Watch that price!!
We all like a bargain and we all like to get the best return on items we sell.
However is that bargain you just bought off eBay or Trademe really a bargain at all.
I like to keep an eye on pricing trends in the used camera market. Its part of the budget photography philosophy, recognising the bargain when you see it. At first glance what you see may seem like a good deal but is it really?
A quick search of Trademe for the Canon 1000d ( the same as my latest budget buy) throws up so interesting results. There are several twin lens kits going for sale and all of them feature the EFS 55 – 250 as the larger zoom and the EFS 18 – 55 standard kit lens. Prices range from $380 to $500 NZD. Most come with a camera bag, accessories, extra batteries and lens hood. The contents may vary from seller to seller. The cameras exhibit a wide range of shot counts from the low thousands like mine to nearly twenty thousand shots, which still leaves a lot of shutter life left. All in all I would consider them a bargain at these prices considering what you are getting.
But what if we want to buy something a little more up to date, say a EOS 1300d for example. Well thats where the wheels start to fall off the bargain train. As at today’s date 15/7/2018 a quick search of Trademe brings only three results. All are single lens offerings and the prices range from $500 to $520 NZD. Not really a bargain and I have to wonder why people think they are going to get that sort of money when a new Canon EOS 1300d will cost $598.00 from a local retailer. I suspect that to a large degree they arent aware of the new camera prices and tend to follow what the see on the trade sites. For those of us looking for a well priced used camera its also something we need to be acutely aware of. Theres nothing worse than forking out a sum of money to find that the new version costs as little as 5% more than what you just paid. I’ve failed in this on the odd occasion, being guilty of failing to check before purchasing. What you generally wont get when buying new are accessories, such as additional filters, lens-hoods, bags etc, although some retailers will include some of these items as an introductory special or as a one off promo.
If we are looking for something even higher spec there are plenty of 550d and 600d for sale. I personally would opt for the 600d primarily because it has the full swivel LCD which is something I do miss having on a camera, but be warned some of the prices being asked are a little questionable for these cameras. The average price for a single lens 600d currently on Trademe appears to be in the $500 NZD range and some are asking as much a $1000 NZD for a twin lens kit which I personally feel is outrageous considering a brand new 1300d twin lens kit is currently $897 NZD. You could also consider the newer Canon 1500d with the upgraded sensor and an EF-s 55 -250 for just a tick over the thousand dollar mark as an alternative. It pays to shop around even when you are only considering the used market.
You may be thinking about purchasing from eBay but that may be even worse than buying local. Factoring in exchange rates and freight can make a bargain anything but. For example I found a nice near new 1300d for sale on eBay from the UK. It is priced at 439 GBP plus freight for a total freight inclusive price of 539 GBP which when converted to the new Zealand Dollar value equates to $1055.20 NZD. No so budget anymore, in fact for that money I can buy a new twin lens kit.
What about some older models? Well for what you get for the money you are probably best to leave them be. There are plenty of 20d, 40d’s to be had but for the money most people are asking for them they really dont represent good value for money, plus they are prone to failure, something I see often in the used camera markets, thats why I have basically called the 1000d the best value bargain camera. It has a very large following in the camera community, has been widely used and for a 10 year old camera still provides a good starting platform for the beginner or point a shoot owner wanting something a bit better.
If you are wondering why I am concentrating on Canon in particular, its because I own and use Canon. It is also because Canon are usually the cheapest DSLR’s in both the new and used market and have a huge range of lenses and accessories available. By comparison Nikon do not feature as large a used market as Canon do, here in New Zealand at least. There are some well priced Nikon D3100 and D3200’s currently for sale at excellent prices for the basic single lens kit in the used market. However their telephoto lenses tend to be considerably more expensive and considerably rarer to find at reasonable prices used. I personally feel that they dont have the range of accessories that would appeal to the budget conscious photographer. Fuji, Panasonic and Olympus are generally worse again for competitive prices new or used.
If you dont like what Canon have to offer what about one of the Sony DSLR line. Currently there are some a200 and a230’s for sale on Tradme at reasonable prices. Even the A55 and A700 Sony DSLR’s are reasonably priced. Twin lens kits are few, and far between but a good Sony A mount 55-200 lens can be had for $200 NZD making A used SLT-A37 with the 55-200 a $600.00 NZD buy.
Another advantage that the Sony has is its availability of the legacy lenses, pretty much every Minolta lens in the A format can be used. As to how much automation you get depends upon the era of the lens. Many of the old lenses that I have for my Pentax SLR can be used with a new Pentax DSLR and function perfectly. The AF, auto exposure and metering all work. Obviously on manual lenses this wont be the case, none the less you should find that this holds true for the Sony A mount cameras. It would still be prudent to do some research and make sure any older lens will work with the newer Sony bodies.
As is always the case, once you have decided upon a budget, then its a case of selecting a brand and ensuring that what you are buying is going to fit your needs currently and at least for the short term future use as well. I cant stress this enough, dont rush and do your homework, your wallet will thank you for it.