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You are hereHome > Buyer's Guide > Step 4: Trial & Buy

Step 4:
Trial & Buy


Finally, there is nothing like getting your hand on the camera and trying it out. Most stores offer a trial period, so take advantage (responsibly) of it. You would just need a couple of days at most to put the camera through its paces. Can it do the things you want it to do? Does it feel comfortable in your hands? If some controls bother you, understand it might just be a case of getting used to them, so do not be too hasty in your judgment.

If you decide you want to return the digital camera, tell the salesperson why you did not like it, and show him or her your QuickProfile™ Sheet. Why not enlist their help in selecting the right camera for you? Now that you understand better what you are looking for, there should be no reason that you allow yourself to be pressured into buying something you do not really want or need, right?

Take Your Time
Sometimes, when we have decided we want a digital camera, we start feverishly reading, comparing, and then feel the incredible pressure (that we put upon ourselves) to make a decision -- and a purchase. Digital cameras are still relatively expensive compared to their film-based cousins, so take your time. Don't feel that you just have to rush into a decision. This is especially true when new digital cameras are being announced (it happens at least once a year). Do not believe all you read in some photography magazines: they are basically ads in disguise. Read our editors' personal perpectives here, read the detailed reviews we've provided links to, lurk in digital camera forums to get a feel about the cameras you might be interested in. And, do be patient and wait for the new digital cameras. We are not advocating that you keep waiting forever (some people will do everything to an extreme ;o)) but that you make an informed relaxed decision. Read the next section about having the right perspective.

The Right Perspective
At this point, some of you may still doubt yourself and have the following Question [with a big Q] at the back of your mind: Am I making the right purchase decision? You will probably not find the perfect digital camera that answers all of your requirements. You can wait and wait and wait -- or you can determine what are the most important requirements and buy the digital camera that meet those really well.

I am reproducing, with his permission, a novice (circa 2002) digital photographer's perspective that I believe every beginner should have. Here is what Ron Major wrote to help another beginner take the fateful Buy step:

Hi [beginner], as a brother novice in digital photography (I bought my first digital camera in March [2002]), I thought I'd give you the benefit of my limited experience. First, relax! You're going to find that digital photography is a heck of a lot of fun. I've probably taken as many photos in the past 8 months as I did in the past 5 years. We were on a 10 day vacation a few months ago and I wound up taking about 250 pictures (and kept about 100). As everyone has said, any of the cameras you're considering will produce excellent photos.

However, I would also suggest that you give some serious thought as to how you want to use the camera. If it will primarily be used for your business and hauled around in the car, then any of your choices would be great cameras. However, it you plan to also use it for recreation (family events, trips, parties, etc), then I would also suggest that you consider the size and convenience of the camera. (You can't get those great pictures if you don't have the camera with you). After a lot of research, I bought the Canon S30 which is a relatively small camera and I have been very pleased with its performance. Admitedly, it won't stack up to the Canon G3 or the Sony-717 in the photo gallery, but we took it to Glacier National Park in September and got some spectacular pictures. I was able to carry the camera in my hiking short's pocket so I had it with me at all times. Sony, Canon, Olympus, etc. make some excellent smaller cameras that sell in the $500 - $600 price range.

When you first get into digital photography, you'll find that there's much more to learn than just how to operate the camera. There's all these strange things like digital photo manipulation, file compression, color saturation, white balance, etc. These cameras will allow you to learn all of these skills and most of them have aperture priority, shutter priority, etc. so you still have a lot [of] creative control.

In my younger days, I subscribed to the theory that you should always buy as much as you can afford, but with technology advancing so rapidly in this area, I think that you can get an excellent camera for about half of what you will spend for the G3 or F717 and then upgrade in three years to take advantage of all the new technology which is sure to come. By that time, you will be much more skilled in digital photography and ready to utilize the state of the art features.

Just another perspective, Ron

Well said, Ron!

We hope this article has been helpful to you. Whichever digital camera you end up buying, we hope you derive great joy from using it for many years.

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