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2020 New Camera Tips, treat yourself you deserve it.

Christmas is around the corner and there’s been a lot of talk about fiscal stimulus and that we all need to start spending to help rebuild our stricken economy. It’s actually a great time to buy a new camera if you’ve got the means to do so. There is a lot of incentive out there from government, retailers and the camera brands with great discounts to drive turnover. Having some niceness in our lives after this disaster of a year is a small reward for our perseverance.

I’d like to express early in the piece that when I say buy a new camera, I should probably have said upgrade or change your camera. Considering a used camera from a reputable source is a great way to slowly move towards your dream without breaking the bank. The camera companies are flooding the market with their seductive little machines, touting the latest and greatest technologies and creating a frenzy each and every time. This is a positive in some ways as it creates a surplus in the market of some really good quality secondhand equipment.

Don’t get me wrong, the acquisition of new camera equipment is very similar to being addicted to an illicit drug and the camera companies are essentially the dealers. The notion of the best camera you can have is the one that you have in your hand, is true and a little boring, when you can spend heaps of money buying things you may not necessarily need. The short of it is, that it can be a lot of fun and be very addictive but it doesn’t necessarily make better pictures, not in the beginning anyway. Let’s go through the motions…

The first step is to set your budget, this is paramount because I promise you, you will spend more than you have to unless you set this cap. This may be associated with you selling some old equipment, do all that first and have your limit in hand. This is well before you look at anything in the shops or online. Setting yourself a reasonable limit, protects you from making bad impulsive choices. I would say that in today’s current market a reasonable amount of money to spend on a ‘good/decent’ quality camera is $800 - $1400. This is just a ballpark, so don’t get your knickers in a knot because your brother in law told there are great cameras at a lower price. You have to remember that cameras in that bracket are the base of professional cameras, sharing similar technologies and design. The trickle-down effect is very prevalent in photography just like Formula 1 is to the car industry. Anything less and you are getting into an area of the market where smartphones reign supreme, so you’ve already got what they are capable of in your back pocket. If you are happy with your snaps from your phone then stop here. I promise you however, your phone is not the same as a purpose built camera!

Next, you need to decide on function! What are you going to use it for? Snaps of the kids, a specific event, like a holiday to far flung places or your first camera because photography appeals to you. Whatever the reason, knowing this in advance is critical to ensure that what you buy is fit for purpose. It’s very easy to under buy due to price and believe me when I say it’s even easier to over buy! Now start your research online, particularly via the huge number of reviews on YouTube.

The search engines are very smart, type in ‘great cameras for beginners’ that entry will actually create a search that relates to an aspiration in photography, rather than absolute basement beginner level. This will essentially give you a great range of product to chose from. Do some research, listen to the positives and negatives, in a very short period of time you’ll start to sway towards a specific type or brand of camera. I’m not even talking about sensor size, type of lenses or which famous photographer uses it, it’s more about how it sounds to you. It could even be as simple as a size limitation you might have. If the reviewers are excited about a particular camera, do a bit more digging to confirm their excitement.

Consider that part your initial window shopping, now you have to get some hands-on experience. Do another quick search online and choose a good local camera shop (look at the reviews), stop in and ask for some help. Name the camera or brand you have been drawn to and ask the salesperson to give you an overview of that camera. The price would normally be clearly marked, if the price isn’t right on your mark then simply ask what they would suggest in your price range. You can hold back a little to see what they can do but there really isn’t a lot of movement in the camera world.

Take all that back home and do a features and benefits comparison online for the camera you settled on. I’d take the time now to reward the salesperson with your business if they were helpful, even if it costs a little more. Having a ‘friend’ in a camera shop and developing a relationship can be a very valuable connection to have down the road. If you are 100% price focused, then you know what to do.

The last stage is to actually make the purchase. Now it all comes down to price, does what you’ve chosen fit within your spend range? Did you settle for a lesser camera due to price? Would it better to get what you want secondhand? You need to ask yourself all these but above all stay within the scope of the project. The bottom line in real terms is, the best camera you can have, is the one you can afford and not regret.

Do your homework, enjoy the process and learn to love photography, it’s an incredible pastime and an amazing way to stay connected to your memories and create amazing moments. Don’t over think it too much, every camera has its pros and cons, stick to your budget, that by default limits your choices making it easier.

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