Here’s a common scenario: you’re after a new DSLR to replace your long-out-of-date model, which you bought as a kit with an 18-55mm lens. You can afford to spend about £600, and some of the less recent cameras on the market look like really good value compared to some of the new cameras available.
So what should you do? Should you buy a body on its own or upgrade your whole kit with a new lens as well?
When a new camera is launched, demand is typically very high, and it initially sells for the full
recommended retail price. After a couple of months, however, prices tend to drop, and as they get older there are some real bargains.
For example, look at the Canon EOS 6D. The 60D body is a tempting option at around £570, whereas the new Canon EOS 70D priced at £1,079 RRP is outside your budget, and is likely to remain so for at least six months.
A Canon EOS 600D body is great value at about £350 but, like the 60D, it’s an outdated design that uses an older generation, Digic 4 image processor.
If it were us, we’d compromise. In this situation – continuing with our Canon example – we’d actually go for the EOS 700D with the new 18-55mm IS STM kit lens, which costs about £590.
It has all the latest generation specifications, plus an articulated touchscreen LCD that makes for quick and intuitive access to shooting parameters. It also comes with a new kit lens with some key improvements over Canon’s previous version.
Not only does it feature image stabilisation, but the STM (stepping motor) autofocus system is fast yet silent in operation, while also enabling smooth focus transitions when shooting video. It’s super-sharp, too.
So in essence, it pays to investigate your options and look under the bonnet, so to speak, rather than make any blanket statements on old vs new cameras.
Some older cameras offer better value, but many new advanced entry-level DSLRs offer speed and design features some of the older models lack, while remaining within your budget.
How to buy a camera: 5 things you need to know about choosing a DSLR
New camera anatomy: 12 key camera settings to get you started right
99 common photography problems (and how to solve them)
How to use a camera: exposure modes made simple