Photography and Art

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Canon Used Digital SLR Camera Prices

I've been doing some research on used camera prices. I'm a big believer in buying used cameras - so far, I've bought a Canon 10d, a 20d and a 5d as well as Canon S5 and Panasonic Lumix DMC-LX2 point and shoots. Every camera has been sold in its original box and has performed as new right from the start. I've used Craigslist for the most part because I like dealing face-to-face with local people and I really like saving the sales tax by dealing with private parties.

Here are my reasons for buying used:
  • The price is right. Once the newest and greatest is announced, people flood the market with the previous model and the prices sink. For example, the Canon 5d is now selling as low as $1,500 US because everyone wants to generate cash to buy the mk II. There is nothing wrong with a low mileage 5d - it is still a wonderful camera.
  • Canon makes cameras that are built like tanks. I sold my original second-hand 10d to a busy web site and they are still using it 2 years later to take pictures of local restaurants and attractions. For a beginning photographer, a 10d is a viable camera, will last for years and can be had used for $300.
  • The accessories all fit. All those beautiful Canon lenses and flashes will work fine on a lowly Rebel 300D and all the way up the line to the latest and greatest 1ds mark III.
  • You can get lots of goodies thrown in for free. Many people sell extra batteries and CF cards along with the camera. Sometimes, you can get terrific deals on lenses that are included with the camera.
Enough of the sales pitch. Let's have a look at what you have to pay for a used Canon DSLR. These prices are based on a survey of four sites: Adorama's used store, B&H's used store, Craigslist for New York City and eBay. For eBay, I stuck to used equipment with a Buy It Now price. I averaged the prices within these web sites and then took the median price of the four web sites. As you may have deduced, my methods are neither scientifically accurate nor exhaustive, but the prices were surprisingly close from site to site and within each site. The market really does work. One other note: I only priced camera bodies. If the camera came with a kit lens (or any other lens), I ignored it.

Canon Used DSLR Camera Pricing

Category Model Oct-08

Entry-level SLR Canon 300D Digital Rebel $ 250

Canon 350D Rebel XT $ 370

Canon 400D Rebel Xti $ 433

Canon 450D Rebel Xsi $ -

Canon 1000D Rebel XS $ -

Mid-level enthusiast SLR Canon 10D $ 318

Canon 20D $ 469

Canon 30D $ 646

Canon 40D $ 914

Canon 50D $ -

Pro-sumer SLR Canon 5D $ 1,759

Canon 5D mk II $ -

Professional SLR Canon 1D mk II $ 1,928

Canon 1D mk IIN $ 2,700

Canon 1Ds mk II $ 4,024

Canon 1D mk III $ 3,475

Canon 1Ds mk III $ 5,700

Findings and Extrapolations

Here are some things that I spotted:
  • Thanks to the announcement of the 5d mark II, there is a glut of 5d's on the market. Prices are dropping rapidly and you would be wise not to overpay. I'd look for a good low-mileage specimin in the $1,500 range. That's pretty good for a full-frame camera with nearly 13 megapixels and an excellent reputation for good image quality.
  • In the entry-level arena, the XTi looks to be a pretty good deal. You get a 10.1 megapixel camera with a fairly large screen (2.5 inches, 230K) for around $400.
  • The increment between the 20d and 30d never really turned my crank, so I would favour paying $470 for a good 20d over paying $650 for a 30d. If I was an aspiring photographer, I'd also favour the 20d over the XTi. It's a more robust body, although somewhat hampered by its small screen.
  • A Canon 40d can still be purchase new for $970 or so, so $900 for a used model doesn't seem like much of a bargain. Look for this camera to drop in price once the 50d ships in volume and the inventory of new 40d's gets used up.
  • At $1,900, a used 1d mark II at 8.2 megapixels doesn't seem like much of a bargain when you'll soon be able to get a 5d mark II for less than $2,700. If I were a pro and was looking at something that would last and resist obsolescence, the 1d mark II wouldn't be it.
  • There weren't many 1ds mark III's on the market, but the price, at $5,700, is showing some downward pressure from the street new price of $7,500. I suspect the rumored mark IV is starting to get people thinking about selling their mark III's before the price plummets.


  1. A really useful post - thanks very much. I'm thinking of getting a used 5D soon, so the price analysis will be a help.

  2. Excellent information! It is great to have all these prices in one place!

    Have you considered updating it for 2009/2010?

    I've made a website that can track photography eBay prices for specific items. Maybe I could help?

  3. Thanks for review, it was excellent and very informative.
    thank you :)