I’m no stranger to digital cameras… having bought and used one for myself around 3 years ago, and also shopped for friends and family. I’m also shopping for a new one myself this week, since I’m tired of not having a camera after having my Olympus 3030z stolen in Estonia last summer 😐
Since I’m in a digicam-shopping mood, I figured I’d share some advice. Feel free to chime in with additional tips via comments!
1) Know what kind of photographer you are.
– Are you the sort that loves snapping impromptu people pics but doesn’t want to fuss with settings? Get a great point-and-shoot, and don’t pay extra for manual setting flexibility.
– Do you like composing “art” shots, taking your time to make stuff “just so”? Make sure your camera allows for tinkering!
2) Prioritize what’s important to you.
– Size/weight (ultra-compact? average? chunky SLR-style?).
– Type of shots (low light? action shots? mostly people shots (need good red-eye prevention), panorama?…)
3) Take *ALL* costs into consideration!
You most likely *WILL* have to buy at least $100 in accessories if you want to make good use of your camera.
– You WILL need more memory. Note that different types of memory cards (compact flash, SD, xD, etc.) cost significantly different amounts.
– It’s imperative that you have a set of HIGH QUALITY spare batteries and a reliable, high quality battery charger.
– Get a case or two… one for light duty, the other for more rough-and-tumble trips.
– A tripod is an absolute must for low-light non-flash shots.
– A card reader is pretty cheap ($20-$30) and very handy.
– A paid-for extended warranty is almost certainly a waste of your money, statistically speaking. Instead, put the purchase on a gold or platinum card, then call your card provider to register for a FREE doubled warranty and other protections!
4) Check out reputable and fascinating photo sites on the Web.
– http://www.dpreview.com (info, reviews)
– http://www.dcresource.com (info, reviews)
– http://www.photo.net (info, galleries)
– http://www.fotki.com ($30 a year for unlimited storage, no ads!)
– http://www.dcviews.com (digicam portal… very useful!)