MPB.com Review – Trading and Upgrading Camera Gear

Mount Hood photo captured from Beaverton, Oregon by Shane Cotee. Canon R5 with Canon 100-500mm f/4.5-7.1 L IS USM.

Initial Impression of MPB

I’ve purchased a used lens (Zeiss 25mm f/2.8 for Canon) from MPB in the past, at a serious discount. I was really happy with that first purchase. Then I started looking at the 100-400mm II lens from Canon, and MPB turned out to have the best prices on Like New (used) copies of that famous lens.

The process of selling and buying an entire kit worth of gear would’ve been very time consuming to do the old-fashioned way: Taking photos of equipment, listing it all for sale, dealing with lowball offers, waiting for buyers, and in the worst case, dealing with returned items.

I wasn’t entirely sure how the process would play out, so I’m documenting my experience of using MPB to help others who want to try MPB to exchange and upgrade their camera gear.

Summary: I highly recommend using MPB for purchasing, selling, or trading camera equipment. This company sets a new standard for modern bartering, in my opinion. MPB gives you $20 off, and also gives me $20 off if you use this link. This doesn’t mean I’m skewing the review to get $20 off — I have all the gear I need (for now, at least)!

One of the best shots I’ve taken with the Canon 500mm f/4.5 L FD lens, thanks to an FD to RF adapter and the in-body stabilization of the Canon R5 camera.

Trading and Upgrading

Get $20 Off Purchases or Trades at MPB

The quickest way to get things moving is to search MPB for the exact item you want, and if it’s in stock, click the “Trade for This” button. This will initiate a trade by allowing you to add line items to be sold and to be bought, which is then submitted like an application.

After initiating the trade, you’ll receive an automated email, followed by a FedEx shipping label. I chose the option to have FedEx pick up my gear, which was an amazing convenience, free of charge.

MPB’s Valuation of Your Gear

MPB pays unusually high prices for used gear compared to other companies. They claim this is a key to their business model, and it appears to work. The prices they gave for my gear rivaled anything I could hope for on Craigslist or eBay, minus 90% of the trouble.

MPB’s Prices on Used Gear

As mentioned earlier, MPB often has the lowest prices for used camera gear out of any store of its kind. They’re very specific about condition ratings and listing what’s included.

One Small Complaint Among the Praises

Throughout the process, MPB is quick to send automated emails. My only complaint through the process of my first trade (understanding that the Thanksgiving holiday probably slowed things down), is that I didn’t hear back within 3 business days when asking them a question via email. This left me waiting, without most of my gear (because I shipped it in for trade — a risk I was aware of at the start). To be fair, I could have tried calling them. The good news is that I was able to answer my own question by (hesitantly) accepting the trade and then seeing that the final step of the entire process provides an editable list of line items. This is MPB’s current behavior, as of late November, 2021.

Note: MPB makes it clear that you cannot trade for “nothing” — that is, you can’t just remove all of the items you were going to buy if you began the transaction as a trade. You can change to a single, lesser-priced item, if needed.

To be more specific, I removed the lens that was in my original trade quote, tried to continue, and got a message that something needed to be traded. I was relieved to see MPB had one Canon 1.4x Teleconverter for $80 less than anywhere else I’d seen lately.

This requirement for a trade to remain a trade was as strict as the process gets, and I don’t see a problem with how MPB implements that rule. If you decide at the last minute that you want to, for example, get money back instead of spending money, it can be done. If you want more freedom, you can always sell your gear to them instead of doing a trade.

More About Modifying Your Trade-In Choices

After initiating my trade, I found a separate deal on a lens that would replace the one in my original trade agreement. This made me nervous, because I wasn’t sure if MPB would let me modify the exchange after I’d accepted the agreement (and the modified quote, after they evaluated my gear and determined that a couple of items had to be considered Excellent condition, though their prices were still very fair).

I replied to two emails hoping to find answers about changing what I was trading for, but didn’t hear anything. This was the one place where MPB dropped the ball — I never heard back from those emails. I could have called them up, but never felt the need to. Long story short, I was able to modify my trade at the very end of the process, and ended up getting paid instead of paying them.

You can modify the items you want to receive on the very last step of the trade process, but you cannot easily modify what you’re trading in — that may require starting over completely (or at least calling MPB). In the case of starting over, MPB will ship your gear back to you — free of charge.

Summary

To reiterate, MPB provides a very efficient way to buy, sell, or trade camera equipment, and I highly recommend trying it out.


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