When it comes to purchasing new equipment, be it technology, pottery, or even furniture, there’s usually a voice inside your head hoping to find a good deal on the item(s) you’re looking for.
This is especially true for any photographer looking to snag the best deals in the industry.
After all, can you justify buying a new camera or camera lens if you haven’t really tried it before? What if you don’t like it and you can’t return it?
Worry not, for there are a few ways you can maximize on your new purchase without reaching too deeply in your pocket, and it all has to do with timing!
Of course, with any new purchase, answering when is the best time to buy a camera depends on where you live and how soon you need it.
Below you’ll find a few answers to this question, so let’s begin!
1. Holiday Season
This one’s a no-brainer. The holidays are one of the best times to buy camera gear.
Is it a marketing ploy to get people to spend more? Perhaps. Should it stop you from considering getting that new lens? Probably not.
Most, if not all, stores and big name brands host sales on their products around the holiday season; major holidays like Christmas, Boxing Day, and Black Friday.
The discounted prices are a great incentive for you to shop around and look at what offers are available to you. Plus, with the advent of online shopping over the last few years, you could do a lot of your window shopping online first.
Some places even offer exclusive online deals, too! It’s safe, and it’s fast.
That said, keep in mind you may have to do your research and make a decision on exactly what you want before the seaon begins.
Manufacturers and retailers normally circumvent running out of stock by making and ordering large amounts of these products. This is in preparation for the large demand coming their way.
But that’s not to say they’re always well-prepared. New and popular products run out fast, and delivery times are often affected by the large influx of orders.
So if you know what you want, start comparing prices when the season begins. You won’t regret it after the fact.
- Discounts across the board
- Duration of holiday (vary by holiday and location)
- Exclusive online deals
- Stocks may run out quickly
- Delivery times fluctuate
2. Local Deals
One of the ways local businesses drive traffic to their stores is to offer lucrative deals throughout the year. It’s a staple for any business to have these sales as it incentivizes customers to take a look at their products and buy what they need.
It’s a good idea to keep in touch with your local photography and camera stores. They’ll often have flash sales throughout the year where some of their items get discounted only during those sales.
If possible, sign up for their newsletters and follow them on their social media platforms. It’s the best way to hear about new offers without visiting them every day.
It also helps to get to know the employees as they may throw in a discount here and there if you’re in good standing with them. Store loyalty goes a long way in maintaining a business, so for stores that buy items from their customers, you may get a call from them telling you they have your item in stock.
The downside to local deals is knowing when those deals take place.
If you’re unfamiliar with a store, you might be waiting a long time. In fact, they might not have your item in stock – ever. It’s one of the reasons why getting to know the employees is an advantage to you.
You’ll both know when to look out for deals, and meet other photography enthusiasts/photographers.
- Flash sales throughout the year
- Local discounts
- Long waits between sales
- May not carry what you’re looking for
3. Trade Fairs and New Releases
It’s common knowledge that products go down in price once a newer model is released. Cameras and camera equipment are no different.
Among other things, annual expos and trade fairs are a great way to learn about upcoming new releases and upgrades. They’re also great for planning the best time to buy a DSLR camera.
A smart buyer will look at these expos as an opportunity to buy either priced down or secondhand equipment.
With announcements come new products; and with new products come priced down older models. Since many photographers upgrade as soon as a new model comes out, often they’ll sell their current model either online or to their local camera store.
It makes for one of the best times to jump in with a purchase. Browse your local online listings, visit your local store, and keep an eye out for anybody looking to sell their equipment. A lot of secondhand items are still in perfect working condition.
Of course, this means waiting until the actual product comes out to make a purchase.
In some cases, product prices don’t even go down to a justifiable amount. This is especially true if the item is a best seller or an instant classic.
As for secondhand equipment, you might find what you want in working condition, but not in the prettiest state. If aesthetic is a big deal to you, this might not be your best route.
- Priced down older models
- Secondhand items and prices
- Older releases not always justifiably priced down
- Secondhand items could be visibly dented and used
Money Not An Issue?
All the previous tips had money in mind; when is the best or cheapest time to buy a camera if funds are to be considered?
So here are a few tips for those of you who can afford a camera or gear with prices playing no part.
Before an event.
Sometimes you want to capture moments with a little more photo control than your smartphone is capable of. Using a DSLR is a great way to gain some creative freedom with your photographs.
You’ll want to give yourself at least a couple of weeks before the event to work out how to use your new camera. These few weeks will provide you with enough time to get accustomed to your camera’s controls and features.
It’ll offer you time to suss out what makes a photo good, as well as how to take good photos. And if you’re not happy with your camera or any of its features, you’ll have time to try out different options.
For those of you feeling uncreative with your camera, it helps to change your gear every once in a while. Something as simple as using a different lens sparks your creativity to shoot new ideas.
This also applies to anybody who’s finding it hard to capture their desired photos. Different camera + lens combinations produce different results.
Reach out to your local camera store and get their recommendations. They’ll often have some great insight and will likely help you more than you expect.
After the holidays.
This one requires a bit of luck. Much like getting secondhand items, some people sell or give away unwanted equipment after the holidays.
Normally this is because they got an upgrade and are looking to get rid of what they already have. There’s a chance you can find refurbished items after the holidays from somebody returning the model they didn’t want.
If you can wait, try your luck. You never know what you might score!
Best Time of Year to Buy a Camera: Thoughts?
I’d like to hear from YOU:
- What is the best time to buy a new camera (lenses), in your opinion?
- What is the next photography gear you’d like to buy this year?
- Do you usually just shop around the biggest holidays, like Christmas and Black Friday/Cyber Monday?