We know creative people all too well—it starts with one piece of equipment, and before long, that spark of passion or stroke of genius has you buried up to your ears in gear you no longer use. Maybe you’ve grown out of your old point and shoot, or maybe you’ve upgraded your lens collection a few too many times. Regardless of your particular brand of “Need to Sell” Syndrome, we’ve got you covered. We’re here to help you prep your gear for its moment in the spotlight, and help you get the most for your underused investments.
Clean cameras sell better and faster than dirty ones, so if you want to get top dollar for your used camera equipment, you should take a few minutes to spruce it up before you head to the listing page. You should also make sure that the product listing is descriptive, accurate, and full of high quality images that will appeal to potential buyers. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it doesn’t hurt to have both working in your favor.
We’ll guide you through each one of these steps so that you know exactly how to get your camera equipment ready for sale. Follow our advice and the offers on your gear will start rolling in!
Clean Your Camera Equipment
Even if you look after your camera equipment, dust will inevitably settle on your camera and lenses. It’s worth it to take a minute or two to clean up your gear so it doesn’t look dirty in the listing photos. Some people may be looking for a fixer-upper, so don’t count out your Old Reliables that might not function at 100% anymore. Just make sure to list all damage and functionality issues so that no one mistakes it for a ready-to-go camera.
Digital cameras have lots of electrical components, and getting liquid on them can ruin them. So to be on the safe side, don’t use any commonly recommended cleaners like rubbing alcohol or vinegar on your digital camera body. Stick to soft towels, lens brushes, and dust blowers.
To clean dust buildup on the body, use dry cotton swabs or a towel. If there’s any dust in the ports on the side of the camera, use the rocket blower to get rid of it.
To clean the viewfinder and LCD screen, use a lens wipe or a little cleaning fluid on a towel or cotton swab. Be careful not to oversaturate the cotton swab and drip fluid onto other areas of the camera.
You can also take the body cap off and clean the inside of the camera with the rocket blower, but be very careful. You can damage the mirror and sensor if you get too close.
Lenses are a very delicate piece of camera equipment that you should clean carefully. It’s easy to scratch the surface of the lens, which can affect image quality, so take your time when cleaning it.
First, take the rocket blower and blow away any dust particles on the surface of the lens. Don’t wipe it with a towel first. You could drag particles of dust across the surface of the lens and damage it.
Once you’ve removed the dust particles with the rocket blower, use a lens wipe or a towel dampened with lens cleaning fluid to wipe the surface of the lens.
Lastly, use dry cotton swabs or towels to remove dust and dirt from the outside of the lens.
To clean your film camera, start by grabbing a dry cotton swab or towel and removing any visible dust or grime on the body of your camera. If you’re having a tough time removing certain stains, dampen a cotton swab with some white vinegar or rubbing alcohol. Rub that over the area of buildup, making sure you don’t drip any liquid into the camera.
To clean the viewfinder, use a lens wipe or put a little cleaning fluid on a cotton swab and run it all over the surface to remove dust. You can also clean the mirror and ground glass with a little bit of cleaning fluid or a lens wipe.
Take the body cap off of your camera and open the film back. Use the rocket blower to gently blow air into the camera and remove any dust particles.
To clean your tripod, extend the legs all the way, grab a damp rag, and start wiping it down. If there are any areas of grime that are pretty caked on, you can grab a toothbrush with some soapy water on it and use that to scrub the dirt away. Once you’re happy with the way your tripod looks, dry it with a clean, dry towel.
Inspect Your Camera Equipment
Before you list your camera equipment, you should take a few minutes to inspect it and make note of that damage so you can include it in the listing.
Some common problems to watch out for with lenses are scratches, haziness, mold and zoom and focus rings that don’t move freely. You should inspect your camera for deep scratches and dents and make sure the shutter is working properly.
These are all issues that you shouldn’t try to fix yourself, unless you have some experience repairing cameras. Just disclose them in the listing and factor them into the price, and the right buyer is sure to come along.
List Your Camera Equipment
Now that your camera gear is all shiny and clean, it’s ready to get listed for sale. Here are the things you need to do to make sure the selling process goes smoothly.
Take Good Photos
It’s hard to assess used camera equipment without seeing it in person, but you can help buyers get a better sense of the condition of your gear by taking good photos of it. Make sure the photos are brightly lit and capture all sides of the gear.
You can also record videos of your camera in action with the back off to show buyers that all of the parts work. For easy viewing, upload the video to YouTube and put the link in your listing.
Another great way to demonstrate the quality of your used camera is to include photos you’ve taken with it. This will give buyers a better idea of what the camera can do.
Write a Detailed Product Description
A picture of your camera gear can tell a professional photographer everything they need to know about your camera… almost. You don’t have to be Hemingway or Proust to write a good description, you just have to stick to the facts and let your favorite things shine! After all, this piece of equipment is a part of your collection for a reason. Let other potential buyers know why it should be a part of their! List some of the key features of the equipment and describe its overall condition, making note of any areas of damage.
The shutter count is the number of photos your camera has taken, and it’s a good indicator of your camera’s condition and life expectancy. Buyers often look for this number, so it can help to include it in your listing.
If you have a Nikon D850, for example, you can find out the shutter count by uploading the last picture you took with the camera to CameraShutterCount.com.
Nikon, Pentax, and a few Canon cameras store the shutter count in the metadata of each photograph. This website analyzes that metadata and gives you an accurate shutter count for a wide range of camera models. You can see all the cameras the website is compatible with at the bottom of the homepage.
If you have a Canon camera that isn’t listed on the website, like a 5D Mark III, you can use free computer software to find its shutter count instead. A company called AstroJargon put out two useful software programs that can do the job—40DShutterCount and EOSInfo. Download 40DShutterCount if you’re a Mac user and EOSInfo if you’re a Windows user.
Once you’ve downloaded and installed the correct software, grab your camera and use a cable to connect it to your computer. Then simply run the software and it will tell you what your camera’s shutter count is so you can include it in the listing.
Set Your Price
Do some research on auction websites like eBay to see what your camera or lens has sold for recently. Look at just the sold listings, not the active ones—they’ll give you a better idea of what your camera is actually worth.
Try and find a camera that was in the same condition as yours when it sold by reading the product description of each listing and looking through the photos. After you’ve found a few comparable cameras, you’ll be able to figure out what to charge for yours.
If you don’t have time to sift through dozens of listings on auction websites, check out our pricing guide. We’ve compiled pricing data from multiple sources to help you figure out the value of your used camera equipment quickly. You’ll be able to see what your camera or lens sold for on average, on the high end, and on the low end. Then you can use that information to set the price for your gear.
Package Your Gear
Before you can collect your money and purchase that new camera you have your eye on, you’ll have to package up your old one.
When packing up your gear, make sure to line the box with plenty of bubble wrap to insulate and protect it. Also, don’t forget to pick a shipping option that includes tracking and signature confirmation so you don’t lose your valuable equipment. For more shipping tips, check out our page on packaging and shipping your gear.
We hope that this guide will help you sell your used camera equipment faster so that you can get your hands on the latest and greatest gear.
Do you have any tips for selling used camera gear? Let us know in the comments section below!