Cheap digital camera for listing things on eBay?
February 19, 2014 6:59 AM   Subscribe

I foolishly lent my digital camera for what was meant to be a short time and is turning into an indefinite period. I need to list some stuff on eBay and Etsy. I would like the cheapest reliable digital camera for this purpose. (I don't have and won't be getting a smartphone (at least not in the immediate "would like to sell things on eBay soon" level of future), so need a stand-alone camera.)

All I need to do is take relatively high-resolution pictures of fairly ordinary things - some vintage, some bags and accessories - and upload them to Ebay. I will probably use this camera very, very occasionally for taking pictures of people or places. The camera should be easy to charge. I would rather buy new than used.

I'd love recommendations - a lot of the reviews I see are from people who want to do fancy things or take a lot of pictures, so their standards are a bit different from mine.
posted by Frowner to Technology (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Realistically, _any_ modern camera will accomplish what you want. Go to a local electronics store, or department store, and buy whatever is cheapest.

All the upgrades you will get on a better camera are useful for purposes other than what you need.
posted by blob at 7:09 AM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

Concur, any camera. Ebay doesn't really reward better pictures beyond a point since it's all online stuff. I have two specific suggestions

1. Even though you don't want a smartphone, the older iPhones have decent cameras on them and you can use them like iPod touches so if you're looking to have a multitasking device, that might be an option. If you don't need the phone option you can get a used model that may have phone problems for not much money. Charges with a normal cable.
2. Canon has a long string of completely good cameras that are inexpensive and take very good photos and are fairly standard in a lot of ways. I've been happy with the Elph/PowerShot/Sureshot line (no idea what they are calling them now). Here's a completely decent used camera for $35 that will take nice photos. Basic wall charger, very easy.

The big thing about Ebay is good lighting. There are many tutorials, here is one.
posted by jessamyn at 7:16 AM on February 19, 2014 [3 favorites]

Re: "easy to charge": I have a camera that takes AA batteries and I use rechargeable ones. That has worked out really well. Cameras eat disposable batteries like candy, but decent rechargeable batteries will power a camera for a long time on a single charge.
posted by needs more cowbell at 7:16 AM on February 19, 2014

I have a Canon Powershot ELPH that I use for listing items on Etsy. Crucially (for me) it has a very good closeup/macro setting. I believe I paid around $80 for mine on Amazon. It comes with a rechargeable battery pack and charger that you just plug into the wall, and recharges in a couple of hours, and takes photos to an SD card that I then just pop into the slot on my laptop (or you can use a cord).

As a bonus, it's a sturdy little camera that I can carry in my bag for when I want to take a "better than my phone" shot.
posted by anastasiav at 7:24 AM on February 19, 2014

Seconding needs more cowbell. Get one that takes AA batteries, you can always use rechargeable AAs if you want to but that also means when you need to take pictures and the battery is dead you don't have to put off the task for 2 hours while the battery charges by which time you have forgotten all about taking pictures and moved onto some other task. But maybe that is just me.
posted by magnetsphere at 7:30 AM on February 19, 2014

Post to freecycle, maybe someone has an old camera/ phone they'll give you. You might be able to pick up a cheap PAYG, i.e., tracphone with camera; just make sure it will transfer data over USB.
posted by theora55 at 9:31 AM on February 19, 2014

I would suggest against an old camera phone, as they take notoriously bad photos unless you have great lighting, and even then it's hit-or-miss.

And if you're getting a camera that takes AA batteries, take a moment looking into the different types and qualities of batteries. Here is site with lots of information on the different types, and discusses different charger types. In short: not all rechargeable batteries and battery chargers are the same, and you will get a lot more out of slightly more costly batteries and a better charger in the long run.
posted by filthy light thief at 11:40 AM on February 19, 2014

Probably any camera at your local drugstore would do, but you want to look into how you are going to get the pictures from camera to computer. Some will connect by USB, some you remove a smart card and put that in your computer, some may be able to do it by WiFi. You don't want to get stuck with a method you don't like.

I'd pay at least $100, and stock with the best brands, like canon, Olympus, Sony, etc.
posted by SemiSalt at 2:36 PM on February 19, 2014

This is the camera my technologically impaired father got for a trip to California. It took nice pics. Link goes to Amazon, but he got it at Best Buy for less than what Amazon wants. In fact, it's on sale there right now. MeMail me if you want me to send a few sample pics from his trip and a recent visit to a car show.
posted by kathrynm at 7:17 PM on February 19, 2014

No specific camera recommendations, but lighting is key and more important than the camera, in my opinion. if you're photographing things to sell on ebay, definitely use a light tent, or make one yourself, etc. The product will look cleaner, nicer, and will probably be more popular on eBay.
posted by suedehead at 10:04 PM on February 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

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