This is one of the most common questions I get asked, and it’s one of the hardest to answer. If you think about how many digital cameras are on the market right now ranging from under £100 all the way up to several thousand pounds, then recommending a single camera is a very hard thing to do.
Without more information it is impossible to make a suggestion. So before you ask someone, or when you consider buying a camera yourself, these three questions are the things you should first ask yourself.
1. How much can you afford to spend? There is no point even considering cameras that are out of your price range, although always bear in mind cameras that are just a little more than you can afford and see if they offer a worthwhile amount more for your money.
2. What do you want to use your camera for? If you just want a camera for snapshots on holiday or family gatherings, then the options are vastly different to if you want a camera to produce large, high quality prints which you can sell.
3. What extra items will you need to buy? You can’t just buy a digital camera on it’s own. You have to consider the memory cards it uses, spare batteries, a case and possibly additional lenses or lens attachments. So you have to factor those into your budget.
Once you have thought about, and hopefully have answers to, these three questions, then you will be in a better position to ask someone for advice, or tackle the decision yourself.
So you’ve answered those questions, now where do you go?
Well the first thing to do is draw up a short list of cameras that suit your needs. To do this it’s time to get on the internet and do some research. There are numerous web sites which give you reviews on new cameras, and plenty of price comparison web sites. There are loads of brand names about, some more well known than others. I would recommend sticking to the larger brands that are more well known such as Canon, Nikon, Sony, Pentax and Olympus. There are a few other well known brands but try and go for the ones with good reputations for cameras.
Magazines are also a great place to look so head on down to your local newsagent and see what digital camera magazines they have.
Your local camera shop is also a good place to look. If the person behind the is knowledgeable then they can give you some options, but don’t be persuaded to buy there and then. Always check any recommendations on the web and see what other people say about them. You may find something that the photo store person didn’t tell you.
So now you have a shortlist. Now go back to the shop and see if they stock them and try them out. It might be the greatest camera in the world but if it’s uncomfortable to use or too heavy then it’s not for you. So try the cameras and narrow down your list.
Once you have a list of 3 or 4 options, it’s time to see what camera has the best deals, so it’s time to go back on the net and compare prices. You may get additional memory cards thrown in on some deals, or maybe a case, so keep your eye out for those offers.
Finally it’s time to take the plunge. By this time you should have narrowed your choices down and any of your short list will be a good option. You can get final thoughts from friends or your local camera club maybe, but you can end up thinking too much and too long about it and end up without a camera three months down the line.