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buying used underwater equimpment

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#1 shaundoylephoto


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Posted 14 June 2012 - 03:34 PM

I need to get some underwater photo equipment and I want high quality but on a budget. Im scared to pay a few hundred bucks for some underwater equipment and it not work or fail right off the batt. I started to look around and the prices are really starting to push me towards getting some used strobes or a whole ridge. Any suggestions, should i steer clear and buy new or me I in the right direction

#2 scubamarli



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Posted 14 June 2012 - 04:17 PM

If you are starting out, I would recommend buying used, but research what equipment you are looking for. Wetpixel is a great place to start. When I went to an SLR, way back in film days, I bought everything used. Years later, I still use two of the lenses. There are often entire rigs up for sale on Wetpixel, especially when a new camera model comes out. You might want to look out for someone that is an active participant rather than a first time poster, as people will know who it is. You can also buy used from some of the Underwater Photo dealers, but you will pay more.

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#3 jcclink


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Posted 14 June 2012 - 04:58 PM

Check things like camera body - # shutter releases, condition, any repairs; housing - floods (minor or major), service history of housing, how often its been used, condition, etc. I think PayPal gives you the option to return item if you don't like it before payment is transferred.
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#4 Steve Douglas

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Posted 14 June 2012 - 04:58 PM

I hardily agree with Marli. I have sold plenty of camera gear on here without a complaint from anyone but I have also bought plenty of used gear on Wetpixel and always got what the seller said it was in terms of product and condition. You will find that the great majority of folk on Wetpixel are quite honest. However, make sure you do your homework first and have as good an idea of what gear you want and how much it generally sells for before you pull out your wallet. If your budget is so low than hold off until you can afford what would suit you better. Good luck.


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#5 rtrski


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Posted 15 June 2012 - 12:16 PM

Ditto. I bought my first housing via eBay (but was able to confirm it was a Wetpixeller selling), dome ports, arms, and strobes here, and have sold an entire housing rig with camera here.

I've had one transaction go south only, but as it was funding thru PayPal via credit card I was able to dispute the charge and was out no money, just a little irritation. By no means do I consider that single incident a reason not to continue to do business with this great community. Should I upgrade again (hopefully not too soon, bank account can't take it) I would certainly plan on giving people here first dibs on anything I was obsoleting. And I'm still continuously watching the classifieds for a few additional items I wouldn't mind like a macro port (5505.58), maybe a good 45 deg viewfinder, etc.

Use all the same cautions you would buying used from anywhere e.g. eBay like looking for good descriptions of the items in question, pictures of actual items in question (not just stock), a username with some history (or if new, perhaps willing to identify himself with a correlating eBay ID that has some history), etc. etc. Consider the terms of the purchase offered and use a monetary transaction medium and timetable you are both comfortable with, and request shipping with tracking and insurance if at all possible, even if that does add to the shipping costs.

Strobes, in particular the 'smaller' ones like Ikelite DS50/51's or Inon 2000's, tend to be very good purchases used. There are a lot of people who let them go because they've gone bigger, not because anything was wrong with them, and/or they've switched systems (e.g. leaving Ikelite for higher end Nauticam, etc). But going used can save you quite a pretty penny and get you in the water with a good starter system much faster.

Best of luck, and welcome to the madness....

Edited by rtrski, 15 June 2012 - 12:19 PM.

Current rig: Sony SLT-alpha55 in Ikelite housing, Sigma 105mm f2.8 DC Macro w/ Ike 5505.58 flat port or Sigma 8-16mm f/4.5-5.6 DC HSM behind UWCamStuff custom 5" mini-dome. Dual INON z240 Type IVs triggered with DS51 for TTL mimicry, or DS51 alone with home-made ringflash assy for macro.


Topside, unhoused: Sony SLT-alpha99, Sigma 150-500mm + 1.4TC (Saving for Sony 70-400 G2), Sigma 15mm diagonal fish, Sony 24-70mm f2.8 CZ, Tamron 180mm f2.8 Macro...all the gear and nary a clue...

#6 Wanderer



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Posted 04 August 2012 - 07:47 AM

I think the biggest decision is whether you want to go point and shoot with one strobe or DSLR with two. I started with the former and then wound up upgrading to the latter. If I had to do it all over again, I obviously would've just started with the DSLR, which can cost 3-4x what the P&S beginner set up costs. Though you could probably get that down quite a bit if you bought on Wetpixel used. The primary factors for me in making that decision is how often I plan on diving in the next say 3-4 years and what you plan on using the pictures for. If you want to take good photos of your dives and the creatures you see on them for your friends and as a keepsake, then something like the Canon G12 or S100 in and Ikelite housing with a Sea & Sea YS-01 will be great. You can really take some great photos with those cameras. If you want to get some of the "Photo of the Week" winners or want to frame your pictures etc, then probably a DSLR is the way to go. Lenses, ports, extension rings, etc can get out of hand quickly on a DSLR set up but again, you can buy those over time and piece meal.

#7 Paul Kay

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Posted 04 August 2012 - 10:21 AM

If you are prepared to buy an older mode housing, check that it can be fully serviced and parts are available to do this - which may be required depending on the use it has had and how well it has been cared for. Its worth finding out who services and repairs housing in your 'locality' and talking to them about servicing and spares of anything you are interested in. Buying an older housing without proof of servicing should put you in the position of negotiating a price reduction for the servicing cost. Be aware though that some older cameras are becoming scarce in good working order - 'pro' cameras are often easier to find and service/repair.

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#8 TomR1


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Posted 04 August 2012 - 12:34 PM

I have purchased and sold multiple items on Wetpixel and Digital Diver. It has always worked well for both buyer and seller.

If possible purchase a system as complete as possible. When someone upgrades, Typically everything is new except the tray, arms, strobes and lenses. If one upgrades into the same housing family, then the ports are reusable. However ther of lots of little items thrown in when one sells a housing/camera combination and usually even more when purchasing a complete setup. That this into consideration when evaluating new versus used.

Your first rig won't be your last. If you start with Nikon and Aquatica you will usually stay in that family because ports and lenses work with the new camera. if you are considering a dSLR picking the family you want to be in is importent. Nikon, Canon. The Olympus E series is deadended but very good deals can be had on complete Olympus E-620 rigs.

Probably the coming thing is mirrorless cameras. Olympus and Panasonic are the leaders camera/housing combined cost is much less than SLR but the rest of the rig (strobe, tray, arm etc.) is not.

Lastly, plastic rigs from Ikelite work just fine but many prefer metal housings. Be advised that an Ikelite housed SLR is a good place to start but you may not choose to continue with Ikelite.

#9 tdpriest


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Posted 05 August 2012 - 04:42 AM

If you are near to an underwater photographic society, get in touch: I've sold an old camera and housing that way, to a new member who was interested (I think he later went out to Antarctica!). On-line, I've found that eBay and Amazon are quite frustrating experiences..

... Wetpixel (and Digigreen in the UK) are pretty good, as most people are genuine enthusiasts and happy to see their old pride and joy go to a new home.


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Posted 23 August 2012 - 12:34 AM

Dont just read on them, go into a store and handle them, see which one fits you, see which one has controls that make the most sense to you....consider the lens line up..consider what type of photography you want to do....everyone has their opinions on the best camera(s)...but YOU will be the one using whatever it is you wind up with.

#11 Damo


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Posted 27 August 2012 - 11:53 PM

Hi Shaun,

All of the above..and...
ask yourself how much can you realistically spend........decide first wheither you want to go compact or slr....research the cameras available ....what they can and can't do....research availability of housing and strobe choice......you have a bit of thinking to do first!

Def. consider second hand- the classifieds section here is superb- and alot of wetpixellers will sell you top notch second hand gear.
All my slr stuff was bought second hand here.

Good luck, and you can always ask more questions....everyone here is so generous and encouraging with their knowledge...
I just wish I knew of wetpixel before I started out!!

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