Buying Old DSLR on eBay

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Sensamic, May 31, 2014.

  1. Sensamic macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    Hey everyone.

    I'm thinking of buying a DSLR, but an old model that's cheap or has a great price on eBay.

    I don't know many DSLR models. Can you guys tell me which old DSLR would you buy right now second handed?

    Maybe a Sony NEX? A Nikon?

    It has to have 1080P video recording and be less than 200€.

  2. Apple fanboy macrumors Penryn

    Apple fanboy

    Feb 21, 2012
    Behind the Lens, UK
    I'd go to a camera shop who sell second hand (most do). That way you can have a feel of what you like. Also think about what lens the camera will come with. There is more glass available for the Nikon than the Sony, but are you really wanting lots of different lenses? What will you be doing mostly? Stills or video? Wildlife or family snaps? If you give a bit more information we can probably help a bit.
    Most importantly how much are you looking to spend in total? Remember SD cards, bags, tripods and flashes will all stack up pretty quick.
  3. thejadedmonkey macrumors 604


    May 28, 2005
    The thing about photography is that you really only need a few megapixels to get a good photograph. The best digital camera I ever owned was a 3.1mp Kodak point and shoot. But it wasn't an ultra compact and had a fantastic lens.

    The thing about an SLR is that you can put whatever glass on it you want, so a very old SLR will still take great images. The Nikon D40 is a great camera and you can pick one up for under $200 on ebay. Sure it's old and only has 6.1mp, but it has a good lens, so you can get good photos.


    You're also asking about video. SLR's with video recording capability aren't all that great. I was looking for a budget body a few years ago, and considered cannon's, but the cannon at the time had a sensor issue where moving the body while filming would cause buildings to wiggle in the video. The Nikons didn't have as good of a picture quality. This was the 1st or 2nd generation bodies with video recording.

    A quick look on Nikon's website shows that they're still selling it, so I would guess that the video quality isn't going to be that much better unless you spend more money on a better model.

    Long story short, if you want a good budget model, get a d5000 (or the best you can afford), or a d40 + video camera. The video camera is going to be much better for videos, and more ergonomic for holding the camera steady.. but it's also a 2nd piece of equipment to lug around.

    And if you want advice about cannon, I have no idea :p
  4. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure that most DSLRs that record video won't fall into the cheap/older category.
  5. MCAsan macrumors 601


    Jul 9, 2012
    Did you know that you can get a Panasonic GH4 for $1600 new....and it shoots 4K video. Check it out.
  6. ChrisA, May 31, 2014
    Last edited: May 31, 2014

    ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Older models don't do video. That feature did not start appering until fairly recent years.

    Also you FORGET. You will need a lens or two if you buy an SLR. Your budget does not include a lens. If you want video you really do also need a good tripod.

    The way to buy a used SLR is to FIRST think about the used lens you might want. If the lens is a Nikon then you must buy a Nikon body. Same for Canon. Then later you might want to upgrade the SLR but you have those lenses so you are forced to buy the same brand of body. So THINK AHEAD. What ever brand you buy now you will be buying years from now too.

    With used gear stick with Nikon or Canon. Both of those are very common on the used market.

    A lot of people who shoot video really like the prime lens (single length, non-zoom) If that is you then Nikon has a big advantage in the number and price and quality of older prime, manual focus lenses. For serious film making these are sought after lenses that don't cost much.

    There is a lot of good use Canon gear on the market too.

    At the pro level Canon and Nikon are buth very good. But I think Nikon has better lenses at the low-end. The Canon $100 "kit lens is kind of cheap and Niokon's version is better. But at the pro end (four digit prices) both are good.

    Sony and the others have not been around long enough for there is be an extensive used market. Stick with the "big two" if buying used.

    eBay is not the best place to buy used camera gear. Better to look around in the local shops. All of them take cameras in trade and they need t sell those old cameras.

    If you want to shoot video look at NEW SLRs. Even the entry level Nikon D3300 is very good and not far from your budget.

    Had you said you only wanted to shoot STILL images then you really can buy an older camera for very little money and it will still do professional level work. With SLR and still images the body hardly matters and the lens is what counts.

    Just remember that SPRs need lenses and the budget and plan for them.


    But if you are 15 years old then 2009 was like back in the age of dinosaurs so a five year old SLR would be "really old".

    To my way of thinking, a really old SLR might be my Exacta VXIIa. I think it was the first 35mm SLR with interchangeable lenses and viewfinders. It was the camera that inspired Nikon to make the "F". Here is a photo of a body and lens like mine. It still works flawlessly and the image quality is as good as anything sold today. Mine is stamped "Made in USSR Occupied Germany" These were the best until Nikon. Canon came along later. (but today I shoot a Nikon D200 and a Canon camcorder)
  7. nitromac macrumors 6502

    Jul 29, 2012
    Bottom line is that you won't find what you're looking for with only 200 euros
  8. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    If it has to be less than 200€, then get a high-end point and shoot. Maybe a Canon S110 or something.

    Otherwise, you're going to need to spend more to get a DSLR capable of 1080p.
  9. MH01 Suspended


    Feb 11, 2008
    Your not getting an old DSLR that does 1080p for 200, unless it's stolen, and the seller is desperate to offload it ....

    And you also need to purchase a lens for it ;)

    For 200 get a compact!!!
  10. needfx macrumors 68040


    Aug 10, 2010
    macrumors apparently
    200 hundred is way to low as already mentioned


    beautiful camera, no offerings on ebay (com/de/fr/

    have added a follow search! must definitely be added to my oldie collection
  11. Goftrey macrumors 68000


    May 20, 2011
    Wales, UK
    The only thing I can think of that's even close to your budget would be a 500D/T1i. You'll be hard pushed to find one with even the kit lens for €200, but you'd comfortably be able to buy the body for that. However, although it does shoot 1080p video, it's only at 20fps. If you want 30fps you'll have to knock it down to 720p.
  12. js81 macrumors 65816


    Dec 31, 2008
    True, lol. I just can't seem to remember what 15 ways like any more; I teach high school and just recently had the realization that I started high school before ANY of my kids were born, plus my car is older than all but a very few of them. And I'm only 32 lol.

    @Sensamic, if you're still listening, look on eBay for a Nikon 1 J1. I saw a refurb deal on there last week for the J1 body plus two lenses (a 10-30mm and a longer telephoto that I don't remember the specs on, both "standard," kit-type lenses) for $199. IDK if it does 1080p or not, though.
  13. Sensamic thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    I would use it for family pictures and videos mostly. Maybe also when traveling, but mostly family videos and pics.

    What I really want is the best video quality possible in 1080P or 4K if it's available.

    Right now I have a Canon point & shoot and my SGS3 which I use both for video 1080P, so I need something with much better video quality.

    I'm not an expert so I don't want to spend too much money. Maybe 200-250 euros on the camera body and only one lenses to start with for video capturing.
  14. ctyhntr macrumors 6502


    Jul 21, 2010
    Take a look at the Canon Rebel series. From the t2i onwards, they all shoot 1080p, and use the same 18 megapixel sensor as the current t5i. Add $110 for 50mm f1.8 prime lens and you should have a good starter kit.
  15. lakaiordie macrumors 65816

    Jun 17, 2008
    actually starting with the t4i they started using the new digic 5 processor and the new hybrid cmos c censor, also a touch screen and to use the capability of the new stm lenses. so, not quite accurate.
  16. Sensamic thread starter macrumors 68030

    Mar 26, 2010
    Thanks for the help guys!

    Maybe I should go for a high end point & shoot :rolleyes::rolleyes:

    SLRs are too expensive for just video recording, which is my primarily interest.

    Does a high end point & shoot camera record video as good as a medium level SLR?
  17. shinji macrumors 65816


    Mar 18, 2007
    Your money will go further in this price range for family video purposes at 1080p with a handheld camcorder than it will a DSLR or even high end point and shoot.

    Look at the Canon Vixias or Sony Handycams. If stills aren't your main purpose here, you can always just use that for video and your phone or P&S for stills.

    4K would be way more. The Sony AX100, which is their consumer 4K camcorder, costs $2000.
  18. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    Thanks, As it turns out is was not actually the first SLR but the first system camera with interchangeable finder and lenses. If you want to buy one use Google. eBay is not the best place. There are some Exacta sites around.

    The camera has one feature I've never seen on any other. A film cutter. There is a knife. You can pull a lever and slice the film at a frame boundary. The take-up spool can be an empty cartridge. This allows a mid roll film change.You waste only a few frames. I've never used it.

    Lenses used to be made by the lens companies, not the camera maker. You would not see "Exacta" brand glass. They use Zeiss, Schneider and the other German optics companies. The lens companies all used to make lens in several different camera mounts. I think this is why the image quality is as good as modern cameras.

    Nikon really did improve the concept. The F1 is a sturdier build than was Exacta and the F2 much better.

    There is of course no place to put in a battery as there was nothing electronic inside. No meter. I think this is why most of these cameras still work. But one thing, the cloth shutters don't last 60 years but it is an easy job to replace the shutter cloth. The other maintenance item is the body exterior. The body is steel, covered with real Moroccan leather and the leather is replaced every 25 years or so.

    Someplace(?) I have a "video" camera from the same era. Looks like this


    This is what I did for my daughter. Go to, Adorama or B&H and order a Rebel All those sites are reliable sellers and allow you to sort based on price. Then just read down the sorted list until you reach your price point. On all three sites get the "ex" condition or better and they will be clean looking.

    I found the KEH had a bunch of Japanese versions of the Rabel that are called "kiss" in Japan. Except for the logo printed on the front the cameras are identical to the US model but much cheaper on the US used market. I allowed me to buy two models up at the some price point. So if on a tight budget look for these non-US versions

    eBay is a bit of a gamble with SLRs but the above all have a 30 day return policy. Many times pawn shops try to look like private sellers and try to unload junk that they can't sell to people who can see it up close. But other times people are selling their own camera that was hardly ever used. You can't know.
  19. loybond macrumors 6502

    Aug 1, 2010
    The True North, Strong and Free
    Get an NEX-5N with at least a kit lens. You'll be golden.

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