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Cameras To Look at if You Have Gear Acquisition Syndrome

Captured with a Nikon V1

Here I was last night writing the Sony NEX-6 review and I was just ranting. Not that the camera is bad, there just happened to be something that irked me. I snapped out of my man child fit that I was in and started laughing to myself. A perfect video came to mind featuring one of my favorite comedians Louis C.K. The video is titled “Everything’s Amazing and Nobody’s Happy” and it’s him telling Conan how much we suck and don’t appreciate the things we have. When I first started photography in 2005 I was quite ignorant, I loved the Nikon D50 that I had newly purchased from a local store. A local photography store because at the time the internet wasn’t all the rage yet (to me at least) or had it matured enough to where it is now. Sites like this one flood the internet with tips, news and opinions… boy oh boy do I wish I started photography in 2012.

Nobody’s happy with new gear because we are well informed and because of this easy access to news. Some people let out some well deserved complaints about certain camera companies or are just jealous of features that others may have. A while ago I saw a used original Canon 5D sell for something around $500 dollars and it blew my mind. That was the start and the inspiration behind this article. There are so many deals out there on used gear that if I were to start photography now in this year I would buy instead of a consumer body.

Some refer to it as G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome) and I have to admit that I am exempt from the problem. I have bought three cameras this year including the Nikon D800, Nikon D600 and the Nikon V1. I understand the problem and the latter of the bunch, the Nikon V1 is the camera that reminds me that great photographs can be captured with any camera in the right hands as the camera shows in the above photograph. So my job here today is to remind you that fact as well as give some options for people looking to buy their first DSLR. Thanks to G.A.S. there are always an abundance of used gear on the market and I think the following cameras are great  alternatives to buying a $600-700 dollar consumer camera.

Canon 5D

Canon 5D

 

Every time I see this camera for sale I picture some kid buying it as his first camera. A quick glance at closed listings on eBay show this camera selling from $500-600 dollars. I am sure you have heard about this cameras brothers, they have become quite popular and still have a lot of things in common with the original. If you asked me if I would rather have this “old” camera used or pickup a brand new consumer camera for the same price I would leap for the 5D every time.

The 5D has a 12mp full frame sensor which is what people have  been waiting and waiting for it to be affordable. This camera was known to have excellent lowlight performance in its day but realistically when it comes to taking photographs in the day people tend to not care about high ISO shooting. This camera would be amazing for an up and coming portrait or fashion photographer but realistically it would do well for most people.

Get it on Amazon.

Nikon D300

Nikon D300

 

Full disclosure behind this choice is that it was my second DSLR. Upgrading to the Nikon D300 blew my mind, jumping to a 12mp CMOS sensor from my 6mp D50 was unreal. Skin tones and more than 5 AF points were like gifts from heaven. There are actually 51 AF points on the D300 and it was a first for a camera of its class. It has a modern display with 921,000 dots and has a very close to 100% viewfinder. I’m not going to rant away on specs because there is the internet for those things. I just say one of these go on sale for $500 including the grip and if you are patient you will find a similar deal.

Get it on Amazon.

Panasonic GH2

Panasonic GH2

 

Now I know this camera doesn’t apply to the old theme I have been going for but it more than deserves a mention. The Panasonic GH2 is another camera that I have owned (G.A.S.). Sadly I let go of the camera before the hacks became stable and popular. After I sold the camera I continued to follow Vitaliy’s progress and was amazed when it was put to the test will industry leading video cameras in the Zacuto Shootout earlier this year. The camera produces amazing stills and some of the best video files to date, hacked or not. The camera is now resting at $499 for the body and it allows you (with adapters) to add any lens you want.

Get it on Amazon.

Sony NEX-5N

Sony NEX-5N

Again maybe not the most conventional camera but the NEX cameras have become iconic and are a great choice for someone looking to get into photographer. This camera was recently replaced by the NEX-5R and honestly I would rather see people get into this camera because there is only a short list of items that make its successor better. I have seen this camera go on sale as low as $430 recently with a lens so keep an eye out. I have to say as a landscape photographer Sweep Panorama will be a feature that I will always miss on my Nikons.

Get it on Amazon.

NIkon V1

Nikon V1

 

If you know me recently I have been overusing (if that’s a thing) my Nikon V1. Its a small and quirky camera with plenty of issues but it sure is fun to use. The camera has an odd story because it is Nikons First attempt at a mirrorless system. The camera originally launched for the price of $900 and less than a year later it has fallen all the way down to $300. This brick shaped chunk of metal is priced very very well considering what cameras are in the price range that the V1 has invaded. There are plenty of consumer point and shoot cameras in this price range and none of them have the capability to switch lenses. This is the cheapest interchangeable lens camera sold new today. People who would have never considered owning this camera are buying one just because of the value it offers.

Get it on Amazon.

Canon 5D Mark II

Canon 5D Mark II

I finished this article and I purposely left out this camera at first. I knew I would get a thumbs down or a snotty comment so I have decided to include it and praise it as the cheapest full frame camera that you can buy on the market new. The Mark II truly is a revolutionary camera and the reason why every camera has included video. From finales of TV shows like house to a zillion indie flicks this camera is at the heart. Lets not forget the sites Editor and Chief’s obsession with it, I’m not sure how many new versions of this camera have to come out to change his mind about upgrading. The camera is currently being priced at $1500.

Get it on Amazon.

In conclusion if you are looking to get a camera in todays market you have plenty of choices. There are so many great cameras going at bargain prices due to the nature of digital gear. Take a gander over at BHPhoto’s used selection of gear for an idea of the possibilities. I have seen plenty of amazing photographer create stunning work with older cameras and I have memories of great work that was done with these cameras years ago.

If you have a camera that you would love to share as a great alternative feel free to let us know.

 

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