Like nearly everyone else in America right now, your heart is probably pumping fast for holiday deals. Heck, you probably have a strategic game plan than any military general or NFL coach would be proud of. If a digital camera or lens is on your list, here are some things you might want to consider before plunking down cash on that seemingly good buy.
Cameras tend to be older
This past year has seen the release of a slew of impressive cameras. From the Canon EOS Rebel T7iCanon EOS Rebel T7i review to the Sony A9 and the Fujifilm GFX 50S, there’s no shortage of new options available. But if you were hoping to snag one of these for yourself or as a Christmas gift, forget it: Most of the camera deals will be on models that are older. Camera companies might be looking to sell off old stock, but they’re not going to give everything away.
But that’s not to suggest you can’t get yourself a great camera. If you are willing to forego the latest tech, there are some potential deals out there. For example, there are already a few deals out ahead of Black Friday that point towards impressive savings on older-generation cameras. Specifically, Canon has its entry-level T5 DSLR kit — that includes an 18-55mm lens and a 75-300mm lens — down to $500, a dramatic drop from its previous $750 price point. Likewise, Nikon is offering its D7100 with 18-40mm lens for $1,000, $400 cheaper than its normal price.
Is it really a deal?
As sweet as many Black Friday deals look, they can often be deceiving. Many times retailers will entice you with deals on kits and accessories. But if you do a little research and don’t mind buying gear from multiple stores, you can often pay less than the supposed savings offer.
Use tools like price tracker CamelCamelCamel to see if these truly are the lowest prices on cameras, lenses, and accessories. Just because it looks like a deal doesn’t mean it is one. Be an informed shopper so you’re not wasting your time at retailers when you could be freezing your fingers off in line elsewhere.
Don’t just look for the big brands
We have seen a lot of specials for Canon and Nikon, which makes sense considering they’re the two biggest DSLR camera makers. As you’re looking through ads though, don’t forget about other major manufacturers like Sony, Olympus, Panasonic, Fujifilm, Ricoh Pentax, etc. Over the past few years, many of these companies have shown they’re capable of keeping up with the big boys in features and image quality, particularly when it comes to mirrorless models.
Should you bother with point-and-shoot?
Point-and-shoot cameras are still useful for many people, but unfortunately the casual photographers who would use such cameras have moved toward smartphones. Still, they make nice gifts for kids, older folks, or anyone who still prefers to have a separate device for picture taking.
You might be tempted to spend $100 on a budget cam and call it a day, but truthfully, today’s smartphones are just as good, if not better. Try looking for a more advanced point-and-shoot that offers more features, bigger sensors, longer zooms, and manual shooting modes. Consider non-compact point-and-shoots like megazooms (bridge) or a specialty model like rugged cameras.
While there are plenty of hot deals on cameras, don’t forget about accessories. This could be that lens you’ve always wanted, or useful gear like tripods, camera bags, external hard drives, etc. We’ve also seen plenty of deals on memory cards. While they are normally cheap to begin with, it never hurts to have plenty stocked up – especially if they’re fast, large capacity cards.
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