Best used digital camera for under ?1,500, advice please?

CambsWriter Avatar
8 Mar 2019 4:39PM
I have £1,500 to spend on a digital camera with a 'normal' zoom (24 to 70 sort of thing).

I don't mind second hand if that will get me something better.

I'm middle aged now and in the past used Nikon F3 and F4 film cameras and Hasselblad 500cm so used to those form factors.

I'd like something that is suitable for journalism and documentary photography and landscapes and wildlife and portraits too. Something where I can change lenses as I'd like to buy (later on) a decent portrait lens and maybe a 300mm lens and a macro lens.

But I'll need a camera body and normal range zoom for my £1,500 to start with.

I don't know much about what gear has come and gone this past 20 years and it seems to be a mine field out there so I figured I'd just pop in here and ask all you experienced fellas.

I know lots of DSLRs are single reflex mirror and some don't have mirrors at all, not sure about this stuff.

So, is what I've outlined above enough to throw some suggestions out to me?

Thanks all.
altitude50 Avatar
altitude50 19 23.9k United Kingdom
8 Mar 2019 6:19PM
I am sure that you will get lots of advice,most of it useful.....
Firstly, try to get to a shop and try out a good pair of cameras, one DSLR and one mirrorless and decide if you like the mirrorless experience.
All the major manufacturers provide both types, except Fujifilm and Leica (I think!), they are all reputable and good quality.
What size sensor? Look into that via articles on here, reviews etc.
Canon has a great range of lenses. Nikon just about the same. If you still have some Nikon lenses then many of them can be used on Nikon DSLR, with varying degrees of automatic functions.
Personally I use a Sony full frame a7, but their good lenses are expensive.
thewilliam2 Avatar
thewilliam2 6 1.7k United Kingdom
8 Mar 2019 7:32PM
Have a think about the size of pictures that you'd want to create because this will lead you towards an appropriate pixel count.

Go into a shop and have a good play with a few contenders. Can you get to any of the Nikon roadshows? I'd suggest that you'll get better results from a camera that you enjoy using.

If you still have your Nikon lenses, they can be used with many mirrorless bodies and not just Nikon.
hobbo Avatar
hobbo Plus
12 1.8k 4 England
9 Mar 2019 7:16AM
Unless you are really stuck on the idea of going only with DSLR ....I would take a really good look at my favourite camera ...the Panasonic GX8 ...or ...the later GX9....Why?

Because used GX8s are coming on the market, now the GX9 is available...both use the tried and tested Micro-Four-Thirds range of lenses, with fantastic choices from the LUMIX Range...the incredible Panasonic/Leica set....not forgetting all of the M4/3 Olympus lenses.

Another HUGE bonus, is the fact that after acquiring very reasonable adapters via eBay, you can fit any vintage M42 or M39 screw-fit lens.....there is a huge range of vintage classic glass out need to return to fully manual settings and focusing...but that is all part of the fun and challenge.

Any doubts? Just look through my EPZ Portfolio....for proof.

Flickr groups using M/4/3 camera’s will show what this amazing range of cameras and lenses can do.

Many photographers, swear by Good-Glass...rather than the make of camera.

Have Fun1

Could I suggest too that you watch YouTube reviews of the cameras you might be interested in...

CambsWriter Avatar
9 Mar 2019 8:09AM
Just to add a bit more info, I'd like to have some photos printed out at 'poster' size and retain pin sharp image quality hence my thinking full frame, at least.
Ross_D Avatar
Ross_D 9 841 1 United Kingdom
9 Mar 2019 8:42AM
You can't go wrong if you stick to the major camera makers. For instance a s/h Canon 5Dmk3 (which is f/f) is around £900 and a s/h 24-105 for around £450 depending on condition. If you stick to buying from a reputable dealer (ie WEX) then you should be OK. I've only suggested Canon because that is what I used for over 12 years .....obviously Nikon etc have similar cameras/lenses but have no experience of this make. However, whatever you choose don't forget the 'extras' like cards and maybe tripod, electronic cable release etc.etc.
LenShepherd Avatar
LenShepherd 15 4.7k United Kingdom
9 Mar 2019 9:12AM

So, is what I've outlined above enough to throw some suggestions out to me?

Sorry - not really enough information.
Photojournalism requires something well built and you are used to larger cameras.
Is 24x36 format essential to you?
Most manufacturers have smaller crop sensor bodies and there is a wide range of even smaller 4:3 systems.
Although current 4:3 format does not equal current 24x36 for image quality, 4:3 can provide significantly better image quality than film.
An attraction of 4:3 to older people no longer physically strong enough to carry a heavy system is 200mm on 24x36 has a similar angle of view to 400mm on 4:3.
There are many, many options you could choose.
As you have previously used Nikon a second hand D800 and reasonable second hand mid range zoom should be within your budget.
thewilliam2 Avatar
thewilliam2 6 1.7k United Kingdom
9 Mar 2019 10:51AM
As we grow older, many of us are less inclined to carry heavy cameras.

I haven't quite reached "middle-aged" because it's still a couple of years until my 70th birthday but I'm now inclined to leave the heavy kit at home.

Nikon users will be aware that many of the manual-focus optics are considerably smaller and lighter than their AF counterparts but you'd need a full-frame body to fully utilise the wide-angle lenses.
CambsWriter Avatar
9 Mar 2019 11:03AM
Thanks guys. So far, after asking a few friends off here, I've had these recommended:

Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9
Sony A7

Canon ESO 5D Mk4 (too expensive)
Nikon D850 (too expensive)

Nikon D8100
Nikon D500
Nikon D750

Nikon Z6
Panasonic GH5
Fujifilm X-T3 mirrorless APS-C
GeorgeP Avatar
GeorgeP 16 62 26 United States
9 Mar 2019 7:14PM
Nobody seems to mention the Pentax K1 although it gets great reviews and is full-frame. Take a look at the specs and reviews.

There was a recent article suggesting that a complete Pentax set-up (camera and lenses) is significantly cheaper than any other brand. The camera is also compatible with millions of third-party K-mount lenses if you get adventurous.

Signed - a prejudiced Pentax owner . . . . who would love a K1.

Snapper Avatar
Snapper 18 4.5k 3 United States Outlying Islands
10 Mar 2019 12:56AM
As no-one else seems to have mentioned it, here's a thought for you. Most people will go beyond the original 24-70 or whatever standard lens after a while, and that's why you should consider the lens range and quality before deciding on the camera body itself. Think you might want a telephoto zoom one day? Checkout what's available before deciding on make. The camera body will be the one thing you are most likely to change after a couple of years, whereas the lenses will be kept.
hobbo Avatar
hobbo Plus
12 1.8k 4 England
10 Mar 2019 7:45AM
This might help you decide?

SlowSong Avatar
SlowSong Plus
15 11.1k 30 England
10 Mar 2019 3:03PM
Interesting video, hobbo. I have that 100-400 and it is a beauty. I love Panasonic as they're so user-friendly and lightweight, and because of that my photos are much better than when I used to lug around a heavy DSLR and lenses. Nice bloke too.
GeorgeP Avatar
GeorgeP 16 62 26 United States
10 Mar 2019 10:56PM
This is focused on new systems and is certainly above your price guidelines. Still, it does give some indication of price differentials across different manufacturers.
CambsWriter Avatar
11 Mar 2019 3:05PM
Interesting video, Hobbo.

I checked out review of G9 on dpreview and other sites as well as YouTube and the image quality is not as good as the Nikon D810, the latter top of my list at the moment due to Snapper pointing out lens options for the future. As I used to use a Nikon F3 film camera back in the day I kind of figured stick with Nikon. I looked at EOS 5D MK3 used, but image quality lags behind the D810 in a lot of areas and the resolution is not as good as Nikon is 36 megapixel, which I like as I want to get 'poster' size prints done.

I've checked around and a D810 can be had, body only with less than 20,000 shutter count for £1,000.


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