What questions to ask when buying a used DSLR?
What are some specific questions I should ask the seller to help assure that I don't buy a lemon?.

I would ask if anything has been fixed / replaced, or is anything currently broken? Any scratches or dents? Sticking buttons?.

I assume there would be many important function specific questions that I should ask?.


Comments (7)

I just remembered that "how many shutter actuation's does the camera have?" would probably be a great question to ask...

Comment #1

Learn from everyone that's been burnt.. NEVER BUY A USED CAMERA BODY! You're just begging for trouble...

Comment #2

"Does it have any faults?".

"No, it's perfect. As new condition.".

I don't think the question is what questions you should ask (you seem to have a pretty good idea from what you have posted) - it's whether you can trust the seller (I assume we're talking private, not a business) to give you an honest answer, and what comeback (return policy) you have if it turns out they lied..

IMHO the only way to buy used gear is from a bricks and mortar store where you can try it first, or if online, from a business like adorama. Private buying online is fraught with risk IMHO..

Unless the price is so good that you're prepared to risk it, and a $500 repair bill (for example) would be a case of "oh, dear" rather than "could have bought a new one for that"..

Image control:Zoom outZoom 100%Zoom inExpand AllOpen in new window..

Comment #3

Perhaps long-exposure images, to reveal hot pixels. Or for a test drive, if you're local to the seller. A shot of a blue sky or blank wall, stopped well down, to see if there's dust or other detritus smeared on the sensor..

Recent images should at least show any particular gross defects due to a malfunctioning image sensor. Won't necessarily reveal much else, especially compared to a test drive, but better than buying blind...

Comment #4

I would only buy a used camera from a private seller local to me where I could test it out and load a few shots on my notebook PC to check them out..

Refurbished DSLRs are your best bet. I bought a refurbished Nikon D50. It had less than 200 shutter actuations..

Lenses are different. They are usually fairly robust and there is less to go wrong. I have bought a few via Ebay. But you need to be VERY hardnosed about price and wait for the bargain..

Chris Elliott.

*Nikon* D Eighty + Fifty - Other equipment in Profile.


Comment #5

Wkay wrote:.

Learn from everyone that's been burnt.. NEVER BUY A USED CAMERABODY! You're just begging for trouble..

Over the years, I've bought at least a dozen used camera bodies, and never had a problem. New ones, now...Charlie Self

Comment #6

Charlie Self wrote:.

Over the years, I've bought at least a dozen used camera bodies, andnever had a problem. New ones, now....

Were they SLR's or dSLR's. There's big difference..

People tend to shoot more pictures with a dSLR, which slowly wears out the shutterdSLR's have far more electronics, etc. that can fail..

Comment #7

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This question was taken from a support group/message board and re-posted here so others can learn from it.


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