New versus used gear

In Standard by Patrick

Since the pandemic has been upon us, I have gotten a fair amount of questions in my inbox about buying new gear versus used gear.  A valid question for sure given the cost of camera equipment.  I will usually reply by having them ask themselves three questions before making a decision.  This will allow them to hopefully make and informed decision and not an impulse buy.  Here are the questions I have them ask, which by the way, I also use for myself when deciding on new gear:

  • Is this gear a need – A tool that will solve a problem in your photography which will translate into making money.
  • Is this gear a want – A tool that might solve a problem, but has no foreseeable ability to make money or to recoup the price.
  • is the gear a status – A tool that will enhance your status while making no money at the same time.

I pass this along and often get a response of gratitude simple because it really makes them think about the purchase and it then becomes and informed decision.  Many a time I have thought that I needed gear that when simply using the questions above I passed on the purchased given that it was a want or would simply be a status thing.  I have found that this has really helped me just keep what I need in my bag.

I will also add this to the mix.  If you have determined that the gear you would like to purchase is necessary, rent first.  Regardless of whether you are buying new or used.  This allows you to get hands on with minimal cost to further determine if you like this piece of gear and get used to this ins and outs prior to buying.  There are plenty of places to do that but the most popular are

Lens rental.com and BorrowLenses.com

Early on in my career, renting was a great way to not only get what I needed to make money for the future purchase of my own gear.  I still rent, even today as that is sound business practice with no risk.  Having said all that, people want to know if I have used gear and then answer is yes.  I don’t have  lot, but some and it has served me well.  I am still in the habit of making savvy decisions when it comes to making money with photography and often buying something, especially in the wildlife and aviation genras, it is expensive, so I look at used.  Where to get quality used gear.  Just Google used camera gear and you will get a ton of hits.  Here is where I go if I am considering used:

Weight your options when considering buying gear.  I never buy gear off eBay or Amazon as you don’t know necessarily that what you see will be what you get.  Whenever possible and feasible, I buy new first, used only if new is cost prohibitive.  I hope this helps someone with there decision of new versus used gear.

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