It is now safe to take a deep breath, uncross your eyes, and stop pretending that you know what the digital cameras salesperson is talking about. Akin to high definition televisions, the entire lexicon of terminology that comes with digital photography can loom over the unsuspecting novice, making purchasing decisions difficult. Today’s standard, however, allows more flexibility on the consumer’s part. The following steps will guide you through the digital camera purchasing process.

1. Assess Your Needs

First, assess your level of need. What will you be shooting? What will the conditions be like? How much can you spend? Asking yourself questions such as these is an ideal way to frame your situation, no pun intended, in terms of what kind of camera would best suit you.

2. Beyond the Megapixel

One of the most prolific selling points of digital cameras is the megapixel count. This number indicates picture clarity. While it had much stronger implications in the past, today’s cameras almost all have very high megapixel counts. Therefore, don’t give extra consideration to that one detail while sacrificing others.

3. Accessories

When tabulating the future cost of a camera, make sure to factor in accessories. Any cases, memory cards, and tripods that you already have may be compatible with your future camera. If you are decided on which accessories you want, look for camera bundles that include everything

4. DSLR or Point and Shoot?

DSLRs are usually bulkier and less user friendly than point and shoot models, although they do come with their benefits. In making a decision as to which one suits you, familiarize yourself with both options and what they offer photographers.

5. Digital or Optical Zoom?

As it concerns the choice of zoom lens, optical zoom is higher quality because digital zooms actually just blow up pixels, doing nothing for the resulting image quality. Most cameras will have between a 3x and 12x zoom.

6. Read Reviews

Of course, when setting out to purchase a camera, it is important to build consensus about the product by consulting online forums, magazines, and testimonials before talking to a sales representative about it.

7. Experience the Product

The best way to get a feel for a camera is to experience first hand. After gathering information beforehand and narrowing camera options, head to the shop and ask for demonstrations. Don’t be afraid to leave if you aren’t satisfied.

8. Barter!

Finally, learn how to barter. While it is much more prevalent in other parts of the world, bartering is the artful process of “talking someone down” on price until an agreement is reached. Look up the cheapest prices for the camera and try to get the salesperson to that price.

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