Buying Used Camera Gear; The Do’s & Don’ts (Part 1)

January 20th, 2021

When it comes to buying second-hand gear, we have 3 rules at Glacé Media, good seller, good description and good warranty.

We have no problem with purchasing second-hand gear here at Glacé, if anything we champion it. If you can get the gear you require, that does the job you need it to do and also saves you a few quid, then we say go for it, but be careful. Whilst getting a bargain is always fantastic, use your head and use our 3 golden rules of good seller, good description and good warranty.

There are plenty of resellers out there, which is great, meaning you can shop around and find the best deal possible, whether you’re looking for a new cinema camera, DSLR, lens, tripod or accessory. So let’s talk about our rules.

Good Seller

No one likes to get ripped off, especially when you’re buying gear which you will be using in a professional capacity in front of clients. The last thing you want is to be halfway through a shoot and your camera to brick itself, or for your lens to stop focusing, so make sure you buy your gear from a reputable reseller.

Before you make any purchase from a reseller you haven’t used before make sure you research the company, check Trustpilot or Google reviews, these will give you a clear indication of the trading practices of the company. We always like to see above 90%, 5 star rating, but at the end of the day every company will have some bad reviews, but if they are at least 90%, 5 stars then you will probably be okay.

We would also recommend asking around in an industry forum or Facebook group. We have always found that people within the industry and creative community are happy to share their experiences, good or bad, so don’t be afraid to ask.

Good Description

For us, this is arguably the clincher, as this can make or break the decision to purchase the item for us.

At the end of the day you want to know what you are buying and what its condition is? This will not only enable you to make an informed decision regarding the price of the item but most importantly it will cover your back in case the item you receive is not as it was described in the listing.

Most resellers will use a rating system for the condition of their items, whether that be a score out of 10, or a description such as Like New, Excellent, Well Used etc. Whichever system they use, make sure you check their terms and condition to see what these scores indicate, this will give you a much clearer picture of the condition of the item.

Speaking of pictures, they are also key. Any good reseller will always show images of the item itself and should highlight any issues with the item in the pictures along with the description. We as a rule of thumb never trust a reseller that uses glossy marketing images of an item as this can be an indication that they are trying to hide something.

Another red flag is if all they have done is copy and paste the items specs from the manufacturer’s website and given no other description of the product. This can also be an indication that they have not properly tested the item for any possible issues.

Good Warranty

Last but not least is a good warranty, and by good we mean ideally a year but certainly no less than 6 months. This gives you the peace of mind that if anything goes wrong with the lens then you are covered.

Sometimes resellers can miss a flaw during the inspection and testing of the product which only manifests itself after a few months of using the item. If something does go wrong with it don’t be hesitant to contact the reseller, if they are a reputable company they should honour the warranty and repair or replace your item.

Always cover your back by providing as much evidence as you can of the issue, and if you need to send the item back to them then make sure you package the item properly so there can be no dispute regarding if the issue was caused due to damage during shipping. Sending the item by recorded delivery is always the best policy, that way you have the peace of mind from being able to check it has been safely delivered. 


If you follow these rules then you should be okay when purchasing second-hand equipment. A lot of people can be put off, especially if you are using the gear professionally, but as long as you do your research then you shouldn’t have any problems.

Make sure to check back for part 2 where we will be discussing our favourite resellers and the gear we have purchased from them.