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5 ways to get more money when you trade in your camera gear – according to an expert

someone cleaning a lens
(Image credit: Getty Images)

So you’ve decided it’s time to upgrade your camera kit and instead of faffing around taking photos of it to sell on eBay, Gumtree or Facebook Marketplace, you want to trade it in. Some people think you get less money but after paying things like seller fees, but often there isn’t much in it. 

There are lots of shops that offer trade-in services such as Wex and London Camera exchange in the UK or Adorama and B&H in the US. MPB operates a trade-in service throughout the US, Europe and Asia and rather conveniently will pick up your equipment for you.

• Read more: Best professional cameras (opens in new tab)

To find out how much you might be able to get for your camera gear, you can usually get a quote prior to handing the items over. It’s important to be honest about the condition of your equipment as no one wants to get less money than expected. That being said there are a few things you can do to ensure you get the maximum money for your old kit.

Make sure it is clean

This sounds like a simple one, but I worked in a camera shop and you wouldn’t believe the state of some of the cameras that were dropped into us. Some were covered in sticky residue, decades worth of dust and one even had mud stuck in the HDMI and mic inputs. Cleaning your camera goes a long way. Not only does it look a lot nicer but it indicated that it has been well looked after.

Hand it in with the box

It’s a good idea to hold onto the box of any camera equipment you buy so that when you come to sell it you can do so with the box and all the manuals it comes with. For the person who ends up buying it, it makes them feel like they’re buying something new and from experience, you will get more money. Don't worry if you binned the box though, it's likely the difference won't be earth shattering. 

Clean the sensor

As well as making sure the exterior of the camera is sparkling, it’s definitely worth giving the sensor a clean too. It might be enough to just blow away the dust with a dust air blower but if you have some stubborn sticky marks it’s best to use some sensor cleaning fluid and a sensor swab. You can buy kits online to do this yourself or you can take it to a professional. 

• Read our guide to cleaning a camera sensor (opens in new tab)

Check the shutter count

Even though there is nothing you can do to change the shutter count on your camera (except replace it), knowing what it is means you won’t get any nasty shocks when the trade-in retailer comes back to you with a lower price than expected. The shutter life expectancy for a camera will vary widely from 50,000 to 500,000 firings - depending on the model, and if it is designed for heavy professional use or not. The fewer exposures you have taken, the more money you can get for your camera and if the shutter count is near that model's life expectancy or higher, expect significantly less for your kit. 

Don't give away accessories you could sell

Most camera batteries these days are pretty expensive. A Canon LP-E6N battery for the Canon EOS R6 (opens in new tab) or Canon EOS R5 (opens in new tab) will set you back an eye-watering $100/£100 or more to buy brand new. Even if you’re switching camera systems and have no use for it anymore, unless you’re feeling super generous, don't include it with your kit. Most resellers won’t give you any extra for it and you could sell it on eBay or Gumtree. You might not get much for it but you’ll certainly get more for it than giving it away for free.

Read more:

Best camera sensor cleaners (opens in new tab)
Best camera lens cleaners (opens in new tab)
Best mirrorless cameras (opens in new tab)
Best DSLR cameras (opens in new tab)
Best Nikon cameras (opens in new tab)
Best Canon cameras (opens in new tab)
Best Sony cameras (opens in new tab)

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Hannah Rooke
Staff Writer

Having studied Journalism and Public Relations at the University of the West of England Hannah developed a love for photography through a module on photojournalism. She specializes in Portrait, Fashion and lifestyle photography but has more recently branched out in the world of stylized product photography. For the last 3 years Hannah has worked at Wex Photo Video as a Senior Sales Assistant using her experience and knowledge of cameras to help people buy the equipment that is right for them. With 5 years experience working with studio lighting, Hannah has run many successful workshops teaching people how to use different lighting setups.