When I was making videos weekly for Youtube I would spend a lot of time on used photo gear websites. I still do, even though I don't really need any more new gear, it's a bad habit to break. Here are some of their strengths and weaknesses. Note, eBay is excluded here. eBay is a collection of shops, great and terrible and I'll do a future article on that.
NYC based and a staple in photography community, Adorama is known for their good deals and printing services. In terms of deals you can get some insane bargains on their website, but it usually comes with a gamble.
I've purchased things from them that were too good to be true and have only returned a few items. Their grading and quality control is a bit hit or miss. A big difference between them and KEH is when that an "X" or "G" rating, heavily used and parts respectively, it means it and will be non functional.
Strengths: Really great bargains, Random listings and prices
Weaknesses: Product descriptions of used items can be spotty. No images of some used items make it even more tough.
Steals: Hasselblad Kit (650$) Leica M4-2 (200$, yeah) Multiple Nikon FM and F2s with broken meters (25$ or less)
Tips: The Hasselblad backs and Rangefinder section are something you can create manual alerts on. If you are looking for a bargain Leica I'm not sure there is a better place to keep your eyes glued to.
B&H are the other NYC staple of the photography world. While Adorama is known for having good deals and being accessible B&H simply sells the best stuff and has amazing customer service.
This comes at a cost and B&H rarely have as many good used deals as Adorama and their focus mainly on having really great used gear and not messing around with beaters.
Strengths: Really great quality used items
Weaknesses: Rare deals and higher priced than competitors
Steals: Manfrotto RC2 quick release (25$) Manfrotto fluid head 128 RC ($70)
Tips: I've been really lucky with used grip equipment on B&H photo. They don't treat tripod heads and accessories as preciously as their cameras.
The best and most dedicated used camera store in the USA. Their grading system is straightforward and simple to understand, an industry standard. They also continuously underrate their gear and I really only purchase bargain/ugly gear from them and haven't had a prolblem.
Their returns are also great and they do repairs as well. Unlike Adorama they also don't sell garbage cameras, they will put these in lots and auctions on their eBay site though.
Strengths: The best rating system, lots of photos and good descriptions of cameras, incredibly nice sales people, best website to navigate
Weaknesses: Can be a little expensive, some of their best deals on eBay, really great sales can be random and cleaned out quickly
Steals: Hold your drink....Nikon SB-24 (17$ BGN), Nikon 105mm F2.5 (109$) Manfrotto Magic Arm (40$)
Tips: You won't get too many steals but you'll always get a good price. Also their grips and flash section has some absolute bargains.
I'm late to the game when it comes to Used Photo Pro. They have a huge selection of stuff which get's turned over pretty quickly. They price things to move which is great and also annoying. I always feel like I'm missing out on something when I go to the website and they tease you with the "just sold" items.
I've also gotten some really great deals on their website and think their listing system is pretty good. They also have the best use of social media out of all the online used photo retailers. One issue is their testing can be hit or miss, a few items I've bought haven't worked and should of been sold as parts.
Strengths: Really great prices that move items.
Weaknesses: You have to check in often to make sure you are getting good deals. I check almost daily and things slip by really quickly.
Steals: Summicron 50mm F2 ($400) Olympus Stylus (17$) Olympus OM-1 ($20)
Tips: Check often and use their automatic sale codes TAKEFIVE to get 5% off items. If you buy fro them it's like an insider secret.
Hope you enjoyed that overview. Any shops that I missed? Any tips you have for these sites as well?