The decision has been made on the low-cost camera, and it has arrived! Have a read below to see what’s been going on since we last updated.

As you’ll already know from update #1, I wanted a full-frame DSLR, ideally a Canon because that’s what I’m used to, on a budget of £260. Impossible? Nope!

I’ve spent a lot of the last 4-5 days on second hand camera websites – I wanted to buy from a relatively well-known seller for the camera body itself, rather than risk eBay. I’ll take a chance on eBay stuff for some of the other items on the kit list, but I figured there’s too much to go wrong with a camera. I want someone to have tested its functionality before I buy.

There are a few great websites for second hand photo kit here in the UK (we’re going to do another, more in depth look at all the low-cost equipment options on the blog soon, watch this space). Here are my top five websites for used photography gear:

  1. Wex Photo and Video – most of you will already know this one. I have spent and obscene amount of money with Wex in the last few years, seriously, obscene. But in return I have literally everything I need, and I must have saved thousands on list price for these items. Service is second to none, equipment is always better than described (they always give you the worst in their explanation of wear and tear), and prices are in keeping with other companies. Plus their stock turnover is insane. They must now be the top used photography equipment seller in the UK. Check out their website here.
  2. MPB – used photography kit specialists, they do sell new, but their website is very much focused on second hand stuff. Haven’t used them as much as I have Wex, but have always had good experiences, and their turnover of stock is high, as you would expect from such a popular company. Check out their website here.
  3. Park Cameras – slower stock turnover than the top two there, but prices are good, service is good, and because they seem to do less business than others they are quite often a good bet for camera models or specific items that you can’t find elsewhere. Check out their website here.
  4. Clifton Cameras – pricey, don’t seem to get close to others in the used photo gear market, but I get from their website that perhaps they are a little more discerning in what they buy. I think perhaps they only take cameras that are essentially nearly new. I’ve bought both new and used photo and video equipment from Clifton Cameras and they get a simple summary from me – top quality kit, great service, but pricey. Check out their website here.
  5. London Camera Exchange – tricky ones to work with because I believe each of their stores is a franchise. They have stores all across the UK, but the used camera stock isn’t centrally catalogued, or if it is then it’s not done very effectively, so to find something you have to visit each individual store’s website. And many of them are not kept updated. BUT… I have found hard to source equipment with them, and if you get the head office guys on the phone they are awesome and bend over backwards for you! Check out there central website here.

I trawled the above sites, and others, and I found out two things – firstly, £260 is seriously low end for a Canon 5DmkII… and even low end for a 5DmkI, and secondly the range of cameras available, not just a this price, but some even lower, and of course many higher.

Canon 5D mk 2 options avilable on website MPB.com
The BudgetProPhoto choices – several Canon 5D mk 2 models going for £449 on MPB.com

It really is a great time to be going in to budget photography – the rapid pace of the advancing technology means that perfectly good older models are being part exchanged every day by people upgrading, or moving to mirrorless. It’s great for people like us!

Prices for second hand gear are really holding quite well. I traded in my original Canon 5D2 about three years ago and bought a Canon 5D4, and back then I got about £900 for it in great condition with about 80,000 on the clock. Now a similar camera is going for about £500 – talk about holding value.

Anyway, back to the matter in hand – I need to find a good second-hand Canon 5D2 for £260. I’ve been trawling, and watching, and they do come up. Or rather, I think they must, because I’ve seen models for less and I’ve seen models for more, so stuff for £260 must happen.

I’ve found a few cheaper, but they often have small issues that I’m not prepared to live with.

An example of a really cheap used Canon 5D2, but with some issues - BudgetProPhoto.com
An example of a really cheap used Canon 5D2, but with some issues – BudgetProPhoto.com

Actually, what I’ve discovered is that there are only a few issues I’m not prepared to live with – I want a clean sensor, and I want a functioning hot shoe mount, because I’m going to be using this camera with both on- and off-camera flash. Pretty much anything else goes… within reason! But for example, I’ve seen a 5D2 going with a broken USB port, and I can handle that, I have a CF card reader, I don’t need the USB.

What I’m looking for is a mostly functioning camera that has been really scuffed up pretty bad… I don’t care what it looks like, I’m not giving it to the wife as a Christmas present, I just want it to work.

I found this one:

An example of a really cheap used Canon 5D2, have a read about the issues - BudgetProPhoto.com
An example of a really cheap used Canon 5D2, have a read about the issues – BudgetProPhoto.com

But it’s got a flaw I’m not prepared to work around, a broken hotshoe mount.

Really cheap used Canon 5D2, but broken hotshore mount, no good - BudgetProPhoto.com
Really cheap used Canon 5D2, but broken hotshore mount, no good – BudgetProPhoto.com

No good, so I kept looking.

I’m totally amazed by how many 5D2 models are still going for £500+. When I bought my first 5D mark II back in 2011 it was only £1899 new! And you can still pick up £566 for one in good condition. 60% depreciation in 8 years on electronics is pretty good going!

I eventually found a 5D mk II with a shutter count of 90,000, described as “well used” by MPB, with scuffs to pretty much everything, but fully functional inside – price £279… so outside my £260 budget, but my impatience got the better of me and I went for it.

And here it is:

This is the Canon 5D2 that I bought - no real issues with it internally, which is amazing! BudgetProPhoto
This is the Canon 5D2 that I bought – no real issues with it internally, which is amazing! BudgetProPhoto

Not in bad condition at all. This is what I mean about these second hand places, the reputable ones anyway, they score things based on how far from mint condition they are… so well used, heavy wear, damage etc., really isn’t often anything to worry about.

So, we have a camera!

Next up… lens. Coming very soon. I’m already looking. Some really interesting results from my research so far!

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Thanks for reading – the BudgetProPhoto team x

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