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Refurbished Camera Equipment: As Good as New if not Better

refurbished camera equipment

Today Art Skopec shares some tips on buying Refurbished Camera Gear.

During the 1980’s, I was the Canon USA Service Manager in charge of setting up and running their Refurbishing Center in New York. For 5 years, I worked with other Service Departments to establish procedures and standards related to refurbished equipment. Though we dealt with more than photographic equipment, it will be the focus of this piece.

Where does the equipment come from?

The majority to be refurbished equipment are retail returns. These returns are usually because the buyer or gift recipient can’t get equipment to work for them! (Seriously) The other source of gear is from retired in-store demo units. In both cases, the equipment is usually in perfect running order, possibly with slight cosmetic issues. No matter how good their condition though, they are no longer “New”, and can’t be sold as such.

This is where refurbishing comes to the rescue of the manufacturer and retailer, putting the equipment into a salable state so they can get their investment out of them. In the process, the buyer benefits with a price break.

How is the equipment serviced?

Camera Service standards are more stringent than the Manufacturing Standards of new product coming off the assembly line. Each piece of equipment is tested in a standard manner and adjustments are made when and if required. Depending on the cost involved, more involved repairs will be undertaken to permit the equipment to pass Quality Control. In rare cases, equipment has cosmetic damage that warrants the replacement of external parts. At the end of the repair the piece of equipment is readied for packaging and sale.

In a majority of cases, all original accessories are included with refurbished equipment.


There is a different Warranty with Refurbished equipment. Be sure to read the details because there can be a couple different versions for the same model. The difference is usually the duration, making a significant difference in retail price.

Where can I purchase Refurbished products?

I know that Canon sells refurbished equipment at their eStore. Adorama always has an excellent selection of refurbished equipment. Finally, Refurbdepot specializes in all categories of refurbished equipment.

I hope my insights have been useful and that you will consider purchasing refurbished equipment in the future. If you do you’ll get a much better bang for the buck!

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