Xmas 2022, pre-owned buyers guide.

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.


Covid & The end of an era.

I haven’t shot a roll of film for quite some time. One of the places I used to frequent for film and prints was Lindale’s Fujifilm Image Service in Hamilton NZ.

The owner Don always had time for a quick chat even when he was busy and had a wealth of knowledge when it came to photography. Prior to his passing last year, he had retired a year or two earlier and his shop assistant bought the business and continued to run it. She and her partner continued to run the same friendly and personable service. I was unaware of Don’s passing or the closure of the shop towards the end of 2021. Sadly, another business closing the doors thanks to Covid and mandated lockdowns.

Often small businesses operate on small margins and a Covid enforced closure is disastrous, and yet again we see a small family business go by the wayside.

In a city of around a quarter of a million people we appear to be down to one photo lab that still processes film locally. Given the recent horrendous rise in the cost of a roll of film, in most cases close to or exceeding 100% more than at Dec 2019 I have to wonder just how long some of the other labs around the country will hold up in this inflationary market we have at present.

I did a photo shoot in 2018 at a local vintage railway and took two rolls of Kodak Ultramax along. They were 36 exposure rolls and cost $10.00NZD each and that included the freight to my rural location. Now the same roll of film costs $26.00NZD each plus freight. In other words, it now costs twice as much plus just to do the same photo shoot as I did 3 1/2 years ago. On a brighter note our local film processing lab has been able to hold the price of developing a 35mm color film roll to $25.00NZD and that includes scanning as part of the service. Thats only about three bucks more than what I was paying three or four years ago.

You can find Imageland at 55 Lake Road, Hamilton NZ. Hopefully they have weathered the Covid storm and will be with us for some time to come. What this means for the future of film photography at this point is anyone’s guess. If the YouTube community is anything to go by, we seem to be having a renaissance in film photography.

A Pentax MZ50 I bought for $50.00NZD 10 years ago now sells regularly on the local online auction sites for anything up to $200NZD. Supply and demand being what it is and the fact that you can’t buy 35mm SLR or point and shoots new anymore, seems to be driving up the cost of good condition used film cameras. I’m glad I kept one when I got rid of all my other film cameras. Now I just need some film 🙂

R.I.P Don, I will see you on the print side.

In the meantime, happy snappin”

Another camera joins the family.

After buying the GF6 twin lens kit I had always had in the back of my mind the desire to get another camera. A larger sensor and good manual controls being essential, astrophotography was one essential process that I wanted to be able to pursue.

I ruled out mirrorless almost immediately apart from the GF6. The sensor size being too small in the GF6’s case ruled that out as well. Pre-owned mirrorless here in NZ is still too expensive, which meant a DSLR would be the choice. I have been waiting quite some time for the right camera to come along, my preference being Canon, but not necessarily limited to one brand.

Call it luck or perhaps divine intervention – I had planned a trip to a city a little over 1 1/2 hrs. drive from where I live to see my sisters, one of whom was visiting from Australia, and I hadn’t seen her in the best part of 3 or 4 years. I had been scanning the local online auction sites and a camera was listed for what I would call a bargain basement price.

The photos showed what appeared to be an almost new camera, no marks, dust or blemishes of any kind and at $350 NZD I hit the buy now button as the vendor was in the same town as my sisters and would be available for a pickup the next day. The camera came with a Jenova camera bag, battery and charger. Upon getting it home I discovered there was a second genuine Canon battery and a 32gig SD card. The bag had a usb connector cable as well as a mini tripod with a camera or phone mount on it for mobile vlogging. The lens attached was a 18-55 STM lens with UV filter. I already had a spare Canon battery charger and spare battery at home so that gives me three batteries, more than enough for a day’s photo or video work.

To top it all off the camera has only taken 1960 images and still has that new camera smell to it, you know what I mean. So, what is the camera? Another 700D. I had enjoyed my time with the previous 700D although there were quirks about it that irritated me. For whatever reason this particular camera has none of the irritations that seemed to plague the previous 700D.

All functions work flawlessly, and this camera appears to have a slightly updated focus system although it might just be that my previous camera had AF issues I was unaware of, regardless this unit focuses considerably faster than my previous 700D.

Hopefully the weather Gods granting me favorable weather, will allow me some day and nighttime shots. One of the most pleasing aspects of this purchase is I have everything (and more) that I need for a very small sum of money. Given that the previous 700D cost 500NZD just for the camera and lens, without a spare battery, camera bag or SD card the new camera was a bargain. While the average cost of second hand DSLR’s is generally much higher especially for better mid-level and above cameras you can still bag a bargain, you just have to be patient and keep an eye on the local auction sites.

Taken with Canon 700D with the 18-55 STM kit lens @ ISO 100 F8 – 1/200sec. Cropped 50%. Note the water droplets at the center of the rose and the fine veining.

A larger version of this image can be found here

For a kit lens that’s pretty sharp. I used the camera in Macro mode as a close-up test with the rose approx. 300mm (one foot) from the camera. In this mode the lens/camera is producing some nice bokeh with a small plane of focus. There is little to no noise in the image. It appears the newer Digic 5 processor and sensor do a nice job. I had noise reduction in the camera turned off. This was shot as a Jpeg. So far it looks like this camera is a keeper, more to come….

Why we take Photos..

Like many of us when the weather is crappy outside, I tend to trawl through YouTube, looking at all sorts of things. Like many of you I have my favorite YouTube channels and you can see a list in the side bar a little further down the page.

Given how I have felt about my own photography hobby over the last couple of years, this video from Adam at First Man Photography was very timely, gently reminding us that no matter what is going on around us, first and foremost photography is for our own enjoyment, peace of mind, or whatever you want from it and is not a competition but an artform. Watch the video right to the end, not only for some beautiful images but to hear Adams story, well worth the watch.

A 4 1/2 year slump…

I’ve been battling a lack of enthusiasm for things photographic on and off for a number of years now and I have finally figured out why.

Fuji XA2 Photo.
Taken with the Fuji XA2 and the XC 16-50 mm.

I write this to help clarify things for myself but just as importantly I write this for all aspiring photographers. I have just spent the last several hours going through my posts here at the blog and bringing up to date some of the index listings and found an article I wrote back in April of 2017.

Having then recently recovered from many weeks of rehab for a work place injury, I had just prior to the accident sold my Fuji XA2, and was intending to buy a Panasonic or Sony Bridge Camera, either an RX or FZ model. At the time I hadn’t decided. Due to this prolonged period off work and to cover extra medical expenses, I had been forced to use the funds from the sale of my Fuji gear. I hadn’t truly recognized that this was going to be an ongoing problem. I had been enjoying photography and was keen to continue.

Unfortunately lack of funds was going to be a real hold back, hence my Frugal Photographer series of articles. Several different cameras later I was still very much irritated by having to compromise because of these events. I missed the spontaneity and color and filters I had had with my Fuji camera. These things were available in the cameras I was looking at but at two to two and a half thousand dollars was outside of my budget, and wasn’t likely to be something I could buy. Even the used prices were well above my budget. This led to a period of what I will call photographic depression or as is often termed a slump. Not only did this effect my desire to take photos but also to document my photography here at “Akiwiretrospective”, leading to a lot of self doubt about the blog and whether I wanted to continue photography as a hobby.

Compounding all of this was the best part of 2 1/2 years of lockdowns and restrictions thanks to covid. Despite the faltering economy this will be the first time in 3 years that the whole country looks like it will be able to enjoy, Xmas and New Years and the summer holiday season. Lets hope Covid doesn’t rob us this year. Coupled with this over the first 14 months of retirement has been an incessant, relatively minor series of health issues. Most now seem to behind me so I’m looking forward to a summer of photography, although at this point I’m not totally sure as to what path that will take.

To help with that I just bought another camera. The Panasonic GF6 is going to be used by my wife, as part of her ongoing artwork. She’s looking to incorporate some new things into her work so that should be interesting. I’ve settled on a platform and know how I want to proceed with camera gear and I will document that in the next post.

Photography & the Covid Effect.

It’s no secret I haven’t been doing too much on the photography front for the last several months, partially brought about from a succession of health issues, covid lockdowns and a general apathy towards photography.

I’m over all the manufacturing hype about the latest and greatest tech as well, I’ve been down that rabbit hole and to be perfectly honest it wasn’t really worth the money or time. Perhaps for the professional photographer new tech may solve some issues but for the rest of us mere mortals’ budget/entry level gear is probably all we really need, and with smartphones now being smarter than ever they are the new Swiss Army knife of basic photography.

Then there’s the “Covid Effect”. This has been disastrous on so many fronts. From a photography point of view, it made what were already expensive bits of kit almost out of the reach of the average hobbyist photographer. Even the pre-owned camera market is showing this trend with older 600D’s with a lens selling for upwards of 10% more than they did 6 months ago. I have been tracking price trends in the used camera market for over 12 months now and there has been a steady upward trend in the prices. Add to this that there has been and still is, supply chain problems and by the time a product you are interested has arrived in store it’s been subject to further price increases as the cost of importation rises. None of this appears to be stopping anytime soon sadly.

To add insult to injury, for a good many of us, the cost of running a car is getting to the point where you need to take out a loan to run it. I’m not joking here either, the local news services are constantly bringing stories to light of families having to decide between having food in the cupboard or having fuel in the tank to get the kids to school or a doctor’s visit, or simply so they can go to work.

The last time I saw things this grim was after the stock market crashes of 1987 and 2008, the latter costing me my business and most of my retirement funds. This time I venture to think that the long-term effects of Covid are going to be more severe than anyone has anticipated. The worst of this most likely being the sociological repercussions which we are only seeing some of the problems this has brought about. Even our current government and I note other governments, really have little idea of just how devastating the Covid Pandemic has been. The old saying “We live in interesting times” couldn’t be truer.

Added to this mix is the ongoing war in the Ukraine. In the last two days we have seen it potentially take an incredibly dangerous turn with the wayward missiles that struck an area in Poland. Fortunately, this time cool heads prevailed but it wouldn’t take too much to push things in a direction no one wants.

All of this impacts our photography hobby even if we aren’t always aware of it. Wonder why the price of fuel has gone up, it’s a direct result of the necessity of Europe needing to import more from markets that we draw from, and up goes the price of diesel, petrol and oil for shipping and freight. Who’s going to pay? Why you of course. Even if you are buying locally made goods, the latest inflation rate appears to be stuck at 7.3% and you can double that when it comes to pricing as retailers have to offset this to remain in business and continue trading.

If you are like us and have a fixed income (retired) or are a low to median income earner, then going anywhere other than the shops or the doctors is now an expensive undertaking. For those of us who live in a more remote rural location (As I do), we try to avoid going anywhere if we don’t have to. This isn’t because we don’t want to but rather it’s a case of needing to. Photographically this becomes very limiting, and while I live in an interesting rural area, just how many photos of cows do I need? Socially it takes a toll as well as I enjoy the company of other people with similar interests.

On the flip side I have been re-exploring a lot of music that I haven’t really had the opportunity to listen to in some time. Last year I invested in a new Turntable & Amp to go with my latest speaker build. I will be documenting that process here in the coming days and expanding the music side of the blog, as I take a rest from photography. It is my hope that as the weather gets a little better with the arrival of summer that we may be able to add a couple of day trips around the local areas and see what we can see with our cameras. I really do need a good Fish & Chip lunch at the Raglan wharf.

Peace Out.

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