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Beginner used camera

Discussion in 'General Equipment Chat & Advice' started by Spyder01, Nov 20, 2020.

  1. Spyder01

    Spyder01 Member

    Hi everyone,
    I'm looking for my first digital camera and was hoping to benefit from some of the considerable experience here.
    I'd prefer used unit and have looked at Nikon d5600/3500/5300, Pentax k70 and Olympus OM-D E-M5
    I appreciate they are different beasts and that individual condition, actuation numbers etc can have a massive influence on choice
    Are there any issues with these that would be a detriment to me learning to take pictures? What's your experience to do with reliability, ease of use it anything I should know? Other suggestions are very welcome, thank you very much for your comments
  2. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Hi and welcome. The choice of camera doesn’t really affect how you learn to take pictures in any technical way because they are all competent these days and at the end of the day they all do the same thing. The main distinction is how you get on with the camera. People tend to make their choices on how much they like holding the camera and whether they find the controls intuitive. For this reason buying on specification or “best of” reviews is a bit risky. It is difficult with lockdown but if you are unsure what you want I’d go to a camera shop where they will have a range of cameras you can try and answer your questions. Some are doing click and collect so you may be able to arrange a viewing before December. Actuations as a statistic I wouldn’t worry about as much as general condition. A shop will warranty a s/h camera for 6 months.

    What is it that you want to photograph? You have choices of DSLR vs CSC if you want interchangeable lenses. Then you have small, large, larger roughly according to sensor size. This also affects the choice of lenses etc. Many people now look at the size/weight of kit and are using CSC as prime or alternate cameras. There are some technical issues. Older CSCs were not so good for sport photography for example because their responsiveness was too slow compared with DSLRs.

    Personally I use Canon DSLR kit but also have a less heavy Fuji CSC outfit if I don’t want or am unable to lug around a big bag.
  3. Spyder01

    Spyder01 Member

    Hi Pete,
    Thanks for your reply. I'm aiming to mainly photograph landscapes, faces and architectural detail, not really fast moving objects. So I presume that a good CSC system doesn't detract from picture quality at a non-pro level? I don't expect to produce massive prints, but some 8 x 12s would be great. I've seen that some have four thirds sensors, how important is this? What Fuji unit do you use?
    Many thanks
  4. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    I use a micro four thirds (Panasonic) and a Fuji x100V. I also have a Nikon D5300 and several lenses. I cannot remember when I last used the Nikon although I do remember that it had been that long before that, that I couldn’t remember how I worked it. It is a good camera, but compared to the Panasonic and the Fuji it is heavy and big, certainly just to wander around with, which is what I do. I am more than happy with the results of my other 2 cameras.
  5. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    CSC are fine now that electronic viewfinders have improved. Some people find them difficult so it is important to test. The advantage is that you preview what you’ll get so it is immediately obvious if you need to correct the camera exposure choice.

    I have a Fuji XE-2 which was my first CSC. It is 16 MP rangefinder style and predates phase-detection focus on the sensor which is what is needed for action. The biggest annoyance is it takes ages to wake up if it goes to sleep.

    I have a 24 MP X-H1 which is a SLR style with IBIS. Launched as the top of the range model above the XT-3 at ~£1900 body only with grip no-one but me seemed to like it, they didn’t sell and they were going new at £900 stock-clearance last Christmas. Just goes to show! Handling and physical size is not so different to my Canon 5Ds. Fuji buyers like smaller bodies.

    I’ve now got three XF lenses 10-24, 18-55 (kit lens with XE-2) and 55-200 which cover most contingencies. Fuji latest is XT-4 and there should be XT-3 around used. XT-1 and XT-2 won’t have fast focus (the XE-2 is contemporary to the XT-2).

    I find the X-H1 quite good to use. The main problem for me is that I wear glasses and looking into the light the reflection can sometimes mess up the eye-detection that turns the electronic viewfinder on and off.

    There is no problem printing to 12x8 “ with any modern camera. I’ve printed to A3+ (I do like borders) with cropped images from my first digital camera, a Canon 5D (12 MP).
  6. Spyder01

    Spyder01 Member

    Right, I've managed to try a few and have settled on a mint condition Olympus OM-D E-M5.
    Lenses are next, what are others using for a telephoto, wide angle etc? I suppose I want the usual great quality and low price but happy to listen to opinions and advice
  7. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Broadly speaking focal lengths shorter than 24 mm (Full Frame equivalent) are classed as ultra-wide.

    Broadly speaking focal lengths longer than ~100 mm (Full Frame equivalent) are classed as telephoto.

    To my mind a lens that covers a lot of day to day uses is one that covers 24-100 mm (full frame equivalent). The upper end is less important than the lower.

    For a m4/3 system this would be 12-50 mm actual focal length to give that coverage. Olympus do a 12-45 F4 which is closest and a 12-100 F4 which gives more reach. AP rates both as 5 stars ( highest rating).

    I’ve not used a m4/3 camera.
  8. GeoffR

    GeoffR Well-Known Member

    I can agree with that. My most used lens is a 24-70 (12-35 on M4/3), I would think a 12-45 would be close to ideal as a first lens.
  9. RogerMac

    RogerMac Well-Known Member

    The above also also my experience. The 6D came with a 24-105L as it's kit lens and although I have now got several other lenses that's the one go back to. If small is important then get the mFT equivalent.
  10. Snorri

    Snorri Well-Known Member

    For the a Oly I think I remember right that it was usually paired with the 12-50 f3.5-6.3, But yes, the pro versions of the 12-40 f2.8 or the 12-45 f4 would be great.
    Even a 14-42 would be ok as a good all arounder.
  11. Spyder01

    Spyder01 Member

    Great advice, thanks everyone
  12. Chester AP

    Chester AP Well-Known Member

    If you plan to buy lenses, look at what is available (and how much choice there is and at what cost) before you buy the camera body.
    Over the next few years you are likely to spend more on lenses than the camera body, so choosing a camera body for which you can easily find mint condition used lenses is important. For example, lovely as the Fuji bodies are, you'll need deep pockets for their lenses (even used ones) and Tamron and Sigma don't offer much in this lens fitting. Whereas if you buy a mint condition used Canon or Nikon DSLR you'll have a lot of choice of used lenses at the websites of the reputable retailers who advertise in AP. For example, a used old-model Sigma 10-20 zoom to fit a half-frame (APS-C sensor) Canon or Nikon DSLR can now be found for under £200 - try finding a similar lens to fit a Fuji at anything like this price (the Sigma is a decent lens - I've got one I found second hand 8 years ago). The same comment also applies to the old-model Sigma 17-70, which is more versatile than the 18-55 'kit' lens sold with many DSLR bodies, and has a larger lens aperture (I have a second hand one of these too). If you think you may want to replace the 18-55 kit lens soon, don't waste money buying one. Buy a used camera body only and look for a nice used 17-70 lens.

    Regarding a camera body to use as you learn - I doubt that any are better for this than others, but I would look for a body with two control dials so that both the lens aperture and shutter speed can easily be adjusted whilst you are looking through the viewfinder (if you are learning, the flexibility of the controls may be important). Some 'entry' level DSLRs only have one control dial which has to do both, with some kind of switch to toggle between them.

    I have a Pentax DSLR, but hesitate to recommend the excellent K70 because you will now find fewer lenses available second hand to fit it (I got most of mine 5-10 years ago), hence the suggestion of a mint condition used Canon or Nikon DSLR so that you will easily find a wide choice of used lenses to fit them.
  13. Spyder01

    Spyder01 Member

    Thanks, that's great information and really helpful
  14. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    Are you looking at the E-M5 (mark i) or mark 11 (or even mk iii) ? The original (mk i) is somewhat old but still takes very good photos in the right hands, The Mk ii sticks with the 16MP sensor but the latest mk iii has made the jump to 20MP.... not that there is too much improvement in image quality, Olympus E-M cameras have always produced fantastic out-of-camera JPG files.

    The Mk i can certainly be purchased for astoundingly low prices given the quality of its output.... if you are looking at buying used, savings can again be made with the lenses although you do have to treat some private buyers descriptions with a pinch of salt..... if you are fussed about image quality, the "Pro" lenses are worth paying the extra (IMHO).
  15. Spyder01

    Spyder01 Member

    Thanks Ivor, it's a mk 2
  16. dream_police

    dream_police Well-Known Member

    My favourite lens for my MFT is an Olympus 7-14 Pro lens.
  17. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    E-M 5 Mk 2..... coupled with the 12-100 f/4 pro is about all you may need. The 12-40 f/2.8 is the "recommended" standard lens; 17mm f/1.8 is pretty good on that body too although second-hand prices of all these lenses tend to hold up pretty well. I've found that the best "bang for your buck" generally tends to be the Lumix 12-60 which can be picked up for well under £200 if you shop around. Some slightly tatty ones can be found around the £100 to £120 mark, and the faster Leica version still seems to command over £400 used...... whereby it conflicts with the second-hand Olympus 12-40 f/2.8

    I'd recommend trying the "usual suspects" such as MPB, London Camera Exchange, WEX, Wilkinsons, SRS, Ffordes etc so that you get some form of warranty. In these strange times it's not currently possible to visit these places and try them out for yourself to check on condition and functionality. Hope you enjoy the camera !
  18. PeteRob

    PeteRob Well-Known Member

    Our LCE is doing click and collect. I went in and bought something day before lockdown and they said I could make an appointment anytime. They are shut to drop in.
  19. IvorETower

    IvorETower Little Buttercup

    Yes, I know a number of places are open for "click and collect" but I don't think they are allowed to let you try out second-hand gear, only to buy it in advance online or by phone, then go along to pick it up. It's a mad world we live in at the moment

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