Northumberland Camera Club

This image was taken with a six-year old Olympus digital camera and eight-year old lens. Picture by Ivor Rackham.
This image was taken with a six-year old Olympus digital camera and eight-year old lens. Picture by Ivor Rackham.

Do you use Flickr? It’s a photography sharing site owned by Yahoo.

Images are not heavily compressed as they are on Facebook, and photo metadata, which may include your copyright details, is preserved.

The Northumberland Camera Club now has a Flickr group to complement our Facebook group: http://bit.ly/FlickrPic

One of the great things about Flickr is that one can search for images taken by a specific camera model.

Choosing cameras that are now 10 years old, I searched through images taken with the Olympus E-3 and E-510, Panasonic Lumix DMC-L10, Nikon D40X, Canon 40D, Sony A700 and Pentax K100D Super. There are still fantastic photos being taken with those cameras.

There is an old saying that the most important component of any camera is the one holding it. Flickr proves that point; you don’t need the latest model to capture great shots.

Newer versions will produce better results in extreme lighting conditions, but all the cameras listed above still produce excellent images. They are also more versatile than any compact, bridge or phone camera.

When buying a DSLR or mirrorless camera for the first time, there are good reasons for choosing a used one. They cost a fraction of their original price, if you don’t like it and sell it on the resale value won’t change much, and a used camera means a far lower carbon footprint.

Older cameras are likely to have had firmware updates. Plus, the raw files will be compatible with software like Lightroom, On1, Photoshop or Elements. That’s not always the case with new cameras.

User reviews will tell you if an older model has common flaws and how long they last.

Check the shutter count against the life expectancy of the camera as the mechanics of a shutter will wear out. My pro-level DSLR should be good for between 150,000 and 350,000 shutter actuations, consumer end cameras have a lower life expectancy of around 50,000 shots.

Lenses are available second-hand too. Good quality lenses make far greater improvements to the quality of your photos than a change of camera body.

Reputable dealers like Jessops, Wex and MPB all sell used equipment. The descriptions are accurate and cameras come with a guarantee.

Great deals can be found on online auction sites too, but there is an increased risk of buying a stolen camera.

If buying privately, ask the vendor for photos of the serial numbers of both the camera and the lens. If they refuse, don’t buy. You can search online for the number and should find images from that camera, and maybe theft reports. There are other ways of checking, which I will include in a future article.

Low light and high ISO performance have improved enormously. If trying to achieve fast shutter values at night, then a new, high-end camera might be required.

Look for discounts from retailers selling open box, returned and display models.