Canon is well-known for their DSLR and cinema cameras, but the brand is has been around for decades long before the digital imaging world was present. Canon's 5D Mark II was a crucial pioneer in the growth of DSLR video shooting, and their various Rebel cameras are some of the most popular among the entry-level, beginner crowd.
In the following article, I'll be touching on the best online retailers or platforms where you can find and score deals on used, pre-owned or refurbished Canon DSLR cameras. While I will be focusing on the DSLR market, many of these outlets will put up used models of their more expensive, higher-end cinema cameras as well so if this is what you seek, this article may still be helpful in your search.
If you know exactly what Canon DSLR body or lens you are looking for, I'd recommend clicking through to each retailer listed below and running a search for the model you seek. This way you can compare what is available on the online used market and determine which is the best options for your budget.
The biggest selection of used Canon DSLRs and EF lenses will be found on the world's largest online marketplace, eBay. For those who aren't familiar with eBay, it is an online resource that allows users to register, create listings and auction/sell to other users through a secure and organized platform. Since getting involved in the photo/video world, I've both sold and purchased dozens of cameras and lenses off eBay sometimes at a fraction of the price of a used item through an online retailer.
The key to eBay is to pay close attention to the seller's feedback, item description, and uploaded photos to make sure the deal you think you are getting isn't too good to be true. Worst case, I recommend always messaging the seller with any questions before bidding so you have a proper paper trail that eBay can reference if the item arrives differently than they described and you have to file a claim against the seller.
While Amazon is known best for being the largest online retailer of new goods, it also allows third-party sellers the ability to list used or refurbished items. In this case, you can find thousands of used Canon camera bodies and lenses on their platform priced significantly less than new. You can filter for used under the condition section on the left-hand side of the search results along with the desired condition you seek.
Similar to eBay, since the used items are sold by third party sellers and not Amazon itself, you need to pay attention to the seller's reputation (length of time active, the number of ratings, overall feedback) to ensure the item isn't too good to be true. Most reputable sellers will include a detailed product description and upload images alongside the listing of the actual used camera or lens so pay extra attention to these elements.
While KEH is a lesser-known retailer, they are just as reputable as the big dogs and have been in business for 35 years. Unlike the used models on eBay and Amazon, KEH is selling the used items after buying directly from previous owners.
This means you have the advantage of a 10-point grading system in which an expert technician inspects, grades and certifies each used item to accurately depict the condition before the sale. Beyond that, KEH offers a 180-day warranty on all used items and a 14-day, hassle-free return period to ensure satisfaction. Interestingly enough, KEH will also perform a 100% price-match on identical used gear sold from retailers like Amazon, B&H Photo, Adorama, and Best Buy as long as the qualifying grade matches.
Depending on the time of year, the selection is smaller than Amazon or eBay, but you can still score a great deal on both entry-level and professional-grade DSLR bodies and lenses.
If you've ever bought Canon equipment in the past, you've probably heard of B&H Photo who remains one of the largest photography retailers in the US. They sell virtually every new Canon model, lens or accessory on their website, but also offer a great variety of pre-owned Canon gear in their ‘used' section of their online store.
Many times these items will be in like-new condition with very minimal or no use, they have just been returned or traded into to the retailer due to reasons other than defects. Next to each used item, B&H offers a numerical score based on item condition from 1 to 10, and all used items are tested to ensure proper operation before being listed for sale.
I've purchased almost a dozen used items from B&H in the last three years and have yet to have any issues. They are one of the first places I check when looking to purchase a used piece of camera gear as their competitive pricing, and stellar customer support makes it a no-brainer plus they ship worldwide for those of you not located in the US.
Similar to B&H Photo, Adorama is also an NYC-based photo retailer that has been around for quite some time. Alongside their rental service, Adorama regularly updated their online store's used section with Canon gear priced significantly less than new.
Their technicians process each used item to look for wear, tear or defects and choose from ten different condition ratings ranging from ‘open box' to ‘for parts only'. With their used guarantee, anyone who purchased a used item can return it within 30-days to get a full refund.
If you aren't familiar with Borrowlenses, they are one of the most popular online photo/video gear rental services and are a subsidiary of Shutterfly, so they have a reputable company behind them. While they offer a whole assortment of Canon cameras and lenses for rent, they also put up used Canon DSLR and lenses that retire from their rental fleet.
Besides reasonable prices, I like about buying from Borrowlenses since they carefully inspect each piece of gear to ensure it is working as expected before the sale and list the condition of the item in question.
They also have a 3-day inspection/return window which allows you to return any item within three days only to face the roundtrip shipping costs and a 3% restocking fee. Any returns past three days will result in a refund minus the running cost of a renting that gear for the length of time in your possession.
While I don't recommend buying new Canon gear through their the company's online store, they have an extensive selection of discounted refurbished stock. We consider refurbished units under the ‘used' spectrum because they are products originally sold as new and have been repaired or inspected to be in good working order. Canon's Online Store (USA) has an ample selection of bodies and lenses ranging from all price-points so visit the link above to browse their current refurb stock.
I have a love/hate relationship with Craigslist because the quality of sellers on it can vary widely. While I've had excellent experiences buying/selling on the platform, I've also had terrible experiences. Similar to eBay, you'll often find a wide selection of Canon gear under the ‘Photo & Video Equipment' section of your local Craigslist area, but this will primarily depend on your location.
The trouble with Craigslist is there is a lot of risks compared to a traditional online retailer because of all the low-life, scammers out there. Any Canon items listed here that seem unbelievably cheap or “too good to be true” should be approached with extreme caution. However, if you do your research beforehand (ask questions, examine product pictures, look up serial numbers, etc.notable), you can score a great deal on used Canon gear without the hassle of dealing with any online ordering or shipment times.
This concludes our round-up of the best places online to find used Canon DSLR bodies and lenses. If you think we left any important resources out, be sure to share another website/retailer/platform in the comments section below. Anyone who has purchased used Canon gear from any of the suggestions listed above, feel free to share your experience (good or bad) for future readers' benefit. We hope this article helped expand your horizons as to all the various places to find used Canon gear and helped you save some money in the process.
As a graduate of the University of Massachusetts and our Managing Editor, Colt loves testing out the newest tech products/services. His goal is to help better educate other consumers to ensure the most satisfying purchases decisions on consumer electronics and services. When he is not working on creating new content, Colt enjoys spending time with his two Australian Shepherds, Mia and Zoey.