The Money’s In the Details: Tips on Buying Your Digital Camera

March is the perfect time to replace or upgrade your digital camera.  Much hyped over the holiday season, new models finally hit the shelves in January.  This means retailers that have “older” models still on their shelves are knocking down prices lower than they were even on Black Friday.


Buying a digital camera has gotten a lot more complicated as technology has become more and more advanced.  The simplest way to save a ton on top of these already significant sales is to figure out what you actually need your camera to do, and avoid paying for all those extra features that will eventually lead to frustration or non-use.


To DSLR or Not to DSLR?


DSLR cameras are all the rage.  They can do so many things that point-and-shoots can’t.  They have a super fast response time, are great for low-light shots, and their wide angle coverage is incredible.


Not sure how all of that translates into your day-to-day photography?  Then you probably don’t need one.  Even if you have spent some time researching, and are considering starting photography as an artistic hobby, you should probably stick with a high-end point-and-shoot until you master all of its features.  Once you get there, you can delve into all of the complexities (and expenses) that come along with DSLRs.


Hold Off On the MegaPixels


More is always better, right?


Wrong.  We’re getting to an age in camera technology where our capabilities are largely outpacing our collective skill-levels.  The most basic point-and-shoots generally  have satisfactory levels of 5-10 megapixels.  It can be tempting to pay for more than that.  But once you start reaching 12 megapixels, other factors become important.  If you don’t have all of your settings just right, a larger amount of megapixels can actually reduce the quality of your images.


So if you’re in the DSLR camp, spend away.  But if you’re getting a basic point-and-shoot, save yourself the money, headaches, and missed moments by sticking with a lower number of megapixels that will suit your needs just fine.


Ignore the Zoom Hype


Many camera manufacturers brag about how far their cameras can zoom.  Again, if you have advanced skills, these features may be great to have.  But if you’re an everyday consumer just trying to capture life’s little moments, zoom capabilities should be a non-issue for you.


When you zoom, you’re losing megapixels.  If you really want to frame the shot closer, the best thing you can do is move closer.  Zooming in is the same thing as taking the picture as you see it, and then editing it on your computer.  Following the latter method gives you more room for error, and will save you money on a feature that doesn’t provide the amateur photographer with a lot of value.


Consider Buying Wholesale


Saving on your new camera largely comes down to eliminating the features that you won’t need.  Once you’ve decided on a suitable make and model, it’s time to decide where to buy.  Retailers and buying direct from the manufacturer generally come out a wash.  A cheaper option is to buy from a wholesaler, who buys cameras in bulk for a lower price, and then passes on some of its savings to you, the consumer.