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Thread: Buying new vs second hand

  1. #1
    Magog's Avatar
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    Buying new vs second hand

    Good day all,

    I'd value your input on some discussions being batted around over the dining table at home. My wife has suggested I upgrade my camera ( ), and she would like to take over my EOS 450D, and dispose of her 400D. She's ruled out getting a new one herself, as she'd like to concentrate on developing her skills using a similar, but slightly better, camera than she currently has.

    So, first point: if I'm going to change, I like the idea of being able to "grow" into the camera. Hence I'm thinking xxD rather than xxxD. Whilst my budget would stretch to a 7D, I think I might be better off spending less and putting money towards better lenses. The question is therefore new 60D or second hand 50D? I'm sure both would be suitable for me, but I am just a wee bit nervous about buying a camera body second-hand.

    Second (related) point, is buying second hand lenses a sensible move? Having handled a few L series lenses recently, I like the idea of putting as good a quality lens as possible on the camera; second hand lenses would obviously help to make this possible.

    thanks

    John
    Last edited by Magog; 6th December 2012 at 07:49 PM.

  2. #2

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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    Hi John,

    I do not know why you are weary of second hand equipment. As long as you are carefull and the previous owner looked after the equipment. You are not new to cameras and should know what to look out for.
    I bought a second hand Nikon and lenses and I am very happy with it. No bumps, scratches or any soiling.
    You can see when a camera has been used an abused.

    Think it is always better to buy second hand from a reputable dealer, if possible.

  3. #3
    Moderator Donald's Avatar
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    John

    Going into the second-hand (or pre-used) market is a perfectly good way of buying equipment. For me there is one over-arching rule - deal with reputable suppliers. Unless you can get your hands on the equipment to examine it and, in addition you know what to look for, then I would steer clear of individuals and the sort of online sites where you're not clear who you are actually dealing with. But I tend to take a risk averse stance when it comes to buying such things as camera equipment. Others may be more prepared to take risks.

    Most of the big retailers (on and offline) deal in 2nd hand equipment.

    I definitely think that the idea of going up from xxxD to xxD, if you are able to do so, is to be recommended if you're looking to really stick with this photography lark. It won't make better pictures for you, but it does expand your range of options.

  4. #4
    Shadowman's Avatar
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    If your gear is going to change hands within the family you might consider buying new; so that if your camera is adopted by your wife again it has some life left to it.

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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    If you purchase used equipment from a reputable website that has a written policy that allows you a certain amount of time to return the equipment for a full refund with no questions asked, that seems to be reasonable protection.

    One issue to consider is the warranty. As an example, in the U.S., Nikon provides a 5-year warranty on new lenses. (I understand this is not true everywhere.) If such a long warranty is available in your area, you then have to weigh the reduced cost of buying a used lens against the security of having a long warranty when buying a new lens.

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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Buckley View Post
    One issue to consider is the warranty. As an example, in the U.S., Nikon provides a 5-year warranty on new lenses. (I understand this is not true everywhere.) If such a long warranty is available in your area, you then have to weigh the reduced cost of buying a used lens against the security of having a long warranty when buying a new lens.
    I would note that buying factory-refurb can be the best of both worlds. I got my Nikon tele lens refurbished for about the same price as it would have sold used. Because it was a factory refurb, I was able to get an extended warranty from a third party that gave me comparable coverage to a new lens for only slightly more than buying used.

  7. #7
    Magog's Avatar
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    Thanks for the input, folks.

    Donald, given that I'm an accountant by training, being "risk averse" is no problem!

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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    I was in a slightly similar position last year, John, with regard to purchase.

    My 40D had died so I was looking at the options and considering 50D, unused secondhand, against 60D.

    Eventually, after finding that a good secondhand 50D was almost the same price as a new 60D (and a good 40D wasn't that far behind) I looked at 7D prices as well.

    And after finding some very good deals on a 7D that is what I bought. Not a lot more than a secondhand 50D. Possibly worth saving for just a little longer. Certainly not a good idea to purchase now at the Christmas prices; there should be some good discounts in a month's time.

    For me, unless you are getting a decent guarantee from a genuine dealer, I wouldn't pay more than half price for secondhand. And not more than 75% of the new price from anybody.

    Depending on what you shoot, the 50D or 7D may prove to be a lot easier to use. Personally, after trying a friend's 60D, I'm not so keen on that model, but it takes excellent photos.

    But some people, who don't have any need for quick adjustments, do find these cameras to be a little too heavy and bulky for them.

    ps. After getting the 7D, I eventually also spent a little over 100 on an operation for my 40D and now have it as a spare; and something to use for those riskier conditions.

  9. #9
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    I agree about buying from a reputable dealer with a return policy.

    I have not checked in a while, but if you are considering refurbs, sometimes guaranteed refurbs (I think refurbished by Canon, but you should check) are considerably cheaper from Adorama than from Canon. I did not check refurbs at B&H.

    Re the 50D vs. the 60D: I currently shoot with a 50D. it's a big step up in ergonomics from a Rebel. The sensor is older than the one on the 60D, of course, but I find that it is very good at low ISOs. It has micro-focus adjustment, which the 60D does not have, but it doesn't have video.

  10. #10
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    The problem, as I see it, in purchasing used equipment from a commercial source is that the dealer needs to make a profit in the sale of the used equipment and thus the prices will be higher.

    OTOH... buying from an individual can be chancy in that it is possible that the seller is not honest regarding the condition of the gear OR the seller is not proficient enough to know that the gear he is selling is not working properly.

    I was almost in the last category with my 350D. I never noticed focus problems with this camera when I was using the 20mm f/2.8 Canon and 28-135mm f/3.5-5.6 IS Canon lenses. However, when I started shooting with a 400mm f/5.6 ATX Tokina, I noticed a slight focus problem. At first I hough it was the lens and that possibly that lens was not compatible with the 350D. However, the 400mm Tokina worked just fine with my 10D (which was the second camera I was using at the time)...

    I dropped off the 350D at the Canon Service Center in Irvine, CA and, sure enough, the camera was off slightly in its focus.

    If I had sold the camera before I used the 400mm Tokina on it, I would have advertised it as in perfect condition. I was able to get the focus fixed under the Canon warranty, but if I had sold the camera, the buyer would not have that opportunity for warranty service. A trip to the Canon Service Center can eat up any savings in buying used equipment!

    I don't know if refurbished Canon gear is available in the U.K. but, that is the way that I prefer to purchase my cameras.

    As far as purchasing L glass on the used marked, I have purchased three L lenses from two individual sellers. I got a good deal on all three lenses and knew the seller of my 300mm f/4L IS and 400mm f/5.6L. I knew that these lenses were in minty condition and knew that the seller needed to move the lenses quickly in order to upgrade to faster glass for a lucrative assignment. The third L lens I purchased was a 24-70mm f/2.8L right after the 24-105mm f/4L IS lens was introduced. Many professional photographers dumped their old stand-by 24-70L lenses in favor of the new kid on the block and there was a temporary dip in the prices of the brick.

    Normally, however, the used prices of L lenses hold their value so well that there may only be a 10% differential between a new lens and a used one. That 10% may or may not be an incentive for you to purchase used.

    Regarding buying refurbs from Adorama versus buying directly from Canon... Adorama prices are sometimes lower than Canon prices for the same refurbished gear. However, where the folks in the USA really save is that Adorama doesn't charge shipping for their refurbs and you do not pay state sales taxes if you live in most states other than New York where Adorama is located. This can add up to a tidy savings.

    For a long while, Adorama increased the Canon 90-day warranty on refurbs with their own 1-year warranty free of charge. They now charge a minimal price for the warranty increase. However, I purchased three refurbished cameras: 30D, 40D and 7D with 90 day warranties. None of the cameras needed any service. I credit this to the fact that every refurbished camera is checked out by a human. Cameras coming off the assembly line are not all checked but rather only selected units are checked...

    Regarding the choice between xxD or 7D cameras and xxxD. I love my 40D and 7D and I would select the 40D over any xxxD camera (video capability is of no interest to me). The use of a quick dial is just one of the bells and whistles that I lke on the xxD and 7D models. If money is a factor in selecting cameras, IMO the 60D is a better choice than any of the xxxD models.
    Last edited by rpcrowe; 6th December 2012 at 04:15 PM.

  11. #11
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    Another way to look at it: I'm still using my 30D (purchased six years ago, but about eight year old technology).

    It's been used.

    And it still works.

    Glenn

  12. #12
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    Good input guys.

    Geoff, thanks for the comment about pricing. It will be a post-Xmas purchase, simply 'cos too much else is going on at present. Hopefully, as you say, there may be some deals around.

    Dan, video is not at all on my list of requirements; a number of the reviews of the 60D I have read seemed to stress the video functionality as the major innovation, hence my considering the 5OD as well.

    Thanks for the comments about lens pricing, Richard; I guess it will be a case of looking out for deals, but I think it will be a false economy to try and skimp on the glass.

    Glenn, I have no issues about the 50D being "old" technology, it would be more a case of the shutter count and how had it been looked after.

    The question of length of available warranty would also seem to be something to take into account.

  13. #13
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    Re: Buying new vs second hand

    John...

    IMO, video, articulating LCD screens and ISO capabilities in the mega zillions are what sell cameras today...

    The 40D and later xxD and 7D cameras (I don't pay attention to the full framers) have one capability that I love. User selected mode capability allows you to choose the parameters for your shot beforehand, register those parameters and then set the parameters with one twist of the mode dial, rather than having to select the various parameters in the field and enter them into the camera individually.

    I normally have my camera set up for single shot shooting. However, I set up User Selected Mode #1 for action or moving subjects with center point focus, high speed burst mode, AI Servo, etc, etc. That way if I am shooting a still subject and need to shoot a moving subject very quickly, I can select all the parameters I need for that shot by selecting Mode #1 on the mode dial...

    The 40D and 7D have three selected modes, the 50D has two while the 60D is reduced to one user selected mode...

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