Buying A Digital Camera In A Local Store

Buying a camera at a local camera store is a lot harder than it used to be.

Simply because there are not as many of them anymore. If you need real advice or need a camera in a hurry, buying your digital camera at a local camera store may be the fastest way to go and you may be able to get some very good advice. You will still need to be careful.

First, let me define what I consider a local camera shop.

I am talking about the mom-and-pop kind of store. A camera shop that is locally owned. One that would not have more than 15 or so employees. A camera shop that the owner is locally known and that may actually be in the shop on occasion. If the owner is not actually typically at the counter, at least one or two full time employees with several long years of experience at the business should regularly be there.

You should be able to walk in next year and meet the same person that sold you your digital camera if you have a question

You want a camera shop that can provide a personal service that a large electronic store cannot. One with dedicated salespeople that you can trust to be there next time you come in.

Look for a camera store that does not have too many high school or college age workers

There is not necessarily anything wrong with workers this age (I knew more in high school than many who call themselves professionals) but they may not be there after the next summer vacation.

It should be a real camera shop

It should sell primarily cameras. Economics the way things are now, many camera shops have tried to diversify and add related products to their inventory. Do not be surprised if a camera shop also sells computer printers, video cameras, or even iPods. However, if the store is selling large screen TV’s, DVD players, home entertainment systems, washing machines, or gold jewelry, I would recommend you look someplace else. The camera shop you are looking for specializes in photography not electronics, appliances, or jewelry. The important thing is that the camera store specialize in photography, not be so diversified that photography is only a small part of the business.

A good sign to look for is an in-shop photo lab

If the camera shop is pushing their photo lab business it is a good sign. They want you to come back. They will want you to be happy with your digital camera when you come back. They have a real interest in giving you great service and a great product. They may include free prints from your digital camera with purchase.

There are some negatives with purchasing at a local camera shop

It will start with a smaller choice of cameras. The local camera store is simply not going to be able to stock every model of all the major brands. The camera shop may not even carry the most expensive, top models. Because fewer people buy them, and because there is good chance a very expensive model could become outdated before they can sell it, they may not carry it. Also, there is a good chance someone who would want a very expensive model will simple choose to buy online anyway.

The local camera shop may also be a bit more expensive than buying online

This is not an attempt to soak the customer. The sad truth is, most manufacturers will give a discount to those who purchase products in larger quantities than a small local camera store could hope to sell. They have to charge a bit more. They also have to pay for extra space needed for the showroom that an online store does not have. This is the trade off for the personal service you can get, a slightly higher price that you would pay online or at a consumer electronic store.

If you need advice, or if you need a camera on short notice a good trustworthy local camera shop is worth the extra price

One more point about local camera shops

I personally feel it is unethical to go to a small camera shop just for the advice and information and then buy the camera somewhere else to save money. The camera store has to pay that salesman for the time you used getting the information and advice you wanted. That is one reason they have to charge a bit more. To steal time from a small local camera shop and take the business elsewhere is just wrong. If you do not plan to buy there, do your research another way. Feel free to browse, but if a salesman starts to spend time with you, I think it is fair to warn him about your plans to buy elsewhere. Then he can decide if his sales skills are up to the task.

A good camera store salesman should be able to help you get the right model for you

Just be careful it he starts suggesting a different brand than you asked about or an unknown brand. Any salesman needs to be approached with a bit of suspicion.

Next: Buying a Digital Camera Online


About James Thoenes

James has spent most of his life involved in photography. He is now dedicated to producing portraits that his clients will treasure for the rest of their lives.