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Entry or Mid Level used Canon DSLR or Mirrorless APS-C Camera choices - please help !!


Thanks in advance. You assistance is appreciated.


Please review my stated needs below and suggest the absolute least cost Canon digital cameras (either discontinued no matter how old the model or right up to the latest and greatest which are still in production) with interchangeable lenses, that will fit the bill. Thanks in advance.


Due to the ongoing pandemic, I have rekindled my interest in photography, be bringin back into regular use, two cameras I have had for a while, which were previously used in auto mode only, A Nikon L830 compact, and a Fuji s6500fd bridge camera which also produces RAW files and has manual, shutter priority, and aperture priority. Crop factors of these are between 4.x and 5.x. I've been taking photos predominantly with the Fuij, in RAW and processing with Darktable photo editor.


I would like to begin my journey in the universe of interchangeable lens cameras, which have no less than an APSC sized sensor. I will be buying used, as I generally do not invest too  much, until I'm certain about what aspects make a difference, to me or not. I have decided it will be a Canon camera, to narrow down my confusion - somewhat safety in herd mentality - the vast majority of camera buyers who buy Canon, can't be too far wrong. I may be tempted to buy new however if it has a compelling reason of import to me. This is a hobby, which I hope will one day earn money as my skillsm gear and marketing improve.


Like whenever I am in a town I do not know well and want to eat out, I look for where lots of people are in the restaurant, and this strategy has always served me well.


Compared to buying anything else or taking any other decision, the ocean of Canon cameras is huge, with IMHO, every camera. from old cameras like the old 300D to something like the  new 250D, spanning a price range from about $50 to $600. approx prices body only, my accuracy on tehse prices may be slightly off cos my head is swimming with comparisons over many weeks.




What I want :


1. Initially most of the pictures will be for sharing with "friends" on facebook, whatsapp.. and building up a portfolio digitally.


2. I have found of all things really important, is accurate focussing, more than anything else, if the picture is sharp, great, otherwise move on, no point slaving away to edit it. Being able to focus on a subject with ease, either by focus recompose, or by some kind of knob or joystick or touch screen is important. Many of the photos I take, at more open apertures may not have my point of interest in the center of the view. I definitely enjoy taking pictures with a shallow depth of field so getting this focus right has become critical, for those instances where a SDOF is my intention. 


I am unlikely to be capturing sporting events, but social events like a party where people move around, are more my likely use of the camera where human subjects or pets are involved. I am most unlikely to be using this for capturing any animals in the wild, not even birds in the park. unless its slow moving creatures like ducks or swans or peacocks. So fast focussing is important, but not ultrafast


One of my challenges is that any description of focussing speed and accuracy has no measures, so I cannot pull up a comparison chart and say - oh  this is better than that, its all anecdotal, Such a difficult thing to judge without actually comparing in person.


3. I really cannot discuss lenses cos I have not had an interchangeable lens camera.


4. Most of my photographs will be taken with natural light or the in built flash, starting out.


5. I hope that moving on to a larger sensor, with better light gathering, will allow me to use faster shutter speeds and reduce blur, cos most of the time I shoot hand held.


6. When I have tried to spec a Canon entry to mid level camera, which does both video and photos well, I end up in this never ending spiral of feature lust, and you end up wanting to own a 1 DX or at least a 5D,,,,,,variant or even one of teh shiny new toys, an R6 or R5. the temptation, never stops. one more feature, one more ... So my priority is photography, nothing else..


What I am willing to give up on (nice to haves) :


1. Fully articulating screen. Its just s serious hobby for now, and I can compromise on this.


2. Touch screen, I can also compromise on this - nice to have, but not essential. Millions of camera owners have taken great photos without having a touch screen.


3. As long as the picture quality is great, maybe ai could live with an older compact flash based camera. If this drove my purchase price down even further.


4. I come to a conclusion that there are a bit too many crippling issues with using an entry level or mid level digital camera as a video camera. Recording length limitations, splitting recordings into 4GB files, having to deal with hacks like ML which are not officially supported, battery concerns for long interviews, where the speaker is delivering a lecture, or I am attempting to capture a long running event such as a visit to a cherished aunt to record her memoirs, I'd rather wait until I can do this properly and buy a decent video camera. Every time I read about video on anything less than a C100, its all about limitations, heat, video compression, lack of clean HDMI outputs - for me I really do not want to deal wuth such workarounds in video, so video is not a priority, The non dedicated hybrid cameras are designed with limitations in video that will not work for my open ended dicumentary style of capturing events. 


If it has great picture taking ability, I can do withiout video. For vlogging, if I ever do this, my Nikon L830 has an HDMI out, which I can pipe into a capture card, or record into camera, for any spurious short video capture I may need.


5. I will be shooting 100%  RAW or RAW+JPeg, and prefer to do my own noise reduction, and sharpening so the quality of in camera JPEGs is not a big deal for me


6. I really do not care about the in camera "filters" and picture enhancing features cos I will shoot 100% RAW, so these in camera enhancements will never ever be used by me.


Things I do not really know :


1. As I have used two mirrorless cameras already, which have contrast based, for photography and the focussing speed I need, is dual pixel autofocus neccesary. Or is this only of advantage to use in video's. It is a bit difficult to evaluate how important this feature will be to my needs. I do recall on one occasion where I had people moving - trying to take photos of them gardening, focussing was a huge challenge and the results were not great, Later I discovered f=my camera the Fuji, had face tracking, as well as continuous autofocussing which may have improved things. 


And the temptation with these features is - where do you stop, in the feature hunt? Contrast based, Phase detection based, enhanved phase detection which came before dual pixel autofocus, Dual pixel autofocus, or does one need the new latest and greatest Dual pixel autofocus version 2, as found on the newer cameras. So hard to tell where to draw the line, on a feature that is impossible to quantify. I wonder is a camera store a good place to test these differences before I buy?


I'll be buying in Europe.


If you have any suggestions of ideal starter lenses, do let me know. I usually take pictures of landscape, some close up of nature from just a few feet away, , and occasionally people.  I've been spoiled by the kit lens on my fuji, which does FF equivalent of 28 to 300 mm.  So hard to think of lenses. This bewildering world of interchangeable lense cameras that I must enter, to improve my pictures. Never had to think abiout lenses before. Do suggest something, cos that's another whole universe of choices from Canon - I could be there for months with my head spinning and comparing v1, v2,v 3 and all the variants of 50mm lenses from Canon alone. Thanks


If only there was some kind of choice engine like those used to pick parts when building a PC, where I could pick and choose what I need and the online tool would narrow the choices for me. This lack of ease of choice, requiring a deep knowledge of the histories of cameras and all of their features, is a huge hinderance and barrier to enrry for digital photohraphy. How can a camera be more difficult to choose than buying a car...? and thats after limiting the choice to only Canon!!




"I'll be buying in Europe."


Visiting a camera store sounds like a great idea.  Have a safe trip!

"The right mouse button is your friend."

@OK1 said:

"I'll be buying in Europe."



Do you live there?  Seems to me traveling to europe to buy a camera will add some expense to the overall purchase price...  even if its used.


Buy used?  OK your call.  "I can forego features like an articulating screen until I am certain"  Sounds like you want to buy bare bones or ancient.  Thats OK, but you will end up disappointed and in the end buying another camera (spending more money) again once you decide you didn't get what you wanted in the first place.  Does this mean another trip to Europe?


If you live here.  Buy in US, sales are coming.  Black Friday, XMas...  You can buy from Canon (refurb) for 6.5 % tax.  Your camera will come with the same 1 yr warranty their new cameras come with too.  If thats not enough...  let's hope whatever you buy in europe doesn't need service or fails...  good luck getting that refunded or repaied...  better calculate another ticket to Europe for that.  


Buying here from B&H...  As long as you don't live in New York, you can buy tax free... (for now anyway) 


You are over complicating your life.  and... Adding multiple points of failure to a process which might, could or will, likely result in unanticipated additional expense. 


I agree, visit a shop, do research, even rent a body for a weekend.  Buy the camera that you want now, the one you can afford and that meets your needs.


Now take that to Europe and enjoy yourself.

Bay Area - CA

~R5 C ( ~RF Trinity, ~RF 100 Macro, ~RF 100~400, ~RF 100~500, +RF 1.4x TC, +Canon Control Ring, BG-R10, 430EX III-RT ~DxO PhotoLab Elite ~DaVinci Resolve ~Windows11 Pro ~ImageClass MF644Cdw/MF656Cdw ~Pixel 8
~CarePaks Are Worth It



Excellent post!  I have just one minor correction, B&H now does collect the sales tax for the state in which you live as they are required to do after regulations were updated on ecommerce.  Even Ebay does that now.


HOWEVER, B&H does provide a tax discount of sorts.  They have an affiliated bank and if you charge to that bank card then they will immediately discount your order total by an amount equal to the charged sales tax.  The tax is still paid to your state, just via more convoluted logic.  I have used this for several expensive items from them but it is critical that you immediately pay the balance because the interest rate is incredibly high.  I just pay electronically as soon as it posts and I keep expecting them to kick me out of their captive card because they will never make any interest from me 🙂



EOS 1DX M3, 1DX M2, 1DX, 5DS R, M6 Mark II, 1D M2, EOS 650 (film), many lenses, XF400 video

I live in the UK

Thanks - thoughts appreciated. I live in the UK. But somehow the 1st Canon specific forum I found was one which I think is tragetted to those in North America.