Cameras and lenses are expensive. Really expensive. Even the cheapest entry-level DSLR kit today costs $500 and upwards. But what if you would buy the cheapest possible used DSLR? A camera that is over 10 years old? How would it stack up against today’s modern cameras? I was curious about this, and decided to find out for myself.
After two weeks of watching classified ads closely, and missing a couple of good bargains because I wasn’t fast enough, I finally managed to purchase a Canon 400D(also known as Rebel XTi) with a battery grip and a Canon 50mm f1.8 II lens on it. All this for only $80. It seemed like a great deal to me. It even came with a 2GB CF card!
I took the camera for a long walk the same day I bought it, and to summarize my experience: I was amazed by how good it was!
The sensor outputs 10 megapixel photos, meaning that they measure roughly 3900×2600 pixels. This is more than enough for posting on social media or viewing photos on a computer screen. And what amazed me even more, was that with a fairly good lens, which the Canon 50mm F1.8 is, these pixels get utilized very well. A 100% crop looks very crisp and sharp in most cases.
See the video above for image samples and 100% crop examples.
The only major downside with using an 11-year-old camera is that the dynamic range in the sensor falls far short of my modern Sony A7. If you do not nail the exposure really well when you take the photo, you have far less latitude to correct it later. With my modern cameras I just shoot everything slightly underexposed, and lift the exposure → continue…