Any recommendations for a used equipment purchasing website?

I’m looking to buy a used Nikon lens (70-300mm) and am wondering if anyone has any experiences with buying used equipment through mpb.com, good experiences or bad. Any and all comments are welcome.

Or, if you can recommend a used gear selling site or offer advice on any sites to avoid, I would appreciate your feedback.

Thank you!

No experience with them, but a long-time user of keh, so that’s my frame of reference. I went to the mpb site you linked and noodled around a while to make my own comparison for an ongoing gear search.

Not saying mpb is bad, just making comparisons. Their site is pretty clunky to use compared to keh, in particular their search filters, in the category I examined at least. Their selection was also lots smaller.

As I said, not saying that mpb is bad at all. Just didn’t suit my needs or tastes. Someone else will have to contribute actual experience with sales and purchase. But I will say that keh has been kind of the gold standard for condition rating and warranties in used equipment for decades, and it’s certainly worth checking them as well as mpb before you buy.

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I used mpb just over a year ago to buy my 16-35 F4 Lens. It was a good experience for me, lens was in good condition. I think they offered a 6 month warranty which I never had to use. I often browse Adorama’s used section as well, don’t have any experience buying anything with them but sold them back my old 7d. I didn’t get much for it but I put it through the ringer so I didn’t really expect to.

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KEH has been the premier used camera gear site for years. I’ve bought from and sold to them several times over the years. Another plus for me was their repair service on older hardware. They do an excellent job on CLA for lenses and cameras too.
Last year I lost 3 microscopic screws out of a film roll back. I sent them an email and they sent me the 3 screws within a week at no charge…:+1:

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I’ll also offer a ‘thumbs-up’ for KEH. Years ago I got a pristine medium format lens for a very good price. I also had a 4x5 that had light leaks in the bellows. They installed a new bellows for a very reasonable price.

KEH grades their used gear conservatively–they do not say ‘excellent’ when an item is merely ‘good’.
–P

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KEH gets a vote from me as well. However, I’ve also had good luck with the used department of B&H and with Lensrental.com used gear ( I think it’s called lens authority). I don’t know if Nikon does it, but Canon has it’s own refurbished sales site with pretty good prices.

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I’ve had great luck on the Fred Miranda Buy/Sell Forum, and the NPN Classifieds of course :wink:

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I’ve bought from mpb 3 times and always had really good customer service from them

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Another thumbs up for KEH. I’ve used them as both a buyer and seller, and experiences have always been very good. The last time I looked at MPB for a piece of gear, I found that their inventory wasn’t as extensive as KEH. With the fluidity of the used market, it could’ve just been bad timing. I’ll there again when in the market for gear.

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Fredmiranda is full of gear enthusiasts who constantly buy and sell. I would look there for well priced barely used equipment. All of it goes for below the average eBay selling price and is always in fantastic condition. I also like selling there because of the lack of ebay fees. When you get into the expensive bodies and lenses that 10% ebay fee can bring a $3000 body down to $2700.

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I have also had great transactions with KEH. I have sold a lot on Fred Miranda, but never bought anything there. I also bought from Midwest Photo and was very happy with the service and equipment.

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With the growing list of good sources, this thread is starting to look like a good prospect for making it a “stickie” or whatever is the right term for this software. What do you think David?

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I agree there is a lot of great information here, but I don’t want to turn into one of those sites that has a million sticky posts. This would be a great use of the NPN wiki, I’ve started a new post here compiling all of this information and anyone is welcome to add to it!

I like your thinking David, and thanks for making the switch while preserving the info. Some sections of the owner’s forum for our Florida flats boat have stickies running on for over a page. Downright annoying!

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I suspect that this will be heresy, but…over the years I have built a considerable collection of high quality manual focus lenses (chiefly Zeiss, Leica and Minolta), all of them except 2 or 3 bought on ebay. The 2 or 3 came from KEH. I agree with everything that has been said about KEH, reliable, honest, and very conservative grading. But expensive. You can get equally good lenses from reputable sellers on ebay for hundreds of dollars less. You will have to spend some time researching sellers, but in my experience it pays off. I have never bought any lens on ebay that I had to argue about after the fact. A few caveats:

  • Buy only from sellers that only sell photographic equipment. Avoid estate sale and pawn shop scavengers (they are easy to spot - Santa Claus figurines next to J.C. Penney lenses with the odd Nikon, Canon, Olympus, etc. lens in the mix). Sometimes you can get great deals from private sellers (e.g., people upgrading their gear or getting out of photography altogether) but it is a more dicey proposition than buying from somebody who relies on camera trading for part or all of their income. The few times I went this route I exchanged messages with the seller and tried to get a feeling for the type of person I was dealing with. I walked away several times and went ahead with the purchase other times. It always worked for me, but I may have just been lucky. Bottom line, if you decide to go this way do your homework.

  • Most Japanese and German sellers are to be recommended. They give very complete, accurate and honest descriptions of their wares, together with high-quality photos showing any imperfections. They tend to be a bit more expensive than U.S. sellers, but still below KEH (at least for the kind of stuff that I am interested in), even accounting for the shipping from overseas, which in some cases is free. In case you are not aware, there are no import duties (in the U.S.) for used camera gear and shipping can be very fast. I have received lenses from Japan in less than three days. You are welcome to send me a private message if you find something you like and wish to know whether I have dealt with the particular seller.

  • Both KEH and Adorama have ebay stores. KEH’s is their “outlet” store, chiefly very low grade material that they’d rather not sell out of their real store - stay away. Adorama, on the other hand, often has excellent stuff - I think that if something does not move within a certain period of time they put it on ebay regardless of condition.

  • I emphasize that I have ONLY bought vintage manual focus lenses. I realize that AF lenses may have focusing and other electronic issues that are harder to spot. I cannot comment on this. Ditto for used camera bodies. I have avoided buying used bodies because of this - they are the only items that I have bought new from B&H. In fact, I would not buy a used body, period. When it gets to electronics I am always concerned about intermittent erratic failures and want to have the full manufacturer’s warranty (not that Boeing’s is worth much these days, but that is a different story).

  • Before buying, whether on auction, buy-it-now or best offer, search ebay for identical recently sold items. This will give you the best information on the (ebay) market value of the item. If you decide to buy on auction, don’t waste your time bidding before the last few seconds. Decide what is the maximum you wish to pay and place your bid as close to the end of the auction as your nerve will allow. Typically I place my one and only bid 2 seconds before the end of an auction, sometimes 1 second (make sure that you have a good internet connection). I have won auctions by a margin of 1 dollar, and well below my maximum price. On those occasions I have also had an extra kick thinking about the guy who lost by 1 dollar :smiling_imp:

  • I have also sold on ebay a number of lenses that I did not want to keep and can tell you this: ebay is great if you are a buyer, it sucks if you are a seller - sort of like being a Uber rider or driver. This is not just because of the cut they get (even with that you get a lot more than by selling your stuff to KEH, though) but because if there is any problem (even with a buyer who is either a complete moron or a sleazeball), the seller always loses. So, if all you want to do is buy the odd item, the odds are strongly in your favor. Again, if you take your time doing some research and reading between the lines, you most likely will not have to use their “customer is always right” policy.

I hope this helps.

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Alberto: David opened a section for this subject in the Wikis. This is very well thought out and written, so you might want to copy it to that location.

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I personally almost always buy and sell on Fred Miranda; however, you can get into some situations there that are not very fun. I have done about 15 - 20 transactions there and only one was not very good (me as the seller). Otherwise, I have used KEH once and it was a great experience also.

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