THE CHALLENGE EVERY photographer and filmmaker faces these days is to remain competitive while still keeping a wary eye on the cashflow and ensuring that they’re not spending money they don’t have on new gear. Equally you don’t want to be sitting on piles of redundant kit that, while still perfectly serviceable, is gathering dust in a cupboard somewhere in your studio, not earning its keep and dropping in value all the time.

Welcome then to the world of trading up, where you continually evaluate what you need to be running your business successfully, invest in areas where you can see a definite business opportunity or a need to keep pace and regularly move on the kit you’re no longer using to fund at least some of your purchases.

With the whole business of buying and selling having been revolutionised by the likes of second-hand specialists such as MPB, our partners in this series, it’s dead easy and safe as houses these days to buy and sell used equipment online, and you’ll achieve a fair price for the things you have to move on without any of the hassle of dealing face-to-face with potential purchasers. You’ll also find there are major savings to be had when looking to buy second hand kit, and it’s all backed up by a guarantee that ensures there’s no risk, and you can be sure you’re buying something that’s up to the job.


Moving Up to the Top-of-the-Range Flagship

SO MANY PHOTOGRAPHERS when they’re starting out will only have the budget to go for a relatively entry-level model, and they’ll make do with this until business picks up and it becomes feasible to invest in something that comes with a little more in the way of bells and whistles. It’s the sensible way to do things and you learn to cope with some of the shortcomings that come with the territory and you’ll soon find out through experience what the features are that you
really need to be working with.

So, why would you necessarily want to own a camera that’s at the top of the tree? Well, for a start they will be designed from the ground up for professional use, will be built like a tank and packed with features that will cover every eventuality. You’ll have the reassurance of knowing that you’re working with a model fellow top professionals are also working with, and you can be sure that every measure that can be taken by the manufacturer to ensure total reliability will have been taken.

What kinds of cameras are we talking about here? Well, think about dream machines such as the Canon 1DX or the Nikon D5, for example, and you have the level. They’re not for everyone since they most certainly won’t be lightweight options and their prime purpose is to shoot stills not to serve as a hybrid, but for those in the fields of sport, wildlife and documentary photography in particular they are exceptional products that can do a spectacular job.

If you’re looking to buy new then prices, not surprisingly, are off the scale but, then again, we’re talking here about a tool that can essentially help you to earn a living. A brand new Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, for example, will set you back around £7000, body only, while a Nikon D6 isn’t too far behind at £6799. It’s a huge outlay for any pro, but things change dramatically if you’re willing to look at a slightly older version of these cameras.

Obviously, the previous model in the series will have slightly more dated technology under the bonnet, but then again they’re still no slouches. Autofocus and shooting speeds won’t be as fast, more modern features such as deep learning won’t be present, the image processor will be older and not quite as powerful and ISO speeds potentially won’t reach as far, but you’re still talking about immensely capable products that have a huge amount to offer.

So, what about prices? At MPB it’s possible to pick up a Canon EOS-1D X Mark II which, outwardly, looks identical to the Mark III version, from £1174, while a Nikon D5 with Dual XQD card slots will set you back from £2169. You’ll find that cameras at these prices will be well used of course, a sign that they have been companions to working pros in the past, but they will still have been checked out and will carry a six month warranty and so you can be sure they will turn up in good working order, albeit with a few bumps and scratches that you’ll have been told about.

What are Top-of-the-Range Cameras Perfect For?

❚ They are built solely for professional use, and so are made of premium grade materials and are totally weatherproofed.

❚ Manufacturers will have excellent contacts with the pro community and so these cameras have been produced with ease-of-use in mind.

❚ Cameras at the top of the DSLR tree will regularly be used by photojournalists and sports photographers, who still see them as superior to mirrorless models.

❚ These cameras should go on for years and will hold their value over time.

Disadvantages of Top-ofthe-Range Cameras

❚ By design these cameras are big and heavy and slightly cumbersome to use.

❚ They’re primarily designed for top level stills photography and so, if you’re planning to shoot video as well, they won’t be ideal.

❚ These are models designed for experienced professional photographers and could be hard to get to grips with if you’re just starting out.

MPB Top-of-the-Range
Camera Prices

Canon EOS-1D X Mark II, Excellent, £2449

Canon EOS-1D X Mark III, Well Used, £3359

Nikon D5 Dual XQD slots, Excellent, £3089

Nikon D5 Dual CF Slots, Well Used, £2029

Nikon D6, Well Used, £3359

❚ Olympus OM-DE-MIX, Like New, £1109

Panasonic Lumix DC-S1R, Like New, £1579



WHILE THOSE WHO love photography will doubtless aspire somewhere deep inside to own one of these mighty flagships, it’s important that you’ve done your research and that you know for sure that this is the type of camera that will be useful to you in your particular genre of photography. While they’re brilliant in all kinds of weather conditions thanks to their impeccable weather proofing, making them perfect for sports events, photojournalism and wildlife, where you could potentially have the camera sitting on a tripod, they wouldn’t work so well in
situations, such as weddings, where you need to be nimbler.

The fact is however that the used camera route offers an excellent opportunity for the professional to acquire a camera that they might only have been able to dream about when they were first starting out and they do very much live up to their reputation, and are wonderful to use and exquisitely put together.

If you genuinely have the need for a camera of this type then you’ll enjoy just having it around and you’ll appreciate what a finely tuned tool it is when you’re working with it.

Potential Trade-Ins: (All excellent condition)

❚ Fujifilm X-T3……………………………..£490
❚ Canon EOS R…………………………….£850
❚ Nikon Z 6………………………………….£680
❚ Nikon D850………………………………£1280
❚ Pentax K-1………………………………..£710
❚ Olympus OM-D E-M5 Mark III……£450

TOTAL: £4460

The MPB website is fully geared up to offering trade ins, so the ability to swap in unwanted gear can very much be part of the transaction and you’ll see as you go along what you’re realising in terms of cash and how much you might need to add. You’ll receive an honest quotation and could even end up with a surplus paid direct into your bank account.

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