Technology is expensive. For anyone who is in the film or television industry, they already know how costly it can be to purchase cameras and accessories. Fortunately, for most of them, the networks and production studios foot the bill, but for the young, independent startup filmmaker, the cost of cameras can be prohibitive to making the quality program that the script deserves.
Buying used, as most people already know, can save a lot of money on any number of items, and when it comes to buying used cameras, it could mean the difference between getting the right equipment for the job or dealing with ‘just good enough.’ While there are many great deals out there for used cameras, there are some things that you need to keep in mind before dropping the bills on the counter for it.
Know who you are dealing with
In this day and age of Internet advertising, it can be easy to be duped by someone only looking for a fast buck. There are literally thousands of ‘companies’ out there selling used gear. The only problem is that it is incredibly simple to call oneself a company when in fact it is just one person working from an auction site or advertising site.
Before you even consider buying a used camera from a dealer or individual whom you find online, check out their credentials. How many years have they been in business? Why are they selling film and television caliber cameras? What are their customer reviews? If you found someone who just happened to come by one of these cameras and their story doesn’t quite ring true to you, the best advice is to go with your gut instincts on the matter and walk away.
You may save a few bucks by purchasing a used camera from that person, but you could be in possession of stolen property or stuck with a camera that doesn’t work the way that you hoped.
Research the camera you want to buy
If you don’t know the features that you’re looking for in a camera, then you are going to be easy prey for someone who is looking to make a few quick bucks. Salespeople are great at talking circles around their customers and they will throw out a host of features that don’t pertain to you, the camera you really want, or that may be completely false. Just because something sounds impressive doesn’t mean that it is.
Of course, there will be many people who will say that this advice is similar to what you may hear when buying new cameras and it is. The only difference between new and used is that the older a camera is, the easier it may be to slip some features ‘into’ the sales pitch or ad that it doesn’t truly possess. A later model might, but the older version might not have it.
Don’t be frightened by scratches and dents
Cameras get abused. That’s the nature of the film industry. You will find that the more field time a camera receives, the more times it gets banged, scratched, and dented. While the technology of these cameras can sometimes be sensitive, the better cameras are more durable and will endure some physical abuse. Don’t immediately dismiss a camera because it looks worn or haggard on the outside.
Take a closer look and ask to film a sample from that camera to make sure that its quality is second to none. When you are satisfied, then you know you have found a bargain and its time to really haggle on the price. After all, it looks as though it went through the ringer, right?
Buying used cameras can be the perfect solution to the budget conscious filmmaker and in this day and age of competition; you want the best equipment at your disposal. Following some of these tips and advice will help you find the right camera at the right price and you will be on your way to making wonderful films.