1. Listen to the little voice in your head which is screaming "What? I paid $1500 for this, and it's still basically as good as it ever was! That's ridiculous!" Give up the idea of trying to make a little cash, and either keep it as a back-up body, or find a deserving relative who will really appreciate it. (Cash-starved cousin in college? Need to get some points with an in-law? What a thoughtful thing to do!)

  2. Decide it's worth it for a discount on the upgrade you are, let's face it, going to buy anyway. (Hey, I'm not judging. Buying a new camera is fun. All of these thoughts are from personal experience, trust me.) Using one of those big retailers might not get you top dollar, but it's really painless. How much is your time worth, after all? So, go to the aforementioned KEH, Adorama, or B&H. (If you're in New York, so you could just stop in. They'll do it by mail too, possibly including shipping for free, although of course do consider that money from one place has to come from another.) You could pick another camera store too; these are just the big names.

  3. Or, decide that you want to go it alone. Here, you pick Craigslist, eBay, or the like, and cut out the middleman. Set a price somewhere between the online listings for used gear and the fraction you'd get selling to a store — don't expect to get what they can for it, because they do add value to buyers by providing a trusted name and putting their reputation at stake. Maybe 80% of the used price from the stores; you can do an eBay search of "sold listings" (look under advanced search options) to see what people are really buying similar things for — but, don't necessarily get your hopes up.

If you decide to do #3, posting a lot of good pictures of your item will help. Here, you're basically trading time for an increased price. Consider how long it will take you to create the listing, follow its progress, and complete the transaction, and then think about other ways in which you could make a couple of hundred bucks — or just plain what else you might do with that time — including being out there shooting with that new, desired gear more quickly. It may or may not be worth it to you!

Personally, I've done all of these things; from my tone, you might conclude that I've largely settled on #1. And you'd be right. You can't sell used electronics for what they're worth in practical, pragmatic use to strangers (largely because of the whole trust thing), and I'd feel bad about giving a worse deal to a friend. So in the end, I prefer to just make sure my old digital cameras have a good home.

Or if giving it away doesn't feel quite right, there's always barter — your brother gets a nice camera, he fixes your bike, you both get good value.


Buyer here, not seller. I bough my camera from an amazon.co.uk user, it had one year of use, I had a wonderful commercial experience with the seller, talking and sharing info and tricks, it is a system that I totally trust and sellers are users, not like ebay it's not a seller it's a store.

I am totally satisfied with the experience there, but it all depended on the seller not on the Amazon site itself.

So if you are a cool dude, Amazon will be a great framework for you to sell your stuff.

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