Buying vs. Borrowing a Camera

29 11 2009

I currently don’t own any photography gear.  I borrow my girlfriend’s digital camera (which I bought for her) when I want to take photographs.  Honestly, I don’t think the majority of people use their cameras on a regular basis, so it’s not a big deal for a friend to lend me their camera for a week or two.  For example, I borrowed my friend’s Canon EOS 10D DSLR for a couple weeks when I was on vacation in Europe (see photographs of Florence and Rome).  It was a great way for me to learn about the camera and what features I liked and didn’t use.

I’d like to eventually purchase my own camera, but the thought of dropping several hundred dollars on one hasn’t been a strong incentive for me to pull the trigger.  It annoys me to no end that digital camera technology changes so rapidly and that a camera purchased for hundreds of dollars today is only worth a small fraction in a few years.  I admit that I’m being a cheapskate, but I’m not pursuing a career in professional photography, so it makes little sense to invest a ton of money on equipment that depreciates in value so rapidly.

Trust me, I know photographs that capture one’s life experiences are priceless.  My friend’s camera with over a thousand pictures was stolen on our way home from Machu Picchu, Peru.  I can’t even describe how sad I was that we lost all of those pictures of us.  Nonetheless, spending several hundreds of dollars on anything is still a big purchase, and no one wants to have any buyer’s remorse.

If you’re thinking about buying a camera and/or lenses, consider a used one on Craigslist.  Michael Zhang from PetaPixel has a great article on buying used gear.  He’s managed to continually upgrade his equipment for very little cost.  If you really prefer a new camera, buy it in January or February when new models come out, and there are deep discounts for older models (Yahoo! Finance).

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