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FORUMS Canon Cameras, Lenses & Accessories Canon EOS Digital Cameras 
Thread started 15 Jun 2013 (Saturday) 13:55
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Advice on a first dslr camera purchase

 
kcbrown
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Jun 20, 2013 20:54 |  #46

I've since gone back through some of my old 30D shots (which I owned back before I really knew what I was doing photographically, particularly as regards exposure), my old 40D shots, and my old 50D shots.

The 30D is the cleanest as regards banding. Pushing an ISO 3200 shot a couple of stops results in relatively little banding, though there is some (the modern 18 megapixel sensors are completely free of banding at ISO 12800, so they are an improvement in this area, as well as in detail retention).

The 40D is not far behind the 30D. Banding is a tiny bit more pronounced, but not terribly so. It retains a little more detail because it has a higher resolution sensor. Both it and the 30D will go to ISO 12800 with no trouble if you're careful about your exposure and the tones within the scene.

The 50D is worse by far. Its banding at ISO 12800 is pronounced and substantial except when the color of the light is just right. You have to be very careful indeed when shooting at ISO 12800 with this camera.

Once you're in 18 megapixel territory, though, banding at high ISO disappears entirely. It's a glorious thing to see the detail and the film-like noise characteristic all rolled into one. Canon did things right with this sensor as regards banding.

But the 30D (and, by extension, the 20D) is still very good as regards this.


Here's an example of what you can get if you're shooting something that is mostly brighter tones. 30D, ISO 3200, pushed 2 stops. No luminance noise reduction. White balance adjustments only (color temp 2800, tint +33):

IMAGE: http://l6.yimg.com/so/7342/9098009894_d7e564d8f6_b.jpg
IMAGE LINK: http://www.flickr.com/​photos/n2185x/90980098​94/  (external link)
IMG_4735-1.jpg (external link) by n2185x (external link), on Flickr


This is outstanding performance from a 7 year old crop camera in today's world.

"There are some things that money can't buy, but they aren't Ls and aren't worth having" -- Shooter-boy
Canon: 2 x 7D, Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS, 55-250 IS, Sigma 8-16, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4, other assorted primes, and a 430EX.
Nikon: D750, D600, 24-85 VR, 50 f/1.8G, 85 f/1.8G, Tamron 24-70 VC, Tamron 70-300 VC.

  
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kcbrown
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Jun 20, 2013 21:05 |  #47

Jeff_56 wrote in post #16050007 (external link)
How come it took me 900 words to say that? :( ;) Obviously there are better cameras than the T3. There are also things called budgets too. Buying used can be good but it can also lead to a total loss of money with no way or recouping anything.

It can, but when you can buy two used camera bodies for the price of a single new one, that becomes nearly a non-issue.

Moreover, some entities (like KEH) offer a warranty (KEH's is 6 months) on the cameras they sell, and despite that, it's still a far better bang for the buck than a new camera.

Remember, the semi-pro models on the used market are equivalent in price (or less! See the 20D and 30D) to new entry level models and provide at least as much photographic capability.

My point again was that we managed to get good sports photos with film cameras shooting 400 ISO without auto focus of any kind and without auto exposure either. I think it's possible to get decent sports shots with a T3 with a modicum of effort. Will it be as easy as some other cameras? Nope. Will it work? Yep.

No dispute with that.

But the OP wants a camera that is more capable than what he's already got. If he's going to be spending the money anyway, what's the real advantage in getting something that is less capable than what he can actually get for the same money?

Photography is about technique as much as it is equipment. I was lucky enough to take a very good photography class way back when and I still use what I learned back then (middle 1970's). I remember when I was taking the class that the photography majors said our twin lens reflex, medium format cameras we all used were total junk (the university provided them for the semester long class - 3 hours plus an hour lab a week for 4 months - the photography majors, which occupied the dark room most of the time we weren't there, were all using Nikons). I also have a Yashicamat Electro Range Finder too. It was supposedly better than the non auto exposure models and the Nikons were supposed to be even better. The more things change the more they stay the same. I ran across some of the photos I took in that class recently. They still look very good today. Medium format makes for great photos IMO. If you know how to make the cameras work any way.

Absolutely.

The capability of the camera only determines the upper bounds of what you can do with it, and how easily you can do those things it provides built-in capability for. Even with the most basic models, those bounds are very high indeed. But more capable cameras make some things easier than on less capable cameras, and some of those things are of substantial importance. Cameras of old were manually focused, but they also provided huge, bright viewfinders with focusing prisms to help people achieve good focus. No DSLR, not even the best full frame models, comes with focusing prisms. If you're going to focus manually, it will be even harder than it was back in the film days.

And a shot that is out of focus is generally worthless.


No, while a less capable camera is still plenty capable, it's indisputable that it's better to have more capability than less when one is paying the same price anyway.


"There are some things that money can't buy, but they aren't Ls and aren't worth having" -- Shooter-boy
Canon: 2 x 7D, Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS, 55-250 IS, Sigma 8-16, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4, other assorted primes, and a 430EX.
Nikon: D750, D600, 24-85 VR, 50 f/1.8G, 85 f/1.8G, Tamron 24-70 VC, Tamron 70-300 VC.

  
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Jeff_56
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Jun 20, 2013 21:51 |  #48
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If he's going to be spending the money anyway, what's the real advantage in getting something that is less capable than what he can actually get for the same money?

I can think of a number of reasons actually. Yes you can buy camera warranties. I've had a few. I also know that cameras do have problems and probably the one thing the OP wants to avoid most is not having a camera when hockey season rolls around. If you have to send your used camera off for repairs you're going to miss pretty much the entire season. At least that was the case with the extended warranty plans I had. And I bought the best available at the time. Heck I think my old video cameras are still covered by warranty even though I haven't seen a thing posted about the company that sold me the warranty in a couple of years now. I stopped worrying about the cameras but maybe the warranty companies went out of business for all I know. At any rate with a new camera you are certain to have a working camera for at least 30 days unless you buy one at a really bad retailer. You can return a non-working camera and get a new one and not have to worry about long waits for repairs.

Also it's not always obvious that a camera has issues. Unless you really know how a camera works you might miss a problem with a camera. Sure there are some people that sell cameras because they are moving up to another level of camera. But there are some that sell because their camera is not functioning correctly. And if you don't know what to look for, like a laser burn on a sensor and how to detect it and tell if it's dust, oil or a burn on the sensor then you could have what is really a defective camera that may not get fixed even if you get a warranty. At some point the warranty company is going to balk at repairing a camera that is going to cost twice as much to fix as it would to just buy a new camera. You may not even be able to get your camera repaired no matter what. Putting in a new sensor is no easy job.

I've had defective equipment arrive in the mail when I bought online. I had an audio recorder that was DOA when I got it and I caught the seller looking for advice on how to avoid refunding the money for it on other sites on the net. He quickly found out that he had little to worry about. There was no way for me to get my money back. Sure most people are trustworthy but not all of them. And that person had a high rating when I bought the recorder from him. Luckily I managed to fix the recorder myself or I would have been out a substantial amount of money.

Buying used is risky business. Sure mail fraud is a felony but try getting a postal inspector to take your case when it's just one person selling one piece of equipment. They won't do it. And don't count on a service like eBay. That's the biggest joke of all. I went to a board a lot like this one and bought a recorder that might as well have been a brick when I got it out of the package. Again I fixed it myself. Most people would never have figured out how to do what I did. And cameras are far more complex. And again a novice user might not even know they bought a defective camera for years if ever.

I'm certainly not saying there is never a time to buy used. I'm just saying that the OP deserves to know the issues before making a decision. And it's certainly true that some might be willing to sacrifice a little bit of quality for a lot of assurance that they will have a working camera at the time it's needed. Yes a new camera can be defective too but it's not as likely as getting a used camera that's defective. And sending off a camera to have it repaired could mean going through the entire hockey season without a camera. And those chances just don't come back again. You're talking about a once in a lifetime opportunity here. That's why I think buying a new camera can be a much more appealing route than buying a used camera especially if you're a novice and you don't have a repair shop at the corner at the end of your block not to mention that by the time you buy a used camera, buy a warranty and ship it off to be fixed it could mean you have spent as much money as you would have buying a new camera.

Again my point is that the T3 is not a horrible camera. Most novices aren't going to even notice the difference in image quality. I've seen identical images from the two cameras (T3 and T3i) side by side and there just isn't that much difference. Yes there is a difference but sometimes other things take precedence especially when the difference in quality is slight.




  
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kcbrown
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Jun 20, 2013 22:27 |  #49

Jeff_56 wrote in post #16050190 (external link)
I can think of a number of reasons actually. Yes you can buy camera warranties.

Right. Also, some vendors (e.g., KEH) include them with every camera they sell. It just depends.

I've had a few. I also know that cameras do have problems and probably the one thing the OP wants to avoid most is not having a camera when hockey season rolls around. If you have to send your used camera off for repairs you're going to miss pretty much the entire season. At least that was the case with the extended warranty plans I had.

Was that because it took them that much longer to repair the camera? Because obviously, if you have to send your camera in for repair, it's not going to be available to you whether it's new or used.

However, buying 2 used cameras at half the price (each) of the new camera takes care of this problem nicely. In fact, it takes care of pretty much all these problems that you refer to.

And I bought the best available at the time. Heck I think my old video cameras are still covered by warranty even though I haven't seen a thing posted about the company that sold me the warranty in a couple of years now. I stopped worrying about the cameras but maybe the warranty companies went out of business for all I know. At any rate with a new camera you are certain to have a working camera for at least 30 days unless you buy one at a really bad retailer.

That's true. Some used retailers have a return/exchange policy as well (KEH, again). In their case, it's 14 days, not 30, but even so.

You can return a non-working camera and get a new one and not have to worry about long waits for repairs.

Right. Make no mistake, I understand that there is value in that. It's all a question of your comfort level, the risk versus the reward. With used cameras, especially, you must deal with a reputable vendor if you're going to get any of the benefits we're speaking of here.

Also it's not always obvious that a camera has issues. Unless you really know how a camera works you might miss a problem with a camera.

That's certainly true, and a risk of buying used. How much of a risk it is depends on who you buy from, however.

Buying used is risky business. Sure mail fraud is a felony but try getting a postal inspector to take your case when it's just one person selling one piece of equipment. They won't do it. And don't count on a service like eBay. That's the biggest joke of all. I went to a board a lot like this one and bought a recorder that might as well have been a brick when I got it out of the package. Again I fixed it myself. Most people would never have figured out how to do what I did. And cameras are far more complex. And again a novice user might not even know they bought a defective camera for years if ever.

I fully agree, and this is why I tend to encourage people who are new at DSLR photography to buy used from a reputable vendor such as KEH, Adorama, or B&H.

Again my point is that the T3 is not a horrible camera. Most novices aren't going to even notice the difference in image quality. I've seen identical images from the two cameras (T3 and T3i) side by side and there just isn't that much difference. Yes there is a difference but sometimes other things take precedence especially when the difference in quality is slight.

I completely agree, especially as regards image quality. But that tends to favor the used equipment, assuming the buyer can deal with the issues raised above.


One more thing: not to sound callous or anything, but for most people, the camera they're buying, when they're first starting out in photography, is not mission critical. Which is to say, their livelihood is not at risk. This means that the issues you raise above are, as long as they don't get into the arena of fraud or something, are inconveniences more than anything else. Of course, their marriage might be at risk, and that could put all the above into the "life or death" category! :lol:


"There are some things that money can't buy, but they aren't Ls and aren't worth having" -- Shooter-boy
Canon: 2 x 7D, Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS, 55-250 IS, Sigma 8-16, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4, other assorted primes, and a 430EX.
Nikon: D750, D600, 24-85 VR, 50 f/1.8G, 85 f/1.8G, Tamron 24-70 VC, Tamron 70-300 VC.

  
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Jeff_56
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Jun 21, 2013 01:40 |  #50
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I fully agree, and this is why I tend to encourage people who are new at DSLR photography to buy used from a reputable vendor such as KEH, Adorama, or B&H.

I would have said the same thing about B&H until about 2 weeks ago. I ended up dealing with a shady character there. I ended up with a manager in customer service who wasn't much better. It shocked me that they acted like they did. I've bought from them hundreds of times and I have never had such issues. Hopefully it was a one time thing but I ended up buying my filters somewhere else. Yes this was all over something as a cheap a a couple of filters. Nothing is forever I guess. I won't go into details. I've probably said too much already. They've been very good to me over the years but not this last time.

It is true that no one is going to get sued over an entry level camera. But having those photos of a kid playing hockey can be extremely important to some. I've seen people go to pro videographers for a collection of video on a team only to bring the finished product to me hoping I could "fix it" because it was so bad. They were willing to pay a substantial amount of money to get it fixed though (it was beyond fixing even with my software). This kind of thing can be very important to some people.

Again I don't think we're that far apart on what we think here. There are certainly benefits from buying used. And buying from a dealer's used department is much safer than buying from someone on the net that you don't know and doesn't have a great reputation. I didn't read all the posts here and I didn't actually realize you were steering people to a dealer's used stock. That is different than buying from "just some guy" on the net. Still there are advantages of buying new and I was mainly pointing out that the disadvantages aren't as bad as some made them out to be IMO. I only got through a few posts before I found that kind of "spend more money" mentality that makes people ignore the stated budget. I was mainly addressing that actually. I just wanted to point out that in some important areas that T3 was very nearly as good as the T3i some were mentioning to the OP. And that extra $100 it takes to get one of the 18mp sensor cameras can look like a lot for not a lot of improvement in image quaity. YMMV as always. :)




  
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kcbrown
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Jun 21, 2013 02:14 |  #51

Jeff_56 wrote in post #16050646 (external link)
It is true that no one is going to get sued over an entry level camera. But having those photos of a kid playing hockey can be extremely important to some. I've seen people go to pro videographers for a collection of video on a team only to bring the finished product to me hoping I could "fix it" because it was so bad. They were willing to pay a substantial amount of money to get it fixed though (it was beyond fixing even with my software). This kind of thing can be very important to some people.

I agree. But in a way, that supports my argument. It's more important to have the capability of getting the shot to begin with than the capability of getting the most IQ.

The vast majority of shots that need serious fixing are the way they are not because of the camera's lack of image quality, but because the person taking the shot either didn't know what they were doing or were trying to use the camera beyond its capabilities. While the former is more common, that's something that is independent of the camera, and so is not a consideration when deciding upon a camera. The latter is the only variable left that matters.

And so, it really is important to get a camera that gives you the most real capability for the money. Of course, that has to be tempered with knowledge of how it's to be used. A camera that need only do portrait work can do without the kind of autofocus that a camera which will be used for action will benefit greatly from.

In the case of the OP, he's shooting action. While he might not "need" excellent autofocus because there are ways to work around the lack thereof, it's a great disservice to the OP to recommend a camera that lacks such on that basis. For this reason, I cannot get behind recommendations of the T3 to this particular individual, based on his stated intended uses. I would be 100% behind it if he were doing portraits or landscapes, both of which will benefit much more from the T3's sensor.

Again I don't think we're that far apart on what we think here. There are certainly benefits from buying used. And buying from a dealer's used department is much safer than buying from someone on the net that you don't know and doesn't have a great reputation. I didn't read all the posts here and I didn't actually realize you were steering people to a dealer's used stock. That is different than buying from "just some guy" on the net. Still there are advantages of buying new and I was mainly pointing out that the disadvantages aren't as bad as some made them out to be IMO. I only got through a few posts before I found that kind of "spend more money" mentality that makes people ignore the stated budget. I was mainly addressing that actually. I just wanted to point out that in some important areas that T3 was very nearly as good as the T3i some were mentioning to the OP. And that extra $100 it takes to get one of the 18mp sensor cameras can look like a lot for not a lot of improvement in image quaity. YMMV as always. :)

I fully agree that there's no need for the OP to spend more money except possibly on lenses that are suitable for the role. If his choice were limited to brand new cameras, then I would probably agree that the T3 is the best way to go precisely because it would free up funds for that which matters the most: lenses. But the OP isn't so limited (at least, such hasn't been made clear), and therefore he's better off with a camera body that is better suited to the role it is to play as long as he doesn't sacrifice on the glass side of the equation.

I will say this: if he needs an additional $100 to $150 for proper glass over and above what he'd have after spending about $300 for the body, then he's better off with a 30D and the proper glass. It's not like the 30D won't hold its own at relatively extreme ISOs. I've manage to essentially prove that much.


"There are some things that money can't buy, but they aren't Ls and aren't worth having" -- Shooter-boy
Canon: 2 x 7D, Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS, 55-250 IS, Sigma 8-16, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4, other assorted primes, and a 430EX.
Nikon: D750, D600, 24-85 VR, 50 f/1.8G, 85 f/1.8G, Tamron 24-70 VC, Tamron 70-300 VC.

  
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Jeff_56
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Jun 21, 2013 02:56 |  #52
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I think you missed that I was talking about the differences between the T3 and the T3i and the other 18mp Canon cameras people were suggesting for the OP originally. You asked me about used cameras and I gave you my reasons for not always choosing to go that route. Again I think the main issue is to actually have a camera that works and sometimes a used camera can either be on the verge of a breakdown or already have unnoticed issues that are actually pretty bad. Things like possibly having laser damage to the sensor or focus issues where auto focus doesn't focus correctly. The issues I mentioned regarding auto focus on the T3 involved the inability to focus well in low light situations. And there the T3i and other Canon 18mp cameras share the same problems exactly. You say I shouldn't suggest the T3 to the OP because of those auto focus issues but if you look I was responding to those who suggested that the OP get one of the 18mp Canon cameras and, again, they have the same issues.

I said what I did about used cameras mainly because you asked me. I clearly said I only read a short way into the thread and noticed people telling the OP to bust his budget and go for a better (still new) Canon. I certainly know that Canon makes better cameras and that some are available for a lot less money used. I've bought used and refurbished equipment myself to save money. One of my main video cameras is a refurb and so is the last Canon lens I bought. Both work excellent. I'm not totally opposed to them. I just said that a person who simply must have a camera that works is likely going to be better off buying new and I still believe that. And aside from some pretty good data from a study proving otherwise I will stick with that idea because it is the logical conclusion. That doesn't mean there are no good times to buy used. There are. But if you have something coming up that simply must be captured with a camera I don't think I would go with a used model. They require testing IMO. You may find that you can't focus the camera at all much less get the auto focus to work. There are a lot of issues that could crop up with a used camera that just wouldn't appear quickly to anyone doing a quick look at a camera. Again I've had some bad experiences buying used equipment.

The budget issue is another can of worms. I like to actually stay within the prescribed amounts when making suggestions. Many people think it's always easy just to add more to the budget when that may not be the case and I don't think it's polite to ask if it is. You're certainly right that lenses are a big issue. Again I bought a refurb lens for my T3 which is essentially a piece of used camera equipment that either had an issue and was repaired or, more often, was just returned by someone who just didn't want it for some reason. At any rate it saved me half the cost of the lens. So clearly I'm not above buying used and like you I bought from a reputable source so I could have issues dealt with. But the OP is looking for a camera for a specific reason and we don't know when that specific need will come up. If it will be a while buying used could be a more viable plan. If the season starts next week I would buy a new camera. Cameras are much more complicated than lenses anyway. There's a lot more to go wrong and it can go unnoticed. Like pointing a camera directly at the sun in video mode. That's going to leave a spot on the sensor that will show up in every photo and video no matter what a person does aside from a complete rebuild of the camera. You sure want a warranty if that turns out to be the case. And if the season starts next week you aren't going to want to be dealing with this issue IMO.

I think we've covered the issues here. I've made my points and I think they are valid. Enough said.




  
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kcbrown
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Jun 21, 2013 03:48 |  #53

Jeff_56 wrote in post #16050710 (external link)
I think you missed that I was talking about the differences between the T3 and the T3i and the other 18mp Canon cameras people were suggesting for the OP originally.

You're probably right, I may have missed the context.

If you were recommending the T3 in comparison with other new cameras that the OP couldn't afford, then I certainly regard your recommendation as a solid one.

The budget issue is another can of worms. I like to actually stay within the prescribed amounts when making suggestions.

Frankly, I don't understand why people ever recommend equipment that is beyond the budget of the person who is asking, most especially when it is well beyond their budget, unless they also recommend equipment that is within the budget. Saying the equivalent of "you should get a 1DX!" when the OP only has enough budget for a 7D is a disservice.

Many people think it's always easy just to add more to the budget when that may not be the case and I don't think it's polite to ask if it is.

I don't think it's rude to ask if it's possible for the budget to be expanded, because expanding the budget sometimes opens up significantly better possibilities, and it's only proper to point out those possibilities so that the OP knows how much will buy what.

But I do think it's a bit of a disservice to recommend equipment beyond the budget of the OP without also recommending equipment that is within his budget.

I think we've covered the issues here. I've made my points and I think they are valid. Enough said.

I think they're valid as well.

There are a number of ways to solve the problem the OP has, and I think we've covered them pretty well. It's up to him to choose what fits his specific situation best.


"There are some things that money can't buy, but they aren't Ls and aren't worth having" -- Shooter-boy
Canon: 2 x 7D, Sigma 17-50 f/2.8 OS, 55-250 IS, Sigma 8-16, 24-105L, Sigma 50/1.4, other assorted primes, and a 430EX.
Nikon: D750, D600, 24-85 VR, 50 f/1.8G, 85 f/1.8G, Tamron 24-70 VC, Tamron 70-300 VC.

  
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Jun 21, 2013 18:57 as a reply to  @ kcbrown's post |  #54

Just to join in, this pic is a slight crop taken indoors just from a wall lamp for illumination and hand held with my set up of 30D and Nifty 250, at 90mm and 5th sec and shot at 1250 ISO.

P.


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Jun 21, 2013 19:35 as a reply to  @ Pagman's post |  #55

And one more just to show how clean the noise can be from these cameras, this one shot at 1600 Iso with the same set up as above...

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Jeff_56
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Jun 21, 2013 20:33 |  #56
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I just posted a couple of photos in the wildlife section that I took using my T3 with my 55-250. They are both cropped and reduced to fit the format here on the board so expect considerably better performance with full images. Both were taken at full zoom also with the ISO at 1000. The squirrel wasn't moving obviously. IMO the subject could have caused the camera to pick up a lot of noise just because of the intricate differences between individual hairs on the squirrel. But it didn't produce much noise at all that I can see. You can see the images on this page:

https://photography-on-the.net …?p=16053192&pos​tcount=845




  
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Jun 23, 2013 04:21 |  #57

kcbrown wrote in post #16050286 (external link)
Right. Also, some vendors ....include them with every camera they sell. It just depends......Some used retailers have a return/exchange policy as well (KEH, again). In their case, it's 14 days, not 30, but even so.

At Adorama, used cameras rated D, E+, E and E- have a 6-month warranty included as standard; V, G and F have a 90-day warranty - and all include a 30-day returns period for refund or replacement.



  
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mackenzie
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Jun 29, 2013 10:18 |  #58

Thanks to everyone who gave me advice particularily to those who recognized my budget was pretty firm and especially to Jeff_56 I believe, who summed up my fears on buying used before I had a chance to post.

I live in a city on the Ontario-Michigan border so I spent plenty of time the past couple of weeks looking at every store and online ad I could find. I was leaning towards going a little over my budget and getting a T3i with a second lens (55-250 I believe) but then I found what I am told is a great deal on the Nikon D3200 online.

I bought the 3200 with both the 18-55mm and 55-200mm lens along with a 32gb memory card and a case for $674 Canadian. The only drawback is I have to wait for it to arrive sometime next week as it was an online order from one of our national retail stores. I am told it is a great deal as I gave the local camera shop guy a chance to match it but he said he couldnt come close to the price.

So my first foray into the dslr world is with the Nikon d3200. I am sure I face a steep learning curve mastering all of the options available but hopefully I won't be dissappointed.

Thanks again for all of the advice.




  
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Advice on a first dslr camera purchase
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