Indix recently published the Digital Camera Product Category Report. It is packed with pricing, brand, stores, features, and lens data, all pulled from the Indix Cloud Catalog. Being a shutterbug, I was asked to discuss my thoughts as a guest commentator. During the process, I began to reflect on my journey of purchasing cameras and how better product data could have helped me, or any other consumer like me.
I am a passionate amateur photographer. I picked up the activity about four years ago. I spent a lot of time outdoors, and found myself more and more aware of my surroundings. I had an iPhone at the time, and spent my summer walking around the city and snapping a picture of everything I saw. My photo gallery was a mix of plants, buildings, people and of course, selfies. But, I needed more than a camera phone. I was addicted to capturing my life’s moments, and I wanted to take it to the next level.
I began the long and research-intensive process of deciding what type of camera I wanted to purchase. My budget wasn’t much, and I needed more control of how my photos looked. The market was saturated with nifty features, capabilities, and gadgets. It was honestly, overwhelming. To make the process easier for myself, I started by looking at the basics.
I initially purchased a point-and-shoot camera. The price was right, and it took some lovely photos with a large depth of field. The average price of one these cameras is around $252.00. Compare that to the average cost of a body-only DSLR at $911. It was also wonderfully light and easy to pack in my bag. The fixed lens was okay, but I discovered I was limited in how close or how far I could get from the object. Because point-and-shoots are not upgradeable, I could not change lenses.
I started to get more creative and wanted to play around with lighting, speed, and take more artistic portraits. The point-and-shoot did not leave me with many options. I could not shoot in low light situations because I could not adjust the shutter speed and ISO. Wider shots became cropped because the camera could not capture larger scenes, and the overall quality of the camera inhibited me because of the smaller camera sensor.
Before I upgraded, I spent some time considering DSLRs and mirrorless cameras. Both produced high-quality, professional photographs. But the price points were very different. I spent a lot of time trying to find a way to compare the prices of these two camera types. I wish I would have had Indix data at the time. It would have been a lot easier to identify that mirrorless camera bodies were several hundred dollars less than DSLRs regardless of the brand. However, there are also much fewer mirrorless camera models to choose from. The top brands then were Pentax, Samsung, and Sony. Indix data confirms that this is still the case.
The price point was good, but how did the features compare? My point-and-shoot camera was around 16 megapixels, which created clear images. But with mirrorless cameras, you can get up to 20 megapixels, and DSLRs can get all the way to 50 megapixels. But trust me, the price for that is a college tuition.
Mirrorless cameras are lightweight and small in comparison, plus they have interchangeable lenses, the ability to change aperture, shutter speed, and ISO – all things that would allow me to take the artsy pictures I wanted. I ended up with a Samsung NX series camera – tons of features for a price that would not have me so financially invested meant that I could upgrade yet again in a few years if photography were still something I wanted to pursue.
Pursue and upgrade I did. My friends began asking me to take pictures of them for LinkedIn or for some obscure photography ideas they had. While the mirrorless camera could deliver the same experience in many ways as a DSLR, there were fewer interchangeable lenses and external attachments to use. A DSLR was perfect for this kind of photography. But as mentioned before, they are expensive and very complicated machines.
The selection of lenses alone was enough to entice me. Although, keep in mind that each lens can easily set you back a few hundred to a few thousand dollars, depending on the focal length you want. Once you choose a brand, you feel tied to that camera, simply because of the investment. Ultimately, I went with a Nikon bundle. It included the camera body, two lenses, a tripod and a host of other accessories. It was a big decision and required hours of searching on the internet to find what brand, or package I wanted and where I was going to buy it. After doing the math, buying a bundle made the most sense. If I were to buy each of these items separately, it would have cost me double. A single lens alone was $500 or more.
One of the most interesting parts of working at Indix is getting access to millions of product offers, as well as brand and store information. In our Digital Camera Category report we discussed the top three camera types on the market today (point-and-shoot, mirrorless, and DSLR). We also looked at brand and store offers, pricing, lenses, megapixels and more. The report demonstrates the type of data that can be obtained from our product database – all data that is vital to consumers like me. Companies can use Indix Product data to compare pricing and features of camera brands, lenses, and more right in their store app. This information would allow customers to do vital research and place the order without having to go elsewhere to make the purchase. Something to think about.
Check out the report for yourself to see the depth of data. Click here now.
Also published on Medium.