Thinking of buying second-hand gear but worried about quality? Carl explains our grading system and what to expect when buying used items from Wex.
When used items arrive at Wex Photographic via our part-exchange service, we carry out a series of thorough checks before assigning a grade to each based on its condition. Carl talks you through what each grade means and what to expect from a piece of kit in this condition so that you can shop our Pre-loved range with confidence. Only interested in learning about one specific grade? Use the video links to skip to the relevant section.
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Hello, I’m Carl. I look after the part-exchanged and used products here at Wex Photographic.
If you’ve browsed through our website, chances are you have come across our used section. Within the used section we use a specific grading system for all of our products. For our pre-loved items, grades are awarded to each product depending on physical signs of wear and level of use. As well as this we have grades that cover all other items that have not been pre-owned but also cannot be sold as new, such as refurbished or returned items.
Firstly, we’re going to take a look at the pre-loved grading system, what each grade means and how we determine why each product falls into that grade.
Grade ten is our highest grade for part-exchanged items. This means that the item is classed as appearing as new, with no marks or scratches throughout the body of the item with only very light marking on the lens mount and minimal dust found on the optics or sensor. The product will also come complete with all original accessories and its original box. Shutter actuations come into play with grading too. For pro bodies the shutter count must be under ten thousand actuations and for entry level cameras the shutter count must be under five thousand actuations.
Our next grade is nine plus. This is for items that have a minimal amount of very light marks and don’t quite meet all the specifications for grade ten, or camera bodies that have a slightly higher shutter count – 20,000 actuations for pro bodies and 10,000 for entry-level bodies. This also includes pre-owned products that are missing any of their accessories or original packaging.
Grade nine items show very little signs of use, with bodies showing no more than a few cosmetic marks found on the screen, base or rubber grip and eye piece areas. Shutter actuations are up to 35,000 for pro bodies and 15,000 for entry-level bodies. Lenses will show no more than a few cosmetic marks around the body of the lens with very little to no dust present on the optics. Both bodies and lenses may also display extremely light marks to the mount area.
Just below this is grade nine minus. These items show little signs of use with some minor marks, usually equating to no more than six individual blemishes. These marks will usually be found in common wear places such as the hot-shoe mount, rear screens, the base of the camera due to tripod use and the lens barrel. We allow pro body actuations up to 45,000 and entry body actuations up to 25,000.
Grade eight products will show more signs of use, but are generally very clean items, occasionally showing signs of peeling on the grips or the paint. These will sometimes also have marks on the rear screen and with lenses will show heavier signs of dust, though usually this dust won’t affect the image except at higher apertures. Pro bodies will have up to 75,000 shutter actuations and entry-level up to 35,000 actuations.
When we get to grade seven, the items will show more moderate signs of wear as these items have had heavier use. Marks on the body of the item will be heavier and grip and paint wear will be pronounced. This grade can also include items where sync socket covers are missing. For lenses, signs of dust are more prevalent and the items may show heavier scratching on the lens barrel, especially with lenses that use lens mounts.
Our final grading for used items is grade six. These items are well used with scuffs and scratches on the body of the item, including heavy paint loss. These items will show frequent and obvious signs of wear such as peeling of handgrips, wear of dial and button graphics.
We also have a separate grade for used items that would need either repairing or could be used as spares. This is grade IN for incomplete. The reasons for meeting this grading could be numerous, from scratches on the sensor or glass to a more in-depth failure, making these items not suitable for use as they are. All items in the IN grade are excluded from the Wex 12-month warranty.
Aside from the used or pre-loved items we also have three other grades for items in our used section.
OB, or Open Box, are items that have been dispatched to a customer and the packaging has been opened and the box seal has been broken and returned within our 28-day returns policy. Although these items will appear as new and will show no signs of use they cannot be sold as new nor do cashbacks or promotional offers apply. However they still come with a 12-month Wex Warranty.
The next step up from our OB grade is MO or mail-order-returned items. These are items that have not been opened or handled and the seals are still intact. The packaging may show slight signs of wear due to shipping or having packaging labels attached. However packaging blemishes are usually very minimal due to our packing techniques. We cannot guarantee that cashbacks or promotions would apply with the purchase of MO items.
Our final grade is R, which refers to refurbished products. Anything that falls under the R grade will be refurbished by the manufacturer back to original working specifications. Although the internal workings will be refurbished, the item may display signs of cosmetic wear, thought this is dependent on the time frame of being refurbished. We also class B-grade stock under the refurbished grade – these items are usually ex-demo stock and can show anything from very few signs of wear through to heavier wear. Also the items’ original packaging may not be present.
Any variants throughout our grading system will be clearly and explicitly indicated on the product page and description. With the exception of grade IN, all products listed in our used section will come with the Wex 12-month warranty. For products that do not have their original boxes or packaging, we make sure the item is suitably packaged and where applicable boxed for safe and secure transit from us to you.