In the market for a nice camera. Looking at purchasing pre-owned?
The do’s and dont’s.
I would suggest Canon above any other manufacturer, not because Canon is necessarily the best but rather because they have the greatest share of the market and a greater level of support, at least for those buying new. For those of us on a more modest budget the pre-owned market is where we need to look.
Obviously you need to have a budget in mind and then make your choices accordingly. For this exercise lets keep the Budget at $650.00 NZD. (Roughly $420 USD)
With this outlay we need to obtain a camera with at least one lens. You should never buy a used body only unless you already have a lens to suit, even then its a chance I wouldn’t take. Often times camera bodies develop problems, its far rarer to have a fault in a lens ( although not unknown, certainly less likely). You are looking to buy a fully functioning unit, and in my experience the best way to buy. I bought a supposedly fully working second body with my last 700D and it turned out to be faulty. As I had no way to know if the body was working at time of purchase all I could do was use it for spare parts. This had no warranty or returns.
Make sure you are happy with your purchase if the buyer cant give you an up to date shutter count, this is important as its an indication of how much use and wear and tear the camera is likely to have experienced.
Look to get basic accessories as part of the purchase, camera bag, spare battery and charger, SD card etc. You can see a list of extras I obtained with my latest purchase
I’ve used the latest listings from Trademe for this guide as here in New Zealand its local and the obvious place to start. Theres obviously E-Bay and other international sources but in most instances the freight cost makes it less a viable option.
In the $500-$650 range you could opt for:
70D,60D,800D,750D,650D,1500D,100D. These all have flip out screens except for the EOS100D & 1500D
Most of these camera come with a full range of accessories and most but not all offer at least a second lens, with one 70D being a three lens kit, well worth looking at if you dont mind a larger DSLR. For me the 650D and the 600D are too expensive in this price bracket and most dont offer any extras.
In the $400-$500 range look for:
750D,700D,650D,600D, all have flip out or tilt screens at 920.00 dots or better.
The 1500D,1300D,1200D,3000D,EOS100D, all come with a fixed screens, the 1200D has a 460,000 dot screen the 1300 & 1500D’s have a 920,00 dot screen and the EOS100d has 1,040,000. The 3000D even though its a late model entry level camera only has 230,00 dots. This sounds poor but its the same as the 1000D and 1100D, both of which I found had useful screens, detail just isn’t as refined as the later model cameras.
In the $200-$400 range look for:
1000D,1100D,1200D,1300D,450D,550D. All have fixed screens , with the 450D & 550D having screens with 920,000 dots or better. Now matter how well presented these cameras are I would not pay more than the upper limit in this catergory unless they had prime lenses or better glass than the standard kit lenses. I routinely see 450 & 550D’s selling for $500NZD or more and frankly they are not worth it. Some of the cameras in the last category are over 10 years old, including the 600D. Later model cameras tend to have better inbuilt digital processors and sensors and better ergonomic layouts.
For a basic entry level camera the Canon 1000D is a great place to start and if you are able to procure one for less than $300NZD grab it. It will make a nice addition to a smartphone/DSLR kit. Which will get you photos like this.
So long as you obtain a well functioning camera, preferably with a shutter count of 20,000 or less you should be able to get great photos for a modest financial outlay.
What about Nikon, Sony and Fujifilm?
Sony and Fuji are too expensive generally and theres not a lot to choose from. Nikon also has a much smaller user base here, but the general rule of thumb I applied here for Canon cameras would apply to these three makers as well.
Best options for:
Sony – the A5000,a5100,Nex-5 series. Prices rise very quickly with older Sony cameras.
Fujifilm – possible models to look for are the X-M1, X-A1 & X-A2 and X-E1, most are sold without lenses but if the body price is right you may be able to pickup an XC16-50mm lens or the XC15-45mm lens. This will put you in the $600-$800NZD range or perhaps more. Very nice cameras but they come at a premium price even in the used sector.
Nikon– are similar to the two makes above. Very limited supply and generally tend to be a little more costly than Canon but not as expensive as the other two makes.
Look for a D300,D3100,D3200,D3300,D5100 & D5200.
As of the writing of this the best value for money Nikons are the D300,D3100 & D3200’s. Averaging between $200 & 350NZD. Trademe shows that there are some nice lenses to be had for a modest amount, mostly modest telephoto lenses. Remember that for crop sensor Nikon’s you need to look for DX series lenses. The FX series are for fullframe cameras and while they do work on crop sensor cameras they tend to zoom in too much especially on the wide end of the lens.
All in all for a much larger range of camera bodies and lenses I feel that Canon should be your first port of call. If you dont see something to suit your needs then look to the other manufacturers.
For those curious as to why I topped the budget at $650NZD. For a little more than an extra $200NZD you can get a brand new entry level Canon on special from Harvey Norman for $822.00. Unless you need a better camera than this a sub $650NZD camera is the way to go.
Once the major camera makers phase out DSLR’s and yes they are doing so, both with camera bodies and lenses, the used DSLR market is going to become a place for aspiring photographers to pick up very good quality gear at some really pocket friendly prices. We are not there yet but over the next two to five years its unlikely anyone other than Pentax are going to be producing DSLR’s. With the upwardly spiralling cost a new mirrorless gear the second hand mirrorless market will also become more active.
At the moment most of the second hand mirrorless market is comprised of smaller cameras or the cameras forming the more pro level units. With both Canon and Nikon effectively dropping their entry level mirrorless in favour of the full frame or larger apsc mirrorless cameras, these entry level cameras are going to start fetching premium prices, in fact some of them already are, making DSLR’s often a better and more cost effect choice when buying pre-owned.
Check out the current Trademe listings here.
No matter what you budget may be there most likely is something out there for you as a starting point when selecting a pre loved camera. Good hunting & have fun.