About to buy first dSLR (on Craigslist). Advice?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by lord patton, Apr 13, 2010.

  1. lord patton macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #1
    Hey MR,

    I found what I think is a great deal on a dSLR on craigslist. It's a Canon T1i kit new-in-box for $580. It will be my first dSLR... actually it's a gift for my wife's birthday.

    These kit's go for $750 on amazon or costco. The guy says it was a gift that he doesn't need, so he's selling it. It's a good deal but not so great that it sets off my ******** detector.

    That being said, is there anything I should look out for? I assume I can power it up and take a few shots to make sure it's operable. Is there any possibility of checking the serial number with Canon's website to determine manufacture date and therefore warranty?

    As background, my wife has always wanted a dSLR. She just wants better looking photos, and hates the shutter lag and quality of our P/S.

    I looked at the entry models from Nikon and Canon, looked at the Rebel XS and the D40. Then looked at the XSi and the D3000. Probably would have gone for an XSi over the XS ($560 v. $480 on Amazon), until I saw this deal.

    At first I imagine she'll stick with iPhoto and mostly automatic shots, but could see her getting Aperture, a new lens or two and a RAW workflow over the next couple years.

    Mostly she wants it because we have a 3-year old and a newborn, so this is when we'd want the better images.

    Any thoughts from this wonderful community? I'm sure there are other threads about learning materials, but if you're already replying here maybe you have a favorite book or website for learning dSLR photography?

    thanks!
     
  2. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #2
    well, congrats on the newborn :)
    I would ask the seller you shoot a few frames and see the purchae receipt. Even if it was a gift, it must have been bought at some point and none (usually) gives a gift without the warranty papers, especially that expensive. So if he has the paper then I don't see where the problem is, if he doesn't I would be a bit more careful. Also he says its new-in-box? It cannot be that old so there has to be some sort of record of it.

    just my 2c.

    You and your wife will have fun though regardless of which dslr you get, believe me :)

    //f
     
  3. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #3
    I can't tell you if it's a good deal, since I don't know Canon models at all. But, I did buy a D300 from a Craigslist ad, and I'd just suggest a few things.

    Get a commitment on the price ahead of time (my seller tried to raise the price over the phone) with the understanding that the camera is exactly as described to you over the phone. Ask questions about what all is included, including warranty card, original receipt, all accessories that came in the original box, etc. Ask how much it was used and what cosmetic condition you should expect when you meet to finalize the deal. Be clear with your questions, and get clear answers... first. This ensures the ad isn't misleading

    Meet in a public place. There have been a few stories of buyers meeting "sellers" only to be robbed of their money. Or vice-versa. Just use common sense here.

    Bring an appropriate memory card for the camera, just in case there isn't one included. Ask the seller to make sure the battery is charged enough to try out the camera. Just carefully inspect the camera and accessories, make sure all moving parts move precisely (switches, buttons, dials.) Then fire it up and run through the menu. Take a few shots to make sure the camera functions normally. Change ISO, do some exposure compensation, take a flash shot... things like that. You don't have to be ridiculous about it, just make sure the thing works to your satisfaction. Playback the pictures to see if the exp-comp worked, and to test the display. Remove and re-mount the lens to check the mount and that it "clicks" into place.

    If all is good, make the deal. And good luck.
     
  4. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #4
    Is it 2 lenses, like the 18-55IS and 55-250IS?

    I bought my XSI with this set up last summer for $750 new. The T1i is not a new model. I sold my XSI body (had 1200 clicks) for $400 a month ago.

    If it is just the body + 18-55, that seems about right. If it is just a body, that is too high.
     
  5. lord patton thread starter macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #5
    Thanks for the replies so far :)

    The kit does have a lens. Here's the specs he's listed:

    -EOS REBEL T1i
    -EF-s 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6 IS
    -Wide Strap
    -Battery Charger LC-E5
    -Battery Pack LP-E5
    -Interface Cable
    -Av Cable
    -Software (CD-ROM)

    It appears to be the same as this:

    amazon link

    ...which sells for $750. I'm thinking $580 is great if it's really new-in-the-box. In other words, the $170 savings is worth the risk.

    I think I just need the memory card and would be good to go.
     
  6. HBOC macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2008
    Location:
    SLC
    #6
    seems like a decent deal. You can always sell the kit lens for $100ish
     
  7. iSax1234 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2010
    Location:
    Virginia
    #7
    Worth the risk?

    More than likely it depends on the guy. If he seems like he's trying to cheat you out then walk away, but then sometimes people are very deceiving. You have to ask your self is it worth 170 bucks to risk having a POS or 170 bucks to have a brand new camera that I can return if your wife doesn't like it or something is wrong
     
  8. pdxflint macrumors 68020

    pdxflint

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2006
    Location:
    Oregon coast
    #8
    The other thing to think about is the warranty. He said he received the camera as a gift, so he may not have the receipt, and that's assuming he never registered it with Canon. Also, what was the date of purchase originally, thus how much warranty would even be remaining if it was valid.

    But the bigger issue is the transferability of the warranty. I know Nikon doesn't honor warranties other than for the original purchaser, so when compared to a brand new camera with the factory warranty for several years, the price difference becomes smaller, especially if something goes wrong with the camera.

    I'm not trying to put a damper on things... only to say you should consider the "peace of mind" price.
     
  9. lord patton thread starter macrumors 65816

    lord patton

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2005
    Location:
    Chicago
    #9
    all good points. thx
     
  10. flosseR macrumors 6502a

    flosseR

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2009
    Location:
    the cold dark north
    #10
    Actually there is a catch. I bought my D700 "used" and got the original receipt and warranty card with it. I re-registered it with nikon (europe) and got a confirmation mail. the shutter button came loose (not off, just loose) took it to the local Nikon dealer they looked at the receipt etc. and sent it to Nikon. got fixed within a few days. I was told that with Pro equipment they do honor warranties (at least here they did).
     

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