Advice needed on buying an expensive camera, used

Started Jun 11, 2014 | Discussions thread
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Advice needed on buying an expensive camera, used
Jun 11, 2014

I am very seriously considering buying a full frame semi-pro camera. How serious? Let's just say I have already sold more than half of all my camera equipment in order to raise funds.

As you know, FF cameras are dreadfully expensive, and even on used sites like EB, KEH, BHPV, they retain their value well.

There are several options if I don't want to pay full price.

One is that I could go with a grey market item, but I ruled that out due to the fact that you don't really save that much and there is no warranty.

Another is there are several sellers who sell USA models that were part of a kit, and remove the kit lens (which they sell separately). This bring down the price of the body significantly, so that you can get an essentially new camera at a steep discount minus the lens. Although this seems like a good way to get a cheap new camera, I feel that this practice is rather dodgy and I have heard reports that they ship the camera in non-original packaging and minus the warranty card. I am not sure if this is true, but at this time I have decided against this option.

Finally, there is the option to buy the authentic product used. The thing is, most of the time you really don't save that much unless there is some sort of blemish (nicks and dings, missing something or other). Otherwise, you might as well pay a little more and get it new.

One thing that I am wondering is this: would you buy a perfectly good camera in great condition, but minus some of the original packaging (i.e. no box) if that saves you a couple of hundred dollars? Let's assume that other than the missing packaging it comes with everything and has no visible defects and works just fine. My main concern is of course resale, since obviously I never look at a camera box again once I take the camera out (probably how the seller lost his box too...).

As an alternative, what about a perfectly working camera that has noticeable cosmetic defects (scuffing, dings, scratches)? If given a choice between a camera that has cosmetic but has the original packaging vs. one that no defects but is missing the packaging, which would you prefer? Which would resell for more?

PS before anyone says that missing packaging/cosmetic defects won't affect the final picture, let me say that I KNOW that, but I am concerned about resale value.

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