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Jazzer251 Jun 9, 2010 8:10 PM

A used DSLR?
As some of you may have surmised from some past posts, I have been on the fence about buying a DSLR or micro 4/3 for a while. I really like the convenience of the smaller, lighter cameras with fixed lenses. However, I keep wondering what I am missing in terms of image quality and creative flexibility.

With this in mind, I have been wondering if it may make sense to buy a (relatively) smaller and less expensive used DSLR to test the waters. I may love it, or perhaps find out that I am satisfied with the pictures from my P&Ss and much prefer their convenience. In the latter case, I figure I could sell the DSLR and/or lenses and hopefully not be out too much money if I get it at a good price.

Questions: Does buying a used DSLR make sense? If I buy used should I stick with placese like B&H and Adorama?

What would you recommend I consider? How are the Olympus E420 and Nikon D40? Would something new, like a Pentax k-x cost much more new?

Any thoughts appreciated, as always.

corkpix Jun 9, 2010 8:14 PM

Lots of discussion about the pros & cons of buying used DSLRs in this thread:

robbo Jun 9, 2010 8:23 PM

Depends on what your budget is
I don't know what is available for how much when it comes to used DSLR's. However, it seems to me that you are comparing apples to oranges or old Delicious apples to new Fuji apples if you want to compare a two or three or more years old DSLR with a new 4/3 DSLR like camera.
If I could afford it, I would buy one of the entry level Canon, Nikon, Sony, or Pentax DSLR's The Pentax K-X is under $500 at Buydig. You can get Sony A230's cheaper than that. Nikon's D3000 is also cheaper at some etailers.
I like the Pentax K-X. It does well in low light, has HD video and a decent burst mode.
If you can get a used DSLR for under $300 and you trust the seller, ok, I can see it. Otherwise, I advise getting a new camera.

shoturtle Jun 9, 2010 8:24 PM

If you were to get a used camera that I have used, it would be a bad bet.

I would go with either a m4/3 like a epl-1 or the pentax k-x. Depending if smaller size is more important then the m4/3

Jazzer251 Jun 9, 2010 8:32 PM


Originally Posted by shoturtle (Post 1105931)
If you were to get a used camera that I have used, it would be a bad bet.



Originally Posted by shoturtle (Post 1105931)
I would go with either a m4/3 like a epl-1 or the pentax k-x. Depending if smaller size is more important then the m4/3

Speculation, I know, but what do you think the resale on an epl-1 would be like after about 6 month's use? Maybe 70-75% and more for lenses? (good condition, of course).

shoturtle Jun 9, 2010 8:34 PM

yeah about 70 percent as it is a current model, about 50 percent when it is out of production. But as it just came out. There is not to many used epl-1's around. I do see some ep-1

TCav Jun 9, 2010 8:39 PM

A used dLSR is a big gamble. You don't know what kind of use and abuse it's had. And if you decide you want to persue it further, and spend more money on lenses and accessories, and then it fails, you're out the whole shebang.

If you want to take a serious shot at a dSLR, find one that will do what you want (or at least has an upgrade path to one that will do what you want), and get a refurbished one, or a used one with a warranty or at least a guarrantee, like one from

mtclimber Jun 9, 2010 8:40 PM


Your idea certainly does have merit. Recently I saw a used Nikon D-40 body for sale on E-Bay. The seller was:Shutterblade who I have had very satisfactory dealings with in the past. They offered an unconditional 30 day guarantee to return or exchange. So I had no qualms about bidding on the D-40 body. I had plenty of extra Nikon lenses, and after selling my original D-40 just before Christmas, I found that I missed it a lot.

To make a long short, I ended up winning the D-40 body for $200.00. The D-40 arrived today, 06/09. The camera is beautiful, well kept, and in great shape. So it was a very good buy. I had an EL-9 battery all charged up and ready. So I popped out the battery that arrived with the camera. Removed the charged battery from the charger, and inserted the newly arrived D-40 battery into the charger, to charge up.

I picked up a Nikon 35mm F1.8 lens, inserted a SD card and began shooting photos. Everything worked perfectly. I have purchased used cameras from B&H, and KEH and have always received excellent equipment. So if I am familiar with the seller, I don't have any hesitation.

What make and model are you looking for in your search? With the price of new DSLR cameras now down to the lowest point in years, that has also forced down the prices of used DSLR cameras as well. So this is a good time to be shopping for a new or used DSLR camera if you can find a dependable seller.

I have attached a D-40 (only 6mp) sample photo of my husband from my testing today.

Sarah Joyce

shoturtle Jun 9, 2010 8:53 PM

Just something else to consider, a good used camera will still run you 300 dollars and 400 for a more current model. But will most likely not perform as well as the pentax or the epl-1. Pentax good to 3200iso, workable at 6400 and 12800iso. EPL-1 good to 2000iso workable upto 3200iso. They have better AF systems then say the d40 or older dslr's. They also have more advance imagers. So is the 150-250 dollar cost savings a good trade off to the higher performance levels? And the very short warranty period of 30 days?

Jazzer251 Jun 9, 2010 9:10 PM

Sarah, Congrats on your new/used D-40.

I do understand that there is always a bit of a gamble with used equipment and I would definitely get something from a reputable dealer or seller with some sort of guarantee. I'm not really sure what make/model I am interested in. That will be a search in itself. But as I would like to stay on the smaller side, I thought a D-40 or one of the smaller Olympus DSLRs might make sense.

Ultimately, I think something like the Epl1 probably makes the most sense for me ultimately if I go the "interchangeable lens" route, but I want a view finder and by the time you add up the camera w/kit lens, EVF and maybe a 300mm equivalent zoom lens, the price tag is well over $1000. I'm not sure if I'm ready to lay out that kind of money when I'm uncertain if I even will like dealing with swapping lenses -- although I may be more likely to like the idea with a smaller camera and lenses. There is no question that DSLRs are a better deal if I can live with the larger size.

One possibility, I suppose, would be to check out a Canon or Nikon that I can get from Costco. They have such a generous return policy that I would have a good amount of time to determine if I'm happy with it. Plus there would be an upgrade path. I don't think they have the EPL-1 -- at least not yet.

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