November 4, 2015

Best Time to Buy Digital Cameras

Read more about What to Buy in February

In the market for a new digital camera, but unsure of where to start? You're in a good spot. Sales of these cameras have gone down in recent years as the quality of cameras on smartphones has skyrocketed. This means you have a better chance of getting a deal.

But a problem still remains: There are tons of choices and price points, from the extremely affordable to the exorbitant. What’s a consumer to do?

No worries. We’ll let you in on where to begin. First, start with the better times to buy (i.e., the cheaper times to make your purchase). We also have a helpful list of tips to consider when shopping.

When to Buy a Digital Camera

© alexkerhead (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr

  • Shop Between February and April
    In January, the forthcoming models of digital cameras are announced at the Consumer Electronics Show. Because retailers need to clear shelf space for new arrivals, expect discounts ranging from 10% to 25% on older inventory. And if you can wait until April when the sales are even steeper, it’s possible to save more, but quantities may be limited.

  • Look in October Too
    The second round of announcements for new releases is made in September, so older models are reduced to make room for those that will hit the shelves in November, just in time for holiday shopping. But proceed with caution during this wave because the even newer, better models typically aren’t released until the beginning of the year.

  • Or Try in November
    Black Friday is the most anticipated shopping holiday of the year. And digital cameras are usually in the mix, but only select items are included in the sale. However, if your options are open, it’s the optimal opportunity to score a camera up to 50% off the original price.

How to Save Money on Digital Cameras

  • Assess your needs
    It’s easy to empty out your wallet on a new camera purchase, so shop smart and purchase only what you actually need. A few items to consider:

    • Will you use the camera as a professional or on a leisurely basis?
    • What settings will you be shooting?
    • How experienced are you with digital cameras and photography in general?
    • Are there any size, weight or feature preferences?

  • Set a budget
    Once you’ve determined which type of camera best suits your needs, it’s a good idea to set a budget. That way, you won’t get sucked into a product you don’t need by a smooth sales representative and end up overextending your wallet.

  • Do your homework
    The next step is narrowing down your options, which can easily be done by asking around, reading reviews, and heading to the store to give your options a test drive. Also, feel free to solicit input from sales representatives who may be able to provide insights based on their own personal use or feedback received from other customers. Another tip: visit online forums to get an idea of what others are saying.

  • Buy the bundle
    If only you could buy the camera and be all set, wouldn’t that be wonderful? Unfortunately, that’s not quite how it works. More than likely, you’ll probably also need a few add-ons, including the carrying and storage case, charger, backup batteries, lenses, memory cards and tripods, just to name a few. Or you can save yourself a wad of cash by bundling up.

  • Negotiate away
    Before you head to the store to make a purchase, gather a few competitive quotes to increase your bargaining power. If the sales representative won’t budge, offer to trade-in your old gear to offset the price. You can also request free add-ons or service contracts in lieu of a discount.

Allison Martin is a contributing writer at CreditDonkey, a credit card comparison and reviews website. Write to Allison Martin at Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for our latest posts.

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