If you want to get into digital photography with a DSLR camera but dont want to spend to much money on a camera you should defenitaly look to the second hand market. But don’t just buy by looking at the camera type, functionalities and price tag. Some other aspects need to be taken into account and can easily be checked:

1. Number of clicks

Unfortunately the life of a shutter is limited. At what number the shutter of a certain camera will fail is not fixed but you can expect numbers between 50 000 and 200 000 clicks. My second hand camera had about 2 000 clicks. That’s as good as new. To get the number of clicks or shutter actions you can take a picture with the camera and upload it to one of the websites below. Using the EXIF information the click count can be determined.

2. Wear on body

Dents or scraches can indicate uncareful handing by the seller. Uncareful handling can lead to mechanical defects in the body or the lenses. Stay away from second hand camera’s that have to much wear on the exterior or at least ask the seller why the camera looks this way and test as much functions as possible before settling the deal.

3. Dust on sensor

Even with normal use it’s not always possible to keep the interior of the body of the camera dust free. It’s a good habbit to have the sensor cleaned by a professional once a year. Ask the seller for an invoice/note of the last cleaning. If the sensor hasn’t been cleaned recently you can lower the price you give for the camera and have it cleaned yourself.

You can verify if there is dust on the sensor by making an unsharp picture (with or without lense) of white surface. If you notice darker spots/areas on the picture this might be caused by dust. Take another picture at another postiion of the surface and see if the darker area is on the same location.

Happy second-hand-camera hunting!

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