First of all let’s make it clear what refurbished means exactly, because most of the time this term is misused.
According to Wikipedia, refurbished is usually used to describe products “that have been previously returned to a manufacturer or vendor for various reasons like not sold in the market or new launch of a product.”
For instance, a camera that has developed a fault within a certain period of time from purchase, can be returned to the manufacturer, which can replace the faulty parts with new ones, reseal the product and it now becomes a refurbished camera.
Most of the times, we sell a refurbished electronic product that is a 14-day unwanted item that is cleaned if needed, receives a software factory reset and is listed for sale as a refurbished product. This is basically a new product, but being removed from its original packaging doesn’t make it to be new anymore.
Now let’s talk about the pros and cons of buying refurbished cameras. Bad news first.
Short period warranty – Refurbished cameras usually come with a warranty period between 1 to 6 months, which is half or more less than what a new product is warranted for.
Missing accessories or original packaging – If you’re buying a gift for someone, a refurbished camera can be a downside, as these products can be shipped in plain cardboard boxes and some of the accessories provided by manufacturer may not be included.
Imperfections – Some refurbished cameras may have small blemishes or imperfections caused in the refurbishment process or by the previous owner. Still, a refurbished camera will always be in a near perfect condition.
Manufacturer vs. Merchant refurbished – If you’re shopping for a manufacturer refurbished camera expect to pay a bit more than a merchant refurbished one. That’s because for example Sony will always use genuine parts compared to a merchant which may use OEM parts, which can be of inferior quality than genuine parts. This does not apply though to lenses or sensors, as these parts are not reproduced.
Lower price – In most cases, a refurbished camera will have a price tag of 30% lower than a new one. For instance, Canon sold the 5D Mark III Body refurbished for £1,695 while a brand new one retails for £2,350 on Amazon. The price should be your main focus, but keep in mind that choosing a ‘as new’ refurbished camera can be a wise choise over one with signs of usage.
Another pro for buying a refurbished camera is that you can get literally the same new product for a price of a refurbished one. Many online merchants sell new cameras as refurbished. Why, you may ask.. well, instead of giving a 2-year warranty, a 90 days warranty for a 30% of the price may be a better choice if the profit margin allows you that.
Digital cameras tend to last – This may not be an overall rule, but how many times you’ve had such a bad luck to buy a digital camera made by a reputable manufacturer like Nikon or Canon and find that it has a fault and you need to return it. I don’t say this can’t happen, but if that fault hasn’t developed in the first 3 months, it may not develop soon or at all.
Refurbished cameras are thoroughly tested and inspected. They also get cleaned, updated and reset to factory settings. This thing is another pro, as every refurbished camera is given a careful inspection, and must pass a strict quality control test.
Low shutter count – We and most other online merchants, check the shutter count and display it in the specifications sheet. Knowing how many photos your refurbished camera took, can give you an idea of how used it was or not. On many occasions we sold refurbished cameras with only 1 shutter release, which was made during our testing process.
I hope I’ve covered all the bad and good things about buying a refurbished camera. I personally believe that you should always choose the least expensive option, and if buying a used camera is not an option for you, but you still want yo save money, then a refurbished camera should be your choice.
Please check our stock of refurbished cameras and accessories. All of our refurbished cameras are in mint condition, are very carefuly inspected and tested, and all come with at least 90 days warranty.