The Internet provides countless outlets for buying photography equipment.
Some are well established and provide outstanding customer service, great value, and convenient ordering.
Other sellers promise low prices but fail miserably at customer service, sell remanufactured goods dishonestly, or don’t deliver at all.
Here are my recommendations on where to buy your next camera, lens, or other photo gear. Shop with these sellers and you should have a great experience.
Buying New vs. Used
I’m much more likely to buy a used lens than a camera body. Lenses are made to last a long time and hold their value well. I’ve actually been able to sell lenses for more than I paid for them because of rising equipment prices.
Camera bodies, on the other hand, become obsolete and lose their value more quickly. If you decide to buy a used camera body, make sure you’re getting a bargain. Otherwise, the risk isn’t worth it and you’re better off buying new and getting the 1 year warranty and peace of mind.
No matter what someone tells you, warranties usually are not transferrable when buying used photography equipment. If you have doubts, check the fine print at the manufacturer’s website.
While hundreds of online photography retailers clamor for your attention, these three should cover almost everything you need.
They are the most well-known and trusted name in photography equipment sales. Orders are prepared for shipment quickly and arrive well packaged.
Prepare to be amazed by their astounding assortment of products. If B&H doesn’t sell it, you probably don’t need it.
There is no place I’d rather shop online than Amazon.com, and that holds true for photography equipment.
While they don’t have quite the equipment selection of B&H, their inventory is impressive nonetheless.
When contemplating a new photography purchase, I check Amazon first and then go elsewhere if they don’t have it.
Why? Price and shipping. Amazon’s prices often are the best and a tad lower than B&H. Shipping is usually free and my shiny new purchase arrives two days later.
Like B&H, Adorama is based out of New York and features an enormous catalog.
Their prices are usually identical to B&H, but sometimes they’ll have specific items on special sale. It’s also a great resource if B&H or your favorite store is out of stock.
As I mentioned earlier, buying used can be a great option in certain cases. Balance the risks and rewards and make sure the price is right.
I’ve found Craigslist to be an excellent resource both for buying and selling used photography equipment.
Just be careful. Do your homework and make sure to test any equipment thoroughly before handing over your money.
A seller who has the original box and manuals likely took good care of the equipment and bought the item(s) new from a retailer.
KEH is one of the largest sellers of used cameras and lenses. They have are well established, carry an excellent selection, and they stand behind their products.
The prices at KEH usually turn me off from buying their items. Price points fall within what I’d call a pricing “no man’s land.”
You pay slightly less than buying new, but may not save enough to give up the warranty and peace of mind that comes with buying retail.
On the other end, prices are much higher than Craigslist. While Craigslist does come with more risk than KEH, the cost savings often make the tradeoff worthwhile.
There are many other reputable places to purchase photography equipment, including local establishments. Some additional online stores that come to mind are: J&R, Buy.com, Ritz Camera, and Calumet Photographic.
With patience and research, you’ll find exactly the photo equipment you’re looking for. Buy only from reputable dealers and avoid lesser known sites because the deals they’re offering may be too good to be true.
If you have any questions or would like help selecting what to buy, feel free to contact me. Enjoy your shopping spree.
For additional recommended vendors and service providers for everything related to your photography business, check out Photography Business Retailers & Services.