Digital Camera Buyer Guide

To retail or not to retail, that is the question

You're finally ready to buy a digital camera. By this point you should be familiar with digital camera terms, and you've probably done some digital camera comparisons.

You have found a couple of cameras that you are interested in, or have found the one camera that is right for you.

Now you just want to get the best price.

Retail or the Internet?

This is a tough question for most people. If you are still wary of buying things on the Internet, it's especially hard to jump right in.

Here's something that might help: if you want to get the absolute best price on your camera, buy it from one of the recommended Internet retailers listed in this section.

Try as I might, I have never found a retail store that offers lower prices than Internet stores. Even when the retail store is having a sale, they cannot match the everyday price offered on the Internet.

This is not to say that you can't find a great deal in a retail store. If you find a spectacular sale, then you might get a better price for your new digital camera. But do you really want to wait that long?

Before I go on much further, let's say that price is not an issue for you. With that in mind, here are some of the advantages of buying your digital camera from a retail store.

Pros of Going Retail

Human Interaction

You can talk to a human being before you make your final decision. This is important if you still have doubts or questions about a camera.

While some customer representatives may not have all the answers, they may be able to provide you with some personal advice to help make you feel comfortable about your choice of camera.

Physical Location

In the off chance that you have problems with your digital camera, you have a location that you can return it to.

While returning items to Internet stores is fairly simple these days, it still involves the extra effort of boxing and shipping your camera back.

Good digital cameras rarely have problems (unless they are abused), so having to return a camera should not concern you too much.

Instant Gratification

Don't want to wait? Need that camera today or tomorrow so you can take it on your big vacation? Then retail is going to be your best bet. If you use an Internet retailer and choose overnight shipping, the excessive cost may make the price of the camera similar to a retail price.

Plus, you can have the camera in your hands today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Many people don't like to wait, so having a retail store close by can be the best option in a time of need.

Try Before You Buy

I recommend this even if you are going to buy your camera on the Internet.

While there is plenty of advice and information about digital cameras available on the web, nothing beats actually holding a camera in your hands.

It helps to feel the weight and see the size. You can see how bright the LCD is, and how the viewfinder works. You can see how the camera feels in your hands and if the grip is comfortable.

It's also important to see if the camera controls are intuitive to you. A camera may sound great described on the Internet, but if you can't figure out how to work all of its menus and settings, then you're not goint to be happy with it.

Pros of Buying Over The Internet

Price

This is worth mentioning again. And when I say there is a difference in price, don't think that I am quibbling over nickels and dimes here. Sometimes you can save up to one hundred dollars by purchasing your camera over the Internet.

The Internet retailers described in the next section offer the best prices around, and are all extremely reputable. I have bought all of my camera equipment this way, and have never had any problem or issue.

Convenience

I don't know about you, but I love having things shipped to my front door. No hassle with parking, no going to the mall.

Just the camera that I ordered, sitting on my front doorstep. It's like a birthday present in the middle of the week. That might explain why I do it so often...

Selection

This is not so much of an issue if you are buying the latest compact camera. You should be able to find the most recent digital camera models just about anywhere.

Eventually you may find that you want some more accessories for your camera: a camera bag, underwater casing, external flash, filters, reflectors and diffusers.

These types of accessories can be rather difficult to find in retail stores. It is not worth their while to carry items that are not in constant demand. Not so on the Internet.

I have been able to find some of the most obscure camera accessories on the web, the price is reasonable, and they are delivered to me within a couple of days. Sometimes, using the Internet is going to be the only way that you can find a special add-on for your digital camera.

You may also decide that you want an older camera model, and not the latest and greatest. If this is the case, it is sometimes much easier to find last year's models on the Internet than it is in a retail store. At the very least, you should be able to find them quickly and easily, rather than being forced to go from retail store to retail store trying to find one in stock.

Digital Camera Internet Stores

If you're interested in taking advantage of some of the price savings, convenience and selection available from Internet stores, then continue on to the next page for more information.

Digital Camera Internet Stores