You’re ready to make that big purchase and you happen to run across the same product in refurbished condition. Do you buy it? It really depends on who the seller is.
Shortly after the Canon 5D Mark III was announced, I decided it was a worthwhile upgrade, so I set a price notification and let it sit. A few months after its release, I got word that Canon’s online store had the body for $2,240, which was a whopping $1,260 below the MSRP. Granted, people hardly ever pay MSRP for a camera, but even now, the average price for a Mark III is $2,900.
Refurbished…yes, but directly from Canon, I didn’t blink an eye. When a camera gets returned to an authorized dealer, it must go through an inspection before it ever hits the shelves again. If anything, a refurbished dSLR or lens from a reputable dealer is more guaranteed to work than one fresh off the assembly line.
Online only retailers, non-authorized Canon or Nikon dealers, and any store that doesn’t sell professional production equipment exclusively. I would even go as far to not recommend an Amazon, Walmart or a big box store. They don’t have employees trained in how to use the gear. They’re standard procedure is “Does it turn on? If yes, it works,” which isn’t the best quality check. After talking with an B&H employee about their refurbished program, each returned item is tested for complete functionality. The same principal applies to Adorama too.
The warranty period is usually less when you buy refurbished. In my case, it was 90 days, versus a year on new products. It’s not a huge concern to me, being a Canon Professional Services member. However, it is something to consider, but generally speaking, an out of warranty repair will still be less than the price difference between new and refurbished.
Arriving from Canon, the camera had that new, fresh electronics smell to it. It even had a clean screen protector still in tact. Having used the 5D Mark III for around a month now, I have not noticed any issues. If I had to rate my experience, I would give it a 10 out of 10 for the money saved.
Keh for me has been the best retailer with the best products and prices on used equipment for me by far, if you’re not familiar with them I would check them out!