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10-23-2013, 10:07 PM   #1
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How Long Does a DSLR Last?

I am looking to get an older DSLR for experimenting with exposures and modeling strobe lighting (like I once would have with a Polaroid). I just need something simple that has 100 ISO, hotshoe or PC sync, and... Well, that's it, basically. ISO 50 would be nice, but not necessary. I'm trying to spend not much, around $150. None of the old Pentax bodies seem to really work for this, they were all ISO 200 it seems. My options seem to be try to get a K2000(K-M), find a good deal on a K200D, or buy another brand. The other brands have cameras that fit the bill in the 6.3 MP era, are 10 year old bodies still good?


Last edited by Archimedes the Dog; 10-23-2013 at 10:23 PM.
10-23-2013, 10:25 PM   #2
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I use a Pentax *istD that was manufactured in Dec. of 2003. I'm actually the second owner, it was given to me. While it doesn't have the fancy stuff of todays camera, and just has basic functions, it works perfectly. It does seem to underexpose a bit in auto mode, or it might just be me, and I have no idea how many shutter actuations it has because every time I try to find out no matter what site I use it can't find the number.

Now this camera was owned by a semi professional photographer who I'm sure took premium care of it before he upgraded. But if you can find a gently used 10 year old camera there is no reason why you couldn't use it for experimenting or some basic stuff. I'm actually enjoying NOT having some of the fancy stuff like the pre set scene modes, because I'm having to actually learn exposure first.

Well... hopefully I'm learning....
10-23-2013, 10:35 PM   #3
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They can last a long time but it depends on how they have been treated and how much use they have had.
There is a limit to how long a shutter lasts but even then some cameras last to quite high numbers.
Have a look here for shutter life information: Camera Shutter Life Database
(BTW -- these figures may be a bit pessimistic because more people with failures probably enter reading that those who have had no trouble)

Ideally test a second hand DSLR camera yourself if thats an option and at least get some recent photos sent to you so you can have a close look.
10-23-2013, 10:37 PM   #4
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How about a K10D? It has ISO100, hotshoe. and should fit in your price range. Just saw one on the marketplace asking for $180 including some spare batteries etc. Mine is still going strong, I'm the second owner and the camera is probably around 7-8 years old. Just make sure the shutter count is reasonable and you should be fine.

10-23-2013, 10:42 PM   #5
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I'm still using my K10D I bought in 2007 and I haven't babied it. My daughter is using a Nikon D200 from around the same time. Just be aware that digital cameras are electronic devices and don't have the life expectancy of our old mechanical film cameras. I still have an SP1000 that I bought in 1975.
10-23-2013, 10:44 PM   #6
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I believe most Pentax shutters are rated at 100k actuations. Other things can go wrong, but we often see cameras at 50k+ actuations, in the market. People with higher shutter counts usually keep their cameras as resale value plummets. You might be able to pick up a cheap mirrorless camera for what you want to do. I am not sure about the ISO on a NEX 3 or 5, but the 5N does ISO 100. A used K10d could be had for that price as well. Try putting up a Wanted ad for the camera at the price you want to pay.
10-23-2013, 10:47 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by ASa Quote
How about a K10D? It has ISO100, hotshoe. and should fit in your price range. Just saw one on the marketplace asking for $180 including some spare batteries etc. Mine is still going strong, I'm the second owner and the camera is probably around 7-8 years old. Just make sure the shutter count is reasonable and you should be fine.
I was going to suggest the same. KEH has two of them, one for $179 and one for $189, they offer a 6 month warranty on their used products free of charge. http://www.keh.com/camera/Pentax-Digital-Camera-Bodies/1/sku-DP029991018950?r=FE

Last edited by Roob-N-Boots; 10-23-2013 at 10:56 PM.
10-23-2013, 11:27 PM   #8
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Hmmm... I forgot to say manual exposure mode. The K10D doesn't have a pure manual mode, does it?

10-23-2013, 11:33 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Archimedes the Dog Quote
Hmmm... I forgot to say manual exposure mode. The K10D doesn't have a pure manual mode, does it?
Yes it does
10-23-2013, 11:57 PM   #10
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Thanks, seems like a good solution that lets me use all my film era manual lenses. I wish it had a built in pc-sync like the canons but the hotshoe ones are plentiful.
10-24-2013, 12:03 AM   #11
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It depends on how much you are willing to spend to keep it going after the warranty period, in stead of putting the money into a newer body.
10-24-2013, 12:05 AM   #12
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The K10D/Samsung GL10 is a good camera. The K5 is better in many ways, but not by a lot, except in dynamic range.
10-24-2013, 04:30 AM   #13
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My wife uses an *istD and I have a K10D. They're both doing fine. Of course, we don't give them much hard use where we're firing off lots of bursts or anything...like if we were shooting sports or birds in flight perhaps. Either camera would work well for what you're wanting, I think. Both were Pentax's top of the line in their era and both have the dual control wheels. The K10D is a bit bigger, if that makes a difference to you.
10-24-2013, 05:19 AM   #14
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You'll see K10s inexpensive - and it's a helluva camera for $150 or so. Pop a split-focus screen in it and you've got one of the better manual-focus DSLRs out there. Eventually I'll have to sell mine, it's sitting on the shelf doing nothing.
10-24-2013, 08:13 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
You'll see K10s inexpensive - and it's a helluva camera for $150 or so. Pop a split-focus screen in it and you've got one of the better manual-focus DSLRs out there. Eventually I'll have to sell mine, it's sitting on the shelf doing nothing.
That is exactly what I have done with mine. I have a Katz Eye screen and I use my K10D as my MF lens camera as well as a second body/back up camera. While my K5 gets most of the use, it's not gathering much dust. I use it a lot in winter for motorcycle ice races and skiing as it can be very frustrating locking AF when the snow and ice get flying.
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