Path: The Design & Publishing Center _/_ &FOTOgraphic_/_ Doug's Coffee Break
||a message from Doug Clifford
Impulse Buying is Risky Business
BUYERS' REMORSE. At one time or another, we've all had it. We learn too late that a camera doesn't do what a manufacturer claims, or it's been designed by someone who doesn't live in the real world, or we paid a lot more than we should have, or we learn later the manufacturer corrected the shortcomings in the next model.
__ The life span for a digital camera model is less than a year. The best way to avoid buyer's remorse is to do your homework before buying a digital camera.
__ Start by defining your needs and determining how much you can afford to spend. There's a wonderful excerpt from Deke McClelland's "Real World Digital Photography" book that will help you zero in on your specific needs, and which digital camera would be appropriate for you.
__ Ask yourself how you plan to use the camera and what features you will need. Look for cameras with an optical viewfinder AND an LCD preview screen. (You won't be able to see the LCD screen outdoors!) Do you want to attach an external flash? Does the camera allow this? Are you going to make color prints? The larger the megapixel rating, the better the quality of prints. Do you want to attach filters and accessory lenses? Some digital cameras won't let you, others require special lens adapters.
__ Look at advertisements, visit manufacturers' sites and separate the hype from the facts. Compare similar products, study specifications, determine whether it will work with your computer system, learn when the camera was introduced and determine whether it's about to be discontinued.
__ Read digital camera reviews. The more reviews you read, the better educated you'll become. Different writers pick up on different things. Here are four excellent digital imaging product review sites like Steve's Digicams, Digital Camera Resource Page, Digital Photography Review, and the Imaging Resource. (Links to these later)
__ What do others say? Don't forget to read consumer reviews at the various consumer sites.
__ Recognize these review sites accentuate the positive and try to steer readers into buying from a specific retailer. (That's how they pay for the web site.) Don't fall into the trap. Compare prices for several reputable retailers, such as those listed in the ACE Index .
__ When it comes to retailers, know who you are doing business with! Before you buy, read what their return policy is. How many days? Are there restocking fees for returned items? Make sure the item is in stock on the day you place your order. A great place to study consumer feedback on camera stores is Philip Greenspun's photo.net . More than 3,000 consumers report on their experiences with more than a hundred companies. You'll quickly determine which companies are safe to do business with.
__ One thing I've learned about buying camera equipment: Those who insist on finding the lowest price for an item often end up with headaches and grief. Always protect yourself by using a credit card for purchases.
__ Before you buy, understand the warranty. What kind of product support does the manufacturer offer after purchase? Do they offer telephone support or are you forced to rely on FAQs and email. In an article being researched I came across a major camera manufacturer which is charging $25 for technical support questions on out-of-warranty digital cameras. What a way to NOT build consumer loyalty!
__ When you finally get ready to buy, you'll be shopping with the confidence which comes from doing the research and knowing what you want. Buy your digital camera and enjoy!
Have a wonderful holiday season and we'll see you in January.
LINKS from this article:
* Exerpt from Deke's book: www.design-bookshelf.com
* Consumer camera reviews www.pcphotoreview.com/
* Steve's Digicams: www.steves-digicams.com/
* Digital Camera Resource Page: www.dcresource.com/
* Digital Photography Review: www.dpreview.com/
* The Imaging Resource: www.imaging-resource.com/
* Philip Greenspun's photo.net mail order feedback
(Doug Clifford is the webmaster for the ACE Camera & Photography Directory, an annotated world wide directory of photo commerce web sites. ACE Increases Traffic To Photographic Commerce Web Sites Worldwide!
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