Filmmaking equipment can be expensive! A great way to save a bit of money is to buy SECOND HAND equipment. I buy used kit quite often, and I thought I would share my tips for getting a good online bargain!
Most filmmakers keep good care on their kit. Not just because it’s expensive and essential to making films, but also because it retains a lot of its value. So when you decide to sell it, you can make a bit back on your investment.
So it’s safe to say most second hand equipment you find online is in good condition. I’ve bought lenses, lights, and even decided my camera upgrade was going to be a second hand purchase.
Once you’ve decided on the item you want to buy, start researching how much it is selling for on average. Watch eBay listings for equipment currently on sale, but don’t be so hasty to buy them just yet. Create a list of all of the items you can find and write down the total price and condition for each item. I usually make a list of around 10 to 15.
This will give you a good average of the price and condition of the piece of equipment so you don’t end up overbidding.
Now you have this information, you can start looking out for items to buy. Other than eBay, local Facebook groups are a great place to look, and you might be able to see and try them before you buy them.
When you’ve found the one you want to purchase; read the description, look at the photos, and ask the seller some questions. When buying a camera ask for the shutter count. This will indicate how much it has been used.
If you’re buying a lens, ask how it was used. A lens used exclusively for studio use will be in better condition than an outdoor lens because it’s been protected from outside elements.
If you miss out on a great bargain, don’t panic and instinctively buy the next one you see. You might end up getting something isn’t worth the money.
Sites like eBay have a great returns and money back guarantee policy, which means you are just as safe buying second hand equipment as you are buying new kit from a retailer.
Don’t expect the items you buy to be in mint condition. Sometimes you’ll find they have an odd mark or scratch. Most of the time this doesn’t affect the overall quality that it produces, but if you’re the type of person who needs everything to be in pristine condition, second hand camera equipment may not be the way to go.
So if you’re new to buying second hand filmmaking equipment, do your research.
You might have to be a little more patient and wait for the right one to come along, but it’s going to save you some serious cash, which you can put into your next project.
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