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10 Tips for Buying The Right Camera Gear

Last Updated 6th November 2012

Every time you go on a trip, you don’t just think about the fun experience you’ll have in your vacation, but also how you can immortalize it through the photos you’ll take. Therefore, it’s inevitable for you to think about buying some new camera gear. To help you in that endeavor, this article provides you with a few guidelines you can consider.

Think about How You Will Use It

Each person has a different subject in mind. And so, each person will need a different kind of camera. For example, if you want to be able to shoot in low light, you might want large aperture lenses. But you should also take note that they weigh more and are more pricey. You can also go with zoom lenses that are compact, less expensive and can also cover a wide range. Though they may not be as sharp as those that cost more. As you can see, there are plenty of options and a number of factors to consider. From a good mobile phone camera to the top of the line DSLRs, the choices are laid out for you and it’s up to you to decide what will best suit your needs.

Megapixels Measure Size, not Necessarily Quality

Back in the day when digital photography was just emerging, the megapixel counts used to be a reliable measure of the quality of the camera, but gone are those days. Today, you won’t find a camera that doesn’t have a sensor with tons of megapixels. What people have to realize is that manufacturing a sensor isn’t enough. What’s important to know is what they do with those pixels. Having more pixels doesn’t necessarily make a product better since they can sometimes turn out as just a waste of space instead. So the important reminder here is to do your research before you put your money into something.

If You Shop Local, Buy Local

Local camera shops may not always be great, but I’m sure you’ll find at least a few that can offer you a good deal, especially in major metro areas. The advantage of shopping in local shops is that they have sales staff who have enough knowledge to help you out in choosing the right items. They can offer reasonable prices too, which you will surely appreciate. Some online shops may offer lower prices, but you won’t be able to ask someone about the item you’re going to buy. Also the camera or lenses may be a grey import, something brought in from overseas, and may not come with a genuine warranty by the camera company. If you’re savvy enough, you may not need anybody’s help, but getting to carry the actual camera in your hand and try it out yourself as you buy it may be worth the little extra you might be spending.

What’s in the Box, and What Isn’t?

You have the option to buy just the camera body or a kit with the accessories that go with it. Either way, buying a new camera is an opportunity to buy other items for your camera as well. Nikon, for example, is known for the different camera batteries that go with different camera models. So if you’re planning to keep spare batteries for your camera, you’re going to have to include that in your budget as well. With new lenses, you might consider buying new accessories like lens caps, lens hoods and filters. It’s important to anticipate the extras you might need to buy when you do your budgeting.

Would you Like Some French Fries with That?

It has become a marketing strategy for many camera dealers to overly cut the price of the camera and make it up with the overpriced accessories they might compel you to buy. Try comparing it with what many fast food chains do. They strip down the price of a sandwich only to suggestively sell you the fries and soda in the set. In both cases, the key to responsible buying is to resist the temptation. Know what you want and need and stick with it. Don’t let the advertising sway you.

Third Party Lenses are Cheaper, but Name Brand Ones Have Higher Resale Value

You might have experienced the temptation of buying lower priced third party lenses instead of their Nikon and Canon equivalents. In those times, you have to do the math carefully and see the cost difference. Many Nikon and Canon lenses, if kept in top condition, can be resold at a higher percentage of the original compared to third party lenses. That may not matter to you if you plan to stick with it forever, but if you’re the type who likes to upgrade your gear with new models, sticking with branded ones might help you save more in the long run.

Consider Used

With the fast turnover of new models thanks to technology, some users can actually buy used lenses with last year’s model instead of spending a huge amount for the newest release. There are a lot of users who sell their well cared for lenses in order to buy a new one. While buying used lenses can be ideal for you, be sure to find a trustworthy source by doing your research. Make sure you are buying a lens that is fully functional, and if possible, take your camera body and try the lens out before purchasing it.

The Camera Doesn’t Take the Picture, the Lens Does

If you think about the anatomy of the camera, the camera itself serves as a sealed box with a hole that can be opened and closed. The function of the lens, on the other hand, is to focus the light into that hole. So when you think about it, the quality of your lens will have more weight than the quality of your camera. The glass in the lens plays an active role in the way the image looks. So if your budget is pretty tight and you wish to spend less on an item, you’re better off with a cheaper camera and a better lens than the other way around.

Neither the Camera nor the Lens Take the Picture, You Do

We’ve talked about the functions of the lens and the camera. But what you must never fail to realize is that the best tool in photography is you yourself. More than your equipments, an important part in taking pictures is for you to be able to see the image. A good camera and lens may be enough for you and you won’t even need to buy a better one. Being more aware of your surroundings, slowing down and stopping to see what’s in front of you is one of the basic keys to amazing photos. Anywhere you go, there are countless opportunities for you to take great photos, you just have to actively look for them. Maybe you’ll realize that you’ll only have to buy a new camera if you’ve exhausted everything you and your old one can offer.

Don’t Rush Into Anything

One of the essential life lessons is to not rush things through. It very much applies to buying new camera gear. Impulsive buying might lead you to horrible consequences. Don’t settle for one great deal. Check out the competition and compare. Know all your options because that’s the only  way you can decide what you think is best for you.


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