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Old Nov 21, 2010, 3:39 AM   #1
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Default Old or New First DSLR

We like many are about to take our first plunge into DSLR ownership and are very much newbie's in this area.

We've already decided it's going to have to be a nearly new camera for around the 350 mark which will get us something like a Nikon D5000. However on Ebay we've spotted a huge raft of hi-spec older cameras like the EOS 20D which tend to come with lots of extra lenses etc. all well within our budget.

The question therefore is has technology come on so far to make a 1000 plus camera from 6 years ago worse than the most basic 2010 model?

Any advice gratefully received!
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 4:45 AM   #2
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The big problem with buying a used dSLR is that you don't know how much use and abuse it has received, and there are a lot of things that can go wrong. If you don't get a warranty (not a guaranty) then you're taking a big chance.

DSLRs are different from P&S cameras. When you buy a dSLR, you're making a commitment to a system. The investment you make in that system (lenses, flashes, accessories) can be much greater than what you paid for the camera body, used or new. Don't select a camera body based entirely on price. Make sure the system can do what you want the way you want. If you buy a dSLR based on it's price, and you find out later that the system can't do what you want, or it's much more expensive to do what you want for that brand of camera, you'll have wasted a lot of time, money and effort getting to that point.

So, what do you want to shoot?
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 8:11 AM   #3
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Quote:
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If you don't get a warranty (not a guaranty) then you're taking a big chance.
In common use the terms have become interchangeable, and have been for at least 30 years. Certainly in the UK there is no difference.

In more technical terms it's hard to see how it's even possible to have a guarantee (surety) on a camera, it doesn't even make sense.

Both UK law and the US The Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act 1975 treat the terms as meaning the same thing when it comes to consumer goods.

Words change their meaning over time, and if you think there is a difference between the terms in common usage, then you are mistaken.

However, your point about used equipment is of course very important. There is no easy way of knowing whether a camera has 10,000 or 200,000 shots on a mirror assembly rated for 100,000 shots. Unless you can get the seller to guarantee to repair it in the event of a fault then you have to realise you are taking a big risk.

For myself, I'd rather have a new Canon 1000D than a used 20D.
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 8:39 AM   #4
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As the others have mentioned, you are taking a chance buying used bodies (lenses are a different story) Especially a higher end camera, likely to have been used a lot heavier than a consumer model. Also, a 6 year old DSLR is a bit behind the curve imaging technology. So while it may have a few more bells and whistles (more control, faster FPS, better build quality), the potential heavy use and poorer image quality makes it a poor bet. I'd say any current DSLR (consumer to pro) will have better IQ, especially at higher ISO's. That coupled with a potentially larger repair bill if something goes wrong doesn't make it worth the savings.

There are many vendors out there that do sell used DSLR's and buying from them will lessen the risk somewhat, but I still don't think it is worth it.

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Old Nov 21, 2010, 9:08 AM   #5
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A guarantee is a promise that only provides a possible financial remedy.

A warranty is a promise that a product is free of defects and will perform its intended function for a period of time, and if not, it will be serviced free of charge, and if servicing is unable to resolve the issue, the consumer has the option of selecting a replacement or a refund.

Many retailers offer guarantees, as opposed to warranties, on used cameras, which limits their liability to a refund. A warranty would require them to repair or replace a failed camera, and would only permit a refund if the customer consented.

Someone may want you to think they mean the same thing, but the rights of the consumer and the obligations of the manufacturer and retailer are quite different. If you think they mean the same thing, you may be in for a disappointment.

The Magnuson–Moss Warranty Act doesn't have anything to do with guarantees.
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 9:40 AM   #6
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Guarantee is a far wider term than warranty. A warranty is a specific type of guarantee.

In general use the two are interchangeable and mean exactly the same thing. Retailers may provide a vast range of options in how they will treat customers in the event of a product failure and those terms may be written up under the title of either guarantee or warranty.

Certainly in the UK (and likely in the US as well) if you go into a shop and start getting into a debate over whether something is a guarantee or a warranty they will call the men in the white coats.

Even under your definition it's not clear that one is better than the other. I would much rather have an immediate refund that return a camera for repair which may take weeks or months.

The important thing is to read the fine print when buying used goods.
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Old Nov 21, 2010, 12:06 PM   #7
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If I bought a used dSLR along with lenses and a flash, and the camera fails, I'd rather have them fix it or replace it than just give me my money back. I'm still stuck with all the other stuff I've bought for it, and now I've made a commitment to a brand. I may not be able to find another dSLR for about the same price that will work with all my other stuff. I want it fixed, so I want a warranty, not a guarantee.
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