Buying used photo equipment has an element of risk to it. If you have a local camera shop you have the opportunity to inspect and test whatever used equipment you are interested in buying. Buying online is a different story though. Sure, there are pictures and a description usually, but close inspection is impossible. You can’t check the lenses for fungus and dust, you can’t hear the motors of the zoom lenses or focusing functions, and you can’t make sure it will fire the flash or work properly with other accessories.
Over the last two decades I’ve bought a number of used cameras and lenses on a popular internet auction site. In most all cases the sellers give a fair and accurate description. But I have also been burned twice purchasing from that site. In both cases the cameras had electronics problems that weren’t immediately noticeable. In fact, it was months after the auctions that I noticed the cameras had issues, when I attempted to use functions I had not tried previously. Yes, I should have tested all the functions when the cameras first arrived, but I didn’t, and I paid the price.
Now however, I shop for used equipment with total confidence because I’ve found a great little company, MPB Group Ltd. They are based in Great Britain but also have a New York City location. MPB deals only in used photo equipment, and they do it well. Each item they sell is described and accurately graded on their website. If the items do have flaws, they are noted. Prices are on par with auction site prices, and in some cases are significantly less expensive. In addition to the description and images of the item you are buying, they also display the shutter count, in the case of cameras, and give a product overview and technical specifications for most of the items on their site.
MPB does not sell older film cameras, their offerings are limited to digital cameras only, but those cameras include, DSLR’s, Mirrorless, Compact Digital, Digital Medium Format, Digital Rangefinder, and Digital Video Cameras. They also sell lenses and flash guns for the cameras in their inventory.
When adding items in your cart to check out, the site offers the option of trading in your used equipment to help offset your final cost. I’ve traded 3 cameras and about 8 lenses with MPB. They offered fair prices in all instances. Their offers may be a little less than you might get at an auction site, but you also don’t have to deal with the inconvenience of using an auction site, and with potential problems with buyers and transactions. Combine that with the fact that auction sites will take a percentage of the sale price, and payment sites will take a percentage of the payment you receive, and MPB’s offers for your used equipment suddenly seem a no brainer.
If you are in the market for used equipment, MPB.com is definitely worth a look. The convenience and confidence have made me a loyal and appreciative customer. Their site is my first stop when looking for used equipment.