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Old Dec 20, 2013, 1:02 PM   #1
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Default What's a good used DSLR body for me?

Iím no professional photographer, but I do love shooting photoís every time Iím out in the woods (hiking, exploring, camping) or on the water (kayaking, boating), or on my travels overseas. My current camera is a Cannon Powershot S5is point-n-shoot with the ability to manually control everything like a DSLRÖ.but itís still no DSLR. The one thing that has always kept me from buying a brand new DLSR has been cost, and the fact that when you are out in the wood hiking on trails, or on a river in a kayakÖ.I really donít feel comfortable carrying a $2000+ camera/lens around with me.

Iíve decided to try to find a nice used body to keep the cost down, and then spend some good money on a few different lenses. Iíve always used Cannon stuff, so Iíd like to stay with that if possible. Iíve seems several nice used DSLR bodies for sale in the $400-$500 rangeÖ..I just donít know what the best one for me would be. Iíd like to have a small and light body like one of the Rebels, but donít know if I would be better off with something like a nice used 40D or other larger body.

What bodies should I keep my eyes open for?

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Old Dec 20, 2013, 4:35 PM   #2
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Much depends on what features you're after.
Is live view necessary (given the slow AF in this mode anyway..!) ?
Do you want/need video capture..?
Is a fast frame rate necessary..?
Would you be printing LARGE images- and if not, is high resolution necessary..?
The larger "XX"D models are more robust- and shoot faster... but would the extra size and weight (over say a Rebel) help or hinder you..?

My take- the rebels are small and light- but are still well put together- and if you're only shooting stills, anything from the 350D (Rebel XT) onwards would suffice with a good lens on board. The latest entry level offering- The 1100D/T3- whilst pretty basic,still offers good image quality in a light and inexpensive package.

The 40D and onwards are all great and fast cameras- and robust also- but are only really worth the extra if you shoot a great deal (where the robust build will help)- and shoot moving targets frequently- where the faster shooting rate/general response and better AF system will be of benefit.

Whilst I'd never try and dissuade anyone to move from Canon- if you've not invested yet in any system and have no lenses- I wouldn't write off the idea of looking at other models- and given the outdoor nature of your activities- perhaps one of the water resistant Pentax models might be worth considering...?
The K-30,K-50,K-5/5-II/5-IIs all being weather resistant- as are some of their lenses...
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Old Dec 20, 2013, 4:38 PM   #3
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dSLRs have a lot of moving parts that P&S cameras don't have, and those moving parts have a finite life expectancy. It's difficult, if not impossible to determine how much use and abuse a used dSLR has experienced, so determining a fair price for it is difficult. In addition, if you spend a lot of money on lenses and accessories for a dSLR, if it fails very prematurely, you might get some compensation from the seller, but you're stuck with all the other stuff you bought, so you'd need to get a replacement that could use them as well.

So getting a used dSLR is risky.

You might consider a factory refurbished dSLR instead. They're available with a significant discount plus a factory warranty (90 days vs. 1 year, but a factory warranty none the less.) Most of the bigger camera retailers sell refurbished dSLRs.

If you're serious about wanting a used dSLR, be sure you buy it from a place with a good return policy. KEH.com is one of the premier used camera retailers, and has a very good return policy:
If you are not completely satisfied with your purchase from KEH Camera, you may return it within 14 days for a refund or exchange.
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Old Jan 12, 2014, 8:41 PM   #4
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Default Best used DSLR

You can get a used Canon 10D in excellent condition (body only) for about $110 at KEH.com. It's a step up from a digital "rebel" with some degree of weather sealing. It was a professionally camera in its day.

A decent lens will set you back, no matter what camera you buy. A good all round lens for the Canon is a Sigma 17-70 zoom which you can find used in pretty good shape under $300 (also available at KEH.com)

Budget for a case as well. I use a Pelican 1400 which is waterproof and crush proof (you can take it on an airplane no problem). It can hold the Canon body plus 2 lens, some batteries and a charger. Not sure if you can find a Pelican case used.
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