Buying a used DLSR - How do they hold up after a few years of use?

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Borjan, Nov 9, 2008.

  1. Borjan macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2004
    Hi there.

    Thinking of buying a used DLSR. Canon 350d to be exact. I believe it to be around 2 years old.

    How do they hold up after the years? Are there any potential problems I can expect?
  2. alansmallen macrumors 6502a

    Jun 25, 2007
    Unless it's from someone you know, I wouldn't buy a used DSLR. The mirrors could be old, or tilted, or something else.

    What's the price?
  3. flinch13 macrumors regular

    Jul 4, 2004
    You won't save an appreciable amount of money this way compared to the risk of buying a used machine. Used lenses are fine, but cameras, especially consumer models, should be bought new. You can probably find a new in box 350d for around $300 right now.
  4. Borjan thread starter macrumors regular

    Sep 28, 2004
    Thanks guys.

    I'm from the UK, so it was going to be £160ish for the camera and standard lens.

    I might just save up a bit more until I have £220, then I can apparently get a D40 kit new.

  5. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    I just bought my third used DSLR. No problems so far.

    I buy from a local store, so I can check out the kit before commiting, and get a couple months warranty. It can also be cheaper than the auction sites sometimes.

    I ask for the number of actuations, too. On Nikon, this is can be found out by taking a picture and looking at the EXIF data. Canon is not consistent about this. In my experience, there are many lightly used consumer and prosumer cameras.

    Nikon pushes you more to the used marker because of the lack of new low end models with a built-in motor, and before that, because of the lack of "affordable" full frame.

    What you'll probably get is some dust in the sensor. If you ask, the store may clean it once for free.

    You should only buy a body if it comes with all the important accessories: battery, charger, nonstandard cables. Verify first if you can download the manual. If it's not included, you may have to pay some bucks for it.
    Don't forget about the bundled software, if you care about it.
    If you don't mind walking around with a big brand sign, check that the strap is also there.
    Things like LCD cover, eyecup cover, disposable battery adapter are usually missing.

    If you buy a lot of missing bits, it won't be worth it, if there's an equivalent new option.
  6. Padaung macrumors 6502


    Jan 22, 2007
    To be honest, I don't think you have anything to worry about buying a used camera. The second hand film camera market was strong right up until digital killed it. All my film cameras were second hand and I never had a problem with any of them in many years of professional use. Camera mechanisms are very well engineered, it's only the sensor and electronics that up until recently were coming along in leaps and bounds. The 350D is a good camera and will produce great results, and I'm sure if you shop around you will find it at an excellent price. If you buy it from a shop then they should offer a 3-6 month warranty on it. The camera itself will not limit the quality of the shots you take as if you are a beginner you will be the limiting factor, along with whatever lens you have on the front of it.

    The manufacturers are more than happy with this myth that it is a bad idea to buy a digital camera second hand for obvious reasons. Use the money you save to buy some cool lenses and a photography course!
  7. cube macrumors G5

    May 10, 2004
    And you can buy some USED cool lenses that won't autofocus in D40/D40x/D60 if you get a second-hand D50 or D70s (the D70 I wouldn't consider anymore because it might fail, not because of old age or use).
  8. davegoody macrumors 6502


    Apr 9, 2003
    Reading, Berkshire, England
    Hmmmmm, 50 /50 really . . . .

    I am a pro (Wedding) Photographer.
    On average, I shoot 700 shots per wedding. I shoot perhaps 15 weddings a year, sometimes 20. This tends to exceed the manufacturer's specified lifetime for the Shutter mechanism. This is FAR more likely to cause problems than mirrors etc.

    However, this can be balanced by the fact that I take extraordinary care of my equipment . . . this leads me on to my second comment. 350d / 400d / 450d etc are all lower end bodies and tend to be far less used than more prosumer / pro based bodies. Err99 is a common issue on Canon bodies and is often caused by jamming / slipping Shutter curtains.

    If the price is right then a 350d (I use one as a back-up to a back-up) is a really nice little body.
  9. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Most casual users would never use an SLR enough to wear it out. They upgrade just because soething newer came out long before the shutter is worn. I'd think a low-end camera like that should be good for at least 50,000 exposures. Many of these are sold with only a few thousand clicks on the shutter and still have 80% of their life left. Just test it out. Don't buy it unless either you can try it first , return it or if it still has a transferable warranty. SLRs are either broken or they will work well.

    Don't pay to much for it. No more than 1/2 what a new entry level camera would sell for today. Don't go by what that model sold for new. It's just like buying a used computer.
  10. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Just a minute, you are making the decision here about which brand of camera you will be locked into for many, many years based of the price of one second hand entry level SLR body? Which system yo buy into is more important then this. For example the nest thing you buy will be either a lens or a replacement body. It will need to be the same brand. Think ahead a few years. Buy the brand that you want to live with as you may be with it for a decade or longer.
  11. wheelhot macrumors 68020

    Nov 23, 2007
    Hmm, so that's about 14,000 photos ++ per year, so what happen next? how many shots is the manufacturer expectation?

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