There comes a time in every photographer's life when they find they have too much stuff. It could be that the sale prices were too good to resist and your curiosity about new lenses or an alternate camera system got the best of you. However it happened, you'll eventually find yourself looking at a pile of equipment thinking, "You know what? It's time to get rid of some of this." Maybe you've got a partner who would like to take back some space on the bookshelf that's designed for books, not camera equipment. In any case, you've got a few options when it comes to selling your gear. I'm not here to tell you that KEH is the only option. What I will tell you is that it's the better option, for a few reasons.
A few years before I was familiar with KEH Camera, I found myself in one of the situations mentioned above. I won't tell you which one, as that isn't important. However, I do have mostly books on my bookshelves now if that tells you anything. I tried a few of the other downsizing methods out there when I was switching from a Canon ecosystem to a Sony ecosystem—all with varied but equally unpleasant results.
Pay It Forward
Let me start by saying that if you know a person in need, a friend who is getting into photography or anyone else who might enjoy it, consider donating or gifting the photo equipment to them. It's a kind gesture that continues the life cycle of the gear in ways that we love. However, if there's still some value left in those cameras, lenses or accessories, why not make yourself a little extra cash and sell some of it?
Some Guy's List
As mentioned above, I was moving from a Canon system to a Sony system. I wanted to sell a bunch of my Sigma ART and Canon L lenses to pick up some Sony G-Master lenses or similar quality native-mount glass. So I did what seemed (at the time) like the easiest option, an online classified site. You know the one.
My experience there turned out to be cutthroat and awful. In doing a bit of research, I learned about a myriad of different scams and hustles where a person would be able to take advantage of an inexperienced seller. I made sure to set up meetings with buyers in public spaces that had lots of bystanders so the purchaser couldn't just snatch my lens and run.
Another suggestion was to make sure that the buyer paid cash and didn't write a personal check or send a digital payment like CashApp or Venmo. There have been multiple cases where a buyer would write a check and then cancel it through their bank, or cancel an online payment so that the seller would be out a lens, but without any money to speak of. Cash is the safest option, but not many people want to carry $1000 in cash with them into a coffee shop, regardless of how safe the neighborhood.
As it turns out, asking a stranger on the internet to bring such a large amount of cash into a public place like a cafe at a specific time feels a bit dodgy. Even when I sold lower-value items like a $50 Minolta lens, I had a few folks who never showed up when they said they would. The experience was endlessly frustrating.
So I'd had enough of that. I wanted something with a bit more security, so I turned to a popular online auction site. You know the one.
I certainly had more options here, and I wouldn't have to meet someone in a diner or coffee shop to avoid getting mugged. I did some more research on the topic and found that, yes, the site had seller & buyer protection. Unfortunately for the seller, it seems that the site tends to side more with the buyer in most scenarios. It's a rough world out there in the online auction community.
I found horror stories about buyers claiming that they never received the item. There were more stories about buyers receiving items in a different quality than what the seller claimed. When a buyer claims that a camera smells like smoke but the seller says they haven't smoked in 20 years, who is at fault?
I tried to take these stories with a grain of salt and put my lens up for auction. It was immediately purchased by someone who sent me a private message offering to pay $200 more than my asking price through a digital payment if I shipped it immediately to an address that wasn't on their user profile.
I did not do that. I was able to report the user's suspicious behavior to the site and re-list my item. Then it happened again. I received the same message three consecutive times from scammers trying to obtain a high-price item and then trick the seller into not receiving any payment.
Removing the 'Buy it now' option and listing the lens for auction-only seemed to be my only choice. Due to the auction system, I didn't get as much money as I'd hoped for the item, but it was finally done and out of my hands. I packed and shipped it, made sure the buyer got the lens and then waited for my payment. And waited. When my payment finally came, I was shocked to find hidden fees and wire transfer charges that landed even less money into my account than I was ready to accept.
Let Us Make It Better
In order to avoid all of these headaches, consider offloading your extra camera equipment to the world's largest carrier of used camera equipment. You know the one.
Selling your gear to KEH is quick and secure. We won't ditch you or request to meet in a coffee shop you don't know. Heck, if you're in the continental United States, we'll pay for your shipping to send us your gear for evaluation. We'll even pay to send your equipment back to you if you don't agree with our inspection grade or if you change your mind about selling it.
While we don't typically do follow-ups with our customers, it's also a pretty safe bet that if your equipment gets sold to KEH, it's going to wind up in another photographer's hands. What better way is there to share the passion of photography than to pass your equipment along to someone else who can use it to discover images?
As a bonus, KEH also offers 5% more value on your quote if you apply the full value of your quote to a purchase. You can even get 10% more on your quote when you apply it to a preorder, which makes it an excellent plan for upgrading your kit or switching from a DSLR to a mirrorless system. Give us a call at 1-770-330-4200 or click here to start a quote when you're thinking about clearing out some room on that camera shelf—I mean bookshelf.
Or make those cameras a feature on said bookshelf—See how to use vintage cameras as decoration