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dave_michigan Nov 7, 2012 8:32 PM

Newbie - Canon 20D vs newer and simpler for $300?
I'm new to dSLRs. I have someone locally with 20D with 28-80 lens selling for $300. Should I go with an older but very good camera or look for a newer but more basic model?

My experience is mainly with cheap ($100) P&S camera with terrible low light performance, slow autofocus and lots of shutter lag. We have little kids that don't hold still for long. I like to take natural indoor light photos without flash.

I want to try a dSLR hoping to get better performance in both catagories. And I think it would be fun to learn. But should I go with something newer - figuring cameras and image sensors have gotten better over the last 4 -7 years.

I'd rather buy local just so I can touch it and try it for a few minutes before buying rather then picking something based on reviews and ordering from ebay, etc.

wave01 Nov 8, 2012 2:30 AM

Hi and welcome lets me say the 20d was a very good camera but it is still and 8 year old design and things have moved on, do you know how much this camera has been used.
if you are not used to DSLR's then maybe one that has a guided mode. you say no flash but used properly it will produce great shots for you. have look at the second hand market and compare prices

zig-123 Nov 8, 2012 6:00 AM

The 20D, was, and still is a good camera. But, at $300, it isn't necessarily a great deal. Unless, you personally know the seller and know how it has been used, the number of shutter releases, condition of the lens, etc. you may be buying a problem.
I know that you've expressed a desire to touch and actually hold the camera prior to buying it, but without a warranty, that doesn't buy you peace of mind.

There are a number of reputable online sites that sell used equipment which provide a return policy if something should go wrong., B&H and come to mind.

I did a quick search at my personal favorite for used camera equipment and they have a number of Canon outfits that are newer models and sell for about $300.

Also, B&H Photo has a Canon 30D with 18-55mm lens for $350.

There is nothing wrong with buying used equipment. But, if you're not experienced with the equipment you're looking at, it's best to buy from a reputable source that provides a warranty- that excludes E-Bay and Craigslist.


SIMON40 Nov 8, 2012 10:15 AM

As zig-123 says, the 20D is still a very good stills camera- especially if one knows what he/she is doing with it.
Of course you miss out on some of the latest "toys" such as HDR,Panoramic modes,GPS,Movie capture etc (all of which mean diddly to me...!), but a good tool to enhance ones photographic skills and know how.
The 20D is well built,is very fast in operation,has very good IQ and I suspect more than enough resolution (8mp) for most people if they were honest.
I'd do some on-line research and see what is the going rate for a "low-mileage" used 20D.
Also I'd forget about the 28-80mm lens that found its way onto many 10/20D's- as frankly it's an awful lens. The usual 18-55 kit lens is FAR superior optically and focuses faster.

dave_michigan Nov 8, 2012 9:59 PM

Thank you all for the suggestions. I think I'll pass on this camera and do more research.

The one feature I think I should get is image stabilization. The 20D has this only in a few lenses and not the one it's being sold with. IS is supposed to help with normal and low lighting pictures. I've had so much trouble taking pictures with less then really good lighting but that's a $100 P&S.

SIMON40 that's good to know the lens is not great. That and the lack of IS makes me think I won't get this camera. How does the lens affect the focus speed? And how can I figure that out what's a good or bad combination?

Wave01, the things I dislike about flash pictures are: uneven lighting - meaning what's near is very bright and what's further back is dark, the shadow cast by the flash appearing to one side of the person, and the recharge time. Does a better camera or better flash reduce the uneveness problem? I've read the shadow to the side is reduced when the flash is above the lens instead of above and to the side like most P&S? The recharge time still seems to be a downside. Kids move fast and my timing on the shutter is not great. So getting a second or third chance at a picture really helps. I looked at low to mid priced external flashes and the fastest are still 3 to 5 seconds to recharge. So I guess that's something I just need to get better at.

zig-123, I'll check those places out.

wave01 Nov 9, 2012 1:58 AM

hi first thing is canon has IS in the lenses as does nikon others have it in the camera so again look for what you want make sure that the system you choose fits your needs dont settle for i will get used to it.
as for flash forget the on board you will need an external so it can be bounced and diffused.

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