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How to Check if a Canon Camera is New, Original, Refurb

How to Check if a Canon Camera is New, Original, Refurb

Canon cameras are popular amongst photographers because they can deliver some of the best results. However, these cameras don’t often come cheap, so it makes sense why so many photographers can opt for refurbished options instead. Refurbished cameras will be able to function just like a new camera, but they have gone through an extensive cleaning process to get them back to standard operation again. The question is, how can you tell the difference?

A refurbished product from Canon is easily identifiable because of how it is packaged. You will see the camera in a white box with a gold sticker on the site that mentions it has gone through refurbishing. There is also often a tiny pinhole on the serial numbers to indicate that refurbishing has taken place. However, if the refurbishing happened independently, there are other markers such as listing labels. 

There is a lot more to learn about the world of refurbished Canon cameras, so keep reading to learn about identifying fakes and the benefits of refurbished cameras vs. new ones!

How Can You Tell A Canon Camera Is Refurbished?

When Canon refurbishes a camera by themselves, there are two indicators that you can keep an eye on:

  1. A pinhole on the serial number sticker.
  2. A gold sticker stating that Canon refurbished this product.

If you have bought a Canon camera directly from the manufacturer, you will know that it has gone through refurbishing if this is the case. However, if you bought the camera from someone else, there are a lot of other factors you should consider. 

For example, on merchant sites like Amazon and eBay, you should be able to see a sign that the camera is refurbished. However, merchants can keep information like that from you, so it is always best to be vigilant and only purchase refurbished cameras directly from Canon or a trustworthy source. 

Related: Is Your Canon Camera Saying Its Busy? Here’s Why

How Are Canon Cameras Refurbished?

Canon selects cameras for refurbishing by choosing items they have sold to photographers like you before. These cameras are often either given to service centers and abandoned or are pre-owned and given up by the owner. 

Canon refurbishes cameras by cleaning them out and removing all of the dust gathered inside over the years. Canon does this using specialty vacuums and equipment that involve compressed air. Aside from this, the company may also replace things like rubber seals, lens mounts, and even batteries or straps. 

Finally, techs at Canon will clean up the camera and make it look as close to the original as possible. Experts also test the cameras to help make sure that they work as they should and that the internal software is still effective.

Comparing Refurbished Cameras To New Ones

There are a lot of benefits you can get when you choose to use a refurbished camera, but it also has its drawbacks. So why opt for a refurbished camera when you can get a new one? Let’s compare how the two size up against each other. 

Refurbished CamerasNew Cameras
CheaperMore Expensive
May not include a warrantyAlways include a warranty
It may contain missing partsNo missing parts
It May have a slightly lower performanceIt May have a slightly better performance
A comparison of refurbished and new cameras from Canon.

One of the biggest reasons a lot of photographers opt for a refurbished camera over a new one is that they are significantly cheaper. This is great if you are a student or just starting and cannot invest too much into the camera type. However, the lower cost can be a hindrance when you consider other factors.

Take, for example, the question of warranty. Canon’s own refurbishing comes with a warranty, but if you choose a reseller, you may not get a warranty. So, if the camera isn’t working right or is entirely defective, you will be in serious trouble. Another factor to consider is performance. Since Canon refurbishes cameras that have been in use before, their performance may be significantly lower than a new camera’s.

Related: What to Do When a Canon Camera Won’t Read an SD Card?

Comparing Refurbished Cameras To Used Ones

Another interesting comparison is how a refurbished Canon camera lines up when you compare it to one already in use. Please think of the two of them to be separated in how they are in use. For example, a camera that has gone through refurbishing will essentially be upholstered. Especially if refurbishing happens with Canon, all of the flaws and issues are taken care of before you get the chance to buy the camera.

Refurbished CameraUsed Camera
More ExpensiveCheaper
Fewer chances of defectsGreater chances of defects
May include support and warrantyAlmost never have support and warranty

However, on the other hand, a camera that has been in use is another matter altogether. While the two cameras start out in the exact same state, the difference is that this type of camera doesn’t get a makeover. Instead, you always run the risk that you may not be able to use the camera properly at all. While these types of cameras are typically cheaper than the refurbished ones, the eventual costs you will have to undertake can add up over time. 

Should I Choose A Refurbished Camera?

After reading through all of this information, it is reasonable that you might be considering choosing a camera that has gone through refurbishing. The ultimate question here is of budget. If you are on a budget, refurbished cameras from Canon itself are much lower in cost than new products. You can still rest easy knowing the camera has gone through significant checks and is in good condition. 

Always read through descriptions and ask questions when you choose a refurbished camera. This will help prevent you from buying a camera that brings you more stress and becomes more costly in the long run. Plus, with Canon refurbished cameras, you are likely to get a warranty with the purchase, which secures your status even more. 


As with any kind of purchasing decision, there are benefits and drawbacks to choosing a refurbished camera. However, as long as you know what you are purchasing, which you can check using the indicators above, you can make a solid choice with a refurbished camera. Having such a camera on your side is an effective way of starting as a photographer, and you can still benefit from all the features the camera has to offer.