Buying Second Hand Cameras Part 1

Buying Second Hand Cameras Part 1

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I have been asked at the some of the workshops I run about buying second hand cameras and equipment. It is a question that has more than one answer so I thought I would run through the good, bad and the ugly of second hand. Your budget is the best and arguably the most important place to start when considering buying second hand cameras. Once you have that in mind go to the maximum of what you have. As the saying goes "Buy cheap, buy twice." so be realistic and look at it as an investment in your business rather than an expense. Part of the reason to look at it this way is possibly why you are buying it in the first place. One thing that could be holding back sales on an e-commerce website or Etsy store or similar is poor quality photographs and a better camera is going to be a step in the right direction. So how much should you be spending? If I am going to be honest I would recommend a budget between £250 and £350 as a good starting point. I can sense at "WHAT THE FLIPPING HECK!!!" and you to stop reading. Yes, you can buy something new for that but by buying a used or refurbished bit of kit you can really maximise the money you have. To be honest a new camera at £250 doesn't get you much better than your the camera on your phone and I'll go through what you getting for your money in the next instalment.

Mobile Phone Cameras

Here though, is a good point to quickly talk about phone cameras as a starting point, why they can be a useful tool but ultimately are the thing that are probably holding you back the most.

Smart phones are very clever and can do a lot of things including apparently taking photographs. Okay, let me explain why I say "apparently taking photographs.". When you cram all the stuff a modern smart phone can do into a very small space you need to cut some corners and use some very clever software to keep everything working. The camera on any mobile device including tablets has to do a lot of work to produce the image it shows you and in many ways what is shows you is a lie produced by the software the phone is using. The sensor on a mobile device is a tiny 4.45 x 3.42 mm and it is being asked to produce a 12 Megapixel image at around about the 363 x 246 mm, a massive 81.5 times larger. So why might it be a lie? The tiny sensor can only fit so many pixels on it which capture the image so the software has to calculate some of the details and colours to up scale the picture leading to errors know as aberrations in the picture. This is why sometimes, especially in poor light, things can look a bit mushy and pixelated. That said, a look at aftermarket camera apps can certainly improve the performance of the phone camera but with a better camera with a bigger sensor you always going to get a truer image. Also if your about to upgrade or replace your phone it is worth looking at some reviews of what is available. Brand loyalty may not always give you the best tool for your business so it is really worth considering what is out there. Not all phones are equal and just because it has a higher megapixel camera on it or has a fancy selfie function on it doesn't mean it will necessarily it will give a better quality image.

Lastly there is to filter or not to filter question? Most social media websites enable you to directly upload to them and then allow you to add filter effects or edit the image. The editing tools can be really useful if your photos just need a bit of help to give them a bit more pop. Instagram for instance has some really powerful editing tools which I would definitely recommend having a bit of a play with and being owned by Facebook means syncing the two is very easy. Filters can be handy and personally prefer not to use them but if you are then I suggest using the same one thus keeping all your images in brand.

Buying second hand cameras , nottingham commercial photography

Here is a diagram showing you the different sensor sizes to give you an idea of why size is everything and a few recommended websites for reviews. In the next instalment, Buying Second Hand Cameras part 2, I will been going through the difference between the versions of camera types available, sensors and why you shouldn't be buying a compact camera.

 

 

A few websites I recommend for reviews are...