In part one of this post, I gave a list of questions to ask yourself before deciding to buy a new camera. Often, we are tempted to upgrade simply because we are convinced that newer = better and better = “I can take pictures like so and so!” But the fact is, buying a new camera isn’t necessarily the answer to better photos. Often, learning to rock what you’ve got is a much wiser (and cheaper!) solution.
But if you have looked at things seriously and determined that you really do need a new camera, where do you even begin? There are hundred of choices out there, all with different pros and cons. Is a DSLR what you have your eye on? Are you looking for a great point and shoot that you can stash in your purse? Are you hoping to pay cash? Are you hoping to stay true to your brand? What features are you really looking for?
So many questions!
There are many excellent articles on how to buy a digital camera. They are thorough and very informative. I won’t rehash all this information because they do it so well. I encourage you to really look through these as you decide what kind of camera is right for you.
How to Buy a Digital Camera (PC World)
How to Buy a Digital Camera — A 9 Step Guide (Digital Photography School)
Best Digital Cameras (betterphoto.com)
Digital Camera Buying Guide (Consumer Reports, April 2012)
I would also highly recommend reading lots of reviews. Make sure that the features that are most important to you are getting rave reviews from others.
Now for one big piece of advice. Think about buying used!
Why would you want to buy used? One big reason. It’s cheaper! And cheaper is better if
1) You don’t have the money for new and
2) If you aren’t sure that you will really get your money’s worth from a brand new camera.
If you take out your camera a few times and month and just want to shoot informally, a used camera is a great way to save money. If you think you want to learn how to use “a fancy camera” but you aren’t positive that you will have the time it takes to learn, buying used makes it less risky of an investment. If you want to have backup camera in case something in your main camera goes wrong, buying used is a great option!
When I bought my Canon 20D, I bought it off of Ebay. I couldn’t afford a new camera and so checking out Ebay seemed the right move. I had a great experience, but I feel like I got a bit lucky. You never really know what you are going to get, especially when you are buying from individuals.
So, the next time it was time to buy a camera, I knew I still needed to buy used, but I wanted to have a little bit more control over what I was getting. I wanted to be able to really know what I was purchasing and to feel assured that my many dollars were going somewhere that I could trust.
As it turns out, there are a number of places that you can buy used digital cameras with the assurance that you are getting what you pay for!
Two sites that have great reputations for selling used gear are Adorama and B&H. Each of them have a rating system so that you can buy in an informed way. Each camera has a rating and from that rating you can determine its condition. I purchased my Canon 40D with an E+ rating and I have been very pleased.
You can read a great article on what to look for when buying used here.
Now of course, there are some downsides to buying used and it isn’t for everyone. If you are really just hoping to try before you buy, then renting a camera might be a better option. But I think that used cameras are a great way to save money and still get a lot of camera! It is also a fantastic way to get a quality camera for a budding photographer.
So, what do you think? Is it time to buy a new camera? What are you hoping to get? Would you consider buying used?