Digital SLR Buying Guide: Part 4

The 4th and final segment of Photography Savvy’s “Digital SLR Buying Guide” discusses the choices of bodies and lenses, as well as finding a reputable dealer.

Should I spend more on bodies or lenses?

First-time buyers sometimes get “sticker shock” when they see that a lot of lenses cost a lot more than the camera body. This is largely because lenses are a more important investment in any DSLR system. Keep in mind that camera bodies tend to change every year or two, but you can almost always keep using the same lenses.

You’ll find that most high quality lenses tend to hold their value for a very long time. If you look at some of the DSLR bodies from 3 or 4 years ago, you’ll see they are generally selling for a fraction of what they cost brand new. Now, I’m not saying you should buy the most expensive lens out there for your first DSLR, but don’t be afraid to spend money on lenses. Also, don’t think once you get into a system that you always have to have the latest and greatest body; as long as you continue to work on your technique, you’ll get great results with your same camera body and some good glass.

How do I find a reputable dealer?

When you’re ready to buy a DSLR, it’s important that you buy from a reputable dealer. As DSLRs become the hottest segment of the digital camera market, everyone wants a piece of the pie. If you’re looking for the best service and want to talk to someone who is knowledgeable about the product, I’d highly recommend stopping by your local independent camera store. The other advantage of shopping with an independent camera store is these shops generally have a much wider range of accessories available, compared to most big box stores.

If you plan to buy your camera online, be very careful, as there are a lot of scam artists looking to take advantage of unsuspecting buyers. Some of these online dealers will advertise the camera for radically cheaper than what reputable dealers are selling them for. When you call to “confirm your order,” a pushy salesman tries to up-sell you on all sorts of accessories that should be included with the camera. If you don’t buy the accessories, they won’t sell you the camera. These sites also sell cameras that are not meant to be sold in the US, also known as grey market products. If anything should go wrong with the camera or lens, the manufacturer will not repair the item.

If you’re unsure about an online dealer, a website like Reseller Ratings is a good way to make sure the seller is legit. You can also call the customer service line of the manufacturer of the camera you intend to buy to see if a particular dealer is authorized to sell their product. There are many reputable dealers online and offline, just be sure you are visiting the right one!

That wraps up Photography Savvy’s “Digital SLR Buying Guide.” Hopefully this will help all of you looking to purchase a DSLR. If you have any additional questions, comments, or feedback feel free to contact us.