Website & Services

Usedlens.co.uk – New Website for Searching for Used Camera Gear in the UK – By Dan Cook

July 7, 2020

There are over 60 retailers in the UK selling used camera gear, do you know who they are?

A month ago I had no clue about the huge number of online retailers selling used cameras and lenses. Being a Leica enthusiast, I could name around ten stores off the top of my head, but searching for the equipment I wanted was a huge time sink. I knew there had to be a better way. So, I went ahead and created usedlens.co.uk

Some background. I started taking my photography seriously way back in 2011, but it wasn’t until 2019 that I scrapped my decade-long career in web development to make the jump to full-time professional events photography. Despite a successful first year, in March 2020 there was a rather spectacular decline in group gatherings and a corresponding decline in the need for event photographers. Thanks to Covid-19 and social distancing measures all my bookings were cancelled pretty much overnight.

With a sudden increase in free time on my hands, I decided to learn some new skills. During these last few months I have baked bread and cakes, taken many photos of my dogs and the garden, and thoroughly explored the local nature reserves. Still, it wasn’t enough. I needed to feel productive.

Although it’s mostly window shopping these days, I still keep an eye out for second-hand equipment at a good price. I have a mental list of retailers I like to search, including Aperture and RedDotCameras, but trawling multiple sites to find the best prices is time consuming and inefficient.

The web developer in me loves solving problems and creating efficiency and so usedlens.co.uk was born.

Originally conceived as a personal project, it started out as a tool for finding only used Leica equipment. But when I shared the website with other Leica enthusiasts they loved it and it quickly took on a life of its own. People began to ask, what about other brands?

As I added more retailers and included other brands, the project grew way beyond my original ambition, supported by the incredible enthusiasm of the photography community. As an established member of Talk Photography, I have benefited from other members’ support since the beginning, generously sharing their feedback as well as suggesting improvements and additional retailers to add to my list and cheering me on along the way.

Retailers currently included on usedlens.co.uk:

Retailers included on usedlens.co.uk

Retailers included on usedlens.co.uk

Retailers included on usedlens.co.uk

Categorisation was, and continues to be, a major hurdle. The problem with collating data from over 60 sources is the lack of conformity and consistency. Some retailers don’t even differentiate between camera and lens!

It has taken a lot of work and there have been a few revisions along the way, but I have had the time and the passion to pull it together. At a personal level, the website has given me focus and drive at a difficult time and seeing it come together and become a useful tool for other photographers has helped me feel these lock-down months haven’t been wasted.

Today the site searches over 60 retailers and continues to grow and improve. If you’re interested in digital, film, medium or large format camera gear check it out:

usedlens.co.uk

If you have suggestions for improvements or comments on the site, feel free to get in touch. I’m always happy to chat.

You can find us on Facebook or email at [email protected]

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25 Comments

  • Reply
    paul brant
    July 7, 2020 at 4:19 pm

    I do not watch ’35mm’ for blatant advertising

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      July 7, 2020 at 4:22 pm

      If this was an advert, I would have been paid. I think it’s a great idea and a very useful website, so I invited Dan Cook to write about it. If you don’t like, don’t read. Thanks

    • Reply
      Chris Pattison
      July 8, 2020 at 9:07 am

      Blatant advertising would be a pop up that sits over the screen obscuring content. I think this is a very useful application, and as a web developer I appreciate the many days of work Dan has put in to provide something for us completely free.

  • Reply
    Joe Brough
    July 7, 2020 at 5:20 pm

    Can you just rename this site Leica 35mmc & be done with it Haimo? LOL

    • Reply
      Hamish Gill
      July 8, 2020 at 3:12 pm

      🤔 🖕👍

  • Reply
    Donald Lush
    July 7, 2020 at 5:48 pm

    Just spent 20 mins browsing, looking for some Leica stuff. Really useful website.

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 7, 2020 at 10:37 pm

      Thanks Donald, I hope you find what you’re looking for.

  • Reply
    Charles Bierwirth
    July 7, 2020 at 7:09 pm

    Thanks for making the site! I have yet to come across something like this here for American sellers. I really like the ability you added to turn off eBay results and only see the smaller, “mom and pop” places.

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 7, 2020 at 10:34 pm

      Thanks Charles, it really would be great to build a site for America and even Europe, I will give it some serious thought.

  • Reply
    Immo
    July 7, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    Not in the UK, but I think this is a very useful tool that could be expanded to other countries. WIth some advertising, it might compensate a little for the loss of income due to the pandemic…

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 7, 2020 at 10:30 pm

      Thanks Immo, it’s certainly crossed my mind. I’ve been considering Europe and the USA, it’s going to be a mammoth task!

  • Reply
    James
    July 7, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Think this is a great idea! Will definitely use this.

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 7, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Thanks James, that’s good to hear!

  • Reply
    Pete
    July 7, 2020 at 9:23 pm

    This is brilliant. Bookmarked!

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 7, 2020 at 10:27 pm

      Thank you Pete, I’m glad you’ve found it useful.

  • Reply
    Huss
    July 8, 2020 at 8:05 am

    Thank you! My niece is in the UK looking for a used camera, and I sent her this link!

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 8, 2020 at 10:13 am

      Great, thanks for sending it on, I hope she finds something.

  • Reply
    Chris Pattison
    July 8, 2020 at 9:11 am

    From a current pro web developer to a former pro one – I salute you! Very useful application Dan. Thanks.

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 8, 2020 at 10:01 am

      Thanks Chris, it’s good to keep the passion alive.

  • Reply
    Kate Johnson
    July 8, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    Excellent! Gives me another option for my ‘ancient’ camera searches……..

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 8, 2020 at 4:46 pm

      Thanks Kate, if there are retailers you feel I’ve missed off please let me know.

  • Reply
    Adrian Cullen
    July 8, 2020 at 5:56 pm

    Very useful , I’d thank you but perhaps my wallet won’t….

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 8, 2020 at 6:11 pm

      Thanks Adrian, the original intention was to help people save money, I swear!

  • Reply
    Pablo
    July 24, 2020 at 12:34 pm

    Hi Daniel, really cool project! I also wich there where an option for other countries (living in Germany) but as a computer scientist I could imagine how much work it would be to transfer it over to a different country.

    IIs there any plan to create an open source repository out of it, so it would be possible to contribute for the own country with some code or so? That would be perfect, but I haven’t found any GitHub link or so. Just let me know if there is any option for you other countries.

    Kind regards
    Pablo

    • Reply
      Daniel Cook
      July 24, 2020 at 1:05 pm

      Thanks Pablo,

      I have been streamlining the background processes in preparation for making the site ready for Europe, it will indeed be a lot of work. If people would like to contribute names of retailers in Europe that sell used cameras/lenses they can e-mail me at [email protected]

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