Finding the Right Camera
With all the options available, it can be an overwhelming task to find the best used digital camera. Especially after factoring in your budget. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 12 of the best still-relevant used digital cameras for 2019. Many of these cameras have updated versions available, which usually mean significant improvements. But we still think the previous versions hold value – especially when you factor in the cost savings!
The Canon EOS 6D is a full frame DSLR camera featuring a 20.2MP sensor, but lacks 4K video resolution. The 6D Mark II has a slightly higher 26.2MP sensor, but also lacks 4K video. The Mark II can also record full HD at 60 fps, something it’s predecessor cannot do. The Mark II also offers an advanced image processor (Digic 7 vs Digic 5+ on the EOS 6D). If you are comparing these two models, it may make more sense to save a bit of money and pick up a used Canon EOS 6D.
The Olympus OM-D E-M1 offers some very advanced features, at a fraction of the cost of the Olympus OM-D E-M1 Mark II. The Mark I offers full 1080p video and a 16.3MP sensor (compared to 4K video resolution and a slightly higher 20.4MP sensor). Both cameras feature in-body 5-axis stabilization. If you can sacrifice 4K video, the cheaper OM-D E-MI offers plenty of upside at a much lower cost. You can pick up a used Olympus OM-D E-M1 for less than $350.
While the Canon EOS 5D Mk IV has an impressive 30.4MP sensor, the precursor Canon EOS 5D Mk III still boasts a very nice 22.3MP image sensor. Again, if you can sacrifice the 4K video resolution, the Mk III has full 1080p video at 30fps. Look to save upwards of half the cost of a Mk IV when shopping for a used Canon EOS 5D Mark III (sub- $1000 range). The Mark III also improves upon the Mark II with 6 fps continuous shooting (3.9 for the MkII) and also includes a headphone output.
The Nikon D7100 is still a fantastically relevant camera body in 2019. It boasts very similar features to it’s big brother the D7200. The 24.2MP sensor just barely edges out the 24.1MP sensor of the D7100. Both cameras are capable of full 1080p video recording. They both also have a 3.2″ LCD monitor. The D7100 also has 51-point autofocus. For the price difference, you can’t go wrong with a used Nikon D7100 at around $400.
The Sony A7 II actually edges out the A7 III in terms of sensor size, with a slightly larger 24.3MP compared to 24.2MP on the A7 III. The drawback comes in when you consider video recording – no 4K on the A7 II. The A7 III offers 4k video resolution while the A7 II is only capable of 1080p. If you find yourself not needing 4k video, the A7 II is a great camera to pick up! These can usually be found in the $800-$1000 range.
If you’re looking for a great camera that can record ultra high def 4K video, the Panasonic Lumix G85 might be for you. Released in September of 2016, the features on this camera still keep it relevant over three years later. Though the 16MP sensor may be on the lower side, the images are still sharp – especially when considering the price point: usually less than $500 for a used G85.
The Sony a6000 (like it’s successors the a6300 and a6500) offers an awesome 24MP sensor in a compact and budget-friendly package. The a6000 lacks a touch screen, but if you can live without that (and who couldn’t for 1/3 the cost?) there are plenty of other great features! The Alpha a6000 also tops out at 1080p full HD video resolution. Both the a6300 and a6500 that are capable of 4k video. The a6000 also offers a robust 179-point autofocus system. And updates are still provided for this older model (including a new mobile app out this year that allows a user to control the camera) This app also allows for transferring photos wirelessly. There’s a reason this is one of the top-selling mirrorless cameras of all time. A used a6000 is an absolute steal in the $250-$300 range.
While not nearly as impressive as the Sony a7R IV’s 61MP full frame sensor, the a7R III’s 42.4MP sensor is still quite capable. The a7R III is also able to record in 4K at 30fps just like the a7R IV. The autofocus for the a7R IV is a notch better than the a7R III, but it is a minimal difference, unnoticed in most instances. For the differences between the two, buying a used Sony a7R III for less than $2000 is, in our opinion, the way to go for used cameras in 2019.
The Panasonic GH5 remains one of our personal favorites at Gear Focus! Capable of 4K video at 60fps, this camera is a workhorse that is totally relevant still in 2019. The image stabilization remains top-notch among other newer cameras still today. The GH5 also features a 20.3MP sensor. Even though the sister model GH5S is more specialized for filmmakers, the GH5 is still more than capable. The GH5S is generally considered better for low-light situations. You can often find used Panasonic GH5 cameras for just over $1000.
The Nikon Z6 can record 4K video up to 30fps, and supports 120p for slow motion playback in full HD 1080p. The 24.5MP CMOS sensor with EXPEED 6 Processor round out this camera’s awesome feature set. Overall the camera is rated as taking exceptional quality stills. One criticism of the Z6 is that there is only 1 card slot which can limit shooting space. Only being out for about a year now (at the time of this article), the Z6 looks like it’ll be relevant for years to come. Which means you won’t regret picking up a slightly used Nikon Z6.
The Canon 1D X Mk II was a fairly significant upgrade over it’s predecessor the 1D X when released over 3.5 years ago. And even still, it offers many appealing features that keep it relevant today. Upgrades include 4K video resolution all the way up to 60fps and a larger 20.2MP full-frame CMOS sensor resolution. Look for a used Canon EOS-1DX Mark II (Body Only) in the low $4000 range and save! JUST ANNOUNCED: the release of the Mark III – read more here.
The Sony A7 III has been out for just over a year and a half, and still has a lot of features that keep it relevant today. Capable of 4k30p, the A7 III is a well-rounded camera that works well in a wide variety of situations. Our favorite feature is the lightning-fast 693-point hybrid autofocus system. Combining the 693-point phase detection with 425 contrast-detection areas equals quick and accurate autofocusing. This AF effectively maintains focus on your subject. Try to find a used Sony A7 III in the $1600 – $1700 range and you won’t regret the purchase.
What older model cameras are you still using in 2019? We’d love to hear which cameras still hold a lot of value (especially for the reduced costs!) today. Did we miss one? Post comments below!