Shopping for a New Camera in 2018: the Sony a6000

So, 2018 is my self-proclaimed year of growth. It’s the first year that I’ve felt pretty stable and consistent progress in my digital brand. As a graduate student, I’ve got very little time to focus on things other than homework, so unlike my college years when I used most of my free time casually consuming media, I’ve spent the past two years as a content creator.

I decided a few years ago that I wanted to start taking photos on a “real” camera, instead of my phone. I imagined being able to add them to some kind of blog, but I thought at the very least, it would be nice to capture life event and our travel on an actual camera. So, in 2015 I bought a 2013 Sony HSX300. The camera is a point and shoot, with a fairly large body for what it is, and a very long zoom. It takes lovely pictures in broad daylight. Unfortunately the shutter is also extremely slow and in any other light than bright daylight the photos weren’t crisp. I could rarely capture moving objects with it. I also needed to move to frame the shots perfectly because the pixel resolution was too low to significantly crop photos in post–there was virtually no room for error.

Still, it was a great first camera to own and taught me a lot about how to use a digital camera. After playing around with a few friends’ Sony a6000 cameras, I knew it would be the perfect camera for me. I’m looking for a small camera that could fit in my every day bags, and an introduction to using manual adjustments. I wanted to take professional quality photos without needing to know everything just yet. It’s basically my intro into the world of professional photography. I’m thrilled to shoot with this camera.

But it’s 2018. Didn’t that camera come out in 2014?

I’m glad you asked! It did! As you can see from my purchase of the Sony HSX300, I have no problem finding a deal on an older model camera and jumping on it. But I’ve also done a lot of research. Aside from talking to friends who own a Sony a6000, I also looked at a ton of reviews. Many people who said that they had upgraded from the a6000 to the a6300-7 still stood vehemently behind the a6000, insisting that it was the best in its class at the under $600 price point.

I visited B&H camera shop today and it’s basically a wonderland for all things production. There’s sound, lighting, photography and video equipment and a ton of other things. The whole shop takes up what seems like half a square block in NYC which is pretty substantial. The salesperson told me it’s the largest camera store in the world.

After asking a few people where the Sony cameras were, I stumbled across the used section. A very helpful person was able to answer all of my novice questions about the camera body, kit lenses and compatible lenses that would suit my needs. When I spoke with him, he initially told me there weren’t any used a6000s. But–after about 10 minutes of talking through options, someone brought in a gently used Sony a6000! It had a rating of 9/10 on their used scale, and as I examined it closely, there were no scratches or signs of wear. It also included a kit lens.

I purchased my new (used) camera for $470, which was significantly lower than the new price of $598. I was able to purchase a gently used 50MM lens with the money I saved.

Why used?

As a newcomer to the photography world, I went in thinking I’d purchase a band new white a6000 with kit lens for $598. But the more I talked through my needs with the salesperson the more I realized that 1) the camera works just a well as a new one 2) the model is three years old anyway 3) the black camera has a more timeless (and possibly re-sellable look to it) and 4) I have more than enough time to work with this one and then upgrade to a new camera later. What’s the rush?

I could not justify the added cost of buying the new camera over this one. I also have 30 days to try out my used one and and I can return it for store credit or a full refund. I’m no newbie to buying used items–I love vintage and antique shopping. Many professionals will also sell their camera equipment as a “trade up” to save money on new equipment. It’s quite common.

So, if you’re in the market for a new camera consider the used are. You might surprise yourself.

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