You may be surprised at the cameras you can buy for under £200. Sure, they may not be the most up to date, but remember that we were all happily using these cameras just a few years ago. The resolutions of most of these camras will still make a good A3 print, and the shooting speeds will still be good enough for wildlife shots.
What has improved since is the dynamic range of camera sensors, as well as LCD screens and the inclusion of additional features, such as Wi-Fi or different shooting and scene modes. But if you are after a second camera body, be it as a backup or for a particular project, or if you are buying your first DSLR, then you may be able to save yourself some money. You could even save yourself enough money to buy yourself an extra lens or two.
Here we have selected six different DSLRs varying in age and features, but all of which are available for less than £200. As usual, pay attention to where you are purchasing your camera from. While buying online can net you a bargain, make sure you are buying from a reputable seller. Obviously, auction sites or classified adverts can be very enticing, but buying from a retailer with a bricks and mortar address can at least offer you some peace of mind should something go wrong. Some used equipment retailers will even offer a warranty of six months or longer.
So consider which features you want and which you need, and you may just be able to grab yourself a bargain that will serve you well.
What to Look for
Press all the buttons and dials and check that none of them are sticky or broken.
Fire the shutter at a range of shutter speeds and check that all of the blades return to their place correctly.
Look inside the camera for dust and dirt. It is a good indicator as to whether a camera has been looked after.
Older batteries may not hold their charge. It may be worth factoring in the cost of a new one.
When buying from a reputable retailer you have the reassurance that they should have checked the camera thoroughly when they purchased it. However, it is always worth quickly running your eye over the camera and checking some of the basics. This is even more important when buying from an individual. If you can take along a memory card, try shooting some test images so that you can double-check that everything is working.
This also gives you the opportunity, on some cameras, to work out how many times the shutter has been fired. Most shutters will be fine for 50,000+ images, while some will be good for more than 400,000, but you won't know if the camera has taken 100 images or 100,000 just by looking at it. To check the shutter count, take an image with the camera and then use one of the methods below.
Check the shutter count
Nikon and Pentax
The shutter accutations can be usually be found in Nikon or Pentax JPEG or raw files. It is contained within the Exif data, so can even be checked in the ‘File Info' option in Adobe Photoshop. Scroll thorugh the data and look for Image Count. Alternatively, upload an image to www.camerashuttercount.com.
Canon doesn't always add the shutter accuation count to Exif data, and when it does it can
be listed in different places depending on the camera. Try uploading an image to try www.camerashuttercount.com, but you may have better luck trying www.eoscount.com.
For Sony Alpha and NEX cameras, upload the last image with the camera to www.camerashuttercount.com, or alternatively try www.tools.science.si/index.php, which has been designed specifically for Sony Alpha and NEX cameras, though I used it with mixed success.