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-   -   Any reason not to buy a new, but older camera? (

SeaDweller May 18, 2004 9:43 AM

There's some very good deals out there on the Nikon 885/995 cameras, as well as models from other manufacturers that were top-of-the-line in their day. Is there any reason, for the average person, not to buy an older model camera if it's new in the box?

Interestingly, I've been having a devil of a time deciding on a camera, and what really throws a wrench in the gears is that the reviews of some of these 2 year old cameras seem to be better than that of the newer cameras. The Nikon 885 received rave reviews, especially on its picture quality,and doesn't seem to be plagued by some of the issues the newer cameras have, such as "chromatic abberations," etc.



Puck M May 18, 2004 11:11 AM

Digicams are like computers - a new model every few months! I recently bought a Minolta Z1,when the Z2 came out, at a substantial savings over the original price. The Z1 does everything I need, especiallyfor the price at which I purchased it. I also recently purchased a used Epson 3000z for my wife's use for about $220. This camera sold for around $900 to a $1,000 when it was introduced a few years back. It's all she needs and more! I tend to stay a bit behind the current "state of the art" to save a few bucks. As long as the item meets your needs who cares how old it is especially if you are getting NOS (new old stock) with a warranty. I even take chances with used cameras and have never had a problem it going that route either.

JimC May 18, 2004 11:35 AM

The newer models typically have more "bells, whistles and buzzers". For example: better movie modes with sound,noise reduction on long exposures, etc.

However, for general use, sometimes the older cameras can have better photo quality, because most of the older 3MP models used larger 1/1.8" (.556") sensors, compared to many of the newer 3MP models (some are using smaller, densor 1/2.5" or 1/2.7" sensors, and have higher noise levels -- especially at higher ISO Speeds).

steve May 18, 2004 11:37 AM

There are plenty of great older digicams out there for sure. Bear in mind that the review conclusions were based on existing camera standards, performance and featuresat the time the review was posted. Modern cameras for the most part are much faster at processing images now, support Plug-n-Play USB as well as direct print PictBridge and the like. Most of the chromatic problems are in the higher resolution imagers; 5, 6 and 8 megapixel models. The average user doesn't need but 3 or 4 megapixels of resolution, the rest is wasted unless printing really big prints and not many do that, the average print is 4x6"

I still have the majority of my :cool:pix's.There's a Coolpix900, 950 Millenium, 990 and 4500. They aresome of the best macro cameras ever made, it's a real shame that Nikon has decided todiscontinue the line ofswiveling lens Coolpix cameras.

The only drawback to buying an older digicam is if it needs to be serviced, manufacturers are notorious for only supporting the last couple of year's models and then the parts start getting scarce. :cry:

gibsonpd3620 May 18, 2004 5:13 PM

I think buying a new camera that is a few years old is great alongs as it meets your photography needs. One of the best cameras I owned was the Olympus C4040Z. I have since moved to the DSLR realm but that the C4040 is still in the family taking great pics.

pianoplayer88key May 18, 2004 9:23 PM

I'm looking for a small older cam myself to complement my S1 and replace my A80. I only need 1.3 megapixels (1280x960) for what I'll be using it for, and won't need any zoom (I'm thinking a fixed focal length somewhere in the 38 to 50 mm (35mm equivalent) range would be enough). I am looking for something that I can crank the ISO up (without getting much if any noticable imagenoise) and open the aperture fairly wide. I would like to spend no more than about 1/2 the price I can get for my slightly used A80. I do want some manual controls, over shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and focus (not a mechanical focus ring, though - although it'd be too nice it would make the camera too big. Anyone know of any good camera with something like a 1280x960 or comparable resolution with a 2/3" or larger sensor?

gibsonpd3620 May 19, 2004 3:44 PM

Try this link for a Nikon Coolpix 2100 refurb.

I do not anything about this vendor.


JimC May 19, 2004 4:02 PM

Sorry, but to the best of my knowledge, nobody has ever made a camera with a 2/3" CCD and 1.3 Megapixels Resolution.

However, some of the 1.3 Megapixel Models did have pretty low noise. Although these models typically used 1/3" sensors.

It's not so much the size of the CCD, as it is the size of the photosites for each pixel. The larger the photosites, the more light they can gather. As a result, less amplification (which adds noise) of the CCD signal is needed to get the same equivalent ISO Sensitivity. So, the 1.3 Megapixel Models are pretty good performers (only 1.3 Megapixels of resolution in a 1/3" CCD).

You will also want to look at things like lens brightness (aperture rating at wide angle and zoom).

A camera with a CCD with lower noise characterics will do little good, if used in a camera with a poor lens (requiring higher ISO speeds for the same lighting conditions, compared to a different model, in order to get shutter speeds as fast).

For example: F2.0 is twice as bright as F2.8 . So, if you have a camera with an F2.0 lens, it will let you use ISO 200 versus ISO 400, with the same shutter speeds, in the same lighting conditions -- all else being equal.

[Edit -- more added]:

Also, chances are, you're not going to find a fixed lens model with the features you are looking for.

The best cameras for "existing light" are DSLR's. However, you're not going to find onein your price range

Your Canon A80 is actually not too bad. I think it's Sony 4Megapixel 1/1.8" CCD is probably at the "sweet spot" (resolution versus noise) for non-DSLR models of recent manufacturer. But, you'restill going to see some noise at higher ISO speeds.

If you are "dead set" on an older model camera with decent existing light capability, you may want to try and locate something like the Epson PhotoPC 850z. Itused a 2 Megapixel 1/2" CCD (larger, less densesensor, with larger photosites, comparedto the current crop of 2 and 3 megapixel cameras). It also has the manual control you are seeking. Finally, it has a verybright lens (F2.0 at wide angle, stopping down to F2.8 at full zoom). In fact,when Steve reviewed this model in 1999, he said this in his conclusion:

"When shooting indoors in full wideangle mode I was surprised by how often the flash didn't go off, yet the pictures came out just fine"

Is it going to be noise free at higher ISO speeds? Nope! You need a DSLR with a fasst lens for reasonably low noise at higher ISO speeds. Although, it would probably be much better than some of the newer 2 and 3 Megapixel models (which are using smaller sensors).

Just bear in mind, you won't have the "bells, whistles and buzzers" of a newer model camera (things like noise reduction on longer exposures, movies with sound, etc.). You'll also see much slower camera operation from many oldermodels, and may not have as many image adjustment parameters (sharpness, contrast, saturation, etc.)

Also,a CCD tends to develop bad pixels as it ages. So, this could be cause for concern (you may not get one in pristine condition). Ditto for things like buttons, switches, contacts, etc. -- they do fail with age/use.

Here is one on Ebay now (with some minor problems, like the CF eject button not working).

pianoplayer88key May 19, 2004 5:51 PM

ok... what's the least dense sensor I can get for < $200 that's no bigger than a Canon A80 or G3? (I would like 1280x960 (1.3 megapixel) resolution, preferably.
I'm looking for something without an optical zoom (I'll be mostly taking 3/4 to full-length pics of people 6 to 8 feet away in action in low-light situations without wanting to blind them with a flash. I don't plan to enlarge them, and the only reason I'd crop is for viewing on my computer screen, not printing them. What's the best I can do for something like this?

I have a Canon S1 IS which I'm using for telephoto and decent light, and movies, and an A80 which I am looking to get something cheaper that performs better in low light. A dSLR is too expensive, too big, and I don't need the interchangeable lens capability, high resolution (6mp - 1.3mp is just fine), etc.

Oh, I DO want an optical viewfinder. Would I be correct to assume that most little-to-no-zoom cams didn't have an EVF?

Mike OR May 19, 2004 6:55 PM

You guys in the States should count yourselves lucky. Here in the UK most camera stores, at the moment, are reluctant to trade digicams, either buying or selling. It's pretty much the same with computers.
Mike OR - pianoaccordionplayer41keys :-)

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