Questions about buying used...

Discussion in 'Canon EOS' started by keith_downing, May 20, 2009.

  1. After about a month of deliberating I've settled on buying a used 5d for my next camera. This will be my first used purchase for what I imagine being more than $1,000. So what should I look for, or look out for.

    Obviously I'll ask about age, ownership and shutter actuations, but I will most likely be buying on Ebay, so I won't be able to see the camera before I purchase. I think their standard contract gives a couple days to evaluate and return if it is not up to the standards advertised.

    Any advice on what to look for? Any common problems or bugs with this model that I should check for? Anyone know a way to verify shutter actuations other than by the photo number (which I assume can be reset)?

    Any other advice from experieced buyers of used equipment?

    Also, any recommendations on some good lenses for this model? I have several older tamron lenses that should fit the mount: (28-200mm 3.8-5.6, 20-40mm 2.7-3.5, 200-400mm 5.6). But I imagine these won't do much to take advantage of the features and benefits of the new body.

    Thanks so much for the time,
  2. eBay does not have a standard return policy so be careful about that.
    For something as expensive as this, I'd ask the seller some questions and try to get a sense of them (the seller, that is) by the quality and timeliness of their responses.
    I probably would not do business with anyone with less than 99% or maybe 98% positive feedback either.
    You might have better luck on Criagslist. There you can try before you by. Also, in general, I've found Craiglist prices favor the buyer while eBay's prices typically favor the seller.
  3. I just wanted to comment on buying on ebay. There is no standard contract. Return policy is whatever the buyer sets. It can be as is, no return. So read the fine print.

    Sometimes B&H and Adorama have used or refurbished cameras. You may want to check them out, as they will come with a return period and warrenty.
  4. Thanks for the quick responses. I've found that outside New York and LA there aren't many 5d's (or professional cameras at all for that matter) on craigslist. I live in Austin texas and have searched Austin, Houston, and Dallas. The only one I found was actually in Austin, but it was 4 years old and he was asking 1,450 for it.
    I also haven't seen any on B&H in weeks. Not familiar with Adorama.
  5. stay patient.... you will find one eventually....:^)
  6. KEH.COM has 2 listed now.
  7. I took a look at KEH, but for one in good condition they're asking $1,700. That seems high to me. Most on ebay are going for between 1,250-1,400. Any real benefit in paying the premium at KEH other than removing the obvious possibility you might get ripped off on ebay?
  8. So what should I look for, or look out for.
    • Bring a flashlight in case the meeting with the vendor is inside a dark restaurant, etc.
    • Observe how the vendor treats his equipment (rough or makes gentle love to it).
    • Scraping on and around the lens mount. Could be an indication a damaged lens was mounted on the body (i.e. lens screws tampered with and not properly counter sunk).
    • Excessive dust inside the pentaprism which won't affect your images. But, it will be expensive to remove the top housing to get at that dust.
    • Did the owner upgrade to the Ee grid focusing screen? A worthy upgrade.
    • Excessive paint chips and scrapes on the paint and LCD screens.
    • Wear around the tripod socket (i.e. can you still read the serial number?).
    • Was the camera's mirror stops repaired under the current 5D recall? If not, register the camera with Canon after you buy the camera. You will be notified to send your camera into Canon for the repair.
    • Check and verify that all functions work.
    • You would need to compare two 5D's side by side with the same lens to confirm if the camera you are buying is focus-sharp. It will cost around $130 CAN for an authorized Canon Service store to perform a focus check and adjustment.
    • Verify that there aren't any scratches to the CMOS sensor assembly. It will cost $1000 CAN to replace that sensor at Canon.
    • Put a lens or two on the body to see that the camera will auto focus the lenses at all apertures.
    • Verify that none of the camera body screws have been tampered with.
    • Camera should come with the original charger, at least one battery, battery cover, CR2016 date/time battery, preferably the box, software disk, strap, instructions, body cap, viewfinder eyecup and cables.
    • An original bill of sale would help.
    • Pay no more than $1500 CAN for a pristine camera.
  9. I have used B&H, KEH, Adorama and ebay. Iwould not purchase such a high priced item on ebay except from a store that you can check out. Of the other three KEH has the best quality and the most conservative grades - their EX quality is about as good as you ever see in B&H or Adorama. You should be able to find a new one for $1700 as they were selling for this price after the 5DII.
  10. I agree with Philip. I never buy any high-value camera stuff on eBay. And really for such a purchase, you want to be able to hold it and examine it. For the investment, it's worth that extra effort. Regarding a lens recommendation, the 24-105L (or if on a budget the 28-135 IS) come to mind, but it will depend on what exactly you plan to shoot with your lens...
  11. I bought a a Canon refurbished 5D from B&H. I believe they give a ninety day warranty on their used stuff, at least they did on mine. They have a return policy and are big enough keep their word. I paid a couple of hundred more for my 5D but it looks and performs as new and has latest firmware update. I believe there were some rear LCD issues on earlier 5Ds. Serial numbers starting in two as opposed to one are the later versions. I just felt a lot more comfortable doing it this way than buying and unknown body from an unknown source. To me it was worth a little extra money to deal with B&H and a body that Canon had examined. I am extremely pleased with the performance of the 5D in terms of resolution and richness of color as well as the full frame use of my 17-40 f4L.
  12. I've purchased many manual focus FD lenses and several FD and EF bodies on eBay, and I must say that I've had more problems with the bodies than with the lenses. In fact, I've had to return two bodies because they were inaccurately described in their eBay listings as being in better condition than they were.

    If I were buying a DSLR, given than they are more prone to problems than film SLR's, I would avoid private eBay sellers. Dealers such as Henry's or Adorama that list on eBay would be fine. And, as previous posters have said, local sellers would be best.
  13. I am in the Dallas area and I ran into the same problem. I wanted to by a used camera on the level of the 5D but for something like that I wanted to actually put my hands on it and could not find a camera shop that could come close the the prices you find online. I just bought the Rebel XT/350D so I could start learning and taking pictures and with just do a lot of research and buy online from one of the online merchants like Amazon, B&H, and of course Adorama. I really have not seen the prices on ebay be lower on anything that you can't find at one of those merchants.
    If anyone knows of a camera store in Texas, especially in Dallas and Austin, that can come close to the prices of the online merchants for new or used equipment please let us know.
  14. Adorama has two 5D bodies listed for around 1400 classifed as E or E+.
  15. stp


    I've used ebay (a gamble), craigslist (in my experience, owners tend to have unrealistic high prices), and KEH (relatively high prices, but good return policy). If I were in your shoes, I'd be looking for a seller with a long history and who is selling on this site ( or
  16. I just check Adorama, it seem prices are gone up? A couple month ago they are selling new for $1799 and refirbish for $1399.
    I would only buy from KEH, B&H or Adorama b/c they will let you return in 14 days no hassles, and they give some warranty if you decide to keep him. I will not buy some used item for above $1000 on ebay, sorry, too risky for me!
  17. I have had very good luck purchasing used equipment on Fred Miranda's Buy and Sell forum. You can check a persons feedback easily. Just make certain they have pleanty of positive feedback before buying. I have not had a bad experience in over 30 transactions. I would stay away fron eBay.
  18. I've had good & bad experiences on Ebay with camera equipment. "Let the buyer beware" is the watch phrase of that place. There is absolutely NO return policy unless the seller claims he has one. And then you just have to trust that he/she will take back the item and give you back your money. Paypal only guarantees $200 on a sale gone bad, I believe.
  19. I've had good luck with buying used equpment from KEH, B&H, and a local camera store (Penn camera in the DC metro area). They are all very reputable, offer a warranty, usually 14 days no questions asked and 30-60 days for defects. When you buy on E-bay you are taking a big chance.
  20. Thanks for all the feedback guys. Had never heard of Lot's of possibilities there though at some very reasonable prices.
  21. Whatever you do don't buy from KEH. I bought a 5d from them a few months ago in "EXC+" condition for $1500 that had a scratch on the sensor. Ended up paying $50 in return shipping for a problem I had nothing to do with and my replacement arrived minus several of the accessories that the first included. Had a similar problem with a Hasselblad lens I bought from them last fall. You have no way of knowing what they're going to send you.
    Good Luck,
  22. I've done a lot of business on Ebay as both buyer and seller and if you're careful then your odds of getting a good buy are excellent. The first thing to realize is that a seller with high feedback - and I generally mean 100% - will want to protect that feedback very carefully. In the unlikely event that you are disappointed with a camera bought from such a seller, he will almost certainly agree to a return, for that reason. Consequently, in practical terms, for a smart buyer, buying on Ebay winds up giving you excellent return rights. I've had to do this a couple of times with lenses, never a problem.
    The next important thing is that PayPal, beaurocratic as its procedures are, does offer serious protection in the event that what you buy is materially different than as-represented. So make sure the camera has a reasonably complete description of its condition, ask questions through the Ebay mail system to clarify anything that isn't mentioned, and you are very effectively locking the seller into having to provide what you are expecting.
    Those two strategies, and a little patience, will likely get you an excellent deal on the camera you want.
    Personally I think that, at least in my area (Denver), Craigslist photo ads tend to have wishful-thinking prices and sellers that are unrealistic about what they should accept.
    I would never pay a large premium to buy through a dealer, considering the deals I have been able to get on Ebay.
  23. I would look at the classifieds on this forum and the buy and sell board on fredmiranda. I've bought several items, including my 5D, on the fredmiranda board with great success at reasonable prices. Many of the sellers will refund your money if you don't like what you get.
  24. Glenn - have you ever tried to get money back from paypal in a situation where you have not received the goods and the sender says they were posted but they used USPS - I have and it cost me $120 as the seller (isolditinny) claims they mailed the item that I never received. In this case Paypal does not pay up as you cannot "prove" you never received the goods. If you have the goods but they are not as decribed this is a different issue.

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