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Old Jun 5, 2009, 5:17 PM   #1
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Default Nikon D40 or Canon EOS Digital Rebel or Something Else?

Help, please. I want to move up to a DSLR, but I have a low budget (max $300). So, I was thinking of buying a used camera kit from B&H Photo or Adorama, both of which seem to be very well regarded and trusted among photographers of all stripes. Is that a good idea?

I've also read a lot about the Nikon D40 being a great place to start. However, I never read about the D40's Canon counterpart, the Digital Rebel, although both are 6 MP (6.1 and 6.3, respectively). Instead it seems people are skipping that camera and heading for the XT or XS series for entry level Canons. Is there a reason for this... something I don't know?

What about the older professional DSLRs at the same MP as the D40? I've seen D100's selling for under $300 used/refurb. I've also seen some D50's and D70's that are reasonably priced. Yea or nay?

I like to take pictures of landscapes, wildlife, flowers and functions/events. I'll be taking indoor and outdoor pictures, some in low light. I'd like to ultimately put a photo essay together (topic yet to be decided) and/or do some freelancing for some organizations/businesses, or a local paper, etc. I don't have anything against an older camera as long as it's doing what it's supposed to do and I get my money's worth out of it. For example, if I pay $275 for an older DSLR and it lasts me 2 years, without fail, I'll feel as if I got my money's worth. Oh, and I don't mind manually focusing.

Lastly, I have shaky hands and need image stabilization. The D40 doesn't have that, but all the Canons have it built in. Soooo, that's the spiel. Can anybody give me any advice? Should I just keep my Panasonic FZ-18 as my main camera and buy an older SLR film camera (much cheaper) and a scanner? LOL

Thanks in advance!
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 5:45 PM   #2
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The Canon cameras don't have stabilization built in the camera body. Like Nikon, Canon puts stabilization into their lenses. Sony, Olympus and Pentax are the three dSLR camera manufacturers that put stabilization in the body, so every lens you buy is stabilized. Both Olympus and Pentax have early models that are not stabilized.

If you are looking for used cameras, also check out www.keh.com. They specialize in used photo equipment and seem to be well regarded (I've never actually bought anything from them, but have read numerous reports from people who have).

In philosophical terms, I'm personally not in favor of buying used - you don't know how the camera has been treated. However, the person who bought my first Pentax dSLR passed it on to his son, who's still using it without problems, about 3 years after I sold it, so just because it's used doesn't mean it will fail tomorrow (though it could). If the store you are buying from will offer some type of warranty it might be worth looking at.
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Old Jun 5, 2009, 6:35 PM   #3
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Thank you for your help. Are Sony, Olympus, and Pentax's entry level dSLR's as good as than Nikon or Canon's? As far as image stabilization goes, it doesn't come at all on the D40. Does that mean it isn't needed at the focal lengths of the kit lens, which is what I'll be using until I can get others? Thanks for the link to Keh, I forgot about them - and I wouldn't buy if there was no warranty. I'm really thinking of just spending the extra money to get a new or factory refurbed camera. I can spend more than $300, I'm just cheap.

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The Canon cameras don't have stabilization built in the camera body. Like Nikon, Canon puts stabilization into their lenses. Sony, Olympus and Pentax are the three dSLR camera manufacturers that put stabilization in the body, so every lens you buy is stabilized. Both Olympus and Pentax have early models that are not stabilized.

If you are looking for used cameras, also check out www.keh.com. They specialize in used photo equipment and seem to be well regarded (I've never actually bought anything from them, but have read numerous reports from people who have).

In philosophical terms, I'm personally not in favor of buying used - you don't know how the camera has been treated. However, the person who bought my first Pentax dSLR passed it on to his son, who's still using it without problems, about 3 years after I sold it, so just because it's used doesn't mean it will fail tomorrow (though it could). If the store you are buying from will offer some type of warranty it might be worth looking at.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 11:40 AM   #4
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Buying a used dSLR is a risky venture. I would be extrememly cautious about buying from someone that didn't have a good return policy. Adorama, B&H Photo Video and KEH are all reputable dealers of used equipment.

To the list of brands with built-in image stabilization that mtngal provided, I will add Konica Minolta. Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera business in mid-'06, and continues to make products that fit the older Minolta and Konica Minolta lenses and accessories. Minolta was the first to introduce a successful autofocus SLR, and the lenses they made since 1985 still work fine on Sony dSLRs. That gives Sony (and Konica Minolta) dSLRs the widest selection of autofocus lenses on the used market. Pentax also has a wide selection of lenses for its dSLRs, but many of them are not autofocus. Olympus did not keep the same lens mount when it started producing dSLRs, so its older lenses won't fit.

I'd narrow my selection down to Konica Minolta, Pentax, and Sony, if I were you.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 12:05 PM   #5
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Thank you, TCav! If I buy used, I will be buying from one of the 3 you mentioned. Too many of you, who know your stuff, recommend them. So, I defer to wisdom and experience. I'll look closely at the brands you mentioned. They don't have quite the cache (don't know how to do accent marks, sorry) of saying I own a Nikon D-whatever, but I have to work with what I have... and what I have right now is a small budget, LOL.

Thanks, again!

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Buying a used dSLR is a risky venture. I would be extrememly cautious about buying from someone that didn't have a good return policy. Adorama, B&H Photo Video and KEH are all reputable dealers of used equipment.

To the list of brands with built-in image stabilization that mtngal provided, I will add Konica Minolta. Sony bought Konica Minolta's camera business in mid-'06, and continues to make products that fit the older Minolta and Konica Minolta lenses and accessories. Minolta was the first to introduce a successful autofocus SLR, and the lenses they made since 1985 still work fine on Sony dSLRs. That gives Sony (and Konica Minolta) dSLRs the widest selection of autofocus lenses on the used market. Pentax also has a wide selection of lenses for its dSLRs, but many of them are not autofocus. Olympus did not keep the same lens mount when it started producing dSLRs, so its older lenses won't fit.

I'd narrow my selection down to Konica Minolta, Pentax, and Sony, if I were you.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 12:35 PM   #6
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I just finished browsing through used dSLR listings at http://www.keh.com , http://www.bhphotovideo.com and http://www.adorama.com

I don't see anything decent that includes a lens for $300 or less. I see a few good bodies in that price range when browsing through listings for Nikon, Sony, and Canon dSLR models. But, you'd exceed it once you add a lens. About the best deal I see right now is for a used Sony A200 in Excellent Condition with the 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 AF lens for $364 at Adorama.com

http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20341421.html
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 12:43 PM   #7
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Thank you, Jim.

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I just finished browsing through used dSLR listings at http://www.keh.com , http://www.bhpohtovideo.com and http://www.adorama.com

I don't see anything decent that includes a lens for $300 or less. I see a few good bodies in that price range when browsing through listings for Nikon, Sony, and Canon dSLR models. But, you'd exceed it once you add a lens. About the best deal I see right now is for a used Sony A200 in Excellent Condition with the 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 AF lens for $364 at Adorama.com

http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20341421.html
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 1:07 PM   #8
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Buying used is a risk/reward equation. Personally I don't like the risks (bad camera outside of the warranty or exchange period) and don't think the rewards (prices) are good enough to justify the risk.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 1:11 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimC View Post
I just finished browsing through used dSLR listings at http://www.keh.com , http://www.bhpohtovideo.com and http://www.adorama.com

I don't see anything decent that includes a lens for $300 or less. I see a few good bodies in that price range when browsing through listings for Nikon, Sony, and Canon dSLR models. But, you'd exceed it once you add a lens. About the best deal I see right now is for a used Sony A200 in Excellent Condition with the 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 AF lens for $364 at Adorama.com

http://www.adorama.com/US%20%20%20%20341421.html
What did Adorma PAY for the camera?

Try the equation from the opposite direction. What would Adorma PAY for your used Sony A200? I bet a lot less than $364. Find the amount. Split the difference and offer the difference. Might start to get the risk/reward ratio back in the buyer's favor.
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Old Jun 6, 2009, 1:56 PM   #10
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All that you've said about the risk/reward equation may be true, and I thank you for giving me something to think about. However that discussion is not pertinent to this thread. I'm not in crusade mode. I'm just trying to find a good DSLR that I can afford. Can we please bring the focus back to my question? Thank you.

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What did Adorma PAY for the camera?

Try the equation from the opposite direction. What would Adorma PAY for your used Sony A200? I bet a lot less than $364. Find the amount. Split the difference and offer the difference. Might start to get the risk/reward ratio back in the buyer's favor.
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