So I decided to sell my Canon XSi and upgrade to a Sony NEX-3. I was able to get $440 for the XSi and kit lens on Craigslist. I used the cash to purchase a Sony NEX-3 twin lens kit on sale from DigitalRev for $662 (after shipping; no tax was charged since the store is located in Hong Kong). The two Sony lenses retail for $299 and $249, individually; so the dual lens kit seemed like a good deal. Sony has stopped manufacturing the NEX-3, so I guess that’s why it’s on sale.
As I mentioned previously, I was thinking about getting a smaller camera to lighten my load while traveling. While the NEX-3 is much smaller than the XSi, the Sony camera is loaded with features. The NEX-3 has a better slightly better sensor according to Snapsort and also has video capabilities, which the XSi does not. Unfortunately, there are few lenses available to the Sony; although that should improve over time. My friend had the Sony NEX-5 and convinced me to go with Sony. I won’t bore you with all the details about the camera. You can read in-depth reviews at DPReview and Cameralabs.
The Canon Direct Store had a sale on refurbished Powershot cameras, so I decided to get my wife an S95. At the time of this writing, the refurbished S95 was $319.99. Canon was offering an additional 20% off, so the final price was $255.99, not including tax and shipping. Canon screwed up my order, so they gave me free shipping. I ended up paying about $285 after tax for the refurbished S95. Used S95s are going for about $300 on Craigslist, so it wasn’t a bad deal. To offset the cost, I sold my wife’s old Powershot SD 790IS on Craigslist for $90. Although the S95 was refurbished, it looked brand new when it arrived. As far as I can tell, there aren’t any problems with it – knock on wood. Canon offers a 90-day warranty on their refurbished cameras, so I can always send the S95 back if anything goes wrong. Needless to say, I’m pretty happy with the purchase so far.
The S95 is a very nice camera, packed full of features in a very small package. For an in-depth review, check out CameraLabs or DPReview. The S95 is no SLR, but you can still get some nice photos with it.
HD video is all the rage now with newer DSLRs. Unfortunately, my Canon XSi (aka 450D) doesn’t come with any video recording capabilities. However, there is a hack that lets me record video in 720p HD (via PetaPixel) with my DSLR. The method does have its limitations though. First, your Canon DSLR must have LiveView and has to be tethered to a computer via the USB cable to record video. This technique works in the studio/home setting, and you might be able to be a bit more mobile with a laptop, but it’s not very practical otherwise. Another problem with this hack is that it doesn’t record sound. You’ll have to use another device to record sound and add the sound to your movie after wards.
Despite the limitations, it is free and very easy to do. Just download EOS Camera Movie Record and install it on your computer. Plug your Canon DSLR into your computer (via the USB cable), start up the program, and you’re ready to record. The software is pretty simple to use and produces movies in AVI format. You can watch a YouTube video that takes you through the process.
I recorded a short movie of cars outside my apartment (see below). I added music and titles with Microsoft’s Movie Maker, which comes with Windows. Unfortunately, Movie Maker only allows you to save as a WMV file and only at 720×480. I’m not sure why it’s a bit noisy – probably due to the low lighting or maybe a reflection on the glass. Movies with the XSi (450D) I’ve seen on YouTube look pretty amazing.
If your Canon digital camera doesn’t work and the warranty has expired, you have the option of trading in your broken camera for a refurbished Canon camera. Canon doesn’t really advertise the loyalty program, but you can find articles about the program online.
I recently traded in my girlfriend’s Powershot SD700 IS which had a broken external shutter. Canon offered me a refurbished Powershot G10 for $249 ($280 after tax and shipping). A used G10 goes for about $300-$350 on Craiglist, so the loyalty program is not a great deal, but not a bad one either. According to people who have participated in the loyalty program, some of the cameras that you can trade-up to are brand new. The G10 I received was clearly a refurbished model; it was dusty and had some very small scratches on the body. All refurbished cameras come with a 90-day warranty however.
Despite being refurbished, the G10 works fine. It’s an older model in Canon’s G-series; the newest model is the G11. Some people argue that the differences between the G10 and G11 aren’t big enough to justify the price difference. The G10’s three-inch LCD screen is pretty spectacular, however it does get a bit noisy/grainy at ISOs above 400. For more on the G10, check out the review from Camera Labs.
You get three different choices depending on the camera you want to trade in and which refurbished cameras Canon has in stock. As far as I can tell, none of the other major camera manufacturers have a similar trade-in program. It’s a great way for Canon to keep customers loyal to the brand.
I recently purchased my first DSLR, a Canon EOS Rebel XSi (aka 450D). There are several reviews online, so I won’t go into the camera’s features. I ordered the XSi kit, which includes the EF-S 18-55mm f3.5/5.6 IS lens, from Amazon for $569.95. If you combine the purchase with the Canon EF-S 55-250mm f4.0/5.6 IS telephoto zoom lens for $255.00, Amazon will give you an instant rebate of $200, making the total cost $624.95. I was able to sell the telephoto zoom lens on Craigslist for $200.00, which makes the cost of my Canon XSi with the kit lens $424.95. Not a bad deal.