Without a doubt, refurbished photography gear can yield excellent savings over new prices. In the spirit of what SmartPhotoGear is all about, I typically buy refurbished camera gear. We all know there is a depreciation factor that's always in play when you buy new. It is this depreciation factor that yields the savings when you buy refurbished.
Now, not all gear that’s advertised as refurbished is truly refurbed (see my previous post for a clearer understanding). There are many, many places out there selling refurbished gear, but, as you saw from my last post, much of it is simply cleaned up used gear marketed as refurbished.
As far as my purchases go, I buy my refurbished gear directly form the following manufacturers;
Olympus *Olympus identifies their cameras as “Reconditioned”, not Refurbished. See my previous post for the difference.
The one that stands out the most is Canon, which gives you one full year warrantee, essentially being the same warrantee you get as when you buy new.
There is one major difference between these three, and that’s the warrantees that they provide. I can vouch for Canon, having experienced multiple returns on the same camera until the issue was resolved. It was an intermittent problem, which they don’t experience until the third try, but to their credit, they stuck to their promise and resolved the issue.
Both Nikon and Olympus only provide a 90 day warrantee. Still, a 90 day warrantee is better than none, as when you typically buy used gear.
Now, the following two links are obviously not direct to the manufacturers, however on their site they clearly distinguish when it is “manufacturer refurbished”, and I have every reason to believe this is true in their case, having experienced their customer service.
Honorable mention: Apple
The only reason I mention them here is because I exclusively buy refurbished products direct from the Apple online store. Never have bought new, and never have regretted it. They are meticulously packaged in typical Apple fashion, and are spotless when received, indistinguishable from new.
Not photography related (but I’m sure die hard iPhone photographers might disagree), Apple also gives you one full year’s warrantee, just like new.
The bottom line in all of this is that you must do your homework. Make sure your seller is reputable, and clearly, and I mean clearly, discloses what they mean buy “refurbished”. If they don’t, you might want to ask before you buy, but personally, I feel that if they don't disclose this upfront, I will move on.
Do you have any positive experiences to share? How about negative experiences buying refurbished gear? Drop a comment on our Facebook page, as the best defense against dealers passing off gear as refurbished is a well informed public.