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Photography has a reputation. It’s a very pricy hobby and a very artistic one. This tends to attract a certain amount of attention from more snooty hobbyists. This is a minority, but it’s not uncommon to feel pressured into seeking out the very newest and fanciest equipment. But in the defense of thrift and wise money-spending, here is a list of some key reasons to embrace the second-hand and hand-me-down cameras that often go unloved.

Thrift is a Virtue

While many find satisfaction from the flashy and shiny newness of a current-model camera, there is something to be said about thriftiness. Photography is a hobby that often presses its followers to chase after the newest models with unique features. It’s not unlike chasing after the newest cell-phone models, but with a higher price point. But cameras drop price very quickly, often being cheaper by as much as a third. This saving is very significant,  but those savings can be re-invested for more photography equipment – lenses, lighting, and more.

The Variety

Modern cameras are leaning into very proprietary-filled waters. This is excellent for company loyalists, but if you are looking for a change it can be a struggle. Canon and Nikon aren’t apt to change their systems vary dramatically, so if you’re interested in trying out the other brand – or even less-known ones – a cheaper option allows you to test the waters. Similarly, if you aren’t used to DSLR-style shooting, you shouldn’t break the bank to try it out.

Professional Models – for Casual Prices

A high-end professional camera can cost more than $1500 at the mid-tier. This is an investment in a career, but if you aren’t prepared to spend that much you might feel stuck while you save up. These pieces of equipment can be investments in your future, so it can be very worth it to purchase an older model that will allow you to begin your career. However, remember that professional cameras are more rugged for a reason – career photographers will be rougher on their equipment than most. Look for dents, loose dials, or sticky buttons for major signs of misuse. Smaller issues can be overlooked, but some issues could interfere with your work.

Lastly, you should remember that – despite tech-industry crowing – technology doesn’t move that quickly. Cameras are advancing alongside everything else, but it’s not as though a few years will make the difference between a pixelated mess and a pristine portrait. Having the newest model is a nicety, not a necessity.