When fellow photographers find out I work for KEH (inevitably because I drop it into every conversation), they often ask about the secret to getting the best deal on the site. The answer is easy. I tell them that our Bargain-grade gear is the best bang for their buck.
Without a doubt, when looking to save the most while still getting a quality product, Bargain is where to look. Why is that? Allow me to explain.
Making The Grade
If you're not familiar with our grading system, it's the industry-standard. It's the scale we developed to evaluate the condition of every piece of camera gear which we buy and sell. The grades run the gamut, from New (N) all the way to As Is (AI). Bargain (BGN) is the grade that sits below Excellent (EX) and above Ugly (UG).
When looking at any product on our site, you may see an item available in multiple grades, each varying in price. Sometimes, those prices vary quite dramatically, like on this Canon 1DX MkII, where a BGN body is about $1,100 cheaper than a Like New Minus (LN-) body.
So, why is BGN the sweet spot, in my opinion? Well, it's the Goldilocks grade—where the item's condition and price are just right for budget-strapped photographers like myself.
It's Not About Looks—It's About Performance
Ultimately, when it comes to camera gear, all I really care about is performance and image quality, and BGN is the lowest grade where the quality and function of the item aren't affected—it's mostly cosmetic flaws that bring down the grade.
This is how we define BGN-grade gear:
Priced to sell, the rating of the equipment is at 70 to 79 percent of original condition. More than average wear for the age of the item, and may have dents, dings or finish loss. Glass may have marks or blemishes, but should not affect picture quality.
So, if you're like me, a little wear and tear is not going to scare you off. Most camera equipment can take a licking and keep on ticking, so as long as it works, I'm going to keep using it. And I'm not above dipping into UG grade to save even more, but BGN is where I can be sure that I'll be happy with what I'm getting from the start, while still getting a great value.
Camera Is As Camera Does
The main concern I hear from people after I give my passionate spiel exalting BGN gear is usually something along the lines of, "Yeah, it's a great deal, and I don't care what it looks like, but does it take good pictures?" And the answer is an enthusiastic "OF COURSE!"
In a previous post, I explored whether camera grade affects image quality using cameras and lenses from each of our NEW, LN-, EX+, EX and BGN grades and I concluded that, no, it really doesn't matter. The main takeaway was simple—if image quality is what matters most, then you shouldn't worry about buying used gear from KEH.
Not only do we inspect everything that we sell to properly assess condition, we also guarantee our gear for at least 180 days (currently, if you buy under the holidays, it's doubled to a full year.)
So, just think about what you could do with the money you save by shopping BGN grade. That cash can be better spent on a newer model, another lens or more accessories. And if the resulting photos are the same, you lose nothing—but you stand to save so much.
So, don't be afraid to take a chance on our Bargain-grade gear. If these BGNs seem too good to be true, then you probably haven't shopped with us before.