When is the best time to buy cameras
When is the Best Time to Buy a Camera? (For Best Camera Deals)By Tamara Kedves
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If you are a photographer, you might have wondered: when’s the best time to buy a camera?
Buying a camera at the right time means you can make great savings. You can use those savings to invest in accessories and gear!
In this article, we’ll share some tips on how you can find the best price for your next camera.
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When Is the Best Time to Buy a Camera?
The biggest sales are in January, just after Christmas. Some items, especially electronics, can have huge discounts. Because the high demand has passed, shops compete to create compelling offers.
Towards the second half of the year, companies try to boost sales by discounting items. This means you can find great camera deals around July and August.
Companies often want to get rid of old stock before Christmas so they can market newer options. This can mean massive discounts on cameras and many products. So keep an eye out for Black Friday (usually around the end of November) and Cyber Monday (three days later) deals.
New Camera Releases
If you are looking for the best camera deals, it is helpful to follow the release of new products. Older products will lose value as the new product enters the market. This gives you a great opportunity to find quality cameras and lenses for a lower price than usual.
New camera models are usually announced at the January Consumer Electronics Show (CES). New digital cameras are then released for sale in February.
How to Get a Better Deal on Cameras
Check Out International Offers
The price of electronic goods in some countries can be pretty high. This is down to a high tax on electronic goods and a lack of competition.
There are many sites where you can compare the price of products in different countries. These include eBay and Amazon, the two biggest online shopping sites. Other websites like B&H Photo, Adorama and KEH Camera will also help you compare prices.
Remember that shops may also have their own sales and offers. Countries might also have different dates for seasonal sales.
Buy From Friends and Extended Family
If you have friends or family who are photographers, check if they can help you find discounts. For example, they might have a brand sponsor, or their school may qualify for a discount at certain shops.
Also, if you know that a photographer is looking for a brand-new camera model, they may want to sell their old one to you. When buying second-hand, look for wear and usability before purchasing it (more on this below).
Buy Cameras Online
You may also find that shopping online will beat the prices found in-store. This is because online stores don’t have to charge you for the overheads that come with running a physical shop.
You may receive a further discount when buying more items together. You can also search for online promotion codes. If you are lucky, you can run into a discount coupon and save money.
Bear in mind that you may have to deal with shipping and delivery costs when buying online.
Buy a Used Camera
If you feel that you don’t need the newest model or a brand-new camera, consider buying used cameras. You can find used cameras at photography shops or online. You can also look for local private sellers on platforms like Facebook Marketplace.
Make sure you check out the quality of the camera before paying.
When shopping online, read the description and look for signs of wear. Look for condition rankings such as Excellent, Mint, Near Mint.
If buying a used camera in person, check whether the camera functions properly. Photography shops usually offer services for checking second-hand cameras.
On sites like Amazon and eBay, there is a guarantee that the product will match the description. This ensures that you get the quality that you paid for – or receive a refund.
There are many ways to get the best deal when buying a digital camera.
Do your research both online and in physical stores. It is rare, but camera shops sometimes have deals that beat online prices.
Don’t rush into buying a camera. Instead, use the tips in this article to find the best deal you can. A great camera deal is worth the wait!
If you liked this article, check out our post about the cheapest full frame camera options!
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The best time to buy a camera: shop smart and save(Image credit: Getty)
When is the best time to buy a camera? In reality, there is no 'one best time,' but if you want to save money (and who doesn't?), there are certainly some great sales and events to keep your eye out for throughout the year. As a result of the ongoing cost of living crisis, our budgets are tighter than ever and we are unsurprisingly less keen to part with our cash.
Fuel and energy prices are constantly rising, and for many beginners and hobby photographers, now isn't a good time to justify spending thousands of dollars on a new camera. Here, we will discuss when you can expect to find the best camera discounts, which seasonal sales and photography events to keep your eyes peeled for and which websites to check out and compare.
We'll discuss when camera brands usually slash their prices and how to make the most of the photography community. Finally, we'll consider whether you're better off just buying from the used market.
When to find the best discounts
Why you can trust Space Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.(Image credit: Getty)
Knowing when the best sales occur throughout the year can be really beneficial when you're looking to buy a camera. There's nothing worse than making a big purchase and then discovering it's on sale days after you purchased it. If you're new to photography, you might not want to splash the cash straight away. Waiting for sales is a great way to pick up equipment for less than the recommended retail price. The most significant sales events to be aware of throughout the year are:
- Post-Christmas/January sales - this also often includes Blue Monday. Retailers are often looking to clear out any excess stock at this time of year.
- Easter holiday sales (March/April)
- Amazon Prime Day (June/July)
- Black Friday/Cyber Monday (November)
- Most national holidays. Brands use every opportunity to try and make you part with your cash.
Make sure you check out Space.com's deals hub for the best discounts on cameras. We've rounded up the best camera deals from Amazon, Walmart, Adorama, and more. We also have dedicated pages during the more significant sales where our editors publish what they think are the best deals of the day. See this example where we saw a whopping $500 off the Canon A7R IV or this, where we found a cheaper than Amazon Prime day deal of $600 off the Canon 6D Mk II.
Another great time and place to purchase cameras, lenses, and other accessories for discounted prices are at photography shows and conventions. You can often try out any gear you want to add to your kit at these events. There are a lot of different camera retailers under one roof, and they all want to sell you something. Generally, the retailers offer competitive prices to encourage you to spend your money with them.
If you're in the US, check out the ClickCon photography conference. If you're a UK reader, consider getting tickets to The Photography Show , held annually in Birmingham.
Timing is everythingchange (Image credit: Getty)
Being smart when looking to save money on your camera purchase, goes a bit further than just knowing when the best retailer sales are. While that does help, you should also be mindful of what time of year your chosen brand will release any new models.
New camera releases often mean that older models can drop in price dramatically, both in the new and used markets. Some older stock may even be getting discontinued, meaning even more considerable savings are likely. Other brands may even discount their stock at the same time as another brand's release date as a bid to maintain their customer loyalty.
The January Consumer Electronics Show is usually where new camera releases are first announced, with the release dates being some time in February. Keep your eyes peeled around this time, as there's a good chance you'll find a great bargain with the older models being reduced in price. The second-hand market will also likely reflect that price drop when new models come out.
Shop around for the best dealsAn example of a warehouse clearance time-limited offer over at Adorama . (Image credit: Adorama)
You may not have to wait for the seasonal sales to grab a bargain. Many big websites have regular deals throughout the year, so make sure you're always keeping an eye on those. Although Amazon has Prime Day and other big yearly sales events, their prices continuously fluctuate weekly. In fact, many sellers will inflate their prices just before a big sale to give the illusion of a great deal. You can adjust your settings to get notified when items in your watch list change in price, meaning you won't miss the best deal.
You can also use a web browser extension such as camelcamelcamel , which records product prices over time so you can see if it has been cheaper or if it is a genuine deal.
Top tip(Image credit: Getty)
If the retailer has a 'Live Chat' function on their website, ask if there are any discount codes available. Sometimes they may offer a percentage off as a gesture of goodwill. There is no harm in asking.
Other big retailers to keep an eye on are B&H Photo , Wex , Adorama , and Walmart . With flash sales, warehouse clearances, and 'deal of the day' offers, you'll often find better prices than Amazon . Comparing prices across numerous retailers before adding a new camera to your basket is worth the extra few minutes of checking and could literally save you hundreds of dollars.
Signing up to the newsletters and mailing lists of companies you are interested in means they will keep you updated with their sales. Sometimes flash sale discount codes are given out solely on brands' social media platforms to encourage more engagement, so it's worth giving them a 'follow' if you're in the market for new kit.
Use your connections(Image credit: Getty)
Talking to your local community photography groups can be another great way to find discounts. If you know any photographers, or your friends and family are also into photography, not only can you ask them for recommendations of kit and where they find discounts, but if they are planning on upgrading their own cameras, they may well want to sell their current gear to you for an attractive price.
You may know some photographers who have brand ambassador discounts codes for specific brands, you might also already follow someone on Instagram or Facebook who are associated with a brand. These people get a commission whenever someone uses their unique discount code, so they are usually more than happy to share. If you don't ask, you don't get. A 10% ambassador discount may not sound like much, but when you're possibly going to be spending upwards of $1500 on a camera, that's a sizeable saving.
When you're looking for camera discounts, check out discount and coupon websites. Although they are often littered with expired codes and false deals, you can occasionally get lucky, though we wouldn't recommend spending too much time on them. Cashback websites like Quidco and Top Cashback are more genuine, they refund you X amount of your purchase total once you have 'clicked through' and purchased from the retailer. You'll have to wait a little while for the cashback to be credited, usually after the fairly common 30-day returns period, but you're still saving money.
Choose wisely and look for pre-loved(Image credit: Getty)
Sometimes, the best way to save money on new cameras and photography gear is to shop the used market, regardless of the time of year. When asked, 'What's your best money-saving tip?' the majority of seasoned photographers will say to buy used gear.
There are some caveats to this, though. It goes without saying that you need to make sure all components of the camera are in good condition and in full working order. If you're buying directly from another person on an auction website like eBay, or on Facebook Marketplace, ask to see footage of the camera in working order and how it writes to the disk, etc. The risk of buying from a private seller is that there are no guarantees or warranties in place should the camera malfunction, which could leave you out of pocket.
Websites like Wex have a dedicated used section where the used products are rigorously checked before sale, and come with a 12-month warranty. Similarly, B&H Photo offers 90-day parts and labor warranties on used items. We'd always recommend using them over private sellers.
- Related: Camera Deals Hub
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Kimberley Lane is a landscape & seascape photographer living in South Wales. Originally using photography as a way to cope with health issues, she aims to portray a feeling of calm and peace through her images. Her work has been featured in a number of national photography magazines.
With contributions from
- Tantse WalterContributing Writer
What to look for when buying a SLR camera
So, you are going to buy a new camera. How to correctly check the camera before buying, so that you don’t get a defective copy, and how not to become a victim of fraud? In this article, we will look at the basic rules for checking cameras. It will be mainly about models with interchangeable optics. However, most of the advice will be valid for checking compacts.
Getting ready to buy
To make a successful purchase, it is better to prepare at home for going shopping for a camera. nine0003
Clearly define the model. Make sure it's not outdated, still relevant. Study the information about it on the manufacturer's website: have newer models of the same class come out with better performance? Study customer reviews about the selected camera on the Internet. Finding reviews is very easy. It is enough to open any search engine and type “Camera such and such reviews” in the search bar.
Where to buy a camera? To minimize the risk of being scammed when buying, it is best to buy a camera from stores whose reputation is beyond your doubts. Do not buy where suspiciously cheap. Most likely, they sell goods from “gray” lots that do not have an official guarantee, or even used things under the guise of new ones. nine0003
Don't expect sales assistants in a regular store to really help you choose something. It is important to understand that their task is not to find you the best camera, but to make the best deal.
The best store option is the manufacturer's branded store. Here you definitely will not have problems with the guarantee. The sales people are professional and always ready to help.
If you are new to photography and don't yet have a good grasp of photography equipment, don't buy used cameras. It is quite difficult to check them, they can have many hidden defects. If you still decide to buy a used camera, you need to check its “mileage”: how many shots have already been taken on it. We will talk about this below. nine0003
When checking the camera, it is better to have an idea of its controls. Download the manual from the manufacturer's website and read it. See how shooting modes are selected, how shutter speed, aperture and ISO are adjusted, how to turn on continuous shooting, how autofocus is turned on and off, how image quality is adjusted, how focus points are selected. If you're new and don't know anything about shooting options yet, it's best to bring someone with you to the store who can help you set up your camera for a thorough check. nine0003
Keep in mind that cameras are almost always sold without a memory card included. Make sure you have a memory card with you.
It is more convenient to check the quality of test shots on a large screen. If possible, take a laptop with you to view the images on it.
Checking the camera
So, we are in the store. Before us is a box with the desired camera. How to check the camera on your own? Let's figure it out. nine0003
Inspect the box for mechanical damage. Find the warranty card in the box. Check that this is an official manufacturer's warranty card, and not a warranty from a third-party service center, as is often the case with unofficial “gray” supplies of photographic equipment. Check the serial numbers on the packaging, on the camera and on the warranty card. Check the package. There should be no traces of use on the equipment. Everything should be wrapped in bags. Nothing should be fingerprinted, let alone scratched. If traces of use are found, do not listen to the seller's comments, but simply demand another copy without traces of use. nine0003
If you buy a camera with a lens, check the lens for any scratches or dust inside. Attach the lens to the camera. There should be no backlash: the lens should be fixed tightly.
Testing the mechanics of the camera
After visual inspection, we proceed to test the camera.
Insert the battery and memory card, turn on the camera. If the battery is discharged to zero, it is worth charging it at least a little. Take a few test shots in auto mode. Check if the built-in flash is working. nine0003
Check continuous shooting operation. Turn on continuous shooting, hold down the shutter button: the camera will continuously take frames while the button is held down by the photographer. Take a small series of shots - five or six. Thus, we will check the performance of the camera shutter.
Menu with a choice of burst settings that appears after pressing the button on the left. Let's select the item "continuous fast".
Checking the camera for defective pixels
It is important to check the camera matrix for broken and hot pixels. What are dead and hot pixels? Perhaps you have already met them on computer monitors. A dead pixel is a non-working element of the camera matrix. In photographs, it will appear as a bright dot in all shots. A hot pixel will be invisible in standard shooting conditions, but when shooting at slow shutter speeds or at high ISO, it will turn into a colored dot in the picture. Some hot pixels are acceptable when shooting at high ISOs and when using multi-second shutter speeds, but are a warning sign if they already appear at fairly low ISOs and when using shutter speeds in the region of 1/60 s. nine0003
An example of defective pixels. They are especially visible on a black background.
How to check the camera for broken and hot pixels? Here is a detailed algorithm of actions:
Cover the camera lens with a cap. Shooting must be done with the lid closed to get a black frame. On a black background, all defective pixels will be perfectly visible.
Set the camera to shutter priority mode (S). nine0009
Set the image quality to JPEG at the highest quality.
Nikon D5300 image quality selection menu
- Disable autofocus: it will not allow you to take a picture when the lens cap is closed.
To disable autofocus, move the switch on the lens to “M” -”Manual focus”
- Set the shutter speed to 1/25 s and the minimum ISO. Usually this is ISO 100.
Shooting options displayed on the Nikon D5300 camera screen
Take a picture. Examine it in 100% scale (this is important: otherwise the defects will not be visible). If extra dots appear on the black field of the picture, you should refuse to buy this copy of the camera.
Now let's complicate the task of the camera: lengthen the shutter speed to three seconds (on the camera screen, it can be indicated as 3") and raise the ISO to 800 units.
Shooting options displayed on the Nikon D5300 camera screen
- Let's examine the received frame. Perhaps hot pixels will appear on it: multi-colored dots. If there are one or two of them, it's okay. If the bill went to dozens, you should refuse to buy this copy of the camera.
Sample test shots. Such pictures must be obtained by shooting with the lid closed at the above parameters. To see the difference, they must be viewed at 100% magnification.
Image with defective pixels
Image without defective pixels
View illustrations at full scale.
By the way, defective pixels can be not only on the camera's matrix, but also on its screen. Look closely at the camera's LCD screen to see if they are on it.
Back focus and front focus. What it is?
This is an autofocus error when the lens systematically focuses not at the specified point, but behind it (back focus) or in front of it (front focus). As a result of incorrect focusing at the point you focused on, sharpness may be absent. Back and front focus are only for SLR cameras. Compact and mirrorless cameras do not suffer from this defect, because their focusing system is arranged differently. Back and front focus are not so scary for owners of top-end DSLRs: Nikon D7000 level or higher. In these cameras, you can fine-tune autofocus through the menu. nine0003
Fine-tuning autofocus in Nikon D810
How to check the camera and lens for back and front focus?
Only a specialized service center can accurately diagnose the presence or absence of front and back focus. By the way, the manufacturers do not consider it a marriage. In a service center, autofocus can be easily adjusted.
It is important to understand that in practice, the photographer almost always “misses” focusing (you also need to be able to focus correctly), while the camera works out everything correctly. Therefore, if you systematically get blurry frames, think about whether you are handling the device correctly. nine0003
If you buy a camera with a lens that has a low aperture (for example, “whale” lenses 18-55 mm with aperture F / 3.5-F5.6), then the presence or absence of front or back focus is unlikely it will be possible to notice both in the store and during further shooting. Due to the large depth of field, possible focusing flaws are leveled. So the owners of devices with "whale" lenses (with which the devices are sold in the kit), the problem of back- and front-focus should not worry. nine0003
However, if you buy a machine with a fast lens that requires greater focus accuracy, you can check it for your peace of mind as follows.
To do this, we just need to take a picture at an angle of 45 degrees of some object with fine details. The test is best done in natural daylight.
Let's set up the camera: set the mode to “A”, set the most open aperture. ISO can be set to "auto". nine0003
Autofocus must be enabled.
Select the center focus point.
Let's select an object for shooting: it can be a piece of paper or a box with some letters, a newspaper, a ruler or a special test target.
Focus on the center point at a predetermined location. It is important to remember exactly where you focused. In the case of a test target, it is necessary to focus strictly on the place intended for this. Usually this place says “Focus here”. We will use with a sheet of paper in a cage , drawing a straight line in the center of it. We will focus on it.
Let's take a few shots, about a dozen. We strictly monitor that the focus point is exactly in the place where you need to focus. Please note that once the camera has focused, it cannot be moved forward or backward. After all, if the distance between the subject and the camera changes even by a millimeter, the focus will fail and the test will not be accurate. If you suspect that the camera still has a focus error, take a few more test shots to make sure that the error appears systematically. nine0003
Let's examine the shots: if the focus on most of the frames of the series turned out to be exactly at the point on which we focused, then everything is in order. If the focus in all pictures has shifted forward or backward from this point, then autofocus misses.
Correct operation of the autofocus system. It can be seen that the focus is exactly where we aimed: on the black line.
Front focus: Focus has “jumped” forward.
Back focus: The focus is outside the line, not on it. nine0003
So, if the camera passed all the checks, then we can say with a high degree of confidence that it is in good working order. You can safely buy such a camera!
How can I be sure the camera I'm selling is new and not used? How to see the "mileage" of the camera?
It is not uncommon for unscrupulous sellers to sell used equipment under the guise of new equipment: display samples, devices returned by customers. If you have suspicions that the camera you are selling is not new, or you have deliberately decided to buy a used camera and want to evaluate its quality, it is worth checking the number of shots captured on the camera. In the case of a new camera, their number should be close to zero. In the case of used equipment, the greater the mileage, the worse the general condition of the device and the more you can reduce its price when bargaining with the seller. nine0003
So, how can you see how many frames have already been taken on the camera? In the case of Canon cameras, the mileage is quite difficult to check: you have to connect the camera to a computer and use special programs like EOSinfo or the eoscount. com web application; here you need to separately study the issue for each camera model. In the case of Nikon devices, everything is much simpler. It is enough to open any test shot from the camera under study and look into the EXIF data. It is important that the photograph being studied be taken in Jpeg. Do not edit a test image in graphic editors: this way you can lose the necessary data. EXIF is shooting information data written to a photo file. How to view EXIF data? Brief information from EXIF can be viewed in many programs, but we need to display detailed information. It is convenient to do this through web services. For example, through this regex.info/exif.cgi. Just upload the test image there and the service will display the EXIF of this frame for us. We are interested in the “Shutter Count” graph. It will record how many times the shutter has been released. nine0003
Mileage of my camera.
Manufacturers claim a camera's shutter life: how many times a given shutter model can actuate on average before its life is exhausted. This indicator is very average: nothing prevents the shutter from permanently working twice or three times more. However, only by it we can judge the overall reliability of the shutter and, in general, the entire filling of the camera as a whole. Of course, the more serious the device, the greater the resource of its shutter.
Camera shutter module Nikon D810. nine0003
In the case of amateur cameras, the shutter life is usually about 50-100 thousand operations. More advanced models have around 100-150 thousand operations. And professional equipment has more than 150 thousand. If you buy a used camera and see that its mileage is close to the stated shutter life, then most likely such a camera will not live long and will soon need repair.
How to choose and test a used camera before buying | Articles | Photo, video, optics
Buying a used camera can save you a lot of money, but there are some caveats. It is necessary to carefully check the equipment and make sure that it is fully operational. Experienced photographers advise beginners to be extremely careful when buying a camera from their hands. Not all sellers are conscientious, and often they are just trying to get rid of problematic photographic equipment. To buy a used SLR camera and not regret it in a few days, you need to know what to look for when checking it. nine0003
Even the oldest photographic equipment can be found on bulletin boards. Source: rtings.com
Why the camera is for sale
The first thing a buyer who intends to buy a used camera should find out is the reason for the sale. The seller can indicate it in the ad, but it is better to clarify. You need to ask about the complete set and the availability of a warranty card. Sometimes there are copies with all the documents and the warranty period has not expired - this is a significant advantage.
If there is a charger in the kit, all cords and adapters are also a good plus. But the presence of a user manual or disks with software is not so important, since all this can be downloaded for free on the official website of the manufacturer.
When a person sells a camera after buying a new one, this is normal. If he cannot voice a normal reason or starts to play up, there is probably some problem in the camera, and they are just trying to get rid of the camera. nine0003
Inspection of the camera
Equipment must be carefully examined for damage: abrasions and traces of falling on the body, scratches on the lens glass, damaged screws (indicates that they were unscrewed). How to check a used camera for such flaws, even a beginner will figure it out. By the appearance of the camera, you can often understand how the user treated it and how long it served him at all.
Any signs of disassembly or repair of the camera should be looked out for. Source: pikabu.ru
The presence of chips, cracks or scratches should alert. It is necessary to clarify how they appeared. If the camera was often dropped, this is a bad sign - it is better to refuse the purchase. It is also necessary to check all screw connections. If they have traces of unscrewing, you need to find out why the camera was disassembled.
The camera should also be shaken and listened to make sure nothing rattles inside. There should be no extraneous sounds such as clanging, crackling or rustling. Also, nothing should be loose. nine0003
Checking the matrix for broken and hot pixels
Let's proceed to the matrix test for broken and hot pixels. The quality of photos and the performance of the camera as a whole depend on it. Remember how to check the camera:
- Switch the camera to shooting mode "M".
- Set ISO 100 and shutter speed 15 seconds.
- Turn off all noise reduction functions.
- Taking a few shots with a tripod (you can just put the camera on something). nine0012
- We examine the made frames with the maximum approximation (it is more convenient to do it on a computer).
Multicolored glowing dots are hot pixels. If they are missing or there are several of them for the entire frame, this is normal. Dead pixels look different - just like black or white dots. If there are more than 10 hot and broken pixels, it is better to refrain from buying.
Dead and hot pixels are best seen on a black background. Source: profoto.lviv.ua
Each camera has a resource set by the manufacturer. If the camera is properly looked after during its operation, it will work properly beyond this resource. When buying equipment, be sure to check the mileage. It is determined by the number of shutter releases.
The method of checking the mileage of the camera depends on the brand. For example, the mileage of a Canon camera can be found using the Canon EOS Digital software. But there are also universal applications. You can use the Camera Shutter Count to check the number of times a Nikon or Pentax camera has fired a shutter. Also this program supports some Canon and Sony models. Another application that works with Canon, Sony, Nikon and Pentax cameras is EOSMSG. nine0003
The process of checking the mileage using all programs is approximately the same: you need to connect the camera to the computer via USB, run the software, select the camera model (if it was not detected automatically) and press the button to see the result.
Mileage check with Camera Shutter Count. Source: fstoppers.com
Having found out the mileage of the camera, you need to find out what resource the manufacturer has set for a particular model. This can be found on the official website in the characteristics of the camera. If it comes to an end or has already expired, it is not recommended to buy a camera. Of course, you can replace the shutter, but this is a rather expensive procedure, which is most often not justified when buying used equipment. nine0003
All camera controls and electronics should be checked. Buttons and switches must function properly. You need to try to switch modes, check all the mechanical levers, press the buttons. Everything should work smoothly and the first time.
Still need to take a few shots in each mode, evaluating the performance of exposure metering, white balance, shutter speed, built-in flash, and so on.
If the camera is sold with a lens, the optics must also be checked. That's not difficult. It needs to be inspected for damage. There should be no cracks or even minor scratches on the lenses. All moving parts must work clearly and without backlash.
Also look for signs of mold under the lenses. Their presence indicates that the lens has become wet or stored in inappropriate conditions. It is impossible to get rid of mold under the lenses without disassembly. nine0003
A scratched lens is not recommended. All images will show imperfections. Source: phillipreeve.net
It is also important to check the autofocus function of the lens. You need to take several shots in different modes and evaluate the result.