What to Do With Your Old Camera? Here Are Six Ideas


Somehow, an older digital or film camera is occupying space on a shelf in your closet, or taking up room in a drawer somewhere. Or, maybe a loved one has died and his or her photography gear has been entrusted to you. Or, maybe you just decided to hang on to that early-model 6-megapixel DSLR that you used 10 years ago.

People often ask me, "Todd, what can I do with old photo equipment?”

Well, besides the obvious, there are some interesting options that can give your camera gear new life, help others, or maybe even reinvigorate your own love for photography.

Here is a quick list, followed by a more comprehensive look at each option:

1. Sell

2. Donate to Schools

3. Donate to Charities

4. Repurpose

5. Backup

6. Use


If you need some cash to buy more photo gear, you can sell your camera equipment.

Locally, you could drop it off at a consignment shop in the hopes that a collector or hoarder comes across your once-loved camera and lenses and decides they cannot live without all of it. You could also list your gear on an auction website and see if you can stir up a bidding war among strangers. Additionally, you can put an ad in the local newspaper classified section or website.

If you want to maximize convenience, you can easily sell your gear to B&H and let us resell it. The B&H Used Department will tell you exactly how much you will get for your gear, and we will even pay to ship the gear to our SuperStore in New York City. You can get a check in the mail or a store credit with which you can then feed your current camera or electronics buying habits.

A word of caution: if you are passionate about photography, your chance of regretting selling your very first camera is approximately 100%. Regardless of the make or model, you might want to hold onto that camera. I know many photographers who still have their first camera and I know many who regret no longer having that bit of personal history.

Donate to schools

An often overlooked option is donating your gear to a good cause.

You can likely find a local charity or thrift store that would have no hesitation about taking gear off your hands, but dig a bit deeper and you might find some, arguably, more deserving outlets. Check with your local high school to see if they teach photography as part of their art program. Likely, they would love to be able to give or loan your film camera gear to a student who might not have the financial means to acquire his or her own. They might also warmly embrace your dusty darkroom equipment.

In fact, any educational institution—from grade schools to community colleges to art schools—may accept your donated camera gear.

Donate to charities

There are several photography-related charities that accept used gear.

The Film Photography Project donates film cameras to school and student programs around the world.

Recycling for Charities recycles electronics and gives the value of what you send them to a charity of your choice.

PhotoVoice builds participatory photography and storytelling self-advocacy projects for socially excluded groups in the UK and internationally.

The One Shot Project provides cameras to young disadvantaged children in Iraq.

Josephine Herrick Project (formerly Rehabilitation Through Photography) provides free photographic education programs to children, teens, adults, and seniors.

NYC Salt engages students through professionally led volunteer instruction in photography and digital technology.

Definitely do some Internet searching to find other charities that might want your gear. Non-profit organizations are sometimes very happy to have donated camera equipment at their disposal. And your donation will very likely be tax deductible.

Regardless of the value of your gear, you cannot put a price on the act of giving your photo equipment to a worthy cause. You never know; your camera could end up in the hands of the world's next great photographic artist.


Having something newer, faster, or shinier might be just what you need in order to use your older camera and lenses for something fun.

Have you ever wanted to experiment with infrared photography? Or, have you thought about making your own homemade lens mount to affix random old lenses to your camera? This might be a great time to try something outside of the box. What about converting your old film camera into a pinhole camera? That might be a fun thing to try.

You can get cheap imported knick-knacks from your local home accessory store, or you can put your cool cameras on the living room shelf. I've decorated with a few cameras, but sometimes I take them out to go get some exercise.


Of course, an older, slower digital camera can be put into duty as a trusty backup for that new digital camera. Electronics and mechanicals are not infallible, and your trusty new steed might not be so trusty one day. Having a backup camera within reach might save the day, be it on a commercial shoot or remote vacation. Or, on occasion, you might have the opportunity to do a photo shoot in which your camera could be subject to bodily harm—photographing on a boat, at the beach, against a rock wall, wing-suit flying, parasailing, etc. Shoots of this type might be best reserved for your older gear, rather than putting your newer, more expensive gear at risk.


You might already be on your fourth or fifth generation of digital camera. If that were the case, you'd be hard pressed for a reason to take your old digital camera out for a stroll. Why would you go out to shoot a 6-megapixel Nikon D100 when your D500's battery is fully charged?

But, a film camera might be another story. Film is film and not subject to the ridiculously short half-life of digital technology. Therefore, as long as the camera's shutter and/or the lens's aperture diaphragm are working, you can go out and shoot a roll of film. There is something liberating about not having to worry about histograms, batteries, checking your LCD after every shot, or spending hours in front of your computer downloading and processing images after a day of shooting.

Here is a bold idea: take your film camera on your next vacation and leave your digital stuff behind. Do you remember vacation photo albums that you could show your friends?

Film still has a place in the world so, just because you have been shooting digitally for months or years, don't think that your film camera is suddenly a doorstop or a paperweight. Get out and shoot some film!

Pass it on

The last place your camera should end up is: the rubbish pile. Sell it, give it to someone who could really use it, experiment, or just keep using it. A good camera can be passed from one generation to the next.


I am photographer in village i need old gear for my low budget wedding plz how to buy or give me gears nominal price or free

We invite you to contact us directly via Live Chat on our website today until 8PM ET or e-mail us directly to askbh@bhphoto.com so we can review your options in greater detail. 

Hey I just stumbled upon two of my point and shoot digis. Do they have any trade in value? Casio - Exilim 10.1 MP Blue (excellent condition/like new) and Canon Powershot SD780 IS Gold (fair/good condition). Both in great working order previous stated conditions refer to aesthetics. Thanks in advance 

I’d also love to hear a couple donation options if you have any available. Thanks again 

For assistance with your inquiry, I would recommend contacting our Used Department with the brand/model name and condition of your camera for your usage needs.  You may contact our Used Department with your inquiry either by e-mailing used@bhphoto.com, by calling them toll-free at (800) 606-6969 Option 2 to receive a quote by phone, or by using the link included below.  For more information, you can see the following link by either clicking directly on it or by copying and pasting the link into your internet browser's address bar:


If you are interested in donating your camera, if there are no local schools, churches, or Goodwill/Salvation Army in your area, while not affiliated with B&H Photo, an option I would recommend would be the non-profit organization Youth In Focus, who is based out of Seattle and which may be located at the following link:


I would like to know if I trade in my camera equipment and buy new equipment from B&H will I get a trade-in tax credit for the amount I get on the trade-in?

That's a great question, but it would be best to direct it to our Used/Trade In Department at 1-800-606-6969 Option 2, extension 2700.

I have an Olympus Infinity Twin DSLR in working condition that I would like to donate. LIve in Brooklyn NY, and could drop off locally

You can actually trade in your camera if you like. You may contact our Used/Trade In Department at 1-800-606-6969 Option 2, extension 2700.

I am looking for 12 point and shoot cameras as a donation or at a discount to give to senior citizens at the Queensbridge Houses in LIC to document their social distancing during this moment in time. Does anyone have any suggestions or resources? I would be happy to send you more information in direct communication.

For this inquiry, it would be best to send us an e-mail to sales@bandh.com so we can look into it further. Thank you.

Hi B&H or anyone who can help with what to do with a small Canon point-and-shoot digital camera that has some error with its lens opening and so its in need of maintenance.  I only owned the camera for a month or two before this error happened and I never got a chance to send it in for repairs.  It is about 12 years old and just sitting in a box in otherwise great condition.  I'd like to donate it but don't know what to with it first being that it needs repairs that I financially can't pay for.  

We're sorry to hear of this issue. In this case, it would be contact our Used/Trade In Department to see about trading in the camera. You can reach them at 1-800-606-6969 Option 2, extension 2700.

Hi, I'm a single mother of two and I wanted to see if there is anyone out there that wouldn't mind donating their old DSLR Camera to me because I want to do youtube to make some little money for me and my kids and it would really help me out and I would really appreciate it. Thank you. Email me @ christycurvycouture@gmail.com

Hello, I am a coordinator of a photography ministry. We are a large church that gives to the local community. We have helped those who can not afford portraits in their senior year and many other community outreach programs. We are seeking camera gear if anyone would like to donate, please contact me at Lorijagow@pcumc.org Thank you!

Thanks, lori! I just forwarded your email to someone and I hope others see this as well!

Hi!  Great article!  I started a photo club at my kids K-6 school in Phoenix and the kids love using the old cameras I was able to get donated by others.  The smaller point and shoot sizes are perfect for their little hands and as they get more experince I let them use the larger DSLRs.  We'd gladly take any donations :)

Hi Erin,

I will shoot you an email so that we can keep in touch!


I have two, possibly three cameras to donate.  One is a Canon Power Shot DS1300 IS Digital Elph that works great!  I also have one and possibly two Lumix Panasonic DMC T525 cameras.  The one says system error focus, but this is supposed to be easily fixed and there are you tubes explaining this.  I just don't want to open the case.  

I need to know how to mail these to you if they are acceptable.  

I found your email in the next post.  I will contact you via email.

Getting ready to move and downsizing...I have 3 small digital cameras in good working condition looking for a home: Fujifilm finepixJX 16MP, Casio Exilim (EX-512)12.1 mp and Olympus Camedia D-540 3.2MP. Also, Canon Vixia HG20 handheld camcorder. All have charging cables/chargers for battery, and camcorder has mini HDMI to HDMI cable and case. Know of anyone who can give these a good home?

Hi Laima,   I started a photo club at my kids K-6 school in Phoenix and the kids love using the old cameras I was able to get donated by others.  We'd love to get some additional cameras so the kids don't have to share in class...  I'd be happy to pay for the shipping and get you a tax write off donation form.  my email is erinkenly@yahoo.com

Hello there, I'm Thai, Male, 47 Years old, use to be photographer but it's end in 2012 from Hyperthyroidism,

it's knock me down so hard I'm been a bedridden for almost 5 years, and my Doctor call it "fail medication"

and send me to have Radioactive Iodine, so I start to get better almost immediately, but still have to take care all the consequence such as


By the time I'm in bedridden mode and have to sell all of my belonging for a living, so all my camera lens gear etc, etc, all gone

Now, today I got better, but have nothing left, and find out that the most terrible thing to be 47 years old is it's a age that nobody want to hire you as a employee

so I can't pay rent, can't buy food, and about to be homeless, that's make me think about suicide a lot, But I still have my Mom (72) to take care and we're family of 2, If I'm gone who's gonna take care of her, so look like I have to be freelance photographer (again) the only obstacles is I didn't have a camera anymore


To reboot my life, to get back on my feet, I very in need of a camera and lens and some accessory,


So any kind of donation is very appreciate, Thank You in advance. Just in case you want to help but have no idea what I very like to have feel free to check my wish-list


All the best,



Hi Tone,

I hope you are doing well and feeling better!

I will reach out to you if someone finds me looking to donate a camera.



Hi, I'm a single mother of two and I wanted to see if there is anyone out there that wouldn't mind donating their old DSLR Camera to me because I want to do youtube to make some little money for me and my kids and it would really help me out and I would really appreciate it. Thank you.

Hi Christeasha,

Feel free to reply with your email and I will keep it handy (and not publish it) and let you know if I get a note from anyone.


Todd, I stumbled upon Isabel E's message and your response when I searched google to get some inspirations for how I might be able to donate one or more cameras with battery and recharger. One is a Canon similar to this: [Canon SD1100]. Please let me know if Isabel is still looking. Thx, Eleanor

Hi Eleanor,

Thank you for the note. Good news! I actually got an email through my personal website from a reader here that just sent Isabel his Pentax!

But, thank you for writing in and I will certainly let you know if anyone else could use it that I come across.


I am currently looking for a dslr camera myself i am a low income college student and i am in need of a dslr camera. if anyone can help i would greatly appreciate it. if you have one that i could have please email me at: [Email address removed. Please email toddv at bhphoto dot com for isabel's email.]

thank you so much isabel 

Hi isabel,

Thank you for your email. I removed your email from the post, but folks can email me to get your email address. Posting your email address on the web is a good way to get lots of spam!

Anyway, please check some of the links above as there are organizations that get cameras in the hands of students. Where are you going to school?

Good luck!

I’m going to a community college and I really need a dslr camera for work next semester 

In the state of PA

Hi isabel,

My inbox has been quiet, but please look into a used film camera in our Used Department here. Some great film cameras are very reasonably priced.


Good luck!

I'm hoping it is ok if I throw my hat in the ring here as well. Not sure where else to post this information and every little bit helps. I run a nonprofit that helps high schools students interview veterans in Iowa. We work together to to conduct the interviews and then create a product about the veterans life in the service. The videos are also donated to the Library of Congress. Right now I'd love to get some easy to use prosumer level video cameras for the students to use for their interviews. If anyone out there would like to help with a donation of used equipment, it would be greatly appreciated. Feel free to visit my website for contact info veteransperspective.org Thanks so much!

Thank you, sara! I hope someone finds you with some gear! I have been getting emails almost weekly of people looking for places to send camera stuff.

Thanks for stopping by and throwing your hat in the ring!

Thanks Todd, I would be happy to help a generous individual. One man's trash is another man's treasure!

Very true! I hope you find some treasure!


What a great organization!  I'd check out Nikon for donations... 

"Nikon sponsors organization-based events that align with our marketing brand strategies, consumer reach, consumer engagement and that have a positive impact on the communities we serve."



I have a question. I am a small church in Flint, MI and with limited resources and I am trying to grow my church. Our church has helped with  the water crisis here, we have a food pantry for the hungry, we give away over 75 Thanksgiving baskets to the needy every year.   Most of what we do comes from the pockets of our congregation and they are happy to do it.  But we need to grow to meet the continuing needs of the community.  I am charged to spread the Word  of God first and one way I can do it is to tape out Sunday services and broadcast them on different networks who are willing to offer help in trying to spread the Gospel and grow my congregation.  I am looking for donations of television and studio equipment to us we will of course make sure it is used as a tax deduction.  I don't know where to begin looking and who to contact. If your company needs to unload any old equipment or maybe let us know of any companies or organizations looking to help I would be honored.


Thank you,

Mulondo Echols

Associate Pastor 

NOW Ministries, Flint MI

mulondoechols at hotmail dot com

Thanks, Mulondo. I hope you get some donations!

I need some help finding a place in INDIA where they will service an older PANASONIC PVDV 953D VIDEO CAMERA which I bought from B&H maybe more than 10 years ago.  It is 3CCD and uses cassette. 
A cassette is stuck inside and I cannot get the door open to take it out, and when I plug it in it says needs service. However, I cannot find anyone in Tamil Nadu who can service it, as they say it is too old, ie. after 5 years Panasonic doesn't support the cameras. I can't even get Panasonic to give me a clear answer. I don't want to break it. It has served me well.

Since you have an extension shop in India, I thought maybe you may know something that I don't.
Any info will be helpful. Thanks.

Hi Elinore,

Thanks for your question. Your best bet is to keep trying different camera and/or electronics repair stores and seeing if they will help.

As far as an extension shop in India, we do not have one. Are one store and offices are located in New York City and we have a single warehouse in New Jersey.

Good luck!


I'm Mr. Wayne of youth nonprofit New Conscious Guardians, Inc. We're launching a program for kids to learn about the entertainment industry and making movies. So, we'll be producing short films from the initial stages to the end. We are in desperate need of digital film camera. We are 501(c)(3) organization and all donations are tax deductible. The kids we are working with are middle school low income, at-risk or inner city. May all your days be blessed. Thank you. 

Thanks for posting, Wayne! I hope some cameras find their way to you all!

What a great organization!  I'd check out Nikon for donations... 

"Nikon sponsors organization-based events that align with our marketing brand strategies, consumer reach, consumer engagement and that have a positive impact on the communities we serve."


Hi everyone we are USANII LAB a collective of young creatives from the eastlands of Nairobi, Kenya. It was started in January 2013 as a communication design course. Within different workshops we gain design skills and practise photography, film and graphic design computer programs. It‘s all about experimenting with different fields of arts and design and having fun to design our environment. We are financially challanged and we would kindly request for donation of any media equipment especially cameras. Kindly go through our social media  Facebook at UsaniiLab and Zoommag25.

Can I get Vicky's email as well? I have a couple digital cameras that I'd love to donate.

Hi Holly,

Please see my reply to Sabrina. Thanks!

I would love Vicky's email address.

Hi Sabrina,

Please email me at toddv at bhphoto dot com.


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