Shopping for a digital camera can fun, but can oftentimes leave consumers who do not understand or follow the newest camera technology feeling overwhelmed. The majority of digital cameras look the same, with the exception of color and layout.
What makes things even more challenging is that digital cameras have plenty of small details that make them different from one another, such as the number of megapixels they offer, the optical zoom lens, the size of the LCD screen and its HD video capabilities. If you’re not sure what these factors are, you can end up spending more money than necessary. Here’s how to save money on your next digital camera.
Tip #1: Consider Necessary Features before Luxury Ones
Start off by making a list of the features that are important to you and what you’ll be using your camera for.
About.com reminds us that digital cameras don’t have to be expensive to yield high-quality photographs. If you’re a beginning photographer or enjoy taking casual photos, a moderately priced digital camera will be sufficient for your needs. Knowing exactly what you need will help you to stay within your budget and avoid the common misconceptions that you need to pay more for certain features.
It’s also important to know the lingo in the digital camera world. Some features may appear advantageous, when really, they won’t make much of a difference with the end result. For example, Martin Lewis’ MoneySavingExpert.com says that a digital zoom feature isn’t a necessity since you can crop your photographs using photo editing software and have better results. On the other hand, having an image stabilizer is important for those who have shaky hands as this feature will prevent blurry photos.
Tip #2: Know Your Camera Types
There is no doubt that you’ll find a big price difference between a point-and-shoot camera and a DSLR, otherwise known as a digital single-lens reflex camera. Cambridge in Colour cuts right to the chase and provides you with the information you need to know. In short, a digital SLR camera produces higher quality photographs and less lag than their compact counterparts, but point-and-shoot cameras are favored for their small size and portability.
It’s true that digital SLR cameras have a better reputation for their ability to deliver crisper, clearer images. Yet what many people fail to realize is that point-and-shoot varieties are adopting many of the same technologies, including a live view rear LCD, a greater range of creative possibilities, RAW file format support and an external flash unit. Digital SLR cameras are certainly worth the investment, but if size and weight are important factors, you’ll appreciate the less expensive, and many times just as good, point-and-shoot varieties.
Tip #3: Don’t Pay More for a Higher Megapixel Count
Digital-photography-tips.net defines megapixels as the dots on images that create the photograph. A 4MP camera will have 4 million dots on the photograph; a 6MP camera will have 6 million dots and so on. The megapixel count is always getting higher, and people believe that the more megapixels they have, the better their photographs will be.
This may be true for professional photographers, but not for you. More megapixels are better for large photographs such as 8X10s, and chances are, you won’t notice any difference between 8MP and 10MP since the changes are so subtle. For the average person who prints off 4x6s or leaves their photographs on the computer, paying for a camera with higher megapixels is unnecessary.
The larger picture size can also take up more room on your SD card, allowing you to only take a certain amount of pictures. Going for a smaller megapixel count, as well as having a quality SD card (the Lexar SD cards brand is a great choice), you’ll be able to take more pictures and won’t be able to tell a difference. Well, except in your wallet.
Tip #4: Purchase from Experienced Camera Manufacturers
Another way to save money is by purchasing a digital camera from a trusted manufacturer. It can be easy to spring for a lower-priced camera manufactured by a company just breaking into the market, but chances are, it will be a decision that will cost you in the long run. Instead, stick to established companies who have been manufacturing digital cameras for years. These companies have been continually perfecting camera technology and introduce more reliable technology in their models. Newer manufacturers, however, simply don’t have the resources in their back pocket.
Furthermore, experienced manufacturers also have better warranties in place and are better equipped to handle camera repairs. That’s not to say that all new manufacturers should be avoided. Look for those that are partnering up with existing camera makers and utilizing their parts and technology. For example, Sony uses Carl Zeiss lenses and Panasonic uses Leica lenses, so look forward to more partnerships like these.
Tip #5: Aim for Last Year’s Model
Naturally, when you start shopping for your new camera, you will want one that’s new. Yet in the world of digital cameras, a camera that is a year old is considered, well, old. Basically, you can’t keep up with these technological advancements, so save yourself some money and spring for an older model that is still new and possesses much of the same technology, according to the Save Few Bucks blog. After this time, the camera will be discontinued and you won’t be able to get your hands on it again.
Newer models of cameras generally have a few new features, including more megapixels. They often have more attractive designs, a few extra amenities for improving picture quality and smaller builds. Yet when it comes to taking pictures, you’re not going to notice a real difference between models. An older model can cost nearly $100 less than a newer model, and you get most of the same features and technology while still having an essentially “new” camera.