Digital cameras are not different than other consumer electronic products. The cost of ownership is not limited to the sum paid to purchase the camera. In most cases consumers find themselves spending more money on accessories and other additional products. Failing to budget for those extra expenses can result in buying a camera just to find out it is not operable without spending more.
When buying a new camera consumers usually compare the features of different cameras and the prices at different stores. However often consumers fail to check what is included with the camera they plan to buy or more importantly what is not included. Some attention to details is needed in order to assess the real cost of the camera and to budget accordingly.
Following is a simple list of what to check and include in the budget of a new camera:
Memory card: All digital cameras store photos on a memory device. Usually a removable memory card is used. Most cameras include a basic small memory card. For example many cameras today come with 32MB of memory. Such a small memory card can hold a small number of photos and is not practical. When buying a camera always make sure to check how much memory is included. Then assess how much memory you will need (for example if you are going to take a lot of photos and wont have a computer handy to dump them onto you will need a bigger memory card). The next step would be to check the prices of such memory cards and to budget it in your camera purchase.
Batteries: All cameras include a battery that powers it up. There are many types of batteries for example standard AA or AAA or proprietary rechargeable batteries. Regardless of the type of battery when purchasing a camera check what batteries it uses and what batteries are included. Also check what the estimated battery life is. For example you probably need to buy an extra battery if your photo sessions are longer than the battery life. Make sure you budget the price of additional batteries before purchasing the camera.
PC connectivity: Any digital camera will eventually be connected to a PC in order to download photos. The most common methods of connectivity are USB and plugging the camera’s memory card directly to the PC. Make sure that your camera includes the USB cable needed to connect to the PC. If you prefer connecting the removable memory directly to your PC budget an adaptor that can bridge between the memory card and the slots available in your PC.
Carrying case: Most cameras do not include a carrying case. For many consumers a carrying case is not a must have accessory. If you want to have a carrying case make sure you shop for the right one before buying the camera and that you budget its cost.
Lenses: High-end cameras such as digital SLR often require additional lenses. When reviewing your camera check what lenses come with the camera. If you are an amateur or a professional photographer and you know you will need more lenses shop around for lenses that fit your camera and budget their prices. Lenses can be very expensive and sometimes can cost more than the camera itself. For example when buying an SLR camera for outdoor photography that requires zoom lenses make sure you budget such lenses that fit the camera you plan to buy.
External Flash: In most cases an external flash is not needed. However it is good to check what external flashe devices are compatible with your camera and what their price range is. If you are an amateur or a professional photographer and you know that you will need an external flash in addition to your camera’s built-in one make sure that you shop for one that can work with the camera and budget its cost before purchasing the camera. External flash devices prices can vary and can be a costly addition. Some high-end external flashes can cost more than the camera itself.
In conclusion it is important to remember to budget not only the basic camera price but also the prices of the mandatory and optional accessories. For example if you are going to take indoor photos and you need a large memory card and an external flash make sure that you budget those accessories before purchasing the camera. Failing to do so can result in spending your entire budget on the camera just to find out it is useless without some more essential accessories and more spending.