As we head into the holiday season and you are thinking about a new camera or new equipment for yourself, here are a few things I do before buying anything!

  • Check reviews and details at kenrockwell.com – He thoroughly researches and compares cameras and lenses. If you don’t want to get into the gritty details, just skip to the end of his reviews where he sums up in a few paragraphs and gives his best advice.
  • RENT whatever it is you think that you might want. LensRentals and LensGiant are my two favorites.  Local Metro Detroit friends, Lens Giant has a pickup location in Northville so you don’t have to pay for shipping.  Lens Rentals has the most exceptional customer service and will take good care of you!  Some places, like Lens Rentals, even have a rent-to-own option.  So, if you’re close to deciding, rent everything and when you decide to keep it you can apply some of your rental fee towards your used purchase.
  • BUY USED – This is always always a great way to go and until last year, there wasn’t anything in my bag that was new! It’s a great way to save money, get into some equipment you wouldn’t ordinarily try or use, and did I mention – SAVE MONEY?  You should check everywhere for what you want, but Borrow Lenses, Lens Giant, Adorama, B&H Photo, and even the Nikon website itself has a section for used equipment.  A lesser known, but also fabulous place is ProCam.  They have a storefront in Livonia, MI and have a huge selection of used items.  If you’ve done your homework and are standing in their store, you might even be able to negotiate a cheaper price than you’re seeing online.

Let me make one last note here for those of you who are on the fence about a camera.  First, I’m the one who always says “the best camera is the one you have with you.”  I fully believe that, but during a recent {AMAZING} trip, I left my camera battery at home in the charger.  There was no way for me to get a replacement in time (long story), but my sweet husband took me to the nearest big box store and bought me a point-and-shoot Nikon Coolpix B500.  I had my phone with me, but I wanted a real camera in my hands.  In my accidental experiment of phone camera vs point-and-shoot camera the point-and-shoot won every time.  I know that cell phone cameras get better with every generation, but the truth is, they’ll never be able to replicate what a camera can do.  So, if you’re on the fence, pull out your cell phone and order a camera.

I’m putting together a list of great gifts for photographers, including my favorite camera bags and accessories.  I’ll be sending it out to my email club!  JOIN HERE!