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First Time Buying Adorama V Grade Condition Used Digital Camera

I've wanted a full-frame digital SLR camera for a long time. I have wanted the Canon EOS 5D DSLR when it was first released. But already with so many camera equipment on hand, I really couldn't justify getting yet another one. That changed recently.

My son's coach saw me with my equipment at the volleyball tournament and asked my to take annual photos of the varsity players and their families. After hearing the details, I agreed. The goal was to shoot each player with their family in front of the net in the gym. I've already tested lighting and got the exposure down. Then I tested the scene with my Canon EOS Rebel T3i and my Canon EF 28-135mm IS USM lens. The T3i has a 1.6x APS-C CMOS sensor. I would have to stand fairly far away from the family to use the 50mm to 100mm perspective range for full-body shots. Wanting to keep the perspective, but a wider angle-of-view, I have decided that this endeavor deserves a full-frame DSLR.

In the past, I had good experience buying used camera equipment. Several of my high-quality pro lenses for Canon EOS cameras were used. And, after twenty years, I still use these lenses to this day. I also had several Canon EOS 35mm film camera that I bought used; they were dear to me that I still have them as well. Given that I already have enough equipment, adding an used full-frame DSLR makes a lot of more sense.

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The Hunt

I saw an used Canon EOS 5D for $225 on Amazon. And later found one for $177 on Adorama. It was rated V-grade. What's V-grade?

"Appears well used and may include dings, scrapes/scratches, heavy brassing on body or LCD, but is in fully functional condition."

Adorama V-grade is on the lower spectrum of the used equipment conditions. I have never bought such a grade used equipment before. Typically, I'd buy at the higher range.

I sat on this decision for a week. But I figured I can use this experience to see what Adorama V-grade is and help everyone by showing the condition of the equipment in this article. By the time I decided to shell out $177 for the Canon EOS 5D, the inventory was gone.

The hunt was on. Not so much for a Canon EOS 5D nor Adorama V-grade gear. But just an inexpensive used Canon EOS full-frame DSLR. I made a list of all the Canon EOS full-frame DSLR cameras. Many of them are old enough to be down in the mere few hundreds of dollars.

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The Selections

In the end, I found the best value--a Canon EOS 6D for $267. As luck would have it, it's also an Adorama V-grade used equipment. The Canon EOS 6D DSLR camera bridged the gap between the professional version (5D series) and the consumer version. It was originally a $2099 camera. Being able to get it at almost 1/10th of the price is a great deal; assuming it is actually fully functional.

Adorama had several Canon EOS 6D rated at V-grade for $267. Luckily, I clicked into each listing. I stayed away from listings that has "Item Note", which indicated any problems with the camera; I wanted a fully functional DSLR. The following screen shot shows a listing with "Item Note". You can click the screen shot to see full size.

The "Item Note" above doesn't indicate that there is any problem with the camera, but did note a number of missing parts. Click into the listing shows "WHAT'S IN THE BOX":

  • Canon EOS 6D Body
  • Eyecup Eb
  • After Market Battery Pack LP-E6A
  • After Market Battery Charger LC-E6
  • Item Note: Missing Stereo AV Cable AVC-DC400ST; Wide Neck Strap EW-EOS 6D; USB Interface Cable IFC-200U

Another example listing includes:

  • Battery, Charger
  • Battery
  • Battery, Box, CD-ROM, Caps, Instruction Manual, Strap

The listing I decided to order from has battery, charger, caps. Funny thing, it didn't list the Canon EOS 6D body, the Eyecup Eb, neck strap, or anything else. So, the listing description seems to vary with inconsistency. I wanted to see how accurate the "WHAT'S IN THE BOX" list is when my order arrives, because it better include the Canon EOS 6D camera body. So we will see if I got a value or a mistake.

Adorama advertises "FREE 2-DAY SHIPPING on orders over $49.99". But used equipment are excluded from this offer. I ordered on Tuesday and it's scheduled to arrive on Saturday, so it's about 4 business days. Checking today (Thursday) on Adorama's web site, it left this morning via UPS. The new scheduled delivery day is Monday. I'm a little disappointed to have to wait over the weekend, but it is still 4 business days. I'll post photos of the gear and discuss its conditions after it arrives.

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Package and Content

The Canon EOS 6D arrived on Monday as estimated. The whole day, I waited in anticipation, unknowing of the content. But when it finally arrived, I jumped in thrill. The package looks a little beat up as shown in the photo below, but I'm sure Adorama had enough experience to package it well.

Inside the box is a zip lock bag containing two other packages. A nice "Thank You" sticker seals the bag in the photo below.

The smaller bag contained the battery and charger, which I will show you in the next section. But the following photo shows the package that I was certain containing the Canon EOS 6D.

I was a little disappointed after opening the bag, because there is another package inside (see photo below).

Opening the second bag reveals the Canon EOS 6D body, wrapped inside bubble wrap. The photo below shows the Canon EOS 6D body sitting inside the bubble wrap.

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Battery and Charger

I opened the smaller package first. It contained the battery and charger as shown in the photo below.

The battery is an original Canon LP-E6 battery pack. It is a lithium ion (Li-ion) battery that provides 7.2V and has 1800mAH capacity. The charger, on the other hand, is an aftermarket Green Extreme Universal Digital Battery Charger. It has an AC plug and also a DC input jack.

The specification for the battery charger is as follows:

    AC 100V-240V 50/60Hz
    Max 150mA DC 12-24V

    DC 4.2V/4.35V 600mA
    DC 8.4V/8.7V 600mA

I plugged the battery into the charger and then plugged the charger into the AC outlet and found that the battery is at 0% (see photo below). I crossed my fingers, hoping that the battery isn't dead or damaged.

After a few hours, I came back to find a charged battery at 100%. But, of course, that could just mean it's plugged into the wall. I put the battery into the Canon EOS 6D and it seems to power it just fine.

The nice thing about this aftermarket battery charger is that it can tell you the battery percentage when you plug in the battery, without plugging the charger into the wall. The next time I charged the battery, I unplugged the charger from the wall and plugged the battery in to find that the battery is 76% charged. Not bad for a used battery. I let the battery sit overnight. Next day, I plugged the battery into the charger to find it to be 96% charged! Wow! Cool!

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Canon EOS 6D Camera Body

As soon as I took the Canon EOS 6D body out of the bubble wrap, I was thrilled. It felt just like a brand new Canon EOS digital camera. It wasn't until I scrutinized it that I see the physical symptom of it being used equipment.

From the front of the camera, there is only minor scuffing toward the bottom corner of the lens mount (see photo below). The lens cap also has a few marks, but it's just a lens cap.

The back of the camera, shown in the photo below, also looks fine. From Adorama's V grade description, I expected the rear LCD to be all scratched up. But short of a few slight marks, I couldn't find any scratches.

In fact, I had to really rotate and move the camera around under the sun to see the subtle abrasion on the glass.

The photo above shows the abrasion on the left side of the screen. You may be able to see it by zooming into the photo. The specks on the right side are just dust.

Similarily, the rear controls also functioned without any problems. They look practically brand new in the photo above. But you can see some minor wear in the bottom right corner of the Canon 6D.

The top of the 6D, show in the photo above, showed pretty much no wear. The buttons and controls all functioned without any problems.

The mode knob, shown above, functions without any issues. It just has a few tiny dents on the edge. The power switch looks brand new. I do wish the power switch is on the right side of the camera for single handed operation.

The battery compartment, show in photo above looks fine. No wear at all.

The corner below the SD Card door show more subtle wear in the photo above.

The connectivity ports were under these rubber covers. They look seldomly used as I saw no wear.

The eyecup was the only thing that show excessive wear. And showed excessive wear because it was dirty. I didn't notice that the first week I used the camera. Cleaning it will probably make it look like new.

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I used the Canon EOS 6D for a few weeks to ensure that everything works as it should for an Adorama V grade used equipment. All functions I tried works. I was thoroughly impressed, because its physical condition was way better than my expectation. You can see photos I shot with this Canon EOS 6D in my Barnsdall Park photography slide show on YouTube here:

I have purchased the used Canon EOS 6D listing that comes with "battery, charger, caps" and it have delivered with these items in addition to the body and eye cup. In hindsight, I should have order the listing that came with "battery, charger, battery, battery, box, CD-ROM, caps, instruction manual, and the strap" for the same price. Then I would have at least also gotten a strap and, possibly, three batteries.

I am extremely happy with this purchase. And now I know that the next time I need camera equipment, I can safely purchase Adorama V grade gears.

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