Just WHY is it so hard to sell our old cameras?

Old cameras
(Image credit: James Artaius)

I know it's not just me. I know I'm not the only photographer with a "camera shelf". And I know I'm not alone in having far more kit on that shelf than actually gets any regular use. 

So why, then, is it so hard for us photographers to get rid of our old cameras? And this is something that professionals are every bit as guilty of as enthusiasts – perhaps even more so.

• Read more: Best cameras for photography

Indeed, pros may actually be the bigger culprits. Significant cameras are often held onto as artifacts, or even trophies, celebrating milestones in a career or body of work. While working as a photography assistant, my boss' first ever Mamiya RB67 proudly sat in a cabinet alongside an array of awards and other keepsakes.

(Also, at the other end of the scale, sat ignominiously on the bottom shelf, was the "death camera", which was never to be used again.)

Conversely, pros also tend to horde kit with no sentimental value whatsoever. Only this week I was at our photo studio and discovered that there was a box of about 30 Nikon D4s bodies – left unloved, because there is next to no worth in them as professional tools or in resale value.

None of which is to say that hobbyists or weekend warriors are any better at not collecting kit. Just looking at my own array of bodies, I know the feeling all too well. "I can't get rid of that one; that's the camera I learned to shoot on. And I can't get rid of that; I photographed India on that. Ah, well that one will be a good backup body…"

And that's just my working kit; don't even get me started on the film cameras, instant cameras and other photo esoterica I've accumulated. But the whole thing is so bizarre; I didn't keep my first ever DVD player, for example, or the electric whisk I learned to make meringues with. 

So why should these electronics be any different? It would make so much more sense to sell or trade in my kit to somewhere like MPB – or even give them to someone who can get more use out of them (although, I did donate one of my cameras to a friend who had his stolen while on holiday). 

At least, having over 20 cameras, I know that I don't need to buy any more. Even though I know that I still will!

Read more: 

Best cameras for beginners
Best professional cameras
Best film cameras

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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.