10 Things to Check Before Buying a Secondhand DSLR

 

Planning to buy a secondhand professional DSLR but skeptical about the outcome? Jehan Lalkaka elaborates on 10 things you must check to see if the camera is on good shape or not.

1. Buy From A Known Source
The first thing to ensure is that you’re buying it from a reliable source. If you are planning to purchase it online, read the e-store’s credentials. Many of them are good for ordering books or DVDs, but when it comes to electronics such as mobiles or cameras, it is imperative that they have a have good reputation.

If you are buying a camera from the owner, take the time to understand how they have used it, for how long they have used it and for what purpose.

2. Is it the right camera?
Make sure that the camera you buy has the essential things you need. Older cameras don’t have features which have become essential today, including on board sensor cleaner or Live View and even shooting video for that matter! Check the features of the camera on the company’s website as well as other sites that will give you reviews.

In 2008, the Nikon D90 was the first DSLR announced to feature video recording.

In 2008, the Nikon D90 was the first DSLR announced to feature video recording.

3. Check the Cosmetics

If the scratches and dents are on parts of the camera that don’t affect the functioning of the camera, don’t fret too much over it. It may be a cheaper buy.

However, keep in mind that the bruises can tell you a lot about how the owner has treated the camera. If the scratches and dents are large, there’s a possibility that the camera has been dropped.

4. The LCD Screen
An LCD screen costs a significant sum of money to replace, so make sure that it doesn’t have any cracks or scratches. Additionally, check for dust, sand or other particles in
the viewfinder.

If you are physically present at the dealer’s shop, use the camera to shoot some pictures and see if the brightness and colours are up to the mark.

It is also vital to check the strength and effectiveness of the on-board flash.  Image Source/Wikipedia

It is also vital to check the strength and effectiveness of the on-board flash. Image Source/Wikipedia

5. Toughness
Most high-end DSLRs have a very sturdy build. Invest time in researching on the model to see whether it fits the description. In addition, make sure that all the buttons aren’t falling out. If it feels loose at the time of purchasing, don’t ignore it!

6. Audit the Lens
If you are buying the lens along with the camera, remove the lens and hold it up against the light to check for scratches. Both the front and back element elements of the lens should be in good condition.

Ensure that the contacts (the electronic protrusions that send information from the lens to the camera and vice-versa) are clean and in healthy condition.

The gold protrusions that must be clean before you buy the camera. Image Source/Wikipedia

The contacts that must be clean before you buy the camera. Image Source/Wikipedia

7. The Focus
First, switch the camera to Manual focus and gently rotate the focus ring clockwise and then anti-clockwise. If the ring gets jammed and requires you to put in more effort to rotate, it might require some lubricant or cleaning.

Secondly, switch over to Autofocus and point at objects at varying distances and see how the lens reacts. It might take time to focus being an older camera, but you should start worrying if your camera doesn’t lock the focus at all!

8. Batteries
Consider yourself lucky if the battery is in good condition, otherwise prepare to buy a new one. Before that, check if batteries of that particular camera model are still being manufactured by the company.

Look for any kind of stains in the battery compartment—it’s evidence that the battery has leaked.

9. Examine the Sensor
Nobody wants to buy a camera only to find out that the sensor is so bad it needs to be replaced. Check the sensor for any scratches or marks as it will directly affect the outcome of your images.

10. Check the Box
Check if all the accessories – wires, battery, accessories, etc. – that came with the camera are all there in the box it was packaged in. It usually is safer to buy the secondhand camera with the packaging et al, although it might cost more than buying the camera without the box and accessories.

Tags: buying a good second hand camera, how to buy second hand camera, second hand camera, things to remember before buying second hand camera