Camera gear. As photographers, we all love and obsess over our beloved gear; the bodies, lenses, filters, and accessories. Many of us develop a collector’s mindset and tend to amass multiple pieces of gear.
But often, we come to our senses (reluctantly), and realize that as much as we’d like to keep everything we have, we don’t need those extra camera bodies or lenses with overlapping focal lengths. What if we have our eye on a new body, lens, or other accessories? Selling some of our older, unwanted items could help fund the new toy.
So, we decide to sell some of our extra equipment. But what are our options? We know our gear is worth something, but how do we find out what that is, and make sure we’re getting top dollar for it?
We’ll discuss a few options here, including how to quickly and easily get a solid quote at MPB.com, one of the best options for selling your camera gear online.
Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by MPB.
Table of Contents
Choose What To Sell
The first question you’ll want to answer is, what exactly do you want to sell? Unless you’re strapped for cash, you probably want to be selective about what to part with. There are several reasons why you’d want to sell a particular item.
Maybe you have two or three camera bodies and don’t require so many backups. If you no longer do much indoor portrait work, then you may not need strobes, umbrellas, and other lighting gear. Lenses are one of the most commonly traded items since many zoom lenses cover different focal lengths, including many primes. The focal lengths tend to overlap, so photographers can consolidate their collection down to fewer pieces of glass.
What if you’re switching camera systems altogether? Maybe we’re getting rid of our trusty Canon DSLR gear and diving into Fujifilm mirrorless. Although we all love to collect, we may not need (or want) to keep both. Selling the older system would likely fund most or all of the new gear we’d like to buy.
Do Your Research
Once you know what you’re going to sell, the next step is to get an idea of how much money you’ll get for your items. The easiest way to do this is to get a quick quote at an online camera gear reseller such as KEH or MPB.com. These services allow you to quickly compile a list of equipment you’re willing to sell and give you an almost instantaneous quote.
Before you can do that, you’ll need to give the items you want to sell a thorough inspection to determine exactly what condition they’re in.
First, examine the item for any damage, whether it be from a drop or other accident, or just normal wear and tear. You’ll want to include this in your assessment of the condition, as it can and will affect the price you receive. You probably already are aware of the model and other details of your camera or lens, but take note of it if you don’t, as you’ll be asked about this information later. For lenses, inspect the glass closely for scratches or cracks.
If the item is a camera body, and you keep up with the current shutter count, be sure to take note of that. The shutter count in cameras is akin to a car odometer; they can’t tell you exactly how long the camera will last, but it’s a good indicator of how heavily the body has been used.
Choose a Service to Use
When it comes to selling your used camera gear, the usual options can be sorted into three categories; selling your equipment locally, selling online via a resale or auction website, and selling to an online purchaser and reseller such as MPB.com.
These options come down to two basic choices; sell your items yourself, or sell to an online reseller web service that specializes in photography and videography.
The basic differences between these two options are the price you can receive for your items; selling items yourself locally or on an auction website allows you to set your own pricing, and also the ability to accept lower offers if you deem it necessary. To some sellers, this is advantageous because they potentially could receive more money for a particular item this way.
The disadvantages to selling an item yourself include the extra work that will need to be done to successfully sell the gear; you’re responsible for marketing and making the item look attractive through pictures and descriptive text, instead of just submitting a make, model, and condition assessment.
Also, in the case of services such as Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, and LetGo, many transactions will need to be completed face-to-face. This is a very unattractive option for many people, as it removes a veil of privacy that you get when simply selling your items online.
Some photographers choose to use a local option to sell their gear, such as a local camera store, Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist, LetGo, or other similar options. These services allow you to set your own price for the items (or allow other users to make offers), communicate with potential buyers, and then arrange for the actual sale and transfer of the gear.
While there is greater potential for selling your equipment for above market price, this option requires interaction with people, sometimes in person. For some people, this may not be an attractive option. If you do decide to complete a sale this way, make sure you agree on a very public meeting spot, making sure it’s well lit if you’re meeting at night. Many government buildings and local law enforcement departments function as “safe spaces” for these types of transactions.
Additionally, when dealing with individuals locally, there is an added risk of becoming involved in a scam or other unsavory situation. Craigslist scams have been a much-talked-about issue since the service began. There is also the option of selling to people you know. You might have a photographer friend who is interested in your unneeded gear, as it could just be the item they’re looking for.
Lastly, when selling locally and in person, ensure you arrange to complete the sale using cash only. Too many scammers will prefer to use checks or other payment methods. Using cash will prevent you from being taken advantage of.
Another option is using an online auction site, such as eBay. Selling an item here could potentially fetch a higher price than other options since buyers can bid against each other for the gear and drive up the final price. However, to be successful, it’s usually advisable to have a well-established account and a high seller rating. Using a service like this usually requires a bit more time and effort.
You’ll need to ensure you have plenty of high-quality photos to encourage bidding on auction sites like eBay. Make sure you take shots from several angles, in good light. You’ll want the items to look as attractive as possible, and the photos should be clean and sharp.
As counterintuitive as it seems, make sure to document any damage or issues with descriptive text and photos as well. Your buyer needs to be aware of any defects with the gear, as this will help ensure everyone is happy with the results of the transaction.
The final option is to use an online purchaser and reseller that specializes in digital camera equipment, such as Adorama, KEH, or MPB.com. Using a service like this, you would enter the items you’re interested in selling, which would then generate an automated price quote. Once you accept the offer, you’d send the items to the reseller, and finally, receive payment for the gear.
Many sellers prefer this option for a few reasons. First, it’s the quickest and easiest method, letting you sell your gear while putting in a minimal amount of work. Unlike selling locally or dealing with auctions, you don’t need to document the items you’re selling in such detail. Pictures are usually not required, and the only information you’ll need to disclose will be the manufacturer, model, and condition of the items.
Prepare and Clean Your Items
The first step in prepping your gear for sale is to separate them from any accessories or other items you plan on keeping. If you’re selling a body, start by checking everything you’re selling and remove any lenses, filters, straps, battery grips, and any other attachments. Remove the battery, as it’s never a good idea to store or transport them within the camera, and check to ensure you haven’t left a valuable memory card in the body.
Buyers like items to appear as new as possible, so if you’ve kept the original packaging, boxes, or manuals, be sure to include those.
Lastly, make sure everything is as clean as possible. Again, buyers want to see the merchandise in good condition. Dust off the exterior of the gear and run a microfiber over any lenses.
Sign Up for MPB and Get a Quote
Perhaps the easiest way to get your gear sold is to use a service like MPB.com. MPB is a photography platform with a focus on making it easier and more affordable for the photography community to build up their gear as well as recycle older and unneeded items.
Getting an estimate and selling your camera gear is straightforward with MPB, as we’ll outline in the steps below.
First, go to MPB.com in your browser. You’ll see a couple of buttons marked “Buy” and “Sell”. Click the “Sell” button, and start typing in the name of an item you wish to sell. You’ll see a list of matching items appear as you type. Once you see your item appear, click on the name and select “Get your Quote” below.
You’ll be directed to another screen confirming the piece of gear you’re wanting to sell as well as asking for the condition of the item. Make sure not to overestimate this, as the offer you get is based partially on the condition of the gear. Don’t select “Like New” unless the item is practically out of the box, with zero defects of any kind. After you’ve selected a condition, click “Add”.
Once you’ve done this, the item is added to the list of gear you’re selling. You can add more items if you need to, and even search for and add items that you’d like to buy during the same transaction. If you’re done adding items, click the “Continue” button below.
The next step is to enter your personal information, including your name, email address, and state of residence. Click “Get your Instant Quote” to start the process. The system will build your quote, and forward you to another screen giving you a line-by-line estimate of your items, and the offer MPB is making for each. You’ll simultaneously receive an email containing the same estimate, including a reference number. This quote is usually good for several days.
If the estimate looks good to you, you can click “Book your Shipping” to advance to the next screen. MPB will now ask for a little more information from you. You’ll need to enter a phone number, as well as your physical address.
Next, you’ll need to select how you’re going to get your items to MPB. They use FedEx as their shipping service, and you have the option of dropping off the items or arranging to have them picked up at your home or office. You’ll also need to indicate an estimated drop-off/pick-up date, as well as the number of parcels.
Finally, you’ll need to describe where you purchased or received the camera gear you’re wanting to sell (e.g. bought on Amazon, bought from a private seller, etc.). After submitting your information, you’ll see a screen showing a summary of the transaction, and you’ll receive an email with further instructions.
The email will provide you with a few things, including a link to generate a FedEx label for shipping, the address you’ll need to send the gear to, and a link allowing you to locate the nearest FedEx drop-off location.
Finish Up and Sell Your Gear
Now that you’ve completed the online process, you can move to completing the sale and getting your gear to the appropriate place. In the case of selling your gear on MPB.com, you would then print the label linked to in the email you received.
After you packed the gear into appropriate boxes (not forgetting to fill the remaining space with packing peanuts or another padding) you would affix the printed FedEx label to the box, and write your MPB reference number and MPB address on the outside.
Then all that’s left to do is drop off the box(es) to the FedEx location of your choice, and you’re all done!
After MPB receives your items, they will inspect them to ensure that they are in the condition you indicated when getting the quote. Then, you’ll receive a link from them through email that will allow you to enter your payment information and get the funds transfer started to your bank.
One thing to mention, if you are unable to sell your gear for whatever reason, or even if you can and want to help someone else, consider donating your gear. There are always young photographers just getting started that maybe can’t afford the initial costs, and organizations exist that will take your donation and get it to someone who could use it. You won’t get paid, of course, but it helps someone else and will make you feel great about it. It’s a win-win for everyone!
And if even donating isn’t possible, your last consideration should be to dispose of the gear to be recycled. Like most electronics, camera gear contains materials that can be reused for other purposes.
The processing of selling your old and unwanted gear isn’t a complicated one, as you’ve seen. You just have to know where to go and how to prep your items for resale to make sure you get the best possible price. With MPB.com, this process is easy, fast, and free of human interaction, for the introverts among us.
But regardless of how you end up selling your items, there’s always a market for camera gear, and you’ll have no problem finding a place to sell your beloved equipment, giving it a new home, and moving on to some new and exciting gear for yourself!
Full disclosure: This article was brought to you by MPB.
Image credits: Photo from Depositphotos