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03-21-2009, 05:05 PM   #1
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Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: California
Posts: 3
What to look for in buying used equipment ??

What do I look for and look out for in purchasing a used SLR ??

This is my first SLR purchase. After reading the reviews I decided on the K20. The person who is selling it told me that he purchased from Dell, 3 months ago. Ouch!! His reason for selling it is the economy.

The equipment is as follows:

K20D
18-55 mm lens with shade cover
DA 2.8 40 mm limited
DA 4.5-5.6 50-200 mm with shade cover
FA 4.5-5.8 75-3000 mm with shade cover
Battery Grip

Also what books would you recommend for the K20 beginner
Any input would be helpful no matter how basic it may seem to you. Thank you in advance.

Drawn by the Light Of the World - Phil H.

03-21-2009, 06:33 PM - 1 Like   #2
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Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Gainesville, FL
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Posts: 2,595
Phil,
There are several ways to approach this subject...

First off--condition...
On the body itself, while cosmetic flaws aren't that important, you need to make sure that the camera itself works properly. Unless you're dealing with an eBay auction or a similar type of online situation, make sure you get your hands on the camera and play with it, checking the various buttons and dials to make sure everything's OK. If the seller can provide the number of shutter actuations, that would be even better, as they're similar to odometers on cars. If he doesn't know what you're talking about, one thing you can do is to bring your own SD card with you, put it into the camera and take a picture. When you get home, run it through a program called PhotoMe (PhotoME - Exif, IPTC & ICC Metadata Editor) that will give you the actual number of times that the shutter has been clicked.

As for the lenses, make sure that the glass is clean and free from scratches and other blemishes. While you're dealing with newer lenses, I don't think that fungus growing inside the lens will be a problem, but I want to alert you to that now, just in case you decide that you'd like to pick up some older glass later on. If there's a tiny bit of dust inside, don't panic, as it generally doesn't affect image quality (IQ). Also, make sure that the focusing and zoom rings operate smoothly. On zooms, make sure that the lenses don't have zoom "creep"; the way to determine that is to pick up the lens and hold it rear-side up pointing down. If there is a zoom creep issue, the zoom will start extending down towards the ground without any effort on your part.

As for the asking price, the best things you can do are to do some price checking on the going prices for everything in your package. First, for the items that are still available new, check sites like B&H and Adorama. Secondly, check prices for the same used gear; the Marketplace on this site is a great place to start, but other places like eBay and KEH.com are other places that can give you a good idea of how much you should be paying for your used gear in similar condition. Compare all of this info against what your seller's asking price is and make your decision accordingly--if his price is a little high, then you might be able to bring him down a little bit.

As for books, there is a Magic Lantern guide that's supposed to be pretty good. I don't have this particular book, but I did have it for the K10D that I used to have and it's pretty easy to understand.
Amazon.com: Magic Lantern Guides: Pentax K20D: Peter K. Burian: Books

If you're interested in picking up a good starter title for general photography, then I would most definitely recommend Bryan Peterson's Understanding Exposure, as it explains the basics of good photography in an easy-to-understand manner.
Amazon.com: Understanding Exposure: How to Shoot Great Photographs with a Film or Digital Camera (Updated Edition): Bryan Peterson: Books

BTW, welcome to the forum!

Hope that helps!
Heather
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