A Beginner’s Guide to Selling Used Lenses

There’s a lot to love about photography; I don’t think anyone would argue with that.

No matter if you love macro or landscapes, portraits or street or something in between, photography is just plain fun.

But if you ask me, there’s something else about photography that’s pretty great – you can sell your used gear.

I’ll admit that I’m always on the lookout for the next great camera, lens, or another accessory.

That doesn’t mean I buy them all, but I at least keep an eye on what manufacturers are putting out.

But when I do buy new gear, say, a new lens, I almost always get rid of an older one.

Not only does that keep my kit nice and svelte, but it also gives me an opportunity to make a little money back on the lens I sell.

So, the question is, how do you sell your used lenses?

The Old School Way

I was quite the eBay fanatic about 15 years ago.

I would buy and sell stuff on there on a weekly basis.

That included buying and selling old camera lenses.

I bought some real clunkers along the way and had to resolve a few disputes.

I also sold some of my old lenses but ended up with sellers that flaked out.

In other words, it wasn’t a very good way to sell my stuff.

That’s why I call things like eBay and Craigslist the “old school” way of selling gear…

It’s because you do all the work, have no guarantees that your stuff will actually sell, and don’t have any guarantees that the person that wins the auction or says they want to buy it will actually go through with the process, either.

Plus, you might end up getting ripped off, as explained in the video above by KETV Newswatch 7.

It’s a high-risk, low-reward situation, and that’s not good…

Nevertheless, it is an option for those of you that want to spend more time for less money in return.

But no one wants to do that!

The New School Way

Clean It Up

You should take care of your lenses throughout their lifespan, but before you sell one, it’s important to give it a good once-over.

That means using a dust blower to get big chunks of debris off the glass, utilizing lens wipes and lens solution to clean the glass, and wiping any smudges, fingerprints, or dirt off the lens body.

After all, whoever you sell your lens to will appreciate that they’re getting nice, clean lens and not something that looks like it’s been put through the ringer.

If you take pride in your gear, trust me, it will show, and people will be more willing to shell out money for it.

Figure Out It’s Worth

Let’s say you have an old nifty fifty lens like the one above that you no longer need.

Don’t just give it away, sell it!

You’d be surprised just how strong the market is for used gear, even if it’s decades old…

The first order of business is to figure out what the lens is worth.

The easiest and most efficient way to do that is to get a quote from a used gear retailer like MPB.

They will give you a no-obligation, market-leading valuation so you know just how much you can expect to get out of your trusty old lens.

Note the “no obligation” part too – you don’t want to get stuck having to go through with a deal if you don’t want to.

With MPB, you can get your free quote, and then decide later if you want to go through with it.

Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

When thinking about where to sell your gear, there’s a lot to consider.

On the one hand, you want to maximize how much money you get, which usually means taking a good bit of time to take lots of high-quality photos of the gear and creating listings for it on places like eBay and Craigslist, a la the “old school” way.

But on the other hand, we’re all busy, and no one wants to sit around on their day off making sales listings for their old lenses.

Instead, you can get best of both worlds by working with a company like MPB.

As I mentioned earlier, they’ll give you an estimate of what your camera is worth right off the bat. If you choose to take their offer, all you have to do is box it up and ship it (more on that in a minute…).

That means there’s no taking tons of pictures of your gear, no writing long descriptions of its condition, no fielding inquiries about how it works. MPB handles all those time-consuming tasks so you don’t have to sweat the small stuff!

Box It Up

Whenever I buy anything of much value, I keep the original box, the original packaging, the instruction manuals – you name it.

That means that when I go to sell said items, like old lenses, I have those things readily available.

Saving that stuff is just an indication to buyers that you’ve taken care of your gear.

Plus, when it comes time to mail your old gear, you’ve got the materials that will help keep it safe in transit.

If you work with a company like MPB, the process of shipping the gear you sell is easy, too.

Just box up your lens, tell MPB what day works best for you for a courier to pick up the package, and that’s it!

Decide How to Get Paid

Another great thing about the new school method of selling used lenses is that you can decide how you get paid.

On the one hand, you can work with MPB and get paid in cash for your old lenses.

That’s great if you need the money for something else.

But if it’s more gear you want, MPB gives you the option of trading in your old gear, with the proceeds going toward something that’s new to you.

Either way, getting fair market value for your old lenses is great, but getting quick payment is even better! That’s what you get with MPB.

Final Thoughts

In the end, selling your used lenses really comes down to one choice – are you old school or new school?

Rocking the old school method might get you more money on the open market, but not so much more that it makes all the time and effort you have to put in worth it.

Instead, I’d recommend the new school way of doing things.

Let MPB handle all the nitty-gritty details so you can spend your precious free time actually using the gear you have instead of sitting in front of your computer making listings to sell the gear you no longer want.

It’s fast. It’s no pressure. And you can choose how you get paid.

That sounds like the best deal to me! See another customer’s experience with MPB in the video above by the Broketographers.