The season of stuff is upon us once again. The biggest shopping days of the year bring big bargains, but what's out there for us, the photography obsessed? Luckily, there are plenty of deals to be had, but there are also some pitfalls trying to separate you from your money. Here's a look at some of the stuff worth buying over the next week or so.
[Note: I'm not linking to specific deals here in the article because they go out of date so quickly. We will be posting deal alerts to our Twitter feed, though, so be sure to follow us there and save some dough.]
Some simple tips for the most efficient shopping:
1. Know what you want or need
The draw of Black Friday is that you save money, but a deal isn't going to save you much if you didn't need the product in the first place. Before you get all fired up and hit the sale flyers and websites, make a list of stuff you actually need or really want. You should still keep an eye out for stuff you may not have thought of, but concentrate on getting a good deal on something that will actually get used. If there's nothing to meet your list, just save your money and put it toward the gear you really want.
2. Watch out for the bundle
Instead of dropping prices on products, some stores will put together bundles. They can be a good deal if you need everything in the bundle, but if that cheap camera comes packaged with a cheap all-in-one lens you don't really want, it's not a good purchase. A free item only ads value if you can actually use it. Sure, that bag they're throwing in may cuts $80 in the store, but if you already have a bag and weren't going to buy it anyway, it's not much of a bonus.
3. Use Twitter and Facebook
Liking brands on social media sites can be frustrating, especially when they clutter up your feeds with their stuff. But, this time of year, it's often the fastest way to find out about deals. And with limited quantities of stuff going out, being first can be the difference between getting the goods and missing out.
4. Don't expect to get a great deal on your new primary gear
If you need a compact camera or even a low-end DSLR, chances are you'll get pretty lucky in your search for cheap stuff. If you're looking for something on the higher-end, though, you'll likely be a bit disappointed. There are a ton of rebates going on at all times from Canon, Nikon, and Sony, so you're probably better off waiting on buying important stuff like bodies and lenses until another time. February is generally a great time to get deals as new stuff is usually about to roll out and stores clear out old stock.
5. Keep your eyes on the used market
People buy new cameras this time of year, which means their old cameras and gear might be hitting the second hand market. This is a great time to pick up equipment, too, because people sometimes sell their stuff to make money for the holidays. Check your local Craigslist and eBay, too for stuff you want.