Photography can become an expensive business between new cameras, lenses and the ever growing selection of photography gadgets. We have 11 ways to help you reduce the cost of your photography equipment.
Do Some Research
If you are in the market for a new camera or some new accessories make sure to do some research ahead of time if you really need what you are planning to buy. There are many different camera options from Cellphone, Point and Shoot, MILCs to D-SLRs. Each category has it’s advantages and disadvantages and you’ll be able to find cameras in each category that allow you to take great photos (I have seen people taking amazing photos with only their iPhone on a trip to Antartica). The best camera is usually the one you bring along and know how to use! Don’t let the salesperson tell you otherwise.
Buy Last Years Model
Digital Cameras have come a long way in the last few years and you probably don’t need the latest model. Getting last years camera model often gives you the same photo quality and is only missing the latest bells and whistles.
Most of the times you’ll be able to find the best prices for camera gear online and local stores just can’t compete with these prices. Of course your local store offers the advantage of getting a hands on feel for a camera. I have been buying almost exclusively for the last 10 years from Adorama, B&H Photo Video and Cameta Camera. Adorama and B&H Photo video have very competitive prices and are widely recognized as some of the best places to buy photography gear even by professional photographers.
Buy Refurbished and Used
Another way to save even more is to buy used photography equipment. One option is to manufacturer refurbished cameras. Adorama and B&H Photo Video usually have a good selection of manufacturer refurbished cameras. I have bought several cameras from Adorama and every one looked brand new (the shutter count was usually less than 40!). Most of these cameras still come with a 90 day to 1 year manufacturer warranty. Currently you can get a refurbished Nikon D5300 with Lens $499.99 at Adorama instead of $746.95 on Amazon. This is a saving of 33%.
Adorama and B&H Photo Video also have a great selection of used lenses which are rated clearly on a 10 step grading scale so you know exactly what the condition of the lens and glass is.
Buy a Bundle
Camera retailers often build a bundle deal instead of simple money-off deals. Often you might be able to get multiple lenses, a tripod or a battery grip if you buy a DSLR. Nevertheless make sure you actually have a use for the add-ons or can sell them later. Some of the bundles come with useless accessories or low quality components.
Consider Lenses from a Different Manufacturer
If you own or purchase a Nikon or Canon DSLR camera you don’t necessarily have to purchase a lens from the same company. Often there are cheaper alternatives from Sigma, Tokina, Tamron. Cheaper doesn’t mean they are of lesser quality. Some lenses are coming with higher quality than the equivalent from Nikon or Canon. Nevertheless it’s important to make sure you do your research so you don’t end up with and incompatible lens!
Consider Chargers/Batteries from Other Companies
It’s probably no surprise that manufacturers add high margins on accessories like batteries and chargers. You can often get good quality spare batteries from a different manufacturer at 20% the cost for an original battery.
A word of caution:
- Many very low quality batteries and counterfeit batteries are being sold on ebay and Amazon.
- Low quality batteries can damage your camera if they expand in your camera.
- Some cameras manufacturers require coded batteries to prevent customers from using other (cheaper) batteries. Makes sure if you purchase a batterie it's supported by your camera.
Get Additional Cash Back
You probably already get miles or some kind of rewards from your credit card. But in addition to that you might be able to get more cashback if you use a cashback site like Mr. Rebates and Ebates.com. These sites offer cashback at 1200+ stores. The membership is absolutely free and you even get a $5-$10 sign-up bonus. You can even get cash back for instore pickup purchases at BestBuy. You can find more information about the ease and benefits of getting cash back with Mr. Rebates, Ebates to for your online purchases to get cash back.
Trade-in Old Photography Gear
If you purchase a new camera try to trade-in/sell your old gear before it loses all its remaining value since you will probably not be using it anymore. Adorama also buys used gear. Of course you might be able to score a better return if you invest time to sell it on ebay.
Use Price Matching
If you find a good price for a camera from a reputable company go to your photography store or BestBuy and ask if they do a price match. With the big competition through online stores you have a good chance they’ll drop the price.
Don’t Get Upsold
As with many things you buy make sure the salesperson isn’t upselling you on expensive accessories that you never end up using or that you could have gotten for a fraction of the price online (e. g. Lens Blower, Brush, Cheap UV-Filter..).
Read more at Digital Photography School about 5 kinds of photography equipment that waste your money.
Sign-up for Deal Alerts/Price Tracker
If you know what you are looking for and aren't in a time crunch you should sign up for notification services that some deal and bargain sites offer.Get alerts when deals come up that match your keywords:
Use Free Software
If you like to take photos you probably came across Adobe Photoshop/Lightroom to process and manage your photos. Photoshop is a great program but there are many free or cheaper alternatives available to process and manage your photos (Gimp, Picassa, Paint.NET to just name a few). Before purchasing some software give them a try to see if they provide the functionality you are looking for).