Best used DLSR cameras: save money on discounted gear

Male photographer in a wheelchair taking photos in a city street
(Image credit: Getty)

Fortunately for those of us who are in the market for a new DSLR setup, decades of development has meant countless devices are on offer for reasonable prices that can take your photography to another level. From beginner-orientated cameras to some of the most professional setups on the market, good second-hand deals can be found across the marketplace, meaning that you don't always have to break the bank to purchase a substantial upgrade. 

In this article, we'll be looking at some of the best second-hand DSLR cameras money can buy right now, and we'll look at a range of devices that suit a range of skill levels and styles of photography. As ever, we'd recommend researching the cameras available at any given time and buying from a reputable secondhand dealer such as Wex (opens in new tab) (opens in new tab)or B&H Photo (opens in new tab) to ensure that the units have been tested, evaluated and deemed fit for onward sale.

Ready to buy one of these DSLR cameras used? Use the links below to get great used camera deals in the US and in the UK. If only new will do, use our deals link at the bottom of this page.

When buying a second-hand DSLR camera, we recommend reading a bit about its history, like its shutter count and if it has ever been in for repairs. Check if the service you're buying from looks over the cameras to assess them for wear and tear, and be sure to buy from a source that offers a warranty for extra peace of mind. Below are our recommendations for today's best-value second-hand DSLR cameras.


Best for durability

Product shot of the Nikon D750

(Image credit: Amazon)

Nikon D750

An older but sturdy and dependable full-frame setup orientated towards the semi-pro market

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame CMOS
Lens Mount: Nikon F
ISO Range : 50-51200
Megapixels: 24.3
Autofocus Points: 51
Weight : 1.6lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Good mid-range option
+
Weather sealed
+
Good lens options 

Reasons to avoid

-
Seems dated now
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A little heavy for its size

Nikon's D750 was released in 2014, so although many units on the market will show signs of usage and wear, there are some excellent deals to be had. It has a 24.3 Megapixel sensor and is a fully weather-sealed and rugged option. For filmmakers, there's an HD video mode. Because it has been around for a long time, there is an impressive array of lenses on the market. so you'll have no problem finding a lens to suit your style of photography.

Best for speedy autofocus

Product photo of the Canon 5D Mark III

(Image credit: MPB.com)

Canon EOS 5D Mark III

One of the most popular, dependable and successful cameras of all time for a range of different types of image-making.

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame
Lens mount: Canon EF
ISO range: 50-102400
Megapixels: 22.3
Autofocus Points: 61
Weight: 2lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Age has been kind to it, produces stunning images
+
Relatively affordable 

Reasons to avoid

-
Technology has moved on
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Many on used market have high shutter counts

The 5D range, when it was released, was the ultimate in full-frame photography for the masses, making professional-level equipment available for all for the first time. The third incarnation of the camera is perhaps one of Canon's most remarkable, and there are many options available second-hand now. The 61-point AF system and speedy DIGIC 5+ processor still produces fantastic results when paired with a good lens setup.

Best for beginners

Nikon D5600 camera resting on rocks

(Image credit: Future)

For beginners or those looking to take their photography to the next level, there's still little better to get acquainted with the craft

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Lens mount: Nikon F
ISO range: 100-25600
Megapixels: 24.2
Autofocus Points: 39
Weight: 1lb

Reasons to buy

+
A good option for beginners,
+
Low cost, lots available 

Reasons to avoid

-
Serious amateurs and professionals may look for more advanced systems quickly 
-
No 4K video

The 24.2 megapxiel APS-C sensor in the Nikon D5600 is a highly impressive one. If you're just starting out in the world of DSLR photography, our recommendation would be to eschew the very entry-level units and head straight for this instead. It will give you room to grow and offer an impressive array of features and an image quality that belies its very affordable price. There are some excellent examples on the market with low shutter counts, so we'd suggest grabbing one now to get a bargain. 

Best for connectivity

Product photo of the Canon 80D

(Image credit: Amazon)

Canon 80D

Modern tech and good autofocus and stabilization in an affordable, amateur-friendly unit

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Lens mount: Canon EF/EFS
ISO range: 100-25600
Autofocus Points: 45
Weight : 1.6lbs

Reasons to buy

+
 Huge 6.5 stops of in-body image stabilization 
+
 Vari-angle touchscreen 

Reasons to avoid

-
 APS-C crop sensor 
-
 Lack of headphone jack 

The double-number range from Canon was always intended to be the next level up from their entry-level three-numbered systems. With these cameras, you get an uprated autofocus system, NFC and Wi-Fi capability, and a 45-point AF system. The multi-angled touchscreen also comes in handy, and this, alongside its ability to shoot 60fps HD video, makes it a good option for budding filmmakers and videographers. 

Best for budget conscious

Product photo of the Canon 600D

(Image credit: Amazon)

Canon EOS 600D

Basic and showing its age, but still a good option for those on an ultra-tight budget

Specifications

Sensor: APS-C
Lens mount: Canon EF/EFS
ISO range: 100-12800
Megapixels: 18
Autofocus points: 9
Weight: 1.2lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Very affordable
+
Lots on the market

Reasons to avoid

-
Older technology
-
Not much room for learning

If you are looking to upgrade from a smartphone or compact camera and don't want to splash too much cash, the 600D might be the camera for you. Great for selfies and video due to its tilting flip-screen, we like the fact there are some great deals to be found, especially when paired with the kit lenses. More advanced photographers may feel hard done by, but if autofocus points and sensor speed isn't what you're worried about, this is a good entry-level option. 

Best for professionals

Product photo of the Canon 1DX Mark II

(Image credit: Amazon)

Canon 1D X Mark II

When only the best will do and you're looking into professional setups, the previous 1DX is a great choice

Specifications

Sensor: Full-frame
Lens mount: Canon EF
ISO range: 100-51200
Megapixels: 20.2
Autofocus Points: 61
Weight: 2.9lbs

Reasons to buy

+
Heavy-duty
+
Excellent focus and burst speed

Reasons to avoid

-
Weighty
-
Still quite expensive

The 1D range of professional cameras have made a name for themselves over the years due to their incredible build quality, ultra-fast burst shooting, and rugged, durable presentation. If your work occupation is taking photos and you need an excellent second camera, or you're upgrading from the 5D range, then the Mark II version of the 1D X is a great choice, similar to more recent models in many ways. Still expensive but, for the money, you can expect a well-built tool fit for working out in the field. 


Conclusion

Why you can trust Space Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

While many photographers will want to buy new to ensure they're getting the best life out of their photography gear purchasing used camera gear is a worthy option. It affords photographers and videographers greater flexibility when purchasing additional camera bodies and lenses.

Buying from a reputable dealer also includes a level of protection in the form of visual assessments and limited warranties in case anything does go wrong after purchase.

Alternatively, if you like the look of one of the cameras recommended in this round-up but want to buy new, check out the latest DSLR camera deals below to bag yourself a bargain.

How we test the best used DSLR cameras

In order to guarantee you’re getting honest, up-to-date recommendations on the best cameras to buy here at Space.com we make sure to put every camera through a rigorous review to fully test each product. Each camera is reviewed based on a multitude of aspects, from its construction and design, to how well it functions as an optical instrument and its performance in the field.

Each camera is carefully tested by either our expert staff or knowledgeable freelance contributors who know their subject areas in depth. This ensures fair reviewing is backed by personal, hands-on experience with each camera and is judged based on its price point, class and destined use. For example, comparing a 60MP full-frame mirrorless camera to a sleek little crop-sensor DSLR wouldn’t be appropriate, though each camera might be the best performing product in its own class.

We look at how easy each camera is to operate, whether it contains the latest up-to-date imaging technology, whether the cameras can shoot high-quality stills photos and high resolution video and also make suggestions if a particular camera would benefit from any additional kit to give you the best viewing experience possible.

With complete editorial independence, Space.com are here to ensure you get the best buying advice on cameras, whether you should purchase an instrument or not, making our buying guides and reviews reliable and transparent.

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Jacob Little is a photographer, writer and communications professional based in Bristol and Cornwall. His main inspirations come from outdoor adventure, travel, rural living and wild ways and crafts. Passionate about weaving the core principles of storytelling into his images, he approaches brand and copywriting work in much the same way. Conveying a compelling narrative is one of the main drivers behind much of his work.