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Why older cameras are still relevant

With camera technology moving at such a rapid pace, it can feel quite daunting when shopping for a new or used camera to pursue your hobby. The good news is that older cameras are still relevant and we highlight some great options to consider in this guide. We’ve also got sample photos which dispel the myth that we always need the latest technology to create great content.

As with any technology product, camera technology moves quickly, with brands adding and refining features on a regular basis, working hard to improve on competitor’s capabilities. This trickles down from flagship models aimed primarily at working professionals to consumer cameras, which gain features to help beginners and enthusiasts to capture amazing photos and videos.

Sample photo Fujifilm X-T2 with Used Fujifilm 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens.

Sample image, Fujifilm X-T2 with Used Fujifilm 100-400mm F/4.5-5.6 R LM OIS WR lens. 1/1250. f/9. ISO 400

Benefits of older cameras

Whether you’ve already chosen between a mirrorless camera vs DSLR, opting for an older generation used model provides some benefits over buying a new camera.

  1. It will save you a considerable amount of money, when compared to the price of new cameras.
  2. You can add more new and used lenses with the money you’re saving.
  3. If you buy a DSLR you’ll find an extensive range of DSLR lenses to choose from, which are typically more cost effective than equivalent mirrorless lenses, regardless of whether new or second-hand. Take a moment to browse the huge range of used Canon lenses and you’ll discover far more EF mount (DSLR) than RF mount for mirrorless available.
  4. Camera manufacturers will update firmware for older camera bodies, which keeps them up to date with certain newer features.
  5. One of the most useful technology advances has been the reduction of noise when shooting at high ISOs. If you buy a camera which performs well to a lower ISO, such as 6400, it will help you to think about lighting and other aspects of photography, which improves your skills more quickly.
  6. If you think about some of the world’s best-known photographers, you may discover they used extremely basic technology compared to cameras which are available today. As an example, Ansel Adams is one most loved landscape photographers of all time and he shot with an old film camera.
  7. Last but not least, buying second-hand equipment is the greenest choice you can make, which does a little to help the environment as well as your pocket.

Sony A7R II with Used Sony FE 35mm F/2.8 ZA Sonnar T* lens

Sony A7R II with Used Sony FE 35mm F/2.8 ZA Sonnar T* lens. 0.4 sec. f/11. ISO 100

Which older camera should you buy?

We’ve put a comparison table together with some prime candidates for older cameras you should consider, all of which offer brilliant performance, minus some of the latest technologies found in newer models. We’ve highlighted key specs and features so you can decide which is the best one for your needs.

 

Used Canon 5D III

Used Sony a7R II

Used Sony a7 III

Used Fujifilm X-T2

Used price from

£439.00

£959.00

£1,299.00

£469.00

Sensor format

Full-frame CMOS sensor

Full-frame back-illuminated Exmor R CMOS sensor

Full-frame back-illuminated CMOS sensor

APS-C X-Trans CMOS III sensor

Megapixels

23.4MP

42.4MP

24.2MP

24.3MP

Video

HD 1080/30p

4K/30p

4K/30p

4K/30p

Image stabilisation

NA

5-axis in-body with 4.5 stops compensation

5-axis in-body with 5 stops compensation using specific lenses

Lens based stabilisation

Lens Mount

Canon EF (excludes EF-S lenses)

Sony E mount

Sony E mount

Fujifilm X mount

AF System

61 Point with 5 dual cross type

Hybrid AF with 399 focal plane phase-detection AF points

Hybrid AF with 693 phase-detection AF points

Intelligent Hybrid AF with up to 18 points in area

Base ISO

100-12800

100–25600

100-51200

 

Viewfinder

Pentaprism (optical)

XGA OLED, 0.5 in (1.3 cm) electronic viewfinder

XGA OLED, 0.5 in (1.3 cm) electronic viewfinder

0.5 inch approx. 2.36 millions dots OLED electronic viewfinder

LCD Monitor

3.2" Clear View II TFT, approx. 1040K dots

3.0” Tilting screen with 1229K dots

7.5cm (3.0”) type TFT

3.0” approx. 1,040K dot

Continuous Shooting

6fps

5fps

10fps

14fps

Water/ Dust Resistance

YES

YES

YES

YES

Battery Life

950 shots

Approx. 290 shots (viewfinder) / approx. 340 shots (LCD screen) 

Approx. 610 shots (Viewfinder) / approx. 710 shots (LCD monitor)

Approx. 340 shots

Weight (body only)

950g

582g

650g

457g

Looking at the sample photos we have available you can see any one of these cameras is more than capable of capturing brilliant stills (and videos), with all three mirrorless cameras offering 4K movie recording. You can print large prints from 24 megapixels which all of these bodies offer, although the Sony A7R II is all about resolution, with a huge 42.4MP available.

Sony A7 III with Used Sony FE 24mm F/1.4 GM lens.

Sony A7 III with Used Sony FE 24mm F/1.4 GM lens. 15 sec. f/2. ISO 6400

There are trade-offs to be made when buying an older camera, for example you may need to stock up on spare batteries as earlier mirrorless cameras deliver a lower battery life than current models. Similarly you’ll find earlier cameras have slower burst shooting rates, although 10fps (Sony A7 III) and 14fps (fujifilm X-T2) are competitive compared to any camera generation.

Video – Are older cameras and lenses still relevant in 2022?

Gareth discusses the virtues of older cameras in this video here.

Summary

Although new cameras are announced with clever technology aimed at making it easier to capture better content, there’s a lot to be said for choosing an older camera. Cameras from even one or two previous generations include excellent technology, which will help you to learn, improve and enjoy creating your content.

If you’re ready to start browsing for the perfect older model, browse our huge selection of used cameras, all of which are checked, have a clean sensor and include a six-month warranty.

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By Nick Dautlich on 25/07/2022

Trade in your old equipment

Fast and easy trade in service ensures your old gear is collected efficiently and you are paid quickly! It's very simple to trade in your unwanted photography gear. Just head over to our dedicated Sell or Part Exchange page, fill out the details, and we'll get back to you with an offer for your old gear. Take the cash, or put it towards the cost of your new gear. It's up to you! Find out more