The best secondhand cameras

Want a new camera without breaking the bank? We've got you covered with the best pre-owned cameras.

A woman holding a Canon camera

by Practical Photography |

With every new camera purchased, the model it replaces in the buyer’s kit bag will, in turn, become the latest addition to the buoyant secondhand market. Camera retailers and auction websites are rife with bargains. Meaning it's easier than ever to bag yourself an excellent camera within your budget.

Tech-savvy consumers can easily grab some of the last few generations’ very best, for an absolute steal. We’re listing our hottest picks for some of the best-value secondhand cameras on the market, sure to suit all budgets and needs. We’re even including a handy buyers’ guide, so you can easily dodge any potential duds as well.

Related: GoPro Hero 9 review: Is it worth it in 2021?

The best secondhand cameras

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II

Olympus OM-D E-M10 II
Amazon

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Olympusu2019 OM-D range is getting stronger with every camera released. The E-M10 II provides a great entry-level option to those photographers who would like the idea of the OM-D system but arenu2019t ready to spend upwards of £800 on the E-M5 II or E-M1. Existing users of the older E-M10 will struggle to justify upgrading to the II, but thereu2019s no denying that the improved exterior styling and new internal features (particularly the five-axis image stabilisation) make this a much-improved proposition. Priced at £649 with the 14-42mm kit lens, the E-M10 II does face stiff competition and we would have liked to have seen a higher megapixel count and more innovation around on the tiltable screen. However, the robust build quality and availability of lenses for the OM-D system help increase up this camerau2019s appeal.

The Specs:

Resolution: 16.1MP (4608x3456px)

Format: RAW & JPEG

Sensor: Micro Four Thirds

ISO: 200-25,600 (100 expanded)

Shutter: 60-1/16000sec & Bulb

AF system: Contrast detection (81 point)

Focusing modes: Manual, Single AF & Continuous AF

Metering: Multiple, Centre weighted & Spot

Burst rate: 8.5fps

Monitor: 3in, 1037k dot tiltable touch OLED screen

Viewfinder: 2360k-dot OLED Live View Finder

Pop-up flash: Yes

Hotshoe: Yes

Video: Full HD 1080p @ 24/25/30/60p & 4K Timelapse

Connectivity: Wi-Fi

Write speeds: 1.8secs RAW, 0.8sec Fine JPEG

Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC

Weight: 342g (body only)

Sony Alpha 7R II

Sony Alpha 7R II
Amazon

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It was hard to mark the A7R II down for Features & Build. The spec list is fully-fledged and outdoes its DSLR rivals in many areas. Weu2019d have liked to see a secondary SD card slot, but huge capacities are available, so the camera did enough to warrant five stars in this criterion. Performance was good, and we were particularly impressed by the ability to shoot silently and record 4K videos u2013 two genuine reasons to go for the A7R II over a DSLR. But it was let down by poor battery life, so this was one area it fell short of the mark. Its image quality matches its rivals in the DSLR camp. The full-frame chip in a portable body is remarkable and deserves five stars. The A7R II seems steep at £2599, but if youu2019re looking for a smaller full-frame body it is good value.

The Specs:

Resolution: 42.2Mp (7952x5304px)

Sensor: Full-frame Exmor R CMOS (35.9x24mm)

Lens mount: Sony E

Autofocus system: Fast Hybrid AF

AF points: 399

Focusing modes: Automatic AF, Single Shot AF, Continuous AF, Direct Manual Focus, Manual Focus

Metering: Multi-segment, Centre-weighted or Spot

Burst rate: 5fps Flash No

ISO range: 100-25,600 (expandable to 50-102,400)

Shutter range: 30-1/8000sec & bulb

Viewfinder: 2359.3k-dot Electronic Viewfinder XGA, 100% coverage

Monitor: 3in, 1228.8k dot TFT LCD

Video: 4K 3840x2160 @ 30p

Write speeds: 1.2sec (RAW), 0.8sec (Large Fine JPEG)

Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC, Memory Stick Pro DUO

Weight: 582g (body only)

Dimensions (WxHxD) 126.9x95.7x60.3mm

Pentax K-3 II

Pentax K-3 II
Amazon

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Pentax has really pulled out all the stops with the K-3 II. It really is loaded with some fantastic technology. The stabilised sensor, 25 cross-type AF points, weather-sealing, 8.3fps burst mode, headphone and mic ports are not to be sniffed at, but a touchscreen would have made it a little more user-friendly and its grip was a bit uncomfortable over long periods of use. This gave a solid four-star rating for its Features & Build. We awarded just three stars for Performance as its AF was considerably louder than its rivals, the write-to-card times were run-of-the-mill and the interface was a little hard to navigate. That said, if youu2019re not deterred by the menu system, youu2019ll be rewarded with good quality images. The K-3 II offers a lot and is certainly one to consider if you shoot day and night in all weathers.

The Specs:

Resolution: 24Mp

Format: JPEG & RAW (DNG or PEF)

Sensor: APS-C

ISO: 100-51,200

Shutter: 30-1/8,000sec & Bulb mode

AF system: TTL phase detection

Focusing modes: Manual Focus, Single AF, Continuous AF and Auto select AF

Metering: Multi-segment, centre-weighted and spot metering

Burst: 8.3fps

Monitor: 3.2in, 1037k dot LCD with Air Gapless technology

Viewfinder: OVF 100%

Pop-up flash: No Hotshoe: Yes

Video: Full HD 1920x1080 @ 30/25p

Write speeds: 1.7secs RAW, 0.7sec JPEG

Storage: SD, SDHC and SDXC

Weight: 785g (body only)

Dimensions: (WxHxD) 102.5x131.5x77.5mm

Fujifilm X-T10

Fujifilm X-T10
Amazon

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For those looking to make the step up from a compact, or upgrade from an older CSC model, the stylish Fuji X-T10 is an excellent choice, offering impressive image quality and intuitive handling. The camera lacks the advanced video functionality of Samsungu2019s NX500 and the more usable burst mode of Panasonicu2019s G7, but overall it feels more premium than both. The X-T10 is an excellent all-rounder and great value for money with an RRP of £499 body-only. Highly recommended.

The Specs:

Kit lens: XC 16-50mm f/3.5-5.6 OIS II

Effective resolution: 16.3MP

Sensor: 24x16mm APS-C X-Trans CMOS II

Processor: EXR Processor II

LCD: 3in 920k-dot tiltable

Viewfinder: 2360k-dot OLED with 100% coverage and dioptre

Autofocus: Hybrid AF (49 points in standard AF modes and 77 in Wide/Tracking mode)

ISO: 200-6400 (expands to 51,200)

Shooting speed: 8fps for 7 RAW files

Video: Full HD (1080p) at 60fps

Pop-up flash: Yes

Other features: Wi-Fi, external mic input, HDMI output, film simulation mode

Battery life: 350 shots

Card type: SD, SDHC, SDXC

Size (WxHxD): 118x83x41mm

Weight: 381g

Canon EOS M3

Canon EOS M3

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Because the ageing EOS M is nearly three years old, the arrival of the EOS M3 needed to deliver a knockout blow. While the handling and ease of use are certainly there, the autofocus, while much improved, could still be faster. Overall image quality is decent too, but those with ultra-critical eyes would be looking for a little more detail. The M3 is definitely a massive improvement over the original M and offers stacks of useful features that make a real difference out in the field. It's important to note that this is just the body of the camera, and this model does not come with the lens. While itu2019s not a u2018bargainu2019, it is reasonably priced, but if youu2019re a Canon DSLR user it makes sense to buy the EF lens adaptor and integrate this camera into your existing system.

The Specs:

Resolution: 24.2MP

Format: RAW (CR2) & JPEG

Sensor: APS-C CMOS (23.3x14.9)

ISO: 100-12,800 (25,600 expanded)

Shutter: 30-1/6000sec & Bulb

AF system: Hybrid CMOS II AF system with 49 AF points

Focusing modes: Auto (AF-A), Continuous (AF-C), Single (AF-S), and Manual focus (MF)

Metering: Evaluative, Partial, Centre Weighted and Spot

Burst rate: 4.2fps

Monitor: 3in 1,040k-dot tiltable touchscreen LCD

Viewfinder: EVF at extra cost

Pop-up flash: Yes Hotshoe: Yes

Video: Full HD @ 30/25/24fps

Write speeds: 1.4secs RAW, 0.8sec Extra Fine JPEG

Storage: SD, SDHC and SDXC

Weight: 369g (body, battery, card)

Dimensions: (WxHxD) 110.9x68x44.5mm

Nikon D5300

Nikon D5300
Amazon

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The D5300 is perfect if you want to upgrade from an older entry-level model, or donu2019t mind spending a bit more on your first D-SLR. Itu2019s packed with modern features and offers great image quality along with an impressive low-light performance. The key addition is Wi-Fi connectivity. Some users may find they have no need for it, but others may not be able to live without it. If you want a D-SLR that lets you share pics on the go, then this is the one for you.

The Specs:

Resolution: 24.2Mp (6000x4000px)

Sensor: CMOS Nikon DX format

Processor: EXPEED 4

ISO range: 100-12800 (expandable to 25600)

Shutter range: 30-1/4000sec

AF system: Phase-detect (stills), Contrast-detect (LIve View)

Focusing modes: Autofocus (AF), Single (AF-S), Continuous (AF-C), Auto selection (AF-A), Fulltime (AF-F), Manual (MF)

Burst rate: up to 5fps

Monitor: 3.2in, 1037k-dot, vari-angle TFT LCD

Flash: Pop-up

Hotshoe: Yes

Video: Full HD 1080p @ 60fps

Storage: SD, SDHC, SDXC

Connectivity: Wi-Fi

GPS: Built-in

Weight: 480g (body only)

Dimensions: (WxHxD) 125x98x76mm

Panasonic Lumix GH4

Panasonic Lumix GH4

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Without its exceptional video functionality, this CSC would have received the same four-star rating as the GH3, because as fantastic as it is, itu2019s fairly expensive. For a little more money you could buy a full-frame DSLR with a premium lens, which, according to DxO Labs, will give you slightly better all-round image quality, and offer a shallower depth-of-field at like-for-like apertures. But with 4K and 50fps Full HD video at 200MBps, not yet available on any other current consumer-level CSC or DSLR, the GH4 is an incredible camera, boasting a stronger all-round feature-set than any other CSC on the market. Very impressive stuff from Panasonic. But donu2019t forget, if youu2019re in the market for a premium CSC, there are other options out there. In particular, consider the forthcoming Sony Alpha 7S, which will also have 4K, and the Fuji X-T1, which doesnu2019t have 4K, but is an excellent CSC with a smaller price tag. It's important to note that this is just the body of the camera, and this model does not come with the lens.

The Specs:

Effective resolution: 16.05MP

Sensor type: 17.3 x 13mm

4:3 Live MOS

Autofocus: 49-area contrast detect

ISO: 200-25,600 (100 expanded)

LCD: 3in 1036k-dot flip-out/touch

Viewfinder: 2359k-dot OLED

Shooting speed: 40fps/12fps

Video: 4K (2160p) at 25fps, Full HD (1080p) at 50fps

Battery life: 500 shots

Card type: SD, SDHC, SDXC

Size (WxHxD): 133x93x84mm

Weight: 560g

Fujifilm X-Pro1

Fujifilm X-Pro1
Amazon

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The X-Pro1u2019s real highlight is its image quality. Fuji claims that it can compete with, if not better, full-frame DSLR rivals, and theyu2019ve backed this up with a camera that takes exceptionally sharp and detailed images, has intuitive controls and is a very real alternative for serious photographers. And although thereu2019s nothing out there to directly test it against, it stood shoulder to shoulder with the Canon EOS 5D MkII in image quality terms. Despite the lack of a zoom lens and the fact that you might have to take all three lenses with you on a photography outing, we liked the constraints put in place by using prime lenses. It forces you to take a more considered approach when shooting subjects. This camera has thrown down the gauntlet to challenge current enthusiast DSLRs.

The Specs:

Effective resolution: 16.3MP

Sensor type: 23.6x15.6mm X-Trans CMOS

ISO range: 200-6400 (100-25,600 extended)

Viewfinder: Optical and electronic

Metering: Multi, spot & average

LCD size: 3in 1,230,000 dots

Recording formats: RAW & JPEG

Shooting speed: 6fps (Hi-speed burst)

Video: Full HD (1080p)

Weight: 450g

Canon EOS 5D MkII

Canon EOS 5D MkII
Amazon

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One of the most influential cameras ever made, 2008u2019s 5D MkII is a pro-level full-frame that introduced Full HD video to its class. It set a benchmark in its day, and can still be found in use around the globe. Though it may sound dated, the 21.1MP sensor still produces excellent images, while the Digic IV processor offers a 3.9fps burst mode. The rear features a fixed 3in screen, with a 920k-dot resolution, which also features Live View u2013 a huge innovation at the time. While the Mark III is a superior camera, the fact you can pick up a Mark II from £300 on the secondhand market makes it an excellent first full-frame for the budget conscious.

The Specs:

Weight: 810g

WxHxD: 152x114x75mm

Battery: 850 shots

Card type: CompactFlash

AF: 9-point

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