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Old Jan 23, 2009, 1:28 PM   #1
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Hello,

I was wondering if its a bad idea to get a used dSLR from a reputable local company? There are a couple camera shops near where I live and since I feel like I would be visiting them to try out the cameras, courtesy and decency means I should buy them at the stores. That said, I don't really want to spend more than $500 on the camera.

I was planning to run out and get the Canon sx10 until I heard that you don't really get very good depth of field control in a P&S. Unfortunately, greater control (in general) was one of the three big reasons I'm upgrading from my ancient Nikon coolpix 2500.:-)

The other two reasons were to get a wider angle lens, and better indoor shots (of my pet rabbits running around my room). As such it seems to me that it may be time to jump into the dslr world, but I don't really want to spend much more than half a grand for a hobby I may or may not really get into. I don't mind having a lower end camera now and moving up later.

For what its worth, my father had slr while growing up so I am familiar with the basic photo concepts and how they work, its just that college and grad school weren't particularly kind on the discretionary budget (time or money).

FWIW I'm pretty sure I'm going with either Canon (I'm used to its menu system since my g/f has a canon P&S) or Nikon (name brand)....

Thanks!


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Old Jan 23, 2009, 1:40 PM   #2
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dSLRs are a lot more complex and have many more moving parts than P&S digicams. A used dSLR is a good idea if you're getting it with a warranty (not a guarantee!)

A dSLR is the starting point of a photographic system. If you buy a used dSLR, start spending money on accessories, and the dSLR fails, getting your money back on the dSLR doesn't help; getting it fixed helps. So get a warranty, not a guarantee.

Also, if the warranty is through the store, and you move away, then it's no good to you.

So, in general, no. Buying a used sSLR isn't a good idea. But if it will save you a lot of money ...
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Old Jan 23, 2009, 2:11 PM   #3
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hmm interesting, I would have never been precient enough to notice a difference between "warranty" and "guarantee".

What do you think is a reasonable warranty length?
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Old Jan 23, 2009, 2:26 PM   #4
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If they can give you a 90 day warranty, and you can work it hard during that time, that would be good. I wouldn't accept anything less than 60 days.

What you'll probably get is a 30 day guarrantee.
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Old Jan 23, 2009, 3:17 PM   #5
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joypog... you say you don't want to spend more than $500 for a used DSLR. Okay, with that in mind here's some of what you can buy brand-new in that general rage from Adorama, a very reputable dealer...



Canon XS with 18-55mm kit lens... $519.95

Nikon D60 with 18-55mm kit lens...$546.95

Sony A200 with 18-70mm kit lens...$499

Sony A300 with 18-70mm kit lens...$599

Pentax K2000 with 18-55mm kit lens ANDthe AF200FG flash... $589.99

Pentax K200D with 18-55mm kit lens...$599.90

Olympus E-420 (no IS) with 14-42mm kit lens...$499.95

Olympus E-520 (with IS) with 14-42mm kit lens...$553.51

Olympus E-520 (with IS) and BOTH the 14-42mm and 40-150mm kit lenses...$599.95



Remember, all of these come with at least a one-year factory warranty and something like a 30-day return policy from Adorama. So... does the used DSLR still sound like a good idea?




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Old Jan 23, 2009, 6:33 PM   #6
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Well I just came back from the shop and I must say, I am for sure getting an SLR, it just feels right in the hands.


They only had one entry level camera: an Canon EOS d-60 for $275 (body) and he said he'd throw in a cheap canon lens for $50 extra.

What is the word on this older camera? I don't mind buying low and then upgrading if I run into limits (for one thing, I can give it to my father who does have some canon lenses).

Oh and he said it comes with a 4 month warranty (they've been at that location for 12 years in spite of having almost no street presence -- I should know since I used play MTG next door for a year and I never realized they were there!)

On the other hand, Biro makes a fine point! It would suck to be pennywise/pound foolish....
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Old Jan 23, 2009, 6:46 PM   #7
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The deal you were offered isn't a bad one, but I would recommend along with the some of the others on this thread that you consider a new DSLR with kit lens. I usually check on pricegrabber or deals of america for hot deals on cameras. The latter site can be accessed at:

http://www.*******************/digital_camera_deals.php

Also, on Ebay, there's a vendor named Cameta Camera which sells lots of refurbished low cost DSLR's.

Good luck!


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Old Jan 23, 2009, 11:04 PM   #8
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I guess I'll most likely be going for a cheaper kit camera (new).

My goals for the camera are two fold -
1) wider angle lens for architectural photagraphy and
2) decent indoor shots of my pet bunnies.

Would I be reasonable in assuming the following as a plan of action/budget (given my current skill level and not very ambitious aspirations):

1) get the darn camera ($500): Body + 18-55 kit lens. This kit lens should be pretty good for any outdoors wide angle shots around and about the city for the forseeable future.

2) later get a 35 prime lens ($300) if I feel the zoom lens is constraining my indoor shots.

Also I'm most likely going to go with Nikon or Canon for various reasons, is there any real consensus as to whether the kit lens in one or the other is better or worse for my two goals listed? how about when I move up to the 35 mm?
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Old Jan 24, 2009, 2:42 PM   #9
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joypog... you said you are most familiar with Canon's menus and controls... and that ain't no bad thing because Canon's entry-level DSLRs (the XS and the XSi) get consistently high ratings. Until 2008, Canon's kit lenses ran into some difficulty handling resolutions higher than about 6 megapixels. But the new kit lenses are quite good. What's more, they include image stabilization. What you might want to do is see what kind of deal you can get on an XS or XSi with both the 18-55mm and the 50-250mm kit lenses. Then you'd be pretty much covered for most situations until you need to buy specialized prime lenses.

This brings me to another point: Both Canon and Nikon put the image stabilization in the lens, which some people argue is slightly superior to in-body IS. They may be right, although until you get beyond 500mm, I don't think you'll see the difference in real-world use. But this does mean that Canon and Nikon lenses will be a bit more expensive compared to other brands - particularly when you move to more up-market lenses with better glass and faster apertures.

Although I have owned many Canons in the past (film and P&S digitals), it is the price of those fast, up-market lenses that ultimately had me passing on Canon for DSLRs. In the end, I bought a Pentax K200D, which I can recommend highly. If you want to save some dollars, there's the K2000 which is very similar. But the K200D boasts a weather-proof camera body, which I really liked. Both feature body-based IS, which means all lenses will be stabilized. And Pentax's better lenses generally cost 30-50 percent less than better lenses from Canon and Nikon. And Pentax's Limited series of lenses are among the best you can buy. I personally think they are up there with the vaunted Canon "L" glass. Oh, and for the record, Pentax's kit lens is really quite good.

Another suggestion if you want to keep your initial outlay down: A Sony A200 with the 18-70mm kit lens. The extra 15mm at the long end is highly useful. It works out to a full-frame equivalent of 105mm versus 82.5mm for a kit lens that only pushes out to 55mm. That makes it a much more flexible walking-around lens and may delay your need to add another, longer lens to your kit. If you decide you really need live view, go for the A300. But the A200 with a kit lens is just a fantastic deal right now. And Sony's IS is in-body, so all lenses are stabilized. What I can't tell you about is Sony's other lens offerings. Perhaps a Sony owner can help out here. But Sony does offer some great Carl Zeiss glass when you want to move up. And know this: Sony entered the digital SLR camera business by buying Minolta's camera business - lock, stock and barrel - as a going concern. So you've got all of that heritage and lens compatibility behind you there.

I don't want to dump on Nikon here because the brand has millions and millions of fans. But, personally, I haven't been as impressed with their lower-end offerings as I have been with the cameras of the competition. The same goes for Nikon's point-and-shoots, at least recently. But when you get a notch up the product ladder to mid-line DSLRs (like the D80 and D90), Nikon is as good as anyone else and better than many. That's why Nikon - along with Canon - is big with professionals.

And, to answer your question, your budget and strategy seem realistic - particularly if you opt for a Sony A200. Good luck!
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Old Jan 25, 2009, 2:30 AM   #10
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Thanks for the many thorough responses! Now, the next step is to just go the the camera store and feel some out and see which one fits with my hand/eye coordination =)

thanks again!
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