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Used DSLRs

NatheoNatheo Registered User regular
I need some help.

So I'm pretty sure I want to get a DSLR, but I'm not ready to drop a bunch of money on one just yet. As a background, photography is something I want to get more involved in, and I am to some extent with my little canon powershot sx200. I'm a writer for a campus newspaper right now, but I'm looking to get more involved with the photography end of things as well. So I want to get started with a DSLR. After googling around, I started to consider buying a used DSLR. I looked around on some various sites, but by my reckoning the consensus seems to point to KEH.com as the best spot to pick up some used gear.

I'm basically looking at canon and nikon, but I'm pretty sure I could be talked into pentax at this point as well. I haven't messed with a pentax, but while the nikon feels more solid in my hands, I like where the scroll wheel is placed on the canons.

So, lenses. Particularly kit lenses. Good enough to get started with? For example, if I buy

http://www.keh.com/camera/Canon-Digital-Camera-Outfits/1/sku-DC019990996190?r=FE

how far will it take me?

Just looking for some input on buying used DSLRs, getting started with slr photography, what sort of accessories I really need, etc.

edit: as far as what I'll be photographing, portraits are pretty much out. People doing things, indoors and out, landscape stuff, and probably animals when I go up north.
Thanks guys.

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Natheo on

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    nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I have that exact camera. Yes it's a little older but it takes excellent photos and has great manual and auto modes. I'd definitely recommend it as a starter SLR

    nexuscrawler on
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    ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    I have the camera as well its an excellent starting DSLR. What I would say about buying used though is to maybe look at buying body only and shopping around for a kit lens. Just seen a lot of used DSLR kits and the lens sometimes are in quite poor condition.

    Ziggymon on
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    nexuscrawlernexuscrawler Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    here's a few shots I've taken with my Xti

    _MG_2823-1.jpg

    _MG_2850.jpg

    _MG_2910copy.jpg

    nexuscrawler on
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    mtsmts Dr. Robot King Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    really the only thing to consider with used DSLRs is compatibility with lenses. I shoot Nikon and my camera can use any Nikon lens there is. Canon not so much.

    I would stick to Canon or Nikon

    mts on
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    wonderpugwonderpug Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    mts wrote: »
    really the only thing to consider with used DSLRs is compatibility with lenses. I shoot Nikon and my camera can use any Nikon lens there is. Canon not so much.

    I'm in the Nikon camp, too, but that's not really a fair criticism of Canon. If Natheo gets a D40, D60, or D5000 then he won't have autofocus on any lenses that use the screw-drive, and unless you have a D300 or higher even your Nikon won't be able to meter properly with really old lenses.

    Both Nikon and Canon have more than enough of a lens selection, and even though I prefer Nikon it's really a coin toss between the two of them if you have no prior allegiance. Natheo preferring the scroll wheel placement on the Canon is as fine a reason as any to go with them, and one of the main reasons I went Nikon is because I prefer the ergonomics.
    I would stick to Canon or Nikon

    And while you can't go wrong with the two big boys, the smaller manufacturers make great cameras too. The biggest disadvantage of going with someone like Pentax is the smaller lens selection, but if lens types you want are available for Pentax then what does it matter if Canon & Nikon have umpteen other variations available?

    wonderpug on
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    ZiggymonZiggymon Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    wonderpug wrote: »
    mts wrote: »
    really the only thing to consider with used DSLRs is compatibility with lenses. I shoot Nikon and my camera can use any Nikon lens there is. Canon not so much.

    I'm in the Nikon camp, too, but that's not really a fair criticism of Canon. If Natheo gets a D40, D60, or D5000 then he won't have autofocus on any lenses that use the screw-drive, and unless you have a D300 or higher even your Nikon won't be able to meter properly with really old lenses.

    Both Nikon and Canon have more than enough of a lens selection, and even though I prefer Nikon it's really a coin toss between the two of them if you have no prior allegiance. Natheo preferring the scroll wheel placement on the Canon is as fine a reason as any to go with them, and one of the main reasons I went Nikon is because I prefer the ergonomics.
    I would stick to Canon or Nikon

    And while you can't go wrong with the two big boys, the smaller manufacturers make great cameras too. The biggest disadvantage of going with someone like Pentax is the smaller lens selection, but if lens types you want are available for Pentax then what does it matter if Canon & Nikon have umpteen other variations available?

    I think the big advantage of the nikon or canon is that there are loads of third party support for their devices far more than the smaller makes of cameras. Which means lower priced lenses, batteries etc.

    Ziggymon on
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    DjeetDjeet Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Unless you're buying a full frame rig ($texas) or a 7 year old camera, you shouldn't have to worry about buying a canon body that cannot mount the large majority of canon lenses. (edit: If you decide to buy a canon) You want a camera body that can mount EF-S lenses which are these. All those camera bodies can also use EF mount lenses.


    There are Canon DSLR's that cannot mount EF-S lenses: D30 (not to be confused with 30D), D60, 10D (these are all 7+ years old), and 1DS, 5D (these bodies will set you back $1000-1500+ used). If you want to go real wide often (wider than 12-15mm full frame equivalent) then you might want to go with one of these EF-mount only full framers as there's not a whole lot of lens availability for going that wide on a 1.6x crop body.

    Djeet on
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    Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    The Canon XTi is a fine little camera that will take wonderful images. The kit lens is quite okay, but you will want to upgrade to something most substantial (especially if you'll be covering indoor events, where the kit lens will not be fast enough without using a flash). If you can fit it into your budget, pick up a Canon 50mm f/1.8. Cheap (well under $100 used) and very fast.

    However, given your specific situation, I would suggest you take a good, long look at Pentax DSLRs. They are the best made DSLRs south of $1k, period. I would put the build quality of the K10D/K20D/K7 right up there with the Canon 1D or Nikon Dx series. The Canon XTi feels like a dollar store knock off by comparison, and even the Canon 5D feels less sturdy. Add in that they're small, unobtrusive and very easy to work and you've got an ideal photojournalist's camera. Starting with the K7, they're also the only brand to boast weather resistant kit lenses.

    As to the lens line up, the Pentax K-mount almost exactly as many lenses as Nikon's F-mount and far, far more than Canon's EF+EF-S mounts. Granted, only some of them are autofocus lenses, but with Pentax's DSLRs offering interchangeable focussing screens this is a fairly minor point. The huge amount of old, manual focus glass is a big selling point for Pentax DSLRs, as it's incredibly cheap source of high end glass.

    So give Pentax a good look. A Pentax K10D is a lot more camera than a Canon XTi and can be had for about the same price. Oh, and buy Pentax gear at the unofficial Pentax Forums. Huge, extremely active B&S board with far better prices than KEH.

    (Qualifications: Shot with a Pentax DSLR+film system for 2 years, which I switched out for a full frame Canon digital system a year ago.)

    Dark Moon on
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    DraperDraper __BANNED USERS regular
    edited October 2010
    Get a T2i and never buy another camera or lens again, unless you want to go telephoto.

    Draper on
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    NatheoNatheo Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    After looking into what was said here (and having a money thing come up in the process) i've decided to really think hard about the pentax k10d.

    I'm looking at picking up this combination to work with, I keep seeing a 2.8 zoom as being recommended for what I'm trying to do.

    http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Digital-Camera-Bodies/1/sku-DP029991014490?r=FE
    http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Manual-Focus-Non-Mfg-Zoom-Lenses/1/sku-PK099990262130?r=FE

    I plan on looking at the unofficial pentax forums, but my fiancee just decided to purchase an xti for her trip to s. korea (and since she wants to take up photography, but wasn't really comfortable with to lack of auto or scene modes on some models). Bought it ex+ from keh, and was extremely satisfied with how nice it looked, original box/books/disks all in great shape.

    I'll probably pick up kit autofocus lens as well, for the weather resistance, which having thought about it became a huge consideration for me.

    Now I haven't had a ton of practice with manual focus, but it is something that i'll do with my P&S if i'm screwing around, and I work with cameras for the broadcast classes at my school, so I'm pretty confident in it.

    Does all that look good?

    Natheo on
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    Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited October 2010
    Excellent choice on a body. I still miss many aspects of my K10D.

    The lens is all wrong, though. You have picked a shitty, shitty lens. Prior to Very Recently zoom lenses were, as an absolute rule, complete shit. They sucked at max aperture, they sucked when stopped down and they sucked at every point in between. You have selected a 3rd party zoom lens from the dark ages. It is $29 used. This should be an excellent hint that it's terrifyingly bad.

    What you want instead: Get a first party manual focus 50mm. A Pentax-A 50mm f/1.7. It'll report the aperture to your camera (so you can use your auto and semi-auto settings) but is still manual focus and brilliant. Yes, having a single focal length will be tough. But if it's too long, get further away. If it's too short, get closer. If you just can't do those two things, get creative. It'll be worth it in the end. Then begin saving up for something like a Pentax DA*16-50mm f/2.8. If you get a good copy it is so, so good. Thus, it is $750 used. But honestly, that's cheap for decent modern glass and it will retain that value beautifully.

    Oh, and when you go hunting for a kit lens make sure it is the "WR" variety. The older kit lenses looked rather similar but were not sealed - they lack the "WR" designation.

    Dark Moon on
    3072973561_de17a80845_o.jpg
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    NatheoNatheo Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    That's exactly what I needed to hear.

    So, this?

    I can deal with 109.00. Unfortunately KEH just sold through on the used k10ds, but I found one on pentaxforums.com that a guy wants 350 for that seems nice and comes with a few things.

    On old zoom lenses being absolute shit, does that apply across the board? Like, would a Pentax 35-105mm F3.5 A be garbage as well?

    Natheo on
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    RUNN1NGMANRUNN1NGMAN Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Dark Moon wrote: »
    The Canon XTi is a fine little camera that will take wonderful images. The kit lens is quite okay, but you will want to upgrade to something most substantial (especially if you'll be covering indoor events, where the kit lens will not be fast enough without using a flash). If you can fit it into your budget, pick up a Canon 50mm f/1.8. Cheap (well under $100 used) and very fast.

    However, given your specific situation, I would suggest you take a good, long look at Pentax DSLRs. They are the best made DSLRs south of $1k, period. I would put the build quality of the K10D/K20D/K7 right up there with the Canon 1D or Nikon Dx series. The Canon XTi feels like a dollar store knock off by comparison, and even the Canon 5D feels less sturdy. Add in that they're small, unobtrusive and very easy to work and you've got an ideal photojournalist's camera. Starting with the K7, they're also the only brand to boast weather resistant kit lenses.

    As to the lens line up, the Pentax K-mount almost exactly as many lenses as Nikon's F-mount and far, far more than Canon's EF+EF-S mounts. Granted, only some of them are autofocus lenses, but with Pentax's DSLRs offering interchangeable focussing screens this is a fairly minor point. The huge amount of old, manual focus glass is a big selling point for Pentax DSLRs, as it's incredibly cheap source of high end glass.

    So give Pentax a good look. A Pentax K10D is a lot more camera than a Canon XTi and can be had for about the same price. Oh, and buy Pentax gear at the unofficial Pentax Forums. Huge, extremely active B&S board with far better prices than KEH.

    (Qualifications: Shot with a Pentax DSLR+film system for 2 years, which I switched out for a full frame Canon digital system a year ago.)

    Just wanted to say that I picked up that Canon 50mm lens a while back (maybe on your recommendation?) and it is buy far the best $100 I've ever spent. It honestly looks like a cheap piece of junk, but it takes absolutely phenomenal shots for what it costs. It's great for taking pictures of my daughter inside when I don't want to worry about a flash. I just set the aperture to F/2.2 and go to town. Anyone with a Canon SLR needs to buy that lens.

    RUNN1NGMAN on
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    Dark MoonDark Moon Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Natheo wrote: »
    That's exactly what I needed to hear.

    So, this?

    I can deal with 109.00. Unfortunately KEH just sold through on the used k10ds, but I found one on pentaxforums.com that a guy wants 350 for that seems nice and comes with a few things.

    On old zoom lenses being absolute shit, does that apply across the board? Like, would a Pentax 35-105mm F3.5 A be garbage as well?

    That is a mighty fine lens you've linked. Hopefully the fellow on the Pentax forums comes through. If you're not adverse to buying from them, you can probably get that same A-series 50mm for $60 or so - or even find a used FA 50mm f/1.4 for $250ish. What you've got linked will definitely work, though.

    Pretty much any pre-digital Pentax zoom lens is pretty crummy. Canon/Nikon made a few good ones in the years preceding the digital camera release, but they really came into their own with modern optics and lens coatings. There are a few notable exceptions - the Pentax-A 70-210mm f/4 and the related Vivitar 1-series 70-210mm lenses are quite decent. I don't know of any older wide to normal zooms that were any good.

    Dark Moon on
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    Fred Savage Power GloveFred Savage Power Glove Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    You may also want to look at UsedCameras.com for used DSLRs and lenses. I've never gotten something from them I hated; even the large format camera I have came from them in brilliant condition.

    I feel like I'm fanning potential fanboy flames here but I'd highly suggest buying Nikon or Canon. Photography can be, if you wish, a very local thing. You'll eventually run into other photographers and could develop friendships with them over time. I can't tell you how many lenses I've borrowed from fellow photographers or lent out to friends.

    Fred Savage Power Glove on
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    Joe KJoe K Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    You may also want to look at UsedCameras.com for used DSLRs and lenses. I've never gotten something from them I hated; even the large format camera I have came from them in brilliant condition.

    I feel like I'm fanning potential fanboy flames here but I'd highly suggest buying Nikon or Canon. Photography can be, if you wish, a very local thing. You'll eventually run into other photographers and could develop friendships with them over time. I can't tell you how many lenses I've borrowed from fellow photographers or lent out to friends.

    i'd go with the suggestion of Canon or Nikon. Although, I might wait until after Turkey day for any big Kit sales.

    Know that if you go into a "private" camera shop, they will steer you towards Nikon, always. I think the profit margins are bigger for them. The technical comparison on features, fit and feel are nearly identical.

    There is a ton of good 3rd party glass out there that can be had for a fraction of the branded stuff. I'm still shooting my Canon RebelXT, and I need a couple more lenses (dont we all?), but it has been everything that I've needed.

    Joe K on
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    JragghenJragghen Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    New moofi deal, rather good if you're looking for a DSLR

    It's refurbed, but I suspect cameras are one of the things that refurbs are just fine.

    This is $150 cheaper than just the body on amazon, and it comes with a lens.

    Jragghen on
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    NatheoNatheo Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    Too perfect. The camera I really wanted, at a price I could swallow. So bought. Even on KEH they're selling the body used alone for 526 used, and like you said 150 cheaper on Amazon.

    Even if I end up with buyers remorse, I turn a profit.

    I doubt I will.

    Also you are my hero, I dub you the pentax fairy.

    Natheo on
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    GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    My wife and I use a Cannon XTi, and it's a really great camera. Tons of accessories and lenses out for it. Do yourself a favor, get some gray cards and learn how to self-adjust for light. You will find you take much better pictures than with the auto settings. Also, get the 50mm lens we are all talking about, great to have.

    (I've heard really shaky things about Pentax cameras. Buyer beware. There is a reason everyone buys Cannon and Nikon, and it's not because everyone likes paying more for a name.)

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
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    NatheoNatheo Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    I liked using my fiancees xti that she had just bought. Seems like it takes great pictures really easily, which was a big bonus for her. She pretty much bought it after taking a look at this thread, along with the reviews we read about it.

    And yeah, I understand there has been some concerns about pentax playing third wheel to canon and nikon, but I also got some pretty glowing advice in this thread about them. I did research out the k series really well, and I was pretty dead set on going with the k10d despite it being regarded as an older camera. There were a lot of comparisons to the k-x, and similar offerings from other manufacturers.

    But a k20d for 500? I'm on it. I've read a lot of things about the construction of these cameras that mirror what Dark Moon said. Build quality on par or better than more expensive cameras, weather resistance, these things really appealed to me. Sure, the vast array of external controls (AF point mode, AF drive mode, bracketing, file format, AE-L, AF, exposure compensation, ISO, and anti-shake along with 2 customizable dials) will probably take awhile to wrap my head around, but I'm sure it will be worth it.

    From what I read, the k20d has wonderful low iso image quality, which stays good up through 1600. I read that the ergonomics are excellent, the viewfinder is bright, and the camera just has a really good, solid overall professional feel to it. Sure, the autofocus might not be as fast as some newer offerings, and it's continuous fps might not be as fast either, but these are things that I find it offering to a lesser degree, as opposed to other cameras completely lacking aspects of the k series that I think I'll appreciate.

    Hyper program sounds like it will be fun to use, SR is built into the body, and hopefully lenses will remain affordable for my budget for awhile, even if I have to stick to old MF primes.

    So yeah, I realize what I'm getting into by not going with nikon or canon, but I'm pretty confident about this one.

    Natheo on
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    JragghenJragghen Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    FWIW, I've used a Pentax point-and-shoot for years, and it's still a great, solid camera.

    From my understanding in the DSLR market, Pentax lenses are harder to come by, but they've used the same mounting for years, so there's literally decades of lenses available or something? I was in the market myself earlier this year for a DSLR and was probably going to end up going with a Pentax myself, as they seemed to have a slightly better price point and their recent iterations are reviewed almost universally as high if not slightly higher than the comparable Nikon/Canon. Only thing which seemed like a particular oversight was a lack of autofocus points on the low-end model. But for the most part, they've got less history, but they've upped their game to compete with the big boys.

    And then one of my coworkers upgraded his camera and was looking to unload his previous Canon with lens, carrying case, and 2 gig memory stick for super cheap, so I just jumped on that. :P

    So I've got one which was entry level 6 years ago or so and a lens which can't move forward to better cameras, but it's an awesome way to get used to using a DSLR and was super cheap, so whatever. :D

    Jragghen on
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    GnomeTankGnomeTank What the what? Portland, OregonRegistered User regular
    edited November 2010
    That's one of the big advantages of going Canon or Nikon, the amount of lenses and accessories is staggering, and it's mostly interchangeable. Friend of mine does some semi-professional work and has a Canon EOS 50D (which is basically the really big brother to the Digital Rebel XT/XTi), and I've used some of his lenses with my XTi, no problem. Also used his top mounted flash assembly.

    Now to be fair, all SLR's may just use a standard lens connection scheme now, I just know all Canon SLR models can share lenses really easy, from the lower end XTi all the way up to the high end EOS bodies.

    GnomeTank on
    Sagroth wrote: »
    Oh c'mon FyreWulff, no one's gonna pay to visit Uranus.
    Steam: Brainling, XBL / PSN: GnomeTank, NintendoID: Brainling, FF14: Zillius Rosh SFV: Brainling
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    jimb213jimb213 Registered User regular
    edited November 2010
    GnomeTank wrote: »
    That's one of the big advantages of going Canon or Nikon, the amount of lenses and accessories is staggering, and it's mostly interchangeable. Friend of mine does some semi-professional work and has a Canon EOS 50D (which is basically the really big brother to the Digital Rebel XT/XTi), and I've used some of his lenses with my XTi, no problem. Also used his top mounted flash assembly.

    Now to be fair, all SLR's may just use a standard lens connection scheme now, I just know all Canon SLR models can share lenses really easy, from the lower end XTi all the way up to the high end EOS bodies.

    Basically, once you buy into a brand, you're with that brand for the long haul. Nikon, Canon, Pentax, etc all use different lens mounts, so you can't use Nikon lenses on a Canon without an adapter (which do exist, IIRC).

    I'm a Canon shooter, 'cause the reviews of the XTi from a few years back when I bought my first DSLR all said it was more rugged and tougher than the comparable Nikon at the time, and since I bought the camera to take to Nicaragua and other dirty, rugged places, I went with that. Now I shoot with a 7D, which is fantastic because video production is my main gig, and photography is more of a hobby. I've got a couple nice lenses now (EF 28mm f/1.8 and EF-S 17-55mm f/2.8 IS), and I'll be buying two more over the next year (50mm f/1.4 and a telephoto zoom tbd). That'll end up being quite a few thousand dollars worth of lenses, so it doesn't make any sense for me to jump to Nikon, 'cause it'll be a huge investment to replace all those lenses.

    Nikons are great, though. The high-ISO capabilities of their newer cameras are mind-blowing. My 7D can shoot at ISO6400, but it ain't pretty; very noisy and grainy. The Nikons can get useable images at ISO12000 and higher!

    jimb213 on
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