Camera Buyer's Guide

 

Camera Buyer's Guide

 

Lesson Info

Camera Purchasing

Let's talk about buying your camera. We're talked about all of the things that are in the camera, now let's talk about purchasing the camera. And I think I'm pretty qualified to talk about this. I've worked in the camera store. I have sold thousands of cameras. I feel like I purchased thousands of cameras. (laughing) I know definitely owned a lot of cameras over the years, and I love purchasing a camera. So here are some of the tips that I have from my experience of purchasing cameras. All right, new model comes out, and that's typically gonna happen in the February to March range, or the September to October range. There's plenty of exceptions, but generally you're not gonna see any cameras announced in the month of December. It just doesn't happen. Not the right time of year. You'll see it maybe in January, but maybe it'll be a little bit heavier in the spring time. Now, the fact of the matter is, don't ask me, don't ask your sales rep, don't ask the person working down at the camera...

shop, "What's the next model got on it?" and, "How much is it gonna cost?" These things are really tight secrets, and everybody else on the market is simply guessing. These are very very tight secrets. Now, there are a lot of rumor sites. And I love going to those sites. They've got Canon rumors, Nikon rumors, Fuji rumors, on and on and on. And everybody's got a rumor site about what might be the next thing. And what I found is that, they are pretty accurate. There is some information that leaks out pretty near the announcement time. And so, if something is announced for next year at this time, don't hold your breath. It may not happen, it may not happen for the following year. And so it's just a rumor, it's just a bunch of people talking. As I say, as it gets near announcement time there is information that starts leaking out as press releases are accidentally leaked, or manuals are picked up one place or the other. So just be aware of that. Cameras have a very small profit margin. If you would like to get a very good laugh here's what you do. Go into your local camera shop, pick out your camera, and then ask them for 50% off. They are just gonna be like, "Forget it, goodbye, see you later." Cameras have a very small profit margin. If camera stores only sold cameras they would go out of business tomorrow. They make very little profit on it. They sell cameras so they can sell you memory cards, and bags, and lenses, and all of the other accessories. And be there to help you out in many many other ways. And so if you think that you're gonna get a big discount on your camera, because you're buying a lot of stuff, not the case at all. You might get a little discount on few of the other things, but not on the camera models themselves. All right, so, the kits. A lot of times manufacturers, sometimes camera stores, will put together their own kits. Like, "Hey, we've got the camera you want, "but we've got these other lenses that haven't heard of, "along with a bunch of other stuff that you may not need." Well, you do need a lot of other things with the camera, just make sure that the kits are what you want. I have found that the pre-set kits, put together by some of the manufacturers, and some of the camera stores, are a little less than desirable. They're not necessarily bad deals, but just make sure that you're getting what you want. If you really didn't want that particular lens, don't but it in a kit just because it's cheaper. 'Cause it's something you probably gonna end up selling down the road and loosing money on when you re-buy exactly what you do want. So what happens when cameras come out, is that they have a pre-determined price, that the manufacturer wants to sell them at. And they have something called MAP pricing, which is Minimum Advertised Pricing. And as a camera store, you're not allowed to sell the camera for less than that. Now, there's a fine line between MAP pricing and fixing the price of a product, which is illegal. You can sell it for lower, but then you can't do some other things with the manufacturer. So what happens is that everybody tends to have the camera at nearly identical price. And what's gonna happen is the camera is gonna stay at that price while there's a high demand. And after a number of months it's gonna come down in demand and the price will follow accordingly. And then one of the other things the manufacturers love doing, at least here, in the United States, is they love doing instant rebates. And this is the ability for the manufacturer to say, "Hey, we're kinda heavy on the model X, "all right then, we need to shove a bunch of them "outta here, we need to get move them through, "let's put a $100 rebate for a month on this camera." And that way they can raise the price up. And they haven't raised the price on you, they simply discontinued the instant rebate. And so it's just a way of them, for the manufacturers to have more control over the pricing of the camera. It's a little bit irritating, 'cause sometimes you have to send in to get the rebate, sometimes it's instant. But eventually the camera will come down in price over time. And then what's gonna happen is they're gonna introduce a new model, the sequel model to the original model. And that's gonna come in at, probably, a little bit higher price. And what's gonna happen is your old X model is gonna go down in price. And that could be a great time if you don't mind buying last year's model, which is sometimes two years ago model. And so, this is the process that continues every time cameras come out. So they tend to come down over time. But lenses, often, go up in price in time. Because the technology isn't changing with them quite the way it is with the cameras itself. So investing in good glass will often be good for the long term in some ways. I'm a big fan of used cameras, because they can be very very good buys. And if you find the right one it can save you a ton of money. Literally a lot lot of money can be saved, if you don't need the absolute newest model on the market. However, you do have to very wary of the digital camera, because the sensor, a damaged sensor in a camera is gonna be catastrophic in cost. So you wanna either test it yourself, or you wanna get a warrantee on that camera, that has a clean sensor, and that is working properly. So you gotta make sure that it's working well. So if you don't know what you're doing, used cameras are probably not the best way to go. It's good for people who are very familiar with this equipment, and can check it out and can tell if it's working or not. Many cameras you can plug into your computer and can do a shutter count test. And that'll determine how many times the shutter was fired, which will give you an indication of it's age. In general, you wanna push all the buttons, you wanna turn all the dials, you wanna turn everything that you can on and off, and see if it works. And that's the best way of seeing how well it works, 'cause it's hard to really check everything out when you're in the store, or when you're meeting a used buyer to buy a piece of used gear. And my little secret on this, is look for wear and tear on the bottom of the camera. A camera has been used a lot has probably been picked up and sat down a lot, and there's a lot of wear marks on the bottom of the camera. And so if there's a lot of wear marks on the bottom of the camera, I would be wary. And I am just not a fan of heavily-used cameras. So if somebody was using the camera, and they were over in a war country somewhere, doing photo-journalism for a couple of years, their camera looks like it's been towed behind an SUV for a few miles, that's probably not the right camera to buy. Generally these cameras should be kept in pretty good shape. And those sensors and optics can really not do well with a lot of hard hard use. And so be wary of too used of item.

Class Description

Buyer's guide will be your guide to figuring out the best digital camera for your needs.

Gear expert John Greengo dives into the major brands and lenses that are currently on the market.

John breaks down some of the more confusing aspects of mirrorless and DSLR's from focusing systems to sensor size; you'll get a better understanding of what the gear does so you can make an informed decision.

At the end of the class, John gives his recommendations for different types of photographers from the aspiring student to the filmmaker and everyone in between.