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Camera Shopping Mistakes

What to Avoid When Shopping for a Digital Camera

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Achieving success when digital camera shopping can be as much about what you do wrong as what you do right. Digital camera shopping problems are common when photographers don't have all of the information they need. \

If you've never shopped for digital cameras before, you will have a greater chance of making camera shopping mistakes. Because some digital cameras can be very expensive, you want to avoid digital camera shopping mistakes whenever possible.

Fortunately the tips and advice below can help you avoid camera shopping mistakes and spend your money wisely.

  1. Not Doing Your Homework

    Before you begin shopping for a digital camera, you need to do a little homework. It's important to familiarize yourself with digital camera terminology, giving you the ability to understand a salesperson or read a model's specification list. Check out a digital camera glossary to gain the knowledge you need.

    You also should take some time before shopping to figure out how you plan to use the camera. If you're armed with a list of ways you plan to use the unit, a knowledgeable salesperson can give you additional help in finding the best digital camera for your situation.

  2. Focusing on the Wrong Specifications

    It's easy to be swept away by resolution measurements and combined zoom numbers when you're trying to compare various models of digital cameras. However, focusing on certain specifications can be a mistake when shopping for a digital camera.

    For example, the differences in resolution between a model with 10.0 megapixels and one with 8.5 megapixels are minimal, especially for beginner photographers, even though the numbers look significantly different.

    You'll also want to watch zoom measurements. A camera that promotes a 30X combined zoom might not offer a zoom lens as powerful as a camera that promotes a 10X optical zoom lens. Combined zoom can be misleading. Optical zoom is a far more important measurement than either combined zoom or digital zoom.

  3. Spending Too Much Money

    Set a budget and stick to it when shopping for a digital camera. Some beginning photographers end up spending more than they need to, spending too much for features that they'll never use or that they don't understand how to use. Save those more expensive camera models for more advanced photographers.

    Figuring out how you'll use your digital camera before you begin shopping can help you avoid spending too much. If you know which features will be most important to you, you can focus your spending on finding a model that is strong in those areas.

  4. Not Sticking To Known Manufacturers

    Off-brand digital cameras from unknown manufacturers might be really inexpensive, but they usually don't deliver the type of power, speed, and image quality that you'll want. For the most part, the companies that made the best film cameras have made a successful transition to digital camera manufacturing, although a few top companies jumped directly into digital cameras without ever manufacturing film cameras.

    Stick with name brand digital cameras by researching some of the top companies that make digital cameras for consumers and professionals.

  5. Not Trying Before You Buy

    Before you purchase any digital camera, especially a small point-and-shoot model, you need to try it. Some digital cameras are so small and thin they might not fit your hand properly, making them awkward and uncomfortable to use. You might find you prefer a larger, bulkier model after trying a few different designs.

    To test different camera models, visit a local electronics or camera store and try some of the display models. Salespeople sometimes will even allow you to test the camera without the tether, if you simply ask. You might end up purchasing a digital camera on the Internet, but you at least should test available models at a local store.

    When testing, try to obtain a feel for the digital camera's controls and buttons, and make sure they're easy to reach and use. Test the camera's weight and balance. Can you operate the camera one-handed? Find some tips for testing digital cameras before you buy.

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