It’s not an easy time to be a freelance sports photographer, but Jon Wagstaff explains how buying second-hand is giving him a distinct advantage

What have you bought second-hand, and why?
I have bought several camera bodies and lenses second-hand from the LCE Strand branch. A few to note have been a Nikon D5 body, as well as the 500mm Nikon F/4 telephoto lens. As a freelance sport photographer, this is an ideal combo for me; as the introduction of the D6 had been announced, I was able to pick up a reasonably priced second-hand body, along with the 500mm lens again at a good price.

I have a good relationship with LCE, and have been a customer of theirs for over 10 years now. They always let me know if there is a bargain to be had, to suit my style of photography. In the long run this saves me a fortune, plus you get a six-month warranty, too. In fact, a second D5 body became available through the branch and I bought that too!

What else do you like to shoot?
I mainly shoot sports photography but I also like to photograph dogs. I’m now entering the world of portraiture, thanks to the pandemic. The above purchases have helped immensely as I’m able to get close to the action and with a fast frame rate of 12fps, I hardly ever miss the action.

Ever had any problems buying used?
None yet. I feel the quality of the items I have bought has been second to none… which has helped me produce some excellent shots.

What are your biggest tips for buying second-hand?
I always research what I am looking for or hoping to buy. Buying through LCE, I always feel confident that I’m getting a good deal, as the staff there are very knowledgeable and understanding. One tip would be to make sure you get at least a three to six-month warranty from wherever you purchase an item… also try to see if you can actually use an item before buying it.

Make sure you inspect the item thoroughly, too, and check websites to see what the average price would be, so that you may have some bargaining power. It can be worth making an offer on any used item you wish to buy.