Raise your hand if you’re lusting after a new camera (*raises hand*). No worries. It’s perfectly normal. Nothing to be embarrassed about. I’m certainly not. I mean, it’s not like I pathologically search eBay and Facebook for new camera deals multiple times a day or anything (you know...in case that’s what you were thinking). Ahem...anyhoo, camera gear lust has been an common affliction among photographers almost since cameras were invented. But before you shell out hundreds (or even thousands) of your hard earned dollars, there are three super important things you need to do first. I know, I know. You’re really anxious to get your hands on that awesome new camera but hear me out first. You’ll thank me later.
TAKE A LOOK IN THE MIRROR
I know you probably don’t want to hear this but before you shell out money for a new camera, you really need to take a good hard look at the camera you have—including all of its features— as well as your photos and even yourself. Specifically, ask yourself a few questions, including:
TRY BEFORE YOU BUY
You probably wouldn’t buy a car without taking it for a test drive and there’s really no reason you shouldn’t do the same with a camera. Sure, cameras don't cost quite as much (although some could come close) but you’re still spending a LOT of money. Do you really want to hand over all that money before taking the new model for a spin? Yeah, me either.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at some options for getting hands-on with some of the best camera models.
One thing to keep in mind: whether it's a camera store or an online rental service, most will only have fairly high-end DSLRs available for rent. If you're looking at point and shoot or prosumer models, they likely won't be available.
IT’S NEW TO YOU
So you’ve done your research, rented a camera or two for some in-depth, hands-on testing and now you’re ready to pull the trigger. Before you do, you might want to slow your roll and consider all your options. Sure, you could go out to Amazon or one of the big online camera stores like B&H Photo or Adorama to pick up your shiny new toy but no matter how low of a price you find, you could save even more with a used model.
When shopping for used camera equipment, there are two primary categories of options, each with their own pluses and minus:
In the end, buying used isn’t for everyone. Some people are willing to pay extra for the comfort and assurance of buying a shiny, new, never-before-used model. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you’re willing to put in a little time and effort, there’s a good chance you could walk away with a great camera AND a great deal.
THE BOTTOM LINE
We’ve all felt that itch when we get our heart set on a new camera. The last thing you want to do is wait. Been there, done that. But, unless you’re independently wealthy (if so, good for you) you probably don’t buy a new camera very often. It’s worth taking the time to make sure you not only get what you want but what you need. The only thing worse than waiting is figuring out you wasted money on the wrong camera.