Keen amateur Peter Jeffels was convinced he could do better by buying second-hand and after doing lots of research (including taking some less than positive reviews with a pinch of salt), he is now very happy with his Canon EOS 550D and 70-30omm lens from Park Cameras. Both are perfect for his nature and wildlife work.

Why did you decide to buy second-hand?
I wanted better pictures than were possible on my phone and bridge camera. Talking to a friend one day during lockdown I said “I bet I could get a second hand EOS for next to nothing, as I’ve an amazing Canon 60mm macro lens upstairs doing nothing.” I used to use the macro lens with my old EOS 350D, it was an amazing piece of glass. In the end I opted for an EOS 550D from Park Cameras. When it arrived next day, I was amazed, it was ‘as new.’ This was genuinely a £770 camera priced at £139. The fun I had with that camera from the second I got it out of the box has been immeasurable. The School of Biological Sciences photo-club folk absolutely love seeing my pictures I take with it, using the old 60mm macro lens.

Have you bought any longer lenses?
Some of the gang at the photo club have 300mm lenses and the wildlife photos they take are phenomenal. So I thought I’d take a look to see what I could get for a reasonable price with image stabilisation (used, and again from Park). I saw the Canon 70-300 F4.5-5.6 DO IS USM and after a bit of deliberation and research I thought, that’s the lens for me. As per the EOS 550D, apart from the lens not being boxed, you could not tell that it had ever been used. Initial experiments in the garden with the UV filter I’d bought to accompany it were very promising. The results I got up at Troup Head in Aberdeenshire the following day with the gannets were amazing. The image stabilisation is fantastic both in position 1 (normal) and position 2 for panning. I’ve not got the perfect panning shot yet, but one day I will! For the money (around £300) the lens is amazing: the detail, to me, even at full 300mm extension is outstanding.

Sounds like you’d definitely recommend buying second-hand from a specialist used retailer…
Absolutely. Sitting on the cliffs or down by the estuary with the 70-300mm lens getting to know the birds and their character without the need for a tripod is an amazing way to spend time. To be able to share this fun with others via the resulting photos is magical.

See Peter’s Flickr page here.