Yes, you can get a basic Canon camera kit for $288. You get a Canon T6 DLSR body and two lenses: 18-55mm and 75-300mm. And you get the same one year warranty as if you bought the items brand new. The same camera with only one lens (18-55mm) sells new today for $399 at Amazon.
I go shopping for inexpensive kits like this on a regular basis. Why? I regularly get emails from people wanting to buy some inexpensive camera gear. They go shopping and end up with sticker shock. Then I get an email or text message that goes something like this. “My son/daughter signed up for a photography class and needs a camera and lens. My budget is $500. Can you help me?”
Of course I can. I send them to Canon’s “refurb” site and make some suggestions.
Is there a catch? Yes, but it is a minor one. These are refurbished items. Should you worry about that? No. If someone buys an item, uses it, and then returns it for any reason, it can’t be sold again as new (at least not by a reputable dealer). The item is thoroughly checked out by Canon’s technical lab to make sure it is up to spec, then it is sold as a “refurb”. You are getting an item that works great with a one year warranty that is the same as the warranty on a new item. You have nothing to lose.
The upside is you can save some money. And if you are buying consumer grade items, like the example above, you can save a lot of money.
Is this top of the line gear? Of course not. Can you use this equipment to create beautiful images? Yes, of course. You are only limited by your skills.
You are also getting a pretty wide focal length coverage. Thanks to the digital of view crop with the Canon T6, the 18-55mm lens has an effective focal length of 29-88mm which is a modest wide angle to a short telephoto lens. The effective focal length of the 75-300mm lens turns out to be 120-480mm, which is a short telephoto to a long telephotos lens. So between the two (ignoring the negligible gap of 88-120mm) you have coverage from 29-480mm.
Down the road you might wish you had a wider focal length than 29mm. You could pick up a Canon 10-18mm lens with an effective focal length of 16-29mm. 16mm is a super wide angle lens. So you get 16-480mm with a three lens set.
At these prices, refurbished gear comes and goes quickly. The item you see “In Stock” today could be gone tomorrow, and then show up again in a week. So if you find what you want, buy it now. Prices change too. When I did the screen capture yesterday the price was $320. Today the same kit sells for $288. You can find it at the first purchase link below. At least right now. Tomorrow or the next day it could be gone.
Lots of my friends now have refurbished cameras and lenses that do a great job for them and didn’t break the bank.
Can you get more expensive Canon gear as refurbs? Yes you can. Just use the third and fourth purchase links below.
UPDATE, May 2, 2020: I got a message this morning from George Jones, a friend of mine. He wanted to upgrade to a DLSR, he read this article, so he took advantage of this particular special and got the Canon T6 plus two lenses. He took it out for a spin and he is having a ball.
As Canon’s individual refurb specials change the first two purchase links may no longer work or the prices may change, but the last two links should always work.