Canon refurbished cameras: are these bargains a green light, or a red flag?

Canon EOS R5
(Image credit: James Artaius/Digital Camera World)

When buying new kit, Canon refurbished cameras offer tantalizing value for money. Between hundreds of dollars off the price and buying direct from the manufacturer, you're getting a great deal on a genuine product. There's $900 off a Canon EOS R5C, for example, or $135 off a Canon EOS R50.

But there's that word that makes some people shudder: "refurbished". Just what does it mean? What the heck was wrong with a camera in order for it to need refurbishing? Is it like when an auto dealership patches up an old car, gets shot of it, then it goes kaput once it's not their problem any more? Suddenly, Canon refurbished cameras don't feel quite so tantalizing. 

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James Artaius

The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients like Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photo and lighting tutorials, as well as industry news, rumors and analysis for publications like Digital Camera MagazinePhotoPlus: The Canon MagazineN-Photo: The Nikon MagazineDigital Photographer and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and talks at The Photography Show. He also serves as a judge for the Red Bull Illume Photo Contest. An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.