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Used digital cameras make owning a cameras more affordable without having to get less features.

Cannot afford a new digital camera? There are some good quality used or refurbished digital cameras available for a reasonable price.  

Digital cameras first appeared in the market almost ten years ago. But it was in the last two or three years that the number of models has exploded. No wonder, like almost every other product, used digital cameras are becoming a separate segment in the digital camera market. If you cannot afford to buy a new one, here is how to select a good used digital camera.  

In an attempt to discern the good, bad and the ugly, the important thing one should keep in mind is that the pricing graph of used digital cameras is quite different from a film camera. For example, with a second or third-hand 1971 model 35mm camera in a decent working condition, one can obtain a better quality picture by using today’s film with fine grain and better color than the film sold 25 or 30 years ago. But a digital camera with a 640x480 resolution bought five years back has became an antique today. As one cannot add a new imager sensor, the picture quality cannot be improved. That is, an older digital camera is ‘frozen in time’. The second-hand pricing of a digital camera follows a pattern like that of a used computer sale.  

But that does not necessarily mean that used digital cameras are a bad deal. If one could find a camera that exactly meets his/her requirements, then that is an excellent choice and is far better than spending more for a brand new one. For example, a real estate person who requires a camera to take web shots can manage well with an Olympus DL600 SLR or an older Sony Mavica with diskette storage. For documentation, web work and sending photo attachments, it is better to go with a refurbished digital camera if one doesn't want to spend much on a new one.  

Imagine you have a camera that exactly fits your needs. Then, how do you determine its value? For this, one needs to consider three aspects - price, condition, and obsolescence. It can be determined in any order but a negative point in any one of the factors spoils the deal completely. Let us begin the analysis,  

To decide on the price, use the concept that the real estate industry calls ‘comparables’. Search the auction sites and see the price range in which a particular brand of used camera is being sold for. Also see how many of that type of digital camera are on sale. If the number is low, then one may need to be a bit more flexible as far as the price and condition are concerned. Also, check the ‘completed auctions’ to see the range of last selling prices. If one is dealing with a local dealer, then there is an added advantage of getting to see the machine and testing it yourself before making the purchase. Since there is no shipping charge or delay involved, a little higher price can be justified.  

The second aspect – obsolescence – refers to a camera driver’s compatibility with an existing operating system. Such drivers enable your applications to access the camera through a connecting cable. Also, a digital camera requires suitable software even if one is using a card reader for facilitating file transfer. Without the real software or its updated versions, one may lose grip of important controls that can be set only in the program.

For example, the early DyCam series depends heavily on the software for everything from transfer to erasing to editing of images. But, in this case, the DyCam website provides upgrades for even the oldest models. Such a camera can be a worthwhile purchase for a customer.  

Ensure the used digital camera has all the parts, accessories and manuals that originally come with a new one. See the online reviews for a better idea of what should be included. Check if the camera has an AC adapter or connecting cord, and the proprietary battery pack. If it has, also find out if replacements are still available today.  

Generally, a camera that uses a CompactFlash card will be compatible with any CompactFlash card. But the same is not the case with SmartMedia cards. Several cameras with SmartMedia cards are not able to use cards with a memory greater than 16MB. But in certain instances, like the common Olympus SLR models, the manufacturer provides an upgrade which solves this problem. Knowing such details can help the customer to make an informed decision.  

When searching online, the seller will list the digital camera’s condition. If worn out paint is indicated it is not a bad sign but any damage listed to the lens would directly affect the sharpness of the image. Minor scratches to the view finder or LCD screen can be over looked. Also scuffs, cracks, or discoloration in the flash cover can badly affect the flash output.  

If one could get the users manual, it is better. If the manuals are not available they may be purchased in the internet at specialty sites. Don’t fall pray to the statement that the camera is still within its guarantee period. All warranty is solely based on the store receipt and in most cases is non-transferable. Finally, compare the prices with that of a new one. If there is not much difference, it is always better to go for a new one. The easiest and quickest way to search for used or refurbished digital cameras is on the internet.

These are some of the best places to purchase used digital cameras online:

Digital Cameras - Kodak Clearance Centre
Great deals on refurbished products!

Refurbished digital cameras - secondact.com
The real deal in refurbished digital cameras

Used digital cameras - amazon.com
Great selection of used digital cameras

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