Thursday, August 16, 2012

Thought Of The Day: Best Camera Deals of 2012

I get asked pretty often if I have advice for someone wanting to purchase a new camera. I get asked if one should buy this or that camera, this or that brand, DSLR or compact interchangeable-lens?

Even on this Blog, most of the traffic that comes here are folks looking for advice or information on cameras.

Nowadays, money is tight and people are looking for the best value--getting the most camera for the least money.

Here are my choices for best digital camera deals right now:


The best deal right now in the DSLR market is the Nikon D3200. According to DxOMark, which does scientific tests of digital cameras, the D3200 is the 11th best digital camera and second best digital camera with an APS-C sized sensor. It outperforms many full-frame DSLRs and even some medium-format cameras! You get a heck-of-a-lot of camera for a really reasonable price: $700 with a kit lens.

Another choice is the Pentax K-30. DxOMark hasn't tested this camera yet, but it is expected to rank somewhere between 12 and 22, which is pretty good for a camera with an APS-C sized sensor. One great feature of this camera is that it is weather sealed, meaning you can take it out in the rain or snow and not have to worry. It has an MSRP of $900 with a kit lens.

Yet another bargain is the Nikon D800. With an MSRP of $3,000 for the body only, it may not seem like a deal, but this camera was ranked as the absolute best by DxOMark--better than any other digital camera, period. This camera produces better image quality than cameras that cost over $10,000.

Compact Interchangeable-Lens

The Sony NEX-F3 is a good deal. You get 16 megapixels on an APS-C sized sensor plus a kit lens for only  $600. The popular NEX-7 cost more than double, but it's only about 25% better, so this is camera has good value.

I really like the Samsung NX200, which has 20 megapixels on an APS-C sized sensor. This is a camera with big performance, but lacks some of the bells-and-whistles you'll find with some other brands. The NX200 with a kit lens has an MSRP of $900, but you can find it for $700-$750 if you shop around. 

Finally, the Fuji X-Pro1 is a great bargain. Like the D800, the X-Pro1 doesn't seem like a great deal at first with a price tag of $1,700 for the body only. When you consider that it competes closely (and might actually be better than) the Leica M9, which costs $6,500 (body only), it's actually an excellent deal!

It would be irresponsible of me if I failed to mention that your camera doesn't matter. Vision is what is important. No camera will ever make you a better photographer.

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