The Ultimate Photo Bazaar


One of the neat things about being the largest photo retailer on the planet is that along with the garden variety of used cameras and lenses, we also get a rather eclectic variety of collectables – not to mention truly oddball items - passing through our Used Department on a regular basis. And being the 800-pound gorilla of the industry, we have become the default, first-stop sniffing point for folks looking to trade in, trade up, or simply sell off that bag of camera gear Uncle Bob bequeathed you when he crossed the end zone.

After starting off about 20 years ago as a 2-man sales/repair duo working out of a closet-sized workspace, the Used Department you see today is a 30 man operation - 8 salesmen and 22 equally nice folks toiling behind the scenes - headed by Matt Leonorovitz, Director of Used Sales.

The Used Department counter

For many serious amateurs and pros alike, purchasing used - or ‘pre-owned’ as they like to say at my local BMW dealer - camera gear is a no-brainer way of growing one’s arsenal of cameras, lenses and related camera accessories without red-lining your credit cards (or getting ‘the old heave-ho’ from your significant other). The interesting part of dealing in used equipment is that you don’t order your inventory from the manufacturers; rather it comes to us randomly from folks like you and I. The fun part is that we never know what to expect when we open the cases, camera bags, and the occasional shopping bags that enter our doors and mail bins.

While it’s awfully nice to be able to save a few shekels on a ‘new’ lens or camera body, the big question is often “Did I just buy somebody else’s headache?” I’d be lying if I told you the good Lord smiles down on every item we take in trade at B&H, but we do make every effort to ensure the gear you buy is up to spec and priced fairly.

Before we cut the check, each piece of gear that walks through the door is carefully inspected and tested to ensure everything is up to spec. Shutters are checked for speed accuracy, and lenses for nicks, scratches, glass mold, and aperture accuracy. If there are dents, dings, or unusual scratches we will also inspect for impact damage.

Out-of-towners aren’t necessarily out of luck as we offer online quotes for used gear. Simply fill out the online form and we will get back to you with an offer within 48 hours.

Our in-house technicians go through a checklist of inspections and tests on each piece to determine what, if any repair need to be addressed. Depending on the nature of the problem most repairs are performed in-house. Digital repairs, if they’re technical in nature are usually sent to the original manufacturer for servicing.

Once a potential trade-in is evaluated, we make a fair offer to the seller, which is usually agreed to on the first round. Is there wiggle room on our offer? Well, that depends on the item, the current sales history of similar items, and how many similar items we currently have on our shelves. If you bring us your beloved Nikon N90, but we already have a dozen Nikon N90’s lining our shelves we might respectfully decline the trade. Just don’t take it personally. We still love you.

How many items do we have in stock? On average about 18,000… plus-or-minus a thousand-or-so. And that’s not counting multiples of an item. Aside from numerous used items we also sell an impressive selection of factory-refurbished cameras and lenses from many manufacturers that come with full warranties.

And by the way, while our used department is predominantly photo in nature, we also have a wide range of video and audio gear for serious amateurs and professionals alike.

So the next time in town stop by and browse our used goods.

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As always you have done it right, very impressive article, very clear and to the point and great humor to boot.

Keep up the good work, you have a winner, but you know that, but its still nice to hear Im sure

 Paul Aguilar