Tip #1: Know what you're getting into. Before you can even google the word "camera", you need to know exactly what you want. And you can't do that without knowing a little about how cameras work. Before you can even begin to shop, I command you to define the following terms:
- shutter speed
Learn a little about cameras now and it'll save you a ton of work in the long run.
Tip #3: Make a list of your requirements. Here's where that camera knowledge comes in handy. Ask yourself what you'll be doing with your camera. Selfies? Close-ups? Landscapes? Everything? For example, I know I wanted a camera that had good noise control and macro capabilities, but I could care less about movie modes or super zoom. Pinpoint your personal requirements, and don't forget your budget!
Tip #4: Surf the Web. Found a camera you think you may like? Don't just buy it; read what other people are saying. Read Amazon reviews, and look for patterns in the negative ones. Ask questions about the camera. And never, ever buy a camera without reading what sites like http://cnet.com, http://photographyblog.com, or http://dpreview.com have to say about it. Yes, it's time-consuming, but it's so worth it!
Tip #5: Sleep on it. Chances are the listing for that camera you want will still be there in the morning. Allow yourself to mull it over in your mind, come back to it, and read about the camera's competitors before getting out the cash. There were many cameras I almost bought that I am very glad I didn't.
Tip #6: Dare I say it.....Used camera?! The only way I was able to afford such a nice camera is because I bought it used. If you opt to do that, be smart about it, check the seller's ratings, and check the return policy. However, the used camera I bought was about half price and is pretty much like new. Just an option for the budget-conscious to keep in mind.
Hopefully that helps all you camera-seekers out there!