Digital camera comparison - Cost

digital camera comparison quote

Like a lot of hi-tech devices, digital cameras don’t always come cheap! This part of the digital camera comparison and buying guide concentrates on cost.

Trust me when I say you won’t have to re-mortgage the house in order to enjoy digital photography!

I’ve outlined a few things to keep in mind, and 5 tips so that you don’t waste money on buying your new digital camera.

Hopefully you have already read my digital camera comparison page and know what type of camera you want.

Here are the things that will affect the cost, all other things being equal:

These digital camera comparison pages, and itself, are updated regularly. To learn out about the updates as they happen click here to subscribe to the digital photography blog, and this site’s RSS feed.

All those pixels, and how many do I need, exactly?

Number of megapixels:

* Digital camera comparison tip 1 - only look for cameras with enough megapixels for you. Don’t be tempted to pay extra for a 5mp camera when you have already decided that 4mp will do.

When it comes to buying your digital camera, if you absolutely must have the most megapixels on the market, then you will have to pay for them.

The megapixel count is increasing all the time. This is used a lot in the marketing of digital cameras. Try to think of the last time you didn’t see the number of megapixels emblazoned across the front of a camera?

It’s always there. It makes people feel good to know they have more megapixels than the next person.

Think about how many megapixels you actually need. If you haven’t yet, read my page on the megapixel race to find out why you might be paying for pixels you just won't need.

Have a look here for a table showing you how many pixels you will need.

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It's so shiny and new!


* Digital camera comparison tip 2 - when you make your digital camera comparison, to save a little money, look for cameras that have been out about a year.

New technology is always more expensive. Digital photography is no different. However, this doesn’t just mean that the same camera will just keep getting cheaper the longer you wait.

This is true, but only up to a point. After a while digital camera manufacturers simply discontinue them - you can't buy that digital camera any more.

They then introduce a new digital camera, at about the same price that the old model started out, but with more features.

Usually you’ll have about a year when you will be able to buy a specific digital camera, before it's discontinued.

When buying a digital camera, and are making your digital camera comparison, look to buy a model that is about a year old if you want to save some money.

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I'm not buying that, it's ugly!


* Digital camera comparison tip 3 - don’t overlook the ugly sister!

This one is probably obvious. If you want the shiny new camera that’s as good to look at as the pictures it (hopefully!) takes, it will cost more. It won’t necessarily be any better or worse than a, how shall I say, ‘uglier’ camera. But it will almost always cost more.

If digital photography means "quality images" to you, then seriously consider the uglier models. After all, it's what they can do, rather than how they look, that's important.

If, on the other hand you wouldn't be seen dead with a rough looking camera around your neck - don't buy it! You won't get any photographs at all if you leave it at home all the time.

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Be wary of the new kid on the block


* Digital camera comparison tip 4 - buy from established camera manufacturers.

Buying from electronics companies is a false economy and will cost you more in the long run. When I was moving from film to digital photography I bought a cheap digital camera. It was awful. It was made by Jenoptik. Who? Exactly.

When making your digital camera comparison you will find some brands that you know and some that you don’t. It’s like most things we buy. Brand names have certain respectability about them.

My advice here would be to stick with brands that are established camera manufacturers – and I don’t just mean digital cameras. The reasons?:

The big difference between a digital camera and a traditional camera is that, in digital photography, light falls onto an image sensor and not onto film.

Apart from that digital cameras need all the things that traditional cameras needed - lenses, light meters, a flash, aperture control . . . and more.

Established camera makers have been perfecting all this technology over many years. All they had to do was replace the film with a sensor and, hey presto, a digital camera!

The new kids on the block may have the image sensor, but not much else.

NB: Recently technology companies (with the sensors) have teamed up with the camera makers. Sony use Carl Zeiss lenses, Panasonic use Leica lenses. I suspect, as digital photography evolves, these sort of partnerships will become more common.

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You'll never see two of these at the same wedding


* Digital camera comparison tip 5- Unless you really need special features for your digital photography, don’t pay for them.

There are plenty of other digital cameras out there, believe me!

This last digital camera comparison tip won’t apply to most people. Some digital cameras are aimed at a certain section of the camera market. For example, underwater cameras. If you don’t need unique features for your digital photography, then don’t pay extra for them.

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