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