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View Full Version : Help with choosing and purchasing a cheap 2nd hand Canon dSLR



leon
13th June 2011, 10:23 AM
With the arrival of my first child 4 weeks ago I am finding that I have reached the limits of my trusty Canon Powershot G6. Although a great landscape and outdoor holiday snap camera, I'm finding that it's sensitivity indoors is poor and when trying to take pictures of a sleeping baby (NO FLASH) it is struggling.

Therefore I've decided that it is time for a dSLR. I want to get a Canon as my father, father-in-law and brother-in-law all have Canon dSLR's and therefore many, many lenses which I could have access to.

Really, the budget for a body is very, very low at the moment.
I plan on initially getting a 50mm f1.8 (for baby), possibly a 75-300mm and later on adding a 300mm f4 (for birds).

Basically I have been watching eBay and prices seem to be all over the place.
I've been looking at the following list of cameras and would like to know what a reasonable price would be for a good condition unit (something with ~10 000 shutter actuations for the lower models, which up to 50 000 for the 5D and 1D). I've included prices of what I think they are worth, but obviously would like to know others opinions.

20D ($250)
30D ($300)
40D ($400-$500)
400D ($300)
5Dmk1 ($800-$900)
1dn mkII ($800-$900)

As a first dSLR are there any models in the above list that stand out amongst the others? Are there any duds in the list?
Are my price expectations reasonable or are they too low?

Appreciate any help.

andysl
13th June 2011, 04:02 PM
Firstly, congrats on the child!!

I currently have a Canon 40D, but regularly use a 5D mark II and 1D Mark 3 (my brothers).

If it is your first DSLR, I woud recommend starting at the 400D or 40D range. The 40D would probably be better because it is a bit bigger (feels more natural), and as you learn more, it has more functions than a x00D model. I probably wouldn't bother going to the 5D or 1 series to start with, 40D's are excellent cameras and are quite cheap these days!

The 50 f1.8 is a good start too! Hope this helps!

Steve_D
13th June 2011, 07:21 PM
If you looking at spending around the $600 mark lens and body for a 2nd hand camera it may actually pay to buy new from online source.

For around the same price you can get a new 500D and the 50mm f1.8 lens, Good for basic entry SLR and still very capable.

Links below

Canon KISS X3 Body / EOS 500D Digital SLR Camera Body - eGlobaL Digital Cameras Online Store (http://www.eglobaldigitalcameras.com.au/canon-kiss-x3-body-only-also-known-as-eos-500d-body-only-digital-slr-cameras-en.html)

Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II Lenses - eGlobaL Digital Cameras Online Store (http://www.eglobaldigitalcameras.com.au/canon-ef-50mm-f-1.8-ii-lenses.html)

and shipping from those guys is fairly cheap and fast too. Plus being a new camera you wont have to worry about if the camera is damaged in any way.

Echo63
19th June 2011, 12:19 AM
As much as I love my 1dmk2n, I would have to recommend either the 40d or 5dmk1 as the camera to choose.
The 40d is about one stop cleaner at the higher ISO over the 1dmk2n (3200 on the 40d looks like 1600 on the 1d)
You did say you were having trouble with the sensitivity of you current P+S
The 40d has 5fps over the 5ds 3fps, not really a problem unless you are trying to capture action (the mk2n shoots 8fps, with a bit of practice it's possible to shoot single shots with it in burst modes, which is what I normally do)
All of them will AF better than the P+S

I would recommend buying the 50 f1.8 brand new, they aren't built to solidly, and buying a second hand one may have issues (they are cheap enough to buy new anyway, and come with warranty)

I know you are looking at the 70-300 as a cheaper lens to start of with, and the 300 f4 later on, but the 70-200 f2.8 is a good choice which will cover both lenses when used with a 1.4 converter.
It also gives you a nice fast longer lens for when your kid grows up a bit and is running around the backyard.
70mm is a bit too long for shooting inside though,

Personally I would grab a 40d or 5dmk1, and a 50mm 1.8, and practice like hell.
I know the 50 is capable of good photos (my go to camera at Home is a 1dmk1 with either a 50mm f1.8 or 50mm f2.5 macro on it)
then when you can afford it, grab a 70-200 and a speedlite

One last thing,
It's very hard to tell how many frames a camera has shot.
I know my 350d has 60-80 thousand frames on it.
If you look at the camera, the front of the grip will show more wear as the camera is used more and more, one of my work 1dmk2n had the pebbled finish worn almost smooth by the time I handed it back in (i don't know how many frames it had on it when got it, but it blew a shutter when in had it, and I shot with it for about another 6 months after that, rough guess is close to 200,000 frames by the time it got traded up to a mk3)

Xenophos
19th June 2011, 10:47 PM
Just be aware that there are two kinds of lenses - crop which only does the crop factor camera (3xx, 40d/50D) and full frame which will do all their cameras. Just a consideration if you're thinking of using family's lenses.

leon
20th June 2011, 08:21 AM
Thanks Echo.
The jump in price from a 40d to a grey import 7d isn't all that great so I'll wait for post tsunami prices to settle a bit and get a 7d. I can't seem to find a 40d for sale less than $800 which is too much in my opinion.
In the mean time, I'm going to try and get my hands on a 20d or 30d right now, purchase a new 50mm 1.8 and use it to take pictures of my son until I have enough saved for a 7d.

I want to grab a 300mm f4 and 1.4x TC as well, so depending on how well the 20 or 30d perform, I might be able to pick up the glass now and the 7d later in the year.

timgrey
20th June 2011, 08:38 AM
Hey leon,

I reckon you can't go wrong with the 5D Mk1. It's still a really wonderful camera, particularly if you want to take shots in low-light without using a flash - having the full-frame sensor makes a huge difference. You'll also get the right focal length with all your lenses - your 50mm 1.8 will do exactly what you want it to do.

Your choice of lenses sounds good, but I'd recommend steering clear of the 75-300mm. Those zooms with a huge focal range, but what they gain in convenience they ultimately lose in optical quality. Stick with your primes, or a shorter zoom if you have to.

T

leon
20th June 2011, 09:05 AM
Hey leon,

I reckon you can't go wrong with the 5D Mk1. It's still a really wonderful camera, particularly if you want to take shots in low-light without using a flash - having the full-frame sensor makes a huge difference. You'll also get the right focal length with all your lenses - your 50mm 1.8 will do exactly what you want it to do.

Your choice of lenses sounds good, but I'd recommend steering clear of the 75-300mm. Those zooms with a huge focal range, but what they gain in convenience they ultimately lose in optical quality. Stick with your primes, or a shorter zoom if you have to.

T

I'd love a 5D mk1 but finding one at a reasonable price and something that I can afford is impossible. They are breaking into the $1000+ range still which is more than the wife is willing to spend on a 2nd hand body. I just don't have that type of cash at the moment and I'm missing a lot of pictures of my new son, so I'm wanting to get something sooner rather than later. Shooting with the Powershot G6 in RAW is OK, but even at f2.0 on the little lens, they are just too dark
I'm expecting a healthy tax return, so will invest in a new 7D when it comes, but until then I'm looking to get into a dSLR for little money to tide me over.
I'm hoping to get a 20 or 30d for $250-$300. I was hoping to get a 40d for around $400-$500 but they just don't exist at that price.

I want to use the body for birds as well, which the crop sensor giving me a little bit more "reach", although with a FF I'd just crop the image down anyways.

OziMac
20th June 2011, 10:41 AM
I know this is not quite what you want, but I usually shoot on a 5DII and quickly discovered that I'm neither good nor fast when it comes to capturing the shot when it comes to kids, nor am I able to adequately explain the basics to the wife and others when it comes time for me to be in the shot.

So when I became a new father, I went out and got a Canon S95 - has a great auto mode that you can give to anyone and take a quick and decent shot, very good low light performance, and enough manual control to allow you to make the most of sub-optimal conditions. Best of all, it cost less than $450, so it was almost a no-brained compared to buying a low-end DSLR. Also has a great movie mode that a lot of the older Canon DSLRs don't, which again has proved invaluable. :)

Geoff3DMN
20th June 2011, 01:19 PM
Your choice of lenses sounds good, but I'd recommend steering clear of the 75-300mm. Those zooms with a huge focal range, but what they gain in convenience they ultimately lose in optical quality

75-300mm isn't a huge zoom range, it's only 4 times zoom range and there are a number of good to very good zooms available with this sort of zoom range.

Canon themselves (just one example) make the EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6L IS USM which makes an excellent all purpose light telephoto lens. There is also the Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 L IS USM which again is 4x telephoto range. Nikon also make a 70-300mm VR and 80-400mmVR and there are 3rd party options of decent quality as well like the Tamron AF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SP Di VC USD.

forno
20th June 2011, 01:23 PM
the 70-300 is night and day to the 75-300 IQ wise. that 75-300 aint much of a lens!

leon
21st June 2011, 06:59 AM
I've managed to grab a 20d off eBay for $270. Hopefully it arrives safely.
Now to grab a 50mm f1.8 and begin shooting.

Thanks for all the responses everyone.

timgrey
21st June 2011, 09:36 AM
I know this is not quite what you want, but I usually shoot on a 5DII and quickly discovered that I'm neither good nor fast when it comes to capturing the shot when it comes to kids, nor am I able to adequately explain the basics to the wife and others when it comes time for me to be in the shot.

So when I became a new father, I went out and got a Canon S95 - has a great auto mode that you can give to anyone and take a quick and decent shot, very good low light performance, and enough manual control to allow you to make the most of sub-optimal conditions. Best of all, it cost less than $450, so it was almost a no-brained compared to buying a low-end DSLR. Also has a great movie mode that a lot of the older Canon DSLRs don't, which again has proved invaluable. :)

The S95 is a great little camera. I'm a big fan, and would definitely choose this over the G-series cameras. You can actually stick the thing in your pocket...

Fitshaced
21st June 2011, 10:10 AM
I know this is not quite what you want, but I usually shoot on a 5DII and quickly discovered that I'm neither good nor fast when it comes to capturing the shot when it comes to kids, nor am I able to adequately explain the basics to the wife and others when it comes time for me to be in the shot.

So when I became a new father, I went out and got a Canon S95 - has a great auto mode that you can give to anyone and take a quick and decent shot, very good low light performance, and enough manual control to allow you to make the most of sub-optimal conditions. Best of all, it cost less than $450, so it was almost a no-brained compared to buying a low-end DSLR. Also has a great movie mode that a lot of the older Canon DSLRs don't, which again has proved invaluable. :)

I think that's jumping from one extreme to another. Not sure about the 5D but many SLR's have full automatic modes. When handing a camera to anyone for shooting, they still have to know to meter first. But regardless of what camera you hand them, they still need to be able to compose the picture properly, ie get the heads in the shot.

I guess it could be an idea to keep your SLR in full automatic mode to avoid missing shots and then change modes when you get more time.... and then change back again.

You're more likely to have an S95 with you than a 5D though. Unless you have seriously big hands.

leon
21st June 2011, 10:46 AM
I know this is not quite what you want, but I usually shoot on a 5DII and quickly discovered that I'm neither good nor fast when it comes to capturing the shot when it comes to kids, nor am I able to adequately explain the basics to the wife and others when it comes time for me to be in the shot.

So when I became a new father, I went out and got a Canon S95 - has a great auto mode that you can give to anyone and take a quick and decent shot, very good low light performance, and enough manual control to allow you to make the most of sub-optimal conditions. Best of all, it cost less than $450, so it was almost a no-brained compared to buying a low-end DSLR. Also has a great movie mode that a lot of the older Canon DSLRs don't, which again has proved invaluable. :)

For these types of events, the G6 is pretty good. It is just that I'm having problems taking nice portraits indoors of a sleeping baby without flash. Playing with my Dads 1000d and 50mm f1.8 or brother in laws 400D, I was able to get great shots.
I had thought about getting something like the S95, but didn't feel that it was enough of a jump from my G6. I know that it has great low light performance, but I think it's time for me to step into a dSLR. As I mentioned earlier, I want something for birds and macro photography. I live on an 8 acre bush property so there is plenty going on wildlife wise for me to get lost for hours.