Buying a used DSLR camera?

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Thinking of buying a second hand DSLR Camera? Some things to ask the seller...

Google reviews: A good idea is to check google reviews to see if there are any pitfalls and known problems with this type of camera, you will be surprised what you find out!

Camera useage: Ask the seller if there is any sign of wear on the camera body, buttons, lense(s) and other equipment it may come with (if there is its a sure sign it has been well used). If you find anything in the reviews about dodgy command buttons or the camera has a known problem get them to confirm it is ok and not suffering from them.

How it operates: Ask if the camera operates ok and there are no problems with any of the dials, buttons or battery bays (corrosion). Check if they bought the camera new or second hand.. Have they the original receipt or proof of purchase?

Top tip: Look through their eBay feedback (as far back as you can) and see if they recently purchased it from eBay... if they did and they are reselling it through eBay it could be faulty. 

Next the sensor: Does the camera take images that are free from dust particles (shows up as small dark spots on photos). Cleaning it could cost up to £60.00 if you can't do the job yourself...

And the lense(s): Ask if the optics are free from scratches, dust, fungus and if they have their end caps (without them its almost impossible to keep a lense clean). Do they operate without problems and are they manual or automatic focus (or both). If your lucky you may get a VR version (vibration reduction), check that operates too.

Now the manual: In lots of cases they are available direct from the manufacturers site but it can be a pain having reams of A4 printed paper to look through, so if you can get the original manual its a bonus (I often take mine with me just in case I want to try something different).  

The little things that save you money: Battery chargers, batteries, camera strap, flash gun, memory cards, lense covers, camera bags.. they all add up to a lot of your hard earned dosh so if they come with it your on a winner.

And the all important box... I know it seems silly but if you want to resell it again its worth its weight in gold and you will be surprised how much difference it makes to the selling price on eBay (same goes for the lense and other equipment).

Lastly: Could it be a stolen item? This is a difficult one but if you find the buyer can't answer all of your questions, doesn't have the manual or proof of purchase (or any evidence of proof of purchase) you may find you have bought someone elses camera!...

Happy bidding and good luck

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