Opinions count. Period. Beyond that opinions are basically meaningless when they only serve the people who are expressing them. That happens a lot in the choices I have seen people make over the years in regards to camera gear.
When you come right down to the bottom line, and there is a bottom line, which is your pocket-book and your self-esteem, most opinions are meaningless. It does not matter what the opinion is about whether it be cameras, politics, people, cars, and I can go on and on.
When it comes to camera gear and things related to camera gear, everyone who owns a camera and lenses has opinions and generally they are going to tell you how great their STUFF is above and beyond any other stuff. Well, maybe that’s because it is THEIR STUFF. Is your best friend going to tell you that they made a bad decision about what they bought or is that person going to take you along for their ride just to have company. What is the old saying? “Misery loves company.” Maybe, just maybe, they think they are giving you a non biased opinion, but are they really!
Before going any further I want to state for the record that there are no bad cameras. Zero, nilch, none. Every camera is capable of producing superb images in our digital world and in the end it will be up to the photographer who is working with that camera. Do I have preferences? Sure but they are my preferences and yours are yours.
I used to work for Nikon Inc. There has never been any doubt, except those doubts given by Canon users that Nikon was one of the best camera brands around and of course truth be told it also worked the other way around as well. Canon shooters were fierce when it came to giving their opinions about their exceptional Canon cameras. In sales it always boiled down to feature/benefits and from model to model and manufacturer to manufacturer there was always going to be the next best thing to entice you.
Today there are so many great products on the market and making a decision should not be only be based on a review from some on-line pundit, or fan person whether it be a good review or not. It should not be based on your next door neighbor or best friend nor should it be based on sitting around the table at a photography workshop and listening to everyone preach the gospel about the stuff they own and how that makes their pictures better in the end. And finally it should not be based on a person selling you cameras from behind the counter in a store because there may be underlying reasons as to why they prefer one brand over another brand this week or the next. Remember there are no bad cameras.
Why is it important for you as the ultimate user to rely on more than opinions? Because too many opinions are slanted for one reason or another. How to you cut through the BS? Here is how.
1-Go to your local brick and mortar camera store. That means a store that specializes in camera gear. Not a Best Buy or a Target store or similar mass operation. Go to a camera store.
2-Give yourself enough time to wait for a sales person who could be tied up with another customer.
3-Once you are engaged tell that sales person what your goals are and what is important to you besides image quality. Remember when you are buying a camera you have to consider a lot of things.
- How does it feel in your hands
- How does the LCD on the back of the camera look in sunlight
- How does the view finder (eye level) look when you are seeing the image. How fast does the image recover from shot to shot.
- Is the camera to heavy. Remember you may be carrying this camera for several hours.
- Is the camera to big or too small for your hands
- How good is the image stabilization.
- How much are you spending between a camera and one or two lenses. Let the retail person know that so you can get the target you are aiming at. It could be a little more or a little less so be somewhat flexible.
These are some of the important things you want to consider and these are not only for the first time photographer but for the photographers who are upgrading their equipment.
Their have been too many instances when people have relied upon on-line reviews and opinions and not once taken the time to pick up the camera and lenses they wanted to own. In the end they can wind up with the wrong fit and while there may be a return policy of sorts, it still means you have wasted too much time doing it all wrong.
Go to a camera store. Buy from a camera store. Build a personal relationship with the sales people. That does not mean you have to date them or marry them but it would be nice if you trusted them.
While it may be taxing on the retail person, ask to see several models, different brands, so you can get the feel of what will involve a lot of your pocket change passing over the counter. So make sure you look at the list above so that in the end you are making an intelligent choice based on your opinion and not someone who offered you their opinion, solicited or not.
After all this purchase is supposed to last you for quite some time so do it right. You cannot do it right without getting the support of a brick and mortar store. Period. And I shall make one more very important point. It may seem to be easy to push a button on your phone or on your tablet and yes even your computer but in the end your support of your local camera store will provide you with the features the store offers and the benefits it gives to you as a consumer. Be smart.
What led to this post? I have heard too much bad advice over the years which left those who want to do photography as a hobby, past time, part time, pro wind up with the wrong photography gear based on reviews and well meaning and perhaps not so well meaning advice.
Of course this has been my opinion about opinions, and you have your own.