Photography – 2nd hand camera, help me choose please

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  • Photography – 2nd hand camera, help me choose please
  • michaelmcc
    Member

    I recently signed up to an online photography diploma course, which starts next week. Only problem is, I don’t own any sort of decent camera. I like the idea of being able to take great quality landscape photos with high enough definition to possibly make prints, 12 x 18 inches maybe.

    I have been looking online and it looks like a good time to buy 2nd hand. But I don’t even really know what I should be looking for. Can someone help sort out all the jargon for me please?

    Any of these any use? The names of most of the cameras are in the web address. I don’t want anything extremely complicated as I’m not very tech savvy.

    Canon Powershot Sx1

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    Canon EOS 20d

    Fuji Finepix Hs20exr

    Nikon D3100

    Sony A300 Dslr

    Nikon p610

    Canon 1000d

    Sony cyber shot

    Any help greatly appreciated 🙂 . Even if I can just get an idea of what I’d need / what I don’t need.

    Thanks!

    tlr
    Member

    Personally I’d stick to any dslr from Canon or Nikon, simply due to the plethora of second hand lenses available.

    Even iPhones will produce images for 12×18, it’s more about the useability, controllability and the ‘ecosystem’ available for dslr.

    Don’t get too hung up on the body itself, equipmentwise it’s 90% about the lens.

    tlr
    Member

    And have a look at MBP for a vast choice of second hand stuff at fair prices with good service.

    mafiafish
    Member

    Many of those are very old cameras – I’d advise getting something more modern as the sensors have moved on considerably.

    I wouldn’t look at interchangeable lens cameras (ILC) if you’re looking at the £200 budget, you’d be stuck with an old body and a crappy kit zoom lens.

    One of the earlier sony rx 100 cameras would be a great choice, or possibly a similar spec Panasonic.

    Canon make decent lenses but their dslr bodies and compact cameras haven’t been competitive for 5 years. If you’re going to get an ILC I’d stick to Nikon or Sony e-mount.

    bob_summers
    Member

    I don’t want anything extremely complicated as I’m not very tech savvy.

    You sound like me. For not much more than a ton you should be able to pick up a used Olympus OM-1 with its 50mm/f1.8 kit lens, a few rolls of Ilford HP5+ and you’ll have as good a chance of creating gorgeous images as with any modern digital.

    edit: just seen the landscape bit, you’ll need a wider lens but the rest still stands.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    So what about the Canon and Nikon ones I’ve listed above, too old or behind the times? I really don’t have much knowledge in this area. Thanks

    mafiafish
    Member

    So what about the Canon and Nikon ones I’ve listed above, too old or behind the times? I really don’t have much knowledge in this area. Thanks

    The prices are terribly uncompetitive. I’d suggest looking at eBay or MPB – you should be able to get a D3300 within your budget, or a rx100 i (maybe ii).

    5thElefant
    Member

    There’s a real selection there.

    If you don’t need the option of removable lenses have a look at the Sony RX10 or if pocketable is appealing the RX100.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    I mean I’m prepared to put the effort in to learn my way around whatever one I end up with, and I like the idea of being able to use a proper camera, but I’m not much of a tech geek so it won’t come naturally.

    So try get the newest 2nd hand camera I can see? Rough budget is 200 – 300, don’t want to be going bananas. It’s my first ‘shot’ at it. 😉

    johndoh
    Member

    Does the online course provide any information on cameras they would recommend?

    5thElefant
    Member

    The other factor is whether you want to take video as well.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    Not really bothered about video at this stage. Cheers

    5thElefant
    Member

    If I were you, for that budget I’d get an RX10 mk1.

    Obviously that’s what I have 😀

    But I also have a selection of much more expensive cameras too and I use it a lot.

    As an old-time landscape photographer I’d suggest that you are spoiled for choice. I spent decades using Canon DSLRs but got tired with the schlepping, anyway, things changed and I now carry a 12mp compact zoom (great lens ) which is ideal for prints up to 18 inches. For low light photography the Sony RX100 is excellent but I found was not sturdy or ergonomic enough to cope/handle the rigours. I’d be looking at the Ricoh GRII or a Fuji film X100 something if I wanted a trusty carry-around. If you find a prime lens limiting then maybe look into mirrorless compacts? I personally enjoy prime lenses as they force me into ‘composition mode’ and time has proven that (at least for me) my most satisfying results have been from the creativity and sharpness both demanded and offered by a prime lens setup. It’s just that with a compact zoom I now have great macro options, another aspect of landscape photography that I enjoy immensely.

    *Edit – although if you’re ‘learning the ropes’ it may be best to grab a decent used DSLR and just get stuck in until you learn more about the possibilities, and discober any limitations. Your *second* camera choice will (ideally) then be informed much more by your developing style and evolving requirements.

    5thElefant
    Member

    For low light photography the Sony RX100 is excellent but I found was not sturdy or ergonomic enough to cope/handle the rigours.

    It’s worth noting the RX10 has the same sensor as the RX100 in a dslr style body with a better lens.

    Three_Fish
    Member

    A dSLR is, fundamentally, a very, very simple thing to use. You set ISO, decide on aperture and shutter speed, you frame, focus and: click. That’s what you need to learn to take photographs. Everything else is bells and whistles, you’ll figure it out as and when you need it.

    I’d recommend getting the best Nikon or Canon dSLR that fits your budget, with either a 35mm or 50mm prime lens (maybe switch 50mm for 24/28mm if you’re doing lots of landscape). I don’t know Canon, but stay away from 2nd hand Nikon D600 unless they seller can confirm that Nikon have replaced the sensor/shutter seal (international recall).

    The D6** series are full-frame, everything belies that is cropped (roughly 1/3 off your lens’ focal range) – a 28mm on a D3300, for example, will be equivalent to a 35mm on a D610.

    johndoh
    Member

    You’ll probably want to budget for a tripod too.

    Rockhopper
    Member

    Glass is more important than body specs really and these days the ability to use Photoshop is right up there as well.

    Three_Fish
    Member

    the ability to use Photoshop

    Lightroom* is the better tool for developing. PS is for editing/manipulation.

    *other apps are available

    5thElefant
    Member

    Glass is more important than body specs really

    Not really that relevant with a 200 quid budget.

    shuhockey
    Member

    Harrison cameras in Sheffield have a used Sony Rx100 for £175 and it comes with a 12 month warranty.
    Used Sony RX100 £175

    mafiafish
    Member

    I think you’ll really struggle to find a DSLR or mirrorless set up for your £2-300 budget (which should probably include a tripod) that will beat a good secondhand compact.

    stumpy01
    Member

    I haven’t looked at all of the camera links you have posted above, but a lot of them seem on the high side for what you are getting.

    For example, the Nikon D3100 seems quite pricey for what you are getting.

    I’ve got a D80. It’s an old body and yes, things have moved on in terms of the sensor technology. A newer body would allow you to get ‘cleaner’ images in low light. But, it is still a great camera with very good ergonomics.
    Having a quick look on ebay, there are loads on there with bidding currently well below your budget.

    e.g.

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Nikon-D-D80-10-2MP-Digital-SLR-Camera-Black-Kit-w-18-70mm-Lens/192421483908?epid=109328390&hash=item2ccd36d584:g:y5UAAOSwfoNaU3Z6

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Nikon-D80-10-2MP-Digital-SLR-Camera-Black-with-Kit-18-135mm-Lens/322989758541?hash=item4b33b0984d:g:GqEAAOSwAHtaGUAd

    https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Excellent-entry-level-SLR-Camera-My-Nikon-D80-Beginners/302596636381?hash=item46742a3edd:g:0uAAAOSwt4xaVSzD

    I would also try to factor in a tripod.

    There is a comment above about getting a 35 or 50mm prime lens. If landscape is what you are trying to capture, I wouldn’t be looking at those lenses; the chances are they won’t be wide enough to capture a whole landscape scene.

    Oh, and regarding your comment about printing 8×12 images – the 4 megapixel Konica Minolta Dimage Z3 that I bought in around 2004 would have no trouble with 8×12 size reprints. So, don’t worry too much about that aspect of it.

    I would look for an SLR that offers good controls & easy adjustability.

    Premier Icon finishthat
    Subscriber

    The price in those links are on the high side .
    Complexity is going to be down to learning the basics of exposure – aperture and shutter speed – how they impact the results , this is likely going to be part of the online course.
    The Art bit is composing the image using the tools you have – the lens being the most important thing, and likely in the course too.
    So having a camera that makes changing the exposure and composition easy is important if you are needing to explore photography rather than rely on the equipment to automatically help you and not really understand whats going on.
    So getting a camera that allows easy manual adjustment of basic settings can really help you feel confident in experimenting – having basic settings obscured by being buried down in menus is a real pain.
    Think carefully about how much weight you are happy to carry around as landscape photography often benefits from being shot from a tripod – worth getting second hand as they are usually sold barely used , any kind of still life or even portrait in natural light will greatly benefit from a tripod too.
    You can get impossibly bogged down in specifications – and there are always “better” models and endless online arguments about this stuff , its best to get something cheap and cheerful that will do the job as advised in a post above and learn what bits matter to you.
    I am going to suggest a cheap and capable micro 4/3 DSLR style camera that is easy to use and to get it with the kit lens 14-42 or 14-45 , the Panasonic G1 or G2, G3 or the similar G10 , any one will do and should be
    cheap to buy easy to carry and easy to use. (not more than 150e – so budget left for tripod and something to carry the camera in).

    bigyinn
    Member

    if you’re ‘learning the ropes’ it may be best to grab a decent used DSLR and just get stuck in until you learn more about the possibilities, and discober any limitations. Your *second* camera choice will (ideally) then be informed much more by your developing style and evolving requirements.

    This is probably the best advice offered. Get one with a kit zoom, (18-55mm typically) and play around, fiddle with settings and learn how to use it. Then once you’ve learnt the basics you can consider where the camera is letting you down or holding you back. Most cmaeras under 5years old will be pretty good.
    Absolutely no point is spending a heap of dosh on something that you may not even enjoy.

    Nico
    Member

    So what about the Canon and Nikon ones I’ve listed above, too old or behind the times?

    I’ve got a Nikon D70. It’s ancient in comparison to the ones you list, but when I bought it it took great photos and it still does. 7MP – a lot less than my phone, though the lens is a bit bigger. I’m not recommending it, just pointing out that pretty much any decent camera will be fine and if you are doing a course then you will be improving the weakest link in most photography.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    That RX100 looks like a point and shoot camera though? Can it do everything a 2nd hand DSLR can for the same price?

    So far I’m thinking I should maybe stick with Canon and Nikon, going by what people are saying above.

    Sony and Fujifilm ok too?

    5thElefant
    Member

    That RX100 looks like a point and shoot camera though? Can it do everything a 2nd hand DSLR can for the same price?

    In short, yes. But, the RX10 is the one to look at IMO.

    tlr
    Member

    One of my favourite landscape images that have ever taken was with a Canon 350d. Landscape photography actually isn’t as demanding on the camera as things like wildlife of sports photography. You will usually have the luxury of being able to use low iso, small apertures and won’t be doing much cropping. I really wouldn’t get too hung up on which body so long as it has all the manual controls and the ability to take raw pictures.

    Biggest improvement in image quality I ever made was putting an L series lens on that 350d. Second biggest was Lightroom.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    So what kind of lense do I need to be looking at for landscape photography? I’m sure its been mentioned once, but just to clarify. 15mm to 50mm?

    I just want to be able to capture the depth and detail of what I can see, especially with sunrise and sunset over the mountains.

    Thanks 🙂

    tlr
    Member

    Unfortunately that’s impossible to say. Most of my favourite landscape pictures are taken with long lenses as I love the layered compression effect. But yes, 15mm to 50mm (on a full frame camera) would be the classic landscape focal length.

    michaelmcc
    Member

    on a full frame camera

    😕

    tlr
    Member

    Sorry, I just mean the equivalent to those lengths. Nikon’s Crop cameras multiply by 1.5, Canon’s by 1.6. This means that a 15mm lens on a Canon crop sensor camera is equivalent to 24mm lens on a full frame sensor or film camera from a field of view perspective.

    jambourgie
    Member

    I’m just learning myself OP. I bought a Canon 500d from someone off here. More than happy with it while I learn the ropes. So I assume the 1000d on your list is better than mine so should be fine.

    I’m just a hobbyist though.

    Premier Icon CHB
    Subscriber

    I am a Nikon user and have a D80, D3300 and a full frame D610. If you are actually wanting to learn about photography the extra manual controls of the D80 and the D610 are a massive advantage over the D3300. Cheaper cameras have some amazing sensors, but you often have to dive into menus to change ISO, Apperture and Exposure, which is a pain. I would look at getting something like an old D90 or other older, but higher range DSLR. The sensors have improved a lot in sensitivity in the past few years, but unless your photography is in lots of low light conditions you will still be amazed at the results of a 3-5 year old model.

    muddyground
    Member

    My daughter is more than happy using an ancient D80 for her GCSE course. It’s robust enough to let her knock it about, and cheap enough that if she damages it – and she will as I encourage her to use it in all weathers and places – it’s not a huge drama.

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