If you have looked into purchasing camera equipment you know how expensive of a hobby/profession it can be. Whether it's camera bodies, lenses, or accessories there are no two ways about it... you can end up spending a hefty amount. Here I will share with you the ways in which I have been able to save thousands of dollars, which has in turn enabled me to explore various areas of photography.
1) EBay. This is easier said than done my friends. I use EBay quite often for camera gear and I'd say about 60% of the time I have success. The other 40% percent? Returns. Ken Rockwell has written an EBay article that is super thorough on how to navigate buying camera gear (or anything for that matter) from EBay. Assuming you do your due diligence and buy from a reputable seller, you can save up to 50% and wind up with a mint condition product.
2) Refurbished. You can go to pretty much any manufacturer site and find refurbished items. You will not save as much as buying used from other photographers, but you will be buying from a reputable company that has repaired the item using all OEM parts. There is also usually a 90 day or more warranty included with that purchase. The down side? As I mentioned, you will not save a lot. Maybe $100-$200 dollars in my experience.
3) Used from a camera store. We all know and love B&H and Adorama and those are my top two places to buy used gear from. I saved over $1000 buying a filter set from B&H that was "Like New" and essentially mint condition. Again, you won't save as much as buying from EBay or Mercari, but you do get a lot more comfort and reassurance that you product will be as described.
4) Third Party. I am generally a Nikon snob. I have had very little interest in third party companies like Sigma and Tamron... which is silly as of now. These third party contenders have really brought their A game to compete with the big dogs. That being said, not all third party models are created equal. For example, the Sigma Art series will compete with the best of them, but lenses that are not of the Art series still leave something to be desired. It is up to you to do your research on this. There are TONS of forums and comparison reviews on the internet so put in the work and you might be able to save a buck or two. Pair buying third party with buying used and you can score a KILLER deal. I purchased my Sigma 15mm Fisheye after research told me it was just as good as if not better than Nikon's 16mm Fisheye....I paid around $250.00 on a mint condition used lens and absolutely love it.
I will update this as I find more ways to save. After all I am a hobbyist dealing in the occasional freelance work so I will forever be on the hunt for the best deals. But for now these little tid bits have truly saved me thousands.