A Guide To Help You See Through All The Camera Buying “Noise” Out There
Years ago, you wouldn’t have used or even needed a camera buying guide online. There were just the mainstream camera manufacturers (Canon, Nikon, Kodak, Olympus, Pentax etc) that made a fairly basic array (by today’s standards) of cameras to suit all levels. You saw an ad on TV, in a magazine or saw a friend’s camera and made your choice to suit your budget.
Nowadays, with the information superhighway, and media explosion, you are hit from all angles by all sorts of ads, all with one thing on their mind – MONEY!
Companies like Panasonic, Hewlett Packard, Sony, Samsung and Casio have all diversified from their mainstream products to include cameras at the top of their agenda.
Since I first bought a camera (way back in 1980) a lot has changed! To supplement my income whilst serving a one-year apprenticeship with a local photographer, I worked in the local camera shop where I lived!
It was great, I got to play with all the latest cameras and lenses that I had just read about in my favourite camera mag.
Yes! Yes! Nostalgia is great, but what is your point?
My point is that I was a 16 year old that read every photographic magazine published, and worked in the industry at a good level. When a customer walked into the shop, I knew what I was talking about, I was their camera buying guide.
Working alongside me, with all due respect, were people that simply had a job and wanted to make a sale or sales. It made me realise that I had to trust my own judgement or listen to the professionals when making a choice of camera, therefore I had my own personal camera buying guide.
OK! So where is OUR camera buying guide?
It is exactly where you are now…the internet! Not only has it got a different camera buying guide to suit all abilities and budgets, but I would whole-heartidly suggest that you make your purchases online too!
In the first 2 years that I went digital, I bought the majority of my professional kit from companies on the internet, and I have saved a fortune!
For example, back in 2006 I bought a Canon EF 70-200L F2.8 IS USM Lens (mark I), one of the finest bits of glass I have seen, on eBay. The average price from the high street? £1450.00! I bought it online for quite a bit less.
It arrived in 3 days (Including a weekend!), in immaculate condition, brand new and unopened, and I paid just £40 shipping charges! I paid via paypal, knowing it was secure and it was all done from the comfort of my office. I had read umpteen reviews online, visited photographic forums and I spoke to my (photographer) brother who also owns one.
Not once did I go into a shop to try one, I hate sales patter, I am an easy target! Also, it is actually safer to buy online now, the goods are delivered to the address on your statement, and there is no chance of someone “swiping” your card and making a copy as online transactions are secured by 128-bit encryption.
My family and I now buy all our books, software, accessories and even baby clothes online, it makes a lot of sense.
Ok! What else do I look out for?
Here are some more pointers…
- When buying online, make sure it is with reputable, secure payment companies.
- eBay, for example, has over 25,000,000 items new and used with 3,000,000 listed daily. They use ALL secure servers for payment. They also sell brand new camera products as well as second hand, and DON’T always need bidding. You just BUY IT NOW.
- Track your deliveries online to check for delivery dates and times.
- If buying from eBay, buy from the “Power sellers” or stores with a high positive feedback score if you can. They have a reputation to keep and need good feedback from customers like myself, in order to keep trading successfully.
- Other companies like Amazon work in a similar way to eBay, and both are regulated by the trading standards. I buy most of my kit through Amazon these days…love them!
- Buying online cuts out all the middlemen, warehouses and shops alike, meaning the end user (you) gets the benefit, being a huge discount.
- Most goods bought online, have the usual guarantees in place, but just check to make sure before buying.
- I can’t leave without giving a quick plug to my friends at B and H Stores in New York. I have bought a ton of camera gear through them and saved a bundle. Their store is incredible, their service excellent and prices low. I had all my kit delivered to Spain…no problem! Have a look around their site, it is huge!
As well as expanding our camera buying guide, we will soon be adding a list of recommended retailers such as B and H above. This is from either personal experience or customers’ ratings. Use their sites to review and/or purchase your goods with peace of mind.
For now, why not check out our new store and featured products.