These days, you’ll be hard pressed to find a person who doesn’t own a camera. Whether it’s a high-tech device, a cheap-and-cheerful choice or even just the camera function on your smart phone, I’m sure you have at least one camera at home.
If you’re looking to buy a new one, you’ll want to get a good deal, regardless of how much you plan to spend. But with camera prices ranging from the super cheap to well into the thousands, how do you know if you’re getting your money’s worth?
Here’s my 4 step guide to making sure your new camera is a good investment, not a waste of money!
1. Consider Your Needs
First and foremost, you need to think about just what you need from a camera. Pushy salespeople will likely try to sell you an upgrade from what you really need – great if money if no object, but if you’re on a budget and don’t want to pay for flashy features you won’t use it helps to know your needs.
Will you just be using the camera to take a few family snaps from time to time, where a basic camera is all you need? Will you be taking it outdoors on hikes and rock climbing trips, in which case robustness comes into play? Perhaps you sell jewellery online and want to take fantastic close-ups? An excellent macro function is top of your priorities! For the landscape photographer, Windsor castle or other big buildings require great scenic functions and possibly even a wide-angle lens.
2. Don’t Be Fooled by Megapixels
If the salesperson keeps trying to push a more expensive camera on you by telling you it has more megapixels, read these new few lines and then feel smug when you tell them it’s not all about the number of pixels!
Of course, high megapixel cameras have their advantages. If you’re a professional photographer shooting for large-scale prints such as billboard adverts, high megapixels is important. If you’ll only be printing out the typical 5×9″ shots for your family album however, or popping your shots up on Facebook, those extra megapixels aren’t making your photos look any better – in fact, you’re just using up extra space on your memory card for no reason.
A professional photographer will have very different camera needs to your everyday buyer. Image: Mikebaird
3. Optical Zoom Vs Digital Zoom
If you use the zoom function on your camera regularly, it pays to invest in an optical zoom. All a digital zoom will do will enlarge the size of the pixels, making the image look bigger but in reality the resolution isn’t any better. Zoom in too far with a digital zoom and you’ll end up with that grainy, pixelated look.
An optial zoom on the other hand really does zoom in and focus up close, so you an get those super detailled shots no matter how far away you are!
4. Read Reviews
Last but not least, here’s a tip my Dad taught me – and it’s an important one! If you‘re in the shop and you think you’ve found your ideal camera, don’t just buy it on the spot. Of course the salesperson is telling you it’s fantastic, that’s what he or she gets paid to do!
Take the time to go home and find real reviews on the Internet – the camera might be just as great as the salesperson told you it was, or it might turn out to have hidden flaws you’d only find out about when you start using it.
I hope you found this guide useful. I’d love to know, what do you think is the best beginner digital camera on the market?