The “new” life of all OLD camera

It’s been a long time project. For at least 7 years I’ve been wanting to do a web project called “cheapphotography.com”. That would have involved a Canon 350D camera (about 150€ used) and a plastic Canon 50/1.8II lens (+/- 70€ used). The aim ? Show that with a less than 250€ combo of well obsoleted gear, one could make perfectly adequate photographs.

imagesNow I’m topping myself because I’m actually going to do this with a… 50€ even older Canon 300D camera. Yeah, the price I found it for is pretty insane, but if you look around the web a bit, there are similar to be had. I paid 70€ for the lens, so that’s a 135€ once you’ve added shipping.

FrontThere was a rare and more classy “Black” edition for this cam, and if I fall in love and decide I must have one in my camera collection, I’ll hunt a black unit (which usually sells quite a bit higher). For the moment, and since the camera was not bought for me initially (future Xmas present for my 10 yr old, budding photog,’ niece) the silver will do. Plus, that was the original look of that, at the time, 1000$ camera (!!!).

03B-Canon-EOS300DYeah, you read that well. At introduction the 300D was at the 999 mark ($ or €). And considered ultimately “affordable”. It was the first DSLR ever to go below the 1000 mark, and offered pretty much the best IQ in these times of crazy technology evolution. 10 years later, the 6MP and plasticky silver finish looks pretty tacky but the IQ is still solid, and the camera still usable. The 1/8″ LCD screen is a bit of a joke in itself, and the CF cards look clunky and won’t natively fit your PC’s card reader but I’m still looking forward to give that baby some love (will be here in two days).

So from “cheapphotography.com” to “itsnotthecamera”, I guess the concept is unmistakenly similar, right ? We have to remember it’s indeed, NOT the gear we use that defines us or makes us as photographers. What does is our intend, our vision, and to a much lesser extent out technical proficiency. It’s actually probably a bit harder to use such a dinosaur well. The dynamic range is pitiful compared to what cameras deliver today, so is the noise performance. Much lesser AF speed, consirably less resolution hence less cropping opportunities, etc. It’s a bit like going back to the basics of photography, not unlike shooting film !

In the meanwhile I’ll give the plastic 50/1.8II a little workout in manual focus mode on my NEX 7… Stay tuned !

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About marla2008

Shutterbug. Shallow DOF nut. Mother of Child. Student of the Horse.
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4 Responses to The “new” life of all OLD camera

  1. PaulD says:

    My first “proper” camera was a Canon 300d, which I used predominantly with a 50mm 1.8II lens. In some ways I have yet to own a camera that i enjoy as much as I did that one. Sure, it wasn’t perfect – it was way too slow to start-up and image review (the 350d fixed this). The camera’s 2003 jpeg engine did a terrible job of noise reduction as well (ISO1600 was unusable for me). I loved the “look” of the canon jpegs though at ISO800 and below. Ultimately, the thing that drove me to get rid of this camera was the inaccuracy of the AF with the 50mm lens. It always front focussed. At first I thought this was an issue with my particular camera body & lens. I tried 3 different copies of the lens on the 300d, a 1100d and a 30d. All were the same. Terrible hit rate at f/1.8. I switched to CDAF based NEX cameras after that and have been much happier with the focus accuracy – just not the speed. As you say, the sel50 is just not fast enough…

    • marla2008 says:

      Paul, this is great to have feedback from someone who owned and loved the camera. My dear friend Tammy, a highly talented and successful family photographer, started out with this camera as well, and I’m sure it retained a special spot in her heart (and probably made her a loyal Canon fan for life). I’m looking forward to using this camera, all the more so as my beloved NEX 7 will be gone by Saturday, to help fund whatever magic camera Sony is going to release NEXt 😉

  2. Laurent says:

    Totally cool idea.
    My budget is probably a tiny bit higher than that (I own a refurb 550D and (only) the 50mm1.8, total cost was $450) but can’t wait to see your results (also can’t wait for the preschool years to be over, so I can afford better lenses…lol)

  3. marla2008 says:

    Laurent the 550D is in my view the best Rebel (xxxD) ever released. Canon took most technology from the 5D2 and squeezed it into a smallish and cute body, with the very well polished sensor earlier found in the flagship 7D. The 550D was actually better specified than its price allowed it to, but it was an agressive response to Nikon’s offering at the time. Make sure to keep this one !

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