LEARN: Buying Guides: Digital Camera Buyer's Guide
Digital Camera Buyer's Guide
In This Guide
1. Set Your Budget 2. Understand Your
    Photography and Usability

3. Key Features
4. Use and Buy Your Camera
2005 Digital Camera Buyer's Guide
by Laurence Chen - www.Lchenphoto.com

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Digital cameras have come a long way, and indeed there are many cool new features to be found in the latest models, but how photography is done has not changed, and that is how you can determine whether a given new camera is right for you. Assuming you understand some basics about digital photography, this buyer's guide takes you through a process for picking the right camera for your photographic style. I'll share some tips that may ensure that you don't miss that once-in-a-lifetime shot! In fact, the point is to buy a camera that helps you get the shot. Camera shopping is not just about quality--it's about photography.

Here are the steps toward photographic nirvana:
  • Set your budget.
  • Understand your photography and usability.
  • Identify key features.
  • Choose and buy your camera.

1. Set Your Budget

The 2005 holiday season will be an exciting time for digital camera buyers because many manufacturers have announced new products with advanced features at last year's prices. You may have a figure in mind for how much you want to spend, but there may be things like extra batteries or a tripod that can add to your cost. Here are some tips to consider as you begin your research:

  • Calculate the cost of extras. Larger memory cards, extra batteries, a camera case or even an underwater-housing are all things you may want in addition to the new camera. Also consider whether you need to upgrade your computer to handle the size of the data files (pictures) produced by your new camera.
  • Estimate the useful life of a camera. Well-made models can last four or more years!
  • Consider last year's model instead of the latest. Digital cameras are just like other consumer electronics and will be discounted within six to eight months as new models arrive.
  • Consider a simpler model before a fancier one. I know the temptation is to buy the latest cool thing, but if all you use a camera for is snapshots, then why spend extra for the gizmos you won't use? You can always grow into more sophisticated cameras and by the time you do, a new model will be ready and waiting for you!

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