Open/Close Menu HOME

Best 12MP Canikon used pro/semi-pro DSLR under $500 ? (2017-01-21 16:18:22)

As of today, for more or less $500 (canadian dollars), you can afford what was top notch pro DSLRs a few years ago, but there is not much choice: only 2 full frame cameras from Canon and 2 APS cameras from Nikon.
Why would you want a used camera when for the same price or a little more you can buy a brand new entry level DSLr with tons of pixels?
Actually, the 4 cameras I'll talk about here are still perefectly up to the job in 2017. Pixels don't really mater in the end if your brand new entry level camera can't focus fast enough, can't use some good old glass that requires a focusing engine in the body. Those 4 cameras are well built, their ergonomy is just perfect, they were the top of their class at the time and are still simply great cameras as of today especially for the price asked.

By order of price:

The 2002 Canon 1Ds is a full frame pro DSLR: 12MP, 50 to 1250 ISO, noise really good up to 1250 ISO, 45 AF points and 3FPS. You can buy it in not to bad condition and shutter count under 50.000 for less than $500. Yes, it's old, but it's still a very good camera.


The 2007 Nikon D300 (and 2009 D300S that only adds video recording capabilities, $50 more expensive now) is an APS-C semi-pro DSLR: 12 MP, 200 to 3200 ISO, noise good up to 800 ISO, 51 AF points and 6 FPS out of the box (7 for the D300S, 8 with a battery grip and specific battery). You can buy it in good condition and shutter count under 10.000 for less than $500.


The 2004 Nikon D2X (there is also a D2Xs, but it costs more than $500) is a pro APS-C DSLR:  12MP, 100 to 800 ISO, don't dare using more than 400 ISO because of the noise, but at base 100 ISO it's just a great camera,11 AF points and 5FPS. You can buy it in average condition and shutter count under 50.000 for $500.



The 2005 Canon 5D is a full frame semi-pro DSLR: 12MP, 50 to 3200 ISO, low noise up to 1600 ISO, 9 AF points and 3FPS. You can buy it in average condition and shutter count under 50.00 for $500.


So, which one is better?  Well, there no winner here, since it all depends on your needs, and those 4 DSLR are great cameras built like tanks capable of great pictures.
Actually, for the money, and from a purely technical point of view, the Nikon D300 is definitely better than the D2X, and the Canon 5D definitely better than the Canon 1Ds.

The choice is mainly will you buy the Nikon D300 or the Canon 5D? The answer is quite easy…
Do you need a full frame camera and less noise at high ISO?  Buy the Canon 5D.
Do you need an APS-C camera (that mean more reach), more FPS and better autofocus? Buy the Nikon D300. 

For under $500 you will actually never buy a better camera than these 4. 

See also:
Panasonic FZ100, a funny little bridge camera
Best 12MP Canikon used pro/semi-pro DSLR under $500 ?
A full frame DSLR under CAD900?