Second-hand or not?

8 May 2024 | photography, web design

More and more people are choosing used photo equipment or laptops. Not only because of the budget, but also because of the sustainability aspect. But now is it wise to go for second-hand equipment? This article will help you with the dilemma of “second-hand or not.” Spoiler alert: it often varies by product.

For years, secondhand stores and platforms have been hugely popular, such as online markets and vintage clothing stores. But you can also find specialized used websites and stores for photo equipment, such as
Kamera Express Secondhand
. The selection for used photo equipment and laptops is vast; you’ll find something for everyone.

Why choose second-hand?

There are two main reasons for choosing used photographic materials:

  • Sustainable: by choosing second-hand, you participate in the circular economy; instead of new, you choose something that has already been used. This saves on raw materials for chips, for example. And the associated mining industry is not a sustainable sector.
  • Budget: those who choose second-hand often save a lot of money. For example, instead of a new lens, you can buy multiple lenses.

More and more business owners are also opting for sustainability these days. This falls under “entrepreneurship with impact” in Belgium. Want to know more about this? Read here
all about doing business with impact

Dilemma: second-hand or not?

There are two main reasons for choosing used photographic materials:

Of course, these are ideal arguments for switching to second-hand immediately. Still, there are a few things to look out for when buying used photography equipment or a used laptop. We review it below.

Second-hand photo materials – to be or not to be?

Here the answer is simple: for photography, you can buy anything second-hand, but be careful when buying a used mirrorless camera. This is because mirrorless cameras contain software that must be updated regularly. Possibly that will go well for several years, but it could be that your used mirrorless camera won’t support new updates after a few years.

You can certainly buy this second-hand:

  • Lenses: these really do last forever. For the Canon users among us: you can even buy buy used Canon EF lenses and buy them via an EF-RF adapter to your RF mirrorless camera!
  • Tripods: these also last a very long time
  • SLRs: these are still very handy as a backup camera next to your mirrorless camera

Are you hesitating between an DSLR or a mirrorless camera? Then find out here which type of camera is best suited for you.

Here’s what to look for when buying used photographic equipment:

  • User marks: think scratches, dents or chipped paint. In some second-hand stores, you can physically check out and try out the second-hand photographic equipment before buying. With online platforms, user marks are also given a grade.
  • Review: a lot of secondhand companies do review before reselling photographic material. Some platforms also grade this.
  • Warranty: platforms and stores such as
    Kamera Express
    offer a limited warranty on some secondhand products, which can always be welcome.

Second-hand laptop – to be or not to be?

Again, the answer is simple: do you need the laptop for purely basic tasks? Consider sending emails, surfing the Internet and using MS Office. Then you will be fine buying a used laptop. But when it comes to more complex operations, such as editing photos and videos, the answer is more likely to be no.

This is where the software updates argument comes into play again: companies like Apple typically offer software updates over many years. Is your used MacBook Pro several years old? Then you are entitled to updates for a limited number of years. After a while, that expires. And that can be detrimental to your cyber security.

Refurbished laptop – to be or not to be?

Do you value sustainability or is budget a stumbling block? Then there is another interesting alternative: a refurbished laptop. Companies buy up old laptops and give them an update that allows them to last for quite a few more years. That’s what we call “refurbished.” In easy language: the outside looks the same, the inside is updated.

For example, do you purchase a refurbished MacBook Pro there’s still a catch: namely, those software updates again, but to a lesser extent. For example, if you purchase a 2020 Macbook Pro in the year 2024, you can update until it reaches a certain year. But it usually lasts about 9 years. This means that after a certain year, you no longer have updates for your operating system.

Laptop – still new?

Are you no longer getting updates for your operating system? Then you’re going to notice it with programs like Lightroom or Photoshop. You will no longer have access to the latest features.

From a sustainability and financial perspective, it may actually be more interesting to go for the purchase of a new laptop after all. You grope a little deeper, but you also get longer benefits.

Did you know that you can also create a sustainable website? See here
what a sustainable website is and how to create one


Second-hand is a good choice for those who value durability and budget. Still, some products are more suitable as second-hand purchases than others. For example, in photography, you can feel free to buy anything second-hand except mirrorless cameras. Are you considering a used laptop? Then that’s handy for the basics. Want more? Then dig deeper and go for new-buy. After all, it lasts much longer. That too, then, is sustainable.

Do you work with used or refurbished products?

This page contains multiple affiliate links. Look here for more information.

About Jochem

I am Jochem Oomen, web designer and photographer. My goal is to help sustainable entrepreneurs, organizations and schools gain more customers, participants or students. I do this through sustainable web design and minimalist photography. Read more about me here.

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