How To Shop For A New Gadget
I had wanted to buy a digital camera for a long time. I've always loved photos. However, I know next to nothing about photography, so I had no idea what to look for in a digital camera. So I did what I always do when shopping for a new product. I made a list. Lists are helpful ways to visualize what you want. In my case, I made a list of what I wanted to be able to do with the camera, what kinds of features I wanted, and most importantly, how much I wanted to spend on the camera. It's important to decide the highest price you are willing to pay for something and stick to it. Believe me, you'll have less regrets over your purchases later if you do.
My list looked like this:
- I want to be able to take high resolution photos that will print well in pretty large sizes (8 x 10, possibly larger)
- The camera should be easily operated by a novice, but have enough advanced features to produce quality artistic photos once I get advanced enough
- cost around $300-$350 dollars
The next part of the research phase is to get advice. You need someone who knows more about the subject than you to point you in the right direction. But here's the problem. Don't rely on a salesperson at this point. I'm not saying that most salespeople aren't honest or even helpful. The problem is that they simply have a different agenda than you. Their agenda isn't making sure you're as happy as possible with your new gadget and that you don't experience any buyer's remorse. Their agenda is to make the biggest sale they possibly can. (I'm not faulting them for this. That's business, folks.) So try to find someone who knows what they're talking about who couldn't care less how much you spend on a camera. In my case, I decided to post a question on Ask MetaFilter to enlist the help of as many photography enthusiasts as possible. This proved to be the most helpful part of my research. The kind folks at Ask MeFi had lots of tips and recommendations, including Digital Photography Review, a great site all about digital cameras. They also helped me identify the types of photos I wanted to take, which led to me realizing that I needed a camera with good macro focus. With their help I was able to narrow down my choices to just two cameras, the Canon PowerShot A700 or the PowerShot A620. I ended up choosing the A620 because it had a bigger LCD and slightly better manual control.
So there you go. By sharing my experience with you, I've laid out exactly how to go about buying a new gadget. Just remember the three steps: list, research, and get advice. Follow them and you should have no problems getting the most bang for your buck.
Coming tomorrow: some pictures from my new camera and resources for beginning photographers.
Categories: Shopping, How-To