Recently, someone asked me, “Would you have any apprehensions about refurbished cameras? Do you know of anyone who has purchased one?” These are good questions. First, not only are they asking for my opinion, but they also want some insight from someone who has experience. Well, they have come to the right place. Not only do I have an opinion on the matter, but I also have some experience.
Last November, I needed to upgrade. My first digital camera, a faithful 20D, died on a trip to Mexico City, and I was looking to replace my kit 18-55mm lens. I figured it would be best to do my research all at once and buy them both at the same time. Due to funds, I found I could feasibly purchase what I was looking for at Adorama if I bought them refurbished or used. I was apprehensive at first because I had never bought anything that wasn’t completely new before, but after some study, I came to the following conclusion:
- Refurbished is worth the risk; used is not!
The difference between Refurbished and Used can be significant. Refurbished usually means that someone bought the camera, opened it, decided they didn’t like it, and sent it back to the manufacturer. Why they didn’t like it is where you have to take the risk. Perhaps it malfunctioned. Perhaps it had missing parts. Perhaps they just didn’t like the way it looked. Whatever the reason, once a camera is sent back, it can’t be sold as new anymore. Thus, they make the necessary repairs, run it through whatever functionality tests are required, and, if it passes, they put it up for sale as a refurbished item.
On the other hand, Used refers to a camera that someone has had for a while and has sold it back to the manufacturer for any number of reasons. It’s impossible to gauge the health of a used camera. The outward appearance might be excellent, but there is no way of telling what the inside condition is. Used cameras are cheap and you might get just as much life out of them as you would a new camera; it’s just that the changes are slim.
So, speaking from both opinion and experience, I would take the risk to buy a refurbished camera. Though I am only speaking from six months of light and occasional use, both my refurbished camera and lens are doing just fine.