Are you ridiculously wealthy?
Then stop reading now. You can afford whatever you want.
[Olympus E-30 body; 50-200 Telephoto-Zoom; Extension tube; Flash (ring not shown); Cable release; Tripod with ball head and quick release brackets]
Also, as for your 'right now' purchases, you have options and alternatives . . .
- Last Year’s Model — much like with cars, when the newer models become available, last year’s models need to vamoose, and deals can be had.
- Pros: Great prices (but they’ll sell out quickly); Near-current technology and features (do you really need bleeding edge technology?); These are new, not used.
- Cons: As with cars, your choices will be limited; You need to act quickly, these will sell out fast; You need to know which model replaced which older model (and is the older one actually discontinued or just added-to?).
- Demo and Open Box units — These might be units used in-store at the sales counter or for training classes, or maybe it’s a unit returned by a prior customer without the original packaging.
- Pros: Usage will have been very light and may well have been entirely indoors by store staff. Might be fully warrantied, but be sure to ask.
- Cons: There will be very few units available so you may need to go with a different manufacturer and/or model than was your first choice.
- Refurbished — These are units that were returned to the manufacturer’s facility for any of a variety of reasons and are now available for retail purchase.
- Pros: These have been fully tested, repaired if necessary, calibrated, and usually have the latest applicable firmware installed; Good deals are available; They carry a manufacturer’s warranty; These are generally newer models.
- Cons: There is a limited supply and variety of these available.
- Used Cameras and Accessories — Again, just like cars, available in a multitude of conditions, from a multitude of sources with a huge range of trustworthiness.
- Pros: There are lots of these available; Probably your best bet price-wise, but…
- Cons: Caveat emptor, do your homework and know your seller and the camera model; probably best to stick with reputable retailers (such as Adorama or B+H). You may spend a touch more than you would from Bubba down the street, but you don’t want to buy Bubba’s “parts-only” camera.
Adorama, one of the big online camera / computer / video / etc. sources, published a good article recently talking on this subject and which offers a more in-depth treatment of it…
But what if you’re not a photo-gearhead and don’t yet know exactly what camera and lens you want? Rent one! Yes, you can rent cameras of all kinds so you can try out various makes and models, kick the tires, take them for a spin, see what your friends think. You’ll likely refine your list of wants, desires, must-haves, don’t-needs, etc., so when you do purchase you’ll be more on the mark regarding what equipment you actually want and need. Not to mention you’ll become a whole lot more comfortable in the vast world of Cameradom so you and your soon-to-be-purchased new camera will start your life together a step or two ahead on the familiarity curve.
Thank You for visiting,
P.s. Did you go with one of these options? I hope it went well, but tell us if it didn’t, we can all use the insight. Did you rent and refine your wish-list? Did you change your first choice to one better suited to you? Let us all know in the comments and we’ll compare notes.