Along with the time taken up there would also be the risk of scammers looking to relieve you off your gear or dreamers who might waste hours of your time before then deciding they were no long interested in purchasing. It was all something of a minefield, and if you might have more than a single item to sell then the whole business would be compounded still further.

Fortunately buying and selling used gear has been brought up to date these days by a raft of specialists who have massively simplified the entire business of buying and selling, ensuring that it’s now convenient, fuss free and very safe. One of the leading players in this fast-growing market is our collaborator in this series, Brighton-based MPB, and each month we’re exploring a different aspect of the second hand market and looking at what you can achieve through trading up. This is very much the way modern professionals are going and it can help you acquire your dream kit on a budget

AS PROFESSIONALS WE all live busy working lives and anything that can be done to shortcut processes that once would have taken an age are to be fully embraced. One such area is trading in and moving on kit that’s no longer being used, and once upon a time this was inevitably an area that was a total timewaster: listing gear, paying for an ad to attract would-be purchasers and then dealing with the sale itself and potentially having to pack everything up to send off.


Changing Your System

MOST PROFESSIONALS WILL settle on one particular camera system that they will then build their business around, and it just makes sense to work this way so that you can standardise your kit and build up a collection of lenses and accessories that will then work alongside two to three bodies from the same brand.

The principle works brilliantly until such time that you might decide that you would like to switch allegiance, perhaps because a rival system has suddenly stolen a march in an area that you’re specialising in or maybe their mirrorless system is blowing the one your current brand is offering out of the water. Whatever, you’ve now got a bulging gadget bag full of gear to sell on, and the chances are that you can’t make the investment in your new kit until it’s all been monetised. Not a great prospect if a few of the items are, perhaps, a little niche and you’re struggling to attract interest.

This is where a dedicated second hand specialist can come into their own, helping you to not only trade in your old system in one hit, but also making the investment in your new partner at the same time. It was a situation that our regular columnist Lisa Devlin found herself in a few years ago and, by turning to MPB, she was able to achieve her move across from Canon to Sony in a totally seamless fashion.

“I had been shooting with Canon gear for around twenty-five years at the time I was looking to move across,” she says, “and I had a full wedding photographer’s kit: a 5D Mark IV, Mark III and a Mark II, eight assorted lenses and a flashgun.

“Previously I’d sold kit on eBay, but I’d never completely changed systems before. With that many items, I didn’t want to have to individually list everything. I’m time poor and I was looking for an easy solution, and MPB helped to provide that.”

As a busy working pro Lisa’s kit was very well used – her MPB contact remarked that her Mark III had one of the highest shutter counts they had ever seen, and it was sold as being in Heavily Used condition. However, she still received a fair price for it and the purchaser would have known exactly what they were buying, and it would have suited someone looking for an entry level price point, backed up by a warranty.

“I always advise other photographers to buy their second hand kit from hobbyists,” says Lisa, “since they keep everything pristine. Pros tend to batter their kit around! That said, MPB also told me that my Mark IV 5D was one of the most pristine, and it was classed as Excellent. For me, I loved how super convenient it was to have it all taken off my hands at once and to receive the payment really quickly. You don’t have to worry about non-payers, returns or poor reviews, or ever really think about it again.”

Why trade up a system with a specialist?

❚ It’s a no hassle way of swapping in a bag full of gear that could otherwise be difficult and very time consuming for you to market and sell on.
❚ You receive the cash for your sale very quickly, releasing the funds you need so that you can go out and invest in your shiny new chosen system.
❚ It’s safe and straightforward and it ensures that you weed out the scammers and timewasters.


Professional outfits can come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from a couple of bodies and two or three zooms covering most useful focal lengths through to a massive bag of kit, similar to Lisa’s, that’s been pieced together over a number of years and now contains a selection of A and B bodies plus a mixture of fixed and zoom lenses in a variety of conditions. There could also be some third-party lenses from the likes of Sigma, plus such things as doublers, all of which will need to be moved on.

A specialist the size of MPB will have the capacity to take on even the largest of outfits and the prices achieved will be realistic and at market value. There’s also the point that if you want to maximise your trading up pot you can also mix and match, so if you happen to have an outfit plus a few extraneous bits and pieces from a different system it can all be priced up at the same time, ensuring the whole process is as seamless and pain free as possible.

Potential Trade-Ins:
(All excellent condition)

Canon EOS 5D IV £1205
Canon EF 50mm f/1.2L USM £650
Canon EF 24-70mm f/2.8 L II USM £900

TOTAL: £2755

Nikon D850 £1440
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8E ED VR £875
Nikon AF-S Nikkor 85mm F/1.4G £505

TOTAL: £2820

The MPB website is geared up to offering trade ups, so when you input your list of items to sell you can also add at that stage any gear that you’re looking to buy. You’ll receive an honest quotation and will be able to work your way up to the cost of the kit you’re looking to acquire, topping up the amount with cash if necessary or coming away with a surplus that’s paid directly into your bank account.


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