Digital Camera Prices…or
How Much Do I REALLY Need To Spend On A Digital Camera?
Digital camera prices are only one of the factors to consider in buying a camera. Perhaps even more important is whether the camera suits your needs. We’ve already discussed some of the factors to consider when buying a digital camera. But, understandably, the price of your digital camera can’t help but factor into your final decision. So here are a few thoughts on digital camera prices…
Digital cameras are a developing technology — as they improve and more digital cameras are manufactured, prices tend to go down. The fact is, every year, more innovations and features are added and more prices drop.
But don’t think that means you should wait — digital camera prices are already very affordable. These days, you can get a great digital camera between $200 to $300 dollars. In a year or so, you might be able to get an even better camera for less.
Let’s do a quick review of the types of cameras and how much they cost :
– $100 to $200: Basic point-and-shoot models (equivalent
to simple film cameras). Features usually include 1 to
2- megapixels, built-in flash, some type of removable
storage like a flash memory card, and either a fixed focal length,possibly 1X or 2X
– $300 to $500: 3 to 5 megapixel consumer models ranging from easy-to-use, point-and-shoot cameras to more sophisticated models that have larger zoom ranges and some advanced controls. Some with multiple scene modes and manual controls.
– $400 to $600: 5 or more megapixels. These cameras generally include add-on accessories, customizable settings, more zoom, optional exposure modes, etc. They come in many shapes and sizes (tiny pocket models to standard size).
– $700 and up: 8 megapixel advanced compact consumer cameras. High-powered sensors, ED glass, reduced or no lag time, longer battery life, faster and better autofocus, wide-angle lenses, noise reduction, image stabilization and more. They are essentially lightweight versions of professional digital SLR
– $1,500 to $8,000: Professional digital SLR 6 to 14 megapixel cameras. The ultimate in durability, speed and quality. Rugged body, no startup delay, no shutter lag, RAW format, low noise, full range of metering options, tremendous optical flexibility, full control over shutter-priority and aperture.
Biggest drawback: weight and expense. Most weight over 2 lbs. Add lenses and a flash to your case and it gets heavy to haul around. Extra lenses are necessary, and usually not included with the camera. Usually beyond the needs of the average photographer.
That said, the lines between categories are blurring rapidly, especially between the Pro-Amateur and Amateur D-SLRs. Many amateur digital cameras have features identical to pro cameras, but are lighter weight and less expensive then their pro counterparts. They also lack the rugged weather sealing and other durability features of pro cameras.
On the other end, when you have 7 megapixel digital cameras built into cellphones, the category lines are blurred even further! One can only speculate on how complex cell phone camera features will become in the future (zoom…metering…RAW capture?)
One thing is for sure, innovations will continue, the lines will keep blurring and new categories will emerge. And they’re sure to surprise us.
Remember, there are other necessary accessories like memory cards and rechargeable batteries to budget for. These run from $20 to $55 for memory cards and $15 to $40 for rechargeable NiMH batteries. A bit more for proprietary batteries (some are included with the camera).
The thing to understand is that there’s a digital camera in every price range and for just about every budget. You can get started with a simple, point-and-shoot camera, or save up for the features you can’t live without.
Digital camera prices not withstanding, once you get a taste of the freedom, creativity and mobility of digital photography, you’ll be hooked!
And another thing’s for sure — wherever you purchase your camera, you’ll no doubt be offered an extended warranty. Do extended warranties offer any real value or are they a rip-off? Find out in the next lesson about digital camera extended warranties.
Written by Rufina James