I walk into any electronic store and see a plethora of cameras, no matter where I go. Sales persons try their best to convince, but buying a camera, is not always on my mind. After one of my shopping sprees, a thought occurred to me. With the market and stores flooded with new models of cameras for every camera brand, how would anyone decide on which one to buy?
The decision of choosing a camera these days is difficult, especially with the starters. My uncle bought a DSLR a year ago just for fun but now it has found a long-forgotten stature. I asked him one day about his best buy of the decade, to which he simply shrugged and said, handling that camera is something he will never be able to do! I was stunned. To spend so much, only to leave it in state of negligence was very unfair, especially when there are millions of people around the globe craving for a DSLR but cannot afford it.
Out of my personal interest, I studied a few more people to check out the camera buying trend. It was amazing to see that some people bought one only to flaunt whereas certain others got it to compete with their friends. A few of them, of course, were genuinely interested in capturing some good shots, but directly jumped for the big fish and thought it would be really easy. Unfortunately, these people moved on and the poor pretty cameras were left behind, dumped.
Camera specifications are usually difficult to understand and differentiating between products based on these is tougher. From my observation, I could derive a few very basic rules to ponder over before picking up the next camera and what to do after.
Rule No. 1: Think of your requirement over and over. Do you really need to buy one? Will your dad’s or brother’s or sister’s or mother’s camera not suffice?
Rule No 2: What is your purpose behind getting a camera? Do you want to click just one or two pictures when you are out with your family and friends? Or do you want to click droplets when it rains? For the first purpose, a simple low-priced very basic camera would be enough. But for the second, a professional camera – D-SLR with close-up lens or high-end compact with good zoom, will be needed. The second category is heavier on the pocket, so you will need to check your budget.
Rule No 3: Just don’t run for any brand or any product of any brand simply because that camera looks great. Ask the people around you, who have been using cameras, for their valued opinions. Later, ask the sales person in details about the features of the two or three cameras you have short-listed. Sales persons are quite clever and know their targets well. They will usually be full of praises for a specific brand they have been asked to represent. So, be wise while judging!
Rule No 4: Read – and this is very important – read the User Manual thoroughly before heading out to your first photographic venture with that particular camera. Many times, you have numerous features in the camera that you may not be aware of unless you read about them. Perhaps, all that you end up doing if you are not thorough with the theory, is shooting in AUTO (the easiest) mode, oblivious of the magical things your camera can do.
Rule No 5: Attend photography schools on weekends, if you are pressed for time, to learn the art better. Join forums and communities related to photography and learn new things about your camera and other cameras. This will build your interest further. This can even help you understand your requirements. As you explore further, you will know if you need a better one or more accessories.
Rule No 6: Before ending up making a hole in your pocket trying to purchase a high-end camera from the shops and camera zones, try to find out if any of your relatives, friends or acquaintances, are associated with a camera brand. You never know – you may have the best buy on an employee offer!!
My house is now home to many different types of cameras – from basic compact to high-end compact and DSLR. But after numerous trials and errors, I have now zeroed-in on my favorite camera as per my requirement!