My first camera got stolen last year around 4th of July as well
June 29, 2006 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Canon 350D Rebel Filter: I am probably buying a used one off craigslist. When I go to see it what should I look for?

The seller seems honest, everything seems fine. But since I'm buying this used instead of new I figured I'd waste my question of the week on this. Is there anything specific that can go wrong with the 350D's I should look for specifically? Worn flux capacitor, bad thermo-gyro-thingy, etc? Heck, I'll take any other advice on buying used cameras too.
posted by Brainy to Media & Arts (11 answers total)
Listen to the shutter. Have a good look at the optics. Check the housing for any telltale signs of major bashing.
posted by popcassady at 2:54 PM on June 29, 2006

I've had my RebelXT since last August, and I've shot more than 20,000 photos with it. I love my XT it's a great camera.

Don't worry about the worn flux capacitators, but carefully inspect the automatically synchronizing cardinal grammeters and in particular, make sure that the spurving bearings are in direct line with the pentametric fan.

But seriously - this is a very good camera body. You might want to get a better lens than the 18-55 that is sometimes sold with the XT. It's an all-purpose lens, which means its purposes are narrowly limited.

Ask the seller why they are letting go of this camera. Did he upgrade? Was it sent for repairs? Did the seller have any issues with it?

The one thing you should look at is the sensor. Because lenses are removable, DSLR cameras are necessarily not sealed. So make sure that the sensor is clean. The way to do this is to shoot a white wall, then go to a computer, and display the image in Photoshop. Do Control-I and see the inverse of the image. The dots that you see on the image are sensor dust. These dots are located on the sensor.

On the good news front, cleaning a sensor takes only a few minutes by a trained professional, and will set you back no more than $100. Don't do this yourself as you could irremediably scratch the sensor. Let's just hope that the seller is not selling for this reason!
posted by seawallrunner at 2:56 PM on June 29, 2006 [1 favorite]

He has a chance to upgrade to a 30D. I don't want to rush out of the guys house, camera tucked under my arm sight unseen...but asking to shoot a picture and uploading it might take me out of the running. Do you think looking at it on the screen at 10x magnification would be enough?

The lens it comes with is the Canon EF 50mm f/1.8 II - that doesn't seem to be the lens that comes with the kit. He's also offering a Tamron Autofocus 17-35mm Wide Angle...but it's not really in my budget.

What exactly should I be listening for? Just anything that sounds abnormal? I'm upgrading from an S2 IS and so I'm clearly coming from the amature side of this.
posted by Brainy at 3:08 PM on June 29, 2006

you might want to do this test at his house, after you ask him about the sensor. Ask him at least when was the last time that he cleaned it, or had it cleaned. Or, you could peek at the photos he has posted on a public site like pbase or flickr or webshots. Having dust on the sensor is the #1 PITA of owning a DSLR.

You are getting a nice lens with the camera - the f/1.8 50mm is a nice portrait lens, not too expensive and does a good job. Please feel free to contact me offline for opinions about lenses. You might also want to join a few Flickr groups about Canon DSLRs and ask questions there.
posted by seawallrunner at 3:32 PM on June 29, 2006

An addendum on the method of finding spots: put the camera in "av" mode, roll the little wheel behind the shutter till it says "32" (or the biggest number it will show) as the aperture (the number witht the decimal point, not the number that can go to 4000). Take a shot of the blank white wall. If there's appreciable dust, you will be able to see it when you zoom in while reviewing the pic in-camera.

Another good place to look at reviews is
posted by notsnot at 3:55 PM on June 29, 2006

Exactly, anything that sounds abnormal. Also, take the lens off and have a look inside -- again, checking for any abnormalities.
posted by popcassady at 3:59 PM on June 29, 2006

All the above being said; dust on the sensor is not a reason not to buy a camera. It's a nuisance to clean it but not terribly expensive if you do it yourself. The other thing I'd look for is how many photos the camera has taken. There's probably some way to tell in the firmware, not sure. The shutter on a camera is rated for only so many exposures.

His lens choices are sensible. If he's upgrading to a 30D, it's all probably about like it sounds, a good camera.
posted by Nelson at 4:35 PM on June 29, 2006

oh Nelson, I never implied not buying a camera if there's dust on the sensor - I did say it can be cleaned by a professional for less than $100.

But I did say that a scratched sensor is a show-stopper. Brainy should check with the seller whether the sensor has ever been cleaned, and ask whether the seller has ever tried to do it himself (a red flag).

Checking the sensor cleanliness through the LCD is not a thorough check - you will see the largest of specs, but may miss the smaller ones. Good idea on setting to f/22 in Av mode, he should do this anyways when taking photos of that blank wall.
posted by seawallrunner at 5:51 PM on June 29, 2006

Whoa. Hold on there. You can clean the sensor very easily and for free by yourself if you just use one of those air blowers (NOT canned air), going to Sensor Cleaning in the menu, and then gently blowing on the sensor, being very careful not to touch the sensor with the tip.

I'm constantly switching lenses and I do a bit of macro, so I've got to do this about once a month.

Ask him point blank how many exposures he's taken with it. Of course, it's possible to lie about this. I think the DRebel is rated for 50k exposures, but I'd be surprised if he got even halfway there.

Get the 50/1.8. Fantastic optics for a cheap price. Don't bother with the Tamron 17-35. Save up your pennies until fall and get one of the third party 2.8 kit lenses (Tamron 17-50, Tokina 16-50, Sigma 18-50) which should clock in around $400 and will be huge improvement over the 18-55 Canon kit lens.
posted by alidarbac at 7:31 PM on June 29, 2006

He mentioned in his posting that usage is only in the hundreds of shots.

I don't think he ever had the kit lens only the 50/1.8 that he is selling with it. FredMiranda has almost all positive reviews for it...and says its good for low light, which I do a lot of.

And while I'll do a sensor check against a wall and ask him about it, my current S2 IS's lenscap falls off all the time in the case (odd fit) and its all smudgy so I wouldn't even mind a dirty sensor for a bit. (don't worry, i'll be taking MUCH better care of this one). So the scratched sensor would be the only showstopper.

Oh, and the title is no longer true, turns out my old camera had slipped between two things and moved around. Feel free to keep talking about other things I should look for because you guys are really interesting.
posted by Brainy at 8:46 AM on June 30, 2006

I don't think he ever had the kit lens only the 50/1.8 that he is selling with it. FredMiranda has almost all positive reviews for it...and says its good for low light, which I do a lot of.

IIRC, the 50/1.8 is known to break somewhat easily. If you experience any trouble with it, you might look into replacing that lens with the 50/1.4, which features much better construction than its less expensive counterpart.

Whenever I talk about the 350D or 30D, I always end up recommending the 28-135mm IS USM, too. It's a good, solid walk around lens.
posted by scoria at 9:38 AM on June 30, 2006

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