As today is traditionally a heavy shopping/consumer crazy day, I’ve been working on some ways to discuss digital cameras (a popular request) and how to decide which one is best.
Aside from actually going somewhere and taking a few pictures with cameras you are interested in (sometimes this is not a possibility if you live in, say Antarctica, but then again, does FedEx or UPS service Antarctica?), we’ve had the staff work on some charts and graphs that might help.
Typically, there are three forces at play when we decide we want something (fig. 1). Okay, maybe there are more than three, but for the sake of illustration, we’re sticking to three. There is always the potential for override by external factors e.g., income, significant other denying usage of funds or rent/mortgage claiming fund usage (fig. 2). It is important to remember that the override can be any number or combination of things.
At any rate, we look at our three criteria and give each a weight in our minds, and typically, one wins out. When this is the case, the sweet spot grows a bit to accommodate our weighting, and becomes more inclusive of products we may not have considered. In the case of a digital camera, it might be price, performance and feature set. So we look at those and weigh each one (fig. 3).
To use this example for the purchase of a digital camera, we might weight price or ability to shoot pictures quickly as the most important things we want. Or perhaps it isn’t cost, but some other feature like megapixel count or camera bulk or shutter speed or expandability. Maybe it’s the name we trust. We prefer Brand A over Brand B; a friend or family member had a bad experience with Brand A and so we give Brand B a higher weight…
In the case of the Nikon D70 over the Canon Digital Rebel (300D), speed and feel of the Nikon won. This doesn’t mean that the 300D sucks. It’s a great camera and takes great pictures. We also looked at another camera, the Canon 10D. Unfortunately, the price of D70 beat the 10D by $500-$600, and so the Nikon won out. We are more than happy with our choice, as it landed right in the sweet spot (fig. 4).
While this all might seem very pedantic, both Heather and I have received a large amount of email about why we chose the D70 over other options. Originally, I was going to have wonderfully sarcastic commentary about consumerism and how we’re going to hell because the day after Thanksgiving, if you get up early enough, you can buy a 42″ plasma TV for $1,888 (after rebate) or a 160 gigabyte hard drive for $69.99 (after rebate, limit 10 per store).
I think it’s important to note that our previous digital camera, a Nikon Coolpix 990, has taken over 10,000 photos in the course of 4.5 years of ownership. After six months of use, we’ve already shot over 6,000 shots with the D70. That should tell you something about the camera and how wonderful it is to shoot with. I think the case would be the same, whether we bought the D70 or another digital SLR. Making a switch from a point and shoot camera (with it’s limitations) and buying a more serious camera means you shoot more, because it is easier and faster with a better camera.
Now, if I can just use this post to justify a Dual G5.