Tips for Selling Your Cameras and Video Gear Online
Before you post something for sale, check out these tips to make sure you get top dollar for your used cameras and video gear.
Cover image by Dmitry Kalinovsky.
When you’re in the film and video profession, updating cameras and gear seems like a yearly task. Cameras specifically are advancing at an amazing rate, and if you follow the industry closely, it may be hard not to covet the newest generation or latest pixel-size craze.
So for those who are considering an upgrade, or have already made one, what do you do with your old gear? You know what you paid for it originally, and you’d like to recoup as much as possible. Follow these tips and best practices for selling your camera and gear online to get the best return on your investments.
Research the Market
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First and foremost, do your research, and know the going rate for your cameras and gear on the online market. Ebay is a great place to start, but also check Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and anywhere else you may see some organic selling online. Compare those numbers with the price of your cameras and gear new and check out used equipment on manufacturers’ sites. Look at bundle and package deals to see what kind of numbers others are getting.
Once you get a strong sense of the market, you can tailor a price that is competitive yet ambitious (if you have some time to spare), or you can list a smart bargain if you’re looking to sell quickly and move on.
Check Your Calendar
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Depending on your cameras and the gear in question, be sure to check your calendar and do some research online about release rumors to see what might be around the corner. If you’re looking to sell in late winter, keep your eye on NAB rumors, as there could be lots of news hitting the market that may affect the price of your camera or gear. Same thing for model release rumors: if you’re selling a Canon 5D Mark III, look out for upcoming price drops on the 5D Mark IV, which may drop your selling price as well.
Take Great Pictures
Image by Aleksandr Ivasenko.
Now, if you want to make your gear look appealing, put it in the best light possible and take great pictures. Nothing scares away viewers more than sketchy photos or screenshots from manufacturers’ websites. You want to show that your gear is in fact real, available, and in good condition. For many sites, it’s common courtesy (and the right thing to do) to mention any scratches, nicks, or problems with your cameras or gear — and show pictures of them upfront. Your price may drop by doing so, but an eager buyer may be looking for a bargain.
Bonus: here are some great resources for taking awesome product photos and videos for all types of situations.
Give the Relevant Details
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By the same token, share as much information about your gear as possible. You don’t need to write a novel about it, but simple bullet points identifying all of your gear — and the specifics for each piece — will help viewers line-item and consider exactly what they’re getting. Even if things seem obvious to you, letting people know what type of lens mount your camera uses and the dimensions of your tripod legs may be the biggest factor in a potential buyer’s decision-making — and it only takes you a few seconds to list.
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If you want to put all your eggs in one trusted basket, go for it. But if you’re looking to sell sooner rather than later (and at the best price you can get), then sharing your post on several different channels will be your best bet. The big ones like Craigslist, Facebook marketplace, and Ebay are great places to start, but local selling apps like OfferUp and 5Miles are options too — along with online film and video gear communities like Keh and Cameta Camera.
Also, if you’re looking for even simpler options, many local camera and gear shops offer trade-ins and store credit for gear they’re interested in. It might be lower than you’d like sometimes, but you can trust the store and support local mom & pop businesses in the process.
Image by FrameStockFootages.
One of the best ways to keep things in your circle may be to post your gear in networks and communities of which you’re already a part. If you’re in a mid- to major city range, chances on there should be a local film and video community and some professional groups where you can meet, network, and swap gear with real people who you can stay in touch with for years to come.
Create a Narrative
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Finally, if you truly want to get the most bang for your buck, channel your inner salesperson and provide the narrative about why someone should buy your gear. If you’re selling a high-end camera, sew the narrative together by sharing how the camera can accommodate anything from weekend shorts to narrative features. If you’ve used your camera or gear on some cool projects, share examples of how great it’s been and why you’d recommend it to someone else. Make it fun, tell a story, and give your gear a good home.
For more tips and tricks on buying and selling gear, check out some of these resources.