Buying a new camera is an expensive business, especially if you want an interchangeable lens model. A good DSLR costs upwards of £350, and that’s before you start buying extra lenses, batteries or a case.
If you’re not bothered about the latest features like wi-fi or GPS, then you could save some money by buying a secondhand camera. But is this budget-friendly strategy worth the risk? We asked two Tech Daily writers for their verdict:
DSLR cameras – our test lab verdict on all the latest models
‘A secondhand compact (sort of) makes sense’
A compact model, where the lens is tucked into one neat package, sort of makes sense. But an interchangeable lens camera with its warranty voided and a whole host of potential problems you could run into. Explain yourself.
Robert Leedham – Senior Researcher
‘I don’t need the latest DSLR’
Well, my Canon G9 is seven-years-old and is only outdated if you buy into ads telling you so. So why would a DSLR be any different? I don’t need the latest DSLR just to get bells and whistles. What I want is a solid body that will take good photos and have interchangeable lenses.
That’s why I’m thinking about buying secondhand. Looking at Amazon, for example, which lists both new and used cameras, I can pick up a Best Buy DSLR in very good condition for around £130 less than new. That’s the price of a decent compact camera in savings.
A fool and his money are soon parted. So tell me Rob, why is it I should buy new again?
Jonathan Richardson, Digital Producer
‘What worries me is the camera’s lens’
When you first open a box fresh DSLR, you can trust that it’s not going to have any minute scratches or imperfections that will mar your precious family photos. This is something that can affect even new cameras, Nikon’s D600 suffered from dust problems that were compensated for by its warranty. My worry is that you wouldn’t spot these problems in a secondhand DSLR until it’s too late.
‘You’re protected if a camera isn’t sold as described’
In the absolute worst case scenario I would just get a new lens. With so many variants available I will probably be getting more lenses as time goes by anyway. And, if my secondhand experience is first class, it means I will be confident enough to save money on future purchases by buying used.
‘DSLRs are now available for as little as £350’
Well, your mind seems set on going secondhand. I’ll be interested to see how well it pans out, and be there to gently remind you of my risk-averse advice ways if you end up claiming for a refund. Having done that before through eBay, it’s not a process I want to repeat – there’s far too much hassle involved.
With DSLRs like the Canon D3300 now available for just £350, a price that includes a raft of up to date features, I’m still not convinced by the ‘go old, it’s good as new’ argument.
‘I’d rather get more camera for my cash’
It’s not just the money spent but value for money. I’d rather get more camera for my cash and if that means buying a used camera then so be it. As long as I can point, shoot, save and transfer then that’s all I need. And when the time comes to sell and upgrade I won’t feel it has depreciated as much as if I were selling a camera I’d bought as new.
You’re right to point out the risks, but as long as I stay focused I am confident I can snap up a bargain – and spend the money saved on trips to put my new(ish) camera to good use.
Which? Tech Daily poll
Do you have any stories of success to share about buying a pre-owned camera? If so, let us know in the comments section and tell us what you think of buying a secondhand camera in our poll: