Is There a Camera That you Regret Buying?

Is There a Camera That you Regret Buying?

Most of us have made hasty purchases at one point or another, but have you ever bought something you genuinely regretted? In this video, Mattias Burling discusses five cameras he regrets buying and why.

My gear purchases these days are slow and considered, but it wasn't always that way — not by a long chalk. In fact, in the early years of my photographic career, I was hasty to act once I had something in my head. For me, the purchases I shouldn't have bought in retrospect are almost always camera bodies, but there is only really one that I regret.

My first camera was a Canon 350D, second-hand, and heavily worn. It was cheap and a great gateway into the craft. Once I had become fully hooked on photography I decided I wanted to invest in something a bit more modern and bought a Canon 550D. This wasn't necessarily a poor decision, though I wish I'd gone for the camera I bought after that, first. I quickly decided that APS-C was rubbish and that I needed a full frame camera (wrong) and so I bought a second-hand Canon 5D II. Although my reasonings were incorrect, it was a great camera and a strong purchase.

Then comes the regretful purchase. As I did with the 350D, I decided I wanted something more modern than the 5D II and so when the Canon 6D was released, I bought it. The 6D was a good camera and served me well, but it offered almost no gains for my work over the 5D II. It was a truly stupid decision and it wasn't until I have been using both bodies for a few months, side-by-side, that I realized my error and regretted making that purchase, particularly brand new.

Is there a camera you regret buying? If so, why?

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Gary Pardy's picture

Like most decisions in life, we can't know the road unchosen. In retrospect, I might have been wise to pickup a Fuji X-T1 from the get go - it would have been a significant upfront cost compared to my D5300 entry into ILCs, but a much better investment in glass along the way. I don't regret changing kits from APS-C Nikon to full frame Sony - sometimes you just need to use gear for yourself to discover it isn't for you - though again it's a bit of a detour in what could have been a more direct path to where I've settled in terms of my shooting style.

Long story short, there is time and money to be saved if we knew yesterday what we know today. Ask me again 3 years from now.

Kim Ginnerup's picture

I bought a Canon EOS 300D. The camera and I never got along. I guess it has taken 300 images. Then it ended up in a drawer. It is still there. It felt cheap and plasticy (well it was). The kit zoom sounded like two toilet rolls. There was nothing wrong with images. i simply just really just disliked that camera. That was definitely a buy I regretted.

Roger Cozine's picture

I've only regretted buying 2 cameras. When I was shooting with Sony, I bought the A6600 as an upgrade to my A6300. As it turns out. Functionality was exactly the same with a far more expensive cost. The autofocus wasn't any better and the stabilization was highly overrated. I would have been better off saving that money and upgrading other accessories. When I left Sony, I moved to Fujifilm with the X-T1. That camera was garbage. Image quality was decent, but it was a major step in the wrong direction in all other areas. Long story short, I upgraded to the X-T3 and have never been happier!

Lewis Hirschberg's picture

I'd heard what a great camera the Nikon D750 was and is. I bought one (2nd hand) with a 24-120 zoom. Great camera with great images. The problem was and still would be is that I'm a senior and carrying the camera for 4 or 5 hours at a time was tiring especially since I am invested in micro 4/3 Oly system. Smaller sensor cameras that I want to carry are better than heavier system that I regret carrying.

chris bryant's picture

The camera I regret buying was the Fujifilm X-T1. Loved the ergonomics hated the colour output. I spent a year with it wanting to really love it, but decided I really hated the colour output and 'feel'. Today I use a Leica M 240 and an Olympus OM-D E-M5iii. Very happy with both.

Jason K's picture

I don't have any regrets with a purchase, but I still regret selling my Leica Titanium M6 w/Titanium 35mm f1.4 Summilux. I had beat it to hell during wedding shoots and had dropped it multiple times. Even in its beat up condition, I still got $2000 over what I paid for it a decade earlier.

John Perhach's picture

Yep, A used Canon 6di as my first camera! If I could go back I would of just saved up a bit more for a used d750. The camera didn’t even last me a year before I started seeing hot pixels in the shadows badly and well, the dynamic range sucked. I didn’t really know much about cameras when I bought it and the price for a used 17-35mm f4 & 6di was right at the time for what I had money wise. The lens broke after about 6 or 7 months the leaving me with a dying camera and a dead lens. After the lens broke I was faced with two choices really stay Canon or go Nikon because Sony really wasn’t a option because even the f4 lens are stupid expensive while the bodies themselves weren’t to bad price wise, but also the battery issues with the A7ii’s wasn’t gonna work for me.

So my options were ditching Canon all together for Nikon or buying a used 16-35mm f4 & a used 5diii. After a weighing the current options and the possibilities of future mirrorless options from both companies, I said “fuck it” and went with a used Nikon d810 & Nikon 16-35mm f4. I paid roughly 2 grand for the Nikon set up which was a far better bang for the buck in my opinion vs what I could get with a used Canon 5diii & 16-35mm f4 set up.

Now I shoot with a Z7i and the same 16-35mm f4 lens I got with the D810. The upgrade to a Z7i with a FYZ adapter ran me about 1800 dollars so, Yeah, Going Nikon was a good choice and I will never look back!

Scott McDonald's picture

A few years ago I decided to take the plunge into full-frame from APS-C and bought a used A7 thinking that this would last me several more years before moving on to something else...low and behold, I spotted a killer deal on an A7RII shortly thereafter that I couldn't pass up. The A7 got about 2-weeks of use and has sat on the shelf ever since. I should have resold it immediately but the packrat in me said, "No, you might need that camera in the future!" Well, I haven't! Now I have 2 Sonys, 2 Leicas, and 1 Canon!

Charles Mercier's picture

Yes, a number of crappy, used point and shoots.

Christopher Boles's picture

One camera and one lens...The Nikon J1. Great camera but now it just sits in the camera bag, I didn't like looking at the screen to see all my shots..Shoots great movie and stills, but so does my D800. The lens was a Leica Symmar 180mm. We were going to use it for flower photography but it just wasn't versatile enough and heavy. I need to unload both of them and put the money into a more usable lens for the D800.

Richard Kralicek's picture

My first DSLR was the Canon 350d, which did a nice job (and still would do if my daughter would use it instead of her phone), until I got drawn into Bokeh challenges on G+. That got me into wrong decisions. Took me some time to figure out, it's the lenses, not the body, but first I upgraded to the 60d and was pretty happy for a while, until I noticed I should have gone full frame (now there are excellent crop solutions out there, sensors have improved incredibly). I bought EFs lenses, and well, I shouldn't have, just because I later changed for full frame, and started again to sell old stuff for buying new lenses.

Could/Should have used the 350d for longer, buying good lenses and learning to take/make good images first.

Peter Blaise's picture

Gear reviews do not report on LCD polarization orientation - landscape/horizontal versus portrait/holding-the-camera-sideways.

In response to the headline here, I regret buying a Canon camera over the web after reading favorable reviews, only to discover that the back LCD in landscape mode ( my preferred camera orientation ) was polarized to go black when seen through my polarizing sun glasses, making the camera essentially unusable outdoors in the sun.

So I returned it, lost ~$20 in shipping, and found the competitive Sony camera back LCD polarization was oriented appropriately, I may check the Panasonic competition next - does anyone know?

I always wear polarizing sun glasses, and I use a polarizing filter on the front of my camera lenses, so my eye and the camera 'see' the same subject scene, so the Canon was just an odd mismatch, the back LCD being visible only in portrait mode - I do not shoot very often in portrait mode ( holding the camera sideways ).

The Canon camera had other quirks that were off-putting, but the back black LCD DED ( dark emitting diode? ) was the deal breaker.

- - - - -

It generally takes me 4 years or more to comparison shop and purchase gear, the benefits are that I am quite confident that the gear is appropriate, and the price has usually gone down by half on the used market, as well as learning from copious hands-on long-term user reviews for gear that has been around for at least that long.

CoViD and web-purchasing have raised the need to accept the financial risk to buy-it-and-try-it and return it if unhappy, and frankly, $20 return shipping is probably cheaper than a tank of fuel driving all over and parking at any number of camera stores in person, so, web-risk it is, always with return privileges.

JG Wright's picture

Nikon D810. Wonderful camera, beautiful images. But as I get older it's hard to use the non-tilting screen as I often shoot chest-level or lower on a tripod and do focus-stacking. Very cumbersome and painful for my knees. Now I mostly use my (planned for a backup) D750 and the 810 sits at home. I should have waited for the D850.

Steven Taylor's picture

My commitment to the Canon EOS M series was a total mistake. Lightweight, quality construction, quality images - yes, all those things. But I knew all along that Canon was going to abandon its M50 and M6 Mark ii users, yet I still invested in more Sigma EF-M lenses, etc. Waste of money.

Early 2020, a month before the pandemic, I was at the Baths in Virgin Gorda, BVI, with a M50 and M6 Mark ii. Other photographers were lugging pairs of DSLRs and heavy lens. They went around and thru the surf and boulders, risking many thousands on a single slip (saltwater no less). I felt so smart with my lightweight kit.

Now, post-Canon (i want to say post-Covid), my travel gear is usually Sony A9II and Sony A7RIV paired say with Sony FE 40mm f/2.5 G and 70-200mm mark II GM. My goodness, the image quality and low light handling capability are night and day compared to the Canon M series (okay, I am stating the obvious). What a wonderful SONY system. Great for my event and travel photography.

What would I take today to the Virgin Gorda Baths amidst the surf and boulders? My Fuji X100v - a great third travel camera. It's ideal for places like NYC after dark when the chance of theft is high.

Peter Blaise's picture

"... low light handling capability are night and day ..." - thanks for that!


Greg Edwards's picture

Shocker. A couple of £2k+ camera bodies are better than the canon M series.

Only kidding, I use an M5 myself, but I'm glad I didn't go all-in with buying all the lenses now that Canon seems to have abandoned it. I love the lightweight, images are okay but I'm not "in love" with the system. I only went with canon because I used to work for them and got a sizeable staff discount. I always felt it was a half-hearted stop gap until they released the R series.

If it wasn't for major financial crisis at the moment, I'd be tempted to sell the whole kit and go sony or fuji. I love the idea of the X100 series, but I like a little more reach when visiting zoo's and such like. TBH, my phone does a pretty good job as a travel camera these days and would make something like the x100 redundant for me.

Trey Mortensen's picture

I thankfully haven't had any. I've only had 4 bodies and I still actively use 3 of them. I started with borrowing my mom's Nikon D60. Loved the images, hated the camera. I had friends and tutors who had Canon gear, so I bought myself a T2i (550D) so I could use their gear while I saved up for stuff. After a couple of years, I had money and desire for a new camera. It was between the 5Diii or a 6D with the Tamron 24-70VC. I decided to go with the added lens and got the 6D (Still use those two together for adventures). That kit has served me so well. Traveling to 6 countries, dozens of climbs, and countless adventures. The only thing I hated was the autofocus. So after trying my roommate's a7iii with the eye AF, I started getting serious about moving to Sony. We played with the sigma adapter and found that it did great with my Canon lenses. The only other addition I've done was add a Fuji X100, which is just special.

So to summarize, bought a 550D (still have it and use it as a trainer camera with friends who are interested in photography), upgraded to a 6D (still use for rock climbing or mountain biking), switched to an a7iii (main camera for shoots), and added an X100V (daily carry/walkaround).

The only photography things I've ever regretted buying were accessories and the Tokina 100mm macro...

00rob00 Rob00Rob's picture

Not many purchasing regrets but definitely selling. Regret selling XF 35mm, 50 mm compacts. But I'll get them back just not in any rush

J H's picture

I regret the Leica. I realized that the quality just wasn't there. I'm switching to a disposable, its just more fun!

Ben Nahler's picture

Canon RP body...I felt like I needed to get a taste of the full frame hysteria sweeping through the photography world and the RP was the cheapest way in at the time. Primarily with the idea to use my collection of vintage lenses to their fullest. While the camera is capable of producing some fantastic images, it's a real struggle getting there.. white balance is terrible! Autofocus on R lenses is unpredictable, on top of that a pokey little evf and illogical layout of controls. My 6 year old Olympus em10ii is superior in every aspect except unfortunately for resolution.

AJ L's picture

Sony A7. I loved shooting my Nex-5n with legacy glass and thought the A7 would be similar but with 24x36 frame size. Nope. Damn thing was so slow and clunky, and somehow they made it worse to use than the Nex despite having more buttons and an evf. Legacy glass image quality was terrible because of the inexplicable decision to use really thick glass over the sensor.

David Purton's picture

Not really...but soon realised you should never risk going on pro jobs with just one body/one lens...peace of mind!

Having said that camera failures have been rare..I won't waste your time with a full list since 1972 which have included Minolta, Bronica, Hasselblad, Nikon, Mamiya, Linhof, Cambo, Rolleiflex, Fuji 69..

And currently use Mamiya Press Universals/ full set cla'd lenses C220/full set cla'd lenses..Nikon d700's (my "pro kit" the build quality) with a bag of aid/ais lenses from Nikon/Tokina/Samyang/Tamron...f100 and f2as film bodies. All the 35mm/FF bodies have grips/motor drives...

One Mamiya 330 camera body failure in 1982 and a collapsed shutter on a 40mm Distagon....and that's it in 40 years from memory!!

Regrets...I have a few 😀 No, not really!