Putting together a used Canon camera kit


First, here are some links to Canon gear. Canon makes the top selling cameras in both the amateur and professional markets. It’s hard to go wrong with a Canon product, even used.

First up, for comparison’s sake, here is the same camera currently available for checkout in Sanford Hall:

CANON REBEL T3. ($159). The University has several of these, and its perfectly fine for learning on. Frankly, you can get a more advanced model camera, albeit older, for less money.

And here is the exact lens you can check out:

TAMRON 17-50MM F/2.8 ($248.00 – $268.00) – This is a pricier and much better lens than what usually comes in a beginner’s kit. Note the constant f2.8 maximum aperture. You should all understand the significance of that soon.

I said I could put you in a good camera/lens combination for less than $300, so here you go:

Body: CANON 30D ($139-168) – The 30-D is a “prosumer” semi-professional model. It was introduced in 2006 and replaced by the 40D in 2008. The one thing some folks might not like about it is that it has only a 2.5″ LCD display on its back instead of the 3″ LCD most of us are used to. Really, you should only be using the LCD to check for proper exposure anyway, and its fine for that. The 30D just hits the value sweet spot, IMO. Here’s a detailed review of the camera if you’re interested (with links to other models, as well): Ken Rockwell on the 30D. There are currently four of these bodies in stock, ranging from “bargain” condition to “like new.” One of our editors at the Statesboro Herald owns one of these, and he loves it. I highly recommend this camera.

Lens: CANON 18-55MM F/3.5-5.6 IS II ($72.00 – $94.00) – This is the latest basic Canon kit lens, with image stabilization, that typically come with a brand new beginner’s camera kit. There are currently 4 in stock, all in excellent or better condition – all for under $100. It’s not as good as the lens you can check out from the university, but it will do if you’re just starting out.

So there it is. A decent learning kit for under $300 if you buy the 30D and the lens in “like new” condition. If you buy the 30D in “bargain” condition and the lowest price lens listed above, that’s only $174! That’s cheaper than a lot of textbooks you guys have to buy, and we’re not using a textbook for this class!!!

There are other options in a similar price range, and some better and newer equipment if you can spend a little more. Here are some examples …

More cameras:

CANON 20D ($105 – $139) – If you’re really on a tight budget, the predecessor of the 30D might be a great camera for you. Slightly smaller LCD screen (2″), but most of the same features as the 30D. Makes great images. Personally, I’d rather have one of these than a Rebel model, and at this price, it’s a no-brainer. One student last spring bought one of these and was very pleased with it.

CANON 40D ($168 – $218) – With a 3″ LCD on the back, this camera will feel more familiar to you. For a little more money, you get higher resolution and faster operation speeds than the 30D. If you can swing it, you can still get this more advanced camera and the kit lens cited above for less than $300. Do it, if you can!

Personally, I would take any one of the Canon x0D line (10D-70D) over the most advanced Rebel model made today as a camera to learn digital photography with. The main advantages are build quality (with some weather sealing), faster and more accurate autofocus, faster shooting rates, and external controls for all of your most important settings so you don’t have to scroll through menus all the time. This line of cameras also has the brilliant Quick Control Dial on the back of the camera to help you speed through settings and review images with your thumb. No Rebel model has this great feature.

Canon Quick Control Dial

The brilliant Canon Quick Control Dial!


That said, some Rebel models offer a less expensive starting point. Consider the REBEL XSREBEL XSI, REBEL XT, and REBEL XTI models. If the price is the same or even close, I would still recommend one of the x0D models first mentioned.

More lenses:

The  18-55mm f4.5-5.6 lens mentioned above is the latest version. KEH has the same lens in earlier incarnations, all for under $100 dollars. Just plug these numbers into your search and you will find many available in various conditions.

CANON 28-105MM F/3.5-4.5 MACRO ($99-149) – Currently, there is one in stock, in bargain condition. This lens has a wider zoom range, is slightly faster than the basic kit lens above, and it adds macro (closeup) capabilities. Also economical. Consider this lens.

CANON 28-135MM F/3.5-5.6 IS MACRO ($94 – $192) – If you have a little more money to spend, you can get a wider zoom range with micro ability. They have lots of these in stock.

CANON 70-210MM F/4 MACRO ($84-109) – Folks, I’m pretty sure this lens is older than anyone in this class, but you still might consider it! I wouldn’t suggest this lens as your main zoom if you’re just starting out. But this zoom range is classic and pretty much every pro has some type of lens similar to this. If you have a little extra money, consider adding this to your kit. It’s got some quirks because of its older design (you have to flip a switch to manually focus and it’s got a push/pull zoom instead of the zoom ring most common in today’s lenses). But it’s still really sharp and gives you an extremely economical way to start exploring the short-to-medium telephoto range of focal lengths. Seriously, consider this lens!


Anyway, these are some suggestions to get you started. As always, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.




2 Responses to Putting together a used Canon camera kit

  1. Pingback: Follow up on class (1/13) | Journalism 3333: Photojournalism

  2. Pingback: Follow up on class – Jan. 11 | Journalism 3333: Photojournalism

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