What Camera to Buy – Part 1: Choosing a Make

By Jack Berglund

Related Posts
What Camera to Buy – Part 2: Cameras by the Pound
Buying a Camera – Part 3: Whats in a name?

Choose the Make First

With a wide range of cameras from big name manufacturers such as Nikon, Canon, Sony and Pentax, picking your first DSLR can be difficult and time consuming but it needn’t be. Somewhat counter intuitively, when buying your first SLR camera the best approach, in my opinion, is to pick a make first and then the model. With most other purchases you would compare the different offerings from different brands in the price range you were looking at and pick the one that best suited your needs. Buying an SLR camera is different.

At any given moment, the camera with the best set of features for the price might be a Canon, Nikon, Sony or other brand. With the different release schedules, one manufacturer may have an edge after releasing a new model or drops the price of an existing model but this can change quickly. At a given moment, the Sony might have a million more pixels or the Canon higher resolution video but resist this kind of thinking…

Trust Me, Choose the Make First then the Model

Why is the brand more important than the camera? Imagine you were buying a car knowing that whatever make you bought would be the make you’d buy for the rest of your life. You love the looks of the new little Fiat 500, the price is right and the package great. However, looking down the line, you realize that Fiat don’t make any good midsized or large cars and you’d be hard pushed to upgrade in the future. It wouldn’t matter how good the Fiat 500 was. Clearly, in reality you’re free to switch makes of car any time you like but with cameras its more difficult to jump. Continue reading

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Buying a Camera? Watch out for scams

By Jack Berglund

I’m assuming you use your common sense and judgment when ordering expensive items online but there are a couple of specific things to look out for that have caught out people I know:

Bait and Switch

There are a number of companies in the US and I’m sure elsewhere with an extremely frustrating business model.  They will advertise items with a low but not completely unbelievable price.  When you place an order, they will contact you and push to sell additional items such as an uprated battery or more memory for hugely inflated prices.  From what I’ve been told, their sales tactics are very pushy, boarding on unpleasant.  If you decline all the options, more often than not you will get an email that your order has been canceled.

To avoid waisting your time and effort, do a quick check on any company before ordering, particularly if it seems to be to good to be true.  Reseller Ratings is a good site for checking companies in the US.  Here is an example of one company to avoid:  http://www.resellerratings.com/store/Rogers_Camera

I recommend using a known reseller such as B and H Photo, Admorama Camera and Amazon.com in the US. In the UK try Fixation, Calumet and Mifsuds.

A note on Amazon.com: Amazon has been criticized for not checking out its third party vendors as carefully as people would expect.  In the US, Amazon stock a lot of the mainstream photography equipment themselves, but check when ordering where the item is shipping from.  If you’re unlucky, one of the smaller resellers listed on the Amazon site might not be legitimate or go out of business before you receive your order.

To eBay or not to eBay?

There are deals to be had but when using eBay be very, very careful…

My girlfriend recently found what looked like a good deal on a new Nikon D3.  The seller had a well organized store front and 500+ positive ratings.  Continue reading

First Post

This is a blog about photography aiming to pass on my experiences since I bought my first (and yes, there has already been a second) digital SLR camera 18 months ago.  If you’re thinking of taking the plunge, or have just done so,  this blog will accelerate you along the learning curve so you can get more out of your camera faster and have more fun.  If you’ve been into photography for a while, there will probably be tips and reminders of interest.  For you ‘know-it-alls’…well you know it all, right?

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