23rd Jan 2006

Tips and Tricks for Buying Digital Camera

Buying digital camera? Buying a digital camera is not unlike buying a new computer. Prices seem to go down every day and more and more features are added. Last year’s $1000 camera may now be found for less than $500. It always seems like a good idea to wait until the prices come down but, if you adopt that approach, you’ll never buy a digital camera!

Let’s take a broad overview of the process of buying digital cameras. Other articles in this series focus on the technical details, so we’re going to take an educated consumer approach this time.

Buying Digital Camera: Step by Step

Make a list that provides the answers to these questions:

  • How much are you willing to spend on a digital camera?
  • How important are digital zoom capabilities?
  • How important are optical zoom capabilities?
  • Will you be printing the photos that you take on photo quality paper?
  • Will you need to print 4 x 6 pictures?
  • Will you need to print 8 x 10 pictures?
  • Approximately how many pictures do you want to be able to store in the camera’s onboard memory?
  • Is camera size important to you?
  • Do you also want to capture sound and make short digital movies?

Once you know the answers to these questions, you have a road map into the most common features of digital cameras. Later on, when you are comparing models, you can simply check to see how each camera matches up to your answers.

Buying Digital Camera: by Specifications

Next, check the manufacturers advertising claims to see how they say that the camera matches up to your requirements. Because different manufacturers explain their camera’s features using different terms, you should wade through am industry publication called ” A Guideline for Noting Digital Camera Specifications in Catalogs “. The purpose of this publication is to ensure that manufacturers call an orange an orange when they describe a camera’s features.

Buying Digital Camera: by Consumer Feedback

Next in your quest should be a trip to a web site called ” Reseller’s Ratings ” to see what other users think about the cameras that you are looking at.

A quick trip to Google Groups will give you access to their search engine where you can type the models of the cameras you are considering and come up with lots of comments from people who own them.

Move along to any of the price comparison sites and check out the street prices for cameras you are considering. Some good ones are: PriceScan.com, PriceWatch.com, Cnet Shopper.

Once you have a specific camera in mind, you can visit the online discount stores, eBay auctions, and your local retailer to see what kind of a deal you can make.

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