What Is The Best Way to Sell Your Used Camera?

How to sell your used camera

While you have many options when it comes to selling your used camera, not all options are created equal.  I quickly found this out when I went to sell my 5 year old DSLR and lens.

Some want to sell their used camera for as much money as possible while others want cash as fast as possible.  Whatever you prioritize will determine what the best way to sell your used camera is.

5 Different Ways to Sell Your Used Camera

In 2013, I bought a new NIKKOR 18-300mm lens  for $799.99 and Nikon D5300 DSLR for $646.95 from Amazon.  Close to five years later with both items in like-new condition, I had the idea to sell these items and use the money to buy a device where I could focus on videography.

I explored multiple options for selling a used camera, and came up with this list of five different ways to sell a used camera.

1. Sell to a local camera store

A friend introduced me to Service Photo, an awesome local camera shop in Baltimore.  To my delight, they told me over the phone that they buy used camera equipment.

So I brought my camera to the store for a quote. The gentleman came back to the counter with the quote pictured below.  This is where my excitement wore off.

Used camera quote from Service Photo Baltimore

They wanted to give me a measly $207 for my camera body and $355 for my lens. The $25 was their offer for buying my Pelican 1400 Camera Case.  If I had all accessories, which I did, they would give me $622 for everything.  I tried to negotiate with them, but they weren’t having it.  I knew I was getting lowballed, so I told them I would think about it and left.

Putting this experience aside, selling your used camera to a local camera store is probably the easiest way to get cash for your camera.  If I wanted to, I could have walked out of the store with cash in hand.  However, note that you will not get the best bang for your buck when selling to a local camera store since they need to make a profit when then go and resell it.

2. Sell online with Amazon

Another option is sell your used camera on Amazon.com.  By signing up for a free Amazon Seller account, you will be able to list your used camera on Amazon.com in front of millions of potential customers.  Don’t let the misleading $39.99/month pricing scare you—you can sell on Amazon for free without any membership fees.

This is actually how I sold my used camera and lens.  I signed up for an Amazon Seller account, and within 3 months, I sold both items on Amazon.

Although listing your camera on Amazon is free, the downside is that Amazon takes a cut of your sale. Additionally, you are responsible for paying for shipping to the buyer.

I sold my lens for $570.94, but Amazon took $46.67 and I had to pay $14.56 for shipping.  The camera body sold for $406.49, Amazon took its $33.51 cut and shipping was $12.05.  In the end, I netted $509.71 and $360.93 respectively which is essentially 60% of the original value of the camera and lens.  Not too shabby for a 5 year old camera.

3. Trade in your camera with the Amazon Trade-in Program

Amazon Trade-in quote for a used camera and zoom lens

If you’re lucky, Amazon may buy your used camera back from you directly.  The Amazon Trade-In program allows you to receive an Amazon.com gift card in exchange for your used items. If they are accepting trade-ins for your camera, Amazon will provide you with an immediate quote for your used camera.

In my experience, the trade-in quotes that Amazon gives for used items are quite reasonable. For example, Amazon offered $545.36 for my lens and $354.04 for my camera.

There are no fees with the Amazon Trade-in program and Amazon will give you a prepaid shipping label.  After Amazon receives your item, they will evaluate it for accuracy, and credit your Amazon with payment.

If you’re okay with getting an Amazon gift card in exchange for your used camera, the Amazon Trade-in Program may be the way to go for you.

4. Sell to someone you know

Selling your used camera to someone that you know has the potential to yield the highest amount of money. Although, if it is someone that you know really well, they may be expecting a friends and family discount.

Putting that aside, there are no fees when you sell your camera directly to someone you know. You get to name the price and keep 100% of the sale amount. Perhaps, you may have to pay to ship the camera to they if they aren’t in your area, but shipping costs can be built into the price if necessary.

Selling to someone you know is a great option, but will obviously only work if someone you know is interested in buying your used camera.

5. Sell on Craigslist

Similar to selling to someone you know, selling your used camera on Craigslist has potential to also get you the biggest bang for your buck. Since you completely eliminate the middle-man with Craigslist, there are no fees or shipping charges. You get to keep 100% of the profit.

That being said, selling your used camera on Craigslist is going to be hard. Your pool of potential buyers on Craigslist is limited to the area that you live in. Additionally, someone has to be actively looking for a camera on Craigslist in your area and have a budget that matches your asking price.

If you find a buyer on Craigslist, you are in luck. Otherwise, you could be waiting months or years while your camera diminishes in value.

The Best Way to Sell Your Used Camera

Now that you know a few options for selling your used camera, you’ll need to decide wether you are going to prioritize maximizing profit or getting cash fast.

If you want to maximize profit and sell your camera for as much as possible, selling on Craigslist or to someone you know is going to be your best bet.

On the other hand, if you want to sell you used camera as quickly as possible, selling it to a local camera shop or trading it in through the Amazon Trade-in program will have the quickest turn around time.

A nice middle ground is to sell your used camera on Amazon. With millions of potential buyers, the prices for used cameras on Amazon are competitive. The only downside to this option is the fact that Amazon takes a cut and you have to pay for shipping. But in my experience, these expenses are minor and are totally worth it.


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