Yes, you can get a quality, name brand DLSR with two lenses for under $500 at Canon USA. I found this particular special this afternoon for $440.
They are refurbished items directly from Canon USA and they come with a one year warranty, the same as you get when buying a new Canon camera or lens.
I get emails on a regular basis that read something like this: “My daughter signed up for a photography class this coming semester at college and she needs a DSLR and lens. My budget is only $500 and I have been looking at prices. I can’t find a camera and lens that I can afford. Can you help me?”
I always respond by saying, Go to Canon USA and look at refurbished cameras and lenses. There is almost always a camera and lens combo you can get in the $400 to $500 range.
A refurbished camera or lens is an item that has been returned to Canon for any reason. Sometimes someone just changed their mind and returned a new items that works just fine. Whatever the reason for the return, the Canon factory techs check out the item and makes sure it meets all the specs of a brand new item, and then it is sold as a “refurb”.
The nice thing about the camera and lens combo in the graphic above is you get two lenses that cover a very nice focal length range. One lens is a wide angle, mid-focal length, and short telephoto range (18-55mm) that makes a great all around lens. The other lens is a nice telephoto lens range (75-300) that lets you capture more distant subjects like sporting events and wildlife. This two lens combination will serve any photographer well. If a photographer decides they want to pursue super wide angle photography, they can always get a super wide angle lens later, giving them a nice, three lens kit.
There is one small catch. Refurbished items come and go quickly. The camera and lens combo that is available today might be gone tomorrow, so order it today. If the combo you want isn’t available today, check back every day until it is available and then grab it while you can. Prices change too. Sometimes I see this combo for $320.
These are obviously not Canon’s top of the line models, but they are good quality cameras and lenses. They are capable of creating excellent images. Teaching photography since 1995 has taught me a lot of things, and one of them is that poor image quality is almost always the result of poor photographic technique, and not from having less expensive equipment. Photographers should worry more about their skills and fuss a lot less about the quality of their equipment.
Almost all professional photographers start out using less expensive equipment. Like them, you can always upgrade later when you need to.
Refurbished Interchangeable Lens Cameras – including DLSR and lens combos
This article is part of the buyer’s guide series that covers the best of everything photographic: Buyer’s Guide: Recommendations For The Best Photography Equipment, Software, Books, Magazines, DVDs, Online Photo Labs and More