2. Simple Camera Buying Tips

My goal with this website is to help you find the best dSLR camera and lenses for your needs and budget. I helped hundreds of people get started with photography, and I’ve heard many rip-off stories over the past 10 years. Here’s what I’ve learned from other people’s mistakes:

1. Buy wise

The safest and best place to buy your digital SLR camera is online at Adorama or BH Photo. I prefer Adorama. They have the best prices and they are the first to get any camera in stock. The vast majority of pro photographers have been shopping there for decades for a reason.

Adorama’s customer service is the awesome. I’ve been shopping at Adorama since 2007

If Nikon or Canon have any discounts going on, Adorama and BH Photo are the first to post them. Don’t get ripped off by other websites advertising lower prices.

2. Buy online

Avoid local stores like BestBuy and Electronic Express – they are clueless about photography and their only interest is to sell you on a more expensive camera or accessories, which are already overpriced.

Amazon and Amazon Prime is OK if they don’t charge sales tax in your state. The sales tax is money you could have spent on a Canon 50mm f/1.8 or Nikon 50mm f/1.8 lens. Adorama and BH Photo ship equally fast for free, don’t charge sales tax, and give you 2% of your purchase back.

3. Buy simple

Don’t worry about accessories, filters, special bags, pouches, tripods, etc. Spend all the money you have on your camera and lens(es), and after you get used to your equipment and develop a shooting style, then invest in high quality accessories that you really need.

4. Is refurbished OK?

If the camera is guaranteed to be refurbished by Nikon and Canon, and sold by an authorized dealer, then yes, it’s perfectly fine to buy refurbished. When you buy a refurbished camera from Adorama, you’re essentially buying a brand new camera/lens that, unlike new ones, has been inspected and tested by a Nikon/Canon professional technician and is guaranteed to work flawlessly.

The only refurbished cameras I’ve seen at Adorama or BH Photo are entry-level cameras and kit lenses, and they are usually $200 cheaper. Kit lenses (18-55mm, 18-135mm, 18-140mm, 55-250mm, 55-200mm) are also a great deal if you can find them refurbished, but I would buy any other prime or pro-zoom lens brand new.

If I were spending $3,000 on a pro camera like the Canon 5D Mark III, I’d probably buy it brand new.