Looking to buy a New Camera

Understand the difference between benefits and features?

Cameras these days come with a myriad of features, but do you need all of them? 

When buying a camera, or any product, it is important to understand the difference between benefits, and features.

Benefits, are features of a camera that will assist you and you will make use of them when using your camera. As an  example, ‘spot metering’, I use spot metering most of the time. Its an important aspect of a camera for me and a real benefit when deciding exposure settings for the scene in front of me. In other words, ‘spot metering’ is a camera feature I look for, why? Because it helps me determine my exposer settings, the benefit!

Features are attributes or functions that your camera has but you are very unlikely to use them. For instance, ‘in-camera red eye removal‘. If I never use flash, then this is a ‘feature’ of the camera with no benefit to me.  Why is this important? Buying a ‘feature loaded camera’ may cost you more than buying a camera with less features that is better suited to your needs.  It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of camera manufactures and sales pitches.

When buying a camera, try to determine what you really need and how you will be using your camera. You might want to try and create something like the table below. At the very least, you should know your ‘must have features’, the things that your camera must do or have.

Camera assessment tool / table
  • Must have – I can’t do without this, not got it, won’t buy it.
  • Should have – I can see the potential benefits of having this function and would use it.
  • Could have – Not likely to use it, and I’m not going to worry about having it, or not having it.
  • Not needed – Its just a feature, I don’t need it on my camera.

Your table or list does not need to have so many columns you could just use the ‘Must have’ / ‘Not needed’ column with some notes.

Hopefully, this will help you not to buy a camera that is over and above your needs and may save you money.

And lastly be clear about what you need your camera for

Think about

  • The types of pictures you generally take.
  • Where and how you are going to use your camera.
  • How much control you want to have, i.e. do you want a point and shoot type camera, or something more sophisticated.
  • The features that you really need.
  • Your budget

A final thought

What type of camera user are you? maybe you just want something that takes ‘good photos’ or maybe your just starting out in photography, or your a photo-enthusiast.

If your a photo enthusiast, then try to think ahead on how your photography might grow and in which direction: sports, portraits, still life, fashion, weddings etc… And make sure that when purchasing your camera you consider the ‘should have aspects‘ to allow your photography to grow. Not doing so may mean that you out-grow your camera too quickly, costing you more money….





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