General Question

tehrani625's avatar

A good, cheap, Used DSLR would be...

Asked by tehrani625 (405points) February 23rd, 2009

I have a “mega zoom” point and shoot. It is 10Mp and I don’t enjoy it at all. So I am looking for a used DSLR that will last for about 2 years and will shoot in something better then jpeg. I don’t want or need to edit in photo shop at the moment but that is a possibility in the future. I have a stash of cash but I don’t want to spend more then $400. I know that I could buy something new for that but I would rather have something used, because I won’t feel so bad if I screw it up.

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14 Answers

cooksalot's avatar

Check out the local pawn shops would be your best bet. See what they have available.

ben's avatar

Try to find a deal on a pentax k100 super. It’s a great camera, and you can find it at some bargains ($400ish). Craigslist is always a good bet, too.

Oooh, and check out used stuff at bhphoto. Here’s a used k100d super for $320. I’ve bought a lot of stuff with them; they’re very trustworthy.

cooksalot's avatar

Shame on you @ben waving that tempting link in front of me. LOL! If I had money there are a few cameras I would “need” to buy on that list.

astrofoo's avatar

The Pentax K100 and K100D (the same thing but with built in image stability) are great cameras. I’ve owned a K100D. However, if you get bitten by “the bug,” you’ll probably want to switch to a Canon or Nikon system because of all the extras you can get for it. I would say go ahead and just start with either a Canon or Nikon camera now so you don’t feel you wasted money, and so you won’t have to learn different controls.

I would say look for a Canon 30D (review). They run about $400–500 in the used market, but I think in the long run you would be happier with it than a Pentax camera. If you want to go a bit cheaper, the Canon 20D is still a good camera for learning and because it’s a generation older, it’s a little cheaper.

Also you can go for a Digital Rebel but the controls are a tad different (like holding down an extra button for changing aperture) and they feel a bit less durable. The K100 does feel more like a DSLR should compared to them but the 20D/30D feel even more like a DSLR should than the K100. However the Rebels can run about $100 cheaper in the used market.

For a lens, you should look in to a Canon 50mm f/1.8 which runs about $90 new. This lens will allow you to control the depth of field like crazy and with it you will learn loads more about camera control.

The setup of the 30D and the 50mm f/1.8 is probably more than you were wanting to spend, but if you want a DSLR to learn photography or become better at it, I think this is the route you should go. Otherwise you’ll end up getting a DSLR that you might just use a point-and-shoot with a bigger sensor.

If you think you might be more of a Nikon person, look for a Nikon D50 (review) that goes for about $400–500 used as well and a Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 for about $150 new.

steelmarket's avatar

I’ve got the 30D, and it is a real workhorse. Also, a used Rebel would be a good starter. The Canon 50mm f/1.8 is one of (or maybe the) best lens buys on the planet.

astro is so correct. Start out with a Canon or Nikon.

pekenoe's avatar


Totally agree, maybe add a Fuji DSLR into the mix?

steelmarket's avatar

@pekenoe, I like the specs I’ve read on the Fujis, but have never used one. I believe they are compatible with Nikon lenses?

Skyrail's avatar

Well although I’m not here to answer the question I have to say thanks to astrofoo and steelmarket for further confirming what I’ve heard about the 50mm, I’ve been looking at that lens for a while and so I think the next lens I buy will be that one as it seems like such a worth while investment :) from what I’ve heard anyway.

pekenoe's avatar

@steelmarket Yes, the Fuji is compatible with Nikon lens, but I’m not sure if it will use all or if only the later ones. Fuji makes a great camera, I’d buy one with no reservations.

How is the 30D regarding noise at 1600+, my D200 sucks as far as noise in low light -high iso situations. I’d like to upgrade my Rebel to a later better model Canon with the better sensor for a low light setup. Not sure if the 30D has that sensor.

steelmarket's avatar

The 30D is pretty noisy at 1600.
Unfortunately, I shoot a lot of indoor events, so 1600 and I are BFFs.
Fortunately, I have Noise Ninja – a great piece of software for noise reduction.

pekenoe's avatar

@steelmarket Thanks, nice to get first hand info rather than depend on reviews.

essieness's avatar

I’m also looking for a DSLR and I think I’m set on a Canon Rebel. I’ve heard that those, as well as Nikons are good for beginners. I was told, however, that the Canon might be slightly more user friendly for people just upgrading to DSLR. Of course, I don’t know how true that is… it’s just what I was told. Have you tried looking on eBay? I saw a couple of Canon Rebels on there that were slightly used and around $500 but included LOTS of extras. I would make sure you find one with a warranty.

astrofoo's avatar

I think a Canon or Nikon would be a good choice for a beginner because information and lenses are more readily available in more places due to the fact they are the clear dominating systems in the market. You can walk in to Wolf, Best Buy and even Target and Wal-Mart and find some lenses (probably crappy kit quality), a battery or external flash. Also there are loads more people on forums that can answer questions that are camera-specific.

@pekenoe The 50mm f/1.8 is a wonderful lens. It was the first lens I bought when I started playing around with photography on a film camera. However, on a digital camera that has a cropped sensor, you might want to look in to the 35mm f/2 to get a 50mm feel.

The 50mm can feel “cramped” if you come from a 50mm lens on a film camera or come from the point and shoot world where you are use to a bit more of a wider angel. Due to the crop factor, the 35mm will be the equivalent of a 50mm lens. In turn, the 50mm will be the equivalent of an 80mm lens. Go to a camera shop and try both out and see which field of view works best for you. I had to get the 35mm because I was use to knowing the distance I should get to get the picture I want. It’s a good lens too but not nearly as good of a buy at $250.

@essieness has a point about warranties. The shutters in cameras will wear out and are actually rated to only a certain number of clicks. The 30D I think is 100,000 clicks, and I think the Rebel 350D is 50,000 clicks of the shutter… But that’s a shit load of photos.

dabbler's avatar

“shoot in something better then jpeg” what’s better than jpeg?
Most cameras will only shoot jpeg and ‘camera RAW’ mode (plenty will only do jpeg).

If you mean camera RAW mode (which has substantial advantages over jpeg) then abandon “don’t want or need to edit in photo shop”. You will have to use some conversion program to use the RAW files.

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