I’ll start this off by saying that I hate selling used (pre-loved, second hand, unwanted…… call it what you like) camera lenses and photography equipment. It’s not because I get sentimental and don’t want to get rid of the items, oh no, the reason I hate selling used camera lenses is because of having to deal with potential buyers – or should that be time-wasters, tire kickers, and general idiots? The problem is, having to dispose of camera lenses is all part and parcel of being a photographer as you become experienced and want to move on to bigger and better things.
One of the biggest problems with photography is getting rid of old photography equipment, such as lenses, when we upgrade. No matter what lens you buy, no matter how much it cost and no matter how many times you convince yourself “this will be the last lens I buy” there will come a time when you upgrade to a different lens.
I appreciate there are some photographers out there who don’t perhaps look after their lenses as well as they could, and when it comes to upgrading to a new lens the old one is effectively worthless and the trash can is the only place for it. If you are one of these people getting rid of old lenses isn’t a problem.
I am the totally opposite of the above, and I treat my camera lenses like a mother treats her new born baby. I clean my lenses before I use them, I clean them after the shoot and I wrap them in bubble wrap before storing them in a heavily padded individual lens case. I guess I am a bit OCD about my lenses but then they are a big investment and if I treat my gear right, it will treat me right and help me capture decent photos that earn me a bit of cash.
Because of the way I am whenever it is time to upgrade to a new lens the lens I need to get rid of (I hate getting rid of lenses and would like to keep them all but it is totally impractical) is clean, dust free (or as much as it can be), fully functional and in pristine condition. Despite looking after my lenses there is only a certain amount people are willing to pay for used lenses, I appreciate that, but I know that all my lenses are worth top dollar.
Whenever you sell something pre-loved the best way to get the most for it and maximise the return is to sell it privately, and this applies to used camera lenses too. When I first started upgrading my lenses I listed them on Gumtree, which is a well-known publication and I have to say that trying to sell my lenses on Gumtree was an experience that I will never repeat again, for a number of reasons.
The first annoyance about selling used lenses on a site like Gumtree are the stupid questions, you know the answers of which are included in the description of the advert. The first stupid question I answered, the second I answered in a bit of a sarcastic manner and pointed the person to the paragraph in the advert, the third I gave a sarcastic response (I was getting annoyed) and after that every reply was sarcastic and, in hindsight a bit rude. I know I should have ignored the questions, but it is difficult not to respond with some comment – as I am sure many of you will know.
The second annoyance about selling used lenses on a site like Gumtree are the stupid offers. I price the items at what I want for them (which is always below what they worth) and that is what I expect to get. The price is non-negotiable however some people don’t share my view and will make me an offer. This is fine, if the offer was reasonable but when you’re selling a lens for £200, which is a third of what you paid for it (and what it costs new) and someone offers me £50 I find this insulting. These stupid offers aren’t a one-off occurrence, and there are loads of people who do it.
The third annoyance about selling used lenses on a site like Gumtree are the people who seem genuinely interested (ask relevant questions that aren’t covered, agree to the price etc.) and then ask you to hold the lens because “they want it” and then never get back to you or don’t respond to your messages when you try and push the sale forward. If someone is genuinely interested in a lens I will hold it and refuse any other offers, or let anyone else see the lens however I expect them to complete and not go cold, especially when I am turning away buyers who will complete the transaction.
The fourth annoyance about selling lenses on a site like Gumtree are the timewasters. The ones who say they want the item, arrange to come and view it and then never turn up. Not turning up is one thing, but not even calling or emailing to say you’re not going to turn up is just down right rude.
Because of my experience with Gumtree I simply trade in my old lenses. In fact, I trade in all my old photography equipment. Okay, I don’t get top dollar for it but trading in my old gear save me time, hassle, headaches and having to deal with idiots, so the small loss is well worth it.
So, what are the advantages of trading in lenses and other unwanted photography equipment instead of selling it? I think the answer is pretty clear cut.
Keen photographer addicted to cameras, lenses and everything photography related. Feel free to follow me in my photography ramblings, and if you have any thoughts, comments, queries or anything else to add I would love to hear from you.