How to Identify Cameras and Lenses

How to Identify Cameras and Lenses

With a plethora of photographic equipment produced all over the world by thousands of different companies during the last hundred years or more, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’ve got to sell - especially if you're not familiar with any of it!

Sending us photos of your equipment can provide us with all the information we need, and also helps us get an idea of condition it's in.

We have prepared this handy guide on how to properly identify and photograph your gear.


Most models of camera are pretty straightforward to identify and will have the manufacturer's name and the model clearly visible. A small minority of camera makers did not give their products specific model or version names - although we can usually identify these cameras with a photo!

The examples from the photos below would be as follows:

  • Canon F-1
  • Nikon F
  • Minolta SRT 101B
  • Olympus OM-2
  • Yashica Mat 124G

We don't normally require the serial number of a camera  - if we need it, we'll let you know - but there's no need to trouble yourself noting down all the numbers. 


Just like people. lenses come in all shapes and sizes. To help us figure out what we'll need to know, take a peek at the following


The information we require to identify a lens is:

  • Manufacturer (e.g Nikon, Canon, Carl Zeiss)
  • Focal length (Expressed in mm, or cm - e.g. 50mm or 5cm. Sometimes it's in inches)
  • Aperture (usually expressed as a ratio - e.g. 1:2.8 or f/2.8)

This is quite often found on the front of a lens, around the glass...

… but occasionally the information will be on the side of the lens:


The best way to photograph lenses:

An image of the front of a lens, rather than the side is the most useful, so that we can see the required information. In the below example, we would have a hard time indeed guessing which lenses were on the left hand photo!


Take any filters, front lens caps and rear lens caps off:

Filter out the filters!

Sometimes lenses come fitted with filters - these screw onto the front of the lens and create special effects or are simply for protection. They will often have a millimetre measurement printed on them, along with a descriptor such as "Skylight" or "UV" - but this is not important to us when trying to identify the lens itself. The size of the filter (in the example below, 52mm) has no relevance to the model of the lens.

All these numbers flying around can be a little confusing, but hopefully this illustrates what a filter looks like:

General Tips

Quality over quantity:

There's no need to take photos of every angle of every item, just for the sake of identification. Just one good photo of each item will suffice for us. 

Alternatively, If you have a lot of equipment, one really good, clear photo of several items at once will save you time!
For example, we would be able to identify all the cameras and lenses using the image below:



Remove cameras and lenses from their cases:


Resolution of photos:

Depending on your camera, smartphone or email settings, photos may come through to us too small or too low-resolution for information to be read. If an option is presented to you to send us photos in small, medium or large size - please choose medium or large.



Take photos in good light, near a window or bright light source if possible - we appreciate that you may have been going for the artsy motion blur look, but we need to be able to see those details!


Back to blog