Re-Equip Ansela Adams
September 19, 2016 4:17 AM   Subscribe

While I was on vacation last week, my camera (among other things) was stolen and I need to replace it. I really, really liked it, but the exact model has since been discontinued, and I can only get used models online via eBay. Please either reassure me it's okay to do that or recommend something similar.

I had a Canon Powershot G-15. It was like...a couple steps up from a point-and-shoot digital camera, with an automated setting for shutter speed and aperture, but also the ability to custtomize those if you wanted. Something I also really liked and used a lot was a setting that let you take pictures in low light WITHOUT A FLASH. I rented a camera for the week that was from the same series, and one thing I did NOT like was that the viewfinder was, like, divided into a grid, and right as you were about to take picture, the center square would enlarge and pop out at you - I think it was supposed to let you check the focus somehow, but I thought it was horribly distracting.

I have already looked into refurbished Powershot G-15's from Canon or from local Canon stores and they're out. I'd really like to get the same thing but don't know if I can trust the "used on eBay" angle.

In closing - may the guy who stole mine eat a bag of poo.
posted by EmpressCallipygos to Shopping (13 answers total)
If you liked the Powershot you rented otherwise, know that you can disable MF-Point Zoom and the grid display in the options menus.
posted by xyzzy at 4:21 AM on September 19, 2016 [5 favorites]

Any camera with a good enough sensor / fast enough lens will take pictures in low light without flash; that's not in any way unique to the G15.

I buy and sell on eBay regularly, and while you can't be 100% confident of any given transaction ahead of time, the odds are very good if you shop carefully. Buy from a seller with sterling feedback, who has been an eBay member for at least a few years. Read the description carefully, zoom in and look at the photos and don't buy a camera that has a lot of handling wear or indicators that it has been banged around. Sellers with good reputations have a lot to lose if a customer is unhappy, so they tend to be both careful and willing to work with you if something is wrong. Worst case scenario is that you have to appeal to eBay for help, and eBay's policies with regard to disputes are strongly biased in favor of buyers.
posted by jon1270 at 4:38 AM on September 19, 2016

If you want to buy used and are wary of eBay there's always B&H, Adorama, or KEH. I've bougt used film and digital cameras from all three and they're aboveboard. I'm not sure if they'd have the exact model you're looking for, though.
posted by Gev at 5:16 AM on September 19, 2016

I have purchased used video cards and a used motherboard on eBay. I think jon1270 does a very good job of explaining what to look for when doing so. I would buy a used camera on eBay (for the right price).
posted by AugustWest at 5:35 AM on September 19, 2016

I bought a used discontinued Canon on eBay probably six years ago now, and it's been perfect. It had something like twenty shots taken on it by the previous owner, had been beautifully reboxed in its original packaging, and was still much cheaper than buying the comparable model new. Just like buying a "used" car where the only difference is that someone else drove it off the lot first. I too wanted a specific low-light feature, and every time I use it, I'm glad (a) I have it and (b) didn't have to pay way more for the high-end model that also had that feature. I'd encourage you to look through the listings and see what the crop is like. Maybe you'll get similarly lucky!
posted by teremala at 5:37 AM on September 19, 2016

If you're still iffy on buying used and want something similar, you'll want to look at cameras in the "enthusiastic compact" group.

Here's's 2016 roundup of cameras in that range. Couple of Powershot G cameras are on their list.
posted by Doleful Creature at 6:49 AM on September 19, 2016

Best answer: The 2013-released G-16 is the current model of the plain G series (without an X). It's just like a G-15 but also has Wi-Fi and a faster processor.

The confusingly named G X line of cameras have bigger sensors (1 inch CMOS) than the plain G series and have their own numbering system.
Of those, the G7 X Mk II is the current hotness, just released this year. On paper it's better in every way than your old G15 except it doesn't zoom as far. Smaller, faster, bigger sensor, higher resolution and with the f/1.8-2.8 brightness you are used to.
posted by w0mbat at 7:22 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

The pop-out grid thing might well be something that could be changed in settings. Modern cameras are basically little computers and you can usually get control of a lot of things, and change them, once you get into the settings menu.
posted by zadcat at 8:11 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

Here's's 2016 roundup of cameras in that range.

A word of sanity about the reviews: I frequently see the Sony models being held-up as the "best" in that range, but consider, you come to this with a history of knowing certain camera software and controls. The Canons are generally excellent cameras (as are many others on that list), and most will do most of what you want. Our experience with upgrading cameras for our staff is that people are much happier sticking with a camera family they understand, than trying to learn a new one every time we need to upgrade. It's very much like the Apple/Android split in phones; both work fine, some do one thing better than the others, but in the end, personal preference is the deciding factor.

I'd look at technical criteria important to you---low light, for example. Time to picture (how fast does it turn on) is another nice feature in this range. But don't get too hung up on specs---your experience and what you prefer often outweigh the minutae of picking a "winner" in these reviews.
posted by bonehead at 9:19 AM on September 19, 2016 [1 favorite]

I would definitely go for a newer model in the same range. As has been pointed out, features you dont like can be turned off, And...remember the 'megapixel wars' of the previous decade? Well now it's the 'low light wars'. Remember film speed or ASA? Like film was either 100 (slow but sharp), 200, 400, 800, 1600 (fast but grainy) and maybe expensive 3200? Well, my 3 year old digital camera (nikon 5100) goes up to ASA 1 million(!) Current cameras can do 2 million or more. You will take clearer, sharper shots in the dark without flash (or crank up the ASA for more grain if you like) with the latest in the line. You will love it. Or you could get last year's model and save money. Seconding B&H camera...they are awesome...if you're ever in New York definitely check out their's a camera playground.
posted by sexyrobot at 11:26 AM on September 19, 2016

Best answer: The Canon G16 is $300 refurbished on Canon's website. That being said, I would go for the G7X Mark II. Much, much bigger and better sensor in that camera.
posted by cnc at 1:06 PM on September 19, 2016

Actually, B&H has been sued for labor discrimination. You might consider Adorama instead.

I second the idea of going for a newer model. Low-light functionality has improved a lot in recent years. Nothing wrong with Canon, but Fuji, Panasonic, Sony, all have some great models. I'm familiar with Nikon's high-end models, but not their consumer line.
posted by CheeseDigestsAll at 9:00 AM on September 20, 2016

Response by poster: So, ultimately I did "none of the above" - a friend spotted a used Canon Powershot G-15 for sale at a decent price from an Amazon seller they trusted. I got that and have been testing it out, and so far, so good. (This same friend joked, when I excitedly posted on Facebook that 'I HAVE A CAMERA AGAIN,' that "why am I suddenly thinking of Sweeney Todd?")

But y'all primed the pump to trust ebay/used sellers, so thanks!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:57 PM on October 1, 2016

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