Second Hand DSLR Cameras: Canon, Nikon, Olympus, Sony and Pentax
|May 8, 2012||Posted by admin under Digital Cameras|
When you think about it, as soon as you buy a new camera it becomes secondhand. So why not miss out that part altogether and bag yourself a bargain to boot? You can save yourself a lot of money and you have more choice and, if you buy from a specialist retailer, you can have as much confidence in its reliability as you can with new… more so, really, because a used camera is tested more than a new one! It’s a win win situation.
Many people’s first choice, when buying a car, would be a secondhand one. A new car is much too expensive and instantly drops in value. The same applies to cameras. And a secondhand car, well looked after, will last for many, many years. The same applies to cameras.
Spot the Difference?
The main differences between recent and the latest DSLR models are:
- The number of pixels: This really doesn’t make that much difference, and can have a negative effect in the case of noise. The benefit only becomes apparent when you want to blow the image up, printing beyond A3+, or if you want to do some major cropping.
- The size of the rear LCD screen: These have been getting larger and clearer, which is nice but not essential to the image.
- Live View allows you to see the image prior to taking: It’s only really useful if the screen also flips out for macro work or candid photography.
- High Definition Movies: This is the latest addition to DSLR’s. If you want to take exceptional quality movies, as well as stills, you’ll need to buy one of the latest models.
Secondhand Digital SLRs
Even the latest models are available on the secondhand market. It surprises us sometimes how quickly a model that has just been launched is offered to us to buy. We’ve even known cameras to be offered to us before we’ve had the first shipment of a newly launched model!
There are many reasons for this. It could be because, after buying the camera a bill came in that needed paying or that, when getting home their better half wasn’t best pleased. Whatever the reason you get the bargain, and it’s not just the latest models that are worth buying. Digital cameras reached maturity a good few years ago now so the previous model is still excellent, as is the model before that.
Canon EOS Rebel T1i (500D)
Great SLR camera for the money
Canon’s consumer level cameras are distinguished by packing hefty specifications into lighter bodies. As a result, while you may not get a build quality as robust as a similarly priced Nikon in the T1i, you will get plenty of features. Just make sure you give that body a thorough check over.
Launched in 2009, the EOS 500D is certainly the most up to date mode in our list of used recommendations. But it’s now been superseded by the Rebel T1i and is likely to be available at a decent price on the used market – just be sure to shop around.
The camera does offer some of the features found on the full-frame EOS 5D Mark II. It has the same image processor, for example, and full high definition video capture. The megapixel count is a little lower, however, at 15.1. ISO sensitivity, meanwhile, runs to 12,800, there’s a detailed 3-inch LCD screen and a shutter speed range stretching from 30 seconds to 1/4000sec, plus B.
You may also find the 500D called the Kiss X3 and the Rebel T1i, which are Japanese and North American versions respectively.
A wonderfully full-featured camera at an unbeatable price
Professional Camera at a Prosumer Price
Launched in late 2005, the D200 is relatively old in digital SLR terms, but it stilI represents a great secondhand buy. The reason we’ve included it is largely based on pixel count. The 10.2-megapixel resolution is more than enough for a first-time user.
On the downside, it doesn’t have the huge ISO range that characterize later models – you’ll have to make do with a modest (by today’s standards) choice from ISO 100 to 1600. The rear LCD is also a little on the small size at 2.5 inches. But you do get Nikon build quality and the D200 is robustly made – a fact proved with a number still available on the used market today.
Other important features are present. Advanced metering patterns, accurate autofocusing with seven user-selectable points and a huge shutter speed range from 30 seconds to l/8000sec. In short, the features needed to learn and progress within photography.
Initially costing over $1300 for the body alone, you’ll soon see what a great secondhand buy the D200 represents today.
Credible digital for the serious amateur
Innovative features rocket K10D to front ranks in prosumer DSLR race
This 10.2-megapixel camera, much like the Nikon D200, is well worth a look if you want to get into DSLR photography on a budget. It may only have ISO sensitivities from 100 to 1600, a 2.5-inch rear LCD screen and 16-zone metering, but it’s capable of delivering a decent quality image in a range of conditions.
The body also features weather-sealing. This doesn’t mean it’s waterproof, but does mean that it can be used in damp or dusty conditions without too many worries of moisture or dirt getting into the camera.
It takes Pentax K lenses, too, which opens up hundreds of options.
More than what a DSLR photographer could hope ask for
Excellent camera for pro or advanced amateur
Away from the bright lights of Canon and Nikon there are some other secondhand gems and the E-30 is one of them. Granted, you won’t get the range of lenses or accessories that you can buy for an EOS or D series model, but the Four Thirds lens mount does offer lens options – just make sure the range you want is available before you buy.
The E-30 itself represents Olympus’ middle ground between the pro-spec E-3 and E-5 and the more consumer level of the E-620, E-520 et al. As such, it’s a well-specified DSLR with more than enough features wrapped in a robust body that will certainly take the knocks.
In addition to all the usual DSLR features you’d expect, you’ll also find the quirky Art Filters that pop upon the Pen series of compact system cameras. On top of that, the rear 2.7-inch screen is articulated, plus the E-30 can capture images at up to five frames per second, has a super-fast autofocus system (with the SWD lenses) and offers nine picture ratios, including a square format.
Sony Alpha A700
Sony’s First True Professional Grade Digital SLR
Although the A700 was launched in 2007 and discontinued in 2009, it was only really succeeded late last year by the A77. A look at the specification, however, confirms that in 2007 it was boxing above its weight. A 12.4-megapixel resolution, ISO sensitivity to 6400 and shutter speeds all the way up to l/8000sec, make it competitive with some current models. A fact that’s further embellished by the rear LCD which measures a healthy 3 inches and features 921,000 dots for impressive detail and attractive menus.
The A700 does suffer from a similar problem to the Olympus in that independent lens manufacturers don’t offer as many compatible lenses as they do for Nikon and Canon, but there’s still plenty of optical options to get your teeth into.
At launch, the A700 was criticized for leaving noise reduction switched on at high ISOs when shooting Raw files, but this was dealt with through firmware updates. With this in mind, make sure firmware version 4 is installed on any examples of the A700 you may be considering.
Great semi-pro camera, great value